Karthik Ramachandra, Co-founder of TripHobo: Travel à la carte
How TripHobo is addressing the biggest shift in travel industry: Increasing personalization
April 1st, 2015
There were 1 Billion International Leisure Tourist Arrivals in 2013. This is expected to hit the 2 billion mark by 2025. There is no doubt that Tourism is booming across the world – albeit with a twist. Today, tourists want to travel as they please. They want to visit cities and attractions that resonate with their interests. And of course they want their money’s worth.
I want to visit Paris. But I don’t want to see the Louvre because art bores me… Which are the lesser known spots that a music lover or what-have-you aficionado would enjoy in Paris?
Precisely such is the mood of travellers. Their aspirations aren’t fulfilled by travel agents offering packaged visits to popular sights and sounds as part of a chaperoned group of tourists. We predict personalised travel will drive the travel industry’s next phase of growth and this emerging preference will shake the existing business model of agents who offer few options and focus on group travel.
Although travellers are increasingly opting to book their own travel-thanks to the global proliferation of sites offering cheap flights and discounted hotel stays-those-on-the-move are grateful for tips from like-minded people who’ve been there and done differently.
The fundamental idea behind Triphobo is that travel planning needs to be fun and engaging, rather than daunting and boring. Travellers love creating their personalized itineraries on TripHobo. These itineraries are then available for other travellers across to world to make use of. As a traveller, one needn’t start planning their itineraries from scratch. They can base their itinerary on existing travel plans of other users. It is helpful and fun to see what has worked for others, especially those whose interests match yours, and then edit them to your perfection. They can then invite co-travellers and friends to see and suggest amendments to their proposed itineraries, which are added to the itinerary bank.
At the last count,TripHobo listed 65000+ itineraries making it the largest online repository of user-generated travel plans.
In this age of information sharing, it makes sense for a travel planner to be strong on crowd-sourcing.
TripHobo also stands out as a travel planner because it slots in nitty-gritty details that make for a realistic plan and memorable visit-such as the opening and closing times of must-sees and must-dos, the best time of the day to visit, entry ticket prices, estimates of the average time it takes to see the selected attractions, ground travel and the distance between attractions, nearby eateries and value-for-money hotels in the vicinity.
Much of this information is out there, lurking somewhere online. But sifting through pages and pages is very time-consuming. TripHobo presents up-to-date and genuine information at the click of a button.
That TripHobo has built significant traction in a short span of time is ample proof of the coming of age of personalised travel. It is also testimony to the great experience TripHobo offers. Design wise, it is easy on the eye. It plots the selected attractions on a timeline, and automatically fills in the travel time between stops.
TripHobo’s back-end makes heavy use of technology. Its route optimiser, for instance, based on algorithms we have built, logically organises cities and selected stops based on the user’s constraints—typically limited time and money.
So, we put our heads together to add value to the travel ecosystem—in such a way that each traveller would add further value to the ecosystem.
Where do we go from here?
So far we have built travel support for 400 cities. We target achieving critical mass, putting together information for 2,000 cities and 500,000 itineraries by the end of 2015.
Obviously, we are building a business model round the web-based service and the TripHobo mobile app. TripHobo is a complementary service to travel booking sites, and so plenty of opportunities exist to create forward linkages with the travel ecosystem. Already TripHobo users are clamouring for assistance to book the trips they plan. We have piloted such integration and will continue to explore the options with the aim of helping users to stretch their budget.
Planning your next holiday? Travel a la carte, courtesy of TripHobo.
Co-founder of TripHobo Karthik Ramachandra is a travel and adventure sports buff. Reading and sleeping are his other two passions which he indulges when he isn’t immersed in the TripHobo planning experience.