Exploring the Trails with Travel-Logs

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“Our destination is never a place, but a new way of looking at things” – Henry Miller

Travel-Logs tagline is “Your Holiday. Our Expertise. 100% Fun Guaranteed!” Wait, wait. Please do not make that it is another tour and travel service provider. Because Travel-Logs is way more than a travel agent or tour providers, it offers unique and meaningful experience. Let Travel-Logs design your vacation once and the intrepid guide of Travel-Logs will make you understand why Henry Miller said above mentioned line. For now you can read our chat with Dhiresh Sharma, founder and Chief Explorer of Travel-Logs

 

What is Travel-Logs Unique Selling Point? What differs it from other tour and travel service providers?

Travel-Logs is NOT a tour provider a travel agent! Travel-Logs is all about travel-tainment….creating exciting, entertaining and insightful travel experiences.

In a market that is reasonably competitive, our approach has been to create for our guests, the travellers, a unique and meaningful experience which focuses on creating value for them. Every holiday you take with us is inclusive of not just the regular “Muse-See” sights but also “Hidden Jewels”– sights that very few people know of but are as exciting and very often more exciting than what everyone else sees!

Our unique portfolio includes City 360 (city experiences), Itinero (holiday planning – for the discerning traveller who wants to see much more than the typical ‘must-dos’), Himalayan Journeys (for those who want to experience the greatest mountain system in the world!) & Wildlife Trails (for those who want to spend time exploring and discovering India’s rich wildlife). Our City 360 specifically is about fun & exciting experiences in the city though walks, meeting ‘real’ people in their homes (the Travel- Logs’ “Cultural Immersion” Program – (http://travel-logs.in/packages/8/A-Taste-of-India) or learning about our cuisine through a ‘hands on’ cooking session (http://travel-logs.in/packages/12/Cooking-up- a-Storm).

Every holiday we create is customized – 100% customized based on our unique “quad-call approach”– a holistic holiday planning approach. We believe in understanding the needs of the guests, their interests, their “hygiene” factors and what they hope to take out from the holiday … and then we design an itinerary for them!

And most importantly, we build an on-going relationship with our guests based on trust. With a team that includes a trained Kathak dancer, a culinary expert, a mythology expert, a practicing archaeologist, an avid high-altitude trekker and an IIMA graduate and with over 65 years of corporate experience across the team, with our knowledge and expertise and most importantly, our passion for discovering India, our guests will continue to be excited by India and her mysteries and future! Needless to say, we are all travel buffs – we have travelled to over 30 countries and almost every state in the country.

 

What inspired you for Travel-Logs?

Belonging to a defence family, my formative years were spent travelling all over India! Seeing & experiencing new cities, new cultures, and new festivals were all a part of the growing up years! So travelling has been a part of my life from as long as I can remember!

And over the last two decades, having travelled to over 30 countries across various continents, from the wildlife parks in South Africa to Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa to urban mega-cities like New York & London to historical civilizations / countries / cities such as Egypt & Damascus, we believe that India perhaps is the ONLY country in the world that offers such a diverse choice of destinations and   experiences to guests – from not just all over the world but to our own citizens as well!

So, a strong passion for discovering India, a first-hand in-depth understanding of the spectrum of travel needs that people have and over 20 years of experience in global organizations (with a significant experience in start-ups) led me to setting up Travel-Logs! And when I found people who shared my values and vision, I knew this was the right moment to start!

 

How much have you invested in the initial state and how have you managed that?

We have made a significant investment into setting up the company. Besides the monetary investment, we have also spent exactly 12 months in conceptualizing and detailing the objectives and plans for the business. We have also made a sizeable investment in developing unique products as also in the training and development of our “Explorers”.

The investment has been via internal accruals.

 

What is your goal? What are your plans to turn them into reality?

Our vision is to create a platform for everyone to enjoy what India has to offer. This is through customized holidays, exciting city experiences and engaging with guests. Having said that, building awareness and excitement around our heritage and culture and indeed conservation of the same is integral to our approach.

