2019 – The Year That Was

by Sunaina Aiyappa

When we conceptualized the whole idea behind ScoutMyTrip, the only thing on our minds was to make travel a more enjoyable experience for everyone. But, as we delved further, we learned more from our customers as to what they were looking for – more than a mere navigation map. They seek information like offbeat locations, restaurants, hygienic restrooms, home stays and more. Well, with endless miles in our trip history and expertise of the same, we created a trip planner that solved the purpose.

Today, we are India’s first subscription-based travel planner where we offer curated experiences, Scout subscriptions and a personalized trip for each of our customers. Our planner is powered by Scouts who are travel experts spread across India, Nepal and Bhutan. 

The year 2019 saw over 3000 travelers buy our subscription plans. A majority of the subscriptions came from Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi and Pune – which was close to 75%. Of the remaining – Hyderabad and Chennai were leading. 
It has been an incredible year of travel, and we thought of doing a little recap for our story and also sharing insights on how people are traveling. 

ScoutMyTrip’s Journey in the year 2019

1.The first month

The beginning of 2019, we had no idea we would be able to accomplish so many accolades in the span of a few months. The first feather was our selection as one of the “50 Startups to look out for in 2019”, by the Entrepreneur Magazine. This was a very big deal in the travel niche as we had definitely worked hard towards being in this list. 

We had formally launched the Scout Programme on a subscription model – 6, 9 and 12 months which gives travelers access to local experts for a set number of travel days.  

The month of January and February saw close to around 50% of our customers head to the deserts – Rajasthan and Kutch. Honeymooners were majority of travellers; which came straight after the wedding season. Other destinations which saw popularity were Araku Valley, Auli and Kashmir for the snow and winters. Madhya Pradesh and Eastern Maharashtra saw a huge growth driven primarily by wildlife tourism.

2.February fever

Furthermore, in February, the number went up to 1500 startups that we were competing against. Maharashtra State Innovation Society (Govt. of Maharashtra) chose ScoutMyTrip as the only travel startup during the Maharashtra Startup Week 2019. This got us exposure to the state government initiatives and resulted in a work order from the government. It was indeed a very proud for us as a company to have been selected by them.

3.March Marvel

In March, we were recognized for our efforts by Startup India under the Startup India program of Department for Promotion of Industry and internal trade, Government of India. The concept, the planner and the execution that we had worked towards was finally being recognized by some of the prestigious departments.

4.Not April Fool’s

Since the first 3 months brought in such great news, it is safe to say that we had a good start. Speaking of a good start, ScoutMyTrip was selected as one of the Top Startups of NASSCOM as part of the 10,000 Startups Program. This just added to all the excitement; 3 recognitions in four months is a pretty big deal.

The summer months are typically more towards mountains, but this year we saw a drastic shift towards weekend travel since the heat was especially harsh this year. Close to 75% of all our paid customers were utilizing their subscriptions for exploring nearby destinations but a bit better. Since holidays were short, the effort was to maximise the time and money spent. The remaining holidayers, preferred the long haul trips to locations like Sikkim, North East, Ladakh, Spiti and Kashmir. 

5. The competition

This was as far as recognition went. Little did we know of what was next in store for us. Another platform, BITS Pilani’s Conquest 2019, is where we competed with over 600 startups in a 3 month rigorous program. We won the best startup award by the jury from the investment community. It was inexplainable, the feeling of being at the top of our game and being awarded for it. This only helps us better our product and reach out to a larger audience.

The decision to abrogate Article 370 curbed travel to the mountains. Hence, this resulted in locations such as Spiti and Meghalaya gain more flavour.

6. Global Expansion

When we speak of a larger audience, we soon plan to expand the travel fever to South East Asia. Thus, we were only more hopeful when DIGITARAYA invited us . It is an accelerator program powered by Google Developer Launchpad in Indonesia to expand business in South East Asia. Well, global markets we are ready for you!

ScoutMyTrip

The monsoon season which usually sees a dip in travel, saw a steady number of weekenders. Travellers opted for places in and around which offered a safe drive. They preferred going away from the maddening traffic of the cities.

7. A Proud moment

Finally, The Ministry of Skill and Development and Entrepreneurship awarded ScoutMyTrip the National Entrepreneurship Award 2019 (travel and tourism sector). It is rewarding to see recognition of your product. Not just unique but something that is user-friendly, informative and just the need of the hour for travellers.

October, November and December, which are the winter months for most part we have again seen an increase in trips. Travellers opted for locations like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Odhisha and Karnataka. Also, one of the trends we have noticed which is different from last year is Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. They came up as strong contenders for long haul vacations. From the beaches of Karnataka, forests and backwaters of Kerala, temples of Tamil Nadu – more travelers have been opting for more offbeat places in these states. 

8. Media moments

ScoutMyTrip
The ScoutMyTrip story as seen in the Mercedes Benz Magazine

It has been quite a year, from being recognised to being awarded. Apart from this, we’ve also enjoyed some media attention with some of the top publishers who’ve published our work.

We have had the chance of collaborating with names like Assam Tribune, India Today, Rediff India, FreePressJournal, Indian Express, India.com and FirstPost where we have not just spoken about our journey and the trip planner but also provided some travel tips.

Well, we sure had an amazing year. Here’s hoping to win more hearts in the year 2020. With some trips lined up, we are already excited. However, while some prefer the mountains, some others enjoy wildlife

Hire a Scout, since we enjoy planning and with Scouts, it only adds more value to the trip!

So, here’s wishing all of you a very Happy New Year and another year of travel stories.

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2019 - The Amazing Year That Was - www.ajbharat.com January 17, 2020 - 1:27 am

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