Meet Anand Singh Shekhawat, student founder and CEO of Tourepedia, an experience and activity based planning cum booking company. Founded by Anand and his friends Sudhir, Rajat Sharma and Rohit Maurya their company is completely driven by the words, “Experience Matters”. This start-up looks to storm the tourism industry with their customizable tours and client focused approach.
Hi Anand! Tell us about Tourepedia.
In one line it is an experience based tour planning site primarily aimed at the youth. Trip planning Is a crucial part of tourism. People are always concerned about the travel tickets and hotel booking, they don’t spend much time on planning the trip. We are basically trying to provide this service in a planned professional way to the customer.
Sounds great! So, how is Tourepedia different from its competitors?
I had observed this market closely for one year and found that the conventional trips do not focus on new activities and experiences that might make the travel experience more enriching for the modern traveller. Tourepedia on the other hand is focused strongly in the back-end. Our belief is if we work on the back-end of the business, providing the customers with a unique experience, the front-end sales will take care of itself. The product will market itself. Our aim is to make the customer feel the difference with our service so that he goes back with the best experience of his trip. Our main motto is to give the customer an exotic trip experience.
So, what inspired you to create this start up?
I always wanted to do something different. After coming to IIT Kanpur, I went on trips with friends and wing-mates on a regular basis. That is when I realized that trip planning is a major problem for most college students. From then, I decided I would enter the trip planning industry.
That is interesting! So, what is your action plan as of now?
As of now, we are understanding our customer-base, their preferences and their needs. We are focusing on experience based and adventurous activities with an emphasis on discovering unexplored places. Once we develop a more clear idea of what the youth exactly wants from the trip, we will take Tourepedia to pan-India level.
Role of MBA Students in Tourepedia
MBA students will have a better idea of systematically solving real world business problems because in their course work they deal with case based problems of different companies. They can do market research and make a business strategy in a more organized manner.
What is your current team strength at Tourepedia?
We started with a team of 3 members. Now there are 10 permanent members and 6-7 interns in our team.
By the way, starting up must have involved lots of challenges. Is there any important lesson that Tourepedia taught you?
There were times in between when I was totally demotivated and convinced that Tourepedia was finished. Getting through these low phases is also part of the process. Then the only solution is to be your own source of motivation. External sources can motivate people only for a short period. Ultimately, it has to come from inside us, so keep moving forward and have faith in yourself and your idea.
Tell us about some difficulties that you faced during the initial phase.
I knew that I would need a team of 3-4 members to implement my idea. It might sound unbelievable, but finding people who will be as dedicated in their work as you are is very difficult. People join, work for 1-2 week and then their dedication falters. Forming a single minded dedicated team is the biggest challenge. Once 3-4 people are determined enough to execute their plan, if they research the market properly and understand their product they will definitely taste success. So, forming the team was the hardest part.
Well said, Anand! So coming back, what is the future scope of Tourepedia?
This industry has immense scope. In today’s world the craze for trips has increased among people but since their lives are so hectic they do not have much time to plan their trips. Travel planning industry is catering to that clientèle. We had over 150 satisfied customers in the pilot phase of 40 days. By December 2015, we are planning to organize around 150 trips per month.
- Somya Goel and Arunangshu Ray,
PR Team, MBA IIT Kanpur.