Every initiative that we undertake is evaluated against these parameters. City 360 is all about insightful and meaningful city experiences, Travel-IQ (http://travel-logs.in/Travel-IQ) is all about discovering newer experiences that you may enjoy, and Trip-Planner (http://travel-logs.in/Trip- Planner) is all about customizing holidays for what you like!

We aim to build on these further across the many cities of India and launch new products in line with guests’ expectations!

 

Why do you refer to yourselves as a team of loosely connected but tightly bonded team of individuals? Who all are in the nucleus of this team?

We refer to ourselves as “loosely connected but tightly bonded” as what brings all of us together, what inspires us is the richness of what India has to offer to a wide audience, be it foreigners, experts, residents or children! We have not known each other for years as is typical of many partnerships, but our deep appreciation of India, our individual passions (which are different for all of us!) and an absolute alignment on respecting and conserving heritage binds us tightly!

There are 4 core members of the team – Nitika Khanna, Kurush Dalal, Pratibha Arvind and myself. You can find details on our profiles on the page  (http://travel-logs.in/About-Us/Our-Team).

 

You have just begun. How Travel-Logs is doing? What are the challenges in the way?

Over the last 3 months, our customers have spanned age-groups and nationalities. From foreigners who have been 1st time visitors to India to photographers who want to capture “India’s Emergence on the World Market” to guests who have been born & brought up in Mumbai, to children who want to learn about their city and culture to couples who want to spend time exploring the city together! Our approach of data-mining every single guest’s experience with us has validated our approach of creating meaningful and customized holiday experiences! Consumers across various industries are savvy and look for products and services that not just fit well with the needs but also enhance the quality of their lives. With our unique and insightful products, we build a meaningful experience for our guests. The biggest testimony to our performance is what our guests say! As Ruby, an esteemed guest said about her City360 experience – “Having been born and brought up in Mumbai, we take things for granted. Thanks to Travel-Logs and their well-researched walks, it makes me appreciate the city further!” And Madhavi’s feedback on the Trip-Planner – “A very easy, personalized and user- friendly tool! Holidays are just a click away with this feature. And “hidden jewels” is something to experience. A must try for an adventure soul”.

 

Can you share some of the biggest lessons you have learned so far as an entrepreneur?

“Never under-estimate the power of an idea!” A lot of people will give inputs, some insightful and some limited in terms of use. But always remember, never try and round off the edges off a sharply defined idea – its sharpness is what will appeal to someone! And the only true validation needed in is the acceptance of the consumer!

“Think out of the box” – if you always do what you have always done, you will only get what you have always got! Be innovative and push the limits!

 

Where do you see Travel-Logs in future, say 2 years from now?

As mentioned earlier, our vision is to create a platform for everyone to enjoy what India has to offer. This is through customized holidays, exciting city experiences and engaging with guests. Having said that, building awareness and excitement around our heritage and culture and indeed conservation of the same is integral to our approach.

Specifically, gaining the respect of our guests and the communities that we work in would be the most important benchmark that we aspire to achieve.

 

What advice would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur starting their first business today?

For a B2C business, the most important aspect that everyone should be clear about is the point of differentiation of what they want to do. Either make the product / service unique or make the process of delivery unique.

Of course, the less glamorous but equally critical point to be ready for – nothing works out the way it is planned. Always have a Plan B ready.

Another important point for self-funded or low-funded start-ups – cash is king. Profits are an illusion! Lastly, focus on building happy consumers – everything else follows from that!

 

What do you think about Techaloo?

Techaloo is a great platform that encourages young talent to look beyond the obvious choices to explore their passion. Entrepreneurship is a big step….away from the comforts of a secure job & Techaloo provides all potential entrepreneurs a strong starting point.

 

We wish you and whole Travel-Logs team very best Dhiresh. Hope Travel-Logs will change the face of travel in India.

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