Started by a group of four friends, Carvaa Travelers aims at promoting Caravan culture in the country, and it is something that every wanderlust should add to their bucket list!
Travelling in the caravan with your friends is the coolest thing one can do. But you know what's cooler? Renting a caravan from Carvaa Travelers which is one of the few rental services in the country, and which was started by a group of four buddies.
Abhishansa Mathur was in a conversation with Jigyasu Joshi, Co-Founder of Carvaa Travelers about their carvaatic journey of establishing this cool rental service!
Where did it all begin for you?
We had come from my birthday trip in April 2018 from Uttarakhand. After that, my friends and I decided that we should get our own car since we had been travelling so much. We thought that we would take a caravan and go on a drive. However, while searching online, we could not find any such service provider. And, the one that we found did not have a washroom and a kitchen inside. So, that's when we thought that probably we should buy a car and convert it into a caravan and give it out to the people who want to experience caravan.
To our surprise, people received it so well and loved the caravan that we provided. Right now, we have two caravans with four under construction.
Can you tell us something about you?
I am a journalist. I write for newspapers and news channels. Another partner of mine, Himanshu, is a professional wedding photographer. On the other hand, Yogesh works in an IT firm. We have another friend, Pranav, who works in a bank and handle our finances. So, we all our doing our work while also keeping this on one side.
Can you walk us through your journey so far?
So, we travel on two caravans. Even before these, we had an idea and that was to give this experience to people. Travelling in itself is an experience and when you add one more experience to it, the journey becomes even more memorable. Thankfully, we are still working on this idea to better the experience of travelling for people. So, I believe the entire community which includes hotels, homestays should work on the ecosystem. There have been times when people have not charged us for parking because they loved our idea. Hence, I hope that in the coming few years, caravan becomes a major mode of transportation.
Tell us how you designed your travellers? And the related challenges in setting it up?
Designing toilets has been a challenge for us because having a washroom inside is difficult when it comes to keeping it hygienic. Also, In India, we don't have ample resources for designing a caravan, unlike other countries, where you can find everything in one store.
So, here, we connected a portable toilet with a weight stand that we had beneath the van so that the toilet remains fixed inside the van. Otherwise, people would have to use the toilets and then clean them making it a tedious job for them while travelling. Apart from this, we had an exhaust fan in the stand as well, which ultimately, helped in keeping the bad smell immediately out of the van.
What according to you makes Carvaa Travelers stand out amongst other brands?
Thre are two things which are helping us take the edge amongst other brands. First is the affordability of the brand. We are working on such a model where we can redeem the cost and benefit travellers. Apart from that, we have everything to be qualified as a proper caravan.
However, instead of standing apart from other brands, we are trying to build a community so that we can soon have the caravan culture in India.
What are some challenges that you faced while running Carvaa Travelers?
Rather than calling them challenges, I would like to call them adventures. When you design a caravan on paper it seems easy but while making it you realize that it's not that easy. As I mentioned earlier also, resources are a major problem because we can not go and buy stuff from the supermarket to make a caravan. You actually need to do a lot of "jugaad" and adjustments for it. But after making the caravan, it becomes all smooth. So, now, when the caravans are running, there are no challenges but adventures.
For example, finding a place to park the van and have tea while looking at the sunset. If that's the preference of people, they can easily do it. However, there are times when people are worried about safe driving for which we have trained our drivers well for the road trips. Also, we do not keep hiring drivers but already have them and we pay them on the monthly basis.
How are you using Social Media to promote Carvaa Travelers?
Social media has been a wonderful friend. Especially, Instagram has been a blessing for us. If you are projecting your product or service in a very honest and very face-to-face way, it really works. This is what we do on our Instagram. We just put out the information as it is in a very simple way. I think this is the hack that we have cracked somehow. However, we are doing everything that we can do in terms of videos. Right now, we have just one video on our YouTube but we are trying to work on this platform. As of now, we are using our messages most simply on Instagram.
What is your 5-year plan for Carvaa Travelers?
Five years are too far to have a plan but yes, by the end of this year, we are planning on our event where we'll be meeting people to work on the customisation of the van according to their choices. Apart from that, our plan is just to make people travel and build a community. And, in the coming years, we definitely want to be a major service provider in our area.
Can you share your business model with us?
Our basic business model revolves around Social media only, particularly, Instagram. So, we are taking all the bookings from Instagram. However, we are also available on AirBNB, and Bookings.com. But till now, we have taken most of our bookings through Instagram and I really praise the platform for that because personally, I don't use my personal Instagram handle much.
Moreover, we always take the van for one day between trips so that it can go to the proper servicing to make people feel their homes in the van. We have a booking model so whenever people reach out to us we ask them for the dates and try to arrange the van accordingly. We shoot a mail to them and after a certain amount is delivered to us, we confirm the bookings.
As a traveller yourself, what is your ideal road trip idea? Favourite location so far?
The one I mentioned above, 'Bekariya'. It is 60 km away from Udaipur. It is a wonderful location and I totally mean it. Merely sitting there, you would love every moment. There is a tribal community that lives right there which doesn't leave a single chance to be kind to people.
For the ideal road trip location, I think, India is that one country which has everything beautiful. Every place is beautiful and is unique in its own way. Also, when you have your friends and your playlist, you can just go anywhere and feel the beauty of that place. It will look amazing!
How is working with friends? How do you not take professional decisions personally?
We are together from the first day of our college and hostel till today. So, I believe, if you have lived with someone in a boys hostel, you just cannot move them out of your life. And I have also lived with all three of them. So, after dealing with all difficulties in life together including breakups and other downs of college life, it has now become quite easy to segregate the personal and professional life.
So, we discuss among ourselves regarding decisions and take a step only when everyone is on the same page. And, we know each other so well that our personal lives have almost become one in which there is no scope of issues. Even if they occur, we deal with it together.
One advice/suggestion you’d like to give aspiring entrepreneurs out there.
I think, in a country like us, there are ample ideas that people have. But you should always keep in mind that you need to judge your idea from all possible angles. So, if you are offering a product or service, it should be clear in your head first. You should be clear about how are you going to manage the technicalities, finance, and all other things.
There is no doubt that even while working on the idea you will face many struggles but those are alright and you should be ready for that. This is what I have learned so far.