Booking bus tickets has been a daunting task considering the lack of transparency in bus seats availability and fares during the journey. Those who regularly travel by bus and have faced such issues will easily relate to this. The overall bus industry in India has a huge potential that can be capitalized on which is estimated to be around should be around INR 3,00,000 Crores.
According to the founder of Travelyaari, “the intercity bus industry is estimated to be upwards of INR 60,000 crore with the online market accounting for 10% of the total”. According to various industry estimates, the intercity bus ticketing market in India to be in the region of INR 60,000 crore. This includes both private and government-owned companies. Online ticketing at present accounts for only 10 percent of the total ticketing opportunity. However, online ticketing indicates healthy potential and is growing at a CAGR of 20%.
Seeing such potential for growth and with an intention to solve such problems, Travelyaari emerged as an enabler of the bus travel industry.
The Story Behind the Formation of Travelyaari
The idea to start Travelyaari came when one of the founders, Aurvind Lama, was trying to book bus tickets for his Tirupati trip from an agent in Koramangala, who did not have clarity on all the bus options and the prices. When the agent finally told him that all the buses were sold out, he went to Majestic to explore more possible options and finally got a comfortable bus seat to Tirupati. He realized during this course, the need for transparency in bus seat availability and fares.
The incident, which took place during his days at IIM-Ahmedabad, set him thinking to build an online reservation system/platform that connects all the players in the bus ecosystem (bus service providers, the agents including OTAs and the travelers). This, he realized could make the process of booking bus tickets more transparent and convenient for travellers. Thus, Travelyaari was formed along with his batch mates as the flagship brand of Mantis Technologies Pvt. Ltd.
Aurvind also realized that streamlining the huge bus industry will drive tremendous growth and create lot of employment opportunities across India.
Founder of Travelyaari:
Aurvind Lama, Director & Co-Founder
Aurvind Lama is an MBA from IIM-Ahmedabad, and has worked with leading IT companies such as Infosys Technologies Ltd., Deutsche Post World Net, Germany and Honeywell Technology Solution before founding Travelyaari.com.
Aurvind initially didn’t give a thought to entrepreneurship during his B-school days. He was inspired to become an entrepreneur while interning at Deutsche Post in the summer of 2006 when he saw the culture of entrepreneurship in Germany. His experience and the ideas imbibed during that phase made him take up the challenge of establishing a venture of his own. This eventually changed everything.
Moreover, the initial support from IIM Ahmedabad’s Center for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) also helped him to take his idea forward and set up business operations.
The Funding of Travelyaari and Its Business Model
The company has received funds amounting to INR 65 Crore so far through investments made by GVFL, Bennett and Coleman and other investors.
- Travelyaari has created tremendous value for all stakeholders in the bus industry.
- Travelyaari charges on SAAS model for providing technology solutions to more than 2000 bus service providers / transporters.
- Travelyaari also generates commissionable revenue by selling bus tickets directly to the end customers and also through its channel partners and agents.
How is Travelyaari Different from Its Competitors?
Travelyaari is the undisputed leader in the bus industry, successfully running a platform that connects all the relevant stakeholders.
Travelyaari’s distinguishing factor as compared to its competitors lies in the fact that it has built the largest bus market platform in India which has simplified and streamlined ticketing processes. This has been powered by its superior technology products. It has also been instrumental in bringing all the key stakeholders – service providers, agents and consumers – across online and offline channels onto a single platform.
To further make the entire process of booking bus tickets a convenient and hassle-free experience, the company has launched the following tech-driven solutions for travellers and business partners:
- Computerized Reservation System (www.BusCRS.com): An ERP platform for bus operators supporting processes like booking, accounting, collaboration, reporting, collection, CRM etc.
- Global Distribution System(www.IamGDS.com): The largest bus inventory aggregation and distribution platform for online and offline travel agents.
- B2C bus ticketing (www.Travelyaari.com): One of the largest bus tickets marketplace in India.
