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Ask Rajiv Kalra for Advice
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Rajiv Kalra
Rajiv Kalra

Rajiv Kalra

Founder and CEO

www.tripcrafters.com

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Company description
TripCrafters is an online travel marketplace that consolidates all travel agents onto a single platform and helps travelers find the best prices and experiences for their trips.TripCrafters has already built a proprietary database of over 700 travel agents and helped over 10,000 travelers with their trips.TripCrafters offers: Customized Trips:TripCrafters has built a proprietary and automated Agent Matching Engine (AME) that intelligently matches travelers with the best-suited travel agents based on their trip requirements.Each traveler gets matched with up to 3 agents who provide the traveler with customized itineraries and quotes. The traveler can further customize the itineraries, compare different offerings and make an informed choice.
Ready-made Packages:TripCrafters has aggregated over 900 tour packages from its network of travel agents making it one of the largest platforms for holiday packages. Travelers can search and compare ready-made holiday packages from multiple travel companies and select the one they like best.
Travel Agent Reviews: Every travel company on the TripCrafters platform has a unique profile with their company background, expertise, and reviews/ratings of past travelers. Reviews and ratings of travel companies allow travelers to book with confidence and significantly reduce the mistrust that currently plagues the offline travel market.
Addressing risks
Although the travel industry is a crowed space, we are doing something that has never been done before – organizing the entire offline travel market onto a single online platform. It is a significant undertaking and involves great risk in terms of market acceptability, finding the right partners, and lining up the resources and talent to achieve scale. We have so far executed our plans well, and are already on our way to expanding our network to over 1000 travel companies.  Our traffic is up by 300% since launch.
Mistakes encountered
1.Finding the right co-founders to build your idea is the most important thing you can do. A good idea is worth nothing if you don’t have the right people to execute your plans. 2.Your business plan will become obsolete the day you launch. You need to be extremely flexible in changing directions and adopting new business models. You may end up in a completely different direction than the one you set out in, and you have to be ready to accept that.3.In the initial phase, startups can be extremely painful and your team will have to work day-in and day-out without much reward. It is critical to build a team of people who are willing to grind it out with you, and share your passion and commitment. There is no instant gratification with startups.
Motivation
My co-founders Umang Dhanuka and Vivek Kundnani share my passion for travel. We believe we can make the world a better place by helping every leisure traveler get the best experience and price for his/her trip. That’s what drives us to work each day.
My role
Since we started out, I have worn multiple hats for the company &ndash; from answering customer service calls and distributing brochures to negotiating deals with established travel companies, sometimes within the same day! Since then, my role has evolved into mainly focusing on the overall strategy of the business, product development, and growing our network of travel companies. <br />
Advice to entrepreneurs
Find the right people to build your startup &ndash; that is the most important thing you can do. Don&rsquo;t spend too much time writing 100 page business plans. If you have an idea and a reasonably good plan in your head, get out there and launch &ndash; you will learn a lot more than hours spent researching and analyzing spreadsheets. And finally, be in it for the long haul. It is a long and agonizing journey to build a startup, and you may be tempted to give up at many points. You need to believe that just one more step, one more day will make all the difference, and it will!
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