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Voye homes in on vacation far from the crowd concept

Kochi: In its earnest quest to project itself as a business-friendly space, Kerala often boasts of its growth prospects in tourism and startups. It is, though, an irony that there are only a few startups in Kerala which have dared to drive into the state’s tempting tourist terrain.

Voye Homes, which helps travellers book safe and scenic private holiday homes, is an exception. Founded by Kozhikode native Vinod Balan along with his friends, Voye Homes has clocked an impressive turnover of Rs 18.90 crore in 2023. That is a leap from the meagre Rs 12 lakh the company made in 2019 when it began operations.

Vinod started Voye Homes after quitting a multinational company as a senior business analyst. It was his own personal interest in staying at less-crowded private spaces that led him to start the company in the niche segment.

Voye Homes started by associating with a property in Munroe Island in Kollam. It now has over 70 properties in south India in its list.

“When we did an initial study we found that hundreds of vacation homes were remaining vacant in Kerala most of the times even as hotels and resorts were booked to the full. Voye Homes was started with a plan to rent out such spaces in a streamlined manner. Once we identify a property fit for our venture, we commit a fixed income agreement with its owner. We maintain the properties fully respecting the owners’ sentiments,” Vinod told Onmanorama.

Though the Covid lockdown had an obvious adverse impact on the company, its prospects got better after the pandemic as people started preferring safer private spaces to stay during vacations.

Vinod Balan, CEO and executive director of Voye Homes. Photo: Special arrangement

The startup now offers vacation homes in tourist hotspots such as Ooty, Wayanad, Wagamon, Kochi, Kovalam and Varkala. The properties include those owned by corporates, organisations, high networth individuals and celebrities. In Munnar, Voye has partnered with Kanan Devan Hills Plantations by adding its charming British tea plantation bungalow to its list of properties.

Like most of the startups, Voye also has a challenging phase in its initial years. The first two years, the company focussed in creating an awareness of vacation homes among potential customers.

Vinod said an effective application of technology is what makes Voye different from other players in the sector. “All our inventories and our sales channels, both online and offline, are integrated with a central inventory management system which we developed in-house. All sales optimisations and reservations are managed using this system,” he said.

Vinod’s wife Anjali is the chief revenue officer of the company. Nassar Ahamed, who comes with a strong tech background, Rangarajan Soundararajan, a seasoned management professional, and Haseeb N, who works in administrative role, are co-founders.

Voye Homes has over 50 staff in its offices in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode. Photo: Special arrangement

The startup has over 50 staff in its offices in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode. It also employs over 70 people in its properties. The company is yet to seek investments from outside. “Our plan is to go for investments once we become an investable company,” Vinod said.

(Startup Saturday is Onmanorama’s weekend series featuring promising startups from Kerala. Find the previous stories here.)

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