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Travel 2010-09-06

Taking travel to newer heights

By Abha Garyali Sub Editor

Travel industry is booming with lot of new players entering the arena. Tigers Connect Travel Systems and Solutions Limited ventured into the travel industry very recently, but have grown manifold in a very short duration. Amanpreet Singh, Chief Marketing Officer, Tigers Connect Travel Systems and Solutions Limited shares the success story of the company.

Abha Garyali (AG): Brief us about the inception and success of ‘Tigers Connect Travel System and Solutions Limited’. What was the idea behind the origin of the brand?

Amanpreet Singh (AS): Travel industry is amongst the biggest industries worldwide but is still largely unorganised in India. A 22 months research gave us a lot of insight to the industry and helped us in identifying the problems faced by the B2B travel trade.

This insight helped us initiate a blue print for the development of a travel system. We did not want to enter a cliché model of basic services which were largely offered by other companies. Flights and rail service is the common module served by many but not other services like hotel, bus, travel insurance, sightseeing activities, transfers and charter etc. It was a tough call to integrate all of the travel services seamlessly. But through our own group IT company MIND ( MothersonSumi Infotech and Designs Ltd) which houses over 600 software engineers, the system was developed within a time frame of 10 months.

The system serves our partners with multiple online products on a single global platform. We received wide acceptance and are working towards increasing multi folds in the near future.

AG: What is the USP of the company and how is it different from other travel agencies?

AS: Our USP is our technology and the involvement of our customers using our technology.

We work very closely with our customers by taking their ideas and incorporating them in our travel system within a very short span of time. This is a win-win situation for us as well as our customers. The system features can power an individual to start using the travel portal within five minutes; provided he has the basic infrastructure such as a computer and an Internet connection.

Unlike traditional software’s which need to be installed on a computer, the Tigers system is very dynamic. One can access the system from anywhere without any restrictions and do the booking in a jiffy, with an instantly confirmed voucher.

AG: When did you start franchising? From where did you get the motivation to opt for franchising as a mode of expansion?

AS: We started franchising since our inception in the beginning of 2009. Our country believes in human touch when it comes to buying products or services. Franchising was the best way to get connected with consumers who could be served by someone who understands their psyche and give them custom made solutions immediately.

AG: What can you foresee about the future of ‘Tigers Connect Travel System And Solutions Limited’?

AS: To start with, we foresee that Tigers will be present at every length and breadth of India, fulfilling the demand of even the small retailer serving his clientele. We are in the process of discussing with various companies, individuals and our international partners for setting up the Tigers franchise model in different countries from where our parent company operates. We are looking for expansion into in bound and out bound tourism from and to the destinations we will be operating in.

AG: Has franchising made a difference in the performance of the company? Please share how it has done so.

AS: Franchising creates an opportunity not just for yourself, but largely for the person or company taking the franchise. Our franchisee is an extension of us in the market; with our system and support, we work both ways in creating a relationship with a common goal- serve the client better.

AG: How many franchisees do you have and in which cities in India?

AS: Tigers support at present has over 1000 partners in more than 15 Indian states.

AG: What are the qualities that you look for in your franchisees? How much investment is required by an aspiring franchisee?

AS: Yes, anybody who has a passion for travel and needs a platform for venturing into this business or a company wanting to diversify their business and expand their current portfolio of services and products. One needs to have a computer, an internet connection and a printer.

We have two models:

  • Travel partner franchising - Here the franchisee sells travel products to clients. Investment needed is Rs 10,000.
  • Direct sales Partner Franchising - This is one level above the basic Travel partner. With this model the partner sells Tigers franchisee to prospects in the territory allotted and also works as a local support centre controlling the franchisees using Tigers Travel System.

Depending on the territory exclusively allotted to the DSP, the cost would vary from Rs 50,000 for small towns to over Rs five crore for complete regions.

AG: What support and training do you provide to your franchisees?

AS: Depending on the need of the hour, trainings are imparted at two levels:

  • On Site - During creation of franchisee or any time after the franchisee has been created. This training is imparted by the marketing team.
  • Off Site - Anytime after the franchisee is operational and additional training is required our team of experts help the franchisee through the 24X7 support centre.

AG: What are the challenges that can be faced by a franchisee in this business? How can they overcome these challenges?

AS: The challenges of the franchise businesses are like sometimes franchisee sells services on credit, which they find difficult to collect from their clients after the travel has been completed. The best solution is to avoid credit. This is the service industry and a client can have a requirement at any time of the day or night. The partner should be mentally prepared to serve their customers at anytime.

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