By Sabina Chopra
Setting up Yatra was a tough journey and this would not have been possible without the support and hard work of my co-founders, Dhruv and Manish. The three of us took on different responsibilities and pushed each other to overcome the challenges. I took up the charge of operations and supply management.
I faced a few unique challenges while starting up, though they were not gender specific. Back in 2006, trying to convince the hotels to sell rooms online was a big task. We had to visit each hotel individually and explain to them what online booking meant and how it could benefit them. They have been used to signing one page contracts and when we offered them a 7-page contract complete with fire safety and other standards, some refused to sign.
Some hotels even thought that we were in the business of selling railway tickets as we were called Yatra and our name was then not known. This was a time when most of the hotels did not even have a website. We even set up a cash-on-delivery system in the initial days as an online payment through credit cards was still not common then.
Another challenge that we faced was hiring the right set of people. Since the field was new, good talent and the right skillsets were not easy to find. We had to select the right talent and train them.
My advice for women entrepreneurs—it is great to have an idea, but it is the execution that matters. Have a vision, find out whether it is feasible and work towards it. Success is bound to come your way.
Sabina Chopra is Co-founder, Yatra.com