Manoj Tulsani is an Indian entrepreneur who runs a successful business in Dubai, with its branches across the world. In this exclusive interview with Startup Insider, Manoj talks about his eventful business journey.
1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your business in a few words?
I am CEO of the Dubai-headquartered Rayna Tours and Travels. As an all-inclusive Destination Management Company, we are one of the leaders in the industry; we are well equipped to take care of all facets of travel requirements on both B2C and B2B segments. This ranges from global hotel reservation, flight booking and arrangement of transfers to visa services (international), holiday packages, luxury travel and MICE solutions.
2. When did you come to Dubai and what was your initial career background like?
Coming from a modest family in Ajmer, Rajasthan, I finished my college studies with a background in commerce from the University of Mumbai. Less than a year after this in 1999, I came to Dubai, UAE at a young age of 21 years old. I landed my first job at Safeer Group of Companies as a marketing executive and later moved to Time Machine Group of Companies where I got my greatest career break as the Head of the Marketing Department.
3. How did it all start? What really prompted you to begin your business in a new industry?
Right from the start of my career till 2006, I worked in the trading scenario. But, the career shift to a new industry (service) stemmed from my genuine passion for travel and entrepreneurship. This actually prompted me to start Rayna Tours and Travels, together with my friend, Kamlesh Ramchandani. Our business sail started off from a small boutique in Flora Grand Hotel in Dubai.
4. How did you grow your business?
When Rayna Tours was launched in 2006, its main goal was to help the hotel guests to make the most of their Dubai holiday; we mainly focused on offering tours and activities for them. As the business began to get noticed, we opened more outlets (some 15 plus) in two years. It didn’t take long for us to raise the status of our business from a travel boutique to a full-fledged Destination Management Company. In 2009, we opened our main office at Abu Hail’s Old Labour Building, which after a decade (in 2019) got a new bigger facility at ACICO Business Park, in Deira.
We have our office not only in the UAE but also in about 10 countries. We have bolstered our presence on the web as well, thanks to our dedicated entity, Technoheaven Consultancy. Besides being responsible for the exceptional running of our main portals (www.raynatours.com and www.raynab2b.com), it has developed a wide array of apps, programs, etc that would make travel as convenient as possible for all types of travelers.
Rayna Tours’ incredible growth is also attributed to some successful mergers. Since 2018, Arabian Explorers, a more than 30-year-old Destination Management Company, is a part of Rayna Tours. Its CEO, Yasser Noman, is currently Rayna Tours’ Executive Chairman. Himanshu Laul – the highly brilliant and creative architecture graduate from IIT, Roorkee – is the company’s Managing Director.
5. What make Rayna Tours and Travels stand out from other related service providers?
We always place emphasis on our customers’ unique travel requirements. In fact, majority of our holiday or travel experiences are handcrafted and personalized to meet and exceed the demands of our guests. Moreover, we are one of the very few travel management companies without any intermediary or middlemen for most of our tours or services, in particular safaris, cruises, and luxury activities such as yacht tour limousine sightseeing tours. This means utmost cost benefits with the assurance of quality services. With some of the most esteemed accolades to our credit (including TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice and Arabian Travel Awards for Best Destination Management Company and Best B2B Portal), our team of visa experts, destination specialists and dedicated customer service staff promises extra-mile services for our clients on B2B and B2C.
6. How do you deal with challenges and setbacks?
Never take your failures or industry challenges as personal. Instead, I believe every setback gives us an opportunity or more precisely, a chance to rectify our mistakes in the execution of a plan and further evolve. So, the most vital thing is to admit your flaws when you go wrong. Next thing is to analyze in detail the reasons for its failure and not repeat it again. Knowing how to deal with your failures is sure to take your business to incredible heights.
7. What is the future goal of Rayna Tours and Travels?
Travel is back in full swing and so is the market with some promising trends. As our business is now growing rapidly, we would like to make the most of this dynamic opportunity and see our business flourish as a travel brand that is celebrated and recognized globally. We, apparently, look forward to treading unexplored international markets and opening more branches in different parts of the world in coming years.
8. What are the most important takeaways in your business?
The market is ever-evolving with fiercely intense competition. You, therefore, must be quick to act and make decision in line with the industry demands. However, Instead of simply rectifying the current shortcoming with swift transient remedies, make sure that you always think long-term; this will make your business future-ready. It is fortunate that we live in a digital era where we simply don’t have to rely on word of mouth strategy or other conventional marketing techniques to grow our business. Leverage the endless possibilities that technology and digital world offer and try to get the best out of it.
9. If you have to give one valuable piece of advice to the next generation of entrepreneurs, what would it be and why?
Never give up! It is simply one main advice I would like to give to new and young entrepreneurs. Setting up a new business is not an easy task; it is even tougher when you set out to do it without any background or experience in the industry. But, you can keep yourself in the right direction – all you need is the belief in yourself as well as the ability to think out of the box. This alone will help you to overcome the struggles and take you forward.