Circa 2010, tourism brands sourcing from India were looking for representation companies that offered them the whole gamut of representation services, such as creative solutions for marketing, PR and sales along with significant media buying expertise. There was potential for a professional organization with corporate backing in terms of finances, infrastructure, and policies, coupled with a 360 degree service offering.
Blue Square Consultants was born to bridge this gap, with a simple philosophy of bringing best practices to India and amalgamating this with market-specific strengths such as wealth of local relationships, market awareness, market intelligence and customization.
Our first opportunity arose in 2010, when we were selected from amongst several organizations to represent the Ministry of Tourism – Sultanate of Oman and the rest is history. We have brought our best to every initiative and taken home new lessons from each one. Today our tourism board representation has quadrupled. The Seychelles Tourism Board, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Zambia Tourism Board will testify to our skills. For each of them we have indentified the audiences that best fit their global strategy in the India context; we have targeted these market segments with well-researched campaigns within the tourism board’s budget and guidelines and consequently built demand for each destination.
Oman’s arrivals from India have surged 82% in the past five years. Under our stewardship,
Oman’s inbound travel mix has gone from being completely labour-heavy to a healthy mix of high end leisure and MICE.
The destination has caught the attention of Bollywood producers and Oman has witnessed mainstream Bollywood movies filmed in its exotic locales. The ‘jewel of Arabia’ as we’ve been calling it, has even started attracting Indian destination weddings after targeted promotions.
Thailand celebrated a million arrivals out of India in 2015. At the start of our partnership with Thailand, Indians knew no more than Bangkok and Pattaya and we were tasked with driving attention and demand beyond Bangkok. Today, after many familiarization trips, ad campaigns, roadshows, television and radio integration initiatives, Indians are visiting several other destinations such as Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Krabi, Hua Hin, Kanchanaburi, Trang and Koh Samui. We are in the process of causing Thailand’s market mix to evolve.
Once dominated by budget seekers, Thailand is now closer to attaining a balance between high end travellers and budget seekers.
Seychelles arrivals have surged from around 2000 visitors in 2013 to 14000 arrivals in 2017
We also garnered Seychelles its Bollywood debut, by way of a song shot in the islands. One of the highlights of our contribution to Seychelles is year-round traffic. Our well-researched, impeccably executed efforts in the travel trade and consumer space have showcased Seychelles as much more than a honeymooner’s paradise, giving rise to small celebrations and leisure holidays.
As for newcomer Zambia, a few months into our partnership, we have already impressed the travel trade with the destination’s wonders. We’re happy to say that this African wildlife-lover’s paradise is now on the map for India’s well-travelled.
Our Sales team working for prestigious hotel chains, nature parks and global DMCs, takes selling seriously and adopts an aggressive attitude towards making their clients a primary choice among travel agents in India. Our strategy has yielded significant growth for each of our partners.
Blue Square Consultants boasts all the industry expertise that you would call upon us for, as your local partner in the Indian market:
We have a database of 25,000 travel agents, complete with strong relationships and intelligence on destinations that they sell as well as segments that they target, not to mention their preferred vendors in various destinations.
Our connections with over 450 media houses across print, digital, television and trade can be leveraged for all the publicity that you need in India.
If you’re looking to tap into the big fat Indian wedding as a business opportunity, you could tap into our relations with India’s top wedding planners. Additionally, our connections with the right corporate travel teams will go a long way in driving MICE numbers to your destination or product.
Perhaps you want to grab the attention of India’s travelling masses through Bollywood? Blue Square has worked on several Bollywood projects and used these as a launching pad for destination brands.
Advertising is a complex game in India with numerous brands with varying budgets looking to make a noise and countless platforms to choose from. Blue Square Consultants has, through our history of spending, developed media buying muscle that very few of our competitors can boast of.
Our team is one of our biggest strengths. The team has been purposefully handpicked from a variety of backgrounds such as advertising, aviation, television, public relations, marketing, sales, digital, publishing, hospitality, and banking. Our collective experience allows us to offer you ideas and execution that break away from the industry’s norms and shackles.
We aim to deliver success stories across sales, PR and brand management, that change the game in an ever-evolving tourism industry.
Act as a catalyst to the overall evolution of the Indian tourism landscape by putting new destinations on the map and facilitating the growth of new segments.
COO – Blue Square Consultants
Tell us about your professional journey thus far?
I felt a strong connection with this industry, although I have to admit that it started out as a coincidence. I did the Travel & Tourism course simply because it seemed interesting – the course’s campus placement granted me an entry into the industry in 1998. I have worked with a CRS and went on to do a short stint in an airline which was followed by much longer tenures at Kuoni and then Cox & Kings. My journey in this industry has been one of gradual progression. My work as been exhilarating and the experience I gathered in my years climbing the rungs is a strong resource as I stand at the helm of affairs at Blue Square Consultants.
What value do you bring to Blue Square Consultants?
Two decades of in-depth knowledge on the intricacies of the travel and tourism industry in India. This keen awareness has emerged from diverse, yet interconnected portfolios over several prestigious positions at brands respected in India and worldwide, such as Galileo, Air Sahara, Kuoni and Cox & Kings.
Years of experience in Marketing and Communications, Innovative Media Solutions and Corporate Relationships under these brands certainly contributes to giving Blue Square Consultants an edge, not only in terms of having a handle on how the market functions, but also in terms of relationships with the industry’s movers and shakers.
Describe a day at the desk of Lubaina Sheerazi.
Guiding my team, comparing on-ground news and learnings with them and brainstorming on destination goals and strategy come first. I believe that this goes a long way in ensuring that all our clients gain far more than what they have signed up for.
Constant interaction with travel industry game-changers, with media professionals and those in related industries that can aid us in cross-promotion are an important part of my day.
Keeping in touch with our clients, being present where the tourism industry action is and representing our clients’ interests where necessary call for me to travel extensively.
I spend a good part of my time identifying new areas of potential for destinations currently in our portfolio and identifying the potential for new destinations to source travellers from India, envisioning how our clients can tailor their products for India and enhance their image in India.
As COO, what is your vision for Blue Square Consultants?
We started out with a team of three offering a 360-degree approach to destination brand marketing. Our team has grown seven-fold in these five years and we have fine-tuned our strategies, widened the scope of our expertise and forged countless new connections.
My vision is to construct a globally recognized and trusted brand in tourism marketing and I think we are well on track to achieve this.