Camp Kooncha, against all odds giving an authentic glamping experience
Open spaces! Fresh air! Clear skies!
YC - What is your background? What motivated you to start Camp Kooncha and what is it all about?
Udaijit - After running a successful camp close to Jaipur called Dera Amer, the urge to create something similar in Sariska, a pure Aravalli jungle between Delhi and Jaipur. Fortunately, the family purchased land in a beautiful valley around 20mins from the south gate of Sariska National Park. Kooncha is an exclusive camp specially set up for the season, providing the rare opportunity to live in the midst of untouched wilderness, bordering the land of the Tiger and experiencing true luxury in a rustic setting.
YC - Could you please share with our readers about your core team and their roles :
What is the current Team Size: Currently size of the Team is 12-13.
Team Roles: There are a chef and souz chef, a butler, a bartender, a watchman/guardian, a driver, a local guide, a receptionist, 2 members of housekeeping, and a member of the family to host the guests.
YC - As a founder how typically you spend your day in the office?
Udaijit - As a founder, the main function is the development of the product/experience you are offering and spreading the word or market the product to the right target group. It is important to remember that running a wilderness camp required the support of your own staff and local residents of the area, in order to carry and support everyone involved with the property. We have been fortunate to have good people support and promote us with has resulted in us getting like-minded and responsible travelers.
YC - Have you used social media platforms to promote your products or services? Which channels have been very effective for your business? Which marketing channels have been super flops for your business?
Udaijit - Yes, we do use social media platforms to promote the camp, mainly Instagram, which has been very effective for us, in terms of branding. Sadly, due to Covid-19 and the subsequent travel restrictions, we haven’t really had the opportunity to market it to its full potential yet.
YC -What according to you is the USP of your product or service, for which your customers come back to you?
Udaijit - The USP of the property is the total exclusivity you experience while camping in luxury bordering a sanctuary for wild animals including tigers, leopards, hyenas, and a variety of birds. The camp has been set up for the guest and the team in all its entirety is there to create a special experience for them.
YC - Can you elaborate on the challenges you faced in promoting your business?
Udaijit - As expressed earlier, the challenges faced by most new properties that started during the Covid era have been immense. From minimum to no travel, hotel properties, like a lot of businesses, have been hit badly by the pandemic. Amongst other challenges, running a camp is very heavy on the logistics, as we want to give the guests an authentic “glamping” experience and hence a camp has to be set up from scratch, exclusively for our guests every season. Starting from setting up freshwater supply, getting sustainable electricity and power for the services assured to the guests, to serving quality fresh meals, setting up a glamping experience has various challenges.
YC - Do you use any tools or software to manage your business? Is there any problem in your day-to-day operations which you wish could be solved with the help of software?
Udaijit - Currently, as we are operating only 8 tents, which can be extended to 12, we are not using any software or tools to operate the business. The idea is to create a tailor-made experience for the guests, hence we personally deal with bookings and experience.
YC - What is the current traction? Can you share some numbers on your order volume, number of customers, and revenue?
Udaijit - As we started this year, we have operated at a rate of 10% occupancy with minimum investment in marketing.
YC - Based on your experience so far would you have any advice for new Entrepreneurs.
“Finding a special and unique experience that your property provides is essential in today’s market, with so many similar hotels coming up. Market research is key while promoting your property. And last but not the least, patience. No property immediately does well – time and patience will help you identify how you can make your hotel unique.”