While many travel and tourism brands are shutting shops, Pritish Shah, of the A Travel Duet fame, a luxury holiday experience brand for couples, launched a new venture on June 30. A Travel Circle is an experience-driven, luxury travel experience provider and enabler for the discerning clients.
It curates special experiences at luxury properties of partner hotel chains Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Marriott International, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, Aman, Armani Hotel Dubai, Address Hotels + Resorts, Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts – The Luxury Circle, Luxury Lodges of Australia, The Luxury Lodges of New Zealand, Relais & Châteaux, SLH – Small Luxury Hotels of the World, LHW – The Leading Hotels of the World.
Shah, however, admits that his venture has better potential post the pandemic as he believes that when the travel industry gets back up on its feet, the luxury segment will be at the forefront, as people have already started inquiring about private jet holidays.
While the travel and tourism industry has suffered immensely in the lockdown and most people have shut shop, why did you decide to start a new venture?
There is no denial that the tourism industry is one of the worst hit sectors due to the ongoing pandemic. After analysing (the business), we realised that virtual experiences will not replace real experiences in the future. Therefore, our first step was to ensure that we protect our team and we have retained every single member during this time. Post that, we gathered that in the new world post-COVID, people would want to travel more privately. We were already servicing these high-end holidays for couples under our brand A Travel Duet for almost a decade. We also conducted a comprehensive market research to better understand the evolving preferences of this segment. Spending quality time in a fabulous setting and more importantly, to be able to bond with loved ones – emerged as the most prominent trends. This pandemic has fast tracked us to launch A Travel Circle, as the changing travel expectations in the new normal world align very well with our key product offerings such as – private villas for social distancing, private jets to avoid commercial airports, highest standards in safety. Plus, with our access to a global network of A-list suppliers, preferred partnerships with major global luxury hospitality and villa brands and a fabulous creative team that we have, launching A Travel Circle felt like the right thing to do.
What all does a travel experience with A Travel Circle include. Please elaborate.
At A Travel Circle, we aspire to give our guests a holiday away from the rigmarole of urban life with those who matter. This could be a personal celebratory moment, an anniversary, bachelors and bachelorettes, a multigenerational meet up with family from around the world or just quality time with their friends so that they can experience #AllThingsPrivate. From a more tangible standpoint, think private villas or small hotel buyouts, bonding experiences with loved ones and Insta-worthy celebration setups. All of these curated and personalised keeping the guests’ preferences in mind.
Why do you think the venture has the potential to survive in the Indian market?
The situation today made us realise the importance of family and friends even more, and many of us yearn to spend time together, away someplace, getting to know each other better or reliving and creating memories all over again. Overall, travel sector will be back on its feet soon, and when it does, the luxury market will be leading the industry from the front. As we already have a an existing client base, we are positive that our offering will appeal to many and make this into a successful brand just like A Travel Duet.
Who is this new venture targeted to?
Our ideal consumer base would be anywhere between 8 – 40 people, predominantly from India, USA and UK, looking to rent out a private villa or a small boutique hotel for an intimate gathering. Our guests also enjoy all the finer things in life. Good quality and service are paramount for them.
How has the response to the new venture been so far?
The number of queries for future travel has increased. People are yearning to get back on the road while keeping safety and convenience in mind. We are already working on some queries, travel requests to fly in private jets. We also foresee a rise in demand for longer stays – quarantine getaways and workation trips in the immediate future, once restrictions are lifted.
What kind of business deal do you have with your hotel partners?
We are preferred partners for major global luxury brands such as Four Seasons, Marriott, Shangri La, Rosewood, to name a few. As part of these partnerships, our guests get exclusive benefits like complimentary upgrades, complimentary breakfasts, 100 USD spa or F&B credits, better rooms and a great personalised experience. As one of our guests says, “I may be able to get the room at lesser price but never get the same kind of service.” Hence, for us, it is all about detailing and privatising the experience and ensuring that it is relevant to that particular guest. We are also building our collection of private villas globally for A Travel Circle. Some of these are private places are not accessible online.
What does A Travel Circle provides that others in the industry don’t?
We invest a lot in our people and have an extremely knowledgeable and skilled team, which has travelled to 110+ countries collectively. We also have an exclusive celebrations department, which conceptualises special moments to bring them to life. Our boutique, yet process-driven approach ensures there is ample creativity and marginal room for error. Our team is invited to some of the best luxury travel shows globally, which allows us to bring in new and innovative travel experiences for our audience. Top this with access to a global network of A-list suppliers available.