Raghav Sharma, Founder & CEO of Touristy, on-demand tourist guide booking app

Raghav Sharma-Founder - CMO of Touristy

An exclusive interview with Raghav Sharma, Founder & CEO of Touristy, an innovative travel startup

Raghav Sharma is a founder & CMO of Touristy, an innovative travel startup that is redefining the way travellers experience India.

Touristy is India’s first on-demand tourist guide booking app that connects travelers with knowledgeable local guides who can provide a authentic and personalized experience.

At Sugermint Media, our aim is to bring to our entrepreneurs community some of the inspiring and motivational stories from the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

As part of this endeavour, we invited yet another passionate entrepreneur Raghav Sharma, Founder & CMO of Touristy for an exclusive interview with us.

Tell us a little about yourself

Raghav Sharma: I have completed my under graduation in BBA from Jaipur and have gained significant experience working in the corporate sector for 5-6 years.

During this time, I have worked with well-known brands such as TVF, WanderOn, ErosNow, Driffle, and more.

My work experience has equipped me with the necessary knowledge and expertise required to build Touristy, which is India’s first on-demand tourist guide booking app.

Coming from a small town in Rajasthan, I have always had a passion for travel and exploring new places.

I believe that traveling helps us learn about different cultures, customs, and ways of life, which ultimately broadens our horizons and makes us more empathetic towards others.

My family has been supportive of my entrepreneurial journey and has encouraged me to pursue my dreams.

They have always instilled in me the values of hard work, perseverance, and integrity, which have helped me navigate the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.

Please tell us a little about your entrepreneurial journey

Raghav Sharma: My entrepreneurial journey began with the idea of Touristy in 2016. At that time, I was working in the corporate world and had already gained valuable experience working with various brands such as TVF, WanderOn, ErosNow, Driffle, and more. However, the idea of creating an on-demand tourist guide booking app in India kept nagging at me.

After months of research and planning, I decided to take the leap and start building Touristy. I worked on the project part-time for several years while still maintaining my job in the corporate sector. In February 2023, I finally decided to quit my corporate job and focus solely on Touristy.

As of now, Touristy is in its MVP stage, and I am excited to see how it will evolve and grow in the coming months and years.

It has been a challenging but rewarding journey, and I am grateful for the support and encouragement of my team and advisors.

Kindly brief us about Touristy, its specialization, and the services that it offers

Raghav Sharma: Touristy is a travel-tech startup based in India that provides on-demand tourist guide booking services. The company’s specialization lies in connecting travelers with local guides who can offer personalised and authentic experiences to explore India’s diverse cultures, customs, and

languages. Touristy’s services include booking local guides for sightseeing tours, food tours, cultural experiences, adventure activities, and more.

The company is committed to promoting sustainable and responsible tourism practices and women’s economic empowerment in the tourism industry.

Touristy aims to change the way travelers experience India by providing them with knowledgeable local guides who can help them navigate unfamiliar customs and cultures.

Can you tell us about the inspiration behind Touristy and how the idea came about?

Raghav Sharma: The inspiration for Touristy came from my own travel experiences in India. I realized that there was a gap in the market for personalised and authentic travel experiences that could only be provided by local guides.. I saw an opportunity to connect travelers with knowledgeable local

guides by the help of technology who could provide them with a unique and customized experience of India’s rich cultural heritage.

Furthermore, I wanted to address the challenges faced by local tour guides in India, who often struggle to find work and make a decent living.

By creating Touristy, I aim to create an application that would not only benefit travelers but also empower local guides, especially women, by giving them a sustainable source of income.

With this inspiration in mind, Touristy was founded in 2016 as a mission-driven company committed to promoting responsible and sustainable tourism practices while providing travelers with an unforgettable and authentic experience of India.

How does Touristy differentiate itself from other travel startups in the industry?

Raghav Sharma: Touristy differentiates itself from other travel startups in the industry by offering a personalised and authentic experience to travelers through its network of knowledgeable local guides.

Unlike other travel startups that may focus more on booking accommodations or providing transportation, Touristy’s core focus is on connecting travelers with local guides who can provide a unique and customised experience based on their interests and needs.

Touristy is also committed to promoting sustainable and responsible tourism practices, as well as women’s economic empowerment in the tourism industry.

