It may not be right to say that customers have become more demanding. Everyone has been confined and restricted from travelling. Hence, when they get a chance to get out they want it to be more meaningful, more experience driven, says Pritish Shah, Founder & CEO, ATD Journeys Pvt Ltd, in a conversation with Prasenjit Chakraborty.
Q.1 How is the luxury travel segment evolving especially after the pandemic?
The Luxury Travel segment has been leading the recovery in the travel industry ever since the rules were relaxed in 2020. With no commercial flights, people retreated to private jets. Instead of taking a few rooms, we saw buyouts of smaller properties and private luxury villas. Long stays became a norm for many. The longingness to travel and not take it for granted made the chase for unique experiences even more in demand. As things settle down (hopefully!) we expect some of these trends to continue in the future. We are definitely seeing a trend for bucket list trips where guests are not shying away from spending big money.
Q.2. You have said that ATD Journeys have achieved many milestones since you started your journey in 2013. Could you elaborate?
We started ATD in 2013 in Calcutta and then moved our HO to Mumbai in 2017. From a singular travel brand we have now expanded to three luxury brands focusing on different verticals. We have specialists on boarding taking care of each of these brands.
We have always focused on building the foundation stronger rather than chasing expansion at record speed. Over these years we have established our name in the luxury travel space to be accredited as preferred partners for more than 15+ global hospitality brands like Four Season, Marriott, Rosewood, Aman, Shangri La, TravellerMade to name a few. We have also won some prestigious awards such as best marketing campaign at Luxperience in Australia to being best honeymoon travel brand for last two consecutive years as awarded by WeddingSutra.
Q.3. In terms of servicing your customers, what are the innovations you brought in? Do you think customers have become more demanding now?
When someone asks me what business are you into ? I always highlight that we are in the business of “managing expectations”. Over the years we have come to realize that a successful luxury travel brand is all about managing the guests expectations. It’s about hearing them out, learning about their personalities and being able to custom design something that suits their profile. We play the role of a travel atelier for our guests. Through our global exposure we bring in some prominent travel trends year on year. Access to some of the coolest travel experiences available in the market. During their travels, our guests experience a seamless paper free experience with a digital itinerary.
To say customers have become more demanding may not be a correct approach I feel. Everyone has been confined and restricted from travelling. Hence, when they get a chance to get out they want it to be more meaningful, more experience driven. Our designers work endlessly to create their wishes into a reality as long as the demands are reasonable.
Q.4. You feel that it is high time for ATD Journeys to scale up. What is your roadmap for this?
Over the years we have worked hard to build the foundation and set the brands up. Scaling up a luxury travel service business is not an easy task. We have our work cut out to try and fill this space. Technology will play a big role in this and it’s something we are working on. We had some interesting plans in place for expansion even pre-covid. We feel it’s time now to execute those ideas.
Q.5. How do you visualise your company two years down the lane?
We like the Apple business model. Expensive ticket items and yet they have achieved the volume. All our designer journeys are a high ticket spend. With our focus on volume from here on we truly aim to become a global luxury and lifestyle brand in the years to come.