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Old 1st November 2017, 20:53   #76
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Default Re: Review: HiVayKing Ladakh 951 (travel advisory service)

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Originally Posted by mayankk View Post
Its up to them to be "Thomas cook", but it seems they are just "Agarwal travels, tours and tent walas".
Draw the line between defending the man, and the business.
+1 You said it before I could!

My hypothesis after reading a lot of responses, especially ones like, "I know the responses may be rude but I know they'll be helpful" etc., is that Mr. HVK has some invaluable information or arrangements that no one else in our country currently offers. I mean why would you be willing to take crap otherwise?

I'm really keen to know if there's another post here where people were as appreciative & defensive of that SA who was extremely rude but at least got the car serviced right.
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Old 1st November 2017, 21:32   #77
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Default Re: Review: HiVayKing Ladakh 951 (travel advisory service)

Amazingly, I found a competitor for HiVayKing - it is called EasyRoads, an app that you can download from Google PlayStore. It looks like they make money from hotel bookings and as an affiliate of other car/travel related service companies.

Review: HiVayKing Ladakh 951 (travel advisory service)-screenshot_20171101212151.png

When I select Bangalore to Hampi road trip, this is the info I get -

Review: HiVayKing Ladakh 951 (travel advisory service)-screenshot_20171101212511.png

However, there are not too many destinations on offer though. I guess they will be added later.
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Old 1st November 2017, 21:38   #78
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Default Re: Review: HiVayKing Ladakh 951 (travel advisory service)

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Originally Posted by fine69 View Post

Mr. HVK has some invaluable information or arrangements that no one else in our country currently offers. I mean why would you be willing to take crap otherwise?

I'm really keen to know if there's another post here where people were as appreciative & defensive of that SA who was extremely rude but at least got the car serviced right.
Yes as of now what HVK is offering at what price and with what precision & dedication (Does not mean courteous) is unique and something that nobody else offers. If there is an alternative, people are very well open to go there but again I am saying with my experience, he is not a RUDE guy. It was just one of those bad days for him as well as Arijit which went beyond a day.

Yes surely for people who are the ones who do research and go, there is always Team-BHP & a few other sites or blogs/travelogues and for people like me who say "Jo hoga dekha jayega" we do not need expertise of HVK but there are many who need that comfort factor that if I get into trouble then there would be someone to take me out of it as soon as possible & that they keep pushing latest information to my need, get me a hotel room at the last moment in my budget and as long as it costs just 3-5% of my travel budget then such people go to HVK.

Lets be a little realistic:
If I take my car to a small garage for a service, & if he makes me wait for half an hour even after me taking an appointment I would feel bad but if he covers up with the job that can give me peace of mind for the next 10,000 kms, I shall go back to him. Now he may not have a washing facility & sometimes may get my car washed and sometimes he may not. So should I expect him to get my car washed every time just because he did it once, be courteous and pamper me while my car is being serviced? If I expect that then well you know what to call me..

Let's now take the scenario to ASS. I will damn sure make it an issue and raise a complaint against each and everything that they have advertised and
promised and not given to me. For example it so happened with me that I had taken appointment and the SA was rude to me and also at the end of the service my car was not washed and so I took it up with Mahindra. A detailed post is written in another thread http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...ml#post4286222 (Dealer SCAM : Service the car *more frequently* than required!) .
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Old 1st November 2017, 21:49   #79
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Default Re: Review: HiVayKing Ladakh 951 (travel advisory service)

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Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
Amazingly, I found a competitor for HiVayKing - it is called EasyRoads, an app that you can download from Google PlayStore. It looks like they make money from hotel bookings and as an affiliate of other car/travel related service companies.
The difference would be in the community experience. If you get stuck somewhere, the HVKclub might be able to help you better than these guys. However, the way technology is progressing - it wont be long before the apps catch up. Some proper tie up with roadside assistance across cities can help bridge that gap as well - and many insurance companies already have the same.
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Old 1st November 2017, 22:14   #80
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Default Re: Review: HiVayKing Ladakh 951 (travel advisory service)

