Open Talk @DSIM
An Interview with Co- Founder of StayUncle.com, Blaze Arizanov
Delhi based startup StayUncle was founded in 2014 by Sanchit Sethi, Nand kr. Singh and Blaze Arizanov. StayUncle is a trusted marketplace for travelers across the country to find and book accommodations for 8-12 hours through online mode or phone call. Whether it’s a leisure trip or a business trip or a halt between two destinations, StayUncle help people choose better places to stay in terms of hospitality, service quality & hygiene.
Q1. Hi Blaze and welcome! I will start directly with a question about your company, StayUncle. Can you tell us something about your venture StayUncle?
Ans. What if today you become able to book a hotel and pay only for the hours of stay? What if you can afford glittering 5 Star hotels at the same budget you have for booking a standard type of hotel?
We sort of made that possible for you guys. Stayuncle.com is a platform where travelers can book a hotel for a particular block or time slot of hours and pay only for those hours. In other words we invite you to stop paying for hotels for 24 hours where in fact you stay in them only for few hours. Currently we have 2 time slots of 12 hours, morning slot or evening slot. No matter which slot you book for the day, you are assured 12 hours rates from the best hotels in every area of the city.
Q2. You have an interesting story behind StayUncle; how you identified an opportunity in a problem you personally faced. Can you tell us about it and how the idea took shape from there?
Ans. The need was discovered by my co-founder Sanchit Sethi, via the good old way of getting out of the building and asking people what problems do they face, in our case in the hospitality domain. That’s how entrepreneurs are, they are wired and exist to identify, validate and solve problems.
Q3 . Who do you consider to be your biggest competitor? What’s your strategy to beat the rising competition in market?
Ans. A startup must not be concerned with who its competitors are. That’s a concern for the time when the startup will get to its product market fit stage and pursue scaling and market share. Initially a startup is all about finding its all small niche and providing 10x better level of satisfaction, product or service for it. No competitor can stop you in selling an awesome product or a service 10x better to your neighbor’s next door. It’s a choice.
Q4. What would be the most important aspects of running a partnership like yours? Mutual understanding? Different skills that put together work better?
Ans. In ours and in the case of every other early stage startup, one thing matters the most – the core team must be made of people who are ready to do the hard but necessary things. There is no place for ego. There are no leaders, only slaves, servants of a single idea, doers.
Q5. Can you explain on how digital marketing has been integral to your marketing strategy?
Ans. Before you go Digital, you must have a story to tell. Stories are being built by getting out of the building, making fool of yourselves, making people laugh, being chased by the police and getting your first customers right here on the street. We were sincere in telling the most intimate aspects of that story and used Social media and blogging as our mediums. Guest posting has been instrumental in introducing StayUncle to the community. Check some of our blasters on Yourstory and Inc42 magazine. Facebook is still best for spreading the story.
Q6. If you had Rs. 500 to spend on advertising for the brand, what would you do and why?
Ans. A startup is not a brand yet, and a startup does not advertise. It does customer development instead. I would use those Rs. 500 to survive on pani and samosas while visiting as many locations as possible and talk to as many clients as possible. Mahesh Murthy says – Advertising is for the losers. Have you seen an Uber or Airbnb or Redbus advertisement ever?
Q7. What has been the biggest challenge related to expansion? Any plans for expansion? What comes next?
Ans. Educating the market. The Indian traveler just doesn’t know and dare to ask about the facility we are offering. Once we pitch the StayUncle concept to a prospect, he loves it.
Q8. What would be the best advice you would give a business that is looking for better analytics on their online presence?
Ans. Make sure that each of the analytics metrics is tightly connected to a specific business metric. Else, don’t measure it.
“Thanks for taking out time from your busy schedule and giving valuable suggestion to our readers and sharing precious knowledge with us. Best wishes to you and StayUncle from DSIM.”