Are you a travel freak? Do adventure activities give you a kick or are you the one who knows your city like the back of your hand? If the answer to any one of questions is in affirmative, read on. A new travel tech company is on the horizon to satiate your senses by giving life-enriching experiences. We give you a brief insight into it through a conversation with Aditya Shah, VP, Host Alliance XoXoday (yeah! the name is as innovative as the work they do)
Tell us about xoxo? Who is behind this venture? How did it come up?
Xoxoday was started as a gifting company in 2012. Xoxoday has its headquarters inBangalore, India and its global offices in USA and Dubai. Xoxoday has taken a major pivot from being a gifting company “Giftxoxo” to “Gifting An Experience” company to a “TravelTech” company Xoxoday.com in early 2017. Currently, Xoxoday has 5000+experiences from a family of 2000+ hosts in India and the community is growing every day. Xoxoday is a team of 150+ people with a business run rate of $8 million. It was founded by four entrepreneurs – Kushal Agrawal, Sumit Khandelwal, Manoj Agarwal and Abhishek Kumar. It is funded by Mahindra Group and Kshatriya ventures.
When did you begin with Xoxo Mentor programme in India and how has been the success rate over the period, year-on-year, in terms of acceptability and financial profits?
Xoxoday started working on “Last Mile Experiences & Activities” in the year of 2014. It served to 200,000+ guest last year! It received a lot appreciation as well as harsh feedback. Many city enthusiasts wrote to us about “things / experiences to do” which we never thought of. These experiences gave depth to our experience list. We realised that if we are able to on-board these city enthusiasts formally, it will give seriousness in the overall experience ecosystem. So we started the Xoxo city mentor program in Jan’18. The programme has received an immense interest from people across India. We daily receive around 30+ applications for the programme.
Indeed innovative. When you say “anyone who knows their city, culture and food can be a city mentor”, what qualifications/ expertise should one have? Please quantify.
We are looking for people who love their city and are proud of its rich history, culture and know about enjoyable things a visitor can do in the city. It can be anyone from a college kid to a senior citizen basically we are looking for people who are city enthusiast.
What does the mentor gain out of it – is it an honorary mission or does one gets paid after eight hours/ week?
Xoxo City mentor programme is not a honorary mission. We pay our city mentors for every single host on-boarded by them. Also a royalty of 10 per cent on profits is shared with the city mentor for every booking we receive for the host on-boarded by that particular city mentor.
Can you please explain the process in detail – what happens after one approached Xoxo to become a mentor? What does the organisation look for in this person, how much time does it take for this person to get ‘selected’ and become a mentor and how does this person get to meet the guest(s)?
Each candidate applies for the program through this link or visit xoxoday.com. All the completed applications are then checked by our on-boarding team. Candidates satisfying our requirements go through a final round of interview. We make sure that all the profiles we receive have a social media account link like facebook, linkedin, Instagram etc and the source from where they came to know about the program. This helps us to verify their profiles.Currently we have got city mentors for 18 cities in India.
There are several benefits to becoming a part of the City Mentor program:
- You interact, socialize and share your stories with the growing global community of city mentors.
- You get to explore your hobby of traveling extensively
- You work at ease along with your current work commitments
- You build up your alternate earnings
- You get featured on Xoxoday’s city page
- You interact with people and help them explore the city well
- You bring out your creativity in serving to visiting tourists