Give yourself a big break, this travel veteran’s startup will help you plan oneLibza Mannan
Delhi-based BigBreaks offers customisable travel packages in over 50 international destinations and more than 200 tourist spots in India. With innovative concepts like self-drive holidays and pilgrimages, the platform claims to have created a niche in the competitive travel industry.
At a glance
Founder: Kapil Goswamy
Year it was founded: 2016
Where is it based: Delhi
The problem it solves: One-stop shop for all travel services
Funding raised: Bootstrapped
Whether it is a much anticipated end-of-the-year family holiday or a quick weekend trip to escape the humdrum of everyday life, we all need a little break every now and then. Increasingly, people are able to afford a holiday but are still unable to get enough information to plan out a trip on their own. Or, they are just too busy and wish someone else did all the planning for them. Enter startups like Kapil Goswamy’s BigBreaks, which do all the planning for the modern traveller.
Kapil has over 30 years of experience in travel and tourism business. Nearly three decades ago, in 1990, Kapil entered the travel sector with Trans India Holidays, an inbound tour company handling thousands of travelers every year and Trans World Travels, a corporate travel business.
But as with every sector, Kapil saw the increasing need for online presence to capture the fancy of the modern traveller. That is how this veteran tourism and travel businessmen came to bootstrap BigBreaks into existence in 2016.
“Offering services online has its own challenges. One of the initial challenges was to decide upon the mode of operations. Once I had made up my mind that online was the way we were going, we actually set about putting together a technology team and also taking the time to educate ourselves on various technology-related issues,” adds Kapil.
The platform claims to offer access to more than five lakh hotels and car rentals in over 43,000 locations in 190 countries. Today, BigBreaks provides both B2C and B2B services, and has witnessed significant traction from users in Tier II cities and mini-metros too.
The platform, a mix of online and offline models, offers regular holiday packages to popular and much visited destinations like Singapore, Dubai, Thailand, Maldives, and many more.
BigBreaks also offers tailor-made packages, suiting the needs and pockets of consumers. Using its proprietary software, the platform assists customers offline to identify the demands and deliver what they want. It offers travel packages for the more discerning travelers who love to explore unexplored sites and untapped destinations including Holidays to Myanmar, Vietnam and Cambodia, Safaris in South Africa, Darjeeling and Gangtok, among others with activities planned according to the tastes and likes of the traveler.
Apart from air tickets, hotel bookings and car rentals and regular holiday packages, the platform offers a gamut of services like travel insurance, visa processing, car rental and others, aimed at becoming a one-stop shop for everything that comes under the domain of travel and tourism.
Kapil highlights that in the last one year, the company has handled over 600 international holiday packages, and 850 domestic holiday packages.
Recently, the platform introduced two new service offerings - self-drive holidays and pilgrimages to strengthen its niche in the space. For the roadtrip lovers, BigBreaks offers self-drive holidays that lets users drive through popular destinations, including the Himalayas, the Nilgiris, Pondicherry and many others, starting at Rs 3,999. The pilgrimage holidays lets customers book a pilgrimage to popular destinations, from the Dhams in the North to Meenakshi temple in the South, and Jagannath Puri temple in the East to Dwarka temple in the West, starting at Rs 3,999.
The team behind BigBreaks
Today, BigBreaks is backed by a 25-member team, many of whom have been involved in the travel industry for decades. “In addition, Bigbreaks has an advisory board comprising some well-known technocrats, entrepreneurs and industrialists, who are always at hand to lend their experience, knowhow and advice,” Kapil explains.
The company’s core team includes Ranjit Bansal, Vice President & Head of Air Product, who has been associated with Kapil since the latter’s Trans India days. Rahul Singh looks after IT and Technology in the company, Aditya Kumar heads International Leisure, and Ashish Agri looks after Domestic Leisure. Aditya has over 15 years of experience in managing international travel bookings and has been spearheading the Outbound Holidays division as well. He has 12 years of wide experience, ranging travel and hospitality, sales and operations, event management, and public relations.
The online travel industry in India is expected to reach Rs 1.2 lakh crore ($18-19 billion) by 2021 with deeper internet penetration and greater adoption of digital modes of payment. The industry is further expected to grow to Rs 2.6 lakh crore ($40 billion) by 2030.
Though biggies like MakeMytrip, Cleartrip and Yatra have witnessed phenomenal growth, a lot of trip-planning startups have also made their space in the travel industry. Startups like ixigo equip user with all the possible information associated with a trip, while TravelTriangle allows users to build personalised holidays at an affordable price. HolidayIQ helps users research and plan their trip, Traverik provides a 'social' angle, wherein people can share their itineraries and collaborate, Holidayen deals with planning trips once a user is at the destination, and Elan Adventures helps with planning adventurous trips across India.
Having set a successful offline travel business before BigBreaks, Kapil is betting on his three-decade-long experience and deep understanding of customer needs for setting BigBreaks apart in the crowded travel industry.
“We did our homework quite well before transitioning to the online space after extensive experience in brick-and-mortar travel industry. We periodically conduct close studies to understand the problems that clients experience while dealing with online travel agencies. That puts us apart from competition,” adds Kapil.
Plans for future
The brand’s launch of products around pilgrimages and self-drive holidays is aimed at becoming one of the frontrunners of leisure travel offerings.
“In addition to our pre-existing tie-ups with almost all major airlines and hotels, we have already tied up with one of the world’s leading provider of sightseeing and related activities, Viator, and have also tied up with one of the largest global car rental consolidators, and of course insurance companies and payment gateways,” adds Kapil.
BigBreaks claims to have clocked an annual turnover of Rs 40 crore last year and has an ambitious target of taking revenues to Rs 120 crore by 2019.
Going ahead, the company is looking for tie-ups that will help it provide more comprehensive services, and better value for money to customers. The bootstrapped platform revealed that is in advanced talks with strategic investors to raise funding for technology enhancement, branding, and marketing, apart from expansion into newer geographies and product diversification.