To travel is to see new things beyond the obvious… however the obvious becomes too much of a stressed reality when we plan a trip after consulting scores of websites and make a comparison chart that gives us travel stress rather than relaxing us. This is the core thought that led to the beginning of “My Trip Karma”.
Kavita Khandhadia, CoFounder of MyTripKarma.com shares the idea behind My Trip Karma with eChai Ventures
Q. How did you come up with the idea of MyTripKarma ?
We have worked in the travel technology space for a long time and built applications for OTA’s. In addition we travel a lot ourselves and use online travel and content sites extensively. Modern day travel can be quite complex. Knowingly or Unknowingly we end up browsing many sites for price comparisons, booking content and communications.
Each one of us thus ends up with separate itineraries from different sites for different things, looks up google, foursquare, zomato and yelp for content and uses whatsapp, email, facebook to communicate with fellow travellers or share experiences after trips. Keeping everything organized, storing all the information and managing the same is tedious and time consuming to say the least. We thought it would be amazing if we could do all of this through one app and store all information in one place something on the lines of a command centre. Thus the idea of Mytripkarma was born.
Q. What problem are you solving?
Online travel today is very time consuming and intensely social experience. People spent disproportionate of time in planning like looking up different websites, doing cost comparison to find best deals, discussing the options with friends/co-travellers, getting reviews , creating budgets and putting together the plan, and spend a lot of time again in-trip like gathering photos from co-travelers and then sharing the photos and videos post trip.
At the same time people use different applications for different things like like whatapp, facebook, email for communications ad discussions, makemytrip, expedia for price comparisons and google and zomato and likes for content. Realistically booking forms a very minuscule part of the experience in terms of time. Managing all of the above, the communications and organizing all information and experiences in one place is very chaotic and frustrating experience. It is mostly done manually in excel sheets or word documents.
This is big problem and there is nothing out there which solves this as most apps today focus on the booking and some on planning, but none on in-trip or post trip needs and absolutely none that look at bringing everything together. We are filling this huge GAP.
Q. How does it work?
The application encompasses all aspects of a trip life cycle right from trip discussions, to - planning, costing, buying - to post-trip sharing of experiences. It allows everyone to add content to the trip.
For where to go and what to do it shows aggregated content from providers like Google, tripadvisor, lonely planet. For where to stay and how to get there it shows content and real time pricing from multiple OTA’s (booking.com, Expedia, hotels.com, makemytrip.com) using its in-built meta search engine. Inviting friends to join in the planning can be done using Facebook, twitter, whatsapp, email, SMS etc. and same can be used to share plans and experiences. Once invited everyone can do everything. Like adding of content, create common and individual plans, do bookings individually or in common and all booking information goes in one common itinerary. And whats more it also allows for conversations, adding of content, recording of experiences (photos and videos) while people are travelling. All information and communications are stored centrally.
This makes it easy for co-travellers to share everything amongst themselves and friends. The information can be viewed in different forms like a facebook timeline format, plan format, itinerary and even on a map. It stores all of the above for posterity and thus can be shared with anyone at any time just like faceboook.
Q. What is your target market?
Anyone who does their own travel planning online is our customer. This is a global application with global content as each time a user forms a trip they can invite any of their friends from any part of the world to join in. And these friends when they plan new trips they can invite their different sets of friends from different places. So it literally is a viral application and thus knows no boundaries.
Q. What is your competitive advantage?
We are doing something that no one does. We are providing users with a tool to manage and organize all their communications, travel needs and functionalities in one place using one single application thus reducing the time spent and the frustrations. At the same time we are taking away nothing from the overall travel experience, allowing them to use their favorite sites and applications in a very familiar and easy to use interface.
In addition we are using a very unique and patentable technology which allows us to connect travellers to the local business of their choice(like hotels, restaurants and activity etc.) in the destinations they are planning to visit. This allows the local business to push great deals and promotions to the travellers directly thus providing everyone with a great value and incentive to use the application.
In addition we provide great features like OTA Metasearch engine, Multiple products with Live pricing, Budgeting, Scalable to direct booking and payments, Sharing of media, Reuse trip plan, In-trip and post trip experience, Big data analysis in term of preferences saved etc.
Q. How much time did it take you from conceptualization of MyTripKarma to actually launching it in the market ?
About a Year. We started in January 2015.
Q. Tell us more about your team?
(co-founder and VP) : 10+ years of experience in travel technologies. Trooping around the technology plan and path for MyTripKarma. Management, Brand Management and Support in marketing activities, Training & Development of the Team.
(Marketing ) : Strategizing and executing marketing plans for brand positioning and messaging that would differentiate the company’s offerings from the competition and help in creating a unique brand identity.
(Content writer) : Writing web content for Mytripkarma website, handles content of allthe social channels like facebook, linkedin, twitter and instagram
(Development lead) : 5+ years of exp and very passionate about technology, leading 2 young developers. Takes care of the development of MyTripKarma and is a tech geek.
(Designer (UI/UX)) : Develops site content and graphics, expert in various web designing tools, posses top-notch programming skills and in-depth knowledge of modern HTML/CSS
(Technology Mentor) : Passion for travel and technology topped by 25 years of experience
(Mentor and advisor) Having online travel experience of about 18+ years.
Q. What is your technology stack?
Q. How do you plan to market your product? What are your customer acquisition strategies?
1. Classic Digital marketing, SEO, Google adwords,
2. Content Marketing, Big Travel Bloggers,
3. Reference marketing
4. In built Viral (for every user we get avg. four more)
5. Online social media customer acquisition tools like thunderclap to reach millions of potential users
Q. What is the revenue model of MyTripKarma ?
1. Commission revenues from bookings with the OTA’s. We are supplementing OTAs and not competing
2. Unique Advertisement proposition
3. Users plans for months, add destinations/hotels/flights
4. Our unique patentable process allows for direct communication of deals from the hospitality and local content providers and the customers. This guarantees high rate of conversion for the advertisers as it’s a kind of direct targeted marketing
Q. What do you want to achieve from this? What is your larger goal or vision?
Our vision is when people think Travel they Think MyTripKarma, just like when people think social they think facebook
Q. What sort of support and feedback are you looking from the community?
We want the community to use our app and help us make it go viral.
We are in a fund raising mode so definitely meeting a potential investor is our primary goal