Thiruvananthapuram: Are you the kind of person bitten by the travel bug? One who plans for months before making a trip to somewhere and saves every penny for your trip? If you are, then meet Trip Jodi. This couple, Ebin Ephrem Elavathingal and his wife Johncy John, has many surprises in store for you. Hailing from Angamaly (Ebin) and Thodupuzha (Johncy), they hardly miss the opportunity to grab their backpacks and set off on their bike to explore places, mostly spots unexplored by tourists. But that’s not just it! The traveller Coimbatore-settled couple, has found a way to generate viable revenue while pursuing their passion. Micro influencer marketing forms the couple’s source of revenue when followers of their social media pages go by their recommendations to check into accommodation in a particular property. “We charge properties a minimum of 20 to 30 per cent for promoting their services. Now, we promote hotels and homestays. Our dream is to run a chain of hostels conceptualised our way; a Trip Jodi-certified stay facility in almost 10 cities in the State,” says Ebin, who works as an Assistant Professor at Karpagam College of Engineering, Coimbatore. The couple started their travel blog ‘Trip Jodi’ in September 2017 that has now more than three lakh viewers. The site provides an insight into their trips – the destinations they covered, the specialities found on each location, the ‘must sees’ and many more. “Ours was an arranged marriage. I always loved travelling and Johncy also shared the same interest and that is how we decided to explore places in the most economical way,” he says. Though their initial trips were to nearby places they gradually began undertaking trips to distant spots. “Before marriage, travel was not something much appreciated in my family. When I came to know that Ebin had travel interests I was more than happy to join him on his trips,” says Johncy, who works as Associate at Amazon. Once the couple started uploading content on social media regularly, they came across a plethora of requests for travel recommendations. “That is how we decided to start a YouTube channel, an Instagram page and Facebook page which now has 10,000 viewers, 12,000 viewers and 7000 followers respectively,” Ebin adds. Their online interaction platforms have also helped people get acquainted with lesser-known places and hotels. For instance, Darpan Wood House at Kotagiri has received good number of customers who arrived after reading their post about the homestay on their Trip Jodi blog. “If we do not know the businessmen personally, we charge a commission from them for promoting their business (like hotels, resorts and homestays). Some people approach us seeking our help in promoting their properties. But we do this only if we are convinced that the place is 100 per cent safe and secure for stay,” Johncy says. At present, Trip Jodi has tied-up with 23 property brands where each brand may have 10-20 properties under them. The visitors who get referred to properties through Trip Jodi can avail a discount of around 45 per cent. “Once ‘Trip Jodi’ gets registered in two months, we will also stand to gain financially,” he says.
One of the main highlights of the trips undertaken by this couple is their economical nature. They prefer public transport for travelling. “We have stayed in Goa for 23 days spending just Rs. 900! The expense incurred on a trip is based on your priority. The more the luxury, the higher the cost,” feels Johncy. Among the number of destinations they covered across Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Goa, surprisingly the couple has no favourite destination as such to suggest. For them, each place offers a new experience on subsequent visits. “We have visited Ooty more than 10 times and each time, the place had something different to offer,” says Ebin. Sometimes, they also include more people, especially couples, on their trips, upon request from them. Recently, a foreign couple – husband from Spain and wife from Korea – had accompanied Ebin and Johncy on a trip. “Travelling has helped us understand each other better. Also, we both will have different takes on each place and this helps us develop a complete view of a place. Through ‘Trip Jodi’, we encourage people to travel at an affordable cost,” they affirm.They are also in the process of branding their Trip Jodi blog. Since both of them love hospitality sector, they are also planning to start a youth hostel, meant mainly for couples who are looking for an economical and are safe stay. Ebin and Johncy are also setting out to explore Ladakh in January, their first North Indian trip.