As the only MTDC approved caravan vendor, Mumbai-based Motohom is offering custom solutions for travelers. Prateek Pardeshi ascertains if it’s the booster shot for reviving tourism.

Caravans the world over are a popular mode of transport for those who seek nature’s solace. In India, however, adoption has far from taken off. It is also true that tourism was hit hard by Covid19 that is blamed for creating a fear of group travel. With the private bus and State Transport Undertakings (STUs) like Maharashtra State Transport Corporation (MSRTC) suffering a blow as a result, travelers are on the lookout for unique offerings like Motohom. As the only Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) approved caravan vendor, Mumbai-based Motohom Pvt. Ltd. finds itself uniquely poised for growth.

The approval to caravan tourism received earlier this year has made a strong business case with the government offering incentives to caravan operators like Motohom. With its customised fleet of vehicles, ranging from a Multi-Utility Vehicle (MUV) to intermediate and medium commercial vehicles that i

Sachin panchal, Founder of Motohom

nclude vans and buses, Motohom offers tailor-made packages. On being the booster shot for the revival of tourism in the state of Maharashtra, in a candid conversation, Sachin Panchal, Founder at Motohom, expressed, “We are thankful to the Maharashtra government for giving us a platform. They supported a startup like us and gave us a free hand. Today, other state government’s are seeing value and have started approaching us too.”


The Motohom fleet

Motohom has come to build a fleet of eight vehicles. On one end of the spectrum, the company offers an affordable self-drive campervan and on the other end of the spectrum, the company has luxury caravans to offer. Travellers looking to get their hands on a Motohom, can opt for a self-driving option in the Mahindra Marazzo, a seven seater MUV, for instance that can be driven on the private Light Motor Vehicle (LMV) license. To make the deal sweet, any breakdowns en route the journey are backed by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) on-road assistance. In this case from Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. (M&M). In such an instance, the company, claimed by Panchal, forgoes the rental for the day lost. Courtesy the MTDC tie-up, MTDC resorts across the state near the breakdown site are available for seeking assistance too. Higher up the order, Motohom offers a modified Force Traveller, an eight-seater Leyland Viking, and a DC caravan, Isuzu D-max. The company also offers camper vans on Eicher chassis, custom bus and vanity van modification services.

Approved modifications

The business of Motohom is dependent on offering customised products built out of OE products from an inhouse workshop at Vasai. For instance, the company claims to transform a MUV like Marazzo into a camper van in just a day. The end result is one that strikes a balance between retaining the OE warranty and offering an enhanced vehicle. The modified camper van offers amenities for sleeping, cooking, and a bicycle carrier, for example. During the conversion, explained Panchal, special care is taken to not fiddle with the components and ancillaries that threaten to void the OEM warranty. To power additional electric systems required onboard, a slave battery is fitted. The company makes use of Fire Retardant (FR) materials chosen for their flame resistance properties to ensure a safe ride. They are also claimed to help shave weight and attain Regional Transport Office (RTO) compliance. The caravan policy of the state requires the caravan to be registered with the Commissioner of Transport and acquire approvals from local authorities. Covering single axle, twin axle caravan tent trailer, and folding caravan to name a few, the caravans like Motohom offers also offer amenities like a toilet, bed, and a sofa table. These caravans also benefited from the nod to caravan parks with supporting amenities. The parks with a capacity to hold an estimated 20 caravans, in turn, are expected to be built in close proximity to MTDC resorts across the state to boost domestic tourism in line with the government initiative ‘Paryatan Parv’. It is also committed to generating employment for the locals in these regions.







Core and non-core revenue streams

In operations for three years, for Motohom, the core revenue stream is the rental services. A self-driven camper van is priced at Rs.4500 per day for budget travellers while those keen on luxury can avail of a Motohom caravan priced at Rs.21000 per day exclusive of GST. The latter includes a driver and cleaner to go with the price tag. With the utilisation of 20 days a month as of current, the company hopes to clock more trips in the months to come according to Panchal. The company, revealed Panchal, is also awaiting a GR from the RTO for its towing caravan in the pipeline. It also stands to benefit from self-driven cars being allowed to register as an additional boost to the company and other tourist operators alike. Notably, the new category of ‘Celebrations’ accounts for 50 per cent of its overall revenue pie. The company has additionally entered into car leasing wherein privately owned vehicles could look to attach to the Motohom fleet in a bid to expand further. The company additionally offers a campervan partnership wherein people can attach their vehicles to the Motohom online platform on a revenue-sharing basis.




Growing footprint

Motohom wants to expand its footprint beyond Maharashtra to other states. The company is closely monitoring the development of different state tourism policies to make inroads. Panchal shared that the company was already in talks with the Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat tourism boards. To support its growth aspirations, the company is aiming to add another workshop in the western suburbs of Mumbai, in Goregaon. Being close to the Film City, it especially hopes to strengthen its offering and tap the growth potential of customised vanity vans finding a sweet spot in Bollywood. “We are also scouting for an investor to fuel our growth aspirations,” Panchal concluded.

Also read, Helping Bus Operators Bounceback

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