There are many people, who long for going on a holiday or travel to far-out places to take a break from their hectic schedule. Then there are people like Sudeepta Sanyal, who take their passion of traveling to a completely new level and launch a startup out of it. After completing her MBA from Welingkar Institute of Management, she started her career as a senior executive at Pantaloons.
However, after a few years, she started to ponder upon the idea of personalized holidays. She cofounded The Blueberry Trails, a travel start-up to design personalized experiential holiday packages to locations in India and around the world. Curated experiences and boutique stays are the USP of their holidays and currently she is on a mission to take Blueberry Trails to the next level, and leading the burgeoning holiday industry, one awesome trip at a time.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
The Blueberry Trails provides customized experiential holiday packages. We design Domestic and Outbound holidays, with the trip plans including exciting and unique local activities/experiences that give the traveler a deeper understanding of the location.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
Born out of the love for travel, my Co-Founder and I felt there was an inherent gap in the market when it came to experiential personalized holidays. There were only providers of cookie cutter holidays when we started this, and the market trends showed that the modern traveler needed more than that. Thus, the traveler had to choose from either that or planning it himself, we wanted to give him a third option; A personalized trip planner with local experiences to choose from.
What is your life mantra?
A life lived with passion is a life well lived
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
When we started The Blueberry Trails, the experiential travel market was very nascent and only early adopters were interested in our product. It was considered to be a niche product. Its only in the last 2 years that the focus of travel has shifted to experiences instead of the regular hotel-sightseeing-flight format. Trip Advisor travel trend report for 2016 calls Experiences the top trend for the year.
How did you overcome those challenges?
We developed the product we had to offer and did strict quality checks, and in the last 2 years, the demand for experiential travel has gone through the roof. Every other travel provider claims to provide offbeat holidays for the discerning traveler, and that we take as a great sign, which means the demand has picked up. We are very excited to be one of the earlier adopters of the trend.
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
We are bootstrapped since our inception in 2010. We had made an initial investment of 10Lacs into the business.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?
We are constantly innovating, finding new locations, experiences to add to our portfolio. We try and find inspiration from the world around us, Magazines, travel blogs and stories from the road. And when we feel like the number crunching has gotten to us, we dust off our backpacks and head out!
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
Perseverance, individuality, creativity
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
We use Zoho tools for the internal team communication, Sky scanner and Kayak apps for flights.
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
Meditation. Makes me calmer in the mad chaotic world of an entrepreneur
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.
The need to control everything. Over time, I have learned to delegate.
Answer in less than 50 words
Being supremely passionate about what you do whether its coding/designing/making music.
- One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
Taking things for granted, whether its Customers, market conditions, your team, people who love and support you, your good luck, or your bad tidings. Never, ever do that.
- One most important lesson that you have learned till now:
Perseverance is key. If you want something really bad, make a plan and go for it.
What are your plans for next 3 years?
To scale up the Operations of The Blueberry Trails. Go from a team of 10 currently to 40 and multiply our revenue 10x
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
I would hire a team the moment I launch The Blueberry Trails. I waited too long, in my opinion, to get a full-time team for us. We were a One-Woman army for far too long and undermined the need for a team. However, the year we got a team in place, our revenues jumped by 300x.
What are your top three getaway destinations?
Croatia, Hampi, Spiti Valley in Himachal
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” Roald Dahl