Failures and obstacles are inevitable to any business, no matter how big or small it’s. Be analytical and adaptable than getting personal about it.
Manoj Tulsani and Kamlesh Ramchandani are the founders of Rayna Tours and Travels, one of Dubai’s leading Destination Management Companies. Both came to Dubai more than two decades ago and started off from a humble background. The major turning point was in 2006 when they decided to quit their respective successful careers in the trading industry (in marketing and purchase) and venture into a totally new industry. From their initial location inside a Dubai hotel, Rayna Tours and Travels has grown into a one-stop destination for all travel needs.
It has now established itself as a trusted leader in the industry with dedicated sections for international visas, holidays, local tours and activities, safaris, cruises, and luxury travel packages. Besides its Head Office plus more than 70 outlets in Dubai, the company continues to expand and establish its presence in different parts of the world, such as Pune (India), Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, Cape Town etc. With close to 500 employees working in its diverse branches, the company successfully spearheads the industry across both B2C and B2B markets.
Where did the idea for Rayna Tours and Travels come from?
Despite our successful careers, Kr and I decided to start our own venture at a point when we discovered that we had completely ignored our passions. I have always loved traveling and connecting with new people, so I felt that working in the travel industry would give me a chance to meet interesting people and widen my perspectives on diverse world cultures. Alternatively, Kamlesh, having a background working as a tour guide and coach, was really inspired by the idea of travel entrepreneurship right from the beginning.
Al though we began from a small counter within Flora Grand Hotel, we luckily stepped into the market at the right time. There was a lack of service provider which organized excursions and tours for hotel guests. So we decided to fill in this gap and it actually opened the doors for our venture. Tons of challenges apart, this also gave way for numerous opportunities, allowing our startup to grow and thrive. We opened seven more such outlets in two years and later established our head office in one of Dubai’s prime locations. The rest is as you can see now!
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Not every day is same for us but it’s always busy with packed schedules. Our work also entails lots of traveling. In fact, how we spend a day is largely on the basis of what’s included in the agenda of a particular day. Well, this could be anything from attending important client / partner meetings and working with leadership team to the analysis of core industry challenges and trends. Once or twice a week, there will be in-depth discussions with our various team members wherein we focus on how to improve customer services, optimize operational efficiency, and maximize ROI, among other key topics.
How do you bring ideas to life?
We upgrade our product and service portfolio from time to time based on the latest industry trends and obviously, the customers’ dynamic travel needs. And we bring our ideas to life through a vibrant specialist team. They conduct profound market study and implement innovative strategies which help to effectively put across our new products and services to the right audience via right channels.
What’s one trend that excites you?
We’ve been in the industry for more than ten years. It’s really exciting to note that the industry is fast evolving and is now sophisticated than ever with the emergence of cutting-edge technologies. This not only allows you to get creative with your marketing campaigns but also maximize the outcome by easily hitting the target market. And the best thing is that it makes your interaction with customers more effective and transparent.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I think this should be our ability to carefully pay attention to what our customers, partners and team members have to say, be it criticisms, appreciations, ideas, suggestions etc.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Challenges and mistakes may sometimes appear to be beyond our control, but that’s not the reality. Just step back and approach your failure in a more logical way. They would actually pave way for your success. In fact, I’m grateful for all the obstacles and tough situations as they have taught me how to rebound from every failure and identify new or more exciting opportunities that come along with it. That being said, if ever I could catch up with my younger self, I would tell him to believe in his gut and jump out and follow his passion.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Most people believe that all it demands for the success of a business is that one ‘great idea’. While it’s true to an extent, it entails a host of other critical aspects in order to execute and make it a reality, such as your perseverance to learn from mistakes to setting realistic goals, gathering right resources, and building a great team.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Be yourself and have complete faith in your business concept or ideas no matter what others have to say about it. Yes, it may sound difficult but go ahead and prove that you’re capable of turning your groundbreaking ideas into a successful reality.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Our core business philosophy has always been to promise customer satisfaction at every level and we have never wavered from this principle. I think this customer-centric strategy has got us right from the beginning. In fact, we place greater emphasis on customer care. Whether a customer drops a line to make an inquiry or make a purchase or booking, our dedicated team ensures that every query is catered to with utmost dignity and respect.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
A business has to cycle through a lot of ups and downs before they establish themselves as a trendsetter or an industry-leading entity. And I would like to call them as challenges than failure. It was mainly during the initial years of business that we had to face a lot of complications. Apart from financial limitations plus lack of a foolproof business plan and a great team, I think the most difficult part was to earn the acceptance and trust of people as the idea of organizing tours to hotel guests was almost non-existent at that time. But (fortunately) the ingenuity of our concept helped us to gain traction in just a few months. People began to show interest in our offering.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Well, one-size-fits–all strategy doesn’t work when it comes to starting a new business. If you’ve got an entrepreneurial stint, make sure that what you’ve to offer is not only out of the box but also in sync with your interests and creativity levels. Seriously, it may be sometimes your simple hobby that ignites and fuels your business dreams. Conduct thorough market study, talk to interested people, and get online to look up for genuine posts, forums, and communities that support your passion. This opens up new avenues to implement your ideas while incredibly strengthening your networking skills. So tap into your passion; let it blossom into a fruitful profession!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
It was spent for some classic souvenir pieces (such as a miniature of Eiffel Tower) during our recent Europe trip. They all are remarkably unique and a wonderful reminder of some fun and special holiday moments.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
One of our key strengths is our own exclusive technical wing, Technoheaven Consultancy. It effectively addresses to the technological requirements of our organization in line with the industry’s ongoing demands for applications and technical solutions. Our CRM software is one system which helps us to be competitive and stay ahead of the curve. It comes with the capability to layer a lot of personalized tools and flexible functions on to it, thus making it a lot easier to handle complex processes and perform multi-tasking. This helps us to manage everything from our diverse tours and packages to tracking employee work performance.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I would recommend the book, ‘The Obstacle Is The Way: The Timeless Art of Trials into Triumphs’ by Ryan Holiday. This book focuses on the ancient Roman philosophy of stoicism and the title itself says all. It’s relatively short but absolutely an amazing read interwoven with historic references and inspiring stories of some popular figures in its almost every chapter. It covers leaders from almost every field including sports, politics, business and more. This motivates you to remain positive, calm and overcome or translate every challenge into an opportunity even in the most adverse of circumstances.
What is your favorite quote?
The harder you work, the luckier you get.
• Have faith in yourself and never be afraid to follow your passion.
• Failures and obstacles are inevitable to any business, no matter how big or small it’s. Be analytical and adaptable than getting personal about it.
• Stay positive and turn your challenges into your source of empowerment; there is a better opportunity hidden in every adverse situation.
• For an entrepreneur to be successful, he should be a genuine communicator and more importantly a great listener.
• Whether it’s criticism, praise or suggestions, be attentive to what customers and other people around you have to say.