Inspiring Interview with Manoj Tulsani, CEO of Rayna Tours and Travels
In this Interview, Entrepreneur Manoj Tulsani shared with The Total Entrepreneurs how his passion for traveling and connecting with people drove him and his friend into creating one of the most popular tours and travels agency in Dubai. Manoj is the CEO and co-founder of RAYNA TOURS AND TRAVELS. I encourage you to read this inspiring interview as he shares some of his challenges, the habits that kept him going, what makes his startup unique, and advice to prospective and young entrepreneurs.
Let’s get to it…
Please can you briefly introduce yourself?
My name is Manoj Tulsani. I am from Rajasthan, India, and currently the CEO of Rayna Tours and Travels.
Manoj Tulsani, CEO of Rayna Tours and Travels
Tell us all about Rayna Tours and how you came about the concept of your business.
Rayna Tours and Travels is a Dubai-based Destination Management Company whose goal is to provide the best yet cost-effective, customized tours and holiday packages in different parts of the world. As a one-stop solution provider, we’ve dedicated sections for international visas, global hotel accommodations, cruises, safaris, and more. We have a solid clientele base both on B2C and B2B platforms.
How did you build up an entrepreneurial spirit, do you believe you were born with it or you developed it?
I’ve always enjoyed traveling and connecting with new people. So when my friend, Kamlesh Ramchandani, and I decided to start our own venture, it was a natural step for us to pick the service industry and get involved with Rayna Tours and Travels. We, over time realized that running a startup takes a lot of trial and error. But this offers the bonus of immense learning curve too. Despite all challenges, this aspect has largely been instrumental in keeping our entrepreneurial spirit alive.
Prior to your startup, have you had any work experience?
I came to Dubai soon after the completion of my graduation in 1999. I worked in the trading industry until 27 – first with the marketing section of Safeer Group of Companies and later as the Marketing Head at Time Machine Group of Companies. But after seven years, I along with my friend (Kamlesh) decided to do something different and that’s how we launched Rayna Tours in 2006 as a small travel outlet inside Grand Flora Hotel.
How did you raise funding for your startup?
We began with bootstrapping. We got our startup off the ground by raking up all personal savings and funds we could find.
How long have you run Rayna Tours?
We’ve been in the business for over 14 years.
What is so unique about your company?
We started off as a travel counter and have now established ourselves as one of the UAE’s best Destination Management Companies. As we’ve completed over a decade in the industry, we believe that our success mainly comes from our ability to think from our customer’s perspectives and know their unique demands at every step. In the beginning, our goal was to organize tours and other activities for hotel guests. As our venture began to develop and evolve, we created a strong base on the web with our exclusive B2B and B2C portals. Along with this, what really sets us apart from our competitors now is our business strategy which eliminates middlemen from most of our services. This allows our customers to enjoy maximum savings on cruises, desert safaris, and luxury tours, among others.
What are your responsibilities as a co-founder?
As Rayna Tours’ co-founder, I am directly involved in the company’s every aspect, from decision-making and leading a product / service strategy to handling almost all key day to day business activities.
What were the main challenges you faced at the early stages? And do you still encounter them to this day?
Challenges, changes, and obstacles are what a business startup is all about! In fact, we have had faced many challenges in the beginning, mainly due to the lack of a proper business plan and the absence of a mentor and a strong work team. Although we’ve now managed to establish a strong presence in the industry, we still continue to cut through the clutter with the flurry of new challenges and competitions that keep coming every now and then.
How did you build your team and what is your staff strength?
We started off the business with just two of us. We were later joined by some of our relatives who shared the same passion and enthusiasm about our business. As we began to grow and evolve, we hired team members from outside, who brought in a great mix of sales experience, business tactics, and sound financial and technical expertise. We now have a highly prolific workforce with about 600 employees, representing over 15 nationalities.
What’s your approach to marketing?
Right from the beginning, our business commitment has always been to attain our customers’ delight and praise. So, all our marketing efforts are geared to address the unique and dynamic travel needs of our customers.
If you could turn the time, what are the mistakes you could have avoided?
We’re an award-winning company with several prestigious accolades and recognitions to our credit. But to reach this level, we had to overcome many challenges and even face multiple failures. So it may sound strange but despite anything, I don’t want to go back or change a bit about my life; there is so much to learn from every mistake.
Well, this question might sound funny; do you think it is easy to be an entrepreneur?
The life of an entrepreneur is nothing short of a roller coaster. But whether you enjoy the ride or not depends on your take on ongoing business ups and downs.
Which books motivate you as an entrepreneur?
‘The Obstacle Is The Way: The Timeless Art of Trials into Triumphs’ by Ryan Holiday
What keeps you going even in hard times?
It’s common to hit several barricades in the course of the entrepreneurial route, but just make sure that you work on it and develop your own armor of tactics to deal with it next time.
How do you define success; do you believe you are a success?
I believe that success is not all about money or huge turnovers; you are successful if you’re able to strike a perfect balance between your professional and personal life.
What do you think it takes to succeed in business?
It takes lots of determination and full-strength passion to succeed in business.
What’s your goal for Rayna Tours?
To take it global! We already have branches in close to ten countries and would like to establish our presence in more and more destinations across the world.
What two pieces of advice can you give to someone who wants to start their own business?
Make sure that what you’ve to offer is distinct and innovative. Start small, know your competitors and mostly, enjoy what you do (despite all roadblocks) – all these would definitely take you to heights.
In one sentence, what advice will you give to my readers when it comes to succeeding as an entrepreneur?
Search for all possible avenues that bring you opportunities and take every business pitfall as a major business lesson.