Service is more important than price says V Kishore, assistant sales manager, Kanoo Travel, Dubai Investment Park, Jebel Ali says.
What segment of the local market does your company target?
Our core business is corporate travel, probably around 65%, with the remainder comprising leisure bookings. In my opinion, the corporate market is easier to sell to, the contracts are better and you have more of a chance to build up a relationship with clients.
The clients we have know and value the quality of our service.
What destinations are popular with your clients and why?
For the leisure segment I would say the Far East. Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore are really popular at the moment and are far more affordable than other destinations. Incentive groups like them as well; I think most our most recent bookings were around this region.
What new trends are you noticing in the market?
Environmental awareness has started to pick up globally.
Not as much in this region as in other places, but the roots are definitely there. We are probably just at the beginning of the trend in this region. I think it will take off in the next two years or so and we have plans to be able to meet that demand when our clients become interested in this area.
What challenges is your agency currently facing?
We face stiff competition from agencies that specialise in Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions. They are a serious threat because that is the only areas they work on so have more of a chance to corner the market.It's a recent phenomenon that has only really taken off in the last 18 months, but a lot of big travel companies are losing business to them.
What have you done to combat this threat?
We have come up with a specialised team specifically for the MICE market and have long-term relationships these companies. Good rates from other companies may be more attractive, but having a specific dedicated team, coupled with our high standards, gives us a good platform to compete with newcommers.
How has your firm adapted to a zero commission environment?
We offer a service so we need to be able charge for that service.
Zero percent commission is more of a problem for the smaller agencies that might outsource through e-ticketing more; they can only compete on price, but the clients that we have know and value the quality of our service.
Corporates are increasingly looking at service levels they receive and want to work with professional consultants with sophisticated travel policies. They really want agencies with knowledge so that is really positive for us because it's something we can definitely sell ourselves on.
What is your favourite time of the year for work?
Winter is my favourite time; it's not as busy and you can plan strategies for the coming seasons.
It's the right time to be out and about in the market and to get new customers on board too.For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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