SAYONI BHADURI – Mumbai
Creating an online marketplace that connects travellers with destination specialist travel companies in India, 18 month old TripCrafters.com has connected 15000 travellers with specialist travel agents. Vivek Kundnani, co-founder, TripCrafters.com said, “We estimate that over 1000 tours have materialised via TripCrafters.com, generating over Rs four crore revenues for our travel agents.” The web site connects leisure travellers with three destination specialist travel companies in India. “We have over 1000 travel agents from all over India. Some international travel agents are also registered with us but 95 per cent are from India,” he added.
With a strong focus on the quality of the travel agent Kundnani informed that they are adding three to five new agents every day. When a new travel agent registers, their credentials are reviewed and only those are approved who are legitimate and genuine. “Some factors we consider are years in business, specialisation, destination expertise, memberships and affiliations with travel associations, number of employees, number of branches, etc,” he explained. Once they are approved to use TripCrafters.com’s platform, marketplace dynamics takeover, reviews and ratings from customers on an ongoing basis help new clients in making informed decisions while working with any travel agent. “We have a judicious approval process and we don’t approve all of them. We aim to more than double our travel agent user base by the end of the year,” he said. Kundnani goes onto explain that the travel agents can grow their business by accessing qualified, high-intent travellers. This also magnifies their reach to travellers across the globe. “We help them build their brand with reviews and ratings of past customers. We are to travel agents what TripAdvisor is to hotels. There is a large trust deficit in the travel industry especially towards travel agents. Reviews from past travellers helps overcome that and allows potential customers to book with confidence,” he summed up.
The website follows a pay-per-lead model. But in the future Kundnani said, “A number of travel agents have asked us for sponsored listings, featured tour packages, etc, which we will soon incorporate in the revenue mix. We have a couple more revenue streams in the pipeline which we can’t disclose at this point.”
TripCrafters.com is currently self-funded from the savings of its three co-founders. “We are hiring aggressively and continue to invest in the growth of our start-up. Additionally, we have been generating revenue since the second month of our launch, which eases the investment burden. We will reach out to outside investors when it makes business sense for all parties involved,” he added.