For Parbati Bhattacharya, Founder & Director, her travel boutique Wanderers’ Footprints “is a passion, that started on a serious note three years ago”. It’s all about customising travel plans and destinations, she says. As her enterprise is in the business of providing customized travel experiences, she explains her target is – families, people travelling in groups and corporates. In short, both Indian and global discerning customers.
Parbati shares, “I do not have any experience in the travel line. My experience is that I am very widely travelled, as I have been travelling with my Mom from childhood! So I have travelled all over India and the world too”. Back in those days of the late 70s and 80s, it was indeed a courageous feat with very weak travel infrastructure across the country, she recalled. But even as a child, she used to help her mother in planning their tours, besides helping out in booking tickets and hotels. And, what is her speciality, her USP, that sets Wanderers’ Footprints apart? She points out, “In India I try to promote ‘homestay’ tourism and offbeat destinations.”
So, with this travel boutique, she is confident of going places. Here are some excerpts of the conversation we had:
Q. How did you think about becoming an entrepreneur?
It happened by chance. I am a passionate traveller. I used to help my friends in planning itineraries and doing bookings for them…then I thought why not make my passion my profession……Though it sounds cliched ..so I took the plunge.
Q. What are the challenges faced by you, as you were setting up your business?
Well, the biggest challenge I faced initially was the fact that I did not have any formal training for running a travel business. Slowly, I learnt everything on the job. I think my travel experiences over the years that started from the age of three, when I went with my Mother to Darjeeling has helped me overcome the hurdles. A big challenge was also to understand the nuances of the business, such as accounting, commissions etc.
Q. How did you try to make your business different?
I think my business is different as I try to plan each and every guest’s travel experience as if it was my personal travel plan. I try to understand the travellers’ psyche, their interests and choices and then customise a package/ trip for them. I try and paint a picture of the destination and its highlights in my guests’ mind, so that they are totally informed and don’t get any unpleasant surprises.
Q. How do you feel women are placed today, to take up entrepreneurship in India?
Well I think women are very well placed to take up enterpreneurship roles, given that they are very focussed and are tuned to multi task. The glass ceiling has been broken and we are taking the lead in all fields.