Lux­ury quo­tient on an ‘UP’ward swing

At the re­cent Travel Trade Mart (TTM 2017) or­gan­ised by Travel Trade As­so­ci­a­tion of Ut­tar Pradesh in Lucknow, the lo­cal travel agents iden­tify that the mar­ket has a huge po­ten­tial for high-end lux­ury travel and grad­u­ally newer des­ti­na­tions like Viet­nam, K

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This is the first time that Travel Trade Mart (TTM 2017) was or­gan­ised in UP and I must say the or­gan­is­ers did a great job. The buy­ers and sell­ers were asked to reg­is­ter them­selves on­line in or­der to have a smooth event. I met many po­ten­tial buy­ers from the re­gion and found that there are a lot of high-end clients that we can cater to for Singapore and the Far East. Ear­lier, tourism boards tar­geted met­ros like Delhi, Mum­bai and Chen­nai but now, have grad­u­ally started mov­ing to Tier-II and Tier-III cities. Lucknow has be­come a cen­tral point for UP.

TTM was a fan­tas­tic ini­tia­tive to bring to­gether var­i­ous stake­hold­ers of the tourism and hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try un­der one roof to al­low them to show­case their prod­ucts to the tour op­er­a­tors of Ut­tar Pradesh. This is a grow­ing mar­ket and has very high po­ten­tial. We show­cased 18 des­ti­na­tions un­der our port­fo­lio where we have our own of­fices. We met with agents from Lucknow, Kan­pur, Varanasi and other nearby cities. Ear­lier this mar­ket was con­strained to the Far East but grad­u­ally has started mov­ing to des­ti­na­tions like South Africa, Europe and the US.

We re­ceived many queries from a va­ri­ety of travel agents and tour op­er­a­tors for the port­fo­lio we rep­re­sented at the show. I found a lot of queries for Viet­nam which is an up­com­ing des­ti­na­tion; a fair in­ter­est for Europe while Dubai re­mained the most pop­u­lar. Sri Lanka how­ever, did not at­tract too much in­ter­est. We found a huge po­ten­tial of high-end clients from the UP mar­ket. This ex­hi­bi­tion brought us in di­rect con­tact with the agents who re­quire our ser­vices. I feel the mar­ket in Tier-I cities is mostly han­dled by big play­ers of the in­dus­try. The Tier-II mar­ket is de­vel­op­ing and gain­ing con­fi­dence which al­lows com­pa­nies like ours to bridge the gap in the mar­ket.

We re­ceived ex­cel­lent re­sponse from the buy­ers to­wards the prod­uct port­fo­lio we of­fered and mov­ing for­ward, I am sure we will drive good busi­ness out of the meet­ings we con­ducted dur­ing the show. We saw a lot of queries for Aus­tralia and in­creased in­ter­est among agents for is­land des­ti­na­tions. The buy­ers we met from Lucknow, Aza­m­garh, Kan­pur, Ame­thi etc. mostly catered to the cruis­ing as­pi­ra­tions of their clients and the honey­moon seg­ment. The show proved to be a very good plat­form to high­light the tremen­dous po­ten­tial of Tier-II and Tier-III cities.

This ex­hi­bi­tion was well-or­gan­ised and gave me a plat­form to meet all lead­ing agents from Lucknow and Kan­pur and al­lowed to con­nect with agents from nearby cities like Al­la­habad, Go­rakh­pur and Varanasi whom I may not have met oth­er­wise. We found that the as­pi­ra­tion to take a cruise hol­i­day is high in UP. The only de­ter­rent in growth of cruis­ing from UP was lack of in­for­ma­tion. How­ever, grad­u­ally we ob­served that travel agents have be­come more con­fi­dent and are aware of our prod­ucts. They are able to ad­vise their clients on right des­ti­na­tions and itin­er­ar­ies in­stead of rout­ing their busi­ness through big­ger cities.

This show proved to be very fruit­ful for me as I found the right part­ners. I met buy­ers from Lucknow, Al­la­habad, Kan­pur, Varanasi and also closed busi­ness from a few groups for Singapore. So, I have been sat­is­fied with the re­turn on in­vest­ment for this show. Apart from bud­get trav­ellers, UP also has a huge high-end lux­ury clien­tele which seeks high stan­dards of ser­vice. Peo­ple in UP have money to spend but are not so aware about the des­ti­na­tions and thus, ed­u­ca­tion of travel agents is most cru­cial in the state.

Since this was the first out­bound tourism show to be hosted in Lucknow, we de­cided to ven­ture into the UP mar­ket as this is a grow­ing and de­vel­op­ing mar­ket with a lot of scope. The travel agents we re­ceived were from Lucknow, Kan­pur and other nearby ar­eas and it was very help­ful to be con­nected with th­ese agents di­rectly rather than have their busi­ness routed through other agents in Delhi and Mum­bai. We show­cased St. Peters­burg and other parts of Rus­sia and re­ceived a warm re­sponse. This was a very well-or­gan­ised show and it is com­mend­able that the or­gan­i­sa­tion was able to put up such a good qual­ity show in a short span of time.

