A trippy way to achieve ‘Little Nirvana’
What if you could build a personalised travel booking site?
Little Nirvana is an initiative of Nirvana Excursions, a travel company that’s well-known for its customized itineraries for trips across the world. Travelers, and parents to two toddlers, Nidhi and Viren, the people behind Nirvana Excursions found this vertical to be very close to their hearts and couldn’t help but focus all their energies into it. Imagine a skiing trip to Kashmir, with a starter pack for the little bubs. Sounds like quite an exciting prospect, doesn’t it?
Let’s delve deeper into this delectable idea as Mumbai-based Nidhi Batra talks at length about her brainchild.
It’s said that passion has the ability to move people beyond their abilities and limitations, to achieve something that’s a lot greater and infinitely more rewarding. That is exactly what happened with me! Having completed my Masters in International Journalism from Cardiff University, Wales (UK), I started working at NDTV as a television producer. After a couple of years in the media industry, my desire to explore the world beyond media, led me to quit my media career and enter the family business of construction. At the same time, my interest in the hospitality industry led her to start her own restaurant. But throughout this entire journey, travel remained my major passion. So, along with my husband, Viren Batra, who was also a major travel buff, I started Nirvana Excursions.
An idea that was born when we were travelling through the mountains of Spain, firmly took root till it finally materialised into Nirvana in 2013. Initially dealing primarily with customised and out-of-the-box tours, today Nirvana caters to both luxury and budget travellers from around the world. Our primary aim was to enable everybody to travel wherever they wished, so why should it be restricted to only those who were ready to shell out an exorbitant amount. That’s when we decided to introduce the concept of customised travel, within a budget.
We also noticed that a lot of our customers in Nirvana were families. Due to our personalized and experience centric approach we would always ask questions about their kids and their preferences. The feedback from their customers was that we never got these kinds of questions from any other travel agency and the fact that the trip would be tailored around the kids was something that we had never seen before.
This led us come up with Little Nirvana where we would design itineraries keeping the specific requirements of families in mind. We would also encourage people with young children to experiment with different experiences which otherwise they would avoid.
Eye for details in creating most out of travel
Travellers, and parents to a over two-year-old boy and a new born baby, my husband Viren and I, found this vertical to be very close to our hearts and couldn’t help but focus all our energies on it. Nirvana Excursions was an offshoot of our love for travel and now, post a kid, we cherish every single holiday with our son. He’s all of two years now and already 15 trips down. Whether a work trip or leisure, he travels with them and unlike the myth that travelling with a kid is a task, it isn’t for us. We love to travel because when travelling, I make sure that every element of the trip is baby-friendly and chockfull of activities.
If a child is the main focus on a trip, and given activities that he enjoys, then a potentially boring trip can become quite exciting. We love to focus on making kid-friendly itineraries and always ensure that kids have a good time. Our favourite moment is always when the parents come back from their trip and rave about the good time the kids had. When we started designing the itinerary, the first thing that we did was have a good chat with the parents about the age of the kids and the experience they would like to give them. Once we are on the same plane, our enthusiastic team gets to work to make every element of the trip kid-friendly and fun.
Customising is on the cards
Nirvana Excursions is currently in the process of building a unique travel booking platform. This will enable our customers to input their entire trip details in one form, get a personalized itinerary instantly, make the changes to suit their exact requirements and book the whole trip in one transaction. We will also be adding personally curated travel products on the site at a later stage which will be directly aimed at this particular market segment.
The happiness quotient
This venture has definitely been successful for us. Since we are both from traditional business families we measure our success not only by revenue (over 100 per cent growth on year to year basis) but also by profitability. The fact that we are already cash flow positive is great indicator of our success.
Apart from numbers we also measure success in terms of feedback from our clients. So far we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the families who have travelled with us. The happy messages and pictures and especially the repeat travellers make this venture a huge success.
We currently operate out of our office in Vikhroli West, Mumbai with a team of 10 employees. Our team at Nirvana has successfully executed more than 800 trips across a variety of segments, including solo travel, honeymoons, families, business travel, Corporate Incentive and MICE. Our customers come back to us for our personalized services, excellent knowledge and guidance about the destination, great prices and strong support during travel.
Startup is the way for enterprising women
The potential is humongous. We are engineered very well and could multi task at a lot of levels whether professionally or personally. The startup industry is highly competitive and perks of being in one are very lucrative, I think a woman with zeal and spirit can do a lot in here if only moving ahead with ultimate confidence and prudence. Already a lot of women are leaving their mark in startup sectors and five years down the road it might just get bigger and better.
How has your experience been with current online travel booking sites? Please share your views.