I am a travel consultant having my own IATA agency, in Thane,since last 22 years.
Any homework you require for your field? You need to understand the requirements of the people in the best possible fashion.If you need to give them some really good solutions like customized packages and if it is more cost effective the people will like. In order to be succesful travel consultant, apart from being IATA approved and apart from being approved by the ministry of external affairs and the ministry of tourism you also need to get qualifications from the different people. So that your knowledge base increases very well. You have to tie up with a lot of huge suppliers in the world, that you get better rates for the customers and you also need to do continous training process so that you are updated in the world.
Are you getting a right response you have dreamed about? Yes, we are getting a very good response and as Thane is a very rapidly growing city so I don't think there is a problem with the response perspective.
What difficulties you faced when you started your business & how did you overcome those? When I started my business it was literally without any penny in the pocket. So like all others who start their business without anything, we also faced a lot of struggle for funds. People even used to ask for 100 rupees. The suppliers would not let us give anything unless we pay them full payments. So like all other strugglers we also went through the same.I can say we are quite happy with ourselves. We have been able to juggle around struggle part of ours and come out with flying colors.
How long did your struggle period last? We started our busineses somewhere around 1988 and the struggle lasted till around 1993 or1994. Somewhere around 5 years.
If not this field what would you have been otherwise? Most probably I would have been a Doctor or I would have joined the Army.
With competitions in the market, how do you stand apart from the rest? If you want to succeed in this competetive world, you have to have a package of lot of things putting together. You need to have a good knowledge base, you need to have a good understanding of the needs of customer. You also need to give them cost-effective tailor made packages which others can't even think of. If you do that, you positively have to succeed.Many times I can sell a package which is higher in price provided we can match it with the quality associated with higher price. If you can deliver value for money there is no dearth of business.Competition or no competition.
What is the percentage of work satisfaction that you get? Well, definitely above 90 percent.
Why not 100 percent Sir? Nobody is perfect in life.You always think that we have done this and we could have done that more better. Maybe I can do something better with my staff or with my office interiors. So
there is always something more then you can do.So I can never claim that I am 100 percent satisfied with whatever we do, because there is always a scope for improvement in life, whatever you do.
What ideas are there in your mind to improve your work? As far as our business is concerned, we have a great competition through the internet, We are now restucturing the entire organization in such a way that internet becomes friend and not a foe to us. So we are trying to adopt through the changing environment around us. If you do not adopt the changes around you, then you are likely to be extinct and we have no plans to be extinct.
What are your future plans? We want to adopt new changes, we want to get more into the internet, do some rapid marketing through the new tools which are coming in. We already have a good customer base, but we cannot be satisfied with it. If We want to increase our sales which is very difficult after a few years then I think we need more tools.
Sine how long are you staying in Thane? I am staying in Thane for around 36 years
Any idea to make Thane a better place to live in?
Definitely, we need wider roads, I think we need pothole free roads. We need to have some rapid mass transit system so that there is less dependence on auto-rickshaws and other things.We need to see to it, we have to pressurise our corporators that the holes in the roads are not an annual feature year after year, they have to be good quality and most important I think if we start a excellent mono rail services for all of Thane city including far areas and ghodbunder areas. All of the sudden there will be a less rush on the road and that itself will be a great relief for the people in the city.
What is the best place to Hangout in Thane, where you go? The Best place here is in the Yeoor mountains. Its absolutely silent non-polluted, and there you can be really yourself.
Given a opportunity, how will you make Thane a better place to stay? As I am not into the administration of the city, only the thing is that if I do become the adminstrator of Thane, first thing I would like to do is to improve the infrastructure of the city which is lacking. People talk of making Mumbai into shanghai, but they don't work for it, that doesn't work by dreaming it needs hard work. I think infrastructure and fighting against corruption are the two of the very important things that can bring Thane really high on the list of cities.
Any message for Thaneites? None of us should accept to whatever comes, if you think something is wrong then you need to raise your voice; so then it is heard in the right places in the authority. You should not adopt the other way by saying 'yeh to chalta hai'