It’s all about experiences when it comes to traveling these days. Vacation packages and sunbathing escapes are being replaced with activities like night photography tours or scouring cities for street art and family-owned restaurants that only locals know. A Skift report shows that 50% of travelers would rather not feel like tourists when traveling. This behavior of consuming experiences has been a trend for other industries including retail and food. When CEO and founder, Monika Bhasin, came up with the idea for GLYD, she was right on target. GLYD is a platform for travelers to connect with locals for the chance to feel at home away from home.
“When you connect with people in a foreign city you feel like you belong in that community and city,” Bhasin said. Bhasin points out that travel exists in two ways. First, you can physically travel to a new place. Second, you can travel by experiencing a new place through the eyes of someone else as well as their suggestions or guidance. The GLYD app allows you to hire a local, or what they call a GLYDr, to show you around, much like a one-on-one tour guide. If you prefer to explore without a guide, you can opt to purchase an itinerary from a local or another traveler who created their own unique experience.
Before launching GLYD in 2018, Bhasin worked as a scientist spending her days mostly isolated in a lab. Growing up in a traditional, male-dominated Indian home, this was the preferred career choice influenced by her environment. Bhasin’s personality and urge to connect with people led her to take a leap without the net. “ I’ve always found and carved my own path ,” she said. She decided to leave her stable job for the entrepreneurial life.
Bhasin worked several different jobs, from insurance representative to a food truck owner. With each role, she gathered new skills that she would use as a new founder. In some instances, it was learn as you go. “If you are hiring a developer or team, you need to be very organized and detail oriented. You should be able to explain it simply and know every feature,” she explained. “Development is a process. Be patient,” said Bhasin.
Her journey like every other founder’s was not exempt from setbacks and mistakes, but each time it fueled Bhasin to keep going. “I’m not a person that gives up,” she said. “I don’t give up until I get through to a project or I get what I want from it. Every time there was a failure there was a sparkle somewhere else that kept me going ,” expressed Bhasin.
Bhasin plans to have a huge presence in Southeast Asia. With over 50 dialects, a rich culture and beautiful people, Bhasin believes it is the perfect place for GLYD to start a movement of traveling differently. She said, “I think we are one race – humanity. I want people to feel more connected to each other. It’s what we need in the world right now.”