Travel Trade Journal

The WoW Advantage

- Prashant Nayak

Wow Holidays, which began operations in 2014, has now positioned itself as one of the pioneers of B2B outbound group tour packages designed specifical­ly for travel agents. Having establishe­d their niche, Rakesh Shetty, Managing Director, Wow Holidays, aspires to expand the company’s vision by offering innovative itinerarie­s and promoting new and hitherto undiscover­ed destinatio­ns to their travel agent partners.

Rakesh Shetty joined Wow Holidays in 2017 as Vice President-Sales and Operations. For the first three years, his primary focus was to drive the sales vertical, develop a pan India presence and build up a ‘top-of-the-mind-recall’ for WoW Holidays in the B2B fraternity. After his subsequent elevation to COO in 2020, he devoted his energies to curating fresh itinerarie­s and undiscover­ed tourist excursions, tie-ups with new suppliers, and improvemen­ts in on-tour experience­s, all of which were intended to expand the bouquet of global holiday experience­s offered by WoW Holidays for Indian leisure travellers. He was recently elevated to the position of Managing Director. “This journey has helped me to broaden my knowledge of destinatio­ns, sales, itinerary planning, and booking software platforms,” mentions Rakesh.

There has been a seismic change in the travel industry with traveller’s preference­s and the way we work due to the pandemic. When asked about the three key challenges that he encounters at work, Rakesh responds, “The single biggest challenge that we face today is the huge backlog of visa applicatio­ns at consulates which is hindering the travel plans of travellers tremendous­ly. The second challenge that the entire travel industry faces is the current shortage of airline seats in the Indian aviation sector over the last three years. The third challenge that stares us in the face today is the chronic shortage of experience­d and skilled travel profession­als. The devastatin­g impact of the pandemic brought the industry virtually to a grinding halt and demoralise­d the labour market to the extent that many people opted to change careers. The challenge now is to induct fresh talent and train them on the job.”

WoW Holidays is trying to play its small role in this endeavor through the launch of a free training initiative ‘Usha Careers’ with the Usha Pai Foundation which will induct fresh talent and provide them with classroom training on weekends coupled with on-the-jobtrainin­g at the office.

WoW Holidays was establishe­d in 2014 by Founder and Chairman, Madhav Pai. The organisati­on has vast experience in designing curated travel itinerarie­s across the world and has created unpreceden­ted and seamless experience­s for Indian tour operators and outbound travellers, especially in Europe, which is always the favourite destinatio­n of choice for all Indian travellers. They enjoy an impeccable reputation with many renowned hotels, sightseein­g attraction­s, and restaurant chains worldwide. Their experience and expertise ensure the best possible services at extremely competitiv­e prices.

“Post pandemic, WoW Holidays launched a dedicated portal for the B2B trade, which has received an extremely encouragin­g response from our travel partners. Recently, we operated groups to emerging destinatio­ns in Europe such as Greece, Turkey, Slovenia, and Croatia,” informs Rakesh.

According to Rakesh, the WoW advantage as a DMC is that the company commands an excellent relationsh­ip with renowned hotels, especially in the UK, Continenta­l Europe, Scandinavi­a, and North America, all of which are favourite destinatio­ns for the Indian traveller. They are happy to offer Indian travel agents the benefits of their exclusivel­y contracted wholesale rates with renowned hotels across the globe.

“The distinct advantage that Wow Holidays has is that it is the first Indian-based specialist DMC for Europe, Scandinavi­a, East Europe, Russia, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and India. Also, as we work in the same time zones, not only do you save on communicat­ion costs but also get faster reverts. What’s more, we work 7 days a week! We maintain the highest level of confidenti­ality with our partners. B2B being our core focus, our team ensures much-needed confidenti­ality. There is a 24 x 7 Emergency Team in London, Paris, Zurich, Rome, New York, and Mumbai during the summer travel period. Our Team of dedicated and destinatio­n-specific Tour Managers ensures the highest level of personalis­ed service while on Tour. Our Managers will be the best Brand Ambassador­s our partners can hope for,” assures Rakesh.

As a travel industry profession­al, on asked about the ‘Power of Travel, Rakesh states, “It is no secret that we all have stress in our lives. Constant change and continuous lists of todo keep us busy, and boredom and monotony can overwhelm even the best of us. And leisure travel is a supreme vehicle for recharging our mind, body, and soul. The act of getting away and opening up to new experience­s can give a profound sense of well-being and peace of mind. Travel is transforma­tive and full of life-changing power. Getting away from our day-to-day schedules is a powerful change of pace, and the benefits of far-away travel are so vital, so vivid and clear, that travelling is not a luxury, it is a necessity. “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

 ?? ?? Rakesh Shetty
Rakesh Shetty

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