How travel startup Tripzuki is highlighting boutique hotels in India

By Aparajita Choudhury|19th Aug 2015
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Today, the tourism and hospitality industry has become a game changer and serves as the key growth driver in the services sector in India. According to Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) report, the sector has attracted around USD 7,862 million of FDI during April 2000 - February 2015.

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The phenomenal growth in this industry has shown the path of entrepreneurship to many youngsters. Most of them have scripted growth stories in terms of traction while attracting significant amount of capital from the VC fraternity.

Founded in the year 2013, Tripzuki is the brainchild of three entrepreneurs: Indian Harsh Sonawala, British Joe Christle and American Aaron. It provides information to travelers in India on boutique hotels, rooms at which can be booked directly from the website, and also includes local expertise and advice.

Harsh is a Mumbai-based travel addict who wanted to convert his love for travel into a business. Before venturing into the entrepreneurial world, Harsh spent four years working with various startups, gaining experience in India’s creative and advertising industries.

While travelling back and forth between Australia, India and the UK, Joe saw an opportunity borne out of experience in the hotel industry. Aaron has been developing software for over a decade, with exploring the limits of what technology can make possible being a driving factor. He is responsible for the design and development of

Tripzuki has a collection of 66 chic boutique hotels having features such as serene locations, private pools, heritage buildings, good views, home-cooked food and amicable owners. Users can also avail travel related tips via the startup’s blog Blogzuki.

Harsh says,

Our key idea is to give the Indian travel market a chance to experience serendipity and to fulfill the wishes of those who want to have an inspiring and diverse vacation. We provide original and great content about each property we review.

Picking the best boutique hotels

Every hotel that the startup wishes to tie up with is visited by one of the Tripzuki writing team, who stays at the hotel, tests food, beds and bathrooms, and speaks to staff, and owners, while checking the amenities as well. Each hotel is photographed by the team as well.


Joe says,

As the travel community is rapidly expanding, travelers today are looking out for experiences that are inspiring and diverse and the team at Tripzuki aims to fulfill that. We offer the lowest price and also a complimentary bottle of wine or a meal.

 Managing business

The founders of Tripzuki are based in Mumbai, Bangkok and Sydney with marketing and PR professionals available in both London and Mumbai, and a team of developers working remotely via Aaron's agency. The travel startup has writers and photographers who contribute from all across India.

According to Aaron, Tripzuki is still in its early phase and is in the process of countering hurdles in its growth path, from strategising marketing policy for the Indian market to managing the cost of marketing overseas.

He adds, "The whole of India’s cottage travel industry has been rapidly upgrading in the last two years. But we still see a huge lack of quality in terms of design, user experience and, in particular, aesthetics."

Aaron saw this as an opportunity to establish a sophisticated boutique brand in the Indian or South Asian travel space. However, the startup is also facing challenges in terms of dealing with domestic mindset like extreme price-sensitivity and lack of trust in transacting online.

Connecting to the hotels

Tripzuki has listed 66 hotels, so far, in Goa, Delhi, the Himalayas, Rajasthan and Kerala. Soon, the startup will be connecting to hotels in Thailand, Malaysia and other places.

Climbing the ladder of success

Harsh emphasises expanding and refining online marketing is really paramount for their startup. Content and product-wise, it needs to cover hotels in other territories and add custom itineraries.

Tripzuki has seen an increase of 200 per cent in monthly users, ever since it aggressively shifted focus on marketing in the month of May.

Harsh adds,

User growth is being driven by referrals from partners including, Harper's Bazaar, and Uber, along with social media and popular travel bloggers including Akanksha Redhu, Vicky Flipflop and many more. Tripzuki has 5,600 organic likes on Facebook. On an average, users spend more than eight minutes on the site, We have grown nearly 50 per cent since last year in terms of visitors and sales.