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.
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