The business has grown from offering cookie cutter solutions to customised solutions

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The representation business is constantly evolving in India. There was a time when it was difficult to get an efficient person in the representation business. Today, very good industry professionals are eager to work with representation companies. Vasudha Sondhi, MD, Outbound Marketing, speaks to TravelBiz Monitor
Vasudha SondhiQ. How is the representation business in India shaping up?
A.
 The representation business in the Indian travel industry has a lot of new players and it is obvious because a lot of new DMCs’, hotels, destinations, tourism attractions etc. want to get their share of the growing Indian market and the best route is to work with a company that knows the Indian market and culture well.Q. What are the important changes you have observed in the representation business in the last few years?
A.
 The business has grown from offering cookie cutter solutions to customised solutions. Especially with us, at Outbound Marketing, we are no longer just a representation company. We are a sales and marketing organisation as we truly believe that each customer is unique and we need to deliver solutions appropriate for their brand.The second change is that now we have very good industry professionals wanting to work in representation companies. This is a big change from 5 years ago when we did not have a choice to hire the best for the job.
Q. What are the best practices Outbound Marketing has adopted?
A.
 Since Outbound Marketing primarily works with hotel chains and hotels, we have a huge responsibility to deliver revenues from appropriate market segments, yields and keep the over arching brand philosophy as well. This requires us to have customised sales persons. We have never believed in a model where we have 1 sales person going out with a menu card of the different hotel clients we have.The second aspect is that our main focus is on branding our hotel clients for maximum impact in the source market.The third is our understanding of the end customer and adopting a two pronged approach — driving demand from end customer and training the distribution channel to handle the demand.Q. Which are the prominent hotels you represent in India? What about Asia and Asia Pacific (Australia and New Zealand)?
A.
 India is our source market; our clients are all International hotels. We currently work for AccorHotels, Rotana Hotels, SunLux Collection (previously Sun International Hotels and Resorts) and Grand Resort Bad Ragaz – a unique Wellness and Medical health resort in Switzerland. We are also pleased to announce our newest client – Melia Hotels International. We are acquiring more hotels and hotel chains as clients in 2016. So exciting challenges are ahead and we are prepared for the same.

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