Another vacation, another trip to plan. So those in charge will ask friends and family for suggestions. Kerala? Then you definitely must visit Trivandrum and Kovalam, Maharashtra? Then visit Lonavala, Matheran and Alibag, Goa? Then it’s Baga, Anjuna and Palolem.
So what of places that are less-known and non-commercialised? For them, there is Holidify – a destination discovery platform just for India. Holidify is a venture started by IIT-ians Rohit Shroff and Kovid Kapoor to help people discover lesser known destinations to vacation in, in India.
“When you want to go on vacation somewhere, we currently ask our friends about it. It’s very unstructured and with my friends it’s very limited information about a place that I will receive. That’s the problem we are trying to solve, we don’t want people to be restricted,” says 23 year old Rohit, co-founder at Holidify.
Holidify was pulled out of private beta and launched into the public domain on January 7 this year. The portal is a destination discovery platform which has listed over 300 destinations to visit in India.
The portal has three options Explore, Weekend Trip and Surprise for users to pick destinations from. All three are shown to users in an interactive map-based UI, thus allowing users to access and plan a trip even while being unfamiliar with the place.
“Our focus lies on destination discovery and we have built our innovative UI which enables travellers to browse through destinations of their choice rather than forcing them the usual popular destinations.” explains Rohit.
The ‘Explore’ option lets you pick from a list of destinations across the country and plan impromptu trips. Its map based user interface and neatly categorized destinations are easy to navigate. Readily available filters like Best Time & Distance make it easy for the user to figure out destinations.
The ‘Weekend Getaway’ provides users a list and number of places that can be visited over a weekend. The ‘Weekend Getaway’ section targets more than 70% of travelers living in metro cities by giving information about locations close to them. While the ‘Surprise’ option generates a random destination for users to visit.
Holidify provides complete information on getting to the destination, best time to visit, where to stay and what to eat, apart from users tips and reviews from having visited the location for all three options. The company has also affiliated with Expedia and Yatra, and help users pick out flights to different destinations within Holidify itself.
The bootstrapped startup has invested Rs 2 lakh so far and claim to have received over 4,500 visits within 24 hours of the launch. “In the very first week, we have almost received 15,000 visits. We keep on receiving 500-1,000 visitors on a daily level now,” says Rohit.
Dealing with Competition
Experiential travel and trip planners are not a new development to the travel sector. Companies like Tripadvisor, Ixigo and startups like Traverik also operate on similar grounds. So how does Holidify differ from its peers?
“We are not an OTA, nor are we like portals like Tripadvisor. We do the initial controlling of what goes into the site ourselves to ensure quality. We don’t crowdsource. Because then it gets complicated and there will be no point to the site. Good, structured information just vanishes, that’s the problem with sites like Tripadvisor,” explains Rohit.
The company also adds that since the decision to add a listing if independent of revenue angles like that of having hotel or flight partners in a particular location, there is little bias involved.
Monetisation & Expansion
Holidify plans to mainly monetise using its affiliate partners Yatra and Expedia and the affiliate commission gained from them. “Our monetisation model is seamlessly integrated into our product, enabling our users to execute their travel plans,” explains Rohit. The team is currently in talks with Olacabs to partner with and offer cabs to users.
The currently India-only startup with a 2-member strong team plans on building a core team of 4-5 people over the next 6 months and gradually expand abroad as well.