Earlier, a trip anywhere would hinge on friends or family staying in that place, who would host you, and take you around to explore all the tourist trappings. But now, visiting offbeat destinations has become one of the latest trends in the tourism sector in India. The lack of information had previously posed a hindrance for people who wanted to embrace adventure travel. The scenario has however changed in the past few years with the evolution of online travel industry.
When four friends Dheeraj Jain, Chirag Gupta, Gautam Yadav and Aakaar Gandhi conducted a small pilot in a handful of sites in North India, they discovered that the adventure travel market is very fragmented and unorganised, despite a 200-percent year-on-year growth. They were inspired to launch Deyor Camp in April 2016 to enable travellers to discover various forms of alternative accommodation, verify details for each campsite, and help campsites to build trust with their potential customers.
|(L-R) Gautam Yadav, Aakaar Gandhi, Chirag Gupta and Dheeraj Jain|
The idea behind Deyor Camps is to make the process of discovering, verifying and booking a campsite a seamless process. It was created to address the needs of this ever-growing class of campers, trekkers and adventure enthusiasts,” says Chirag (23), a commerce graduate from University of Delhi. He successfully finalised four investments in the startup space in India, through Redcliffe and has been associated with NGOs like Naz Foundation, Friendicoes and Happy School Project.
Gurgoan-based Deyor Camp is a marketplace connecting campsites, lodges, cottages with customers interested in booking alternative accommodation. The startup is backed by Deyor Rooms, an aggregator of budget hotels founded by Chirag and Dheeraj in October 2015, and is valued at $50 million. Deyor Rooms and Deyor Camp are two separate entities.
Recalling the early days, Chirag says that the operational challenges were similar to what other online travel agencies face when they enabled hotel bookings on their platform across all hotel categories – poor coordination between camp owners and managers, lack of a scientific inventory and pricing management mechanism and inadequate customer management.
Moreover, their experience in building Deyor Rooms (which is also in travel space) helped them deal with the initial hiccups with Deyor Camps. They have received a number of queries from land owners across the country through social media to help them set up campsites on their properties and thus help monetise their assets. Deyor Camp does not invest money in building campsites and follows a marketplace model.
The team first conducts a recce of the property before shortlisting locales. The team then builds content, in collaboration with the local activity provider of that destination.
Deyor Camp has set up over 100 campsites across more than 40 locations, including Ladakh, Dharamshala, Rajasthan, Lonavla and Munnar, and will push it up by 70 more by the end of this year. The company provides tents, Wi-Fi, food, transportation and other leisure activities at these campsites. The company says its cluster managers are always on the ground across cities to ensure quality of the location, food and basic amenities. Now, Deyor Camp is planning to explore in Northeast region. Currently, the startup has 15 employees.
Setting up campsites
Deyor Camp has achieved a revenue of Rs 45 lakh in the first quarter of operations, with a gross margin of Rs 6.5 lakh. It has sold to over 3,500 customers and it charges a percentage on every transaction. The startup has an order book of Rs 1.2 crore, gains a margin of 18 percent per transaction, and is expecting the figure to go up to 22 per cent by 2017. It plans to open 200 campsites that will charge Rs 1,000-4,000 per person per night.
There are between 500 and 600 campsites in India, while our research indicates that the adventure travel market size is approximately between Rs 800 and 1,000 crore, and is increasing by 200 percent year-on-year. We are already in talks with operators in Nepal to expand into the adventure travel market there and by mid-2017, we intend to start expanding into Southeast Asia,” says Chirag.
The startup is planning to automate the whole website, allow users to discover the campsites by location, accommodation options, verify campsites and book in real time and find amenities.
Opportunities in travel industry
The overseas travel industry is growing at 40 percent CAGR year-on-year. The leisure travel market in India as of today is about $80 billion annually, which is set to grow to $150 billion by 2024. According to a KPMG report, the travel and tourism sector contributed Rs 1,92,000 crore to India’s GDP in 2012, and is expected to reach Rs 6,81,800 crore by 2023.
Though biggies like MakeMytrip, Cleartrip and Yatra have witnessed phenomenal growth, a lot of trip-planning startups have also made their space in the travel industry. iXiGO trip planner equips user with all the possible information associated with a trip,TravelTriangle allows users to build personalised holidays at an affordable price, HolidayIQ helps users research and plan their trip, Traverik provides a 'social' angle, wherein people can share their itineraries and collaborate, Holidayen deals with planning trips once a user is at the destination, and Elan Adventures helps with planning adventurous trips across India.