All of us love to travel, but we end up visiting the most popular places. In a country like India there is no dearth of unexplored and interesting travel destinations. The joy of exploring a place, which is off the beaten path can’t be described in words. You need to actually experience it!Bangalore based startup Oddroad.com, is the first travel portal of its kind, which empowers the leisure traveller to find holiday destinations (in India, followed by other countries) based on his/her ‘preferences’. The site, which launched in January 2012, addresses the four basic questions of any travel plan; travel preferences, distance, time and cost. It is a consolidated and seamless experience. Oddroad.com is designed to be the one place to FIND (destinations based on your preferences), PLAN (define itinerary, invite friends), BOOK (travel & accommodation) and MEET (like-minded fellow travelers and share travel experiences).
Speaking about how the idea to start Oddroad germinated, Joydeep Chakrabarty, Founder, Oddroad.com said, “The idea of Oddroad.com came out of travelling across India (& bits of Europe) and on experiencing or hearing from fellow travellers the typical problems they face starting from planning for a holiday to booking for the trip to the actual experience.” Joydeep added that most travel portals today are either ticketing sites or provides packages or provides reviews/feedback about destinations. All these sites are based on the tie-ups they have with certain number of hotels, airlines, etc and provide the best options among them.
This leaves little space for YOU and what you actually want. Oddroad hopes to address this issue. On the site users can enter their preferences based on direction, terrain, altitude, temperature, points of interest, activities, theme, festival, cuisine, rainfall and humidity. They can select one or more categories and then select the trip dates. Oddroad.com will provide you with a list of destinations matching your preferences.
Oddroad was started by Joydeep and Gowri Kustagi joined in later. Joydeep travelled a lot around India due to his dad’s army job. He has 4 years of experience in the hospitality industry and 12 years of experience in IT. Oddroad.com was his concept and he is currently in charge of the product.
Gowri’s dad was also in the army and so, similar to Joydeep, she got the opportunity to extensively travel around India. She has a degree in Hotel Management and spent 6 years in the hospitality business. She followed it up with an 11 year stint in the IT and ITES industries. At Oddroad she takes care of the destination database and alliances management.
The third member of the Oddroad team is Varun Yagain, who takes care of marketing. Nandini Vaidyanathan, an alumna of Delhi School of Economics and with over two decades of experience in the corporate sector, is mentoring Oddroad.
A comScore report shows that visits to travel sites grew by 32% in 2011 over the previous year. The same report shows that 80% of the money spent online in India are by audiences to travel sites. Commenting on Oddroad’s target market, Joydeep said, “Considering on one hand the ever growing tourism potential in India and across the globe and on the other hand, the new age traveler being well informed and with higher spending power, it would be quite difficult to pin down a specific market size right away, but the scope is immense.”
Revenue sources that Oddroad is targeting include:
- Search specific advertisements, packages, offers and listings
- Accommodation and travel booking
- Travel merchandize (travel gears, gadgets and books)
- Travel related workshops
- Specialized tours and expeditions
- Travel magazines, books and merchandize
Joydeep sees the current global tourist share for India moving from 3% to 7%. Also, it is expected that there will be a significant shift from the current ‘Take What I Have’ model (fuelled by tour operators) to the informed traveler driven ‘Give It The Way I Like It’ model. Both these will have a major impact on the market and consequently Oddroad.
Oddroad is presently concentrating on including destination and travel information from multiple countries and regions across the world. They also wish to engage with destination specific local experts to give that end-to-end experience.
Oddroad has given a new twist to how travel sites work. YourStory.in will be keenly following their progress and we wish them the best.
To find out more about Oddroad, visit http://oddroad.com/