The passion for travel and an earnest desire to provide affordable travel experience to customers inspired Anil Chandirani to establish a travel management company three decades ago. From humble beginnings in Kigali, Rwanda, he is now the owner of one of the largest conglomerates spread over over 60 countries with 100 offices across the world.
After completing graduation from India, Anil Chandirani flew to Africa to join his father in his importexport business. “I am not from a travel background but was travelling quite often with my father to support him in business and, in the process, was always in search for the best fares. Later, I decided to start my own venture and that was how Satguru Travel came into being. While I had to struggle during the initial years, I saw opportunities in West Africa by setting the office hours from 8 am to 8 pm. Travel agencies there were then operating from 9 am to 12 noon, and resuming from 3 pm until 6 pm. I believe the long opening hours and dedicated staff has been our keys to success.”
Tale of two industries
Chandirani intended to join his father’s business but was destined to build an empire in the travel trade. He recalls, “Besides supporting my father in his export ventures, I managed to grow side by side in travel too. As I started in Rwanda, no IATA organisation existed then. I had to apply from Congo and it took me about four years to achieve my first IATA license which at the time, was considered as an achievement for one’s beginning in the trade. My idea was to explore opportunities in West Africa and launch about 10 branches.”
Trending with technology
Sharing his outlook on technology, Chandirani says, “Digitalisation has taken the world by storm. Our corporate clients are looking for more transparency, independent approach, more reports and more convenience to arrange their budget. We recently held an event for our corporate clients to introduce a corporate booking tool to enhance business growth for corporates at Satguru. It will give complete freedom to the corporates to book their tickets, hotels and all other services online. The industry is evolving, distribution channels are being looked as competition and airlines are reaching out to customers directly. With these conditions coming into play, travel agents have to invest in the latest travel technology to be a step ahead of airlines to provide services.”
Chandirani’s travel management company has become one of the formidable names in global travel business mainly due to its unique service and fully dedicated staff. With reference to the motto of the company, Anil Chandirani says, “We always strive to provide the best services to our corporates and customers. We have a great sense of satisfaction when our customers appreciate our services. As digitalisation has changed the world, we are also converting most of our operations to technology and will continue to keep investing in technology.”