Travel industry has grown leaps and bounds in the last few years that has resulted into the emergence of lot of travel companies. In an interview Ajay Upadhyay, Chief Operating Officer, Travel E-Point, an online travel portal speaks about the company and its future aspirations.
Abha Garyali (AG): Elaborate on the inception, growth, and success of ‘Travel E- Point’.
Ajay Upadhyay (AU): Travel E-Point is India’s one of the top online citizen services portal www.travelepoint.com, having presence all over India.
Travel E-Point offers all services through a B2B network so that all consumers can take advantage of the services offered. Most of the consumers cannot take advantage of online services because of non-familiarity about internet and non-availability of debit/credit card or access to online payment method. Travel E-Point plans to change the market scenario through its franchises associated with the portal and make all the services available to consumers at doorstep.
AG: What motivated you to start Travel E- point? Why did the company take franchise route for expansion?
AU: In my view one must participate for common cause to get financial inclusion in India by providing flawless services at economical rates. Moreover we should strive for self employment options for individuals with the vision to provide best services to masses. The best method to achieve above is to create franchisee network across the nation. To fulfill the need and to make company’s services available far and wide low-cost franchisee model is best, that is offered by Travel E-point.
AG: What is the USP of Travel E-Point?
AU: With strong presence across the geography, unique and advanced distribution policy with bunch of services (Air/Rail/Bus ticketing, Bill/Insurance Premium Payments, Mobile/DTH Recharge, PAN Card Processing and Online Entrance Test Preparation Packages such as CAT/MAT/GATE/AIEEE and many more) and commitment to deliver services with delight at cheapest cost makes us different from other players in the market.
AG: What is the eligibility criteria for the selecting the franchisee partners for Travel E-Point?
AU: As we understand, India is a developing country where a few people are able to maintain good infrastructure. At Travel E-Point we expect franchisee to have internet and a computer with basic configuration.
AG: How many franchisees do you have in India and in which cities?
AU: We have already expanded in 22 states of India, where we have more than 3000 agents across 375 cities/towns.
AG: How do you support and train your franchisees?
AU: We have well equipped and trained force of distributors who give required training and supports to our agents.
AG: How much investment is required by aspiring franchisees?
AU: Franchise investment is in the range of Rs 40,000 to 50,000 which mainly goes into computing infrastructure. Our franchise fee is as low as Rs 5,000 to 10,000. Distributor investment is variable based on Class of City starting from Rs 50,000 to 1,00,000.
AG: What are the company’s future plans in terms of expansion through franchising?
AU: We are in process of appointing 15,000 agents across India by the end of this financial year.
AG: What are the challenges of travel business? How can these challenges be overcome?
AU: To maintain high volume growth and profitability, franchise need to offer wide range of services to general public. Identifying and managing multiple services is a challenge for franchisees. We at Travel E-Point are constantly in the process of identifying next generation consumer services that can be offered online and add them to franchise business proposition. For example; we will be shortly adding online advertisement booking service across newspapers, local TV channels and popular websites.