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Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
The difference would be in the community experience. If you get stuck somewhere, the HVKclub might be able to help you better than these guys. However, the way technology is progressing - it wont be long before the apps catch up. Some proper tie up with roadside assistance across cities can help bridge that gap as well - and many insurance companies already have the same.
Free roadside assistance is part of the deal:

Review: HiVayKing Ladakh 951 (travel advisory service)-screenshot_20171101221346.png
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Old 1st November 2017, 22:50   #81
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Default Re: Review: HiVayKing Ladakh 951 (travel advisory service)

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Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
Free roadside assistance is part of the deal:

Attachment 1691661
Am sure this will be very helpful in places which are well connected with roads but for places like NE, Leh, Ladhak, deserts of Rajasthan etc I would like to know experience of RSA. When I was stuck in Mizoram, my complaint for RSA was raised at about 10 in the Morning, RSA reached me 8-8:30 in the night & I reached Silchar from Kwang Pui (119 kms)next day morning at 7 AM. Luckily for me I was helped by locals to his friend's house. It was with Orange Assist which I believe is very well connected.
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Old 2nd November 2017, 00:53   #82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mayankk View Post
Is he charging money for a service rendered?
Yes?
Its a business. Period. That is all anyone needs to know rather than "understand" the greatness and other things.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mayankk View Post
What is this "Thomas cook" way??
If you dont want to provide a service, dont sell it on your portal.

Draw the line between defending the man, and the business.
More water has flown under the bridge. Time for some more action oriented "caveat emptor" thoughts besides some more rambling :-)

Just quoting a few notable quotes since they triggered another post from my side, especially Mayank's own bold faced piece here. I think discussion in absolutes and taking strong moral stance is utterly pointless - I would rather veer the discussion to actionable stuff - stuff that helps people make decisions about the service than just argue further. Of course, folks like mayank or Roy (Review: HiVayKing Ladakh 951 (travel advisory service)) would never buy it - this post is not for them - this is for the undecided traveler whose wondering about a more concise guidance. This post is not about defense of HVK, but about, "when does this service make sense for you" and "how should you go about doing it?"

As is customary, here's the TL;DR - I'm not saying HVK is doing you a favor by advising his paying customers - just saying, give enough breathing room - you're dealing with (primarily) a single kind hearted human being with his idiosyncracies and failings and some volunteers, so - buy before you send queries, be patient / chill and you will get much more than your money's worth. Today and for years to come.

"when does this service make sense for you"?
- When you are venturing on big x-country trips (Ladakh and NE are packages for the obvious reason)
- The route is rugged with a potential of delay
- You would appreciate the peace of mind that comes from access to a network of well connected and seasoned travel experts

Of course, this is useless, both, for the seasoned traveler with access to a great network (as Roy said), or for the Delhiite planning to go to Jaipur and Bikaner for a long weekend at a Tripadvisor #1 resort.

How should you go about doing it? Remember - this is not a faceless service. It is HVK, not Amazon. You cannot separate the person from the service regardless of principles anyone will quote:
- Do your basic research. HVK's core offering is thoughtful counseling, but its best for you to have developed your basic itinerary as a starting point. Thankfully - that's easily available on TBHP or FB.
- Buy upfront, before you reach out. If you have questions, ask on the FB group. With 25000 members, surely enough will answer your doubts.
- Be patient, especially if you're traveling in the peak season for Ladakh.
- Be humble and sensible upfront. This isn't a mega corporation where you can boss around for being a "paying customer". Sorry. If you think that way, would be better not to buy. I'm not saying that's wrong, just saying thats how HVK is.
- Initially, it helps you should have a bit of a thick skin, kind of like having a taste for coconuts (coarse, frilly and hard on the outside - soft as mush inside). You might initially get off on the wrong start, but once you connect, HVK is like a selfless kind friend, of the kind of levels most folks are not. I have never been admonished by him but again that seems to be a pattern in how some of his interactions have panned out, so incorporating it.
- During the trip - sometimes they would be overloaded and responses would be delayed. HVK has excellent memory - the team would give good advise for your needs but delays can happen. Factor that in.

With that out of the way - here is a metaphor for how HVK does business and where Jithin inadvertently rubbed him the wrong way. This is not about defending HVK - it is just a metaphor. Use it as you will. It is pointless / academic to say someone should be X Y or Z - better to understand the other person, and draw your conclusions about how best you can profitably engage with them.

