Summer time is here and next on the agenda is a vacation. Whether planning a long holiday, a weekend getaway or a much-needed family trip, the problems are the same: where do we go and what’s the cheapest way to get there?
Given the security situation in the country and a lack of resources for knowing more about holidays within Pakistan, Pakistanis have often chosen to go abroad for their summer or winter breaks. Pakistan’s tourism industry has declined over the past decade, both among international tourists and locals.
Some Pakistanis have been working to revive this industry and promote various regions of the country as being safe, scenic and affordable places to visit and explore.
One such attempt is tourplanner.pk, which is an online service that allows people to book holidays both in Pakistan and abroad. Their service for booking international flights and holidays in linked to tripadvisor, but the deals and services offered within Pakistan are a result of their own selections and planning. With a mission statement intended “To help travelers of all backgrounds easily discover, book, and enjoy the best travel products at economical prices on their finger tips,” the website is aimed at providing resources for both holiday travellers and business and work related travel and accommodation.
Tourplanner.pk offers a wide range of services aimed at fulfilling an entirety of travelling needs including transport, hotels, activities, and online booking to ensure a smoother trip.
The website currently offers holidays deals and online booking facilities for thirteen cities in Pakistan, as well as six different summer journeys.
According to Plan9, “Currently tourplanner.pk is the largest hotel consolidator of 2 to 4 star hotels in Pakistan with an online portfolio of over 100 domestic properties.” They are carving a niche for themselves not in terms of being a prominent provider of travel services within Pakistan, but also one of the most economical, with a best price guarantee.
Although tourplanner.pk offers travel accommodations in a range of prices including both lower budgets and higher ones, they also subscribe to a practice of offering refunds if their customers do not receive the lowest rates and best prices they can.
The website offers booking services through particular hotels and cities, complete holiday package deals with detailed itineraries, and also honeymoon deals and packages. They require people to register with their site to save their information and later send them deals and offers they might be interested in.
In addition to his, they also link to a blog on their website which offers descriptions of various destinations and holiday packages which can be quite useful when trying to make a decision about where to go. Currently, the customer review service is not as advanced as it should be to better assist future customers in making decisions, but it is expected that this feature will be utilised more as more people avail the holiday deals offered.
How Tourplanner.pk Began
Tourplanner.pk is a Lahore-based startup that is headed by Khawaja Khalid Mushtaq, who is a graduate of the Institute of Business Administration (IBA). As CEO of tourplanner.pk, he explained the startups approach in an interview for brandsynario, stating: “Our target market is dedicated to the local customer, considering we are charging them much less than that to a foreign client. Tourplanner.pk has been set apart in terms of cost efficiency, which would promote both tourism and the hotel with whom we are in collaboration with.
Tourplanner.pk is one of the companies being incubated with Plan9, which is Punjab Information Technology Boards tech incubator. This incubation program has launched several other successful startups including Eyedeus Lab and Rocxial.
Khawaja Khalid Mushtaq is also a member of the Pakistan Fellows Class of 2014, which is part of Acumen’s program for Pakistani leadership. The program provides leadership training and opportunities for networking and collaboration.
Where Tourplanner.pk Is Going
Tourplanner.pk started in February 2013 as with the “aim to make tourism industry competitive and fair.” The company has built up a network of hotels and businesses in a farily short period of time and is looking to expand even further in the future.
Speaking about this to brandsynario, Khawaja Khalid Mushtaq explained: “Tourplanner.pk would also be promoting two-star and four-star hotels to promote cost-effective packages that would help benefit the locals of the country. Over the next two to three year, five-star hotels will also be targeted. Currently, we have 100 hotels that have been targeted, which will further head up to a thousand over the country.”