Have you ever shown up in a foreign destination and not known what to do? Doing research ahead of time can certainly help, though you might end up sorting through a sea of endless sponsored ads and hackneyed tourist traps.
There is a resource though that you can use to help plan your next journey. TripHobo is one of the most comprehensive travel planning services out there, allowing users to select from over 90,000 different activities and venues in cities spanning the globe. From dingy little dives to wonders of the world, the information provided by TripHobo allows you to plan a trip tailored to your specific interests. RewardExpert talked with the CEO of TripHobo and one of the company’s three co-founders, Praveen Kumar.
The Origins of Triphobo
After obtaining his MBA, Kumar and some of his fellow classmates found employment with Hindustan Computers Limited, a company with a history of producing more than a fair share of CEOs in India thanks to the internal culture of the company. Having been empowered by their experience at HCL and having picked up a couple of tricks along the way, Kumar and his peers decided to try their hand at running their own venture.
Of course, any good business begins with an idea. Drawing from personal experiences, Kumar realized that during his time at HCL, he and his coworkers had a difficult time planning trips. “The first problem was that we all had different ideas for the trip we wanted to take,” says Kumar. “However, once we decided to just let one person decide for us, we stopped and thought, ‘How are we actually going to spend our time on the trip?’ ”
He new he found a winning premise for his new company, so Kumar began working full time on his new venture, Joguru, short for Journey Guru, the site that would eventually become TripHobo. “We had people who weren’t getting the name, so in 2014 we turned the brand into TripHobo. The Trip part is obvious, but Hobo was added because we felt that it sounded like freedom. The freedom to choose is core to what we set out to do.”
Rapid, User Guided Growth
The name wasn’t the only thing to evolve over time. When creating TripHobo, the original focus was on sourcing content, with Kumar focusing on cities in India, the U.S., Europe and Singapore. As the user base and scale of the company expanded, the number of cities and activities available flourished to the numbers they currently are today.
Site infrastructure likewise had to adapt to accommodate user feedback. Kumar remarked, “What we originally had on the site for organizing content was more of like a Google Calendar, it was really primitive. One of the biggest things we heard back from our users was, ‘Can we interact with this data?’ They wanted to drag and drop this data and have it dynamically respond to their changes, taking into consideration elements such as business hours and travel times. This request became one of the most important features which makes TripHobo what it is today.”
In an attempt to go above and beyond their intuitive drag and drop system, Kumar mentioned that they recently pushed a new feature, which allows multiple people to interact with a trip plan at the same time. The goal is to allow entire travel groups to be able to play with and mold their trip in real-time.
People are Becoming “Travelers” Not “Tourists”
When I asked Kumar for any insight he might have into the travel industry, he said. “Airbnb is a company that has been doubling its numbers year after year. Why? The reason for this is because people don’t want to stay at conventional places. They want to explore rather than be a tourist. This is important to understand because it means that people’s mindset about travel is changing. They want to experience the culture more and have a more hands-on holiday rather than being told what to do.”
Because TripHobo is about planning unique journeys based on what the user is looking to experience, it makes sense that their user base has grown. Due to this growth, Airbnb approached TripHobo for a partnership opportunity. Now users are able to stay in a local residence in addition to visiting local venues.
Kumar explains, “Today you have a lot more ‘travelers’ rather than ‘tourists.’ You get people wanting to experience it on the inside. That’s where TripHobo gives people that versatility. When you call yourself a traveler, you want to look at the city how it truly is rather than from a tourist’s point of view. With TripHobo, you can do anything you want yourself rather than relying on some sort of travel agency.”