The company, which first launched in November 2016, recently appointed Ashutosh Dogra to head up FIT Ruums India from New Delhi.
Since the company’s Indian debut a number of weeks ago, Ashutosh and his team have made significant inroads into the local market, securing a series of strong partners in the country and helping India’s travel suppliers generate large volumes of trade bookings.
A seasoned travel industry professional with almost 18 years of experience, Ashutosh Dogra has a proven track record of managing business operations and breaking into new markets. His previous position before joining FIT Ruums was as Head of the Vacation Vertical for Vacation Exotica, a unit of Balmer Lawrie & Co. Ltd. He also spent several years with the Kuoni Group.
As General Manager of FIT Ruums India, Ashutosh has already had success in developing FIT Ruums’ brand, relationships and operations across the country. FIT Ruums’ Indian strategy involves leveraging XML technology and partnering with key stakeholders in the wholesale B2B market.
“I am very excited to join FIT Ruums at such an exciting time - both for the company and the Indian travel industry,” said Ashutosh Dogra, General Manager of FIT Ruums India. “We aspire to be a strong partner to the travel trade, leading the industry in terms of customer service, product supply and technological innovation.”
“The right time” to move into India
Demand for intra-Asian travel is growing rapidly; the graph above shows that the number of air seats on intra-Asian routes has increased by 90% over the last ten years, with more than 27 million people now travelling within the region every week.
Currently ranked seventh in the world in terms of its total contribution to GDP (9.6%), India’s travel and tourism industry is experiencing a period of unprecedented growth. In terms of inbound tourism, the expansion of India’s e-tourist visa system led to a double-digit jump in visitor arrivals in 2016 – a trend which has accelerated in 2017.
The number of international travelers arriving in India on e-tourist visas in April 2017 increased 63.4% over April 2016, which contributed to an overall 23.5% rise in foreign visitor arrivals to India during the month.
A boost for India’s hotel suppliers
The arrival of FIT Ruums in India provides an additional strong distribution channel for the country’s hotel suppliers. Previously, Indian hotels could target the fast-growing inbound market via Webjet’s other global platforms, Sunhotels and Lots of Hotels, which have strong coverage in Europe, North America, the Middle East and Africa and now the FIT Ruums presence completes the global coverage required by this highly dynamic marketplace.
The addition of FIT Ruums will enable hotel suppliers to capitalize on the huge Indian domestic market and burgeoning intra-Asian inbound market.
FIT Ruums also allows hotels and travel suppliers to generate more last-minute bookings, which are becoming a key growth area in India. As rising affluence, improving infrastructure and a growing millennial market impact travel patterns, India is seeing a steep increase in last-minute bookings. FIT Ruums is perfectly positioned to take advantage of this trend and help its hotel partners reap the benefits.
“At least 30% of our business is booked within 72 hours and we are seeing a massive surge of same-day and next-day bookings in many Asian countries, including India. To address this growing last-minute trend, we are putting significant emphasis on resourcing right and resourcing well. It is a key booking trend and we want to ensure our suppliers and clients are able to capitalize on it,” said Daryl Lee, Director of FIT Ruums’ parent company, WebBeds FZ.
In line with FIT Ruums’ arrival in India, the company has also launched its new industry incentive program, FIT Rewards, in the country. The rewards are showcased in a dedicated online store which has been created especially for the Indian market, further enhancing suppliers’ ability to target their local clients.