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India’s Tier II & III cities are big markets: Vasundhara Gupta

Vasundhara Gupta, business development and marketing manager, Costa Cruise India, says that the challenge with dealing with Indian clients is that many are very last minute bookings, but do see this changing with the growing millennials

Vasundhara Gupta, business development and marketing manager, Costa Cruise India, says that the challenge with dealing with Indian clients is that many are very last minute bookings, but do see this changing with the growing millennials

Gen Nxt Thought:
It’s important that every customer is not treated as a transaction, but a long-term well-wisher of your brand

What was your primary motivation to pursue your professional goals in the travel and tourism sector?

After completing my Masters from Warwick University in the UK, I was contemplating working in the UK itself, however in 2013, I decided to move back to India to join the company my mother had set up which looks after Costa Cruises The last six years has very exciting and a great learning experience, as travel within India has been growing with many young Indians planning frequent getaways. They do not share the same interest as their parents to invest in commodities such as homes and cars. The Indian cruising industry specifically is also seeing a lot of demand within India and since only one per cent of the Indian outbound travel market has been tapped on cruise, there is an even bigger opportunity. The primary motivators were the opportunity to learn, the dynamic nature of business.

Is there a particular observation you have made about the industry, both as a challenge or an opportunity?

Since I am looking into business development, my work takes me also to the Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities of India. The market in those cities is growing and though they are quite aspirational, they need hand holding, so while we see it as a big market for cruises, we have trained our team to be able to speak in local languages and effectively communicate. A challenge with dealing with Indian clients is that many are very last minute, but do see this changing with the growing millennials enjoying the planning process of travel and booking early, so that they get the best deals.

What’s your vision for the business?

Our company looks after the operations and business development of Costa Cruises in India. In 2016, Costa Cruises was the first cruise liner to homeport a ship to cruise between Mumbai to Maldives. Our vision is to have more Costa Cruise ships home-ported in Indian ports for most parts of the year, making cruising very accessible to the Indian traveller.

Technology has been a substantial game changer. Comment.

It’s important for every company to include technology within their business, to effectively reach the growing tech savvy Indian traveller. However, companies that are able to also combine the human factor will always have a leading edge.

Your Gen Nxt thought?

The Indian travel market is large, but it’s important to be proactive, enthusiastic and always be hungry for the business. Also, it’s important that every customer is not treated as a transaction, but a long-term well-wisher of your brand.

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