Srinath Shankar, Hari Ganapathy Help Pick Your Path and Leave a Trail
CHENNAI: No one wants their holiday to be dictated by a fixed itinerary and with a travel guide breathing down their backs, clicking his tongue and looking at the time. It’s a vacation after all, not a school trip. Hearing similar statements from many travellers, two friends, Srinath Shankar and Hari Ganapathy, brainstormed about creating a travel agency that can gives people the freedom to set their own schedules — Pick Your Trail.
“How do you make sure you do everything you want to and at the same time are assured that someone will take care of you in case things go wrong? In May 2013 we were dabbling with this idea and in January 2014, we launched it,” says Hari, sitting across us with Srinath, at their office.
Let’s break it down to understand their concept better. Initially, all you need to do is fill in details like how many days you would like to spend, your budget, and area of interest. The team then sends you a few itineraries that you may manually tweak by deleting things you don’t want to do, and extending the time spent at a particular event.
“These set schedules — about 1,000 to 1,500, were built over a period of two years through customer feedback. We also have destination experts who help us and our partners back in other countries. So once our client has chosen and edited their itinerary, we take it to the next step,” says Srinath.
An interesting bit of technology they introduced was a Travel Genie app. You get your login id for the trip and it serves as your e-guide. “Your entire schedule can be viewed through it and notifications pop up as reminders. The best part is our chat option. You needn’t bother to call us, just send a text in case of a problem, a change in schedule, an upgrade, or even if you want to surprise your husband,” says Hari, and adds that they use technology wherever possible to improve their efficiency.
With strong tie-ups and networks in all continents, they give you the freedom to have flexible plans. For a trip to Sri Lanka or Bali, they even provide a local sim card. “Across 115 reviews on Facebook, our rating is 4.5. Customer happiness is one of the major criterion. They love the fact that they get to personalise their schedules,” they say.
Srinath and Hari may not have succeeded if not for their love for travel and exploration. For instance, Hari has a goal of visiting 30 countries (five more to go) by the time he turns 30, which is only a few months away.
Talking more about their love for biking and solo trips, we asked Srinath to share his opinion on what makes solo trips so wonderful. He says, “I started travelling when I was 23. I purchased a Royal Enfield and began my journey to Ladakh, for 10 days. Well, I fell in love, not just with the place but with the thrill of the journey itself. So when you ask me why solo trips are crazy fun, I have to say it’s for the new people of different cultures whom you meet on the road and at your destination.”
Hari and Srinath say that in the end, it’s all about making a memorable trip. Plan your trip exactly the way you want it at www.pickyourtrail.com.