In the year 2016, an ultra small start up Goabookers.com with zero capital was launched to design holiday packages and stays for people who want to visit Goa. That small start-up founded by father-son duo gained a promising foothold in the Goa tourism market in the next 4 years.
Speaking with Bombaynews.in, Haineel Shah shared the difficulties faced by small start-ups:
How difficult the last one and a half month has been?
“Well the resorts are going empty, but does not mean resorts can’t pay salaries to the staff. Above that, the advance booking refunds which we have to initiate did made the situation stressful. Not a single stay booking since last 1.5 months and the coming months also look difficult. Somehow we know, post everything gets stable, we will again get lots of enquiries and bookings for Goa as it’s a hot favorite destination for age group between 19 to 35 in India.
How do you survive during such times?
Well you have to be patient, you have to ensure that you have habit of savings so money can be utilized for times like these. Also you have to ensure you have a secondary source of business or some activity or a job, so far thankful to god that savings are helping to survive but the question is, how long will those savings help? So you have to keep reinventing, keep utilizing the time you have in hands even during lockdown to ensure the boat keeps sailing.
Despite being a small start up, all those bookings which were cancelled minimum one month in advance to their check in date were given full refunds. A total of 82 bookings amouting to 7 lakhs was refunded to the guests. For those who had to cancel their bookings from Mid March onwards, we have given them an option of using their advance and have assured them the same rate for the next 6-7 months. Post stabilization, they can come anytime with their advance paid being safe and also rates assurance given to them (no change in package rates irrespective of season or off season)
How do you see the future of start-ups in India post lockdown?
Well the sector of airlines, railways, road transport, resorts and restaurants have been badly hit. People working in share market are working from home, people doing corporate jobs are getting salaries or atleast half salaries working from home, the grocery shops and milk or food shops are opened under essential services, so many sectors are still able to survive as well as make some money even during lockdown. Its people and businesses like ours who have been completely at pause.
I can tell you many new small scale restaurants won’t be able to open post lockdown as their reserve capital has already been utilized in running their household, paying the staff salaries and maintaining the dead operational cost of a restaurant. Also the staff is not going to be retained as they will go to their villages with no work in the cities. Similarly many resorts, medium and large scale resorts and restaurants will have to work double hard, change their policies, reinvent to make a comeback into the market. The tours and travels shop have been completely shut too, the airlines and railways have also made losses to the tune of thousands of crores. However, amidst this negativity, I still see a gleam of hope as there will be equal opportunities to conduct healthy business once everything is stable.
In a span of mere 4 years, this start up @goabookers where I am contributing as a co-founder has proved to be a viable business.
However, with no business past one and a half month, it has taken a huge jolt in terms of booking cancellations, refunds and salaries of our mates who work for Goabookers. Also with no business looking possible for the next 3-4 months or probably even more, it’s imperative that my start up which i have raised like a baby with full honesty and dedication might be forgotten from the minds of many. Hence I have posted a quick update about our company and we will be back soon 😊
- Into the 4th year -Tie ups across top resorts across all beaches of Goa-✔️
- Over 1872 Happy Guests-✔️
- Wide range of resorts, villas, private apartments across Goa for all kinds of budgets-✔️
- The only online travel booking portal to offer 24/7 online and offline guest service-✔️
- Turnover of over 6 Million in a span of 3 years-✔️
- Value added services like transfers, pick and drops, sightseeings, meals always offered to the guests-✔️
- Average guest rating (we don’t like to say customer) as we tend to create relations with everyone- 3.9/5.. ✔️
& the best part we haven’t invested a single rupee in marketing. We rather invested our time and money on things which can actually make the end user happy which is the guest who comes at our resorts to stay.
Would also like to say we are the only location specific dedicated travel start up for Goa in India. Have been grateful that business has growned purely on word of mouth, guests have not only referred to others but have themselves repeated their stays with us.