Traveller, Blogger, Author, Photographer, Journalist, Entrepreneur. Ajay Jain is all this and more.
A passion for travel, a love for stories and a creative side that indulged in writing and photography led this former IT and sports management professional to give up a cushy corporate life and follow his dream of becoming a full time travel writer and subsequently an entrepreneur in the travel genre with his venture – Kunzum.
“Kunzum has been a journey – literally and figuratively. It all started as a blog and each milestone brought along a new discovery and idea just like a road trip does. In other words, everything developed on the go. Blog, books, e-books, Kunzum Travel Cafe and now the travel business,” says Ajay.
Evolution of Kunzum
Evolving with changing trends, technology and internet penetration, 10-year old Kunzum is now not just a blog but a brand in itself. It publishes books and e-books, organizes events and workshops related to travel, photography, blogging or creating videos and even has a travel Café in New Delhi.
Ajay says, “In some ways, we follow the National Geographic model who are not only a media company but offer trips and journeys led by their experts. Our USP is our knowledge of travel that ensures that our content and trips are unique – no one else offers the same. Our revenues come from sponsors / advertisers and trips.”
Ajay strongly believes in the India story – not just the India growth story but the story of India being a very unique destination for the world traveller and that’s the story that Kunzum the blog intended to tell the world and still does. It promotes tourism and sustainable living, showcases breathtaking destinations and helps people explore these destinations in a responsible way.
The Kunzum Café
Located at Hauz Khas Village in New Delhi – a market that is frequented by the young millennials of the capital city, the Kunzum Café is a hub for travellers, readers and online followers of Kunzum to meet in the real world and plan trips together! This one of its kind café offers a selection of light bites and beverages, free WiFi, a comfortable networking space and works on a “pay what you like” philosophy – to encourage more and more people to come and have conversations here, meet fellow travellers, make new friends and head off on to the next trip together.
The Age of Content
Content is king! That’s the philosophy of any editorially sound journalist/writer and Ajay is no exception. Even though all kinds of free content is available today in our digitally connected world, he believes the appetite for credible, high quality, unique content is constantly growing. That said, marketing in his opinion is equally important especially in a tough-to-monetise business like that of content.
“The only way to stand out is to produce exceptional content and market yourself well to get readers and sponsors. Have your own personality and style and that should reflect in your work. Do not follow styles of others blindly – develop your own. And write for yourself and for your audience – not just to come up on search. Google and Facebook are not God!”
The Kunzum Travel Truck
With a decade of experience behind it, Kunzum is constantly coming up with unique ideas to disrupt the travel space. One such idea is the Kunzum Travel Truck – a comfortable van with funky interiors that offers unlimited drinks, WiFi on board, LED screens and the opportunity for large groups to head out together on new journeys. The trips are curated and led by experts, are fun and engaging and can be taken with friends, loved ones or even a group of strangers. Currently, the company has invested in 4 such trucks and will expand as and when required.
The Road Ahead for Kunzum
Ajay says photo tours are a big hit today. Kunzum organizes many of these with experts and is also getting into niche trips for specific groups like yoga getaways for women or off-sites for startups as well as experiential trips like those exploring the Pushkar Camel Fair, visiting the vanishing tribes of Nagaland, apple picking in orchards of Himachal Pradesh or bird watching in Bharatpur bird sanctuary.
When asked about his vision for the next decade of Kunzum, Ajay says “For 10 years, we travelled and shared our stories. For the next 10, we want people to relive these stories with us – we want to take people out on experiences they would not find easily with other travel companies. We want people to see the world and all its beauty and also appreciate how valuable our natural and man-made heritage is. And why it’s important for all of us to do our bit to ensure these are preserved for future generations.”
PS: The name Kunzum came from Ajay’s first visit as a travel writer to Kunzum-La – the pass that is the gateway to Spiti valley.