A taste of local flavours

A taste of local flavours

Innovative venture

A taste of local flavours

It’s not uncommon to depend on the internet when making travel plans; everything, from transport to accommodation, sight-seeing and eating, can be organised through online travel portals. But there are some facets of travel that slip through the internet’s fingers and go unnoticed because they aren’t ‘on the map’. When Tarun Provat Biswas and Sarbojit Mallick noticed this, they decided to start ‘Trip Hippie’, a unique travel website that connects small vendors at different destinations to travellers.

Students of National Institute of Industrial Engineering, they thought of this idea 8 months ago and were joined by their friend Vijay Yempalla a while later. Vivek Vardhan Reddy and Vignesh Prabhu are the ‘techies’ in the team.

“At every destination, there are small guides who aren’t on the radar and they have access to knowledge that is otherwise unknown to most. We want to connect travellers to such people so that they have the best holiday experience,” says Sarbojit.

As all of them are adventure sport enthusiasts, ‘Trip Hippie’ archives and customises the best adventure holiday possible. Treks, climbs, bike rides and more are also possible. Talking about what makes them different from other travel sites, Sarbojit says, “We started this out of our passion to travel. We communicate with our customers directly and help them plan the best holiday. And before offering something to people, we make it a point to experience it for ourselves.”

While the larger and more popular spots are experienced by the core team members, their interns go on the smaller trails and climbs to make sure that the vendor is offering the best. Sarbojit mentions that the locals in the area have better knowledge about a place, which is why their help is needed. It might be in finding an eatery, a homestay or a historic monument, but they connect a traveller to experiences that can’t be searched on the internet.

Explaining the various revenue models they work on, he says, “Right now, we are working on 2 revenue models — a commission-driven model and a revenue-sharing model. The latter is for our trusted partners; cost and revenue is divided by the profit we get. There is also a third model we are trying out, which is for smaller vendors who don’t have access to the internet. We’ll connect them directly to the traveller so the transaction isn’t in our hand.”

Since safety is always an issue, Sarbojit says that every vendor is put through a background check and if they get negative reviews, they are fired.