Journey towards launch
One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.
– Henry Miller
In the last two months since our early alpha launch in April, we have made some interesting discoveries, about the traveler and about travel itself. A lot of our assumptions were right, and some were wrong - but most importantly, the process has made us dig deeper into our core motivations for travel.
#1: Travel is about discovery, both offline and online.
Anyone who has ever been bit by the travel bug would know what I am talking about here: we trudge along our days eating, sleeping, working, reading, but then every once so often, something would rouse that bug, perhaps that shared photograph on facebook, or that article about untouched white-sand beaches of Sri Lanka, and soon would ensue dreams of the next experience. The trick to understanding that trigger is through understanding the traveler herself.
#2: Content, content, content, and more so in travel space.
Recently, we met up with a friend (and investor to one of my previous startups) in his Pune office, and had a long chat about the potential of FarInto. One of the discussion points was our future approach to content - and he made a most memorable comment: FarInto intrinsically speaks of ‘far’ (width) and ‘into’ (depth) of travel (and of travel content) - and that is what we aim to be in the travel space.
#3: When you ask someone to spend money, make sure they trust you first.
In the last one month, we have tested the waters with bookings. Every single booking experience has taught us something, but the most important learning was just the revisiting of a fact of life - to build trust at every single step before any transaction takes place.
How does trust develop? First and foremost, we feel that it comes through authenticity and transparency. The user should find the information presented as is, and that there is complete transparency around it - be it about the trip, or the offering, or pricing, whatever it may be. Secondly, working with the user to make their experience awesome. We have been following a well-defined criteria in figuring out which specific operators to work with - and that has already helped in connecting the user with the best operator for a particular trip. Thirdly, a human voice at the end of the line…
We can go on and on about this one. After all, this is where we aim to solve one of the biggest pain point travelers have today.
#4: Talk travel. Will travel.
Every travel town in this world has that Kunzum Cafe of its own where travelers and tourists lounge about and discuss their adventures of the day or the week. Stories propagate, experiences are discussed, and eventually the stories end up becoming so enticing that one just cannot help but get on the same trip. This is an intrinsic part of travel, both offline and online. Yesterday, we rolled out Facebook Commenting integration to enable seamless conversations, and will be putting out a number of new features in the coming future around getting travelers to discuss and connect.
There are many more lessons we have soaked in, but its best to stop here and get back to building the platform again (or getting some sleep!). We are on a journey towards creating something new, and as from Miller’s quote, it will eventually result in a new way of seeing things.