It’s rightly said, ‘Different strokes for different folks’. Be it in our family or our group of friends – We all are indeed so different from each other! While some of us are well-organised and plan things ahead, some of us are happy-go-lucky, ready to meet the surprises. Naturally, even our guests have different temperaments. Thinking over it, gave way to a new concept…
Unity in Diversity
Of all the slogans that encapsulate the spirit of India, the one I love the most is ‘Unity in Diversity’. I have my own version of it though – ‘Diversity in Unity’. We got to nurture the differences that exist amongst us, right from the micro up to the macro level – from family to society and from local to global. It’s the key to individual happiness and societal harmony. The moment we stop perceiving our diversity as a hurdle and rather consider it to be our strength, equations undergo drastic changes, thus preparing a strong ground for development & prosperity.
As we started studying the various aspects of our travellers, the business began to take off. I strongly believe, the relationship of Veena World with its travellers should run much deeper than that of a mere service provider and customer. Therefore, I dislike addressing our travellers as our consumers or customers. The Veena World team is sincerely striving to take this relationship much beyond, at another level, at a stage where it ceases to be commercial and is filled with the warmth of belongingness. However, there’s a long way to go before we actually achieve that state or rather it can never be achieved a full hundred per cent. It’s so, because, it’s not a one-time thing, but a daily effort. We are working towards building a conducive culture and what’s contenting is that the consistency in the due course has only helped us accelerate our journey towards the achievement of our goal.
The Big Indian Family!
We encounter a great deal of ‘Diversity in Unity’ with our guests and their home. Just visualise the ideal picture of an Indian family. It comprises of paternal & maternal grandparents, son & daughter-in-law or daughter & son-in-law, and of course the grandchildren. Whereas, maternal uncle & aunt, paternal uncle & aunt and cousins together make up the extended family. These relationships and bonds are still deep rooted and strong in India. Veena World survives on this very family and grows on the diversity within. We could introduce many new concepts back to back and could always be on our toes with our spirits high, since we began studying this larger picture of an Indian family, more than fifteen years ago.
Necessity – the mother of invention
Necessity is indeed the mother of invention. We have experienced it in our business big time as we were introducing various touring concepts for our guests. The senior citizens in the family always look out for a company and someone to interact and share things with. This made way for the Seniors’ Special segment. The women of the house needed some Me-time and a space of their own to spread their wings, which laid the foundation of the Women’s Special segment. Young families seek that much-awaited break with families like them and kids yearn for the company of other kids, especially to let their hair down after their exams; the very popular family tours serve this purpose. The changing lifestyle and the emerging individualism in the society made us introduce the Singles Special segment. Over the period of time, when joint families began shrinking, it became more common for relatives to get together and travel together to someplace, at least, once in a year or two. Catering to this need, we began arranging exclusive tours for such family groups. Eventually, we could establish that, with Veena World, ‘you name it and we have it’. It was this attitude that led us to success in segments like Customized Holidays, Corporate Tours – MICE and Destination Weddings.
Different strokes for different folks
We started analysing the different preferences and habits of our guests at the onset of Veena World. Probably, it was a need then. Making guests come to us was a huge challenge. With an aim to make the world affordable for all, Veena World came up with affordable tours across the seven continents. We thus, came to be known for our ‘Best Tours @ Best Prices’. Today, Veena World has set a benchmark in the Indian tourism industry, when it comes to tour programmes, prices and services. A control over the tour prices was very beneficial for the guests. Having studied and analysed the various temperaments of our guests, we realised that some of them are least interested in touring. In such a scenario, if a person’s spouse happens to be such, there remains a very little scope for the partner to live his/her travel dreams. However, it’s a different thing that Veena World’s Singles, Seniors’ and Women’s Specials are catering to the needs of such individuals. On the other hand, there are some individuals for whom travel is a basic need, coming only next in the line of food, clothing, shelter & education. Travelling the world or visiting a particular country tops their bucket list. Holding their aspirations close to their heart, these individuals manage their savings accordingly. We just thought these well-planned, most-organized individuals definitely deserve a reward and therefore introduced the ‘Jumbo Discount’. The earlier they book, the more they save and they also grab some benefits. This concept was well-received by the guests and over the last five years, the ‘Jumbo Discount’ is only getting popular by the day. Since we are assured of a certain amount of business in advance, we are confident of negotiating with the airlines, transporters and hoteliers. Once even our associates are assured of the same, things begin falling into place for them too. All in all, the Jumbo Discount has proved to be a triple win formula of all three of us – a win-win-win situation for our guests, for Veena World and also for our associates.
