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Think Outdoor…..Think BASECAMP !!!

A start-up headed by three women that promotes adventure as a learning tool and inculcate the spirit of adventure among people from all walks of life. Startups interviews Kavitha Reddy of Basecamp India. Learn more about it.

kavitha 1. What is BASECAMP India?

BASECAMP is an integrated Outbound Training and Adventure Travel organization; an offspring of avid, well-trained and certified professionals from Adventure sports and Human basecampResource field.

Our undying zeal to live on the edge coupled with the passion to promote adventure as a learning tool and to inculcate the spirit of adventure among people from all walks of life had enabled us to develop programs to suit the needs of one and all. It is imperative to be environmentally aware and help in conserving nature, all activities strictly follow clear conventional guidelines.

Our vision is to, ‘Evolve adventure as the most effective learning tool, to revive the spirit of adventure among people from all walks of life, and be environment cognizant.’

2. Where all can I seek to camp using your services?

BASECAMP organizes programs across India, the Himalayas in India & Nepal. We have mapped over 200 Trekking, Hiking, Mountaineering routes which range from 2 – 20 day programs. We also have a network of Rafting, Paragliding and Skiing locations that we include in our programs.

3. According to you how important is the tourism industry for the Indian Economy? Do you focus on the domestic markets only?

Tourism is very critical for not only the economy of the country but it acts as a great social and political stability indicator. Influx of foreign travelers depends on the safety and stability of a nation. Economically, it brings in foreign exchange and generates employment both in the urban and rural India. India has seen a 25-30% increase in the tourism revenues and Adventure Travel which accounts to 450 crores.

India is a nation that can offer everything a traveler expects. Adventure travel in particular is an year round opportunity ranging from the Himalayas, rocky Deccan Plateau, the vast seas, the rivers etc.  All adventure sports one can imagine are possible in India.

We focus on both Indian & Foreign Adventure travelers and offer season based programs and events.

4. What is your USP? Any significant features we should know?

BASECAMP is unique in its approach and methodologies, we at BASECAMP work with the spirit, ‘Think Outdoor Think BASECAMP – The Outdoor People‘.

We bring to the table:

  • Pan India integrated Outbound Training & Adventure Travel solutions
  • Team qualified in Adventure sports/ Travel/ Wilderness management
  • Experienced team with Sr Management background
  • Domain expertise
  • Comprehensive Operating Methodology
  • Associate & Partner network
  • Focused business approach

5. Who are your major competitors?

One of the advantages or disadvantages in the Adventure Travel industry is the lack of organized players. There are several local players in each markets but the outlook has never been to focus on large operation or pan India operations.

6. How is BASECAMP doing do so far?

We are focusing on 60 Corporate, Himalayan and week-end programs for the year 2010 with an average of 22 people per program. In 2009 we have done 25 programs with an average of 12 people per program.

7. What is your revenue generating model?

Our revenue model is event/program based, and our pricing model is based on per person per day and the variation is in the type and level of the program.

When we do Corporate Outbound Training we work on the pricing model based on the level/grade of the participants eg Team members / Team Leaders / Managers / Sr Management. Similarly for Adventure Travel it is based on the location or terrain; the costing factor for a Himalayan event is different from that of a trek in South of India.

8. Tell us more about yourself, your position & other key players within the startup, if any?

I have spent over 14 years in the corporate world; initially I started in Marketing & PR but later moved into different roles like Staffing, Operations and Customer Services. I have been part of two start-up companies and my last role was as Co-Founder Vice President of TeamLease.

We are a team of 3 Women (Kavitha Reddy, Jigna Modh & Bianca Dias) who share the same passion and a common goal that resulted in BASECAMP. We are India’s 1st all women Outbound & Adventure Travel organization and hope we will not be the only :-).

We met during a mountaineering program and I had already made up my mind on BASECAMP and planned my exit from the organization I was working in.

All 3 of us are qualified mountaineers and love outdoor and particularly the Himalayas. We have 2 people on our advisory board and two more people who take care of the back end operations. We are looking at providing employment at a local level and have built a network of support staff like guides, porters, doctors, trainers and facilitators who work with us during the events/programs.

