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Community-based travel start-up wants to beat Airbnb at its own game

His start-up, Byond Travel, deals in community-based travel, reports Tech in Asia

Vikram Ahuja wants to take on Airbnb; here's how

Kylee McIntyre
A while back, travel industry veteran Vikram Ahuja was approached by a man with a request: could he organise a group trip to nudist-friendly destinations – such as southern France or the east coast of India?

“I was like yeah, sure, hell yeah, for sure,” Vikram tells Tech in Asia. 

For Vikram, this is the beauty of community-based travel: it helps small and relatively unorganised communities who have the same lifestyle or hobby find each other, and have an immersive travel experience together. So in 2014, he set up his start-up Byond Travel, which curates such experiences for a number of communities, including women, “the golden club” (adults over the age of 65), families, and people who love yoga, adventure, cycling, and music and dance.

Last month, Airbnb launched a similar service called Trips, which was meant to expand Airbnb from a lodging portal to a platform for community immersion. Users can now book itineraries centred around breweries, music and concerts, fire spinning, burlesque, and even social impact.

But Byond seeks to differentiate itself by bringing together people in a common demographic or with a shared passion, then curating a local experience tailored to them. Most of Byond’s travellers are solo adventurers and come to the start-up through community leaders. 

Vikram Ahuja wants to take on Airbnb; here's how

The start-up’s own research has found that solo travel – travel without close friends or family – is growing in popularity and will make up 6 to 8 per cent of the Indian travel industry by 2018. In particular, solo travel is growing in popularity among Indian women.

Byond currently offers trips to 50 countries. Packages roughly range from $740 (a six-day trip to Vietnam) to $1,500 (a six-day trip to Myanmar).

This is an excerpt from Tech in Asia. You can read the full article here

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First Published: Dec 12 2016 | 11:08 AM IST

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