The travel planner startup, Scout My Trip, launched in October 2016, has now extended its reach from the domestic market and neighbouring countries like Nepal and Bhutan to southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia and others. Generating revenues since 2018, two years after its launch, the startup is stitching up partnerships with travel agents-online and offline, hotels, local people among others in SE Asia.
The virtual guides or scouts and the technology that the startup employs have mapped the nooks and crannies of India and the subcontinent. As it takes off into the next leg of its journey, Scout My Trip has begun mapping the South East Asian countries- Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia and the rest.
Started by two co-founders Deepak Ananth, and Vineet Rajan with wanderlust in their veins, the startup was launched when a chance encounter on their Royal Enfield on the road—not surprising that—led them to form a friendship much later and then combine their enthusiasm by launching a travel business venture online.
If you are a biker who takes off when you are in the mood for a trip, over 90 percent of the time you don’t have a plan of action than to have the wind on your face and feel the road whizz past the wheels of your bike. This is the traveller that Scout My Trip helps with a plan. However, the market is buoyed by the traveller who goes with his/her family on a car without a definite plan in mind except to reach their destination. "These families form a larger market with a higher share of the wallet for us,” said Ananth.
A pain point that the duo has been able to solve through their startup is to collate information that is currently very fragmented and dated. “The startup is basically an information portal that makes travel easy and accessible for anyone,” he said.
How it works
The planning of a trip is absolutely free when you do it yourself on the platform (https://scoutmytrip.com/). You can play around with the data by just registering your email id. If you need to get a local to modify or start an itinerary from scratch you can subscribe to any one of the four packages listed on the website depending upon the number of days you plan to travel. The package starts from Rs 1,999 plus taxes and gives you access to a local scout, who will provide the regional flavour to your holiday. This amount does not include information on hotels, though.
The business model is multi-fold, says Ananth. Every time a traveler books a hotel through the site, the latter gets a commission. The company plans to connect travelers with people who want to travel on any particular vehicle. It will also facilitate customised tour packages. Since it is a community-driven site, there are pools of local communities in any area of travel that can also be reached out to for suggestions and tips. Currently, the number of personalised trips per month is around 1500 and of these around 300 trips are done with the help of scouts.
Scouts earn around Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000 per month. Utkarsh, a 24-year-old scout on the website, helps travellers in the northern market-and is available to the traveller for queries and solutions through the day. The charges for a guide depends on the area and the number of days of travel. Prices start from Rs. 2000 for a five-day trip.
Based on a lot of studies done by consultancy firms and also Ministry of Tourism, the Indian market size for travel is around $6.6 billion. This grows exponentially when the platform looks at the international markets. It is estimated the market grows at a rate of 15 percent CAGR year on year.
The subscription-based model on Scout My Trip is unique to India and globally too, says Ananth. Growing from a beta phase of 500 users to a current base of over 35,000 users, the startup had recently won the government’s National Entrepreneurship Award.
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Updated Date: Dec 30, 2019 07:58:21 IST