Today, we have the honour of interviewing the co-founders, Anoop Goyal and Prakash Sikchi of Inspirock. They will be sharing their story with us and what their exciting trip planning service is about.
Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions Anoop and Prakash. Good luck with Inspirock!
1. Please tell us about yourselves.
We are Anoop Goyal and Prakash Sikchi, founders of Inspirock, a smart trip planner that creates personalized vacation itineraries based on your interests.
Anoop: I’ve worked at high-tech companies for over 20 years, and so far I’ve traveled to more than 25 countries on every continent except Antarctica. My personal trip highlights include climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. I like to be on the leading edge of using technology as a means to improve life.
Prakash: I’ve also worked in tech for over 20 years, including leading development on projects at Microsoft. I’ve traveled to more than 15 countries and one of my personal highlights is climbing Mount Rainier. I love that travel helps you connect with yourself, your friends, and the rest of the world — I think it makes the world a better place!
2. Why did you create Inspirock?
Anoop: We met as students at Stanford University in 1991 and instantly bonded over our passion for travel. We’ve taken trips together ever since, from the early days of spontaneous bachelor backpacking excursions to organized family holidays with our wives and kids.
Throughout our adventures, we began to notice a real need to simplify the trip planning process. Did you know that planning a typical vacation involves visiting an average of 38 websites over a period of 21 days? We knew there had to be a better way. The big idea for Inspirock hit us one day as we were sitting together on — what else? — a rock overlooking Inspiration Lake in Washington state.
Prakash: Inspirock is rooted in the belief that travel universally connects us all and helps people discover themselves. We wanted to create technology that transforms how people plan and experience vacations, and helps them customize their itineraries to make their trips feel truly personalized.
A big problem we sought to solve was taking the hassle out of trip planning, and harness the power of data to make the process easy and fun. Our technology tracks millions of attractions around the globe to find ones that best match your personal interests, as well as explores trillions of possibilities to solve constraints like travel time, distance and closing hours.
3. What are some of the big challenges that you faced when you started out with Inspirock, and what has kept you going?
Anoop: In the early stages, we consulted with several veterans of the travel industry as well as the tech industry. The constant feedback was that while trip planning is a major problem and a big market, our idea wouldn’t work for two reasons:
From a technology perspective, it would be impossible to build as it would require very sophisticated algorithms and UI.
From a business perspective, it would be impossible to succeed with an upstream product in the travel industry.
Despite these discouraging observations, our confidence wasn’t shaken — we knew that the current method of organizing trips was too difficult and needed to be revamped. With a billion international trips planned each year with a spend of one trillion dollars, there was a huge opportunity for us to enhance and simplify the process so that people could really maximize their enjoyment of the entire vacation experience.
Ultimately, we were powered by our passion and the conviction that we could build a strong product that users would love, and that would realize our vision of a transformative solution at the intersection of technology and travel.
4. What would you like people to benefit the most from your service?
Prakash: While we were sitting on that rock and feeling awed and humbled by the view of Inspiration Lake, the first realization we had was wishing others we knew could have similar experiences. We thought of all the people just like us, living busy lives and juggling career and family while trying to stay inspired. There’s enough work and hassle to go around without piling on the tedious logistics of planning something that’s supposed to be an enjoyable escape! We want people to feel freer and more empowered to take more trips that inspire them.
5. What’s something interesting you’ve learned about Canadians, from the trips that they’ve planned on Inspirock?
Anoop: Last year, over 2 million trips were planned using our platform. We love learning about people’s interests and travel preferences, and it’s fascinating to see the trends both globally and by country. For instance, users from Canada were most likely to visit Rome, Paris, or Florence in 2018, while the top 3 cities globally are Rome, Paris, and Bangkok.
Prakash: The vast majority of Canadians (70.4%) prefer “popular” style trips, which is to say they prefer destinations with more popular and well-known activities as opposed to seeking “hidden gems.” Most Canadians (88.9%) also like a balanced pace vacation — not too fast and not too slow. Outdoor and culture-related vacations are also very popular among Canadians — favorite activities are seeing historic sites, visiting beaches, and exploring wildlife.
6. What advice would you give travelers and “Pointshoggers” out there?
Both: Start crossing places off your bucket list! We know that life can be hectic but it’s so important to carve out time to do things that will bring you joy and create meaningful memories — especially ones to share with friends and family.
For your next trip, why not choose a part of the world you have never been to? Pick a destination whose culture is completely different from what you are familiar with — push the boundaries of your comfort zone and you are guaranteed to stimulate your senses!