In the day and age of Amazon Prime and Shoppers' Stop, HVK is an old fashioned dinosaur of sorts, like the old neighborhood cloth shop. He operates everything manually (no automation) - he is like the old days. Window shopping by strangers was hardly encouraged, but the shop keeper was exceedingly generous with old timers, treating them as family (even inviting them to his kids' marriage), and indulging them at leisure. Yet, the shopkeeper would even admonish them at times about not buying the brand their father or mother have been buying for 20 years.

Jithin unknowingly tripped up HVK's "window shopper" filters by pinging him 4 months in advance, speaking to him for 20 minutes, then emailing him the trip plan and following up but NOT buying the Ladakh 951 package upfront. HVK on his part already gave him enough time / value but Jithin's delay in purchasing the package was what triggered HVK.

Jithin may not have realized, but HVK has probably wasted hundreds of hours in folks who wanted to get the advice for free but did not want to pay for it. Unknowingly, he matched that pattern for HVK till he bought it. Hence the snapping response. As Ajmat says, supremely easy for us to judge HVK over the internet, another thing to be that person, embittered by the freeloading nature of many among us.

Of course, I hope HVK learns the right lessons here - especially on rewriting the product description to "set the right expectations" at the very least.

A point to ponder on "value"
Another thing all the folks are missing here - for all of HVK's snapping, he still invested many many hours helping Jithin. He and his team did provide substantial customized advise and guidance.

This is the equivalent of good financial planner advise AND near-real time handholding - incredible value for those who want that. This is not cookie cutter advise (I have tried booking packages from travel triangle and I use that as a comparison) - the advise is both complex, highly individualized ("bespoke", anyone?) and offers real time help (hotel booking depending on how far you manage to push on a given day - that's a truly thankless service, if you were the spouse of any of the CHD volunteers, think about it).

All of this theorizing about service business is fine - I'm curious how many folks would have provided the same level of advice to Jithin at that price? As I keep telling HVK whenever we meet - I would certainly not have offered this service at any price.

HVK does it out of his desire to help / guide folks - the money is merely pocket money - like an eccentric professor, he only offers it on his terms. I suspect one reason for him charging is to limit the number of folks he supports, rather than purely to make money.

Why do I say that? Because he helped me guide me on my recent Sach pass trip, even though my Club 12 membership had expired 15 months back - and the gentleman that he is, he didn't even remind me once about it during the fifty or so whatsapp messages I've exchanged.

And mind you - its not like HVK is helping me after years of long friendship (we had a total of say 45 minutes of in-person interaction in 2 sessions between 2007 and 2015 before I met him at the HVK group All India meet) - I'm just one of the thousands of folks he interacts with every year. Its just that once he connects with you, he's generous to a fault (as you see with the below quote of bikerzindia).

PS: CHD is not a moneymaking service even otherwise - here's an example for my 2016 Spiti ride. So even though they did their job, called up the hotelier, confirmed that there were rooms (but no room service / cooks) and connected me they refused to count their help provided because the hotel had not officially opened for business.
PPS: This isn't a post trying to legitimize HVK's responses - I wouldn't respond that way but at the same time,all I'm doing is provide actionable advise basis the side of HVK that 99.99% of other folks see, not just the 0.01% unfortunate folks like Jithin.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bikerzindia View Post

Let me make it clear during my 29 States and 5 UTs run, I had not pinged him many times but whenever I did, I did get a response back sometimes in 10 minutes and sometimes after 5 hours.

I had not paid a single paisa to him nor had taken any membership but I don't know why that maverick replied to every facebook post & whatsapp I sent him every single time.


Sorry for the double post. I had missed posts on this page. Will self-report to merge posts.

Another metaphor for HVK is like that of a senior doctor from top govt hospitals like say AIIMS - useful actionable advice but abrupt to the point of unnerving first timers. I met a top pulmonologist last weekend after struggling with an acute allergic bronchitis that hadn't gone away after 2 ENTs and one GP visit across 14 days.

