Interview: Rashmi Chadha, Founder of Wovoyage, a women-friendly travel startup


 

Rashmi Chadha is the Founder of Wovoyage, a women-friendly travel startup that aims to encourage women to travel the world while providing them with outstanding services at all times. Established in 2016, Wovoyage offers a variety of customizable packages to suit all traveling needs of travellers. The team members at Wovoyage have various areas of expertise in order to cover all of their clients’ travel needs.
 
Rashmi Chadha, Founder of Wovoyage
 

Rashmi did her schooling from DAV Public School, Rohini; Graduation in Journalism & Communication from GGSIP; and Masters in Social Entrepreneurship from Ambedkar University. However, she dropped out when her business plan got ready.

“I was not very bright in studies till 6th standard and spent most of my time playing sports like gully cricket, basketball, handball etc. My mom always supported me, guided me, and inspired me. I was so bad in studies that I had to repeat my 6th standard, and my juniors used to tease me and I was very unhappy with that. As I was good in sports, I became the first student who represented my school at nationals in two sports. That changed my life and I got tremendous support from my family, and sports coach Sanjeev Sharma Sir.”- Rashmi Chadha, Founder of Wovoyage


Later on, she won the “Best Sportsperson Award” at School for 6 consecutive years.
 
From a dull student to School National champion made the difference in her life back then.
In an exclusive email interaction with The Motiverge; Rashmi Chadha, Founder of Wovoyage tells more about the venture and future plans.
 
Excerpts:
1. Tell us more about Wovoyage. When and how it was established?
Wovoyage started in August 2016.
At Wovoyage, we are promoting incredible India and solving problems which foreigners face while travel in India specially females .Providing them safe and budget travel, we provide them female tour guides book female friendly hotels, stay connected 24/7 with them .
We also do book for domestic travel again when it comes to women we personalized it even getting bus tickets we get them front seats with lesser price they getting from any other online source .
I did my research into foreigners traveling to India specially females by conducting doing few tours as freelancer. I found that foreign female travellers really want to Travel India but they feel insecure and are reluctant to travel the most incredible country of the world. I felt that if I can reduce the risk and provide them with a fully secure tour then there is a business opportunity with loads of potential waiting to be explored.
So hence the name
Wovoyage = Women voyage
Trusted Travel Buddies
 
I believe this name has loads of power in it.
 
Another research shows that when foreigners/expats travel to india they want the tour to be conducted by a genuine company rather than 3rd party travel agencies who will sell of their business for a commission. Also women travellers feel comfortable with women guides.
 
So we create that women friendly customized packages, assign them expert women guides. For example a German lady wants to shop in Delhi, we assign them girl who knows German and is expert in shopping. It thus makes it safe and fearless travel for foreigners and at the same time empowers Indian women with employment. We were mostly online in early days but we just started a Women Friendly Travel Centre in New Delhi near Connaught Place, Its first of a kind female friendly travel centre in India. We are proud of it and we are going to change perception of travel companies in India.
 
There is big demand of Quality, Secure and risk free Travel in India by foreigners/expats and we are looking to deliver them to our clients as seamlessly as possible. They are more than happy to pay for such service without hassle as long as all that is promised is catered without compromising quality.
2. What was the biggest turning point in your life that changed your mind to become an entrepreneur?  
I have always been active in improving our society, encouraging people to keep their surroundings clean, talking about our country’s culture, food and helping people in need.
I had a big road accident in 2011 and I was admitted in ICU of a government hospital for 12 days.
My life was saved by best wishes of my well-wishers and full efforts of our best doctors. It took quite long to recover from this accident. I experienced the pain people go through, how deaf people feel, how blind people manage, so and so forth.
I started traveling as soon as I recovered and regularly used to perform “seva” at the Manikaran Gurudwara in Himachal Pradesh. There I used to accompany foreigners and tell them about Sikh culture and India.
 
I also started working with NGOs along with travelling and whilst doing that I was stuck with the idea of Wovoyage.
 
I felt that it’s my duty to improve my country’s image as India is really incredible as I was in a good position to effect positive change in people’s lives.
Here’s how Wovoyage was really founded.
 
Rashmi Chadha with Wovoyage Mascot
3. How big is your team?
 
We are 5 people working in operations and we have 37 freelancer women guides.
 
We prefer hiring female staff which suits the business model and at same time empowers Indian women with employment. We name them Super Guides
4. How Wovoyage helps travellers plan and book personalised trips at the best prices? How does it work?
We have some fixed packages which these travellers book online with having special option of female tour guides and women special hotels .we also book for people travelling in mix group or only women to offbeat places in India .when it comes to women if they want to travel in bus to hill station e.g. Delhi to Manali we get them front seats in luxury buses on lesser price than online bus ticket booking. We design budget package which people start going on weekends so they don’t have to go on different sites to book their travel like bus, hotel/hostel or their treks.
We specialise in Japanese travel and have office there, even backpack. Moreover, in Sri Lanka we have made senior women travel there, and we have strong presence in Bhutan, Singapore, Dubai, and Korea, among others.
 

5. What makes Wovoyage one-stop women-friendly travel platform?

It’s a very new industry and we are probably the first one to offer such kind of service. There was always a demand for a Female Friendly Travel Company (especially for foreigners).
 
  • We provide female guides who are specialised in some activities like German women wants to shop in India and fluent in German.
  • We provide them girl from NIFT who speaks German .so we helping both ways .
  • We stay 24/7 connected with them and assign manager.
  • We provide women special hostel/hotels.
  • We have also introduced car-pooling from Delhi to Agra budget-friendly one day trip where women from different countries and cities travel together.
  • We also work like travel consultant that helps women backpackers to plan their trip to Japan and travel on a budget and if they are vegetarians, we also help them with cities’ restaurants.

 

6. Have you raised funds so far? What are your future plans? 
We are bootstrapped, and looking to get seed funding to open up more Female Friendly Travel Centres across the country.
7. What keeps you going?
 
I am very happy with how the Wovoyage idea has taken shape. I have learnt that experience is bigger than any academic qualification, you meet new people with similar mindset, you meet new people with entirely different mindset, but those who are motivated , influenced with your idea will definitely join along.
8. What are your messages for budding entrepreneurs/young generation?
 
First of all, find what you good at.
Secondly, do what you good at.
Success will be yours.
That’s how I did it.
 

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