XLRI Jamshedpur alumni and ex-banker start KMPH Trips to make travel easy

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Over the years, the way people travel and approach travel has changed drastically. What with automation, apps, and the advent of the digital age, travellers are constantly looking for a more integrated approach to trip planning and execution.

KMPH Trips aims to do just that. By integrating online trip application, KMPH allows users to explore destinations on the basis of self-defined criteria, collect travel intelligence on shortlisted destinations, and creates a day-wise itinerary encompassing stays, commutes, places to see and activities to do at the destination.

"The travel industry has evolved over the last few years, and so have travellers’ preferences. People love to explore, and it is a wonderful thing to be able to create a fully-loaded trip on one’s own. So there was a market gap," says Amit Sinha Co-founder KMPH Trips.

Key differentiators

According to Amit, most travel portals today do not seem to cater to the traveller’s growing needs. He says that most agencies offer fixed packages, with limited scope for customization. He adds that, in most cases, travellers have to do their own research. He adds, creating a personalized travel itinerary with an offline travel agent requires multiple iterations, as one needs to juggle with many variables like duration, pace of travel, budget, and experiences being sought.

With KMPH, travellers can discover various destinations, using the map base destination explorer. There are various parameters that help a traveller discover his or her holiday destination. These include origin, geography, type and category. You can also search using a combination of parameters as well.

Once the traveller chooses the destination he or she wants to visit, they can read as much as possible on that place. All this is arranged in the form of a pictorial menu, with a destination guide that covers history, best time to visit, festivals, food, climate, sight seeing and activities. Apart from this, one can choose their own hotels, and the mode of transport they wish to use. "You can even create a day-wise boarding, sightseeing, commuting, and activity plan, all of which together make a comprehensive trip plan," adds Amit.

He says that users also benefit from crowd-sourced knowledge. They acquire access to trips previously created by other users, and can modify the same to meet their needs. "We even have a single checkout and payment for multi-hop trip plans comprising different travel products," says Amit.

Building the team

Amit Sinha has been a banker for the most part of his professional life. His previous stints were at ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Pidilite, Reliance Infocomm, Thermax and GE Money. Vikram Kohli, the co-founder, has worked for Tech Mahindra, and holds a PGCBM from XMRI Jamshedpur and Master in Computers.

The co-founders met through a common friend, and there was instant agreement on the idea of building a comprehensive trip-planning portal. "Building the team has not proved to be a big challenge so far, as both co-founders come with experience in hiring and managing teams, in addition to being networked in respective fields. We have not hired people from the travel industry as a strategy. The company is self-funded so far. We are looking for financial investors to propel further growth," says Amit.

The website gets over 200 daily visitors, and over 100 users have created trips on the website. Being an online platform, their reach isn't limited. Anyone with an internet connection, credit/debit card, and a desire to travel can create a trip on the platform. The team has updated content on 178 Indian destinations and 145 international destinations. They are constantly increasing their destination inventory and plan to have 200 Indian and 500 international destinations on their platform by the end of the next six months.

Talking about the challenges they’ve faced so far, Amit says that creating original travel content has been tricky. Choosing the right vendors for sourcing services was also a complex task for the team. He adds that they have been able to find optimal solutions to both these issues. However, he says, further improvements are needed, and therefore, work is underway.

Market and revenue

KMPH Trips allows all products to be booked at the end of the creation of the trip. The team earnstheir revenue through commission in case of bus bookings, and mark-ups in case of hotel and car booking. "Our topline revenue is projected at four per cent of the business booked," says Amit.

According to reports, travel in India is estimated at close to $70 billion. Of this, $11 billion is online. Many believe that 70 per cent of this market is domestic travel. There have been an increasing number of brands that look at providing their customers intelligence and data. These include HolidayIQ, Makemytrip and many others.

Tourism infrastructure is improving, and the government is promoting tourism in a big way. Travel is information- and content-centric, making it a natural beneficiary of rising internet penetration. The online travel market is thus growing at a much faster rate than the overall of 10.2 percent. "The domestic travel market is still largely unorganized, and thus ripe for innovative disruption. Adventure travel is another emerging trend. We plan to organise this segment and bring it to the online space. We’ve already begun groundwork on this," concludes Amit.

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