The consultation was over in 2 minutes. The doctor didn't speak a syllable more than required. He was polite and answered my doubts, but it was totally to the point and it was soon clear that I should move on, so he could consult other patients. Not a second wasted, not a second spent in addressing my anxieties / doubts, unlike other doctors who became friends in the course of a consultation. Honestly felt like I had overstayed my welcome in the consultation. But guess what, the cough that was causing massive spasms in my stomach became less severe in 12 hours and the incessant cough went away in 60 hours.

Of course I would've loved it if the doctor had been one tenth as chatty as I am, but I'll take his advice anyday. I value the quality of the advice over the semantics and my desire for a better "experience".

You can apply your version of this metaphor for HVK - that's what he is. Know who/what you're dealing with, account for it, set your expectations and hopefully you would be pleasantly surprised beyond expectation. If not, at least you were forewarned!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
Amazingly, I found a competitor for HiVayKing - it is called EasyRoads, an app that you can download from Google PlayStore.
SC, sorry but the similarity ends at trip planning. Please don't compare apples and oranges. Pre-configured / tested itineraries are available on TBHP, FB and a dozen forums or on google searches.

Ladakh 951 = complex, highly individualized advice + near-real time handholding

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
However, the way technology is progressing - it wont be long before the apps catch up. Some proper tie up with roadside assistance across cities can help bridge that gap as well - and many insurance companies already have the same.
Sorry, but you are totally mistaken. The HVK group is passionate to a fault - passion cannot be procured by insurance companies. Bikerzindia has given examples but let me ask if the app would:
  • Send a bunch of professional folks fanning out across top hospitals in NCR, asking about operation / senior surgeon slot / bed availability, and booking ambulances?
  • Make an airline senior commander move mountains to ensure the med evac happened in record time (half of the 72 hours it normally takes)?
  • Ensure that the army internet is leveraged for email receipt and prints even when the civilian net gateway is down?
  • Reach out to the army hospital to see if they would handle an operation the primary private hospital in Leh suggested would be better done in Delhi?
  • Reach out to local contacts to depute someone with the affected family for 3 days in leh to help with the running around, because all three were injured?
  • Get second opinions on the injury and the recommended protocol from senior surgeons across the country?
This a virtual family. They got your back when things really go down. Apps aren't getting there anytime soon, either.

Last edited by tsk1979 : 2nd November 2017 at 04:17.
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Old 2nd November 2017, 05:23   #83
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Default Re: Review: HiVayKing Ladakh 951 (travel advisory service)

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Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
Ladakh 951 = complex, highly individualized advice + near-real time handholding

This a virtual family. They got your back when things really go down. Apps aren't getting there anytime soon, either.
Agreed on that front. The strength of the service lies in the numbers for sure. Speaking of numbers - would anyone here know how many people use such service, let's say, on a monthly basis? Mostly the common Ladakh and North East plans?

Many people have mentioned that multiple people would be using such service daily - and the CHD / HVK would be managing multiple such whatspp chats in a day.
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Old 2nd November 2017, 06:40   #84
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Default Re: Review: HiVayKing Ladakh 951 (travel advisory service)

Agree completely with you, phamilyman. You have summed up characteristics of this wonderful person brilliantly.

But in my opinion, he also needs to change a bit, for his own health and general perception of visitors to his forums, business or advice, better he has someone look after regular chores & replies say like CHD desk which is handled by volunteers as I understood here.

Last edited by Turbanator : 2nd November 2017 at 06:41.
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Old 2nd November 2017, 07:34   #85
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Default Re: Review: HiVayKing Ladakh 951 (travel advisory service)

Everything just described makes sense, but would prove far far more useful if addressed to HVK and he be made clear or made to realize (even if he knows) that this is what he is offering. It would be much better if the things are made better at the source, rather than asking thousands of others to understand one man's ways.

Unrelated to the quoted comment.

Pulling down the service packs the moment a certain threshold of subscribers is reached, maybe one of the ways to manage this service.

Last edited by rrsteer : 2nd November 2017 at 07:36.
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Old 2nd November 2017, 08:37   #86
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Default Re: Review: HiVayKing Ladakh 951 (travel advisory service)

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Originally Posted by rrsteer View Post
Everything just described makes sense, but would prove far far more useful if addressed to HVK and he be made clear or made to realize (even if he knows) that this is what he is offering. It would be much better if the things are made better at the source, rather than asking thousands of others to understand one man's ways.

