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HELLO I'M HUSNAIN MINAWALA|WELCOME TO MY BLOG|Tech is my interest, lifestyle is my dedication and travel is my plan. |I'blog about all three as I look out at the Dubai skyline.

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Passion drives success!

GUEST POST : FATIMA NAQVI - HEAD OF PR -JOVAGO


Pakistan is a developing country, and there is a lot of room for growth. To encourage

young entrepreneurs to start their own businesses, I will share my own personal

anecdote of working at Jovago.com, a startup formed in May 2014 to improve the

tourism industry of Pakistan.

When Jovago.com was formed, the concept of booking hotels online (in Pakistan) was

not common. The average Pakistani has access to the internet, but doesn’t trust it.

There were a lot of reservations and questions raised regarding online payments, how

Jovago.com could be trusted with credit card information, if the hotel is actually

legitimate and so on. Instead of feeling overwhelmed with these problems, our team

decided to tackle each problem one by one, and to go ahead with the business strategy

before boggling down with the issues.

First and foremost, we needed to add hotels and guest houses to our online database.

To do so, we had to visit our potential clients and educate them about Jovago. A sales

team was formed, who went out and visited different hotels and guest houses located all

over Pakistan and personally educated them about what we do. Once they learned

about us, and our services (which they didn’t have to pay for), they instantly agreed to

sign up with us. This process is still ongoing as there are so many hotels and guest

houses in Pakistan, and so many different cities that our portfolio on our website is

constantly being updated. Currently we have successfully uploaded 1600 hotels and

guest houses spread across 150 cities of Pakistan – more places than any travel agent

can offer you and in all locations, rural and urban.


Secondly, because we were new we faced issues regarding credibility. How do we

convince users that we are a credible source and they should book through us? For

this, we needed to encourage people to use our website and give reviews for future

customers. The task to change consumer’s mindsets from replacing travel agents with

an online agent was definitely a struggle. However, thanks to our motivated team, we

made this possible. When we made our first booking, there was a celebration in our

office, and it further encouraged us that we had the right business model so could not

give up right now. Slowly, as more and more people learned about us, the number of

bookings done through our website also increased. To further add credibility to our

website, we encouraged all customers to write reviews (positive or negative – we

upload them all!), and also sent our teams out to take real life pictures of the places on

our website (Jovago doesn’t believe in Photoshop). Furthermore, our teams would

personally fill out forms when visiting these places to add to our website – we have a

standardized ‘facilities and amenities’ form which is an accurate representation of our

portfolio, so what you see is what you get.


Still a startup we are constantly looking to grow and evolve. Yes, selling the business

idea and generating leads is still a challenge but that goes hand in hand with every

startup. What matters is the team we have is extremely dedicated, and strongly believes

in Jovago’s business idea. We are not only trying to reinvent the tourism industry in

Pakistan, but are also trying to provide a platform for small hotel and guesthouse

owners to showcase their businesses, which will help improve the overall economy of

Pakistan, as more tourism means more money entering our market. Jovago.com wants

to make travel possible for all, and therefore on our website we have places starting

from PKR 250 per night to PKR 250,000 per night. By providing people with so many

options, we hope to encourage them to travel because if done right travel is affordable.

The reason I chose to share my personal experience with Jovago.com is to show to

readers that anything is possible. As I learned at TieCon, when businesses are not

seeing growth they usually give up but they shouldn’t! It takes years to start making

profit and constant efforts. Yes, it is definitely a risk and is scary, but if you have the

right team, and strongly do believe in your business idea, the chances of success are

very high.

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