Victoria Travel: Delivering Experiencies that Count !

Vinay Agarwal, Director Business Development,Devesh Kumar Agarwal, FounderVictoria Travels has a dedicated division offering Specialist MICE Services for over 17 years creating a lasting impression for every meeting, incentive, conference or any other corporate event

Recent years have witnessed a surge in the presence of corporate firms across the globe. With the growing number of business firms, there has been an increase in the frequency of business activities such as employee training sessions, client meetings, brand promotions and other corporate engagements which have boosted the growth of the global MICE (Meeting, Incentives, Conferencing, and Exhibitions)Industry. With the rise in Indian government's initiatives to promote SMEs in India and large conglomerates throwing in meetings and incentives programs, the MICE segment in India, though young, is projected to show remarkable growth. According to `MICE Industry by Event Type: Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2018 ­ 2025', the global MICE industry size was $805 billion in 2017 and is projected to reach $1,439.3 billion in 2025, registering a CAGR of 7.6 percent from 2018 to 2025. Undoubtedly, MICE tourism is a niche segment in tourism market, which has abundant potential and is gaining significance worldwide due to the growth of business tourism.

Cashing on the growing potential of the MICE tourism industry is Victoria Travels. Set up in 1993 by Devesh Kumar Agarwal, Victoria Travels is a pioneer in offering MICE services amongst the Indian Travel and Tourism service providers. Speaking about the inception story of the firm, Vinay Agarwal, son of Devesh Kumar Agarwal and Director Business Development of Victoria Travels says, "The travel industry is vast with immense number of options and opportunities. Prior to the inception of the firm, during one of his journeys, my father encountered numerous gaps within the travel and tourism sector. Right from the challenges involved in making reservations, to finding the right vacation spot to having a good experience over the trip, the list of customers'requirements was endless. Although the travel industry has been developing, it still continues to be a largely unorganized market and in early 1993, it was all the more unorganized. Determined to bridge the gaps with quality services and solutions, in 1993 my father established Victoria Travels a firm which is now recognized for offering customized Corporate travel, Leisure travel and MICE services accentuating on customers' experience alongwith suggestions and recommendations by having a thorough understanding of their requirements."

Rapid globalization and liberalization of the economy have brought into light the MICE industry which is at present supplementing the thriving tourism industry. Started off as a pure ticketing company, today Victoria Travels has come a long way in the field of travel and tourism. Quick enough to sense an opportunity in the budding MICE segment, the founding team of Victoria Travels seized the moment and the firm established its MICE division in 2002. "MICE industry was not popular in 2002 as compared to how it is today. While in an unorganized manner people were aware of MICE, the only industry making the most out of it was the pharma industry where people had meetings, tours, conferences, and likewise. Having started our MICE offerings with Pharma executives, now, over a period of time we have diversified our services to meet the requirements of a lot of other industry segments including cement, ply, tiles, financial services, FMCG and many more," mentions Vinay. Today, Victoria Travels has a dedicated division offering Specialist MICE Services for over 17 years creating a lasting impression for every meeting, incentive, conference or any other corporate event.

Committed to Delivering Quality Customer Experiences
The USP of any travel company lies in providing rare and unique experiences to its customers. The travel industry, thus, works towards offering products that allow an
average tourist or traveller to experience something they have never experienced before. Originality is of the most preferred element amongst today's travel aspirants, and Kolkata based Victoria Travels is leaving no stone unturned when it comes to fulfilling their requirements.

"Travel and tourism is a limitless industry. There is no end to what one can achieve, because you have the world to you, and you can dig out and create a product out of any particular location, out of any particular experience. Numerous opportunities bring numerous challenges and most complicated of all is dealing with people with different mindsets from different countries having different perceptions and putting it all together. It is not practically possible for an operator to own all the assets everywhere, you're dependent on some body else who is owning the asset, and the service quality has to be delivered by you to the end customer who is in a different location than yours. This, I think is the biggest challenge because we are not really asset owners but we're guaranteeing service which is largely dependent on the asset owners and that's where we need to bridge the gap between the two parties to ensure customer expectations are met and preferably exceeded. At Victoria Travels, we assist our customers on a turnkey basis whether it is with hotels, logistics, sightseeing, event or entertainment," shares Vinay. With a vision to meet the requirements and ensure a worthy experience to its customers, Victoria Travels has partnered with identified vendors at various locations both in and outside India. For each and every service, the firm is able to guarantee or provide the quality level that is required by the customers.

