Taking the road less travelled
Roota Wagle may be all of 23 years, but the one thing this young lady was always certain about, is that she wanted to be her own boss. Entrepreneurship is a subject she is very passionate about and seeing women in control of their roles fills her with pride. “I realized early on how important and beneficial it is to work for yourself. There is no comparison to the amount of satisfaction you get from your own venture,” says Roota proudly.
Choosing to be an entrepreneur came from her own experience. An avid traveler, Roota, realized early on that there was big gap in the field of good travel service business. “Packages would be exorbitantly charged for no rhyme and reason,” she explains. Unlike others, however, she decided to actually do something about it.
After completing her BBA (with Major in HR and Marketing), Roota went on to do a nine months internship at Travel Mauj, a travel agency, to learn the ropes. Then, in January 2012, she set up her venture, Book My Trip Goa. The basic premise behind this, she says, is to make everyone’s dream holiday destination affordable without necessarily needing a bottomless wallet. The one message she wants to spread is that travel today is not just a rich man’s prerogative, but every man’s indulgence.
The venture, being in its nascent stages, means that she works out from her home office. Roota works on her laptop and the publicity is solely through word of mouth. She works round the clock with an
occasional graveyard shift. “You do what you have to do to succeed” says the determined entrepreneur. Having invested around `25,000, all from her own savings, today, she makes decent earnings from a variable percentage of profits from her turnovers. Her highest turnover so far has been around `6 to 7 lakhs in a month.
The initial stages of starting out on her own were pure hard work. She recalls thatmore than the competition, it was her own inhibitions and lack of confidence which were the biggest hurdles she had to overcome. Then of course there were work related problems. “In my line of work, you always have to be on your toes. You never know when problems arise,” she says. One important lesson she learned early on was to never accept business on credit. Today, these initial problems are slowly fading away and her present challenges, she says, include price related challenges which will always be there.“You need to keep updating yourself with better rates and packages.”
“My main focus is to offer good rates on my packages, especially since the travel industry is a very price sensitive market,” says Roota who is well aware of some of her competitors who had to bow down to the intense competition and shut down their services. Book My Trip Goa offers travel packages like Golden Triangle Packages, (a north India centric package), Bangkok packages, Bali, Prague, Singapore, Dubai and Indonesia packages and many others. She says her lowest package is a four night stay in Bangkok costing just around `16000 per person and inclusive of air tickets, stay and food! Then there are the customized packages which are as expensive as the needs and wants of the clients.
“People are under the notion that online booking is always cheap. This sadly is not always the case. When I witnessed and experienced this firsthand, I wanted to make sure the prices I offer in every arena are way cheaper and not a rip off,” she explains. Even with cut-throat competition, her little venture is making waves already. Roota says the USP of her company lies in the fact that she lays major emphasis on quick and prompt service.
Roota admits that she is not very calculated with regards to her life choices. She says, “In my professional life none of my steps were planned. I have just gone with the flow and one step just led to another. The only ‘calculation’ is that I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur.” She credits her BBA degree and previous work experiences in writing, advertising and the insurance sector which gave her exposure to the corporate industry firsthand and helped her learn a lot about entrepreneurship in general.
Not one to take anything for granted Roota says, “My venture is just taking its baby steps forward now. I have miles to go before I sleep.” Her future plans include setting up an office, targeting corporate travelers, tie-ups with hotels and restaurants, aggressively marketing her packages, making her own packages, hiring staff and getting her IATA license among other. This determined young lady is sure of one thing, that she wants her efforts do all the talking