KAHINI CHAKRABORTY – Mumbai
Recognising India as a potential key emerging market for the United States, Brand USA’s goal is to place India among its top ten markets within the next two years.
The prime agenda of the corporation is to hire resources in India so that it can take advantage of the local market intelligence and knowledge. These representatives will be working with the travel trade and develop B2B programmes to help promote the US. This will be followed up with consumer campaigns and they will be working closely with the trade so that they can leverage on these campaigns.
Talking to exclusively to Express TravelWorld Jay Gray, vice president – Business Development, Brand USA informed, “The travel trade in this market needs a lot of education in order to increase the tourist arrivals to the US. It is imperative to promote the destination’s offerings beyond the traditional ones. We have been in talks with VisitUSA committee who is developing an educational programme and we are also developing a social media website focused on education. So instead of the typical Q&A and certification format, we are looking at creating an environment wherein the travel trade can exchange information, ideas and itineraries and create something which is more engaging. In addition to this, we will be developing co-op programmes for the travel trade.”
Last year the destination received 6,60,000 Indian travellers and has witnessed a year-on-year growth of 12 per cent this year. The Brand USA India Mission saw a delegation of 50 participants representing 35 US companies which included destinations, attractions, hotels and DMC’s.
When asked about the investment finalised for the aggressive marketing strategies planned ahead, Gray said, “Although we haven’t yet finalised on the investment for the campaigns, the immediate action plan would be that of gauging how quickly we can generate revenue to enter into new markets and that further determines our entry into new markets. Our primary target markets are Mumbai and Delhi and we will shortly hire our resources in the market as well as the VisitUSA committee will go deeper into the secondary and tertiary markets. Although we are going to focus on all segments, the consumer campaigns in particular cater to the leisure segment, and we are aware of the opportunity that the VFR and MICE travel segments hold for us. We see a huge potential to add leisure components for MICE and business travel segments. Furthermore, we have also held several meetings with airlines to discuss opportunities for launching direct air connectivity to offer travellers a seamless travel experience.”