Dharamveer Singh Chauhan, CO founder and CEO @ ZOSTEL and ZO
Dr Kalam once said that dreams are not what you see in
sleep, they are the things that do not let you sleep. The story of Dharamveer’s
success is based on his struggles to fulfil his dreams. Not only in India but
ZOSTEL & ZO ROOMS are being appreciated all over the world.Dharamveer Singh
Chauhan is the person who dreamt of doing something big on his own and is on
the right path to complete it.
This hospitality business venture, Zostel and zo rooms was
started by Dharamveer and his colleagues in august 2013.These IIM and IIT
graduates pooled in Rupees 20 lakh to float the venture, starting their first
hostel in Jaipur. The start-up has since expanded to many more locations like —Jodhpur,
Udaipur, Agra, Varanasi, Delhi, Goa, Rishikesh, Pushkar and Jaisalmer. Today with
over 700 zostel properties in more than 45 cities, Dharamveerand his team has
moved towards new heights. In one year their vision is to cross 1000+ zostel
properties and 10000 zostel rooms.The name Zostel tells a lot about itself,
these are the short stay hostels which gives you all the facilities of a hotel
at very affordable rates.
“During our trips abroad, when we were still in
college, we stayed at some very good and cheap hotels. This experience prompted
us to come up with the idea of Zostel, and fill a wide gap in the Indian
hospitality space,” says Chauhan. Rates of the rooms starts at Rs 400 a
day, Zosteloffers all the basic services such as laundry, library access to the
internet and also gaming zones. Customers can choose between airconditioned dormitories
with bunk beds and private rooms, with rack rates ranging from Rs 400-500 a day
for dormitories to Rs 1,000-3,500 for rooms with two occupants.
The start-up, which hosted over 20,000 backpackers in 2013,
across all its properties, received a funding of Rupees 5 crore from
Malaysia-based angel investor Presha Paragash in May 2014. In October 2014,
Zostel established its first foreign facility in Vietnam. Taking all the annual
footfalls and average ticket size into account, the company’s 2017-18 revenue
is expected to be more than Rupees4 crore.
The biggest hurdle that Zostel founders faced at the time of
starting out was lack of awareness about the concept of backpacking or solo
travel. “The biggest challenge was to create awareness among domestic
travellers to gain traction,” says Chauhan. The idea of zostel was to
offer an alternative to travellers not interested in conventional, often
expensive, hotels and looking for good, affordable options.
As backpacking has gained popularity in India, Zostel’s
customer profile has undergone a marked shift. When the start-up was founded in
2013, 90% of its customers were foreigners and only 10% were Indians. Now, it’s
65% foreigners and 35% Indians. ” Zostel has also created a market that
did not exist in India: solo female,” says Chauhan.