Many people call Indiahikes, asking us for discounts. They ask us whether we have early-bird discounts, student discounts, Christmas discounts and so on.
When we tell them we don’t have these discounts, they ask us, “But other organisations have discounts. In fact their prices are lower than yours.”
And my answer to them is always a statement that takes them aback.
“Other organisations’ prices are lower because they don’t have a choice. Indiahikes is the leading organisation in India. Anyone who has to compete with Indiahikes has to price themselves lower.”
This bold statement often leaves them perplexed.
“What do you mean?” they asked.
And what I tell is something I want to share with you as well.
“We are the pioneers in our country when it comes to high altitude trekking.
Today, we have 20,000 trekkers going with us every year. And by no means do they choose us based on the trek fee.
They trek with us because they feel safe with us even in the worst emergencies. We are the last word on safety in the mountains. In an emergency, everyone rushes to Indiahikes for help.
People also choose us because of the Indiahikes trek experience. Our treks go much beyond seeing beautiful scenery and having a great time.
We believe a trek has a great impact on your mind, body and spirit. When a trekker returns from an Indiahikes trek, he/she often comes back a changed person. It’s the Indiahikes experience that makes this possible, something you cannot add a price to.”
By the end of the call, they are usually convinced about what’s more important on a high altitude trek.
We usually discuss this only internally, but I thought it would be OK to have you take a look at it.
At Indiahikes, all of us work towards a motto we call ‘EPIQ-Value.’
“EPIQ-Value” is not just a wordplay on “epic value.” If you’ve trekked with Indiahikes, you’ll relate to these. If you’re not familiar with our treks, let me explain.
“E” in EPIQ stands for “Experience”
When trekkers come on an Indiahikes trek, they are not just signing up for a trek. We look at the trek as a mere foundation for something bigger, something more internal and life-changing.
And this “life-changing experience” we’re aiming at doesn’t come on its own.
You’ll see it in our every effort. Our Trek Leaders are never told “Take the trekkers safely and come back.” That’s a most basic expectation (even though this basic expectation itself requires extensive training).
Our Trek Leaders go much beyond that. They take the team from the base camp, with one mission — to not only make trekkers marvel at the outdoors, but also to see what they learn from the outdoors. They are trained extensively to do this.
So we’re not surprised when trekkers come back reflecting on their lives.
The “P” in EPIQ Value stands for “Pioneering”
Indiahikes has been defining the future of trekking in our country since 2008. In the history of Indian trekking, Indiahikes has played a pivotal role. We have changed and grown trekking, made it accessible to a new generation of Indians.
We have done this by bringing in new and exhaustive trek information, opening new trails, setting new trekking trends, bringing in new safety systems, introducing cutting edge trek equipment, and fundamentally changing how waste is managed on treks.
The impact of Indiahikes on Indian trekking is enormous. We have the legacy and responsibility of taking trekking forward.
And trekkers who trek with us automatically understand that they are trekking with the pioneering organisation. It makes them feel special.
The “I” in EPIQ Value stands for “Information”
When people think about Indiahikes, they first think of “information”.
We started as a trek documentation organisation. We believed that the biggest problem in trekking was lack of information. It still is. So ten years ago, we started to bring out detailed trek information on our website. Today, the Indiahikes website is the largest database for trek information in our country. People simply download trail data and do the trek on their own.
Over the past decade, thousands of trekkers have used our documentation to trek on their own.
And I’m not just saying that. We get messages like these quite often.
“You guys have put up an entire Encyclopedia of Hiking there. I admire IndiaHikes philosophy and mission objective, a true emblem of free spirited love for Nature, and like Nature making trails, trekking and hiking easy, affordable and reachable universally in best informative ways possible. Thanks a lot for your and team Indiahikes unique, untiring and unmatched contributions to Hiking in India. Keep up the good work….and Shine.” – Ajay Verma
Our Information is who we are. You’ll see our deepest thoughts, our voice, our beliefs, laid out in our information. It’s what makes trekkers trust us with their decisions and with their lives.
The “Q” in EPIQ Value stands for “Quality”
Many new employees at Indiahikes find it disconcerting that merely “getting the job done” is not enough here. Everything is researched and perfected over time.
And you’ll see this the moment you get on our trek. You’ll see it in the smallest of our actions. For example, everyone shudders to think of how they would go to the toilet in the mountains. Yet, at our campsites, our dry toilets are odourless. But to make a toilet odourless at high altitudes our Green Trails team has spent years in researching how to compost human feces quickly at high, cold, temperatures.
Most people think this is a norm. But I must tell you, this is not the norm. I have not seen any other organisation come close to us in the attention we give to detail and research. To do this you need to have intention backed up by resources and money.
Which brings me to the last bit.
The “value” in EPIQ-Value stands for our “Core Values” that govern the EPIQ.
Every aspect of our work, whether experience, quality, information, or safety, is governed closely by our value systems.
For most people it is strange that we are not guided by profits or revenues, but a set of core values.
When we practise our core values, it permeates to everyone associated with us. It finally reaches our trekkers. It gives them a deeper reason to trek with us.
Which brings me back to discounts and lower fees — something many organisations rely on. They may try to achieve Indiahikes standards and we understand that. But it’s impossible.
It takes years to set the standards that Indiahikes has set.
It takes a long time to set up the kind of safety processes we have, an enormous amount of money to have the kind of talent we do and years of rigorous training to give the kind of trek experience that Indiahikes gives.
Having said that, we do have lower fee for some special people and occasions.
We have scholarships for children between 8 and 12. We believe children must trek. Unfortunately, the sad truth is that children in our country rarely trek. We have scholarships solely with the intention of seeing more children in the outdoors. So on our easy-moderate treks, we have a scholarship of 50% for children.
Apart from that, the only “discount” we have is for large groups of 10 or above, where we waive off the fee for one person. If there are 20, we waive off the trek fee for two people.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts about this. Please drop in a comment below.