Welcome to our new member – goStops
Interview with Pallavi Agarwal, Co-founder and CEO
Tell us your story. How did goStops get started?
On a backpacking trip to Eastern Europe in 2012, myself and Pankaj, my co-founder, stayed at hostels and discovered that there wasn’t any hospitality offering back in India that focussed on creating a youthful social atmosphere. We decided at that point to take the onus upon ourselves.
What makes goStops different from your competitors?
I believe our commitment to the idea and our willingness to go the extra mile, without shying away from getting our hands dirty, is the key differentiator. We lease, manage, and franchise real estate assets, which we design, transform, market, sell, and operate as youth hostels in locations where young people travel for business or leisure.
What is your favourite success story from your organisation?
The fact that we grew to 13 cities across India whilst being completely bootstrapped is a success story that I cherish.
What can we expect to see from goStops in the future?
We have just raised our first round of institutional funding from eminent angel investors. We intend to expand our presence across Indian sub-continent and double our bed capacity within the next 12 months. We also plan to utilise these funds to enhance our product offering through investments in technology and training, adding new revenue streams, strengthening our marketing and building a team to handle the next phase of growth that lies ahead. The 370 million strong and growing youth population in India is beginning to achieve financial independence, to travel even more and have aspirations fuelled by social media, and all this with limited access. We intend to serve this need gap with our branded hostels at the intersection of affordable lodging and experiential travel.
Which trends do you see in educational and active youth travel?
Indian youth is travelling more for the sake of gathering experiences. Alternate accommodation market in India is growing faster than the global alternate accommodation market, including hostels, fueled by the increase in travel amongst the Indian youth.
The idea of ownership is nebulous amongst the millennials and even more so amongst Gen Z, leading to very interesting forms of shared spaces and assets – coworking, co-living, hostels and gig economy.
Young people are looking for brands/ partners who have the same value systems as them. Some issues that are important to them are sustainable tourism, eco-friendly accommodation, gender equality, LGBTQ friendly etc. Brands today have to do more on these issues than just lip service and have to imbibe these values in the way business is done on a day-to-day basis
How do you work to ensure the health and safety of young travellers involved with goStops?
We take multiple measures to ensure the health and safety of young travellers staying with us at goStops. We give a lot of attention to basic security infrastructure such as CCTV at all our hostels, lockers in dorms, 24×7 active staffing and checks. We continuously work to improvise our standard operating procedures to mitigate any security risks that we may find relevant in our assessment from time to time. We implement several trainings amongst our staff to ensure we follow best practices in fire safety, first aid safety, health and hygiene safety and standards.
What was your motivation to join WYSE Travel Confederation?
Our motivation to join WYSE Travel Confederation is to trade, learn best practices, share India’s story and raise interest in the opportunities in India.
What is an industry challenge your organisation is facing currently?
Our biggest industry challenge is to constantly learn the rapidly evolving likes, dislikes and aspirations of the 370 million Indian youth population and tailor our product accordingly, and with agility.
Travel, Live & Work for 350mn+ youth in India is undergoing rapid transformation to fill the wide access-aspiration gap, and goStops aims to fill that gap through a vertically integrated youth travel and living spaces brand.
Membership: WYSE Travel Confederation Full Member
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