“To Travel is to LIVE”

An age old saying that manages to rekindle within us hope every time life fails us. Haven’t we all implemented this simple saying in our life once in a while? And how huge a difference a small trip has made in our lives! All of my childhood I was taught the importance of travel, courtesy a Dad who loved travelling and holidaying with his family. Back then, hotels were present in the market but we always managed to stay in Government guesthouses, all of which were amusingly quite unlike the regular Government buildings.

Nestled in natural surroundings with a decor that amplified the local culture and lifestyle, those guest houses literally made my holidays. Not only that, the hosts used to be so wonderful. From the cook to the caretaker, all of them brought along with them loads of stories to share and a whole of local info that only comes with a guide and obviously a local.

As we grew up, we started left homes and started booking hotels, courtesy MakeMyTrip, Yatra, and Goibibo. But in all this, I kind of missed on to imbibing the local living and culture. Even the room service guy used to be so well trained in these hotels that it hardly felt I was in a city that was known for its wood work, handicrafts or language.While I do understand the difference between homestays and guest houses but the ones that are built for IARI Research Scientists, they are seriously one of a kind. If you know someone who is into the research field and holds a Government job, go ask them!

We had started to learn about homestays but AirBnB was still not popular in India and the new space that had come up by the name of Stayzilla was still questionable. Day by day, things decided to get better and we grew a little older. The product grew with us and in some time I was booking hostels and homestays while traveling. This was so much better than those hotels that seemed too modern and offered zero or less connection in terms of local experiences. It was more or less a pleasant reminder of those lovely holidays I had back as a child.

Times had changed and so had the hosts. However, the interaction with their guests and the hospitality remained unchanged. In fact, at a lot of places, I found some amazing owners who were always up for a chat and offered some great pieces of info. Stayzilla was the game changer for the Indian hospitality industry. It gave us a beautiful idea of accommodation, unlike the regular boring hotels in India that only offer you amenities but not the experiences. Stayzilla offered a safe and economical stay along with memorable experiences.

Last week, I read about Stayzilla shutting down its operations and it shouldn’t really have moved me as I knew somewhere there were options like GuestHouser and AirBnB for me. AirBnB has recently been scaling up its operations in India and I have managed to book with them once but the connect that I have with Stayzilla is different. And while it shouldn’t have stung, it somehow did when I read about the portal for which I wrote content ages back in college as a short freelance project.

The news says that they’ll return back with a new business model and I can only pray that they do because dear Stayzilla, there’s a person waiting for you to re-open! For everyone who lost their jobs, you have my prayers. God will find a way for you!

For detailed news on the same, click here



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