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Wednesday, 31 January, 2018, 15 : 14 PM [IST]

‘We are looking at strengthening the presence of representation division’

With a growing portfolio of their tourism products, Priyanka Nijhawan, Director – Representations, Nijhawan Group, is looking at aggressive service delivery to all their clients. In an interaction with Disha Shah Ghosh, she sheds light on the representation vertical, their core strengths and its expansion in the tourism board space with the latest addition of DTCM to its portfolio.
Q The past few years has seen Nijhawan Group being aggressive on the Representation front. How much value does the Representation business brings to the entire group?
When I joined the representation vertical nearly a decade ago, Nijhawan Group had a portfolio of 5 products and today we have grown it to 17. In terms of team size, the representation vertical has grown in the same proportion and the journey has been quite impressive. The idea behind joining the representation vertical was to bring more focus into it. We have been aggressive and the vertical has grown because of the support of our travel trade partners. In terms of value, the representation business is pretty much an offshoot of the main business. It brings comprehensiveness because it’s a different vertical altogether in the travel space, and comes under the same model as our B2B partners. The idea is to create synergies and meet the demands of our travel trade partners.

Q With the latest addition of Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) to the product portfolio, Nijhawan Group has ventured into the tourism board space. What kind of value will Nijhawan Group offer to an already established destination in the Indian market?
Dubai Tourism has a very good presence in India and India has been consistently ranking as the number one feeder market for Dubai. The emirate is also amongst the top destinations preferred by Indians. To an already established and popular destination like Dubai, the value that Nijhawan Group brings is the vast network of agents and the support that we get from the travel trade in India. We feel that there is massive opportunity in terms of marketing initiatives and having more dedicated sales offices across the country to reach out to the agents in all Tier-I, II and III markets spread across the entire Indian Sub Continent.

Q What is approach to promote each of the products among the travel trade in India?
Our strategy is completely similar to the one followed by the entire group where as a company we are very B2B focused. At any point of time as a representation business, we would like to offer our travel trade partners, destinations, hotels, theme parks and attractions which bring more value for them to sell to their clients. Our biggest strength is the sales network we have and the relationships we enjoy in the market. Depending on the product and requirement, we will devise and customise the detailed strategy. Like in case of Dubai Parks, it was a completely new product and we strategised on how it was going to set its foot in India. We were working with various B2B channels and also coordinating with the B2C channels to ensure that there is no clash of ideas. For any product that has existed in the market and sign up with us, we understand that the biggest strength that they need from us is our vast network of agents, the reach and relationships that we can bring on the table for them.

Each of our products belong to different categories ranging from a mid-market to five-start deluxe to upscale. We also take care of launch of new products under the main brand. Depending on that we devise a marketing and sales strategy, and sometimes undertake B2C promotions as well.

Q With Indian outbound set to outgrow China by 2020, what scope do you foresee for the representation vertical?
India by far has become the number one source market for destinations, products and brands across the world. Till some years ago when we visited global trade fairs, we had to explain the suppliers what is the representation business all about, why do they need a representative in India and how the market here functions because of its diverse nature. Interestingly, the scenario has changed completely. We are now in a position where the suppliers are aware of the demands of the Indian market and understand how the market functions and how to go about representation their product. Within the representation business, there is enough opportunity for every player. Healthy competition is always good and the travel industry in India works like an extended family.

Q Which are the other segments that you are planning to diversify into?
With DTCM, it is our first foray in tourism boards. So far we are looking at hotels, theme parks and tourism boards, and the focus is going to be on complete delivery before further expansion. The sky is the limit and we are looking at strengthening our presence in the representation portfolio within the travel space in terms of tourism boards, theme parks and hotels. We are looking at aggressive delivery to all our existing partners.
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