In today's increasingly competitive world, travel agencies also have to adapt to offer a seamless experience. Keeping up with this, Victoria Travels has also evolved its products and offerings. The firm takes a consultative approach through which it connects with corporate with MICE services and offers to design a customized MICE or incentive tour package not from the perspective of a travel planner but from the perspective of a marketing consultant offering tailor made products in a manner which ensures maximum Return on Investment on this marketing expense for motivating stakeholders to achieve corporate sales targets and also add to the brand building for the corporate.

Originality is of the most preferred element amongst today's travel aspirants, and Kolkata based Victoria Travels is leaving no stone unturned when it comes to fulfilling their requirements

Leveraging Memory Hook to Reel into Customers
A good experience lasts a lifetime. Following this mantra, Victoria Travels is applying the concept of `Memory Hook' to connect with its customers. Elaborating further on the Memory Hook approach of the firm, Vinay states, "At Victoria Travels, the approach towards planning a tour is to create lifetime memories for the traveller by offering unique and bespoke experiences curated by our dedicated Product team which engages with various Tourism Boards, DMCs and vendors across the world to prepare a list of such offerings on both domestic and international tours. Such experiences act as a `Memory Hook' for the dealers/distributors on tour and they can always relate and remember the MICE tour with such bespoke experiences. Operating larger groups under MICE gives us the opportunity to offer such otherwise expensive experiences at much better rates taking the benefit of economies of scale thereby giving maximum ROI for the corporate."

While most travel and tourism service providers mandatorily include city tours in their itineraries, Victoria Travels is a step ahead of the rest. On one of the trips to Buckingham Palace and Westend squares, the team gave the travellers a tour inside the Buckingham Palace where they could visit the throne room and even the gardens of Buckingham Palace. "When people saw the rest of the public is outside whereas they got inside into the throne room that is the differentiating factor for them. Similarly, for another group in London, the travellers were given an exclusive viewing of the Kohinoor Diamonds with the Tower of London room locked out for the rest of the public. These experiences give a feeling of uniqueness. From Australia to London, and Thailand to Singapore, there are numerous such examples where our customers have had an out-of-the-world experience, and we at Victoria Travels are proud to have delivered this happiness to our customers", elucidates Vinay.

Your Ideal Travel Partner
Aspiring to offer the best experience to its customers, Victoria Travels is constantly refining its interface and services to be more customer-oriented. A perfect travel partner, the firm does everything with passion and genuine intentions to make its client's experience a memorable one. Recognized as a leading MICE service provider, Victoria Travels is looking forward to spreading its wings across the global market. Currently catering to a varied range of customers for both corporate and leisure travel in Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, and Hyderabad, the firm is also looking forward to entering into student and education travel.

"We are coming out with products for school, engineering, management, hospitality, interior design and architecture students and professionals with packages offering bespoke and curated experiences and learning sessions combined with the thrill of travel. For example, for architecture tours, we are involving local architects to conduct the city tour where students can interact with them and talk to them about local architecture. We have tied up with design institutes to give one or two days' workshops included along with the regular tours which results in certified workshops for the people who enjoy travelling and learning as well. We are calling this initiative `The Blackboard Project' This is an entirely new segment catering to the new and evolved travellers who are now travelling for different reasons and education or learning is one of them. These products fit in well for the MICE industry as well where corporates who intend to reward or incentivise their influencers would do so through learning based tours which would add more value to their stakeholders and channel partners as well" shares Vinay. In the years to come, Victoria Travels intends to flourish in the Indian MICE industry with its team of skilled and dedicated professionals who provide bespoke customer services with a mixture of tailor-made international and domestic travel plans.