Travelyaari has helped many small providers achieve computerization and streamline their operations; 55 percent of the overall service provider base is currently on the Mantis system. The company is also trying to bring in more transparency and reliability into ticketing interactions through the following key reliability drivers:
- Assured booking: Travelyaari.com makes inventory “live” for its consumers through live charts, allowing them to browse through available seats and select the exact seat that they want to book.
- Cancellation-proof booking: In case of service cancellation from bus operators, Travelyaari.com gives its users the provision of alternate means of transport in the same or superior class.
- Timely Confirmation: Travelyaari informs customers of cancellations and alternate arrangements one hour prior to the departure time.
- Refunds: If alternate arrangements cannot be made within the specified timeframe, Travelyaari provides a refund equal to double the booking amount to the customer.
The Journey So Far
With its headquarters in Bengaluru and with branches in all major states in India, Travelyaari is currently the largest online bus ticket booking service in the country. The reason for this exponential growth is due to the Inclusive Model – building solutions for all stakeholders in the bus industry.
Travelyaari is involved constantly into building innovative technology solutions and robust infrastructure to solve core bus industry problems. This can be gauged from the fact that Travelyaari was the first player to enable route code sharing in the bus industry, and is the only player that has enabled Seat-wise bus fare.
Travelyaari online bus ticket booking platform is being used by more than 2000+ bus transport corporations/ operators like PUNBUS/ Punjab Roadways, Himachal Tourism Development Corporation, Indo Canadian, Konduskar Travels, Saini Travels, Khurana Travels, Kanker Roadways, Libra Travels, Shrinath Travel Agency, Gujarat Travels, Paulo Travels, Hans Travels etc.
Travelyaari has also partnered with players like Uttar Pradesh State Transport, Himachal Transport, VRL, Kesineni etc.
On the demand front, apart from selling bus tickets directly to the end consumers Travelyaari powers bookings for MakeMyTrip, RedBus, Paytm, Reliance Jio, Mobikwik, VIA, ITZ Cash Card, Idea Money, Abhibus, and many others.
Its customer oriented reliable service apart from its products, has enabled Travelyaari to be the preferred platform for transporters, agents including OTAs and travelers.
The below mentioned facts illustrate this.
- Total number of customers served directly or indirectly – 15+ Million (unique customers)
- Total passenger kilometers powered – 20+ Billion –
- Total routes available through Mantis – 1.3+ Lakh
- Total destinations / nodes covered – 17,000+ – unique cities/towns/villages
At present, the company has in place infrastructure which is powering transactions worth USD 0.5 Billion. Their products connect more than 2000 transporters, run on more than 8000 high traffic outlets and powers 55 percent of online transactions in intercity private bus industry.
Five years from now, the company expects to power over USD 5 Billion worth of transactions and run much smarter and collaborative transport network.
Travelyaari’s core strength is to design, build, and run technology solution in a highly unorganized industry. As it believes in inclusive growth, lot of investment and effort is made which will drive growth in the long term and revenue on perpetual basis.
Travelyaari.com has solved the age-old online booking problem by creating and implementing a 100% real-time bus ticket inventory system across India. With this technology in place, users can view precisely which seats are available at any given point of time and which seats have already been booked.
According to him, these are the three most important performance indicators in evaluating a startup:
- Team’s ability to build innovative products and deliver superior services that will solve some core problems of the industry/ society.
- Growth (and distribution/ spread of the same) – Sales, Net Revenue, Clients/ Customers, Regions, Verticals etc.
- Process Maturity – How efficient and effective internal processes which shall enable teams to work together to give the best in the most efficient manner.
Aurvind drives home an important point to budding startups when he says, “You have to be passionate about your vision, get the right team, build conducive environment for the team to deliver the best, and of course “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”. At times things might not go as expected/ planned, but that’s OK! let’s do better next time, because we are only humans”.