Travel and tourism are one of the world’s fastest-growing sectors, with bookings hitting close to $1.6 trillion in 2017. A strengthening global economy lies at the heart of industry growth. Each year, the global traveler pool is flooded with millions of new consumers, from both emerging and developed markets, and many with rising disposable incomes and a newfound ability to experience the world.
Addressing this entire scenario, a leading travel organization Cox & Kings introduced a premium travel experience in the arena of corporate travel, education and activity travel, meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions (MICE), trade fairs, visa processing, and foreign exchange.
In an interview with Insights Success, Peter Kerkar, CEO of Cox & Kings gave some insightful views highlighting the influence of travel trends which help the travellers to explore the diverse ways of traveling.
- Kindly brief us about your company.
Cox & Kings Ltd. is the oldest travel company in the world and also one of the leading leisure and education travel groups with operations in 22 countries across four continents. It is one of the most experienced travel companies in the world, having been in operation since 1758. Headquartered in India, Cox & Kings has over the last three decades transformed itself into a diversified, multinational travel conglomerate with a focus on the new-age global consumer.
C&K operates in three key verticals; Leisure, Education, Hybrid Hotels.
Leisure—India is best known by the ubiquitous Cox & Kings brand in India, where we are an integrated travel enterprise, offering the best and widest range of travel options to individuals, groups, and businesses in the fastest growing major economy in the world.
Leisure—International operates in multiple countries, mainly under the Cox & Kings brand, with a greater focus on premium-end travel.
Education operates under the brand names PGL and NST, among others.
Menninger currently operates more than 8,500 beds across 17 hotels in 11 European cities.
2. Tell us something about the Founder/CEO.
Peter Kerkar is the Group CEO of Cox & Kings Ltd. He completed his graduation in arts (B.A) with distinction in Anthropology from Stanford University, USA. He joined Cox & Kings Travel Limited in October of 1986, as a General Manager. Under his tenure, Cox & Kings Travel Limited expanded its product geographies from India to sell Latin America, Environmental Journeys, Special Interest Tours, Middle East, Africa, Egypt, China and the Far East.
He has been intimately involved in the growth of the Company and was responsible for the transformation from being a business travel and shipping and forwarding agency to being one of the leading leisure players. He is the driving force behind the Company’s initiatives in the geographies in which it operates today. Under his leadership, the Company is now positioned as the premier travel company in India as well as a brand leader in the premium market segment in UK, USA, and Japan.
He was appointed to the Board of Cox and Kings, the first time on November 30, 1993, and since then he continues to be on the Board. Moreover, peter also helped the organization to launch its IPO in 2009 and it’s GDR in 2010.
- Kindly share with us you’re prospective towards current trends of Corporate Travel Management.
The foundation for Corporate Travel to consistently grow has been laid in the past few years. With requisite government support and India being considered as one of the biggest source markets the year 2018 is definitely set to see more corporate travels.
- Indian corporates from pharmaceutical, cement, FMCG, retail, telecommunications, healthcareand BFSI are some of the largest consumers of corporate travel.
- India has moved up to occupy the 31st position in the recent list of global ranking published by ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) from 35th rank in 2014 globally.
- Among the international destinations, Dubai, Singapore, Bangkok, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan. Spain, Switzerland, South Africa, South Korea, and Greece are some of the trending ones.
- We have also observed a growing interest in the business circle in exploring newer and off-beat destinations in the MICE segment, some of these destinations are Finland, Kenya, Poland, Istanbul, Jordan and Japan.
- In India, larger groups prefer destinations namely Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata and Jaipur as these destinations offer requisite infrastructure to hold major conventions. Smaller groups, those less than 200 have been travelling to Andaman, Srinagar, Udaipur, Shimla and Munnar.
- In 2018, we set our plan to welcome some new connections such as Amritsar to Birmingham, Bengaluru to Colombo and Kuala Lumpur to Bengaluru, with the help of new air-routes which will facilitate further corporate travel.
- Highlight the unique services and facilities of Cox and Kings provides towards their customer.
Single Point of Access & Engagement (SPAE) –Keeping communication clear and always available, we make sure the customer is not left unanswered at any given time. The majority of our passengers since years have acknowledged our ‘SPAE’ approach. This ensures an end to end responsibility at a single source for many processes from sales to the departure that saves customers from speaking with multiple representatives.
Tour Specialist – Our panel of tour specialists interact with potential customers at the time of inquiry. They are experts in making accurate information available to the customers.
Ground Handlers & Enablers (GHE) – Our special ‘GHEs ensured smooth tour execution. The GHE carries out the mammoth coordination task on the ground to make sure every bit of the preparation is done.
- Why people choose Cox and Kings to arrange their tours and travels?
In the last 260 years, Cox & Kings has precisely mastered in being an expert. Across various travel segments, be it adventure or women-only tours, tours for disabled or handling the Asia’s leading luxury train, Cox & Kings comprehends the needs of the travellers in depth. Our repeat clients speak about the seamless travel we offer. While the customers don’t have to bother about any part at all, our timely service and connections with excellent suppliers worldwide make us a preferred choice.
- What inspired Cox and Kings to enter the Corporate Travel Management segment?
As the tourism market has witnessed a major boom in the country, figures show how Corporate Travel has been one of the impressive contributors. There is a huge scope for MICE to grow in India in years to come. The need for seamless executions of large-scale events by growing number of organizations across industries has fast-paced the rate at which domestic MICE is growing.
Cox & Kings specializes in all forms of travel. Our centuries-old expertise makes us a well-networked travel conglomerate in the world. We recognize the potential of this market and opine both our logistical and service excellence fits the demand.
Corporate travel is about both large and small groups, be it of manufacturing or a pure service inclined industry, what it needs are fine management and efficient planning.
Cox & Kings through its years of experience can offer best solutions to the most large-scale events, thus, making us the largest MICE expert in India.
- Describe the exceptional strategies which help Cox and Kings to attract or satisfy your clients.
Our prime focus remains travel innovation and fine customer service. Cox & Kings offers solutions to complex travel enquiries. We pay detailed attention on end to end service. We understand, a corporate getaway for the employees is as important as to the corporate house itself. Thus we innovate in offering unique event setups, selecting the right venues at competitive pricing, blending the serious work with unique leisure escapades, seamless trips and organize multi-industry expos with finesse for a hassle-free experience to our clients.
- What are your plans in the pipeline for customers to explore the destinations?
We are working with various tourism boards to craft journeys that are unheard of. We aim to reach far-away and remotest places to redefine tourism with an underlining philosophy of sustainability. While we spread our reach globally, we are also working with Indian states to popularize domestic tourism.
We have launched Enable travel, tours for Disabled Travellers. The launch has made our brand much more inclusive as we believe in simplifying and presenting the gift of travel to all. Accessibility is the future and travel is its largest aspect. Bringing a host of accessible beautiful locations around the world and India to the disabled, Cox & Kings’ redefined the tourism industry. With specialised equipment, a fleet of wheelchair accessible vans, designed for the comfort and safety of the disabled, experienced guides, caregivers, escorts and sign language interpreters, one has to no longer limit their travel dreams.
Cox & Kings has brought some of the most unheard, extreme and fascinating adventure travel ideas for enthusiasts in India. Under newly launched specialist brand called Trip 360, we aim to promote Safe, Social and Sustainable adventure for enthusiasts in India. From trekking to motorcycling, to diving, to cycling and even mountaineering, Cox & Kings has been crafting undeniable adventure travel packages.
We have specialised in women-only tours, education tours, tours for senior citizens etc. Further inclusivity reflects our efforts to serve our customers from every segment.