Downloading, deleting and reinstalling travel apps had become a constant headache for avid travelers Satyajeet Pradhan and his wife, Vrushali. From planning the trip and booking tickets to sharing photos after coming back, every aspect required them to switch between apps. This is where the couple decided to step in and craft a solution. In June 2017, they launched Trip n howl, a travel social networking app, to solve all travel-related woes.
Be it connecting with like-minded travellers, planning the trip, booking stay and transport, finding nearby attractions, availing services from local vendors, or sharing your experience, Trip n Howl brings all of these under one umbrella. "The marketplace will help travellers find and book all travel necessities from various agencies on the same platform" points out Pradhan. The app, which is currently available on android, has had about 5,000 downloads till date. The user can simply sign in and select the services he wants to use. The app will take care of the rest free of cost.
Another USP of the app is its tie-ups with local vendors such as bike and cab rental services. "If you need a vehicle to roam around, you either search for it on Google or ask around locally. We are making this easier by bringing these local vendors to our online platform," he notes. Trip n howl has also brought adventure activity providers onto its platform. "People who provide activities such as trekking and paragliding in tourist spots are locally hidden. We connect them to these adventure activity providers, helping the latter to improve their revenue," Pradhan says. While the start-up is currently partnering with vendors with the help of an API, it is planning to release a partner app wherein partners can install the app, register themselves and start their business on it. The founders feel that this would help improve the adoption of the app among the not-so-tech-savvy vendors in remote travel destinations.
While there are multiple apps for travel bookings and packages such as MakeMyTrip and Cleartrip, Pradhan feels what makes Trip n howl different is its positioning as a marketplace with an increased focus on local services. "We are focusing on where the users are not getting enough service. We are branding local businesses, promoting them on our marketing platform and helping them to create an identity," he says.
The feature-rich app comes in handy to locate public amenities such as washrooms as well as track travel goals and accomplishments. The app also has a ‘backpack’ feature, which reminds the traveller what to carry before starting. "If you are travelling with your kids to the beach, you just need to feed that information to the app and it will provide the list of items to be carried," explains Pradhan. The team is all set to release a ‘community’ feature, which would allow a user to post travel-related questions and get answers from the Trip n howl community members.
The start-up, which is in its pre-revenue stage, would start charging commissions of around 15% from its partners by June. Having invested about Rs.25 lakh till date, Trip n howl has partnered with 10 service providers so far and has seen over 500 bookings in the past four to five months. Going forward, Pradhan also plans media and advertising as an additional revenue stream. By the end of the current financial year, he expects daily transactions to increase from about 180 to 500 bookings through the platform at an average ticket size of Rs.350, bringing in an estimated daily revenue of about Rs.26,250.
"We have a two-year roadmap — to bring in 1,000 local businesses by the end of the first year, and implement AI-enabled features in the second year, making the app smarter. Automated features will help travellers save time and reduce dependency on tools," says Pradhan.