Leading Indian DMC Creative Travel (CT) is “diversifying” and focusing on the growth of its seven-year-old outbound arm Away & Co (A&C) to tap the country’s “enormous appetite for luxury travel”.
CT joint managing director, Rajeev Kohli, told TTG Asia that his younger brother and joint managing director, Rohit was overseeing A&C’s development and the target was for outbound business to match inbound in the next five years.
The rebranding of A&C, formerly Signature Tours, as a purveyor of fine experiences was on the cards before the pandemic and the disruption expedited the process, according to Rohit.
He described A&C as “destination agnostic” and that any destination would come alive through “an amazing experience-based journey”.
“What we have is deep knowledge and great partnerships across the world to rewrite the idea of experiential travel in an ever-changing world,” he said.
A&C, he added, would focus on destinations that were now underserved in the Indian market which include Central and Latin America, off-the-beaten path Africa, North Asia and Indochina.
Customer acquisition has been the focus since the rebranding, and A&C has been spending time and energy in training the team on product and positioning.
According to Rohit, a first-time traveller to Europe or Asia is not a typical A&C guest, and neither is a traveller going to Europe for the fifth time but wants to plan a “vanilla trip”.
Rohit observed luxury travel was “totally misconstrued in India”, and a booking with A&C was not just about staying at the best hotel or using the best car, but defined by the luxury of the experiences.
Despite India having a challenging ecosystem and a fragmented consumer mindset, the outlook is promising.
Rohit said: “India’s current economic growth pattern and all economic expert research clearly put the market as the future leading consumer of luxury goods and services across the world, and that’s not just a factor of the size of market – it’s the pure disposable income available.
“India continues to be among the top-three markets for many global destinations and this number will only climb further. The challenges now are really logistical in nature, such as prohibitive airfares and deficiency in visa processing by many destinations.
“However, we’re confident this will get alleviated soon enough,” he said.