A closed mind decays fast. To avoid it, you must break your tightly scheduled routine. Take a break, if not major, then only a mini. And open up your feet to travelling and exploring new places and experiences. After all, life is a joyful journey of travelling heartbeats.
The pandemic darkness is breaking into a new dawn of glorious hope, thanks to the guiding lights for exploring minds like Minibreaks. Mr Sandeep Srivastava, the Founder of Minibreaks, believes that the past two years have taught all the travellers a priceless lesson that enjoyment can be found in every nook of the world.
Mr Srivastava and Minibreaks are the recipients of the Indian Achievers’ Award 2020-21 (from Indian Achievers Forum) in recognition of outstanding professional achievement & contribution in nation-building.
The team of Minibreaks is welcoming you with open arms to take a daycation to get spa, pool and amenities access at luxury hotels at very affordable prices. Don’t worry, as Minibreaks will take care of everything else. You just take a break, explore, and enjoy your holidays, vacations, tours, journeys, and voyages to the fullest.
In an interview with CIOLOOKINDIA for its edition of “League of Innovators-2022”, Mr Srivastava urges you to experience a new kind of get away with them as your planning companion.
Below are excerpts from the interview. Let the travel begin.
Mr Sandeep, please tell us about your professional tenure in the niche.
I love the challenge, the thrill, the work, and the people because Travel is one of the most collaborative cultures and diversified into numerous segments catering to the traveller’s needs. It’s the challenge, the excitement, and the thrill that makes it exciting and interesting.
I have been serving the field for nineteen years in the hospitality management domain. I have transverse into sales, marketing, business development, startup management, accounts and relationship management facets in e-commerce, strategic planning, revenue analysis, operations, inbound and online travel segment, of business with the offline sector, which is B2B, inbound to B2C – online travel vertical—starting from the role of Stipend I have reached up to the position of India Head.
I started my career journey post completing my Post-graduation from Agra University, Diploma in Travel and Ticketing from IITTM New Delhi, and certification in Digital marketing from Google. I have started my journey as a stipend in an Inbound Travel firm like Sita, Compass India Inc, learning the jargon of travel, the phonetic codes, doing Airport felicitation, making itineraries, tour manager with international clients that enhanced my knowledge and experience.
I have been promoted from Stipend to Assistant Manager, upscaling my perks and positions for four-and-a-half years. The inquisitiveness toward e-commerce brought me to the digital space of travel technology. I served Travelguru.com, Travelocity.co.in, and yatra for thirteen years, moving to different positions from Assistant Manager to Deputy General Manager, North and East India, handling 28000 hotels and domestic chains with a team of 23 people till 2018.
My last venture Hi Tours and its online vertical (Luxury Travel Deals), launched an online start-up foundation for an inbound vertical managing India and subcontinent hotel relation for organisations for one-and-a-half years and post-pandemic finally entered into the space of entrepreneurship in 2019. The best learning of all these years was a blend of knowledge, challenges, functions, and approaches towards a product which made it exciting at each position in the tenure.
Who inspires you to wake up every day and keep making a difference in the respective industry you are catering to?
I am inspired by the fact that every day is a new day, and there is an opportunity in every day, especially when you are building your dream. We never know what the day is bringing for you and how to become a better me for me and the others on that day. It also excites me what addition I will be making in my work and with my team, which makes a step closer to our mission.
As a leader of Minibreaks, what challenges have you faced while establishing and running the business?
The first challenge was setting up the business, reaching the right set of audiences, having like-minded people who can understand the virtue. The most critical challenge was a variety of pandemic impacts which in reality examined the evolution of business and its associated effects, like,
- Getting the correct exposure
- Getting the word out about the services
- Marketing on a tight budget
- Convincing brands on the feasibility and benefits
Brief us about the operations of Minibreaks, its mission, vision, and core values.
Minibreaks is an urban technology company that came to life to empower the traveller with the solution of saving the cost of overnight stay and paying only for used hours. And they can attain experience not only enjoying hotel room but also combine other hotel amenities like restaurant, bar, spa, all at one click and you relish an ideal experience.
Minibreaks allows its customers to enjoy a hotel room as well as other services traditionally available to overnight guests only at the best value.
Minibreaks is changing the hotel industry, adapting it to the new, more mobile, connected, and demanding way of life we lead today by giving access to these services, enjoying the luxuries of high-end hotels at an affordable price (room service, bar, restaurant and spa).
We also create a short vacation with an experience of unique stays, which is a blend of Havelis, resorts, boutique hotels/homestays etc.
Our Company Mission is to be the largest aggregator in the brand segment.
Our vision is to give customers a wide assortment of products, the bite of luxury, a great experience, and achieve sustainable growth ourselves.
Our values – ‘CARE’
- We believe that customers are our guiding light and permeate everything we do, right from building an intelligent online solution that helps travellers choose their perfect break.
- We believe in creating authentic experiences for every traveller, be it in our platform that spreads happiness to our customers.
- We are committed to treating each other warmly and sincerely empowered by compassion and service.
- We bring in a blend of products and unique selling propositions.
How has the current pandemic affected your business, and what steps have you taken to safeguard your employees while catering to your clients?
There was a global loss of 4.3 trillion US$ on the travel segment impacting small companies and even giant unicorns. The spending has been reduced due to a reduction in wages travel restrictions ripping the whole ecosystem.
For us, the start of this company was the inspiration in pandemic to implement the concept into reality. The impacts of COVID to travel verticals were surging, many companies were shut down, and people lost their jobs with us. The consequence was identical, but to survive and revive this dream gave us an impetus to pursue, plan, and strategise.
It taught us countless factors: to focus, learn, upgrade ourselves, and traverse our energy in what we wish to achieve for ourselves and our organisation. All associated members stood together, pivoting our ideas and thoughts to prepare for the future.
We ensured flexible work timings prioritising health and safety first, and essential requirements are respected considering the state and business impact. We took a methodical approach to build ourselves and rectify processes, SOPs, policies, and, most importantly, technology.
What creative ways have you employed to make Minibreaks’ work environment vibrant?
This question has often been asked by those looking to achieve the best workplace status and aspiring organisations that recognise a growing shift in their industry from profitability to personability. We walk a unique path to make a better work environment. It is mentioned below,
- Communication is important
- Ensure appreciation of good work
- Infuse a culture of teaching over reproaching
- Encourage cooperation over competition
According to you, what are the essentials of being an innovative business leader?
Keep pivoting yourself until you get your desired result. In Opportunity Mode, get passionately alert to the possibility, to unmet needs, to the power of imagination, and to the thrill of turning vision into reality. Where others see problems, you should sense potential, which are some characteristics of an innovative leader.
What would you like to share with the young generation of entrepreneurs looking to step foot in a leadership role in their respective businesses?
Challenge yourself, believe in the dream, learn from mistakes, and improve for better results. Adaptability, persistence, and hard work are the keys to success in business and are essential attributes no matter whatever you endeavour.
We should not expect a rise from day one; it must be analysed, and what things are not investigated considering the cost but were essential for building up the things. Defining the right target audience and having an experienced co-worker is an added advantage as that is an investment to the business.
In terms of future growth, where do you see yourself and Minibreaks?
In terms of future growth, we wish to establish our network to 100+ business and semi-business destinations with 3000 hotels LIVE by 2023 with the support of skilled and fostered people.
We wish to participate in all networking events, increasing transaction frequency, establishing a new line of business verticals such as daily activities, day trips, unique stay options, expansion to global markets, increasing the revenue stream for ourselves and our partners.
In the next five years, we see minibreaks to be a well-recognized brand catering to the needs of travellers with updated technology in the online travel space.