Hari Ganapathy – Co-founder of Pickyourtrail

We recently had the privilege of interviewing Hari Ganapathy, the co-founder of Pickyourtrail, where we explored the challenges and triumphs shaping the innovative travel company.

In our interview, Hari discussed the dynamic landscape of the tour operator industry, highlighting the significance of adapting to the ever-changing needs of consumers.

1. What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the tour operator industry today, and how would you address them in your role?

In any sector, the ever-changing needs of the consumer are a challenge that’s commonly faced. Travellers today seek unique experiences on vacation and a seamless holiday planning process while planning for one. Leveraging the use of technology today, how travel brands really deliver a personalised offering is the way ahead, and that is what we at Pickyourtrail are focusing on right now.

2. Can you tell us about some of the most popular and unique travel experiences or packages that Pickyourtrail offers to its customers? What makes these offerings special?

Customisation goes a long way in creating a wonderful customer experience journey. The sense of self-control and the adrenaline rush is what we’d like to offer every traveller even before they go on a trip with Pickyourtrail. Today, most travel enthusiasts want to be a ‘traveller’ and not a ‘tourist’. Gone are the days when travel was done like a laundry checklist. Now, people look for unique experiences that suit their personality and what they wish to do. With Pickyourtrail, travellers can have a hassle-free travel experience that suits their preferences. Some of the unique experiences that are interesting right now for travellers are – staying in an igloo hotel to watch the northern lights, visiting a sandbank, enjoying a sunset or dolphin cruise, taking a cruise to Antarctica and taking pasta-making classes in Italy.

3. In a highly competitive travel market, what strategies have you implemented to stand out and gain a competitive edge?

From a bootstrap company in 2014 to an organisation that has footprints across the nation today, Pickyourtrail has slowly conquered the market of each destination as we grew. During the pandemic, Maldives was one of the first destinations to open due to its geographical distance and stringent rules about safety measures. Despite the tough stance that the travel industry was facing, we decided to take our chance and promote Maldives to our travellers. Now, we can confidently say that this decision has helped us lead the market share for Maldives among the outbound travellers from India for the past 2 years. The pandemic also gave us the liberty of time to work on a strong product and develop a customer-centric app that helps our travellers from the start to end of their trip, along with a 24×7 concierge. We now continue to equip ourselves with the best destination knowledge, build strong supply relations, develop our app with cutting-edge technology and make strategic partnerships that will help expand our boundaries into more destinations.

4. Travel trends are constantly evolving. What trends do you see shaping the future of the travel industry, and how is Pickyourtrail positioning itself to capitalise on these trends?

The outbound market from India is rapidly growing and is the fastest-growing segment in travel. With various micro-segments opening up, it is key to focus on channelling travellers to each of these destinations with unique travel solutions that give them the best experience. The real merit lies in continuing our investment in building the technology in travel – the adoption of tech at the supplier end, the introduction of NDC fares, and, of course, the rapid evolution of AI. These not only improve a customer’s travel experience but also simplify their booking process to a great extent.

5. As the Co-founder, what is your vision for the future of Pickyourtrail? What can we expect from the company in terms of expansion, new offerings, or partnerships?

Going global was always on the roadmap and our initial experiments through the first and second wave of the pandemic gave us an opportunity to test out the market. There is a clear gap for a reliable global leisure travel brand, and we believe that our expertise in catering to one of the most value-conscious customer segments (India) puts us in a unique position to build out that brand with our market-leading tech. Markets like the USA have a $100B+ outbound travel scope; even a small share of that pie is a significant opportunity.