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Wednesday, 28 November, 2018, 17 : 42 PM [IST]

The Innovator - Ritika Modi

Ritika Modi enjoys the distinction of bringing the concept of ‘franchising’ to the shores of the Indian travel & tourism industry through UNIGLOBE Travel. Her efforts have given a backbone to independent travel agencies by making them part of an international franchise organisation and offering adequate support for survival in the ever-changing business environment. Under her leadership, UNIGLOBE in India is making independent agencies aware of the marketing tools, customer servicing systems and cost saving technologies for meeting the evolving customer needs, a concept hitherto that never existed in India.

With over 20 years of experience in the travel industry, Ritika Modi has made UNIGLOBE as the largest single-brand travel franchise network in the South Asia region.

After working with airlines like British Airways and KLM, she started her own corporate travel agency - MOD Travel, in the early 90s. Back then Modi has envisaged the impact which digitalisation would have on the travel and tourism industry, especially on the small and mid-scale proprietors.

In her current role in UNIGLOBE, she is leading a team of seasoned industry specialists and is also responsible for strategic network development and providing a comprehensive business-building system to ensure UNIGLOBE Travel agencies remain competitive and successful.

She analysed that big players with the help of their resources will adapt to the technological changes efficiently, but it is the small and mid-scale travel agents who would be suffering in the long run. Her research came to conclusion at UNIGLOBE Travel which is today the world’s largest single-brand travel franchise organisation with an annual turnover of USD 5 billion.

Modi acquired the regional master franchise license of UNIGLOBE Travel under the umbrella of ‘The VKModi Group of Industries,’ beginning operations in South Asia in 2002. UNIGLOBE’s standardised global format with the region-wise local approach, gave the agencies

the concept of franchising which would benefit them since they initially lacked the quality structure of human resource, sales & marketing, finance, technology and operations department required to match the continuous technological advancement.

UNIGLOBE Travel assisted these travel agents by providing them with a global format of working, which would act as a catalyst for them to reach at the top levels of business without losing their identities.

Currently, UNGLOBE Travel has 40 agencies with 60 locations across India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The gross annual turnover of all these agencies is currently INR 3,500 crores.

Modi gave belief to the aspiring travel agents that UNIGLOBE Travel’s franchise model, without taking away their personal business identity, will assist them to establish efficacy in this continuously evolving travel and tourism market space and compete with the topnotch brands of the industry.

“After realising the value they have witnessed by associating with the UNIGLOBE brand and the connections developed thereafter, most of our franchisees have stayed with us since inception. We prefer people who view franchising as a path to grow their business and want to opt for it as a matter of choice. We are globally connected, but implement strategies on a local basis. The second generation proprietors have opened up to our business models and have adapted to the technological changes more efficiently than the first generation. The future looks bright for the small and mid-scale agencies as compared to the early 2000s. UNIGLOBE Travel has been extending its full support to give access to small proprietors the quality resources they require to compete at the global level and will continue doing the same in the coming years,” says Modi.

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