We’re in that phase of the startup evolution where web entrepreneurs are going after all unorganised markets. The idea is to find a large segment that’s unorganised, and try to bring it online. We had OTAs come in for flights , then buses were aggregated by redBus and others, then cabs, now trucks and a lot more. Sabin Rodriguez, from Chennai, thinks ‘organising venues’ for events is a huge market! “Six cities in India; we are easily looking at nothing less than 15,000 venues. This includes hotels, restaurants, marriage halls, party lawns, beach/guest houses, & etc,” he says. And there are many more who’d agree with this. For instance, there is Megavenues, which is pretty big in India; VenueLook is pushing hard around NCR; ticketing platforms like MeraEvents have also entered the space.
For BigFday, the journey has just begun. Venues are a starting point for BigFday, and Sabin is excited about India’s USD 1.5 billion market. Explaining the idea, Sabin says, “In today’s world, an event planner’s only resource is Google and JustDial type of websites that give phone numbers of the venues. So they call the venue, and visit the venue. At BigFday, we run around the city, collect high-level details from venues such as seating capacity, menu choices, dimensions of the hall.” Bigfday also sends photographers to the venue to shoot high-quality photographs of the venue so users can make their decisions online.
Prices at venues change based on date of the event, number of guests, type of food and due to constant change in supply and demand. On BigFday, a user can see the prices changing dynamically (like airline prices). BigFday also negotiates. “If you know about banquet booking, you know what I am talking about. The final price of a venue is plus or minus 50 per cent (of the initial rate they quote), depending on your negotiation skills. For BigFday customers, we negotiate,” says Sabin. They also take care of the logistics involved, like visiting the venue to check everything is in order.
Still in its early days, Bigfday has closed about 75 bookings with a transaction value of over INR 60 lakhs. Bigfdays’s cut? About INR 5 lakhs. And venue is just the starting point. The events market is opening up in fascinating ways. Sabin gives his insights:
Planning Stage: Discovering and booking venues will be online. Planners will move towards transacting online (thanks to advanced 360 degree and Augmented Reality technologies, which will play a huge role in this shift).
SAAS-based Event Planning Tools and Apps for social and corporate events. Earlier it was Microsoft Projects, Excel, etc. Now more sophisticated technology lets you pick vendors and communicate with them online throughout.
Event Ticketing: A lot of this is already happening. And a lot more is in the works.
Technology is eating up events, and we’re closing towards times when events will be organised and held in completely different ways. The likes of Bookmyshow have played a huge role in getting users online, and making them comfortable with transactions. Explara and Meraevents have been doing considerable amount of work in the event ticketing space. Eventifier is a good example of a company that is building tools for users at events ,or for organisers who want to document an event (BookMyShow acquired Eventifier).
For Bigfday, the journey has begun, and it has more than 500 venues listed in Chennai. Sabin has a small team of four working on technology, and meeting venue operators on the ground, as of now. The team is also looking to raise an angel round to propel their growth further. An alumnus from Anna University with a few years of experience working with MNCs and startups, he’s had his share of event experiences (he tells us he has attended all YourStory events in Chennai). But, now, it’s time to get his hands dirty.