Ekansh Saxena, Co-Founder, Touch Down Earth

Ekansh completed his Bachelors in Technology in 2016 but always had a keen interest in the travel industry, which kept on growing as he started his entrepreneurial journey while in 2nd year of his college. His startup, Smapsters was founded in 2013 where he did group trips for the millennial traveler to North Indian towns and villages aiming to give an experience beyond travel. He led more than 3000 travelers in 80+ group trips in Smapsters and later went ahead to take the lead in his family travel business in 2017 which was established in 1998. Having travelled about 16 countries in the past 4 years alone, his desire to work in the travel sector grew more and Touch Down Earth is his latest musing through which he aims to curate luxury itineraries for the Indian traveler reflective of his own experiential travel journeys and create a reality that is backed by a common code – authentic experiences.

 

Planning a holiday is overwhelming. It is almost ironic that planning a trip outside your city/state/nation to prevent a work burnout and relax your mind often ends up trapping a person in a cobweb of calculations. From booking the best hotel (as per affordability) to selecting the mode of travel and the things that one wants to explore at that holiday destination, all of it demands research. What’s worse — this whole research may not work out in the end. Many times, people end up making the wrong choices and losing more money. Yes, technology has given us all the option to read reviews before making bookings but what worked out for someone else may not work out for you.

Why do you need travel intermediaries?

As a tourism professional, I have seen many people booking a hotel based on decent amenities and budget range only to realize that it was situated in a bad (or far off) locality. Also, a number of tourists end up clueless in a new city as they are not able to figure out what routes to take and what transport modes to go for.

In several cases, tourists try to cover too many places within their limited holiday period. For context, if one tries to cover the state of Uttarakhand within seven days, he/she will make the holiday even more hectic than a workday and would still not be able to explore a lot of places. The vice-versa is also true. If there is a 10-day holiday and you book a city hotel for the entire duration, there would be a great chance of you running out of places to explore in that particular city.

Ensuring security is another big aspect. If you’re travelling to a place that is new for you, there is always the aspect of security threat. The probability increases if you are in a foreign land where people don’t understand your language and you don’t speak their tongue.

These are the reasons why one needs travel intermediaries. These are the people who ensure that you get the best benefits in your budget range and also take care of the safety aspect. They take care of your transportation, your food, and all other needs.

As travel is becoming an integral part of people’s lives, the demand for travel companies and tour operators is rising across India. Based on budget, preferences, and the number of days available with them, tailor-made travel packages are being provided to tourists. This service has made lives easier for travel enthusiasts. Professionals don’t need to invest their precious time into curating their holiday itinerary anymore.

Trends to watch out for

Tailor-made travel packages: Over the last few years, travel packages have become really intimate. The industry very quickly learnt that the one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work in this area. Some seek an active holiday, others crave a passive one. Some want to visit the renowned spots, others wish to explore untouched landscapes. It’s simply a matter of — to each his/her own. Such customized travel packages give the customer a premium experience in their budget range.

Sustainable travel: Another major shift following the pandemic outbreak is the increased demand for “sustainable travel”. Today, tourists want their trips to be in harmony with nature. To cater to this demand, tourists are now being offered holiday packages that have a minimal carbon footprint. From sustainable accommodation to indigenous organic food, it is made sure that tourists become one with the socio-cultural fabric of the place.

Honeymoon trip: A concept celebrated the world over, a honeymoon trip is the most memorable experience for most couples. As the trip is a celebration of their love, it is natural for them to want all things perfect. This is why honeymoon packages are beautifully curated in a manner that brings two people closer by engaging them in activities and also giving them their alone time. From romantic dinner dates to serene sunset experiences, a honeymoon package envelops it all to give you the best time of your life.

Celebration packages: While the concept of a destination wedding has been around for quite some time, over the past few years people have started going to their favorite holiday destinations for other important life events as well. For instance, bookings for bachelor and bachelorette trips have risen exponentially. Similarly, the trend of going on a trip with family for the baby shower event is also catching on quite fast. Acknowledging this market demand, special packages are offered to people to ensure that they enjoy the functions hassle-free.

Tour operators in the post-pandemic world

The role of travel company has become even more significant as we are coming out of the pandemic phase. After almost two years of staying indoors due to the Covid-induced lockdowns, more and more people are travelling to unwind. Therefore, in addition to planning a holiday, travel company also keep a track of restrictions. Also, all precautions are put in place allowing travelers to enjoy themselves without compromising their safety.

There is a new appreciation among people for travel but the world has certainly changed after the pandemic — that’s why the term “new normal”. But as they say in the tourism business, there is a perfect holiday package for everyone, you just need the right travel company.

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