B2B platform for rural India

Actor Sonu Sood has launched a new travel venture for the trade fraternity located in smaller cities of India that claims to offer easy booking and refund options for flights, hotels, trains and buses at zero investment.

Hazel Jain

Bollywood actor Sonu Sood has launched a travel-tech business venture to digitally empower and build a travel agent business community in smaller cities and rural areas of India. Called Travel Union, the platform is an assisted travel business brand for rural India to support small business owners. It has a mobile application as well as a web portal. It aims to be a one-stop shop for all travel businesses and agents across India’s hinterlands,
offering vast inventory, competitive prices, and state-of-the-art technology.

During the launch, Sood urged the trade to become a Travel Union member. The company claims it will democratise travel services by providing a platform to Travel Union members to serve travel needs of rural customers at a district, block and gram panchayat level.

The travel sector at the rural level has been largely unorganised with no player focusing on the needs of Indians in tier II towns and villages. Travel Union addresses this need of rural travel agents, small business owners and enterprises, the primary one being the absence of travel-tech platforms designed for rural travel at the core.

Sood says, “During the lockdowns, I had first-hand experience of the challenges that rural Indians face when it comes to travel as well as the struggles of small business owners. The lack of tailored offerings catering to the needs of Bharat and addressing digital needs of rural citizens stayed with me. In fact, currently rural consumers have no option to pre-plan their travel and have to run to multiple operators for different kinds of travel needs. I envisioned Travel Union so that we can remove all barriers to travel and give an entrepreneurial opportunity to anyone in the nation who wants to start a career in travel industry. Travel Union, a B2B travel tech platform catering to rural travel agents, is an important initiative that enables them to provide the best of travel offerings to their localities. It can be an additional source of income for existing rural entrepreneurs or a building block for aspiring ones. While I have already taken steps to offer employment opportunities to Indian youth, Travel Union furthers my dream of bringing self-employment opportunities to the hinterlands of India, so the rural youth can develop their local economies without having to migrate to urban cities. With Travel Union we are taking yet another big step towards enabling self-reliance among the rural population in India and building a truly digital Bharat.”

Travel Union is presently available in English and Hindi. It is soon to be launched in 11 more Indian languages. New and upcoming offerings on the platform also include domestic and international holiday packages, visa services, Forex services as well as travel accessories. The platform will give access to all trains operating in India through IRCTC, over 500 domestic and international flights, 10,000-plus bus operators and 10 lakh-plus hotels to its members and consumers. It also offers the lowest IRCTC agent ID purchase cost.

 

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