The Travel Startup Ecosystem in India

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In recent years, the Indian travel industry has experienced a significant boom. With more disposable income, people are becoming more interested in visiting new places and exploring exotic destinations. With the perks that the travel industry holds, several great minds decided to carve a niche in the travel industry. What’s more, surprise! Their efforts resulted in incredible results!

By 2025, the market expects to reach $9 billion, thanks to an influx of modern travel startups and shifting trends. Tourism generated $194 billion, or 6.8 per cent of India’s GDP, in 2019 and supported 39.80 million jobs, or 8 per cent of total employment, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

By 2028, the sector expects to grow at a 6.9 per cent annual rate to $460 billion, accounting for 9.9 per cent of GDP. Today, travel startups are writing their success stories, gaining popularity, rapidly expanding, and generating massive profits. As a result, India’s travel startups are reshaping the travel scene in the country with their unique concepts.

Technology is playing an increasingly important role as the travel industry recovers from the effects of the global pandemic. Product innovation, cutting-edge technology alternatives, and increased adoption of safety measures are now meeting pent-up demand for travel. Travel startups, for example, that previously provided MICE solutions are now innovating and creating virtual events by incorporating technologies like VR and AR into online conferences and meetings.

Things are quickly catching up in India, where technology integration into the regular travel business has been low in the past. The unorganized sector, including small travel agencies and tour operators, operated in the offline market prior to the pandemic. Following the pandemic, consumer preferences have shifted away from the aggregators’ inflexible and standardized travel, where travellers are now looking for completely personalized travel, which is possible by working with travel advisors. People are increasingly opting to pre-plan and pre-book their entire journeys, with flexible cancellation terms to avoid last-minute issues with their preferred stay options being sold out due to various capacity constraints. In such a scenario, cutting-edge technology-driven platforms that empower travel agents with a competitive digital presence are required. Travel startups are looking for solutions that help them book hotels, flights, and other travel services online, receive and process payments digitally, communicate with customers online, and market their services in a contact-free manner. The emergence of customized and affordable luxury road trips has been one of the most significant developments. Travel startups use online channels and social media platforms to promote their services digitally. The entire query and trip booking process, including payments, is completed online. Luxury caravan or bus tours for small families, which allow people to travel and explore in small groups at their own pace, could be another innovation whose adoption will be accelerated as the pandemic continues.

In the future, technology-driven platforms will be critical to the success of travel startups’ operations. Several startups are attempting to assist airlines and hotels in rebuilding their businesses by maximizing revenue and developing innovative products and pricing options while allowing greater flexibility to address current consumer concerns. Due to the dynamic nature of the current pandemic, collecting reliable information on time and presenting it to customers, addressing their concerns about instances of Covid cases in their preferred destinations and requisite travel or medical documents, is also a large area of innovation. In the new normal, travel startups have also innovated their communication strategies. Before, during, and after a trip, there is a much greater integration of social media and chat platforms like WhatsApp to provide round-the-clock customer support and access. Video conferencing software is used to conduct live interactions with tour groups to keep them informed and updated. The current state of travel operations digitization is unprecedented, and it is only the beginning. The efficiency and impact of innovative approaches and technology in travel will be visible once the global tourism sector has fully reopened!

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