Walking tours as a tourism concept are very popular in the west or developed countries but are only taking shape in India now. Even then its very slow and has not taken off to a level where they can be referred to as a complete business model.
We are trying to create a portal which has walks all over the Indian sub-continent as its chief selling product. We intend to target the growing number of independent travelers, who seek their own ways of experiencing destinations, by offering various experiences in each destination in the forms of walks and offbeat tours.
India is among top 5 destinations for independent travelers. The definition of an independent traveler is broad but it tends to refer to people over 35, often, though not necessarily, of above average income who prefer to travel in small groups or typically as couples. They eschew mass tourism and the package holiday concept promoted by travel or tour operators, in favour of a more individualistic and fluid approach to travel. Their numbers are growing by the day and with India becoming a hot tourism destination they're only bound to increase with time.
We already sell walks all over the country through our partners based in various Indian cities. After experiencing our tours many a tourist ask us if companies like us exist elsewhere and we refer them to our partners in other Indian cities. The monetary exchange right now is based on honesty and our tie-ups with all the players is loose and informal. Now we intend to solemnize the partnership and sell the same through an organized channel.
It will not only bring to the fore and standardize, without forgoing identities, all the existing players in the field but also create players anew where there are none. We've got close to 25 destinations inIndia covered and intend to get many more in the near future as the success of our site will spawn newer players. Major tourist destinations currently under our belt include Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, Goa, Varanasi, Pondicherry, Chennai, Bangalore, Mysore, Bodh Gaya, Kolkata, Kochi, Darjeeling and Simla, besides a host of smaller and not so touristy sites.
The benefits of partnering with us would mean that all the individual players will get prominent web presence and advance payment through the e-commerce facility. As opposed to the current booking system where there is no guarantee of the tourist landing up on the day of the tour as thebookings are done through email.
Before inducting a provider into our portal we intend to visit the destination, do their tours, review them for ourselves and only after successful quality checks, which will be sporadic and continuous, get them live.
Although walks are being sold in the country in a small way through various channels, they are often treated as periphery or additional items and are not given their due importance. We intend to create a web portal where a customer can log in, read about the various Indian destinations and buy the tours on offer on the basis of:
Themes, Interests, Time constraints, Guides, etc.
The client will have the power to rate walks and/or guides according to their experiences on tours.
The portal will keep in mind the interests of the guest and suggest tours accordingly, using keywords as guides.
It will also have advanced stages of social networking features enabled to keep the guests coming back to the site from time to time.
While the mainstay of the website will always be walks, it will also sell transfers - in regular as well as vintage cars, offbeat tours and homestays on the side. A special micro site listing the festivals ofIndia and the related activities to do will also come up in due course.
The key to the business lies in the recognizing of the correct partners and making them see the higher goal of popularizing walks as the best way of experiencing India unbridled and firsthand.
Sales strategy, technical/ product/ delivery model
We’ve currently been servicing the guests from the 5 star hotels, domestic and international agents and independent visitors to our site and have received an overwhelming response so far. Most of our clients are well-heeled, well-read, respecting and extremely enthusiastic to learn more about life in this part of the world.
We currently operate from a 200 square feet office with staff strength of 4 people but our real strength lies in our mentors and our Explorers which together add up to around 12 people.
Ifté the Intrepid is the one to be blamed for having started it all. His passion for trespassing is second only to his love for this city. Life is an adventure for this true romantic, for whom the predictable is abhorrent. His antennae tune in to all that’s ‘forbidden’. Fun, spirited, and brimming with questions - that’s our Ifté for you. Join him in an exploration of any part, theme, or perspective of the city, though he's all for unearthing and understanding the various sub-cultures that shy away from the mainstream.
Iftekhar Ahsan, has dabbled in many a business, before settling down with Calcutta Walks, after having graduated in English from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata. CEO of Walks Of India can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Explorer Pritish refuses to explore any more of our city with you but drop a hint about moving out from here and his ears suddenly crop up. Talk about anywhere else in the world and he'll be ready to first arrange everything for you and then, if you're lucky, accompany you. Pritish provides to Walks Of India, besides his able leadership and the much needed capital, consistency and organization. Where the others romanticize the country and its environs Prits knows more pristine locales and sends you there with ease and makes sure you have a good time. Lover of dogs he plays sports and loves traveling anytime of the day, year or life.
Pritish Shah, coming from a Gujarati business family, has always been an entrepreneur ever since he graduated in Commerce from the Bhowanipore College, Kolkata. Talk to the Walks Of India CFO on email@example.com
All of them together have launched www.calcuttawalks.com which has become a household name for tourists wanting to get a glimpse of the real Calcutta.