Our Aim Is To Make Sure That We Can Cater To This Complete Market: Utkarsh Sharma, Founder & CEO, Thailandwale
In an interview with BW Businessworld, Utkarsh Sharma, Founder and CEO – Thailandwale, talks about the reason for single focus travel site, investment, and more.
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Best known for its tropical beaches, Thailand also depicts a rich culture and heritage of its province. To give best travel experience to the unexplored place, Utkarsh Sharma, Founder & CEO, Thailandwale, has started a travel website that deals in single country destination - thailandwale.com. In an interview with BW Businessworld, Sharma talks about the reason for single focus travel site, investment, and more.
Brief us about your business model like how did you get the idea to start and how does it work?
I have been a part of this industry for a little over 12 years now and worked with a few travel companies as well. I even started a venture of my own, called Jetsup Holidays, which didn’t do that well unfortunately and we ended up shutting it down. Probably one mistake we made with the company was that we tried to operate on an indirect service model, just like most other travel companies, with a number of travel agents and third party vendors being involved. I think we were not able to achieve the desired results in terms of customer satisfaction because of that model. Thailandwale was born out of all these learnings and we made customer satisfaction and delivering much better services for the travellers our prime focus. This is where we felt that working with a single destination expertise would help us provide better service and cutting the middlemen in the process. With Thailandwale, we take care of every aspect of the trip, and our travellers are assured of complete transparency.
What are the unique key points of your company?
We are a single focus travel company, ensuring that everything about travelling to Thailand with us is perfect. Furthermore, to make sure that every trip is completely smooth, our representatives are always available to iron out any hassles that may arise unexpectedly. With our team and our services, what you see is exactly what you get, which is something most people can’t offer. So, there is a certain reliability. Another advantage of travelling to Thailand with us is that you get complete services, all the arrangements, and on the ground expertise, right under one roof.
What are the funding status and monetization model?
We have bootstrapped the company so far. That being said, we feel that we are now at a stage where an injection of funds can help us take the next step in our expansion. Hence, we are actively seeking funding and the right partnerships.
What challenges are you facing in running your business?
Since we are targeting a niche market, the biggest challenge has been spreading the word and gaining traction within a limited subset of the travel industry. Over the last 3 years, most of our efforts have been focused on ensuring that there is factor of trust around Thailandwale and what it offers with the single destination expertise.
How has been the people`s response so far?
Our travellers’ response has been very positive so far. A number of our customers have made it a point to praise our service and the care our team puts in towards every detail of the trip.
How do you look at expansion?
The next step of our expansion is to develop a comprehensive online portal and app-based platform, to cater to a wider audience base. The platform will facilitate the entire experience, aiding travellers at every step of the way, right from booking to a safe journey back home after their trip.
What has been the biggest learning’s so far?
I think one of the early learnings with Thailandwale was that one should not get too heavily reliant on technology when it comes to building bonds with vendors and service providers. This is where a human touch is extremely important, and we managed to identify this fairly early in our journey and deployed a team to build relationships on the ground. We feel that these relationships and actual connections with the people working on the ground can take a company very far.
What are the market size and opportunity?
Roughly 20 lakh people visit Thailand from India every year, with an annual revenue of $2.3 billion being generated. That in itself represents a huge opportunity for the company. Our aim is to make sure that we can cater to this complete market, with our specialized services and expertise of the destination.