From advance to last minute
When Veena World turned five, we looked back on it and knew that the company would break even soon. But what was most important is, Veena World had been happily accepted by the travellers’ community. Secondly, Veena World could attain this feat only due to the strong support of our team and also the network of our associates in India and around the world. And last but not the least, from the database of zero, Veena World had grown up to a database of four lakh satisfied guests. Analysing this data helped us study various trends. Our vague understanding of the period when guests book their tour was now backed with statistics and things were getting clearer. Our strategies were undergoing changes accordingly.
The bookings for Europe & America tend to take off some nine to ten months in advance, while for Australia, Japan, China, this period is of around five to six months. The South East Asia & India tours are booked around two to three months in advance. This is why, Veena World’s Summer Offer in January is primarily focussed on the Asia & India tours. In the due course, it was also revealed that around 30% of our guests book their tours quite well in advance; around 50% of them book neither too early, nor too late; some 15% of them are such who face problems with their leaves or get them sanctioned at the eleventh hour. Such guests are yet happy with the fact that they are at least able to make it, even if there are visa hassles, considering the little time in hand. However, the most surprising of it all is a new segment of travellers which makes up 5% of our database and is on the rise by 0.5% every year, over the last five years. These are the ones who believe in ‘Today-Now-Right Away’. These are the people who are actually living Veena World’s tagline –‘Chalo, Bag Bharo, Nikal Pado!’. In the times of everything ‘instant’, with a crunch for leaves at work, the ‘Chalo, Bag Bharo, Nikal Pado!’ league is only growing.
Chalo, Bag Bharo, Nikal Pado!
This reminds me of a famous personality from the Marathi film & television industry– our very own Jitendra Joshi. He never plans his trips. Whenever possible, he directly hits the airport, boards the flight available, flies to the destination where the flight takes him to and after alighting walks on a random path, and simply explores the destination, just as he wishes to. He physically drains out yet returns home with a totally refreshed mind. Isn’t this absolutely mind-blowing?! Who wouldn’t like to be such a free spirit?! I found Jeetu Joshi’s free spirit and today’s ‘Chalo, Bag Bharo, Nikal Pado!’ generation to be quite similar to each other. This generation, which is growing by 0.5% every year, just can’t be ignored. Considering 5%, they make for our 5,000 guests annually. Especially for this ‘Last Minute Generation’ Veena World now introduces something that’s going to be a mutual ‘win-win’ situation. It’s a fact that Veena World’s tours get sold out quite well in advance, thanks to our guests and all their love and trust on us. Even now, Veena World’s more than 100 tours to Europe & America are already sold out. But even at Veena World, at times, a few seats go vacant on some of our tours. Now, wherever possible, we have decided to offer two to four such seats to our ‘Last Minute’ ‘Chalo, Bag Bharo, Nikal Pado!’ guests, at a little discounted price. While we’ll avoid losses, the guests who have made it happen will get the tour at a lesser price. Our duty is to keep on making way for such ‘win-win’ situations. So ladies & gentlemen, whenever such seats will be available, we’ll open it for our guests a week before the departure. Keep your bags packed. You never know, your dream tour may be just waiting for you and you’ll only need to steal the deal! Look out for such great deals on veenaworld.com and you may just have a stroke of luck… All the best!!!