Home Inspirational Need To Volunteer? Startup Connects Homestay Homeowners With Expert Travellers

Need To Volunteer? Startup Connects Homestay Homeowners With Expert Travellers

Need To Volunteer? Startup Connects Homestay Homeowners With Expert Travellers


Because the tallest statue on the planet, the Statue of Unity has welcomed lakhs of tourists since its inauguration. Roughly 25 km away from this towering presence is the quaint city of Rajpipla. Situated close to the Narmada River, this once-princely state was the capital of the previous Kingdom of Rajpipla.

“Residence to a number of royal palaces, waterfalls, and wealthy cultural heritage, it is among the hidden gems of Gujarat,” resident Ghanshyam Barot tells The Higher India.

To faucet into the rising tourism alternatives within the area, Ghanshyam opened ‘Rover Keep’ — a budget-friendly hostel with a rooftop kitchen within the royal city. “However sadly, a lot of the vacationers would solely go to the Statue of Unity and never come to Rajpipla, despite the fact that the city is roughly 20 minutes drive from the place,” provides the 38-year-old.

Ghanshyam tried completely different strategies to extend the variety of company visiting his hostel — from creating an Instagram web page to repeatedly posting content material to attract consideration. “However nothing labored,” he says.

In 2021, Ghanshyam opened ‘Rover Stay’ — a budget-friendly hostel with a rooftop kitchen in the royal town.
In 2021, Ghanshyam opened ‘Rover Keep’ — a budget-friendly hostel with a rooftop kitchen in Rajpipla, Gujarat.

Almost eight months again, he got here in touch with Delhi-based startup ‘Volunteer Yatra’, which helped him develop his enterprise.

“Their staff helped us file good high quality content material utilizing drones and charming movies highlighting native tradition and meals. As well as, they embellished the property utilizing murals on partitions and inventive maps,” says Ghanshyam.

This boosted his followers from 400 to over 1,000, which in flip elevated the variety of guests visiting his hostel; thereby rising his revenue by 20 p.c. “Folks have began discovering us on social media. Now, we welcome 60 to 70 company in a month, which was earlier 20 to 30,” he says.

Like different rural residents, Ghanshyam may have moved to the town for higher job alternatives, however he wished to remain within the village. And because of Volunteer Yatra, he was in a position to run a thriving enterprise whereas being rooted in his village.

The Higher India bought in contact with Aakash Maan, the co-founder of Volunteer Yatra, to understand how he’s tapping into volunteer tourism to assist small companies flourish and stop rural migration.

Aakash, primarily based in Delhi, possesses experience in advertising and marketing, filmmaking, and images. His ardour for entrepreneurship ignited throughout his faculty years, main him to enterprise into enterprise. In 2018, he made the daring determination to drop out of engineering faculty and set up his personal manufacturing firm.

Volunteer Yatra taps into volunteer tourism to help small businesses flourish and prevent rural migration.
Volunteer Yatra faucets into volunteer tourism to assist small companies flourish and stop rural migration.

“As soon as, whereas engaged on a movie on local weather change, I realised the potential hurt that forces rural communities emigrate to cities for work leaving their properties behind. After the movie was launched, I made a decision to give attention to action-oriented work,” he tells The Higher India.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Aakash obtained a name from a buddy in Himachal that helped him realise his true calling.

“My buddy used to run a homestay however this enterprise was adversely affected amid the lockdown. He was in excessive losses and didn’t even have cash to rearrange two sq. meals for his household. He requested for my assist in advertising and marketing options,” remembers Aakash.

“It took us two months to attract vacationers to his homestay. In three months, he began incomes as much as Rs 50,000 a month. He was so glad that he provided me to go to him anytime and keep so long as I wished,” he provides.

“This gave me the concept to collaborate with related small companies and supply them with the help of expert volunteers, who in flip will get alternatives to discover offbeat locations at no cost,” says Aakash.

After practically six months of analysis, Aakash alongside together with his brother Karunesh Maan and Rakshit Kumar launched Volunteer Yatra in 2021.

A win-win for volunteers and communities

Volunteers help hosts record good quality content, optimise social media, decorate property using murals on walls, and much more.
Volunteers assist hosts file good high quality content material, optimise social media, enhance property utilizing murals on partitions, and rather more.

Explaining how the platform works, Aakash says, “These small companies are depending on journey brokers to draw vacationers. As they can not afford expert advertising and marketing consultants and content material creators to advertise their works, we shortlisted volunteers to deal with this hole.”

After creating the best advertising and marketing methods, Aakash assigns volunteers from various backgrounds to go to small enterprise homeowners. “Throughout their transient on-site journey, they help them in selling their work by means of content material creation, graphic designing, optimising social media, creating murals on partitions, connecting with proper companions, and rather more,” he provides.

“Most of those volunteers are freelancers, on sabbatical, or these working from residence. This additionally permits them to embark on significant journeys whereas they save on lodging and meals bills and contribute to group growth,” says Aakash.

Up to now, Aakash and his staff have established a military of two,000 lively volunteers who collaborate with hosts for a interval of six months to 1 12 months. Up to now, these volunteers have assisted 170 hosts — largely hostels, homestays, and self-help teams — throughout the nation in states like Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir, Goa, and Sikkim.

Certainly one of their volunteers, Prem Suraj Tenkar moved to Rajpipla to help Ghanshyam in content material creation and optimise social media. It has been greater than 40 days since he arrived within the city.

Aakash and his team have established an army of 2,000 active volunteers who have assisted 170 hosts so far.
Aakash and his staff have established a military of two,000 lively volunteers who’ve assisted 170 hosts thus far.

Sharing his expertise, he tells The Higher India, “After I got here to Rover Keep hostel, I used to be their solely visitor for the following 15 days. Utilizing my cinematic and storytelling abilities, I recorded distinctive content material in regards to the area to draw vacationers to Ghanshyam’s hostel. We additionally embellished domes utilizing wall murals. All of my reels have crossed greater than 40,000 views on Instagram. We at the moment are engaged on a YouTube collection to additional entice vacationers.”

Whereas the enterprise noticed progress after 25 days, for Prem, this expertise has been extraordinarily enriching personally. “After working within the company sector for seven years in Bengaluru, I stop my job to journey. As a solo traveller, finances is all the time a constraint. However volunteering not solely helped me use my abilities for group growth but in addition to pursue my ardour. It was extraordinarily rewarding to discover Rajpipla on my bike and file its scenic magnificence on my GoPro and drone. I’ve explored the place greater than I used to be anticipating,” he provides.

To maintain the for-profit enterprise, Aakash fees an annual price of Rs 2,000 from volunteers. Whereas he fees Rs 5,000 monthly from revenue-generating companies, he claims to take no price from non-profits and low-income companies comparable to Ghanshyam’s.

“As an entrepreneur, usually I’m the final particular person to attract a wage or typically I don’t receives a commission for months. It’s robust. However our aim is to develop stronger and maintain going with each impactful mission that we do,” he shares.

Speaking about making a optimistic distinction by means of volunteer tourism, Aakash says, “Volunteer Yatra is rather more than a volunteering platform. We, as a staff, have solved the organisational issues of our hosts in probably the most inexpensive manner. Certainly one of our hosts may pay for his son’s tuition price as his enterprise took off after connecting with us,”

“Now we have skilled so many tales already, with many extra to come back,” remarks Aakash.

(Edited by Pranita Bhat; All pictures: Volunteer Yatra)



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