Adding to the wide variety of tourism startups are homestay aggregators, which are aimed at giving a platform for expansion to the next big kind of tourist accommodation : homestays. One of the foremost such homestay aggregators is the startup MyIndianStay. Founded in 2012 by Shan Gehlot and Umesh Agarwal, the Goa-based homestay listing platform recently raised $200,000 in angel funding from institutional investors. Series A funding talks for the startup are also likely to take off in a big way soon. The raised funds are likely to be used for value addition and general expansion.
Homestays are a rapidly rising phenomenon in India, but they are still far behind hotels and plush resorts. However, their services are extremely affordable, and their geographical reach is wider.
The startup currently operates exclusively in Goa, that mecca of Indian tourism where homestays have taken off in a big way. MyIndianStay’s services can be availed of easily on the website itself, simply by specifying the destination, number of travelers, and the checking in and out dates, followed by an easy booking. Currently, it offers over 30,000 rooms at over 5000 properties. Over a third of them have already been verified, and the verification process is proceeding well, with complete verification aimed by 2016-end. A mobile app-based discovery tool is also in the offing, enabling quicker and more convenient booking. MyIndianStay also aims to be a major travel innovator in other respects as well, with their user being offered several exciting travel features. This includes “Smart Lock Integation” which allows travelers to unlock properties using smartphones, “Host-Guest Interaction Platform” which simplifies host-guest communication, and the “Local Accommodation Discovery Tool” which allows for the hyperlocal discovery of travel properties.
What we think
With the travel segment, and in particular, homestay facilities recording a massive leap in fortunes, startups like MyIndianStay are well-poised to reap maximum dividends, while providing users a better travel experience. Homestays represent the future of Indian travel accommodation.