Traveling as a senior means freedom. There’s more money in the budget as well as time to travel. Seniors that are already retired (or working flexible jobs), have the option to extend travel; it’s all about freedom of choice. They can book a big multi-stop trip that lasts weeks, months, or even years, and coordinate plans to meet their families (and grandchildren) on a stopover somewhere warm (Bali, maybe?) for the holidays.
Rick Steves said it best in his piece on “Savvy Seniors” when he proclaimed “Travel is a fountain of youth”. Because if anything will keep you young, it will only be you venturing out into the world on a regular basis.
‘Bucket My List’, is an exclusive boutique travel company catering especially to the young at heart 50+ age group. It offers a holiday experience with activities and adventures suitable for senior travelers making these trips personalized, experiential and participative. These holidays tread the off-beaten path and are very experiential in nature, with emphasis on extreme localization, which discerning travelers would appreciate. Tailor made journeys and unmatched services includes places which they themselves have experienced and believe those to be truly unique. They ensure that there are no negative surprises from an expectation standpoint.
Lets meet Shivali Bhargava, the dynamic founder of ‘Bucket My List’ and see how she roped into the idea and what is her venture offering to the people in their golden age.
1. What is the Name of Your Venture? Any specific reason for this name?
Hooting Owls Pvt. Ltd. is the company name and Bucket My List is our brand. The portal name is bucketmylist.in.
It’s all about empowering the senior traveler with flexibility of choices and help them fulfil their Travel Bucket List with ‘Bucket My List’
2. Who is your target Audience/clients?
We cater to the high end segment of mature travelers (aged 50+) who intend to have offbeat tours and are willing to go the extra mile when they are touring a particular destination.
3. Where is your venture based (city, state, country) & what are your geographical target areas?
We are based out of Gurgaon, Haryana.
Target Geographical area is across India with a focus on Tier 1 cities, specifically metropolitan cities such as Delhi NCR, Mumbai and Bangalore.
4.What problems does your venture resolve? What are your products or services?
We often fret about the variables that could go wrong when our parents travel overseas and mostly owing to work/personal commitments we are unable to travel with them most of the time. ‘Bucket My List’, being an exclusive boutique travel company catering especially to the young at heart 50+ age group, tries to plug that gap by ensuring that your parents or loved ones are in safe hands with someone who knows the terrain well – speak their language – is well aware of their cultural and religious values and is their man Friday for anything and everything that they may need from start till the end.
Secondly, we endeavor to segment the tours basis the interests of the group which ensures like- minded lot to travel together. This leads to good bonding during the trip and building new friendships. Also these holidays tread the off beaten path and are very experiential in nature, with emphasis on extreme localization, which discerning travelers would appreciate.
Thirdly and most critical is the fact that the tours designed by us have places which we ourselves have experienced and believe those to be truly unique. We ensure that there are no negative surprises from an expectation standpoint.
We are excited to share a snapshot of our services below:
ESCORTED GROUP TOURS – Bond with a friendly group of 16 like-minded travelers over a glass of wine or lemonade. Share stories and create relationships in the company of a friendly tour escort and a local guide, who are trained to take special care of your comfort and needs.
PRIVATE TOURS – We design tours for small, private groups with minimum 2 guests. You have your own driver and everything is organized according to your likes and dislikes.
EXPERIENCE – Our niche – out of the world ‘bucket list’ experience is an absolute must do for those seeking a once in a lifetime memory. It doesn’t matter if you’re craving adventure, relaxation, creative activities or culinary travel, we will make sure you complete your bucket list with our top of the line specialized suppliers!
5. Share the idea or story behind the venture. How did it came to an existence? What motivated you to start your own venture?
Being a passionate traveler more than a travel industry veteran, this passion of mine led me to start my own outfit, catering to the 50+ people looking at quality holidays around the world. Understanding how little has been done about the seniors in this country, I realized it has to be run as a business in order to sustain it. Thereafter with a lot of heart and passion, ‘Bucket My List’ came into existence.
I was always worried over logistics, safety, food, language etc. when my parents would travel overseas, it wasn’t possible for me to accompany them everywhere and then I realized that there are several others in the same boat. If there’s a venture with exclusive and premium offerings and an escort who could take care of these people like their own children would, it would be a scalable model that would meet the unmet demand of all people like me.
We also realized of a lacuna in this space for senior travelers who did not want the regular cookie cutter holidays. Hence, the focus has always been on experiential Tour with emphasis on extreme localization so as to get the real flavor of the country. With personalized customer service from the planning stage to the actual trip itself, we ensure that each guest of ours is treated with special care by our handpicked suppliers across the globe. Hotel and activity selection is also based keeping in mind the pace of our travelers so they enjoy their travel to the fullest with us taking care of them.
