The concept of “Try before buy” applies to clothing’s and fashion accessories and for rest everything else you have family, friends and online forums to consult.
Whether you are buying mobile phone or any new electronic gadget, searching schools for your kid’s admission or your kid is searching for colleges of his subject, reviews are always ready from people and internet.
But this doesn’t apply to the travel sector, when it comes to traveling you rarely find reviews and the ones you find are tourism promotions or happy customer reviews. What about getting to the other side and looking at the true picture. That’s something real hard to find.
TripOrTrap aims to resolve the dilemma of letting your travel go in vain.
We had an opportunity to talk to Neeraj Bhatia, Founder and know more about TripOrTrap and the goal behind it.
How did the idea of a travel review site came up? Have you yourself faced any major grievances on a journey?
- India traveling space is still, largely, under control of Travel Agents (offline & online) TA helps marketing destinations/Properties (but with a cost) and which is indirectly bear by the travelers by either in the form of marked-up charges or by under-performed services offered to them.
- Online booking space is still in fancy. OTAs are the prima source for the Hotel bookings in India. Though the websites help to increase Occupancy per Room but for the longer run, the need of Travel Review Websites is necessary. TRW helps to strengthen the relationship between end users as well as help industry and end users to consider various factors for booking and go beyond cost consideration only.
- Traditionally, India loves to consult for any decision with family, peers or relatives. Be its admission to a particular college or watching a movie. Online TRW helps to garner a view about a property without biasness and prejudice and the reviews and advices given by real time travelers help people forming an opinion about any particular destination or hotel property.
- TRW act as a valuable guide for the people before going to a particular destination. It’s true that “Try before buy” cannot happen in case of travel booking but the real travelers experiences can save many people’s spurt decision related to a hotel booking.
- Lastly, there is a niche segment of travelers who want to go to places in India and want to know about the destination without Photoshop images, Last minutes booking discounts, cheap deals. TRW helps them to form an opinion with the real images shared by travelers and honest experiences.
TripAdvisor is one such popular travel site where we find lots of people with various kinds of reviews, good and bad both, How is TripOrTrap different? How would you describe the USP?
Travel Reviews Space is very niche segment and still infancy stage in Indian Market (as we saw latest success story of zomato in restaurant space) and there were the sites only digging the hotel booking area but neglecting overall travelling experience of Indian traveller who recently have started exploring this vast land of our country. Sites who are in this business are like information jungle without any clear UI and also has look and feel of cloned version of other group sites offshore. So, we planned to start a hotel and destination review website with the aim to save travellers from the traps/wrong doings and Wrong commitment made by middle players for selling any hotel room with many promises.
“Travel planning is the most essential thing which our country needs because no demo, no trial packs are available to make sure one gets the optimum value out of trip each time”.
Hotel reviews are made by real travelers for the real travelers so, the real reviews help people to find out /nail the hotel best suited to their needs. Since, we believe that travelling is only segment where there is no ‘try-before-buy’, if people plan their trip based on reviews; it mitigate the chances of impulsive and instinctive choices.
Rather than competition we mark other players in this niche segment as “Demand enhancing platforms”. This niche segment has not got as much of Indian travelling and general public as compared to other segments of this domain. Whereas, OTAs are having a strong hold, travel review has not been considered as the prima facie of travel planning process.
We have a vision whereas website like ours will help to create demand for real traveler’s content and firsthand experiences. Other players in this segment such as Trip advisor India and HolidayIQ.com are forces which are acting as market expansion on YOY basis, of this infant section.
- UI – we have a clutter free, conducive and more user friendly interface so it gives the opportunity to the users to dig deep rather than pushing them into information maze.
- Market infancy – The area, quite frankly, has not been explored in detail. Approx 137 mil internet users, the opportunity to reach out to the wider audience is there and we could help to satisfy the customer with real facts and wider view about the destination/property rather than making India only “Cost based booking” culture.
- Fresh Content – The content of the website is conducive and very informative. Various aspects of any property (no. Of rooms, services/amenities available, booking availability) has made users very informative in advance so they come back for more.
- Complete Traveling portal – Not only Hotel and destination reviews, website also have sections related to travel forums, discussion boards, Blogs, Travelogues, Destination guides – making it a complete traveling portal where users can come and check any aspect of trip planning.
Does TripOrTrap also have some rating system, which can help people in making decisions?
We have a strong robust system of rating and ranking. On Prima facie hotels are ranked based on Quality feature (Quality Of Sleep, Quality Of Service, Quality Of Housekeeping, Quality Of Hospitality, Quality Of Amenities), Time of stay and Quantity of review received for a particular property. We have incorporated Algorithm which help us to provide ‘Wisdom of crowd’ Rating to each property.
We have a very robust system of Rating and Ranking of Hotels. Properties are ranked on the basis of Top of Form.
Will TripOrTrap will only have a web version or do you also plan to launch the android and ios versions as well? If yes, how soon can we expect to see the mobile versions?
Certainly we are looking for the enhancements and new additions to our portfolio and host of other services. Since it’s a bootstrap start-up, we will leverage on enhancements when we perceive that funding is impending the growth.
What are your plans for revenue generation?
Primarily sponsored ads model will feed the revenue model for the company in short run and later on they are planning for various OTA affiliations so that the travelers could go on those sites and compare prices about the property and could book from those sites. We have done tie-up with travelguru.com for the booking collaboration to earn revenue.
Tell us something about the team behind TripOTrap.
Neeraj Bhatia – Founder, Started his career as Banker for 7 years. Moved to choose his passion as his career and is now CEO and Founder of Triportrap.com; a Travel Planning and UGC based travelling website.
What are your future plans for TripOrTrap?
We want ourselves established as a Brand with the mirror image of traveler’s choice and recommendation. Specifically, we want to integrate Business enterprise solutions to our site whereas giving voice the hotel/property owners of Tier III or low cities to manage and promote their properties and indirectly giving them chance to provide digital platform to earn more revenue and better service. Also, to add various features like Distance calculator, Destination guides, mobile apps are also in the agenda.