Sail­ing ahead of the mar­ket trends

With unique itin­er­ar­ies and a new cen­tre in Goa wait­ing in the wings, Aqua­sail is all set to ag­gres­sively cap­ture the ac­tive leisure mar­ket in the coun­try.

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Founded in 2004, Aqua­sail of­fers a va­ri­ety of world– class boat­ing ex­pe­ri­ences in In­dia. The com­pany of­fers pro­fes­sional train­ing lessons, char­ter ser­vices, sales so­lu­tions to buy boats, or­gan­ise re­gat­tas and net­work­ing agents for cor­po­rate and other MICE events.

“The in­dus­try is in an early stage in the mar­ket, and hence it is nec­es­sary to get people into the sport­ing fold,” said Sha­keel Ku­drolli, Founder and Di­rec­tor, Aqua­sail. “Since sail­ing a boat needs to be in­tro­duced in In­dia as an ac­tive life­style, our aim was to start at the grass­roots and work our way up.” As sail­ing hol­i­days have be­come a world­wide trend, Ku­drolli is try­ing to in­tro­duce the same con­cept here, just as many travel agents of­fer sail­ing hol­i­days in Greece, Thai­land, Sey­chelles, among oth­ers.

Their ini­tial mar­ket strat­egy was through word- of­mouth and sam­pling. They fo­cussed on in­di­vid­u­als in the first 1– 2 years, when they tested their prod­uct, worked on cus­tomer feed­back and spent qual­ity time in train­ing their team. Grad­u­ally, they trained their fo­cus on cor­po­rate en­ti­ties by or­gan­is­ing re­gat­tas that dou­ble per­fectly as net­work­ing ses­sions. “We of­fer cor­po­rate en­gage­ment pro­grammes, team- build­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion ses­sions where em­ploy­ees can work on trust build­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, etc. It’s a great way to re­ward em­ploy­ees with such in­cen­tive pack­ages. And with this, we started to make our pres­ence felt,” he added.

Con­sid­er­ing how the mar­ket was last year, the de­mand is not an is­sue for the firm. “We are not fo­cussed on only one as­pect in the mar­ket. We cater to cor­po­rate groups, in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies.”

With an aim to fo­cus on FITs and cor­po­rates, the cen­tre awaits a few per­mis­sions, and is slated to open in the near fu­ture. “Be­ing early in this busi­ness, we are bound to face such de­lays. Reg­is­tra­tion of boats, pol­icy checks, en­gage­ment with in­ter–state min­is­ters will need time. And, it is also nec­es­sary to sen­si­tise the min­istry, var­i­ous fed­er­a­tions and even the com­mu­nity.” As the mar­ket in Goa is much ma­ture than in Mum­bai, Ku­drolli roped in travel agents to reach a wider mar­ket. “As travel agents are bet­ter po­si­tioned to sell the prod­uct, we have pro­vided them with brochures and videos. We have even of­fered train­ing ses­sions for agents such as Cox & Kings and Thomas Cook so they get to know the prod­uct bet­ter.

He fur­ther added, “In fu­ture, we want to pro­vide out­bound hol­i­day op­tions to our cus­tomers, by pro­vid­ing sail­ing hol­i­days in Sri Lanka, An­daman and Ni­co­bar Is­lands, where fam­i­lies and groups can not only learn the ba­sics of sail­ing, but in­ter­act with oth­ers in the group as well.”

Aqua­sail also of­fers a spe­cial scheme to school and col­lege stu­dents, wherein they can avail spe­cial rates and priv­i­leges.

Sha­keel Ku­drolli Founder and Di­rec­tor Aqua­sail

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