Soft skills key to success

Being a people’s person, patience, and effective communication are some of the top skills required to succeed in travel and tourism business, say experienced travel operators in unison.

Ajay Prakash, President, TAFI
The travel industry is all about people, and about fulfilling their dreams and helping them create memories while on a holiday. Therefore, being a ‘people’s person’ is important, as is empathy, which is the ability to put yourself in the shoes of prospective traveller. Familiarity with world geography is a must, as is the ability to incorporate the latest technological developments. But the most important skills are infinite patience and a sense of humour. One skill is important in times of demanding customers or when dealing with visas, and the other is needed when things are going awry and are out of your control.

Vikram Singh, Vice President & Head Outbound Tibro
To excel in a career in travel and tourism, essential skills include exceptional customer service, effective communication, cultural awareness, sales and marketing acumen, time management, attention to detail, problem-solving abilities, geographical knowledge, proficiency with technology, adaptability to change, interpersonal skills for building relationships, and leadership qualities for managerial roles.

Mahendra Vakharia, EC Member, OTOAI & MD, Pathfinders Holidays
There are lots of skills needed to survive in this competitive industry. But the first one is patience and tonnes of it! One also needs agility in thinking to be able to react and act in emergency situations. One also needs an awareness of the constant changing geopolitical situation of the world. Use of technology, energy to work long hours, and ability to put oneself in the customer’s position and offer services accordingly is also important.

Anshu Tejuja, Managing Director, Ashoka Dream Holidays
Exceptional communication skills are crucial for interacting with clients and colleagues from diverse backgrounds. Secondly, strong organisational abilities help manage itineraries, bookings, and logistics efficiently. Thirdly, cultural awareness and sensitivity are vital for providing enriching experiences to travellers. Lastly, a passion for travel ensures that you deliver memorable and personalised experiences to the customer.

Jay Kantawala, Founder, WIYO Travel & Chairman, Western Region, TAFI
The travel industry has gone through several changes in past 25-30 years, from manual booking systems to complete automation. Information to travellers and travel companies is available at the click of a mouse, some genuine and some not so genuine. Most important skills to be successful in travel and tourism is Adapt to changes, keep a watchful eye on industry trends, don’t be afraid to think out of the box.

Rikant Pittie, Co-Founder, EaseMyTrip
My suggestion for budding travel entrepreneurs would be to ‘think local’ as significant value lies in showcasing local experiences, cuisines, arts, and crafts. As the experiential travel trend is catching up globally, there is no place better than Bharat to offer localised experiences, promoting diverse culture and heritage. Next, they should focus on sustainability. Additionally, it’s time for startups to embrace technology.

Neil Patil, Founder, CTO & COO, Veena World
As a second-generation business lead, I do have some personal learnings that I can share with those beginning their journey in this industry. Always enter a meeting with a clean slate. For me, this has really worked because when you enter with a clean slate, you develop the ability to let everyone contribute to the project. This mantra is effective, as it is the team that makes the dream work.

Compiled by Hazel Jain

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