Back in 2004, when Gaurav Aggarwal, working in a tech organization in the US, was visiting India and wanted to book a cab to Roorkee from New Delhi. Gaurav had been booking online car rentals in the US since 1999, and was astonished to find that even in 2004, there was no option of booking reliable and quality online car rentals in India. This led Gaurav to sense the need and scope of building a car rental company in the country that could be trusted for its quality service and fares. It was this vision and foresight that made Gaurav bring Savaari Car Rentals to life, a name to reckon with in the car rentals space. What started as a moonlighting idea with a seed money of Rs 55,000, kept growing impressively each year, finally prompting Gaurav to pursue this full time by moving from US to India in 2011, giving up his well-cushioned high-tech job in the Bay Area.
The journey of Savaari has been nothing short of a success story which can be etched in Indian Travel Startup history – growing year on year and gaining customer acceptance as the first name to reach out to for car rentals. With all going well, 2020 was the defining year when the COVID-19 pandemic struck as a bolt from the blue, bringing travel and tourism to a grinding halt. But Gaurav and his team decided to see the silver lining. They came together to chalk out plans on how to navigate through the situation. As emergency travel overtook leisure travel with the declaration of the lockdowns, that was the opportunity that Savaari seized to launch and expand its One-way car rental service. The service offered safe, reliable, well sanitized as well as affordable one-way cabs for its customers. While on the one hand Savaari quickly ramped up their one-way routes from a few hundred to 5 lakh routes and subsequently to 15 lakh routes to cater to the trend, safety and security of the customers was their top priority. Savaari was also one of the earliest trendsetters to offer COVID insurance to the customers who availed their car rentals service.
As the haze began to lift in the second half of 2020 with easing of restrictions, people started venturing out to satiate their pent-up travel urge and confinement to homes. Weekend travels slowly started gaining pace. Caution was the name of the game with car rentals becoming the natural choice. This was an opportunity for Savaari to show their expertise in road travel. With a fleet of 25,000 vendors and driver partners completing over 1 million road trips covering a distance of 500 million kilometers across the country, Savaari has emerged as the largest car rental player in the industry.
In a short span of time, Savaari earned the reputation of a car rental brand with clean cabs, well-trained chauffeurs who are local travel experts and unmatched service quality to make your holiday truly pleasurable, wholesome and memorable. From a car rentals company, Savaari has built a reputation of being a “travel partner” to the discerning traveller, evident from the fact that Savaari witnessed a 300% increase in weekend and leisure travels post the relaxation of the first wave of the pandemic.
The second wave of the pandemic in 2021 was a cruel blow once again to the travel and tourism sector that had begun rise from the ashes. But again, that didn’t deter Savaari. It took no time for Savaari to cater to the increasing number of emergency/essential travel with its 15 lakh routes already under its belt.
“With the third wave now upon us, we are waiting and watching how the situation unfolds. Experience has taught us to be more proactive and agile. We have put in place strategies and plans that will enable us to respond quickly to emerging situations”, says Gaurav Aggarwal.
To drive growth, Savaari is betting big on domestic travel in 2022. Towards this, Savaari has set out to:
• Create a road trip community of the next 10 million road travel enthusiasts through aggressive growth investments in Tier-2 and Tier-3 Cities.
• Ensuring 100% reliability in airport pickup and drop services across all commercial airports in India.
• Expand driver presence in Tier-1 by 120% and 180% in Tier-2 & 3 cities to meet demand surge in leisure travel.
• Expand operations to 4000 cities from the current 2000 in the next 6 months.
• Create experiential road trips to address gap in domestic leisure travel combining experiential road trips combining Technology (digital travel content) and Human interaction (trained chauffeurs) to offer a wholesome travel experience.