India is travelling! And travelling like never before! The success of various online and offline travel related businesses is an evidence of this. And as the explorer within the Indian is awakening so is the market that caters to the needs of the large middle class Indian population. Stayzilla, one of India’s largest online “Stay” marketplaces, caters to the “budget and value” accommodation needs of this middleclass Indian explorer.
Started in 2005, Stayzilla today has 16,000+ registered properties in 1100+ towns and cities across the length & breadth of India and a portfolio that includes all manner of Stay categories ranging from hotels, lodges, homestays, jungle lodges, guest houses and alternative stay options.
“There are approximately 3,00,000 Room Nights which get booked every day in the budget & value segment in India (3 star & below). Of which the top 4 players – Stayzilla, Makemytrip, Cleartrip and Yatra in that sequence contribute less than 0.3%. So the unaddressed market opportunity is almost 99%, enormous – Almost 3,00,000. Rns/ day.We have not even begun to scratch the surface” says Yogendra Vasupal, CEO & Founder- Stayzilla.
After extensive travel across the country and a complete understanding of the ‘value & budget’ segment, Sachit, Rupal and Yogendra decided to start Stayzilla.com in August 2005. They tried and tested different industry segments, but it was the ‘value & budget’ segment that got them excited and thus Stayzilla.com was born.
Yogendra Vasupal, CEO & Founder of Stayzilla, dropped out of engineering from Anna University to start a career at the age of 19. His interest with ecommerce began to deepen and he finally decided to start an ecommerce project on his own, which would help tourists with hotel accommodations all over India. This decision led to the inception of Stayzilla.com. Sachit Singhi, is the Director-Partnerships at Stayzilla and takes care of daily operations of the company dealing with supplier relations, business development, marketing and partnerships on the demand side which includes online portals, travel agents, corporates, etc. A computer science engineer with an MBA degree from ICFAI B-School, Hyderabad, Sachit was working with a Tata Company for three years in their business development and corporate planning team before he decided to join Stayzilla. Ms Rupal Surana is the Chief Operating Officer at Stayzilla and handles the everyday activities of the company like customer service, payment processing, etc. Rupal is a software engineer by qualification, she worked in an IT company before co-founding Stayzilla as their Chief Operating Officer. A complete veteran when it comes to decision making, the initial years of the company saw Rupal approach several budget hotels all across the country bringing them online, adding business value.
With superior people, processes and technology aspects at work the company is keen on offering a wholesome customer experience in addition to driving incremental volumes for small hotel businesses. The company offers a unique customer service process of ‘assisted check-in’ to ensure a simplified and enriched experience even in the smallest of hotels and towns. Stayzilla.com also has a lot of interesting payment options which enable customers to book rooms with an advance or even split payment among three different cards, suiting the needs of the budget traveler.
Headquartered in Chennai, the company employs 300 people and has turnover of about 30 crores. Till now, Stayzilla has received 2 rounds of funding – 0.5 Million USD from the Indian Angel Network (May 2012) and an undisclosed amount in series A funding from Matrix Partners in October 2013. The company is looking to allocate recent round of funding towards marketing & brand building, technology infrastructure upgrades, website enhancements & in hiring the right talent. Stayzilla is also expanding and setting up a new office in Bangalore.