After exploring the UK and the US market, UK-based Travel Unravel Holidays is venturing into the Indian travel market. In a chat with The Tech Panda, Saurabh Sharma, founder and director of Travel Unravel Holidays Private Limited says for their customer, they will go that extra mile.
With India poised to make the top economically sound countries in 2025, maximum amount of travel and business is expected to come to India. Indians are travelling. Their annual average income is rising. They are becoming aware of different destinations and are opting for offbeat destinations. The Indian traveller has started choosing experience over cheap fares. People are travelling to diverse cities, planning experience-based travel such as surprise holidays and shopping holidays. It’s no wonder that Sharma sees immense potential in the sector.
“The traveller in India is getting more mature. They know exactly what they want. Two years ago, it was more about just travelling wherever they could afford. Today, they are spending for the experience of travelling. All the new websites and technology are based on experience now. No run-of-the-mill destinations,” he says.
Sharma finds the market in the UK organised, with more government regulations in place. While India is coming up to that point, the market becoming more organised and the government taking initiatives for regulating the market, there remains some uncertainty about the way people travel.
“While Tier l cities are better, in Tier ll cities, people don’t have much of an idea of travel. Travel Unravel helps Tier ll city companies get the same experience. Our tag line is ‘I am coming back for more, so we help people have an enjoyable experience and come back for more and get it again. A mixture of technology and one-to-one conversations keeps them informed about what they are getting and where they are spending,” he says.
How it started
Sharma, a graduate in Bachelors in Tourism Studies, has an expertise of over 19 years in the space from companies like ebookers.com and Southall Travel. Seven years ago, he and his friends decided to work on a travel industry platform, with the will to give the best of services and the best of prices for all their clients. After serving for six and a half years in the US and the UK market, they decided to start operations in India as well. Currently, they are concentrating their energies on corporate India’s travel experiences and requirements, but would like to get into the Frequent Individual Traveller (FIT) market by the exterior.
He says as a young traveller in India, he found that Indians constituted less than 1% of world travellers. The travel market seemed like a ripe sector waiting to garner almost a million jobs in India. “Though unorganised, I see a huge potential in the Indian travel market. We are working towards getting people to know more about travel, educating people about travel. We can change the way people actually travel and have better experiences in life,” he says.
The world of travel is a dynamic environment and will keep changing. Technology has entered the travel sector as well with the aim of easing the traveller’s woes. On the advent of blockchain technology in the travel space, Sharma says, “Blockchain is changing the way every individual travels, removing stress from the family point of view. It means your luggage, the whole process of checking in, security, and immigration will become easier. That’s where the world is going as of now.”
He says, in the future, they want to bring real-time experience and services in travel. For example, they have something in the pipeline, likely to be called Travel Studios, where in, before travelling, the customer can visit their office and experience the hotel from every angle of the room via Virtual Reality technology videos.
“You can actually feel the holiday before it even begins, and then choose your hotel accordingly. Pictures on website can be misleading, because they can be taken from only flattering angles. But VR ensures you see everything. That will be something we will work on,” he explains excitedly.
How far they have come
Six months into the Indian market, the company has gained corporate clients like NDTV, UrbanClap, and Jindal Mectec. They are also launching a new product called ‘Fares to Compare’, which will compare all the travel prices in the market for the corporate travel sector. “It will not be an advertiser zombie but a place to compare the prices of airlines, consolidators, and suppliers, anywhere in the world,” Sharma says.
Customers can compare prices and book the best at the cheapest price available for the services. There is also a dedicated website for excursions. For example, if travelling to London, a customer can book anything down to a day trip, a car hire, a trip to the London Eye, Madame Tussauds, etc. “In excursion touring, if you go to any city in the world and need anything there related to excursions and tours, it can be booked online straight away,” he explains.
One of the USPs the company gives their clients is a price-match guarantee. While many companies allow customers to search the cheapest price, Travel Unravel has a price-drop policy. For example, if a customer books in September to travel in January, and the price drops in the four-month duration, they will change the ticket to the new dropped price.
The USP in their services, he says, is that while they provide everything that any other such service would provide, they also do that extra bit. “We call ourselves a travel concierge company. We can help you book your dinner reservations, your transfers, excursions, anything you name at the destination, we can help you. So, apart from regular services, like departure reminders, we are adding services that would really add value to your travel,” Sharma says.