Trift seeks to connect cultures and break myths and perceptions on travel industry

Every one of us has faced it at some point in time. Hearing stories about a tourist destination and travelling there to see a completely different perspective.

Travellers of today no longer want to just check and click destinations and cover three of four cities in just four days and, at the same time, keep away from cheap deals as it takes away the quality.

Instead, they [travellers] want to immerse themselves in places and cultures they visit and make their trips more memorable.

Tarun Krishna, CDO and Co-founder of travel start-up Trift, told TechRadar Middle East, that travellers are very much curious and price-sensitive and they seek curated and personalised experiences in the digital era.

“The unconventional travel is considered to be a myth when it comes to travel due to how the media or the news portrays about a particular place. But the actual travellers who have been to a particular place have a completely different opinion. It is not the place but the people and experience that matters most,” he said.

Moreover, he said the problem is that the local community people are not getting exposed to the outer world because most of them are under tourist traps.

“There is one set of standard things you do when you are on a destination. But there is a whole side to a tourist spot where only the local people in the country can explain to a traveller and that is exactly what we found out,” Krishna said.

Local tour operators and local businesses that don’t get exposed to these audiences are running out of jobs and business very quickly, he said.

“If travellers search for what to do in a place, the local tour operators will not get the visibility and the search is monetised by big players in the first two to three homepages,” he said.

According to statistics, more than 800 travel agencies got shut down in 2018 in London.

However, he said that the good thing is that the people are changing and they want to impact the communities, especially the local communities, they visit and that is what is known as ‘conscious travel’.

Conscious travellers want to add value to the places they visit and get the authentic stories and taste and “what we are trying to do is solve this pain point,” he said.

Discovering inspirational trip itineraries

Trift wants to be a marketplace that connects local tour operators and local business through local influencers or travel creators.

The company’s name came after the Trift Bridge, a pedestrian-only suspension bridge, in the Swiss Alps.

“We are the bridge connecting cultures and breaking myths and perceptions. We discover inspirational trip itineraries designed by travellers,” he said.

Trift, right now, is a content platform for local travel influencers to publish their experience for their audiences on the website.

“With the influencers, engagement plays a crucial factor and we connect people to influencers who have high engagement ratio. We look for influencers who have followers of less than 100,000 or 200,000 but have high engagement rates,” he said.

Trift was started in 2018 through Techstars Startup Weekend RAK and has won numerous awards such as from Intelak Incubator, Hitec Dubai, Innovest Pitch Day, Hitec Spain and Gitex Future Stars.

Krishna said the big break came when they got invited by an Irish-based accelerator Propeller Shannon (by Boeing, IAA, Enterprise Ireland and Datalex) Cohort 2 in Ireland in 2019 and won a Seed round of $50,000.

The start-up has a desk in Dubai but it is registered in Ireland.

Krishna said that Trift will be turned into a booking platform by the second or third quarter of this year.

“We want to multiply our content platform in the next three to four months,” he said.

“We are trying to capture the niche market when Airbnb Adventures, Airbnb Experiences or Flash Pack are migrating towards the experience industry or conscious travel industry. We want to get there early and the influencers help their audiences know our brand and that is how we are looking to scale up as well. We are bringing hidden parts of the world to light at a much lesser cost,” he said.

Quoting certain reports, he said that 62% of the millennials want to have some sort of conscious travel. “Gen Z or millennials are the ones who are open to booking towards experiences,” he added.

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