There was a time in India, when planning a holiday was a cumbersome task. Plans were made months in advance, and tickets were booked standing in long queues. The idea of experimenting with newer places and destinations was restricted to a select few. But the digital revolution of the past decade has changed the face of travelling.
Organisations like Makemytrip, Tripadvisor and HolidayIQ are amongst the many players who are changing the way people experience travel. From ticketing to hotel bookings to travel itineraries -- everything is taken care of by online travel services.
There are several organisations like Mygola (which is now a part of Makemytrip), Triphobo and PickYourTrail, help create itineraries while you are planning a trip. Antilog Vacations, started by Abhishek Jaiswal and Mohit Singla in 2011, they claim is different. They say this online portal offers cashless online booking and customised holiday packages. So one can not only customise and specialise their itineraries but book them on the same portal on the go.
Creating 100 percent cashless online booking of holidays and experiences
It was during a holiday trip to Europe with friends that Abhishek come up with the idea for Antilog. Forthat trip, the group hadn't booked any activity or experience in advance. It was only after going there that they booked an experience and it wasn't necessarily available at the best price.
This incident made Abhishek realise that people just don't need itineraries alone. They also need thefreedom to pick and choose an activity on the go or during transit. Abhishek says: “In many cases you don't want to pick an activity before-hand. You want to reach the destination and then choose.”
Abhishek adds that often retail prices are not conducive, and the choices are limited. While organisations like Makemytrip, Triphobo and PickYourTravel have different itineraries that are activity based, the processes according to Abhishek were long and winding and one cannot buy them immediately on the go. Thus, the duo decided to create a platform that enabled people to not only to pick and choose from different options but also compare rates in real time.
“We thought that if we could device a technology through, which you can create your own package based on your specifications on the go, like booking a taxi via Ola, then it would be great!” says Abhishek.
It is interesting to note that flight bookings are said to hold only three per cent of the margin, while hotels and holiday experiences hold close to 15 per cent.
Growth and reach
Speaking about the traction and growth so far, Abhishek said that Antilog is all about global reach,exceptional customer service, and taking the holiday buying experience online. He further adds that when the duo started out their initial capital was of INR 70,000, which is now clocking close to three crores in a month. Antilog has not raised any funds from angel investors or VCs, and is a profitable company.
According to the team, Antilog is among India’s biggest B2C companies for outbound travel to Mauritius, Maldives, Fiji and Seychelles. “Antilog’s strength lies in its deep relationships with more than 20,000 vendors across the globe,” says Abhishek. The organisation operates in 17 different consumer markets, with, India, France, UK, US, Germany, and Japan being the major ones.
Abhishek says that Antilog caters to a worldwide audiences looking to pre-book a holiday.According to him foreigners visiting India is a USD 10 billion annual market and leisure outbound travel is USD seven billion. The travel market,he says, is close to seven trillion dollars. Antiloghe adds is positioned as a mass luxury company and is quite popular with honeymooners.
Roadblocks and the future
The challenge that the team faces is to understand different consumer markets. Abhishek says: “There are companies, which are trying to solve the symptoms while we actively look to identify the real issues and how to solve them using technology.”According to the team the other challenge has been to remain profitable consistently. “People think it’s not possible to grow without VC money or that there is a tradeoff between growth and profitability.We don’t believe that.You could scale to be a billion dollar firm while remaining profitable at the same time,” says Abhishek.
Antilog plans to club the trip planning, holiday buying,and cashless travel in a single application accessible through mobile/web apps to the English speaking consumer markets in first phase and then move to French.
“We may go for fund raising if we get the right partner but not as a necessity. No company has died growing organically,” concludes Abhishek.