The buzzword is collective and AyurUniverse has brought many practitioners in the healing space on one portal. Tête-à-tête with the founder and CEO Vijaykumar Karai
Words: Ambica Gulati
Armed with an experience of over 20 years in sales, marketing and operations, Vijaykumar Karai established AyurUniverse along with Venkat Rao who is the head of technology.
What inspired you to bring together so many wellness players on a single platform?
Prior to starting AyurUniverse, I was co-investor of an ayurvedic spa in Mysore, where I realised the potential for an online wellness portal. India is home to over 4,000+ wellness centers, spread across the country, all run by experienced ayurvedic specialists but without proper marketing expertise. As a result these centres are not able to reach out to the right customers and struggle with poor occupancy rates.
AyurUniverse is the first-of-its-kind, online market place, with a wealth of resource on the ancient but extremely popular Indian wellness systems like ayurveda, yoga, meditation, siddha, kalari, marma chikitsa, all under one roof. We aim to provide wellness enthusiasts better know-how and easy access to these wellness centers.
The website also features an informative blog section that offers extensive information on these traditional practices and treatments – providing visitors with all the knowledge they may need to understand how ayurveda works.
Wellness centres listed with us have the opportunity to reach out to a global wellness audience offering them a brand new customer base. Our digital marketing efforts and online presence on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram gives them exposure to a global online market of wellness enthusiasts.
What is the USP of the site? Who would it benefit the most?
AyurUniverse offers a comprehensive listing of verified wellness centers with best-in-class flexibility when it comes to choosing a wellness programme of their choice and to book it online safely based on location, price, rating, facilities at no extra booking cost.
We also offer a 24-hour chat service and have our own in-house ayurvedic doctor who offer online (phone or chat) consultation and make treatments and package recommendations for you.
Are you offering any physical assistance as well to people using the site?
Our chat agents and customer support team can guide you step-by-step through the entire booking and payment process. Once a package is booked we can also assist with airport transfers, if the resort does not offer it already.
How many wellness centres have tied up with you?
We currently have over 170 wellness centres offering nearly 900 packages.
Which parts of the country are you targeting?
Our key source markets are US, Europe (Germany, UK, France) Australia, New Zealand and UAE. We will also tap the domestic market with our weekend/non-residential wellness programmes.
Where do you find major bookings from?
We are seeing a huge demand for our Yoga Teacher Training courses and Yoga Retreats from Australia, Canada, US and UK. A lot of Indian residents and NRIs are looking for specialised ayurvedic treatments for serious ailments like arthritis, diabetes. There is also an increasing demand for authentic panchakarma (detoxification) programmes.
How do you handle complaints?
We have an efficient customer support team that acts as a guide throughout our customer’s journey with us. We ensure them a stress-free, seamless experience right from when they make a booking until they finish their treatment and have returned to their country. This way we are able to address their concerns or complaints immediately.
We also provide a customer review system which will help visitors choose a wellness center of their preference.
What are your future plans?
Looking forward, we want to expand our wellness offerings beyond India. We plan to introduce Sri Lanka to our inventory of wellness packages in 2017.