The first Travel trade mart in Ut­tar Pradesh of­fered a wide va­ri­ety of ex­hibitors show­cas­ing their prod­ucts to the travel agents and lo­cal tour op­er­a­tors of Ut­tar Pradesh. I saw few DMCs which came to the Ut­tar Pradesh mar­ket for the first time and this was a very pos­i­tive sign for the tourism in­dus­try in the state. In terms of in­bound, Ut­tar Pradesh has var­i­ous des­ti­na­tions on of­fer to the for­eign tourists like Lucknow, Varanasi, Sar­nath, etc. along with a wide va­ri­ety of tourism prod­ucts. In terms of out­bound, South­east Asia re­mains pop­u­lar with des­ti­na­tions like Singapore, Thai­land and In­done­sia; Dubai is a ma­jor at­trac­tion from the UP mar­ket while other des­ti­na­tions like Korea, Aus­tralia, New Zealand and all ma­jor Euro­pean coun­tries are also catch­ing up fast.

TTAUP is a fairly new or­gan­i­sa­tion and the team did a won­der­ful job. This was a first-of-its-kind UP based event for the travel agents of the state and it proved to be a pos­i­tive step as many times it is not fea­si­ble for the lo­cal agents to at­tend shows in Delhi, Mum­bai and other met­ros. I saw that 80 per cent of the prod­ucts show­cased at the show are new to the UP mar­ket like St. Peters­burg, Korea and Viet­nam. Till now the UP travel agents were con­fined to des­ti­na­tions like Thai­land, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Ma­cau and Dubai but with newer des­ti­na­tions com­ing in, I am sure the trend will change. The spend­ing ca­pac­ity is very high amongst trav­ellers from the state but the lack of in­for­ma­tion and knowl­edge among the agents act as a de­ter­rent for the in­dus­try.

This show was very in­for­ma­tive for me as till now i was work­ing with only a few sup­pli­ers but af­ter at­tend­ing TTM 2017, I was able to meet many new ones who are ca­pa­ble of of­fer­ing bet­ter rates and will be ben­e­fi­cial for my over­all busi­ness. For ex­am­ple, one ex­hibitor of­fers an on­line por­tal to check the avail­abil­ity of pack­ages for Mau­ri­tius, for which we were de­pen­dent on our sup­pli­ers; ear­lier I knew only one sup­plier for pack­ages to Rus­sia but now I have met three dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies for CIS coun­tries and Rus­sia. Agra in par­tic­u­lar has good high-end traf­fic for Europe where peo­ple have the spend­ing ca­pac­ity as high as Rs 50,000 per night in a branded prop­erty.

I con­grat­u­late the team for or­gan­is­ing such a won­der­ful show. TTM has been very suc­cess­ful in pro­vid­ing ex­po­sure to the small time agents of the re­gion and be­ing a lo­cal show, it also brought many in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als to­gether un­der one roof. I was able to meet ven­dors here which I was un­able to meet at larger trade shows, The qual­ity of ex­hibitors was on a par with the big­ger shows or­gan­ised in the met­ros and that is com­mend­able.

UP is a much di­ver­si­fied mar­ket and it is very im­por­tant to look at this mar­ket care­fully. Most of the travel shows take place in met­ros like Delhi, Mum­bai and this is for the first time that Lucknow has been brought to the fore. In travel busi­ness, trust is the fore­most pri­or­ity and the ex­hibitors at the show have been able to con­vince us of the qual­ity of the prod­ucts they have to of­fer. Pric­ing of the prod­ucts is also very cru­cial and we hope that now af­ter we are di­rectly con­nected to the va­ri­ety of sup­pli­ers, we will find bet­ter prices for our clients and grow busi­ness.

Gau­rav Sharma Re­gional Man­agerBusi­ness Devel­op­ment, Cruise Pro­fes­sion­als, In­dia Travel Award win­ner

Amit Gupta Man­ager-Sales & Con­tract­ing, Hol­i­days by Sahibji, In­dia Travel Award win­ner

Shah­nawaz Za­far Coun­try Man­ager-Sales (In­dia), United Trav­els and Tours

Gagan Ku­mar Di­rec­tor, STHI Group, In­dia Travel Award win­ner

Akanksha Chaud­hary Se­nior Man­ager Salvia Trav­els

Su­jit Nair Founder and Group MD, Akqua­sun

Shailesh Agar­wal Sales Man­ager Get My Trip

Hina Zaidi Di­rec­tor-Sales Sheeraz Tours

Preeti Dug­gal Di­rec­tor YS Hos­pi­tal­ity

Manoj Rawat Di­rec­tor, Ex­press World­wide Hol­i­days In­dia

Pra­teek Jain Pro­pri­etor A. S. Tours and Trav­els

Ab­dul Jab­bar Khan Di­rec­tor, Jet View Trav­els

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