Niche tourism is Lushescapes forte, focusing on destinations for the more avid traveller. TDME talks to Abhishek Dadlani, Founder & CEO of Lushescapes as he starts his new venture in the UAE.
We are a five-year old privately owned company, with operations in the Indian market and recently diversified into Dubai. The company was my brain child, having analyzed the need that exists in the luxury segment. Our focus is to provide an excellent value proposition to the high-end discerning traveler across the world. We work as a travel specialist with an impetus to focus on niche segments. Our product offerings cover 45 destinations globally and are equally diverse especially in terms of the experiences.
When Lushescapes was set up, it was with a vision to expand globally. Being the crossroads of the travel industry, Dubai fit into our plan well. The Emirate is also a very mature market in terms of luxury travel as well as a high-spending market.
If we have to go by statistics, the total size of the luxury travel market out of the Middle East is approximately US$10 billion, growing exponentially at a rate of 15 – 17% year on year. We also have a huge expat base coupled with the ease of doing business.
What are Lushescapes niche segments?
We at Lushescapes, focus on niche offering and not run-off-the-mill destinations. For example, we do Antarctic expeditions, wherein we do not sail you into Antartica but fly you direct into the destination. This is done from South America, where our guests are flown straight into the Fjords. We also offer day trips from South Africa. In addition, we offer the luxury rail journeys – The Blue Train, Rocky Mountaineer, Orient Express. And finally, we have special interest trips like gastronomy tours in the heart of Tuscanny as well as cater for wine connoisseurs among others.
How would you differentiate Lushescapes offerings?
We have a very huge market here. It is a healthy market and competition is good. Our products are very unique and not offered by anyone else. We also pride ourselves in being product specialist. Our offerings include the experiences of a destination. What sets us apart is our in-depth knowledge of a destination that we offer. This is an essential aspect as we are dealing with frequent and experienced travelers. We also place a huge impetus on our services.
We have a backend team who takes care of a client requirement right from the time of their booking. We have a 40% retention rate. We also provide our recommendations to our guests beyond our holiday booking which provides a brand recall. Our ultimate goal is to offer luxury at value and competitive.
Which are your key focus destinations?
We focus strongly on the Indian Ocean belt such as Seychelles, Maldives, African Safaris, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, We also offer special interest tours such as migrations like the Wildebeest Migration. We also tap keenly into the South America market such as offering trips to Machu Pichu, Galapagos, Iguazu Falls of Argentina and the Amazon river cruises. Our focus is on quality and target the avid traveler.
What are your business targets for the year?
We have grown 40% year-on-year for the last five years in the Indian market. As we have just started in the Middle East market, for the first two to three years, we anticipate a 25-30% growth. Post establishing ourselves, we will be poised to grow anywhere between 15-20%.
We had conducted an industry study prior to setting up an office in Dubai and the actual growth we can expect in the next five years, would be around 20% from the luxury travel market. This according to us can be a great growth story.
How do you envisage your growth plans?
We look at the luxury travel market as a pie with three to four huge global travel blocks. The biggest is the United States, followed by China and India, the third is the GCC and finally, Western Europe. Having a set up in India and Dubai, we would look at a couple of offices in the US and one office each in Hong Kong and China, within the next 24 – 36 months.
Within the GCC, we would have Dubai as our hub but would consider looking at Saudi and Qatar. This expansion could be expected within this year.