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Thursday, 29 November, 2018, 15 : 59 PM [IST]

The Pioneer - Veena Patil

Disha Shah Ghosh

With her enriching travel experience of 35 years, Veena Patil is credited with bringing the concept of speciality travel in the industry. She firmly believes that one’s work must always speak for oneself rather than awards and recognition. She practices what she preaches when she says, “A clean and organised mind leads to clean thoughts which translates into clean actions that go on to become clean habits and finally transcend into a clean and healthy lifestyle”.

With an aim of making travel affordable for Indians, Veena Patil undertook a massive branding exercise across Maharashtra. Realising the potential of different travel segments, with Veena World, Patil has continued the legacy of targeting them. She started her career at the age of 20 by joining her father’s business after completing her Diploma in Electrical Engineering.

Another initiative that worked in her favour was establishing direct connect with the customers by travelling on special tours, interacting with them, celebrating their birthdays, dancing with them, etc. Patil believes her weekly columns in Marathi dailies have created an emotional connect with the readers. “My writing style is simple and people relate to me. This has helped build the Veena World brand,” she states.

When most tour operators in India were finding ways to cater to established segments like families, corporate travel, honeymooners and students, Patil focused on creating innovations in packages by tapping niche markets. Thus, she created a new customer base, building various brands targeted at niche segments, which even benefitted other players in the business.

Elaborating on this, Patil says, “We thought of offering something different, something that was unheard of in the Indian travel industry, but was very much in demand. Through the various brands and multi-pronged strategies, we planned to offer the required services to niche segments. This was to some extent our business plan, a strategy to make a place for our brand in the industry.”

Patil observed that Indian travellers were looking for specialised tours with exceptional and often exclusive service and it was necessary to create home-grown products with local essence. Therefore, she started targeting the Maharashtrian customers, especially families for group travels, with Marathi speaking guides and traditional food. By 2003, Kesari had established itself in the world tours segment, giving competition to the top players in the organised outbound tour business.

It was her drive to innovate that led to the launch of various products like ‘My Fair Lady Club’, ‘Second Innings’, ‘My Prince Charming,’, ‘Students Special’, Foodies & Shoppies’, ‘Kesari Couple’ and ‘Kesari Sports’. With the introduction of various niche tours and specialised divisions, she began focusing on building travel communities in the country. However, after devoting 19 years to Kesari Tours, she ventured out to form Veena World, a tour operating brand that today rivals the former.

“We were having family problems while running Kesari. I decided to come out of my comfort zone and separating from Kesari helped me realise my capabilities.”

Forty-eight thousand customers travelled with Veena World in just eight months of its launch on June 18, 2013.

Veena World’s niche tours like Women’s Special, Student’s Special, Senior’s Special and Jubilee Special evoked great response and these continue to be the core of their offerings.

In fact, one can safely credit Patil for the launch of the women traveller segment in India.

disha.shah@saffronsynergies.in
 
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