Hi, can you give a brief about yourself?
Manoj: I have been in Dubai since 1999 and am currently the CEO of Rayna Tours. My first job was with Safeer Group of Companies and then later worked with Time Machine Group of Companies. I met and became friends with Kamlesh while working together at Safeer Group. Our passion to venture into something unique and interesting finally made way to the launch of Rayna Tours in 2006.
Kamlesh: Well, I too have been in Dubai for more than two decades. I began working at the age of 15. In my home town in India, I brieflyworked with an ISD/ STD PCO where people frequented to make trunk calls to their relatives in Dubai. And this was probably my initial source of inspiration to reach Dubai. So now I am here as the Director of Rayna Tours after taking up diverse roles in my long career.
What is your inspiration to start your company?
Manoj: The idea of Rayna Tours popped up to us at a point when we both had gained considerable expertise in our respective careers. Al though it was quite risky to leave behind our stable jobs and dive into a completely new industry, I found it really exciting as I have always been obsessed about travel. This further allowed me to re-discover my interest in exploring new cultures and connecting with more people.
Kamlesh: I think my decision to come into this industry was partly due to my past experience and most importantly, my dream to create more jobs and passion to train new people. Before coming to Dubai, I had worked as a tour organizer for a short period and this momentary experience actually gave me the momentum and self-assurance to discover the broader possibilities of this industry.
How did your journey start towards your startup from planning to funding?
Manoj: Rayna Tours kicked off from a small counter inside Grand Flora Hotel. We didn’t raise funds through any external sources and didn’t have a mentor or even an appropriate business plan or right talents to rely on. But what helped us to move forward was our business idea to efficiently fulfill the hotel guests’ tour requirements. As something like this didn’t exist until then, this got easily accepted and we opened 15 more such counters across Dubai’s hotels in next two years.
Kamlesh: As Manoj told, it took off quite quickly despite all initial hurdles. Given the incredible potentials in this space, we put in our entire focus and savings on the market research during the first three years and realized how important it’s to carefully listen to our guests’ demands and make them happy from the inquiry process till tour ends. We eventually started our own company in 2009 and have since then been rated among the top Destination Management Companies in the UAE. And our main focus continues to be customer satisfaction as our dedicated team across all channels ensures that our customers get what they have come to expect from us.
About your company? Why people should opt for your services? How you are different from others?
Manoj: Rayna Tours is approaching 1.5 decades of offering all-inclusive travel services of top quality standards. Our service portfolio is remarkably vast and enumerates all aspects of travel and tourism, from international visa services and worldwide hotel reservations to customized holidays, tours and luxury cruises to providing turnkey MICE solutions. And contrary to other related companies which mostly rely on intermediary services, we don’t have a middleman for most of our travel services and packages. This gives us the privilege to guarantee best in the industry rates for most of our services including safaris, luxury cruises, limo rides, transfers etc.
Kamlesh: Also, we always make it a point to tend to the specific needs of our guests with a creative twist. In fact, our approach is not one-size-fit-all; we’re well aware that every customer’s travel needs is different and hence we give core emphasis to tailor a tour or holiday around our guests’ exact demands. Together with reasonable rates and professional services, one thing that sets us apart from other service providers is our deep focus on customer satisfaction.
Where you startup is located and do you have any branches around India?
Manoj: Our main office is at Old Labour Building, in Abu Hail, Dubai.
Kamlesh: We do have branches around in India as well as across the world, such as Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Cape Town, and Turkey.
Is your startup growing at good phase according to your plans? What are the upcoming plans from your end?
Manoj: From a journey which began with just two of us to now continuing with close to 500 employees, our startup has over the years seen many ups and downs but so far it’s good and fulfilling. We cater to B2C and B2B markets, and such is our business model that it ensures superior client engagement and management in all platforms.
Kamlesh: And when it comes to upcoming plans, we’re already one of the top service providers in the UAE and now our focus is to grow and strengthen the company’s international customer base by entering new markets and expanding our business reach to more and more destinations across the world.
What is your stack on the competition? Who are your competitors? How you are overcoming them?
Manoj: Competition is present in every industry and we take it in a very positive way as it helps us to remain focused and evolve accordingly. And yes, it urges us to go back and start all over again but more innovatively. At Rayna Tours, our mission is to make travel smoother and accessible to all. So regardless of the market trends, we make sure that we provide the best of services and packages that match every customer’s holiday or travel expectations in every scenario.
Kamlesh: After having lived through the toughest of times, I think no challenge or competition is now bigger for us. In order to tackle the competition, we realign our business strategies and introduce more innovative services. Moreover, we involve the best of our experts to implement new services and train and keep all team members abreast of the latest trends. After all, our employees form one of the major touch points through which we communicate with the outside world. So we have given out clear instructions to our dedicated customer support team on how to best communicate with the customers, no matter they’re here to book our services or just to make an inquiry.
What you suggest people who are interested in starting their own business?
Manoj: Starting your own business is always an exciting experience. But this journey is full of unexpected bends and tackling them diligently makes it a more rewarding experience. So never give up at any stage of your entrepreneurial sail;just take lessons from every downfall and this will make you more confident and resourceful.
Kamlesh: Yes, be focused, surround yourself with positive energy and never stop learning. I think these three qualities are key to business success in every stage.
What is your opinion on Startupsindia.in? Any Suggestions?
Manoj: With all interesting startup stories out there, I think Startsupindia is a trusted source which anyone can turn to for inspiration and confidence.
Kamlesh: And we’re honored to have our story featured in Startsupindia.in.