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.
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