SKIL Corporate Travel: Resplendent Hospitality Solutions

Trishal Rao, CEO | Shylender Jindal, Founder | SKIL Corporate Travel
Trishal Rao, CEO | Shylender Jindal, Founder | SKIL Corporate Travel

The Tourism Industry in India has developed by leaps and bounds with everyone from the Government to the Private players pitching in and playing their part. But the industry itself is a huge one with several sub-industry categories like medical tourism, ecotourism, MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions), rural tourism etc. Of these, the MICE market has been receiving special attention courtesy amongst the growing corporate culture in India. MICE refers to a specialized niche of group tourism that involves planning, booking, and facilitating conferences, seminars, and other events for corporates. This sub-set has now evolved as a big moneymaker in the travel industry.
Recognizing the opportunity that lay in this field early-on, Shylender Jindal Founded SKIL Corporate Travel in the year 2002 with an idea of organising the corporate travel space. Now serving as MD of the company, Shylender, after completing his MBA from New York, saw how India was expanding and a lot of new companies and opportunities were being created. He had the strength, patience, passion, and zeal for making a difference in the hospitality sector. A vivid traveller himself, he started as a one-man army by selling hotel rooms to corporates, and now has a team close to 150 employees. The first 2 years were the most crucial as he faced a lot of challenges with the corporate travel world being very new and unexplored and a lot of international companies entering India. Shylender inspires his staff with not only words but with action and believes that ‘with hard work and determination anyone can achieve their goals’. After developing domestic accommodation, he then moved on to creating an organised system for Transportation in 2005. His passion for this industry and sector led him to develop international accommodation business in 2006 and the MICE business in 2008.
A CEO that Spells Positive Change

