Home Inspiartional 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. Positioned close to the Narmada River, this once-princely state was the capital of the previous Kingdom of Rajpipla.

“Dwelling 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, many 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 friends visiting his hostel — from creating an Instagram web page to recurrently 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.

Practically eight months again, he got here involved with Delhi-based startup ‘Volunteer Yatra’, which helped him broaden his enterprise.

“Their group helped us file good high quality content material utilizing drones and fascinating 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 growing his revenue by 20 %. “Individuals have began discovering us on social media. Now, we welcome 60 to 70 friends in a month, which was earlier 20 to 30,” he says.

Like different rural residents, Ghanshyam might have moved to 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 acquired in contact with Aakash Maan, the co-founder of Volunteer Yatra, to know the way he’s tapping into volunteer tourism to assist small companies flourish and forestall rural migration.

Aakash, primarily based in Delhi, possesses experience in advertising, filmmaking, and images. His ardour for entrepreneurship ignited throughout his school years, main him to enterprise into enterprise. In 2018, he made the daring choice to drop out of engineering school 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 forestall 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 good friend in Himachal that helped him realise his true calling.

“My good friend 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 options,” recollects 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 completely satisfied that he supplied 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 along 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, embellish property utilizing murals on partitions, and way 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 specialists and content material creators to advertise their works, we shortlisted volunteers to deal with this hole.”

After creating the appropriate advertising 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 way of content material creation, graphic designing, optimising social media, creating murals on partitions, connecting with proper companions, and way more,” he provides.

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

To this point, Aakash and his group have established a military of two,000 lively volunteers who collaborate with hosts for a interval of six months to at least one yr. To this point, 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.

One in every 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 group have established a military of two,000 lively volunteers who’ve assisted 170 hosts to this point.

Sharing his expertise, he tells The Higher India, “Once I got here to Rover Keep hostel, I used to be their solely visitor for the subsequent 15 days. Utilizing my cinematic and storytelling expertise, 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 are actually engaged on a YouTube collection to additional appeal to 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 give up my job to journey. As a solo traveller, price range is all the time a constraint. However volunteering not solely helped me use my expertise for group improvement but additionally 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 prices an annual price of Rs 2,000 from volunteers. Whereas he prices Rs 5,000 per thirty days from revenue-generating companies, he claims to take no price from non-profits and low-income companies reminiscent of Ghanshyam’s.

“As an entrepreneur, typically I’m the final individual to attract a wage or generally 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 constructive distinction by way of volunteer tourism, Aakash says, “Volunteer Yatra is way more than a volunteering platform. We, as a group, have solved the organisational issues of our hosts in essentially the most inexpensive approach. One in every of our hosts might pay for his son’s tuition price as his enterprise took off after connecting with us,”

“We’ve 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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