TravelBuddy: Addressing Local Travel Pain Points with Collective Solutions

Saurav Chakraborty,Founder And CEO

Saurav Chakraborty

Founder And CEO

Braving the turbulent pandemic, Gurga-on-based bootstrapped travel startup, Travel Buddy has been addressing universal pain points of the travel industry since its inception in January 2020. Ideated from Founder and CEO Saurav Chakraborty's personal experience, Travel Buddy is on a mission to overhaul the existing travel landscape with elevated local and social experience by connecting travelers with like-minded travel buddies as well as local travel service providers.

"Travel Buddy aims to be the quint-essential Travel Social Network; a crowd-sourced platform where all necessary local travel information, even for the remotest of tourist spots, is accessible by the contributions of travelers and local travel service providers. We envision bringing out every hidden gem in the world tourist map and facilitate a smooth journey experience for our users all over," says Saurav, whose unpleasant travel experience at Vaishon-devi in 2017 owing to his father's sudden health condition and the lack of available local support eventually birthed the concept of Travel Buddy. Saurav capitalised his decade long experiences at Facebook where he was Industry Manager for Travel and Cleartrip, as the Digital Marketing Head (India & Middle East) to put a pulse on the vulnerabilities faced by travelers. He along with Vijay Saini and Paromita Bir Chakraborty came together to form the core founding team.

In only one year of its operation, Travel Buddy has re-corded excellent response on its apps
and website, despite the pandemic and the ensuing travel restrictions. "For a zero-funded company lashed with the harsh weather for the travel business, we outperformed our initial expectations as the Travel Buddy app scaled over half a million users in Play store. We earned more than 30K USD revenue and garnered 500,000 users from across the world, and 25% of which are repeat subscribers for our paid services. We are seeing a lot of good metrics at the moment and this is very optimistic for our future roadmap," informs Saurav. Currently, the promising startup offers travel solutions across varied channels globally across 170 countries.

Laden with rich and helpful features, Travel Buddy provides free and paid services to its users. A paid subscriber falls under the Verified Traveler category who can avail exclusive 6 benefits that are otherwise unavailable to Free Travelers. Around 3000+ subscribers have opted for Travel Buddy's paid services and the trend only grows as the company plans more innovative and helpful features in its pipeline.

Powered by a sense of belonging and ownership
With hopes of an improved travel land-scape in the coming months, Travel Buddy is continuously investing in bettering its offerings by building its core team's bandwidth and supporting them through the COVID-19 crisis. "Our work culture is to create a company that people relate to; a brand with lasting impressions. We are a very small team with an open culture, everyone is taken care of here and everyone is self-aware of their responsibilities," says Saurav adding on the current situation, "Half of our team were down with COVID recently and despite our small workforce, we didn't let that affect us. We understand the precarious situation of the present and as a policy, we ensure that our team members are credited with their salaries in advance rather than the usual, end-of-month cycle. We have stepped up by supporting some with double their salaries to tide over the crisis. We have some talented people on board and we entrust them duly with their roles."

The current Travel Buddy team is an eclectic mix of experienced and dynamic which shapes its work culture. As a bourgeoning firm, the management ensures every-one gets their due share of opportunities and ownership. Employees are often encouraged from time to time to upskill with Digital Courses, at the company's expense. Open ownership and partnership-led culture is the core company value. Further, regular calls and sessions with employees are not limited to just work but extend to check-ins.

Today, as the Travel Buddy team stands strong, it foresees rendering its services on every traveler's device and at all 5 stages of a typical journey; dreaming, planning, booking, exploring, and sharing. With an aspiration to become the go-to global travel marketplace between travelers and local travel service providers, the company is hopeful of procuring adequate investment push from a suitable partner, investor, VC, or Angel in the coming months.