Yogendra Vasupal is the Founder and CEO of Stayzilla, India’s largest online manage marketplace for Stays. A maverick by nature, with over 10 years experience in providing short term stays across the country, Yogi believes that technology and personalization are the way forward for the hospitality industry.
- Can you give us an overview about you and Stayzilla?
Born and brought up in Chennai, I started my career at the age of 19. Initially I used to undertake freelancing projects to develop e-commerce portal and web-based applications. My passion for e-commerce sector grew deeper with time and inspired me to start my own online portal and that’s how Stayzilla came into the picture.
Stayzilla, owned and operated by Inasra Technologies Pvt. Ltd, is today the fastest growing player in India’s burgeoning travel and tourism ecosystem. The company professes a razor sharp focus towards inflecting the overall Stay market in India, including the relatively untapped alternate accommodation spaces. Stayzilla has today grown into India’s largest online marketplace for ‘stays’ with its presence in 4000+ towns across the length and breadth of the country, covering a network of over 30,000 stays, spanning alternate stay options like Home Stays, Rentals, B&Bs to structured accommodations like Hotels, lodges, jungle lodges, boat houses etc.
- What inspired you to venture into the online hotel booking industry?
In the early 2000, we realised that the travel market in India has huge potential. The large market size was highly unorganized specially, in the short term accommodation sector. Fragmentation of the short terms stays market in India inspired us to streamline the hotel booking process on one platform and provide a convenient and easy platform for the travellers to book their hotels and stays through Stayzilla.
- As hotel booking segment is already cluttered with many players, how does stayzilla manage to stay competitive?
In India, we are the pioneers in short-term accommodation Industry. We provide our Home stay hosts the flexibility & freedom to choose the kind of guests they want to host and likewise the guests also have their entire post online booking lifecycle elements managed by the e-Concierge platform. Both these solutions are unique in the industry and have strong – technology, product & process flavours.
“ The biggest problem in India is the under-supply of rooms”
- On the mobile front; are your views of mobile bookings evolving, perhaps apps versus mobile Web? And what are you finding interesting about customer behaviour on mobile?
We started with the mobile site after understanding that 70% of our customers were from Tier 2 and 3 cities where the internet was flaky for large downloads. We have 50% of our traffic coming through Mobile and 40% of our bookings happening on the mobile site. From a transaction perspective we have not had a requirement for an app.
We had one app that allowed our suppliers to manage their inventory. We will be launching one more app soon to enable more number of people to easily put up their vacant room on our platform to make money and friends. Being able to book as a guest or become a host will both be easily possible from the same app.
- What is your revenue generation model?
Our revenue generation model is based on commissions on every transaction which happens via the platform. The commission ranges from 15% to as high as 30%.
- What’s new in Stayzilla: Is the momentum of 2015 ongoing or have other things got in the way?
The momentum is ongoing! We have had greater success this year compared to last year. As an eg, we added 14K properties to our platform in the first half of this year as compared to 4K for the same time-period last year.
- You have big goals of reaching 1000cr revenue mark and reach 8000 towns by this financial year end. How do you strategically plan to meet the target?
The biggest problem in India is the under-supply of rooms during peak demand in some places and all times in other places. Being able to create rooms through alternate stay is one large strategic initiative that will help us achieve our stated targets.
Interaction with Mr. Yogendra Yasupal, Founder and CEO of Stayzilla