From NGO to Travel: How a Law Graduate Established an International Travel Empire and Travelers’ Closed Community

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MyTravaly: A Travel Start-up

Travel and tourism is one of the largest service industries in the world. India alone reported more than 10.93 million foreign tourists in 2019 in addition to 1.82 billion domestic tourists. While such a vast number boosts the tourism and hospitality landscape, it also brings forth a plethora of challenges for hoteliers and travel agencies. They are always knee-deep in managing several layers involved in the hotel booking and marketing process. Hamlet R, a passionate hotelier with significant experience in the travel industry, cites his own experience as a hotelier and mentions how he personally struggled with marketing his property to the right customer, managing staff, tracking check-in & checkout, and calculating commission expenditure for booking\cancellation and online travel agencies. “The common structure of hotel booking is too complicated as many players are involved in the process, such as hotel networks, online aggregator, channel manager connecting company, marketing agency, and more. The ultimate result is higher booking price for rooms, which is paid for by the customers,” says Hamlet, founder, and CEO of MyTravaly. 

Established as a solution to such inconveniences faced by hotel managers and travelers, MyTravaly eases the booking and hotel management process by minimizing the commission seekers in the hotel booking process. The company offers an all-in-one service, which enables hoteliers to establish direct contact with travelers. 

A Journey Forged in the Past

Entrepreneurship runs in Hamlet’s family. Already running a successful human rights NGO, Talaash Association, Hamlet and his family and friends have gained immense knowledge about the world of business. As the Co-founder and Director of Talaash, Hamlet has taken up quite a number of challenging projects and ran effective campaigns to successfully promote women and child rights. This is the exact reason why after completing LLB in 2012 and done numerous internships, Hamlet’s transition to the travel domain isn’t that surprising; being an entrepreneur and a businessperson runs in his blood. 

As Hamlet entered the travel business, he started to rent out hotels/his own properties to the travelers and backpackers. Soon he began to understand why a simple room with basic amenities cost as much as it does—the end-user pays for all the commission for all the third-parties involved in hotel management. As they say ‘necessity is the birth of invention,’ Hamlet came up with an idea to remove all these unnecessary costs and ease up the hoteliers’ entire hotel management and customer engagement process: innovation and technology. 

Established with an initial investment of 21 lakhs, MyTravaly allows the hotelier to manage their price, offers, discount, deals, and bookings. It offers an all-in-one package of technological cloud-based services that include travel metasearch engine, web reservation system, CRM, Property Management System, Accounts manager, HR manager, Report analyzer, and more. “MyTravaly has introduced significant amendments to the current structure of the travel industry, especially in the hotel booking domain. It aims to empower hoteliers and travelers to meet directly and have one-on-one interaction with minimum expenditure and complications. MyTravaly is a worldwide travel technology company that endeavors all things travel,” explains Hamlet. The point to note here is that the company does not charge a penny as a commission, but rather relies on advertisements and subscriptions as its primary source of income as a metasearch engine. This approach helps hoteliers reach the right audience and travelers to book rooms at low and reasonable prices.

The company is fun for its employees as well. MyTravaly follows the practice of ‘future of work,’ where employees receive unlimited leave plans, 4 days working per week, and indulge in several entertaining opportunities in the office.

MyTravaly Community

MyTravaly is more than just a hotel booking portal; it is a community of like-minded and travel-loving people. It caters to a broad base of customers who are directly or indirectly associated with the travel domain. First comes the hoteliers, who are the foundation of the company, and enjoy a range of marketing and cloud-based services for their easy management. Following is the traveler’s group that can make easy bookings, avail benefits related to different tours, and receive assistance as per their requirement. Besides these two, MyTravaly is a portal for all enthusiasts. They leverage the platform for purposes ranging from personal branding, organizing events to webinars, featuring hotels, and other personal services or products. The last part makes up the MyTravaly community; a forum where travelers engage, share and learn about one another’s tour experiences through pictures, blogs, podcasts, and videos.

“The most exciting thing for me has been successfully building up MyTravaly’s closed community. All of this makes our customers dynamic and multifaceted, and we’re equally passionate about enhancing each one of their experiences and simultaneously work for others.”

Hamlet

But Hamlet did not leave behind his NGO’s work for MyTravaly. Drawing inspiration from Talaash, he has built a secure and easy fundraising platform to let every traveler collaborate with different NGOs and continue to address the needs of crisis, social causes, and projects. It is a major part of the closed MyTravaly community that constitutes of generous hearts who want to contribute their bit towards the projects being addressed by NGOs through Mytravaly’s Fundraiser.

Battling the Pandemic and Sketching a Promising Future

Among all the other industries, the travel and hospitality sector took a major blow due to the pandemic. MyTravaly was no stranger to such a downfall; the company hit a deep bottom due to the ban on national and international travel that impacted its growth and business. However, Hamlet did not let a few months of lockdown crumble his business. “To survive the downturn, I emptied all my cash reserves and saving accounts, but they were not sufficient. I had to break my FDs, sell several shares, count on my properties, cut off salaries to the most loyal of employees, and undergo many painful events just to keep MyTravaly’s business afloat,” recalls Hamlet. “But I’m glad that my company got through such a rough time.” 

Hamlet is now looking to expand the company’s horizon and add many more hotels within its portal. MyTravaly is on its path to collaborate with hoteliers and travelers in Asia and Africa by setting out offices in Singapore and Africa. The firm is also opening a liaison office in Bangladesh this month.

With such an impressive bounce-back story and a promising future, MyTravaly is not far from partnering with every hotel in the world, including the ones in Arab countries. Only with zeal and undying inspiration could Hamlet establish a business this successful and keep it afloat during the worst time for the travel industry.

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