NewsTraverik wants trip planning to be a breeze with its itinerary approachThis article was originally published onBy Karthick Prabu | May 13, 2013 In the three stages of travel - pre, during, post - the pre travel stage seems like a hot space now.The trip planning space has attracted a lot of startups and social media has been a strong catalyst to this growth.Bangalore-based startup Traverik has built a platform that helps travelers create trip itineraries within a sleek user interface.Users can either choose from a bank of existing itineraries or create one of their own. They can then drag and drop activities for a day, create/delete a day, add notes for a day/activity, look up recommendations for hotel, restaurant, activity, shopping and transportation for a particular day/time.They can also see various modes of transport between two destinations in a day, along with the associated cost.Each destination/activity in a day has description, pictures are pulled from Google's Panoramio.Once an itinerary is created, the platform also enables users to share the itinerary with friends and family to get their input. In addition, users can post the itinerary to a travel expert for any suggestions.Abhishek Deo, Co-founder of Traverik tells us why founded the start up: "We have been travelling ever since our undergrad days. Though sites like TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet existed, they didn’t provide any itineraries as such. They usually led to information deluge and required too much time to plan a trip. Thus the idea was born to provide users with ready-made themed itineraries for destinations across the world."Share this quote The company is self-funded and has two founders: Piyush Ranjan- Mentor (IIT Roorkee- 6 years work-experience)Ashutosh Pandey - Founder (NIT Allahabad - 3 years work-experience)Abhishek Deo- Co-founder (MBA from IIFT-Delhi- 1 year work-experence) Traverik estimates the market size of this space to be worth $1 billion. Here is how they arrive at that number: There were 1.03 billion (international) tourist arrivals in 2012.Per tourist spending on an average is $1000.0.1% of that market would create an opportunity of 1.03*1000*0.001= $1 billion (data source: UNWTO) In terms of competition, Traverik sees Tripomatic and Mygola as competitors.Deo says: "Tripomatic has few European destinations and it creates 1000 plans per day. Going by even our conservative estimates, with more than 300 destinations on Traverik, plans per day should go up manifolds. Also, Tripomatic is just map-based planning but Traverik has innovative flowchart-based planning in addition to the map-based feature which should make trip planning a breeze for anyone. Mygola is another competitor. It was mostly into offline trip planning and has recently come up with a trip planner."Share this quote Traverik aims to get 5000 plans created per month.Q&A with Deo:Describe what your start-up does, what problem it solves and for whom?Traverik makes travel planning really simple. A user is not inundated with too much information while trip planning and most importantly, it allows users separated by geographical distances to plan together on one platform.This ‘collaborate and share feature’ is not available with any trip planner as of now and it makes combined trip planning real easy.Why should people or companies use your startup?We have made trip planning really easy and using our ‘collaborate and share’ feature you can co-create trips with family and friends on a single platformOur trip plan bank is a ready resource of itineraries/plans that can be reused or modified according to the user's needIn Traverik, we have ensured that information overload is avoided unlike city guides and forumsOther than going viral and receiving mountains of positive PR, what is the strategy for raising awareness and getting customers/users?We are trying to harness the active traveler community through Twitter and Facebook.We are also trying to reach out to tech-savvy travelers and will rely on word of mouth until we raise some funds for marketing via Google and Facebook ads.How did your initial idea evolve? Were there changes/any pivots along the way? What other options have you considered for the business if the original vision fails?From the idea initiation to the current phase, there have been a lot of changes. The product has evolved a lot with time, now we provide services other than just trip planning.Based on user feedback, we came up with carefully categorized suggestions for restaurants, hotels, nightlife, transport options etc, for cities.Now, you can also query for both inter and intra-city transport options and get responses in terms of timings and pricing options.The original vision of easing trip planning for customers has remained intact while the methods of achieving that have changed.We firmly believe that the idea has got potential and the application will evolve ultimately to the liking of its users.Where do you see yourselves in 3 years time, what specific challenges do you hope to have overcome?In three years, Traverik should be a one-stop destination for all your travel needs.Whether, you are pressed for time and need an itinerary or, you are someone who researches well before a trip, Traverik should cater to both.Travel planning, which is just cursory or at worst, avoided now, should be mainstream as the troubles associated with the process will have been alleviated.Users should get all the information (carefully curated) and all the travel options in one place and that should make their lives simple.What is wrong with the travel, tourism and hospitality industry that requires another startup to help it out?Travel planning is usually left to tour operators who go by fixed itineraries. Even in the case of custom itineraries, travelers have very few options.So, Traverik addresses the following: Empowers users to create their own itineraryMakes itinerary creation extremely easy for peopleAllows multiple users to create trip-itineraries on a single platformTraverik video:Tnooz view: The Trip planning space is hot. With the advent of social media, this space has become even hotter. A lot of startups are trying to address this question in a different way - "Where to go, what should I do". Some tell you the various modes of transport that you should take in your trip, some let you plan your trip in a map, some help you plan your trip by taking help from your social media circles, some help you build your own itinerary with the system recommending you destinations/activities, some connect you to the local people at a destination and more. So, essentially, the purpose is served in various ways. It's entirely up to the traveler to decide which service to choose and what service he/she is comfortable using. Since trip planning startups do not have transactions as their core business model, it will take quite some time to generate substantial revenue. But, ultimately, most trip planning startups get into providing a booking service for customers. Traverik will very soon be launching flight and hotel booking services. Also, users can get price quotes (for the itinerary created) from various travel service providers. For every booking, Traverik takes a commission. Traverik aims to achieve at least 5000 plans every month and it says this is a conservative estimate. Remember, we are talking about booking 5000 packages every month as a minimum, not just 5000 hotels or 5000 flights. So, the revenue should be decent in this case. Traverik's user interface is smooth. It is going to be interesting to see how these trip planning user interface extend to mobile platforms. As we mentioned earlier, trip planning space is hot. Companies like Mygola and Rome2rio have implemented remarkable user interfaces that are both engaging and easy to use. With the trip planning space starting to appear crowded, only time will identify the real value-add players.Share this quoteNB:TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.