Unrelated to the quoted comment.

Pulling down the service packs the moment a certain threshold of subscribers is reached, maybe one of the ways to manage this service.
Some of us have drawn his attention to this thread, he did see this seriously and as the man he is he will definitely take all this into consideration. I had stopped responding to this thread based on the responses I have received in this thread so far and also because of Moderators advising me to let everyone else convey their feelings. However, I have the following to mention and would self report to mods. Phamilyman has summed up and explained the service under scrutiny in an amazing way.
  • The strength of the service comes from four components (or many more?):
    1. HVK's Fan Forum - as Phamilyman mentioned, this is a virtual family. Most of the members are hardcore fans of the man, HV Kumar. There are family meets, drives etc organized every year. The forum members have a history of extending help in remote locations with their expertise in odd hours - this includes accident emergency help, situations where members get stranded in the middle of the night due to vehicle breakdown (even in situations where members have not paid for assistance) etc. The group contains qualified doctors, lawyers etc ready to help on a phone call from the man, HVK.
    2. The man himself - he knows Indian roads like back of his hand. As an example of his brilliance, he sends you paragraphs and bullets of instructions on how to get yourself navigated through difficult situations. My wife was reading out a paragraph to me on how to get out of Mumbai through best traffic free route. I was starting my drive from Thane to Bangalore. We came out unscathed with no help from Google or our MapMyIndia GPS device, with just the help from HVK's paragraph. He drops pins on the maps after seeing your route and will ask you to follow. You deviate from the route and you will get assistance once again to get your course corrected. He responds to people who message him with queries in one liners till they irritate him to the core. Consider yourself lucky if you get further responses. And he does this to many out there simultaneously.
    3. The members who travel - their feedback and updates help HVK and CHD (Central Hotel Desk - a group of volunteers (not salaried) who assist HVK and the members) to assist others who may take the route that day or few days after. They inform him of any roadblocks, accidents etc which may not be published in any media, forum or anywhere else.
    4. HVK's friends (fans themselves) all over India who may not be members of the forum - there are stories galore about how they took care of people with medical emergencies etc. This is the main pillar. HVK needs just a phone call to get things moving. He can get auto parts shipped to you, can appoint someone to receive you, can send legal, medical help - many things.
  • All the above happens purely based on HVK's willingness to help and also that of the functioning of the components around him.
  • Deciding a price for all the above or even designing an App (deploy whatever - machine learning, data mining) is not possible in reality.

HVK is already aware of the facts and this thread is just another feedback for him on a given day - what and how he will take this into consideration is his prerogative. My sincere words to you all - please understand this - this is not a business, and it his passion. Judgement without that will hurt and I hope he will be undeterred and continue the service to whoever he thinks deserving.
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Old 2nd November 2017, 09:27   #87
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Default Re: Review: HiVayKing Ladakh 951 (travel advisory service)

Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
HVK does it out of his desire to help / guide folks - the money is merely pocket money - like an eccentric professor, he only offers it on his terms. I suspect one reason for him charging is to limit the number of folks he supports, rather than purely to make money
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinodvayyat View Post
Some of us have drawn his attention to this thread, he did see this seriously and as the man he is he will definitely take all this into consideration.
Great posts guys!

Perhaps HVK should stop responding (personally) unless someone comes through a reference. Some folks have a purely transactional approach, not sure it makes sense to cater to them. New + many questions (which means high maintenance/time commitment) + not enough trip research + too much of expectations: if I were segmenting, given the bandwidth issue, I would stop serving them.
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Old 2nd November 2017, 09:33   #88
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Default Re: Review: HiVayKing Ladakh 951 (travel advisory service)

