As the epidemic is waning, tourism is back into avid travellers’ and tourists’ minds. People travel for different reasons—majorly leisurely or personal or professional necessities. Whatever the reason, we all love to go on vacations, tours, holidays, travels, voyages, and journeys.
But what we all are wary of is the escalated pain points while travelling unplanned or haphazardly planned tours. They turn your journeys into nightmares.
After facing our worst nightmare in the form of the pandemic, we want to step out for the destinations that we dreamed of. We want to spread our wings out and explore the relishing beauty of nature.
However, we require a good company with trust and credibility on our vacations with an assurance of a quality time with our loved ones and HOLIDAYBOOKIE Pvt Ltd, Mr Bhavik Shah, the Founder-Director, promises us a replenishing experience of a vacation.
In an exclusive interview with CIOLOOKINDIA for its edition of “The Most Promising Travel Management Companies,” Mr Shah spoke about how he and his professional team at Holidaybookey are making sure that, wherever you travel, national or international, and for whatever reason, personal or professional, your experience is going to be worthy of desired again and again.
Below are the briefs of that credible promise of surety.
Sir, please brief our audience about Holidaybookey, its USPs, and how it is currently positioned as a leading player in the travel management space.
Our roots started as a ticketing agency, and we did well. This was a steppingstone to expand our services and offer travellers our immense knowledge in this space. Our comprehensive services included end-to-end travel planning for travellers of all types catering to domestic and international locations.
As one of the leading agencies that offer group tours, customised holidays, and tours and travel planning for corporates – our main USPs is that we ensure travel plans are completely customised as per the traveller’s needs, preferences, and budgets.
With a strong network across India with hotels as partners and connections built with local tourist spots, we have a stronghold on the best deals that only a local would know! A robust network of vendors in domestic and international horizons gives us the stability to deliver value in each vacation or tour planned.
What other products/solutions do Holidaybookey offer, and how are these impacting the travel management space?
Our focus is a great customer experience throughout; hence we assign a dedicated point of contact to our travellers who are with them from the selection of the hotels to planning itinerary and who can be called anytime for any help during the travel.
Everything is planned, implemented, and controlled by one person, hence building comfort, a sense of security and trust for the traveller.
Brief us about yourself, your journey in the travel management space, and how you have contributed to the Holidaybookey’s success.
I started a ticketing agency out of my passion for travel and exploration. I always wanted to make travel accessible, affordable, and seamless for everyone who has a thirst for adventure. Some of our clients have been with us for around a decade now, and that speaks a lot about the quality and transparent services we have offered to our travellers.
With my professional network and interacting with business owners, I understood the preferences of business travellers, and I added that as a key service to HolidayBookie.
Our premium services to the corporates and being available in real-time for travel assistance made us a preferred travel partner to some big names in Pune and Mumbai like HDFC, Ernst and Young, Glen Appliances, Bramhacorp, Bank of Maharashtra and many more such names.
We have a dedicated team that helps corporates with their MICE needs (Meeting Incentive Conference and Exhibitions). This must always be economical yet comfortable with all checks in place.
Being an experienced leader, share with us your opinion on the impact of the adoption of modern technologies such as AI on the travel management niche and what more could be expected in the future?
The adoption of AI has surpassed the human level of capturing information, noting preferences, and generating business. The field we are in is one of the oldest industries though AI has made it a quality one.
Hotels in many countries are beginning to use robots (RAISA) in various ways, including chatbots, delivery robots, robot concierges, conveyor restaurants, and self-service information and check-in kiosks. However, there is a gap or limited research in tourism that is being filled by the human workforce. I believe that AI could be the next best thing in the tourism industry.
Having said the above, while AI caters to the diverse demands of travellers, it raises privacy concerns, and that needs to be taken care of well.
Considering the current pandemic, what initial challenges did you face, and how did you drive Holidaybookey to sustain operations while ensuring the safety of your employees at the same time?
It’s a no-brainer that one of the industries that took a hit due to the pandemic was the travel industry. And the lockdowns closed the entire set of operations in the travel and tourism business. A coordinated effort was needed to restore and rehabilitate tourist attractions in the wake of the disaster, which affected the whole tourism ecosystem.
In addition to general economic stimulus packages, several governments have implemented tourism-specific policies to help firms and employees in the industry. It was a huge relief to receive support from the government.
All indications suggest that travel is returning with renewed vigour as people seek to reconnect, discover new places, or revisit old favourites as the COVID-19 epidemic fades. People just want to get out of their homes to explore.
In our industry, a travel company’s reputation may be tarnished if even a single friction point in the client experience cannot be successfully addressed. It is imperative that the industry ensures that the reopening process goes well, and that enough assistance is given to travellers for them to adjust to new modes of transportation. The personalised touch of each tour matters a lot as people open up to the idea of travelling again.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the travel management space?
I firmly believe that ethical business is important and matters a lot to build trust and credibility with customers. Clients don’t return to the same travel organisations if they’ve had a bad experience once, so a thin string!
Above all, it is important to keep transparency with your clients to build a loyal customer base. Your business will suffer if you do not follow through with your promises made to the clients regarding both – experience and payment.
How do you envision scaling Holidaybookey’s operations and offerings in 2022 and beyond?
In the next five years, my focus is to get listed as a public limited company. We want to become the flagship of personalised vacations, travel, and tours. We aim to adapt to new norms and bring in technologies that will help the business in the long run and achieve a higher ROI. Thinking big with our personalised travel plans and creating a more genuine relationship with our clients is the way forward. I believe it is essential to keep the clients happy in the tourism industry to keep them coming back to you. I want to be the flag bearer of trust and credibility in travel and tourism. Today, what Apple is to smartphones, HolidayBookey will be in travel and tourism.