BANGALORE: The Indian online travel market is full of websites aiming to assist you in booking a flight, hotel or taxi. But once you get to the destination, you are generally on your own. Mumbai-based startup Trabblr is helping travellers solve this problem. A portmanteau of the words ‘travel’ and ‘babble’ , the website connects travellers with others in small groups to explore places.
“What makes travel so fulfilling is the human connection and cultural exchange,” said cofounder Hersh Kumbhani, 30, who quit his investment banking job to start Trabblr. High school friends Kumbhani and Ashish Mehra founded Trabblr in 2012. The startup , which has raised $50,000 (Rs 30 lakh) from family and friends, competes with global giants such as Meetup.com and couchsurfing .com and expects to grow at least 50% annually.
With rising disposable income and increasing willingness to travel, Indians are looking for unique travel experiences. “Experienced travel and adventure tourism is a niche space with a lot of room to grow. You cannot compete with another Yatra or a MakeMyTrip but you can offer a niche travel service and be a profitable business,” said Kunal Walia , managing partner of investment banking firm Khetal Advisors.
“We want to give our customers an offbeat local experience, whether it is a walk in a spice plantation in Kerala or a five-day horse savaari in Himachal,” said Abhishek Daga, founder of Bangalore-based activity based trip planning company Thrillophilia. The startup, founded in 2009, ties up with local activity planners and curated travel agents to conduct tours, experiences and adventure sports activities in India.
“I took a customised six-day trekking, river rafting and camping tour to Rishikesh for Rs 22,000. Travelling from the south, it was a unique experience and very well organised with no disruptions ,” said 28-year old software professional Sanjay Bansal. The company also caters to corporate clients such as Google, SAP and Cisco.