1. What inspired you to start this company?
My love for travel started very early on and eventually led to me starting my career in Tourism in 1989 with a small hotel in the sleepy but charming little town of Mamallapuram in South India. This brought me in close quarters with tour operators who would often bring their clients to my hotel. It pained me to see how some clients were disappointed with the run of the mill tours that most operators offered. It felt like a total waste of all the beauty and charm that India had to showcase. This set off a spark in me and I started doing local tours and excursions for my own clients at the hotel, and took them to the heart of the destination where they felt the pulse of what kept the locals going. These tours got popular and inspired me to start a travel company to extend and expand not just the operations but also the spectrum of experiences.
2. Describe your first sale/customer.
My first big customer was a tour operator who was determined to offer special experiences to his clients but was left high and dry, as he could not find anyone suitable to work with here. He came down to my town to meet me and motivated me to start working with him for all his tours in South India. I stepped on board and we kept our association going for well over a decade.
3. What was your first tour like – and what has changed compared to your most recent?
Our first tour was quite a miss and go. This triggered a lot of creativity and passion in us and since then both the quotients are only growing.
4. What part of the company are you most proud of and why?
Beside other things, I take a lot of pride in the way we lead our tours. A tour leader makes or breaks the tour. So right from the start we lay a lot of emphasis on knowledge, common sense, cross culture understanding and sensitivity and discipline in all our tour leaders. In the process we have come up with two well thought out manuals for them and have received great feedbacks from our clients.
5. What do you feel sets your company apart from other DMC’s?
To stay ahead in a level playing field one has to constantly stay tuned to the changing needs and make timely adjustments and alterations. Right from the very beginning we had set up some standards and yardsticks for ourselves and have tried our best to stick to them. We have a dedicated and passionate team, our operations are small and compact, we stress on destination knowledge, we work in a cozy working environment that is very conducive to nurture the team’s passion, we insist on working with the locals and practice sustainable tourism with respect to the locals and the environment and stick to fair trade practices. These factors have brought us to where we are now.
6. What does a standard working day look like for you?
Motivating our teams, understanding the customer, keeping a close watch on the tours in operation and constant looking out for information on festivals and local ceremonies.
7. What gets you out of bed in the morning?
A walk on the beach followed by Yoga, meeting with my team and facing new challenges.
8. What keeps you up at night?
I sleep very well and prefer early nights.
9. where do you see the company in 5 years?
I would like the company to position itself as a boutique travel company with a clientele that appreciates and seeks the same.