The Indian MICE industry was ranked 35th in 2014-15, according to ICCA, and has a 0.68% share of the global conventions market. The India Convention Promotion Bureau has set itself an ambitious target to garner 2% of this market by 2025. The MICE industry has huge commercial value and the Indian tourism ministry recognises the potential for growth. As the corporate sector grows and budgets become less constrained, the need for efficient, competent and creative management of MICE travel has also seen tremendous growth. Many private companies like Trip Navigator have stepped in to fulfil these needs.
What started as a joint passion for travel has very quickly evolved into one of the fastest growing MICE companies that innovatively leverages technology to provide engaging client experiences. Co-founder and Director Gavin D’Costa speaks to Networked India about Trip Navigator’s growth story, their mobile app – they are the first MICE company to have one, and the road ahead for Trip Navigator.
Networked India (NI): Tell us about what led to the creation of Trip Navigator.
Gavin D’Costa (GD): The 3 directors – Litesh, Abhishek and myself – who are also the founder members of the company have each worked for close to 12 years in the corporate world before starting Trip Navigator. Most of these years were at leadership positions in well established organisations. A common goal of wanting to become successful entrepreneurs, is what brought us together. Our passion for travel, hunger for innovation & desire to create a successful organisation were the 3 key pillars in the formation of a Travel company – Trip Navigator.
We started started doing MICE, FIT’s & Groups. But soon realised that our strength lies in MICE travel & that’s what excited us. MICE is one segment of travel where you are able to exhibit creativity & showcase your work, hence we decided to focus our energies only on MICE travel, delivering exceptional services to our clients & providing them with state of the art technology platforms to simplify planning & management of their Events.
NI: Give us a brief insight into Trip Navigator’s growth story thus far.
GD: The company was formed in 2011. Since the 1st year of operations, we have been successfully managing our growth story well, On an average we manage to double our Topline numbers year-on-year, along with starting new branches across the country. We have a strong team of travel professionals, who constantly focus on researching newer travel ideas, exceeding client expectations on service delivery while constantly focusing on the company’s values. We won the award for the Fastest Growing MICE Company at the West India Travel awards 2016.
NI: What various services and experiences does Trip Navigator offer and how has your use of technology enhanced these?
GD: Trip Navigator specialises in Corporate Travel & Event solutions. Our focus is on Exponentially increasing business by simplifying the Planning process, Creating Value & Enhancing Experience through easy-to-use technology platforms. Trip navigator.in is the only marketplace solution for MICE related requirements & our Mobile App is one of its kind event management application which simplifies on-ground coordination, communication and management of event logistics and delegates. These solutions are exclusively available with Trip Navigator & are key features in enhancing client experiences.
NI: Trip Navigator recently launched a mobile app to manage Corporate Travel and Events and in doing so have become the first MICE company to do so. Tell us more about this.
GD: Our Mobile App is state of the art technology which was created for flawless event execution. Some of its benefits to the users are as under :-
- Document management – Tickets, itineraries, hotel details, EDMs
- Alerts, schedules & reminders for smooth event flow and attendance
- Chat feature to keep delegates connected on the go.
- Client tagging at various checkpoints
- Get reminders of multiple events, for stress free attendance
- Gallery for easy sharing of event photos and video
- Simplify Hotel check-in Avoid long lines and chaos
- SOS assistance
- Ensure organizers & delegates are on the same page
NI: Give us a brief background into the co-founders of the company.
GD: Abhishek, Litesh and I are co-founders and co-Directors of Trip Navigator, managing different aspects of the company.
I am a Post Graduate in Business Management with specialisation in Marketing and have worked with various Multinational Banks for almost 13 years. Before starting Trip Navigator I was Assistant Vice President with the Royal Bank Of Scotland heading the Retail Risk Unit for the Western Region. I spearhead the Strategic Initiatives along with managing Marketing & building the Brand for Trip Navigator. I also love to mentor start-ups in my free time.
Abhishek Gupta is a Post graduate in Business Management and has worked for almost 10 years in various industries like FMCG, Consumer Durables, Banking, Media. Before starting Trip Navigator, Abhisek was heading the Retail Sales and Regional Corporate Business for West Zone in Fever 104 FM (Hindustan Times). Abhishek is a highly dynamic and approachable person with key eye on detail. His knowledge about travel ensures enriched value addition to the company & its clientele in terms of efficiency & effectiveness.
Litesh N Jethani, extremely passionate about brand building and business enhancement, holds a masters degree in Brand management from Mudra Institute of Communications, and has spent more than 10 years in the industry with various media houses. His last assignment was as a Marketing Head (West), with Red FM. Litesh brings the events management and on-ground handling expertise to the company, which helps assisting the clients who have such requirements.
NI: Describe some of the challenges you faced in starting up and how it has helped your company.
GD: Just like any other startup, the challenges were multifold, ranging from getting the right kind of people to getting the right amount of working capital to run daily operations. New client acquisition was something that we worked upon relentlessly, as we always encountered stiff competition from the more established players in the market. Our constant focus on innovation coupled with good work was the key to getting us incremental business.
Early stage acceptance across clients and partners was something which we had to face and overcome. Our persistent effort to differentiate ourselves by absolute involvement and personalisation of every travel initiative helped us win unconditional trust of the client & overcome this early stage challenge.
NI: What is your opinion on the overall MICE industry in India?
GD: Unlike other industries which have evolved largely with the help of technology, the MICE industry in India still has a long way to go. Supporting infrastructure like better internet connectivity will greatly improve MICE experiences. Unlike the FIT travel segment, the MICE industry lacks online platforms offering corporate travel/event solutions. The ability to offer deals & record MICE specific feedback is not available. Our web portal is a marketplace solution offering a large gamut of MICE products & Services online along with the ability to offer users a platform to rate these products & services.
NI: What are the future plans for Trip Navigator?
GD: Our vision is to become the pioneers in MICE travel through technological advancement and revolutionising the MICE industry. Go VIVAH is a destination wedding company we have just launched. We are in the process of starting our inbound MICE operations too. We are sure that our technological advancements will put us ahead of the conventional MICE companies.