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Novaturient: Building a Successful Tour Operator During Covid

Over the course of the pandemic, we have seen many companies go out of business or have to make difficult decisions and make valuable travel professionals redundant. The impact of Covid on the travel industry is a huge one, and many would agree it has been a ground-shaking experience in the industry. From some of these redundancies, however, have come some fantastic prospects. One of the spectacular PTS members that have formed from the events of Covid, is Novaturient.

Being made redundant after over 17 years, travel experts, Jitesh Hirani and Rajeev Manral, were inspired to band together to create Novaturient, a tour operator focused on unique, bespoke, and tailor-made holidays to some fabulous destinations like Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Seychelles, and Dubai.

“Being made redundant came out as quite a shock to us. It wasn’t something that we were expecting. And I think it would have been very easy, for a while, to just not be sure what we were going to do and just let it beat us down,” Jitesh Hirani said.

“But I think what we realised is that instead, it was much, much better for us to look at this as an opportunity. We’ve worked together for so many years, so we know each other very, very well.

“It was literally within half an hour of being made redundant that we had decided we should do this, we’re not going to let it stop us, we’re not going to let it get us down. What’s happened has happened, but we have a lot we can offer and a lot of skills we can bring and we both enjoy being in travel.”

Being teammates in this endeavour was a great choice for both of them, Jitesh commented, “We don’t compete, we don’t overlap, we compliment. So that makes a huge, huge difference because we’re both bringing different skillsets, different revenue streams to the company.”

Rajeev Manral added, “We wanted to work as teammates because we share the same values and the passion. That all lead, within half an hour, to making a decision that we want to start our own [business] and we want to write our own destiny.”

The name Novaturient was also inspired by this decision to control their own destiny. Novaturient is defined as “desiring or seeking powerful change in your life, behaviour or a certain situation.” From this, Jitesh and Rajeev have taken the impact of the pandemic on travel and strived to create an excellent tour operator that gives unique, authentic experiences to travellers around the world.

How Has the Pandemic Changed How Novaturient Operates in Travel?

Speaking to Jitesh and Rajeev about the impact of Covid on travel and Novaturient specifically, the importance of consumer protection and the change in the way consumers think about travel became very clear.

Jitesh told us about the additional considerations with consumer safety and said, “Covid is probably the new element in there that we need to be aware of in terms of: is it safe to go to that country, whether the country is accepting visitors, what kind of holidays we’re recommending. Client safety comes priority and confidence to be able to send them to those destinations as well.”

This new focus on these elements of consumer safety has made the importance of consumer safety in travel more apparent, with more and more travel businesses now giving that extra attention to Covid concerns. Not just setting up holidays that are safe, but keeping consumers informed and the confidence high.

“At the forefront of consumer thoughts is obviously protection, with all the companies that have gone under pre-Covid and during Covid,” Jitesh explained, discussing the value of the consumer confidence that working with Protected Trust Services (PTS), in and out of Covid, can provide.

“The fact that it’s a trust account gives a lot of assurance to our clients, that they know the money is completely protected. Should anything happen to us they’re not going to be out of pocket.”

On top of this, Rajeev brought up the change in demand for travel consumers since Covid began. With almost 2 years of minimal travel for UK travellers, the desire to travel has increased. The type of holidays that travellers want has created a demand for the bespoke, tailor-made holidays that Novaturient specialise in.

“We are in a bespoke, tailor-made holiday segment of the market. And I think post-Covid more and more clients would prefer to travel in their own small bubble or their families, rather than travelling in the bigger groups.

“Because that’s our expertise area, that automatically complements what we offer to the market in terms of the bespoke tailor-made holidays; to the clients, to the market and to the trade,” he said.

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What Does Travel and the Future Look Like for Novaturient?

Jitesh and Rajeev are very positive about the coming years for travel and Novaturient. Especially with some great support from the industry and consumers alike, seeing travel professionals banding together to support and boost each other during the very difficult times during Covid and the clients supporting businesses they love, is inspiring and uplifting.

“We’ve had some very, very good feedback from direct clients and our trade partners for so many years they have all pledged to support us in this business,” Jitesh said.

“Other than that, I think just in general, there is a huge, huge pent-up demand. People having trouble for two years. They want to go somewhere safe. They want to still be looked after. I think that’s quite important in terms of arrangements of the companies that they work with.”

Rajeev added the unique and well-rounded experiences that are tailored to the high demand and personal experiences consumers want post-Covid. With so much of the world to explore and such a long time away from travel, consumers are reaching more and more for a truly special experience, which makes them say, “we went to Bhutan, for example, and it’s amazing because we did this,” in Jitesh’s words.

“What we have done over the years with the experience we have is we have realised that with the destinations we offer, clients want to have some sort of additional genuine, local, authentic sort of experiences added to the overall holidays rather than just going from one touristy place to another,” Rajeev said.

Though they cater to all different experiences at Novaturient, including classic holidays to tourist hot spots in their chosen destinations, Jitesh and Rajeev said they aimed to always offer that further experience. They wanted to enrich a consumer’s holiday and not just give them the things you could find anywhere, or the tourist spots, but present all the authentic, genuine experiences that make these places so wonderful.

“When you’re going to India for a wildlife experience, have a winery tour because Indian wines are getting very popular, so have some wine experience and then follow up with your wildlife experience. It’s a very different element, which adds to the tour.

“Similarly, while having a tour, for example, in Delhi, just go and visit a family, have a cup of tea with them, then you can go to see a certain part of the palaces. Some of those are private properties of the kings of the current Maharajas, but we can open some private quarters for our clients to experience those in,” Rajeev said.

Not only are Novaturient offering these well-rounded experiences, but Jitesh and Rajeev have dedicated themselves to making travel the best it can be, in and out of Covid.

Rajeev said, “We understand the responsibility and the sustainable tourism, and the ethos of the company is to give it back to the society. So, what we have done, just to give an example, in Delhi, we have included a walk-to-work which has been organised by a trust and that trust employs young people who are struggling in their life. And through this trust, they re-join the mainstream. And these are the guys who take our clients for the walking tour.”

With the support of Protected Trust Services (PTS), Jitesh and Rajeev have created a fantastic tour operator during the pandemic, and this is true for many other PTS members and start-ups over the past couple of years. Many have found that this is the perfect time to start a new travel business and have been inspired as Novaturient is inspired.

Talking to Jitesh and Rajeev, their passion for what they do was inspiring and a true display of how much travel experts care about what they do and the services they provide. Despite all that Covid has thrown at us, we’re so excited to see such great companies getting started and taking the new travel world by storm.

So, if you’re ready to book a fantastic tailor-made holiday with the lovely PTS member Novaturient, don’t forget to get in contact with them and visit their website to learn more about the wonderful destinations they offer. And if you’d like to know a little more about how PTS support and protect Novaturient as a member, please contact PTS at 0207 190 9988.

And if you’d like to learn more about your consumer protection with PTS and how the Package Travel Regulations protect your holiday booking, check out our pages.