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Travel 2010-06-08

Travel kings

By Abha Garyali Sub Editor

Travel industry’s franchise trail had not only been rough and bumpy, but challenging too. Hence, achieving success in this industry has its own high. Cox & Kings is one such name that achieved great heights and took the benefit of being the oldest. In an interview, Karan Anand, Head, Relationships and Supplier Management, Cox & Kings India Ltd, talks about his company journey so far.

Abha Garyali (AG): Tell us something about the inception and success of Cox & Kings.

Karan Anand (KA): Cox & Kings (India) Ltd (CKIL) is the longest established travel company in the world, started in 1758. The distinguished history began when it was appointed general agents to the regiment of Foot Guards in India under the command of Lord Ligonier. Today, it is a premium brand in all travel-related services, headquartered in India, employing over 1,400 professionals. The business can be broadly categorised under leisure travel, corporate, MICE, trade fairs, visa processing and foreign exchange.

AG: Why did you opt for the franchise route for expansion?

KA: The Indian travel industry has grown by leaps and bounds. But the industry as a whole is still largely unorganised. In this scenario, customers want a travel operator, who can offer a range of travel options and services under one roof. In line with this, we wanted to bring the world of travel at the customer’s doorsteps by setting up a network of franchisees all over the country.

AG: What is the USP of Cox & Kings?

KA: With strong presence across the globe, rich experience of over 250 years, in-depth understanding of the travel industry, unmatched customer offerings, a staff of travel experts, an exhaustive network of ground operators makes Cox & Kings as one of the world’s leading travel companies.

Each of our franchisees offer a range of holidays and travel-related services offered by Cox & Kings (India) Ltd under one roof. These include domestic and outbound holidays, foreign exchange, airline tickets, overseas insurance and trade fairs.

AG: What are the requirements to be your franchisee?

KA: The minimum requirements to set up a Cox & Kings franchise are:

  • An operational business space of 250-500 sq.ft. and 500-1000 sq.ft.
  • The premises should preferably be owned and if on lease, it must be permissible for five years.
  • The premises should preferably be on the ground floor and facing main road for clear visibility.
  • Capital Investment of Rs 10 to 15 lakh, which is exclusive of the set-up cost borne by the franchisee.

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

KA: The company has 14 branch offices located in Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Kochi, Pune, Nagpur and Goa.

The company has appointed 80 franchisees across 20 states covering 70 cities.

AG: In what ways do you support and train your franchisees?

KA: Partnering with Cox & Kings has its own benefits.

  • The franchisee becomes an integral part of Cox & Kings’ 250-year heritage and is in a position to command the same kind of respect in the industry.
  • The team goes through a comprehensive training provided by Cox & Kings and is given ongoing guidance and assistance at every stage.
  • A 24x7 call centre to provide back-up in case of an emergency or urgent queries.
  • A user-friendly customer relationship management programme, designed to analyse customers’ needs and wants.
  • The franchisee has access to preferential deals in terms of air fares, cruises, coach tours, holiday packages as well as hotel accommodation and car rentals. This gives them a strong competitive advantage.

AG: What are your future plans in terms of expansion through franchising?

KA: Our plan is to cross 100 franchises within this financial year.

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