Travel plans can be both chaotic and fun. Whether you are travelling alone or planning a family vacation, you travel to relax and to create priceless memories without the stress of planning the trip. Besides, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to travelling. And offering this flexibility and personalisation to travellers is Mumbai-based Taxidio.
Started in November 2015 by two travel enthusiasts – Vishal Kejariwal (35) and Abhas Desai (36), Taxidio (meaning ‘travel’ in Greek) is an online DIY (Do-it-Yourself) trip planner.
What more? Taxidio has a B2B vertical to enhance concierge experience across hotels. It also provides tech-based solutions for independent travel agents and online travel agents (OTAs).
After the website went live in May 2017, the founders launched an iOS and Android application in March 2018.
After travelling to nearly 30 countries, Vishal, an MBA in Finance, turned his passion for travelling into a full-time job. He was joined by his college friend Abhas, an engineer with an Executive MBA in Information Technology. Abhas worked with the Aditya Birla Group before joining Vishal in this venture.
“We have always loved travelling, and the more we travelled, we realised that no matter how easy it sounds, planning a trip is rather complicated and the industry is highly fragmented,” says Vishal, who has previously worked for the Essar Group. “Thus, we went beyond what we were doing at our jobs,” he adds.
Besides the two co-founders, the team consists of four other members with IT, finance, and media backgrounds.
Challenges of starting up
Like every journey comes with many bumps, twists, and turns, “creation and curation of content have been our biggest challenge,” says Vishal.
In an industry where content is easy to find, but also gets outdated very soon, Taxidio wanted to create a niche. Hence, the platform overcame this problem by updating its content regularly.
And while the content and team were in place, like any other startup, the need for funds was another big challenge for Taxidio. “Especially since the cost of marketing has skyrocketed,” says Vishal.
What started as a bootstrapped company with Rs 30 lakh investment, Taxidio, over the years, managed to raise Rs 2 crore from friends and family.
On the Taxidio platform, the user can enter a few basic details about their travel style and preferences, and Taxidio generates a list of destinations that match their preferences.
The startup provides the user with 19 interest parameters, based on which it offers choices. The travel platform also recommends attractions and activities to indulge in during the trip. Users can plan and modify the auto-generated itinerary, securing hotel and attraction bookings.
“Hotel recommendations are clearly designed based on the user’s budget and proximity to the majority of the attractions or activities they select,” says Vishal.
Taxidio also has an affiliated partnership for hotel booking and attraction booking with Booking.com and GetYourGuide.com, respectively.
It lists the itinerary in a sequential manner, also called the ‘straight line algorithm’. Unlike other travel agents who just list the attractions, Taxidio lists places in each city on a ‘straight-line basis’ by letting them know the sequence in which they should visit the attractions. It also provides the distance between each place of interest they want to visit.
Taxidio also gives a detailed description of the place, its opening and closing time, entry fee charges, nearest public transport, etc., to better organise the trip.
B2B offering and user base
The platform also has a B2B vertical. It partners with hotels to automate their concierge and reception to enhance the guest’s experience. It also provides a plug-and-play solution for online travel agents, ensuring personalised and efficient trip planning.
For independent travel agents, it provides its software-as-a-solution. It also offers plug-and-play solutions where the travel agents can use its platform and services to book hotels and attractions. And for OTAs, it gives options they can provide to customers.
Apart from its B2B offerings, Taxidio mostly targets travellers between ages 18 and 45.