By booking with Touristy, travelers can feel good about supporting a socially responsible and inclusive approach to travel.

Furthermore, Touristy leverages technology to make the booking process seamless and easy for travelers.

The Touristy app allows travelers to easily book a local guide, communicate with them before the tour, and make payments securely. This level of convenience and ease of use sets Touristy apart from other travel startups.

Can you walk us through the user experience on Touristy and how it benefits travelers?

Raghav Sharma: The user experience on Touristy is designed to be seamless, providing travelers with a personalised and authentic experience of India. Here’s how it works:

Sign up and Create a Profile: Users can sign up on the Touristy app using their email or social media accounts. After signing up, they can create a profile, set their preferences and travel plans.

Browse and Select Guides: Users can browse through a list of city experiences on the platform or on demand tourist guide booking and select the one that matches their interests, budget, and language preferences. They can also view the guide’s profile, reviews, ratings and chat with them to discuss their itinerary.

Customise Your Itinerary: Users can work with their selected guide to customise their itinerary based on their interests and needs. They can choose to explore a specific city or region, visit cultural sites, experience local cuisine, or engage in adventure activities, and more.

Travel and Explore: Once the itinerary is finalised, users can travel to their destination and meet their guide. The guide will take them on a personalised tour, providing insights and perspectives on local culture, history, and customs. Users can also interact with locals, try local food and participate in local activities.

Review and Feedback: After the tour, users can provide feedback and review their experience on the Touristy app. This helps Touristy to improve its services and guide the next set of travelers.

Touristy’s user experience benefits travelers by providing them with a personalised, authentic, and hassle-free way to explore India’s diverse culture and heritage. The app also ensures safety, security, and responsible tourism practices for travelers.

What challenges have you faced as a founder of a travel startup, especially in light of the pandemic?

Raghav Sharma: Some of the challenges faced include:

1. Lack of demand: With travel restrictions and lockdowns in place, there has been a significant drop in demand for travel services.

2. Uncertainty: The pandemic has created a lot of uncertainty, making it difficult for travel startups to plan for the future.

3. Health and safety concerns: With the pandemic still ongoing, health and safety concerns have become a top priority for travelers. We have had to adapt to new health and safety protocols to ensure the safety of their customers.

Can you discuss any partnerships or collaborations that Touristy has formed to enhance the travel experience for users?

Raghav Sharma: One key collaboration that Touristy has formed is with local communities and women’s organisations in India.

By partnering with these groups, Touristy is able to connect travelers with knowledgeable local guides who can provide a unique and authentic travel experience while also supporting local economies and empowering women in the tourism industry.

Touristy is also exploring partnerships with hotels, transportation companies, and other travel-related businesses to provide seamless travel experiences for users.

By working together with these partners, Touristy aims to create a one-stop-shop for travelers looking to explore India in a personalised and sustainable way.

In addition, Touristy is open to partnering with other startups and technology companies to further enhance its platform and services.

By collaborating with other innovators in the travel industry, Touristy hopes to stay at the forefront of the latest trends and technologies in travel.

What was the inspiration behind turning an entrepreneur

Raghav Sharma: I was motivated by the desire to bring an innovative idea or solution to life, and to create a positive impact on the world. I have identified a gap in the market that I believe I can solve in a unique way.

What are the future plans for Touristy, both in terms of expanding its offerings and its geographic reach?

Raghav Sharma: Touristy has ambitious plans for the future, both in terms of expanding its offerings and its geographic reach.

The company is currently focused on growing its user base in India and establishing itself as the go-to platform for travelers looking for personalised, authentic travel experiences.

In terms of expanding its offerings, Touristy plans to introduce new features to its platform that will make it even easier for travelers to plan their trips and connect with local guides.

The company is also exploring partnerships with travel companies and other businesses in the travel industry to offer a more comprehensive travel experience to its users.

In terms of geographic reach, Touristy plans to expand beyond India and into other parts of the world. The company sees a huge opportunity in the global travel market, and is working on building partnerships with local guides and businesses in other countries to ensure that it can offer its users the same high-quality, personalised travel experiences that they have come to expect from Touristy.

Touristy is committed to continuing to innovate and evolve its platform to meet the changing needs of travelers in India and around the world.

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