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Soumik Kar

Big Idea

No place like home
Want to experience the local culture over your next holiday? SaffronStays can help you find the right homestay 

Prerana Kapur

When you plan a trip, you try to make the experience as enriching as possible. That is exactly what Tejas Parulekar, a chartered accountant by profession, aims to help you do with her start-up. SaffronStays offers people a platform to either list their property for homestays or choose a house to stay in on their next trip.

“We want to give travellers the authentic experience of the culture of a place. Hotels may not offer the same, but when you live with a local family, you learn much more about the place, the food and the way of living,” says Parulekar. SaffronStays boasts of around 200 bookings so far, out of which 16 are repeat customers. “With a team of just four to five people, along with a few freelancers, we have checked most of the places.”

The website works on a marketplace model and those interested can either list their own properties or choose a homestay. The commission earned by the company is around 10% of the booking, while the rest remains with the owner of the property. With homes spread across all the favourite tourist spots such as Srinagar, Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Kerala and more, the company has total 1,800 properties on its rolls, of which 1,200 have been verified by it.

With international player AirBnB gaining ground in India, Parulekar claims her concept is much more personal, as the company helps travellers choose a place they would enjoy. “We have office groups, young travellers and families coming in and all of them want a local experience at the place they are set to travel to.” The firm is planning to venture into the international market soon. SaffronStays is currently marketing itself through social media and tie-ups with corporate houses, and hopes to break even soon.

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