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Tuesday, 27 November, 2018, 16 : 34 PM [IST]

The Dynamic Marketeer - Aparna C Basumalik

Prasenjit Chakraborty

Aparna Basumalik is known for taking up challenges head on. She was instrumental in expanding the business and setting up of offices of her previous company in different cities of India. In the process, she also introduced many new destinations which were not explored by the Indian market. Her strong network and in-depth knowledge of the trade enabled her to effortlessly set up marketing & operations for Europamundo in 2016. Within short span of time, India has emerged as a very lucrative market for Europamundo, under her leadership.

The journey of Aparna C Basumalik into the travel industry was not a planned one. There was a travel agency adjacent to her college and she came to know that there exist vacancies for freshers. She applied for the job, appeared for an interview and was subsequently selected for the job. She joined the company on a part time basis in the year 1989, and served the organisation for 27 years.

In those days getting information without the Internet was not as easy as it is today and a person had to put in plenty of efforts to learn something new. “There was a steep learning curve. We had to learn and execute everything ourselves with some mentoring from the bosses. To know more about the industry, we had to read lots of tourism-related magazines, books and interact with airlines and consulates. Very importantly, there was no Internet!! Even to send a fax or telex, we had to go to local post office centres. We had to face clients directly and position the product correctly against the backdrop of plethora of existing products. So it was a lot of hard and diligent work,” recalls Basumalik.

After spending some time in the company, she voluntarily took up the challenge of expanding the set up and over a period of 15 years, she set up operative offices in the cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, to name

a few. “I worked in depth to pitch for MICE movements and hands on knowledge in its operations. The biggest challenge in this direction was food. Food is the most important component for the Indian MICE travellers. They are the “Sons – in Law” for the corporate entities. The challenge was to prevail all the leading hotels to allow a “Maharaj” and his assistant from India into their kitchen; arrange for Indian ingredients to be allowed in and/or locally procured. With gentle persuasion and logical reasoning, this was achieved,” she said.

Not only that, Basumalik initiated operation to several new destinations which were hitherto unexplored from the Indian market. “In the process, I attended several Tourism fairs, met Tourism Boards and with their help set up the operations of the programmes and in the process overcame barriers,” she said.

Her strong network and in-depth knowledge of the trade enabled her to quickly set up marketing & operations for Europamundo. She took over the charge of Europamundo Vacations as their country head in 2016. It was a relatively unknown product in the Indian market then.

Therefore, marketing it was a key challenge and had to be done exclusively through distributors and agencies. “It is a purely B2B product and has no direct customer interface except that prospective travellers have full access to the company’s website where they can check our products; a traveller can customise to their requirements, price it and then tell his travel agent to book them. There is a complete transparency,” says Basumalik. Since the product was not much known in this market, naturally she and her team had to undertake a strong groundwork. The most important task in this direction was to train the distributors and their staff.

“We have devoted lot of time to train distributors and their employees. This has created a sound product especially when you consider the comfort in handling any booking, pricing, and the instant online confirmation with the assurance of guaranteed departures,” she says. This helped create great value for money and the word of mouth publicity that it has received has been powerful and obviated the need for expensive media promotion.

Due to her unflagging enthusiasm and dynamic work, India has become an important market for Europamundo. This season Europamundo is all set to offer 300 plus programmes to the Indian travellers. And 14 itineraries will have the option of Indian meal and this speaks volume of importance of India market.

BasuMalik doesn’t believe in failure, for her failure is nothing but a learning experience. “Throughout my carrier I have taken challenges head on and see to it that it reaches a logical end. No or not does not exists in my dictionary. I have actually travelled extensively to all the 7 continents, explored new destinations on my own and this has given me confidence and wisdom,” she concludes.
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