Sair Is Evolving

May 13, 2020

We are living through one of the most challenging crises faced by the world historically. Such times are bound to question one's resolve and commitment severely, but they also help us shape our beliefs. Done right, we can come out stronger for having challenged our thought processes and decisions deeply. At SAIR, we have been on this same journey of reinventing ourselves over the last few weeks.

We had launched SAIR late last year with two explicit beliefs:
a)  Real commerce in India can only be built by leveraging the trust that has been a core part of our communities for years, and
b) India's full set of offerings are yet to be mapped by the world of online commerce.

Though we started our journey as a travel startup, coronavirus has not been kind to the travel industry. Amidst the most extensive travel shutdown historically, we faced a choice between shutting down or reinventing ourselves. Adding to our concerns were the typical liquidity-management interests of an early-stage company and the disruption created for our customers by suppliers who used to say one thing on Twitter and yet another in their fine print to block as much outflow as possible.

Post-COVID will be a different world, with various pressing problems and opportunities. End of lockdown will not mean the end of economic distress. It will not mean mended supply chains and smooth travel. In the light of the world, we will be stepping into, we have decided to take the difficult decision to step away from the months of work and sweat that went into our fledgling travel portfolio, hoping that it will help our company survive this period and hopefully thrive one day soon.

We continue to resolve old bookings and provide support on hotel and air-travel bookings made through us. This has been a difficult period with hotels and airlines, trying their best to preserve cash-flow. We have been following on all cases and getting the maximum refunds that we can for each customer. Thank you for your patience in this matter and if there is anything still lacking or any feedback, questions, complaints you have, please email us at . I will be answering each email personally and as soon as possible.

We would love to have a chance to work with all our existing customers and partners. However, we also understand that this change in direction will mean that we no longer fit in with everyone's needs. Some of our current community and customers will need to shift to other suppliers. We will be sorry to see you go and hope that we can serve you again in the future.

And now a sneak peek into something that's keeping all of us excited and nervous at the same time: The transition of SAIR into SAIR mall. Though I plan to share a detailed note on SAIR mall in due course with the initial metrics that are adding to our excitement, here is a sneak peek - SAIR mall is our attempt at leveraging the trust in our close-knit communities that have existed for years. We are working to provide assisted online commerce solutions to the next 500 Million Indians residing primarily in non-Tier-I India. I look forward to sharing and learning more about localization of product and localization of supply chains.

As a practice, we intend to capture our experiences and learning during these testing times. I am looking forward to penning down initial thoughts on SAIR Mall in a few days.