Joining forces with Shylender is Trishal Rao, the CEO who brings almost 15 years of expertise in the hospitality industry. He started his career with the Taj group in 2000 and was the Director of Sales and Marketing at the Hyatt and Oakwood. Avery passionate human, he always has the desire to learn more with each assignment.
Under Trishal’s guidance, the last 1year has seen a drastic change, with a focus on Process, People and Technology. This has resulted in digitalization and up-gradation of systems, bringing in new blood as well as focus on technology with internal and external stakeholders, creating operational excellence and consistency in service delivery. He has re-formed the entire internal hierarchy system and introduced new initiatives for incentives, appraisals, R&Rs and introduced systemic KRAs. He is very focused on hiring the right people for the right job along with developing the current employees. Technology is a boon in this industry, and he intends to introduce new technology to help the employees perform better and reduce human error.
Customized Solutions
The company currently offers the following 3 services:
Accommodation: It assists corporates with Domestic and International Accommodation bookings. SKIL’s experienced counsellors assist in offering flexible payment options and credit facilities at an optimised cost. It also provides MIS alerts on a timely basis to give a track record of the bookings.
Transportation: With more than 8,000 transactions per month, Shri Krishna Tourism (A division of SKIL Corporate Travel) provides transport assistance in 80+ cities in India and 10+ countries. The team is available 24/7 to ensure all audit checks and SLA’s are maintained with an emphasis on security, safety and ease of operations. It also assists in long term rentals, premium cars, and luxury coaches.
Events: From coming up with out-of-the-box ideas, venue sourcing, negotiations, menu consultation, event flow suggestions, event production and planning, SKIL’s dedicated team of professionals deliver fully customised and cost-effective solutions to its clients. It also specialises in team building activities, offsite, product launches, dealer meets, event management and transportation solutions that can be availed through one point of contact for booking, coordination and billing.
With its new event management and social media marketing division starting, it is looking to offer more services in the domain.
Event Checklist
Organising an event isn’t a one-day activity. It takes a lot of meticulous planning to turn an event into a mega event. Shylender points out that when planning any event, the most important thing to be considered is the event’s purpose. Deciding the key objective in the initial planning stage help focus the strategy around these. He adds, “Each corporate has an agenda on why they are doing the event, it could be for team building or an incentive trip or event dealers meet. If you do not meet the objective of the event, the client will not be happy with the result.”  The next important activity is creating an event brief. It is a thorough overview of the event being organised and is detailed so that anyone involved can read and refer to it at any given time.
An event brief also helps track the event’s progress and its components are:
Timings – Before finalizing a date it’s crucial to research whether any other events are taking place around the time the client has in mind. It’s also advised to take note of key national dates. Additionally, it is also important to decide what an appropriate time for the event to take place.
Attendance  – The corporates want all their employees to attend the event and have a good time. It is important that communication is sent out well in advance for everyone to plan accordingly. It is also important to understand and estimate the number of people that will be attending the event.
Venue and Entertainment – Deciding on the perfect venue takes time and depends on the nature/industry of the event. Organising catering/entertainment for the event needs workable logistics and making sure there is space. It’s always a good idea to invite the client to come along to get a second opinion before finalizing the venue. Likewise, while booking entertainment (for example, a singer or DJ) it is always advised to check with the client and seek approval.
Budget – Finance is a hugely important factor to consider. The brief should include a calculation of the likely expenditure. The venue, equipment, catering, promotional activity and entertainment (to name a few) all incur costs. And it is also advised to include a contingency cost for any unexpected costs that may arise.
Evaluation – On the day of the event itself it’s crucial to prepare a thorough running order in addition to the event brief. This is a list of the activities taking place before, during and after the event and must be communicated to the team beforehand. It’s important to be aware that, in any event, things can rapidly change. It’s therefore vital to be able to respond effectively and logically should anything go wrong.
Client Industry – While planning an event, the industry that the client belongs to, is crucial because they have set expectations and have done many events in the past. It also helps in understanding the interest of people who will be attending the event.
Views on Challenges:
Reduced Budgets – Budget cuts are the biggest challenge making people opt for more web meeting over the traditional meetings.
Technology—While technology eases operations, it also gives the client multiple options making the market more competitive in regard to pricing.
Increased Government Regulation – Something not in the industry’s hands, which is at the mercy of governmental regulations that can either hinder or help the efficiency behind putting on a great event or effect other offerings.
Over commitment-Under delivery – Due to competition, many companies tend to over commit and under-deliver expectations that result in the corporate losing faith not only with the company but also that particular service/product.
Optimizing with Technology
Shylender is of the view that technology can help business owners leverage limited capital in smarter, more effective ways. SKIL’s focus for 2019 – 20 has been in upgrading / launching new tech solutions for its internal and external stakeholders.
Internal CRM Tool – Sales – Operations – Finance and HR – Marketing
SKIL has recently introduced a new internal CRM that helps facilitate and record all operations and also creating an analytical back end record and report that can help it strategically make decisions
CBT – Corporate booking tool – Transportation
By using Corporate Self Booking Tool it can offer its corporate customers an optimized and straight forward travel management process, as everything happens automatically – from searching to the final reservation. Users can plan, book, and purchase travel services within their company’s policies. This process is currently being used by us in the transportation division and soon we will be introducing this in the accommodation services in 2019.
In the event front, it uses software like Trello, a project management software, which helps it to exactly know the flow and status of the events. And prepares them for a prompt response. It also uses technologies like holographs and 3D mapping in its events to make the event experience more intriguing and engaging.
Here’s Shylender’s Advice for the Young Entrepreneurs:

“It is not an easy journey, there are more downs than ups in the initial years. You require a lot of patience and constant hard work for returns. As we in the service industry, relationship management plays a critical role in building business and taking it to the next level. It is people that make the real difference and are the key assets to be taken care of. If you are passionate and have a long term plan, look at an investor to back you up as this industry works on relations and the ROI will be reflective in time.”

Expanding Horizons

SKIL is currently looking at expanding in cities like Chennai Hyderabad and Gujarat. Realising that it is important to make the company face paced with innovative ways to cater to the market, the team is focusing on digitalization and technology. Diversifying with its offerings is the next step. It is also looking at becoming a B2B provider by providing its services to other small travel and event companies to grow its reach and cater to international companies that need help with arrangements in India. SKIL is also looking at launching its own internal Digital Marketing agency catering to various corporates PAN India.

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