Quote:
Sorry, but you are totally mistaken. The HVK group is passionate to a fault - passion cannot be procured by insurance companies. Bikerzindia has given examples but let me ask if the app would:
  • Send a bunch of professional folks fanning out across top hospitals in NCR, asking about operation / senior surgeon slot / bed availability, and booking ambulances?
  • Make an airline senior commander move mountains to ensure the med evac happened in record time (half of the 72 hours it normally takes)?
  • Ensure that the army internet is leveraged for email receipt and prints even when the civilian net gateway is down?
  • Reach out to the army hospital to see if they would handle an operation the primary private hospital in Leh suggested would be better done in Delhi?
  • Reach out to local contacts to depute someone with the affected family for 3 days in leh to help with the running around, because all three were injured?
  • Get second opinions on the injury and the recommended protocol from senior surgeons across the country?
This a virtual family. They got your back when things really go down. Apps aren't getting there anytime soon, either.
This is very well put phamilyman. It is very hard to put a price on this. And a lot of us have dealt with drama from the big travel aggregators where you show up at a hotel and there is no room even when you get confirmation from expedia etc. It is at that moment you realize what support really means, when both the aggregator and hotelier raise their hands and say they can do nothing. The most they will do is give you a refund. And you are on your own trying to find accommodation. Much easier/adventurous on your own, exponentially harder when your family is with you in the car.
I would rather get treated for the right thing the first time around than be offered tea/coffee in the waiting room. In fact, I would like to keep my waiting room visits to a minimum.

Last edited by SDP : 2nd November 2017 at 14:33. Reason: Minor correction
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Old 2nd November 2017, 09:36   #89
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Default Re: Review: HiVayKing Ladakh 951 (travel advisory service)

After going through the rants, praises all through the 6 pages this is what is getting conveyed, atleast to me. No offense meant !!

Team-BHP posts a new car/bike review and we members go like,

1. Vehicles brand is renowned and masters in the automotive sector but the TD car/bike was at fault and not the intention/design/technicalities/past history

2. TD was done with XYZ brand in mind and hence the rambling

3. Personnel TD the vehicle was not in a good mood that day and hence many negatives/cons

4. I have driven the same vehicle and havent noticed any of the cons.

End of the day - are we saying the OP was not knowing on who is HVK and how the experience would be? Unable to draw a line between service/volunteer/business? Expected too much for 951? Made a mistake by following what was told by HVK?

His experience was bad and that is what he has communicated and we should respect it.

Once again No offense meant to Team-BHP/Mods/Members/Praisers/Reviewers.

Last edited by SDP : 2nd November 2017 at 14:36. Reason: Updating NOM to No offense meant .. and 501 to 951
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Old 2nd November 2017, 10:40   #90
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Default Re: Review: HiVayKing Ladakh 951 (travel advisory service)

When you go to consult a doctor, advocate, architect or a chartered accountant, you pay the fee either before you consult, or immediately after. If you default the payment or delay it, those professionals will not be kind and courteous to you. That is how the world is. Here, HV Kumar is a travel consultant, and he is the best you can get in the country, who knows the roads and the road conditions in the country like the lines in his palm.. If you want to speak to him about your travel plans, you need pay his fees. If you want to save that small money, there are many resources available for free, where the info is available, which includes the HVK Forum in Facebook and Team BHP. Why crib when you are troubling somebody to help you, that too without paying him? In this case, the OP had not paid till he was about to start the trip, till such time he was using the time and knowledge for free, and he got the arrogance as bonus

I got to know about HV Kumar from this forum 6-7 years ago. When I was travelling to Mumbai with family at that time, I needed some info, so I had dropped an email to him, for which he gave a prompt detailed response. He never knew me at that time, and the help was absolutely free. I was using MapMyIndia navigator for that trip, and I was travelling thru Pune-Mumbai expressway, nearing the end of it, I was confused as to which exit I should take to reach my destination at Ambernath. I made a phone call to HVK, and he gave very precise instructions to reach the place, to a person to whom he is speaking for the first time. Me and my family was like, WOW, for his knowledge, his willingness to help and the confidence he gave us to drive thru a strange place

Since then, I have used the service of HVK and CHD many times over the years for many of my road trips, to Ladakh, Sikkim etc. The amount I paid for the service is nothing when you compare the peace of mind and assurance you get from HVK, his volunteers and the forum members at large. I have even troubled HV Kumar, aka Chief for his forum members, at 4.30am on my trip to Ladakh a few years ago. He had spend 3 hours with us briefing about things and was virtually travelling with us for the 18 days the trip lasted. You simply cannot put a price to the whole experience.
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