You can’t be too rich or too thin. And you can’t ever travel enough. There are some of us who live life in tally marks from one vacation to the next. The moment a holiday is over, the planning and countdown for the next one begins.
But, when the time comes to move beyond daydreaming and plan the nitty-gritty of an upcoming holiday, it often starts seeming like a mundane and cumbersome task looming over one’s head. This is exactly where Mumbai based startup — Taxidio — steps in.
The startup, founded by Vishal Kejariwal and Abhas Desai in 2015, is a global do-it-yourself (DIY) trip planner that is a one-point-stop for all travel-related needs — from destination and hotel booking to local sightseeing, itinerary creation, and travel guides.
Taxidio, with an online presence on a website and app for iOS and Android users, believes that every individual has different travel needs. Accordingly, the UI features a tag for every possible travel-related element, based on which the platform generates a unique recommendation of destinations and customised itineraries for each user. Travellers also have the flexibility to modify their inputs at every step making it a truly DIY experience.
“At Taxidio, we believe that personalisation is the key to travel planning along with the necessity to encompass all the key aspects of planning and booking under the same roof. Taxidio was born out of the sheer realization that trip planning cannot be looked at with a one-size-fits-all approach” says Kejariwal.
Taxidio Founders: L; Abhas Desai, R; Vishal Kejariwal
The Sky’s The Limit For Online Travel Aggregators (OTAs)
According to a Google-BCG report, the online travel market in India is set to hit the $45 Bn mark by 2020. Online travel aggregators (OTAs) are in plenty, with giants such as MakeMyTrip offering hotel and travel bookings along with options to plan holidays; Yatra(.com), which now provides themed experiences through Yatra Journeys; and Cleartrip, which offers Local Experiences. There are also other niche players like TraveLibro, which offers a digital storytelling experience to travellers and Rizort, a luxury vacation marketplace, among others.
While all of the above-mentioned platforms specialise in their own niches, the sweet spot that Taxidio has settled on is offering flexible, tailor-made travel plans suited to each individual’s need, along with taking care of all other requirements related to travel. The platform leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to customise options and has partnered with Booking.com, GetyourGuide, and Viator, etc to become the go-to platform for travellers.
Key Features Of The Taxidio Platform
So, how does Taxidio work? To begin with, users are asked for a few primary details such as the number of days they want to travel, temperature preferences, budget, etc. After this, they are urged to select their interests from the secondary list of options such as history, beaches, food, shopping, architecture, etc. The system then reverse engineers this data to recommend the right destination based on a traveller’s preferences.
Once the platform suggests countries and cities based on the above data, personalised itineraries are drawn up. The itineraries include a list of attractions that are filtered to support the user’s interests. Each attraction is plotted on a map on a “straight-line basis” so that the user knows the distance between each attraction point. And the itinerary provides a detailed description of the place, opening and closing time, entry fee charges, nearest public transport, etc. The itineraries are not just personalised, they’re also flexible, and travellers can change their inputs at any step for a truly DIY itinerary.
The next step is hotel recommendations and bookings. Accommodations are recommended not on the basis of the desired budget alone, but taking into account the distance from each activity that’s part of the itinerary. The idea is to reduce the time and money spent on internal commutes.
Besides, if a particular attraction that’s part of the itinerary requires a ticket, the traveller can book it on the platform itself. This way, he/she needn’t stand in long queues or make the effort of buying a ticket or pass online. Each attraction comes with a detailed description, which includes the history of the place, its opening and closing timings, the nearest public transport, etc.
Taxidio also offers its users a massive database of proprietary travel guides for many cities across the globe. The travel guide is like a complete handbook of a particular city that is aimed at giving travellers all the information they need about that destination. A travel guide typically focuses on a single city and provides detailed information on more than 40 parameters such as history, culture, food, visa requirements, transport facilities, hospitals, etc. The platform hosts curated content for over 500 cities across 90 countries.
Taxidio says it has a mix of both national and international users, with the majority being from outside India; a large part of its user-base is young and in the age group 25-35.
Taxidio Leveraging The Untouched Spots
In a domain where competition is fierce and big players are trying to seal opportunities for new entrants, Taxidio has identified some as-yet untouched spots and is banking on this to drive its growth.
Beyond individual travel needs and B2C, Taxidio offers B2B solutions targeted at automating concierge services at hotels. Leveraging its exhaustive database, the platform enables hotel concierges to assist their guests better by offering them services for itinerary planning and booking of attraction tickets.
Taxidio was also the only Indian startup and the only Asian startup to attend the Maderia Startup Retreat in Portugal. This helped the platform gain access to a global audience.
Companies everywhere are leveraging emerging technologies to improve the experience they dish out to their customers, making UI/UX smoother, quicker, and easier than ever before. To stay ahead in the tech race, Taxidio, too, is constantly innovating and seeking better solutions to its existing technology stack.
“Taxidio is looking for the right opportunity to transition in a phased manner towards better technologies. Our immediate goal is to imbibe AI learning about our customers’ choices now and in future. That keeps us a step ahead of what the customer would actually expect from us,’’ says Desai.
With customer experience being the key to success, Taxidio puts a lot of thought into the user experience, with a focus on design coupled with marketing efforts and newer functionalities. The platform recently introduced a new feature offering pre-planned itineraries to aid the planning process for travellers who’re not sure about which places they want to visit and how to go about planning their itinerary.
The team is working on various projects to further improve the value chain and provide better functionality to their users. In the near future, Taxidio has plans to introduce additional features such as flights, car rentals, hostels and much more.
Taxidio: Beating Competition With Every Flight
The startup understands that it operates in a tough space and that there is no space for me-too products in the OTA domain. The founders believe that while there are certain overlaps between their platform and those of Indian and global players, there are eminent differences compared to other platforms.
Taxidio’s edge lies in the way we provide users with a new value addition at every step of trip planning, coupled with the quality of our content. That is what sets us apart from our counterparts.”, says Kejariwal.
Taxidio has been successful in joining all the dots in the holiday planning journey — be it lodging, travel, sightseeing, guidance, and even answers to questions that one may have. The founders state that the number of pages visited and time per session spent by users on the platform has only shown an upward trend. Since Taxidio went live, they affirm that the platform has seen more than 40K unique visitors and sees close to 100 weekly downloads of its application.
With its eyes set steadfastly on the game, the platform has its focus set on reaching close to 750,000 unique visitors over the next year.
And it just might, considering that it’s taking the pain out of travel planning by providing a truly DIY experience for travellers, leaving them free to just pack their bags and get ready to go.