Success Story of Rayna Tours, Co-founders & CEO - Manoj Tulsani and Kamlesh Ramchandani
Please introduce your Startup and give a brief about yourself.
I am Manoj Tulsani, the CEO of Rayna Tours and Travels. Kamlesh Ramchandani (my friend and partner) and I founded this venture a decade ago from a small travel counter in one of Dubai’s five-star hotels. Rayna Tours and Travels is now a leading destination management company which provides extensive tours services for all types of travelers, regardless of their size and travel requirements.
How can you describe your Startup?
More than ten years, Rayna Tours and Travels has now reshaped the way people travel and enjoy holidays.Our user-friendly online portals and convenient apps (available on both B2B and B2C platforms) help travelers to simplify the whole travel planning process while giving them maximum flexibility to easily compare and put together all components of their holiday under one roof. This avoids any overspending and allows our guests to travel within their desired price point. The best part is that all these are backed by our excellent round-the-clock customer care team.
What were you doing before?
After the successful completion of my graduation course in commerce, I came to Dubai in 1999. I worked at the Marketing section of Safeer Group of Companies where I met my friend and partner, Kamlesh Ramchandani. I also possess a brief experience working with Machine Group of Companies where I became the head of the Marketing Department.
What is your inspiration behind your Startup?
Kamlesh’s passion for entrepreneurship and my love for travel and meeting new people were actually the real source of inspiration behind the launch of Rayna Tours. Following a long stint working in the trading industry, we realized that we should have our own space where we could be more independent, nurture our interests, and make the best use of our deep expertise, creativity and leadership capabilities. That’s how the idea of starting a venture in the service industry came to us!
Describe Your Startup Name, Why you are using this Name?
We operate under the brand name Rayna Group which acts as umbrella for all our diversified business activities, covering travel, construction, and real estate industries. As we started this venture soon after the birth of my daughter, we named the company after her name, ‘Rayna.’
What was the idea behind starting Startup?
As we initially opened our travel counter in Dubai’s Flora Grand Hotel, our main idea was to organize Dubai tours and activities for our hotel guests. Luckily, no one was doing this back in 2006, although there were tons of options to book accommodations in advance. So we became one of the pioneers and somewhat instrumental in solving a huge industry problem by making our guests’ Dubai holiday a whole lot easier and smoother. Once the concept got clicked, we targeted more hotels without a travel counter. This resulted in the opening of 15 such outlets in two years. In 2009, we moved to a bigger facility as we established ourselves as one of the region’s top Destination Management Company.
What are the services you offer to your clients?
As a one-stop platform for all travel needs, our product and service portfolio encompasses all aspects, such as international visa services, worldwide hotel reservations, all-inclusive hotel packages, sightseeing tours, desert safaris, cruises, water activities, and entry tickets to the main landmarks, theme parks etc. Based out in Dubai, the company has now branches in different parts of the world, including India, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Cape Town.
How did your journey start towards your startup from planning to fund?
Rayna Tours is fully self-funded. To start the company, Kamlesh and I had to pull all our personal savings, roughly AED ½ million.
What is your stack on the competition? Who are your competitors? How you are overcoming them?
Wedo experience some severe challenges and hard-hitting competitions every now and then. But we take it in a very positive way; this not only keeps us on our toes but also helps us to give our travel packages and technological servicesthe much-needed boost from time to time. Fortunately, we’ve an expert team to analyze the dynamic market trends, know the customers’ changing demands, and craft new tours / packages which respond to their needs.
Is the Startup growing at good phase according to your plans? What are the upcoming plans from your end?
Yes; starting off our entrepreneurial sail with just two of us, we’re now a family of 600 members which interestingly represent 15 plus nationalities from several unique cultural backgrounds. Our journey so far has had its share of challenges and ups and downs. But what we really make us different from other service providers is that majority of our services don’t have a middleman in between.This allows us to guarantee both best pricing and exceptional support services to our customers. As we continue to grow rapidly, we look forward to explore new markets and introduce more innovative offerings.
I think everyone has some inspiring person in their life and some taglines? Who are they, what is their role in your Startup life?
For us, our customers always come first as we consider them as the backbone of our business! Right from the beginning, we’ve always placed emphasis in listening to our customers’ demands and of course feedbacks, be it positive or negative. Initially, we got our majority of our businesses through word of mouth and we’re extremely proud that it still continues to be our main source of advertisement. Rightly so, majority of the coveted awards and accolades that we’ve won for our services have been are based on honest reviews and public voting, such as TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence and Arabian Travel Awards (for Best Destination Management Company and Best B2B Portal).
What is your experience as an Entrepreneur?
It has been great so far! There have been many challenges and setbacks throughout, but we’ve got up and most importantly,learned quite a lot from each of them.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
We hope to establish our footprint in more destinations across the world, thus looking forward to strengthen our brand and offerings internationally.
What do you suggest people who are interested in starting their own business?
The start is always gruesome, so it’s easy to lose that enthusiasm or passion as you begin to the face the reality. So my greatest advice for newbies is that never allow this to happen; have faith in yourself, your unique ideas and business goals. Moreover, never take challenges as failures; instead deeply analyze it, try to figure out the flaws and learn from it. This will push you forward, taking you a long way.