Riya eyes busi­ness travel

Af­ter ob­serv­ing enor­mous growth in cor­po­rate travel, the group’s Riya Busi­ness Travel (RBT) divi­sion is ex­pand­ing not only in In­dia but also in the US and Canada in an­tic­i­pa­tion of fur­ther in­crease in vol­ume.

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Sit­ting ca­su­ally in his cabin, GMJ Thampy, CMD, Riya Group, is an epit­ome of calm­ness and seren­ity. He has seen the in­dus­try change dra­mat­i­cally from the time he started his com­pany in 1980 but he doesn’t let that get in the way of do­ing busi­ness. “Year 2017 was ex­cel­lent for us. Com­pe­ti­tion will al­ways be there but that only en­cour­ages us to work harder. We have wit­nessed pos­i­tive growth and our EBITDA has also im­proved over the pre­vi­ous year. The main growth area we have seen is in our cor­po­rate busi­ness un­der Riya Busi­ness Travel (RBT) as well as our on­line prod­ucts un­der Riya Con­nect,” he says. Riya Marine, the group’s ver­ti­cal that looks af­ter crew move­ment, is also show­ing good growth.

Two years ago, RBT was sep­a­rated from the group’s main­stream re­tail busi­ness to en­sure that it could be nur­tured and de­vel­oped as a stand-alone busi­ness. “With a ded­i­cated per­son look­ing af­ter that and an in­de­pen­dent team ser­vic­ing it, we have re­branded it sep­a­rately. So for an­other two to three years, our fo­cus will re­main on RBT to grow it fur­ther,” Thampy says.

The group’s RBT as well as the re­tail di­vi­sions in the US and Canada mar­kets are also grow­ing with a lot of prom­ise. As an off­shoot of the In­dia busi­ness, it ser­vices clients that are based in the US and Canada with mul­ti­ple son Nitin John looks af­ter that. Thampy ex­plains, “To com­ple­ment this growth, we are mak­ing ef­forts to up­grade our in­ter­nal team. It is im­por­tant to train peo­ple in or­der to grow in the mar­ket. Au­to­ma­tion is key. We are not look­ing to ex­pand our team fur­ther or open more branches, rather we are fo­cus­ing our en­er­gies on au­tomat­ing. For that, we have to train our team. That is not just the web­site but an over­all in­ter­na­tional au­to­ma­tion is re­quired. A be­cause we are a brick-and as well as on­line.”

Speak­ing about the com­pe­ti­tion, the CMD adds that while some are com­pet­ing only in the on­line space, oth­ers are com­pet­ing with them purely some re­gional con­sol­ida­tors, na­tional con­sol­ida­tors, as well as some on­line com­pa­nies who are hit­ting us along­side There is a mix and we need to deal with all of them,” he adds.

Most of th­ese con­sol­ida­tors, he says, are sta­tioned in one lo­ca­tion and look­ing at pan-In­dia. “We are com­pletely across In­dia and are look­ing at open­ing a few more to spread our reach. In In­dia, one still needs the hu­man touch. In­dian pass­ports also still need visas for most coun­tries – and we are the big­gest visa ven­dor for trav­ellers. That is also a rea­son why we are grow­ing in the cor­po­rate. Clients need forex and insurance, and as a re­sult all our an­cil­lary prod­ucts are do­ing very well in the mar­ket,” he says.

With a ded­i­cated per­son look­ing af­ter Riya Busi­ness Travel (RBT), we have re­branded it sep­a­rately. So for an­other two to three years, our fo­cus will re­main on RBT to grow it fur­ther

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