MS. Please share the role of your organisation in the MICE sector?
Rajan. Udaan India has always played a crucial role when it comes to successful departures of our client’s pax. MICE becomes more critical because of the size of the group which is travelling. I believe the MICE business involves a bigger risk. Here is when the MICE companies are looking for best partners who can process the Visa applications on time and provide their hands on experience in managing the departure. We at Udaan have a specific team which dedicatedly manages the MICE business with a proper process which segregate the group departures according to the travel date and execute the visa processing.
MS. What differentiates you from your competitors?
Rajan. Udaan’s USP is the 27 Years old legacy which we have built in all these years. Our MICE visa success rate has been sterling. Also considering Udaan’s market statue and the impeccable diplomatic relationships, we manage to minimize the paper work with successful presentations with diplomatic missions.
MS. What are the key milestones achieved by your organisation over the years?
Rajan. Udaan will soon be 28 Years old and that is a big milestone we have achieved. Also we are the most preferred visa service providers to many big corporate. We have been chosen by big MICE names of the industry as their visa partners and we have been living up to their expectations since all these years. To mention – our client retention has been excellent and I am proud to mention that most our clients are dealing with us since years because of our Customer commitment.
MS. How do you implement technology and innovation in your functioning?
Rajan. Udaan was the first company to come up with an informative operational portal for Visas. Since then we have been upgrading our technology in terms of making Udaan an ISO 23026:2015, ISO 9001:2015 & ISO 27001:2013 certified. Our technology is protected with regular VAPT tests and valid policies being in place.
I also strongly believe that innovation is a key for a business to enhance its productivity with a significant margin. At Udaan we lay stress in coming up with innovative business solutions so that we can cut down the TAT and follow ups. For example our automated alerts provide the clients with regular real time updates on their visa applications which keep them informed and relaxed.
MS. Please highlight your best project in the last year.
Rajan. If we talk on projects there have been many last year. We processed more than 400 groups last year. I am happy to say that all of them were a success.
One of the projects that are worth mentioning is of Turkey for which we were chosen as a visa facilitation partner. The challenge was the timeline of the MICE movement.
This movement had limited time frame for submission as it was a last minute business for our client. The challenge became more critical because Turkey is an online form which involves scanning of documents, preparing sets and then the upload. There were 300 people travelling and we had only 24 hours to execute this project. I can proudly say that our dedicated team not only managed the form filling but also was successful in submitting these applications on time which resulted in successful visa stamping and travel.
MS. Who are your key clients?
Rajan. We deal with numerous organisations. But specifically if I talk about MICE, some of our top clients include SOTC, Thomas Cook, Axplore Holidays, Cox & Kings, TUI – Pacific World, Tybros and many more.
MS. What are the challenges faced in your business?
Rajan. Financial preposition – That is managing funds for the visa submission. With the increase in Visa Fees the
submission has become challenging as we need to pay hefty amounts for submitting groups. Also the regulation on cash withdrawal has become a challenge as all countries do not accept digital payments for Visa Application submission.
MS. What are your future plans?
Rajan. We have set aspirational plans for our future. We plan to materialise our business expertise all across the segments and enhance our productivity. With a vision to become a leading student visa providers we have ventured with a brand called “Study with Udaan.” I am proud to mention our 99 % visa success rate in student visas.
MS. What are the issues facing the Indian MICE industry?
Rajan. I believe that the digitalization has empowered the people. Now the cost competitiveness and the tight margins have been a challenge for MICE companies. Stiff competition and limited margins have lowered down the TAT of a customer. On the other hand the cost of Hotel accommodation and non availability of deals have made MICE companies to settle on the other front as well.
MS. What are the opportunities present in this sector?
Rajan. There are immense opportunities in this sector. Incentive tours are bound to rise because organisations surely want engaged partners. Also the institutions now focus on inter cultural programs which increase in student group travel. I am sure if organisations analyze the SWOT carefully, this sector has a lot to unfold.
MS. What can India learn from its global counterparts?
Rajan. As of now I believe the question seems to be not relevant as the Global counterparts in travel are struggling. However India has a huge population which is looking to explore destinations and this gives the Indian companies an edge in travel trade.
MS. Which is the most lucrative global MICE destination?
Rajan. Lately, I have seen Istanbul being chosen by various travellers. The destination changes as per the taste and preferences of customers also the purchasing power parity has an immense role in making a destination lucrative. Thailand, Singapore & Malaysia have been an all time MICE favourite for Indian travellers.
MS. What kind of support does the Indian government provide to the MICE sector?
Rajan. Indian Government is promoting tourism with all the efforts. The Government has launched various campaigns for Inbound MICE movement. I believe the Government is more focussed in promoting India as a MICE destination in Asia.