Deepak Narula, Managing Director, GRN Connect, says that digital campaigns with agents are a good way to keep them updated on technology and other developments, especially in these times. He adds that it is time for agents to come out of their comfort zones and begin thinking about being a one-stop shop for the travel needs of a diverse set of customers.
GRN Connect recently conducted a webinar for TAAI – Northern Region, presenting its products to their members. Deepak Narula believes that TAAI is a great platform to reach out to the community, particularly at a time when movement is restricted and most agencies are working from home; it is best to connect digitally. “We have done such webinars in the past, too, but on different platforms for both domestic and international markets. We will continue to engage in such activities in the future. The idea is to stay in the mind of users, keep them aware of the developments of the past, especially during the lockdown period,” he says, adding that the response received to the webinar was good and agents were eager to know about the newly launched products.
Technology has been a saviour for most in the recent past, and agents increasingly see it as an important part of business. Hence, there is a rise in competition as well. Narula says, “We have always used technology to grow and today we are distributing in over 50 countries. Competition is always healthy. It keeps you on your toes and I think there is room for everyone to survive. Having said that, it is equally important to continue to evolve, bring in more products, make them more user-friendly, and the simplest way of doing that is to be honest and transparent in your dealings.”
Tools for agents
Narula says that besides their online B2B portal www.GRNconnect.com, where they offer hotels, apartments, transfers, sightseeing and packages, they also offer a White Label solution that includes flights. He adds that they have received a good response. GRN Connect also has a host of products lined up for an early-September release. “Going forward, agents will have to move to one-stop-shop solutions. Generally, in India or globally, we have business travel agents, leisure operators or M!CE agents. However, I feel that the time has come for each agency to sell every possible product, be it business, leisure, inbound, outbound, FIT or GIT, flights, hotels, cruises, packages or insurance,” he says.
In fact, he believes that in a couple of months, everyone would be able to resume work. “It’s been some time now and our industry is still in almost-shutdown mode, but looking at the way the world is opening up, I think it is just a matter of few months that we all should be able to resume work. Lockdowns are being relaxed, domestic flights are operating, and a few hotels are opening— these are positive signs,” he asserts, adding that clients will now give more importance to booking with a travel agent.