TouristLink.com aims to become a one stop destination catering to all your travel needs.
Planning a holiday online, right from looking up information about the destination you want to visit to making your hotel and travel arrangements, is quite a breeze. While it’s no doubt easy, you still end up visiting multiple sites. TouristLink.com launched by GoTripIndia Pvt Ltd. plans to change this, by becoming a one stop destination catering to all your travel needs. The Journey US-based Dr. David Urmann and Nagpur-based Jayesh Bagde first got together in 2006 to set up a company that dealt with Internet publishing, as well as consulted in e-commerce, SEO and the travel domain. Their exposure to the travel domain made them aware of the untapped potential. And as avid travelers themselves, with Dr. Urmann having authored several guidebooks, they were aware of what travelers were looking for. They put this knowledge to good use and launched travel booking sites like visitUSA.com, travelaffiliatepro.com and hotelkhoj.com As business grew, from three members they went on to become a strong team with over sixty members. While the sites were a success, they sensed a gradual shift in the behavioral pattern of the consumer. People wanted something more than traditional booking engines; they were seeking advice, looking for reviews, comparing prices and packages, etc. On the other hand, their dealing with the travel business owners made them realize that they too were looking at platforms to interact with travelers at minimal costs. They put some thoughts on paper, which gradually took shape in the form of TouristLink.com, a social travel marketplace that aims to forge strong buyer-seller relationship based on trust. Launched in October 2011, the site is currently in public beta. Challenges While they didn’t have to struggle like other startups, with substantial funding and a team already in place, the challenge for them was to be able to create an intuitive platform to serve the needs of the people. Jayesh agrees that their previous experience of being a startup did give them an edge. He says, “When we decided about TouristLink, we knew that we’ve finally found our calling. Being a startup we knew how to pivot and decide quickly. This helped us to adapt to the changing times and move ahead from being a traditional reservations system. It also helped us form the team perspective, as they could easily shift gears. While on the other hand, having an established revenue model did help us bootstrap for TouristLink, it also poses a challenge. As it translates into a fixed revenue model that depletes with time, and offers us no leverage when we might need to scale-up with our social platform.” They started out with a budget of Rs 1 crore and their present burn rate is US$ 20,000 per month. Currently they are bootstrapping, but they are looking for early stage investments.Click here for full story