One of the well-known and trusted players in the leisure travel and luxury tourism segments, ARK Travel Group now wears a brand new look. In a candid conversation with the cruise connoisseur Kishan Biyani, Managing Director of ATG (ARK Travel Group), TravelScapes learn all and more about ARK’s new brand-identity reveal as well as the expansion plans and new developments aimed at enhancing its bouquet of travel services post-COVID
Ahead of unveiling the fresh brand identity, what new does ARK Travel Group has in store this year?
The first and foremost thing in our mind is to uphold our new logo, the new brand identity while continuing the legacy of ARK. The new logo reveals much brighter and more vibrant colours and each unit of the logo represents the various business verticals as well as the sentiments that the brand would like its clients to associate with. This lively colour spectrum also depicts our curiosity, diversity as well as a limitless range of services that complement well with our expansion goals. However, our dynamic vision and core values of commitment stay the same as they were before the rebranding. With this, we also plan on going global very soon and have ambitious expansion plans regarding the same. We do have some other new and exciting things coming up in immediate future.
Further, the Resort World Cruises which was not operating earlier has announced its global debut in Singapore. It is indeed big news for ARK as the market of cruising is what we excel in. Also, during the peak pandemic time, we acquired Outbound Konnections which will now be called ARKRep, the company’s representation and marketing arm. I feel delighted to share that under ARKRep, we have already acquired a lot of accounts and are expecting another 4to 6 brands to come on board. For our other signature product ARKTech, we have got the DECK PRO which is the unique proprietary online system by ARK allowing travel agents to register for free and check everything from the availability of cabins to information on vessels while sitting in their offices. Going forward, we are now revealing the new ChatBot feature for the Norwegian Cruise Line for the travel agents. We are soon going to add a feature of adding their Facebook handles on the Bot so that the consumers can directly get their replies through the same. If the chat bot feature comes out to be successful, we will be bringing it out for all the cruise lines we represent in order to grow big in the market. Also, for the next six months, our key focus would be to establish the Resorts World Cruises brand and create its strong presence and demand in the market.
What other ways you are implementing for pulling in more Indian travel agents?
Through DECK PRO that I mentioned previously, we are trying to educate a lot of agents about this digitally driven booking engine, the products uploaded on the same for selling and empowering them to access almost everything on the DECK PRO. We have also always been in one-to-one touch with all the travel agents ARK Travel Group has about 18 satellite offices operating where we retained all the staff during the pandemic as well who communicate with the travel agents on daily basis. With this kind of commitment, we see the number of satellite offices in India going up to 30 in the next three months and we have already started the process by appointing people in every city. This is eventually helping us enhance our network of travel agents and interact with them recurrently.
Talking of how digital tools, especially social media, have become an important trend in post COVID era, how is ARK leveraging them to their utmost benefit?
It goes without a doubt that a lack of social media presence somehow affects the brand’s popularity. So to benefit from this trend and be relevant in the market, we have hired a completely new marketing team. I am happy to share that my daughter Sakshi Biyani is also a part of the marketing team and is responsible for managing the company’s branding. No one could have handled it better than her because I think the new generation probably has better opinions and more creative ideas when it comes to using social media platforms to their utmost advantage.
Your entrepreneurial journey in ARK has been incredible. What is your mantra to sustain a good business?
It has always been- to be a “travel agent’s person”. It is quite easy to handhold the agents in their opportune time but when they are stuck and need the utmost help during the mess, one should come forward for the support. And this, I believe, is the best way to stay connected with them as well as develop your business. If you are helping one agent of a city, he will further talk about you with another 10 people that will eventually grow both your network and the business.