-even as he asserts that Nigerian travel business is nowhere near saturation while canvassing that travel business operators should embark on selling the country as a tourism destination
By Renn Offor
Mr. Vinod Kaurani, Managing Director of Mayfair Travels Limited has revealed that the company’s online travel booking platform, Tripberry.com, is built on 30 years of Mayfair Travel’s core values.
He said this during a media chat with Atqnews.com in his office at Eko Court, Kofo Aboyomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.
While the online platform continues to seek increased patronage on the site and boosting the B2B to B2C aspects of the business, he asserts that his company’s loyalty to those core values has been basic to their success.
‘I don’t know if other travel agencies follow the same principles as us, but certainly what we have done is that we have identified what is our mission and vision and this has given us the foundation to work with, and to remain profitable’, says Mr. Vinod.
He went on to reveal that his company has flourished and remained consistent in delivering quality services to clients through focusing on what he classed as core values that have enabled him and his team to steer ‘a 30-year old Mayfair Travels forward and remain profitable’.
‘Among our core values, one is hospitality. Obviously, because we are in the service industry, that becomes one of our core values. If we don’t think about hospitality we cannot act correctly with our customers’, he said.
Mr. Kaurani went on to explain that adaptability is another core value his organization has embraced strongly over the year as he maintained that they have identified that for themselves and with commitment the company has continued to follow.
He said, ‘We adapt to market situations and we adapt to customer’s needs and as an organization, as much as possible, we adapt to our employee needs.
‘So we have cultivated a culture of making sure we adapt to, primarily when it comes to selling it is more about our clients, ensuring we understand what they want, whether it is economic passenger or business class passenger or first class passenger’.
Mr. Vinod went on to explain that across the divides travel business has continued to witness tremendous transformation in the last couple of years, shifting abruptly away from the traditional ways of transacting travel business, as they continue to embrace technology.
Taking as an example Mayfair Travel Nigeria Limited, he insisted that successful travel businesses must continue to keep pace with all the modern advancements that ensure seamlessness in serving an ever increasing clientele with growing sophistication in their needs, schedules and travel preferences.
Still focusing on challenges that has greeted the travel industry, he maintained that focusing on thinking out best hospitality approaches and products, raising businesses ability to adapting to the ever dynamic market situations and clients’ needs would remain the core values every business would need to remain afloat and successful.
He further revealed that the online travel booking portal is the product of his company’s response to the technological advancement which started embracing travel business in Nigeria, saying that, ‘One of our objectives and one of our strength is thinking ahead. And when in 2005 the concept of e-ticketing was discussed in the industry and it was already being noticed that this is what we are looking at, I think we are probably one of the very few first companies that said yes we are ready.
‘Ready not necessarily because we had the technology (then) but because we knew that that is supposed to be the future and we believed that. So, we were actually prepared and mentally ready. We agreed with it and we followed the association at that time in 2008. The National Association Nigeria Travel Agents (NANTA) was quite aggressive about educating the members and the industry that e-ticketing is going to come and this is the process. They took everybody through it and in understanding it’.
Talking about the future, TripBerry.com, our online platform, is a brand and a platform of Mayfair. In terms of growth we would welcome be willing to get into partnerhips that could enable us start working together to be able to afford more of the market share.
This he said is, ‘Because as individuals we cannot pull in more than one percent of the market share or half a percent of the market share or less. But as a consolidated group of agents, you should be able to start talking in terms of 10% or 20% market share.
Still talking about the future, he explained that he thinks that in the future such partnerships are likely going to happen in the industry. ‘And we hope we can participate in that. We don’t know yet whether is it possible or not but then for us we will definitely be looking at growing with technology’, he said.
‘So, in the future, Mayfair Travels would be making huge but cautious investments to expand in the coming months’, as he maintained that an online travel booking platform will continue be the main focus in future’.
Mr. Vinod also delved on to look at the current challenges facing travel business and opined that in the present circumstances, travel business could on succeed only if travel agents would ensure adaptability to dynamic market situations and their clients’ complex needs, while paying unwavering commitment to hospitality.
He went on to acknowledge that several travel business operators are experiencing a continuous decline in their fortunes as a result of reduction in the numbers of people who now embark on travels.
As an Indian operating a travel business in Lagos, it is expected that Indians are sure to make the majority of his company’s business partners and clients. But the truth is far from that. He explains that though he is an Indian, that Mayfair Travels maintain large share of clients who are not Indians.
‘We have a fair mix, Indians would probably be between 30% to 40%, and the rest 70%. It is a mix of practically everyone else, Nigerians, Europeans and Americans.
‘The way the client is treated does not differ and that is what is important. So every client is seen exactly the same way irrespective of where they come from and who they are. The bottom line is that they are going to pay us for the service. So that is where we make sure that we adapt to what the client needs.
It is worthy of note that Mayfair Travel Nigeria Limited emerged one of the Top 100 Travel Companies in West Africa, after a rigorous nomination exercise and went on the clinch the award out of the over 3,500 travel companies in West Africa. The award is to be presented at the Travellers Night 2016 Gala Dinner at the prestigious Eko Hotel and Suites.
Mr. Vinod equally looked at the Nigerian travel business and tourism terrain to habour a lot of potentials, saying that, ‘Nigeria is still very far from Saturation’, even as he challenged that it is time to market Nigeria as a destination. We should be about doing this now.
‘We have marketed several countries as a destination. I think it is time that we concentrate our effort more and market Nigeria as a destination, he asserted.