Business prudence is essential to identify potential opportunities in business. Ms. Samia Rashid ventured into an area that is expected to thrive in Bangladesh in the coming years – tourism, both local and international. People are now riding upon higher incomes to spend on tourism. She is a pioneer in an industry that has been dominated by men, exemplifying that women are capable of doing anything.
Being an adventurous person, Ms. Samia Rashid completed study in environmental science but hardly wanted to be an environmentalist. So the career of teaching did not work for her as she had a knack for business and entrepreneurship from early days of her career. She got involved with boutique and home décor business in Facebook, and that was her first learning stone towards becoming an entrepreneur. She is happily married with a 4-year old daughter. Her passion towards travelling led her to work on the lack of transparency and service quality in the travel industry. It was a great help for her that her husband’s family was in Tourism business for over 30 years and the result was ‘Trippin’ – a travel aggregator.
Planning for a trip is more exciting than actual the trip but the market although having many tour Operators, (over 1500 to be precise) still has a gap in giving enough time to a customer to help them plan a trip. Travel packages are also not transparent and usually made with a lot of hidden cost and clamps customers within the frame work of inclusion and exclusion. Tripping has over 45 tour operators as agent partners who are the best in the country with proven quality service and; Tripping showcase over 350+ travel packages from these operators. A customer can choose to select any of the travel packages from the website and at the same time they can send a customized query and design their own travel packages. More importantly Tripping has a set of very dedicated travel enthusiasts working as Travel counselors and they literally assist the customers as a personal shopper to plan their trip. In a nutshell, Tripping is a bridge to bring in the brick and mortar tour operator with transparency to the millennial and digital savvy customer segment.
Tripping was among the first few to launch a Travel company through a digital platform. Since inception our most challenging job was to identify the Tour Operators they wanted to partner with as agent and explain them the complete procedure and excite them enough to be part of Tripping. Then they expanded their marketing efforts by attending Travel fairs, Digital advertisement, PR and a lot of direct marketing. To expand their service, they are now moving to Travel Agent partners beyond Bangladesh. Recently they have tied up with one of the leading Tour Operator in Europe where they are offering customers with Group Tours of over 30 Itineraries and 1000+ travel dates.
For the next stage growth, they are planning to bring in the traveler experience from other countries, with interesting products like Group Tours with people from all over the world, fixed date departure tours, back pack tours, women tours, Islamic Tours and so on. Also typically Bangladeshi Travelers mostly travels within the South East Asian Countries, so they are expanding to promote Europe, Oceania, South America, Africa and Middle Eastern Countries. They have done some such exotic tours for Fiji is Oceania region, Jordan, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan in Middle Easter Region. Apart from that travelers are also getting interested in cruise trips at multiple islands, adventure trip like Himalaya Trekking, Motorbike trip to Ladakh etc.
Ms. Samia had a smooth ride on the way of pursuing entrepreneurial venture. In her opinion, Bangladesh, especially Dhaka is going through a very positive phase, where entrepreneurship is highly appreciated, and women entrepreneurs are on that list substantially. She did not find any obstacle rather she got benefits being a female entrepreneur. It is more women than men, who will ask her how she is managing this business and family together. If men can do it, women can also do it. The ride of entrepreneurship is never smooth and it required relentless effort, belief and patience. Ms. Samia thinks women have these qualities more than men, so it is just about nurturing the ideas and taking the first step to believe that, women can be an entrepreneur.
There is a transition period required for a country to move from brick and mortar services to its digitization. But Bangladesh is adopting to it much faster, with the Mobile Financial Services, E-commerce and Logistic services like ride sharing – startups of Bangladesh came quite far.
Travelling is also in that transition phase, but for travelling unlike other countries there will always be a requirement of a physical service mainly due to visa requirement for Bangladeshi passport. Travel for Bangladeshis cannot be completely digital and also from a country perspective we always strive to have an expert opinion before choosing anything online. Tripping is exactly catering to this need of the customer and is operating in between the digital and physical travel service space. The changing need of customers and the market is going to be adopted and eventually there will come a time when Bangladesh can export their digital travel service platform to the world.
In terms of an ecosystem, Bangladesh has grown a lot in last couple of years. There is a clear difference in the infrastructure since the initiation of Tripping in 2015. More than the ecosystem, entrepreneurs are lacking imagination, which according to her includes her too. We have been following more on what is happening in our country and we often try to copy what others are doing and may be introduce a little bit of innovation surrounding it. Lack of imagination comes when the tendency to take risk is not much and the investor also wants to go with a safer and more relateable business than putting their money on a more untested and ground-breaking idea.
Service industry requires continuous learning on travelling products and the evolving travelling needs of customers and offering it to customers. Trippin’s strength lies in knowledge and capability to understand the need of customers. Making a travel product and selling it to customers is not rocket science but what differentiates Tripping and will keep on doing so in the long run is to create that perfect trip for customers. Also supply chain has been the key strength of Trippin, locally and globally Tripping is only company working with the top travel and tour operators and service providers and it will continue to maintain the same high quality in future.
In the realm of global corporate leadership, one name resonates loudly across industries and regions: Indra Nooyi, the former CEO of PepsiCo. Hailing from the diversified India, Indra changed the face of PepsiCo when the brand was witnessing dwindling popularity. After she stepped down as the CEO after 24 glaring years in PepsiCo., market analysts are terming the position “very hard to replace” in wake of Indra’s bold and thoughtful leadership style.
This year, the theme for International Women’s Day is aptly kept- #BalanceforBetter. In Bangladesh, Ready Made Garments (RMG) has been the frontrunner in empowering females, where 4 million women found their earning source. Over the years, SME sector has also witnessed surge in active women entrepreneurs, who are highly motivated and aspired to take their business to a whole new level. The growing participation of young female entrepreneurs in F-commerce realm also deserves accolades. In corporate level, however, an unbalanced trend is discerned as we move up along with the hierarchy ladder. Female employees start falling out as they move to the mid-level in career and start having their own family responsibilities, resulting in a vacuum in top leadership positions. In many research and survey conducted internationally, it has been reflected that women make difference in the boardroom and in the company culture when they are put at helm of a company. It is high time, local corporates should recognize the fact and start working on the female potentials to the betterment of the company and coming up with suitable initiatives and facilities for them. Perhaps, down the line, Bangladesh may give birth to a number of Indra Nooyi’s who will change the face of the total economic scenario with their prudent leadership skills.Download View