6.Who are your biggest competitors and how do you differentiate yourself from them?
We differentiate ourselves by practicing the following USP’s:
–Personalized Tour packages uniquely designed for travelers that are interested not only in sightseeing, but as well in local culture and people
–A small group (not bigger than 16 travelers) of like-minded people where every single traveler is treated with personal approach.
–24/7 support from a professional, knowledgeable, and friendly BucketmyList escort (from India) overseeing every detail of the BucketmyList vacation, from start to finish
–We inform on difficulty level, accessibility of different facilities and medical fitness requirements to all interested travelers, so that they can take an informed decision to join our tours.
–We do not travel to destinations or sightseeing places which are too difficult for elders or need hours of walk on uneven surface. Also, we do not stay in places which are too far from medical facilities.
–All our trips include unique activities to enable active and social participation of travelers. Itineraries are easy-going and allows travelers to take halts for photography and get more local experience.
7.How did you identify your co-founder? Tell us some thing about your co-founder/s
We do not have any Co-founder.
8.How did you hired your first team members? What skills Do you want in your employees/team?
We hired our first team member from a job portal.
The skill set that we see while hiring people is broader vision and hard work. Along with that the most important quality that we look for is adaptability to work in startups by applying knowledge and skills.
9.What expansion plans are you looking for the next 2 years, next 5 years?
We plan to add more geographies over a period of time namely Latin America and Oceania. We are not in the game of cookie cutter holidays and believe that we truly are able to differentiate ourselves from the rest of the pack by what we bring on to the table.
10.Where do you want to see yourself in next 10 years?
We want to become an Indian travel company of global repute that creates an innovative and intelligent solution for seniors making booking a transparent, self-reliant and enjoyable experience.
11.What are your goals over the next 1, 3, 6 and 12 months?
Setting processes in place for smooth operations, and setting foundations for rapid scale.
12.Have you raised any funding? Or have any plans for the funding?
We have set landmarks and internal targets; shall seek funding once we meet those. Currently, we are happy bootstrapping.
13.What were the problems you faced during the starting days and how did you resolve them?
Working capital and work-life balance were the only problems, but within 4 months everything fell in place.
14.What was the most challenging part of your journey till now? How did you overcome those challenges?
One of the toughest things about any business is getting the right people to work with you, and managing people to perform their best. Hiring the right people can make all the difference.
15.Are you married, single or in a relationship?
16.What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
When I am not working, I prefer to network and spend time with family and friends.
17.Whats your favorite food & holiday destination?
I love Indian food and I am yet to discover my favorite holiday destination
18.Whom do you consider your idol or biggest motivator?
My parents have been my biggest motivator, constantly pushing me to pursue my dreams.
19.What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
You can’t be a successful entrepreneur if you have not worked for someone else; that is how you learn to be humble and disciplined. However in the long run if you want to make a difference and leave a mark, then entrepreneurship is the best option.
20.If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
I am happy with what I have achieved so far, so don’t think I would do anything different.
21.How has being an entrepreneur affected your family & Social life?
Maintaining work life balance is the toughest thing to do when you are starting out. We are still trying to get things right, but it’s a long journey ahead. However, multitasking has helped me maximize time and productivity.
22.Anything, you would like to say to our readers or upcoming entrepreneurs?
Recognize your weakness and focus on your strengths.
23.Tell us something about your education & family background.
I come from a Business family and have been a marketing professional for the last 16 years.
I did my Schooling from Air Force Golden Jubilee, Delhi and thereafter did my MBA from Indian Institute of Foreign Trade.
24.What is your USP which makes it unique & different from other start-ups in similar domains.
We offer an experience with activities and adventures suitable for mature travelers and Sr. citizens making their holidays personalized, experiential and participative.
25. What do you think is the biggest threat to the success of small businesses & Start-ups today?
Cash flow is arguably the greatest hurdle when running a small business. Common cash flow management mistakes include overestimating future sales, failure to bring in the money owed by customers and over spending.
26. Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?
We follow some key metrics of assessing our success so far. Thankfully with the feedback of our clients and faith they have entrusted in us we have been successfully able to achieve the desired results.
27.Please share complete name, address, phone number, email id & website of Your Business & Contact Person
Registered Address: Plot no. 1886, Sector 23, Gurgaon, Haryana
+91 8377 8377 78
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