A decade ago, vacation meant planning the travel itinerary, calling various hotels for advance bookings without any clue of how are they going to be, and not to forget, standing in the queue for train/plane reservations.
The advent of the digital age changed most of this, and the remaining few were made unimaginably easy and hassle-free through the creative young minds of the Indian travel industry.
These young minds and their online startups are responsible for some of our cherished memories and should definitely be credited for changing the way we look at traveling now.
Deep Kalra, MakeMyTrip Founder
Very few people have the zeal as strong as Deep Kalra, who started MakeMyTrip in the 90s. The business which was then tagged to be a way ahead of its time faced many setbacks initially, but the foresightedness of Deep Kalra kept it going.
He stuck to his idea and kept a low profile for the travel website till the market was ready.
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After reviving his business in mid-2000, Deep Kalra made MakeMyTrip a household name with a dominating market share in the Indian travel industry.
MakeMyTrip is credited to be one of the very few Indian internet companies to be registered with NASDAQ and commands a million-dollar valuation.
Distinction: It has a vast network of travel outlets, franchise-owned retail stores across more than 40 cities of India, apart from international offices in Sydney, Singapore, and New York City.
Hrush Bhatt, Cleartrip Cofounder
Starting late in 2006, Cleartrip was effortlessly able to carve a distinct niche for itself. The credit for it largely goes to the creative mind of Hrush Bhatt, the co-founder of India’s leading travel portal.
With the straightforward yet appealing tagline of ‘Making travel simple’, the brand has stuck to its basic core and given the customers every possible benefit of digital technology.
From flight/ train tickets to hotel bookings, Hrush Bhatt has made travel planning just a matter of a few clicks. The option of getting the best fares after comparison with different airlines and hotels is what makes it a favorite with its customers.
Distinction: The brand has established contracts with hundreds of thousands of hotels all over the world, along with new services like cleartrip Mobile, Cleartrip for Business, AgentBox, Quickeys, Pay@Hotel, Expressway, and more.
Bhavish Aggarwal, Co-founder OLA Cabs
At 29, he is the co-founder of India’s leading travel cab conglomerate- OLA Cabs which is holding its head high against the world’s leading Uber Cabs. Interestingly, Bhavish does not own a vehicle and prefers taking OLA Cabs for his commute.
With some significant acquisitions, OLA Cabs is one of the market leaders for taxis in India and Uber is facing tough competition with it in the Indian market.
Distinction: Bhavish Aggarwal won the Entrepreneur Award for Corporate Excellence in 2017.
Manoj Tulsani , CEO Rayna Tours
There are very few tourism conglomerates that focus on the selective destination and play a significant role in promoting its tourism.
Rayna Tours and Travels, the brainchild of Manoj Tulsani, now plays a key role in promoting UAE tourism on the digital platform, with attractive packages, Visa, and ticket services for Dubai, and other emirates.
Starting off to a tough start in the flooded market, Rayna carved a niche for itself with its unique offerings, dedicated customer service, and competitive pricing.
Distinction: The conglomerate specializes in adventure tours, cruises, Dubai city tours, and all the specialized packages such as the Dubai Shopping Festival, New Year Packages, and international holidays.
These comprehensive services offer it an edge over its competitors. The company is also the recipient of several prestigious accolades such as the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award and Arabian Travel Awards (for Best Destination Management Company and Best Travel Portal.)
Chitra Gurnani Daga – Thrillophilia
A novel idea that was conceptualized with an aim to offer travelers the best of adventure tours, Thrillophilia is the brainchild of ISB graduate Chitra Gurnani Daga. The idea was to ensure that its tourists get the local feel of the place rather than just visiting the famous spots.
The idea clicked and Thrillophilia is now a platform trusted by over 1 lakh travelers.
Distinction: With hundreds of tour options on its website, Thrillophilia is amongst the top 20 travel websites and the largest adventure travel website in India.
Piya Bose – Founder, Girls on the Go Club
A woman traveler who understood the apprehensions and troubles faced by a woman, Piya Bose came up with the idea of founding a travel website just for girls.
A wanderer herself, Piya Bose believes the best way to liberate women is to bring them out of their comfort zone and empower them through travel. A unique and compassionate idea that has changed the perspective of traveling for thousands of women travelers in India, ‘Girls on the Go’ is here to stay.
Distinction: The packages on offer range from shopping sprees to adventurous expeditions and culinary tours and international holiday packages.
Aloke Bajpai-Co-Founder, Ixigo .com
When Aloke Bajpai thought of a platform that acts as a one-stop-shop for all the travel-related answers, not many believed it was possible.
But the determination and zeal of this IIT graduate gave birth to ixigo.com, and he took the brand from a bootstrapped startup to a multi-million dollar business of 2.5 million active customers per month on an average.
Distinction: ixigo.com is today a leading mobile and online search engine for searching, comparing the best deals on flights, buses, trains, hotels, and even their reviews help customers make an informed decision.
Vikrant Chheda – Co-founder, White Collar Hippie
Vikrant Chheda has always been a traveler exploring the unexplored. The happy experiences while traveling made him realize the need of giving people like him a platform to enjoy unique experiences and travel like a local.
His online brand, White Collar Hippie, is as unique as his name. It is meant to extract a traveler out of the tourist and delight him by offering a plethora of distinctive travel experience options.
Distinction: White Collar Hippie is credited for encouraging off-road traveling in India by making it highly affordable and adventurous for tourists.
The Indian travel scenario has seen a drastic transformation since the last decade. The advent of digital and social media has harnessed many young creative minds to think out of the box and offer customers an opportunity to experience travel like never before.
These young minds give the new-age travelers the to write their travel diaries in the way they’ve always desired.