9. Any interesting trips that you have undertaken in the past?

Every trip is very interesting because you are with different people each time, I always feel that next time the trip will get more interesting and the greed goes on :-). One trip I am definitely looking forward to is the High Altitude Trekking Expedition (HATE) that is planned exclusively for the people in Sr Management roles.

It will be interesting in many ways, as the objective of HATE is to not only to enable people in Senior Management roles to challenge & re-discover themselves and take a break from laptops, blackberrys, cell phones, but also to experience:

– Adventure at different heights

– Building stronger teams starts from within – discover your own potential to handle extremes

– Survival of the fittest – on your terms

– Challenge yourself and rediscover your strengths

– Tune-in to yourself amongst nature

– Understand impact on local economy due to global warming

10. Any difficult-to-navigate paths you traversed on your way to establishing BASECAMP?

Start-up on your own is challenging and equally exciting, but having been a part of two start-up companies in the last 9 year and having worked closely with some of the best entrepreneurs gave me an opportunity to experience the ups and downs of a start-up. We as a team at BASECAMP are prepared to take up new challenges but with our prior experience we should be able to skip the learning curve in many areas.

11. What are key tech skills you bank upon and why?

Technology is a key aspect of our business from both Marketing and PR perspective. Since there is a need to reach out to people of all age groups we use the technology platform to address it. We approach our prospects (corporate & individuals) from different age groups through various channels. We have invested time and money in creating a presence and communication via Websites, Blogs, Social Networking sites, SMS, Mailers.

We are also required to manage our prospect and customer database as well as ensure seamless communication. Initiatives like customer loyalty program etc., are not possible without technology and investment in a good CRM solution. Going forward we also plan to set up an inbound call-center integrated with e-mailing and SMS system which we believe will help increase our reach and spread eventually.

12. How do you reach out to people with your services and how effective is it?

Marketing is a very critical part of our business given the fact that there are local and small time players and that there is a lack of awareness in India on adventure. We emphasize a lot on our marketing strategy.

We have built multiple media marketing avenues like mailer, web registrations, social networking sites, websites, blogs, print media and electronic media. We have used SMS and CRM extensively to monitor our prospects and customers.

For customers, we have a loyalty program and we keep in touch with them on a consistent basis and a large part of our business is also by word of mouth.

We also plan our events to suite the requirement of specific target groups; corporate, Sr Management, children and individuals which helps us create large brand awareness.

So far, we have been successful but we want to use technology on an ongoing basis to increase our reach.

13. Major difficulties that you come across very often in your expeditions?

Expeditions need a lot of patience and very extensive planning. One needs to assess every possible risk and be prepared to address them. The major difficulties we face are the unpredicted climate changes that are getting more and more unpredictable due to the global warming. At times it could simply even be the hard-to-convince participants who have a hard time understanding that we cannot go against the weather/climate conditions and instead assume that it is something we can control.

14. On a personal front, who is your role model?

It’s difficult to name one single person; my role models are people whom I have worked/work with, my friends and family who have inspired me all the time. There cannot be better role models than the people who inspire you every day, appreciate and accept me for being myself. Over the years many people have played a role in my life and making me who I am today and who I will be tomorrow. I believe that altitude of your aspirations is directly proportional to the number of people who believe in you.

15. Do you get enough time for yourself/family after organizing such interesting expeditions?

The best part of BASECAMP is that I get paid for holidaying 🙂 and since I love outdoors and being in the mountains, I do not need any more time for myself. Yes, I do miss spending time with family but I make it up with family outings.

16. One thing that is closest to your heart?

Mountains. I simply fall in love with them every time, they are the very best definition of everything I believe in.

Go Camping.

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2 Comments

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  1. I would suggest tie-ups with corporates and offer incentives for referrals and perhaps offer a free adventure trip for any one who signs up their company or something similar to boost the marketing.

  2. During my earlier stints at several start-ups i found it interesting when they organised special retreats like geek retreats, womens only retreat and so on. The employees were very excited to participate in various retreats. But they cost a bomb.

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