Travel, adventure, and the quiet of the Aravalli ranges. Stuff that dream holidays are made of. Apparently, entrepreneurship too. As in the case of Kumar Jagwani, founder proprietor of Desert Trails, an adventure camp located 30 kms from the pink city of Jaipur and 220 kms off the Delihi-Jaipur highway.Sprawled across a 110 acres amidst lush forested hills, Desert Trails as a resort essentially caters to nature lovers, with its location giving it the natural advantage of raw outdoor adventure activities from hill trekking to all terrain biking, from camel, horse and jeep safaris to outdoor camping, from rock climbing and rappelling to river crossing.
Having said that, Mr. Jagwani is quick to add that “Desert trails is not restricted to serving clientele of any particular group. The resort accommodation and activities have been planned in a way to suit every individual and group traveler, especially those who seek total tranquility and serenity for a holiday.”
With 15 a/c cottages and 11 swiss tents, Desert Trails is thus already reaching out to a cross-section of travelers, and looking to rope in several more. Keeping in mind the needs of the corporate/ business traveler, Desert Trails provides an a/c conference room that can accommodate larger groups and serve the needs of seminars, meetings, conferences and other business or personal affairs.
Wooing the personal as well as business traveler. Adventure seeker as well as nature lover. In what category of travel do the services of Desert Trails’ classify then?
“Our business model is rather simple and unique. We have tried to focus on a couple of things –keeping the resort simple and promoting it as an adventure camp rather than just a routine resort. We focus on team building exercises for corporates and encourage school children to visit the resort and have fun at our adventure zone,” elaborates Mr. Jagwani adding that one of his biggest dreams is to make the property the number one adventure destination in Rajasthan while admitting that they are still not there.
He says, “It has been one of the biggest challenges that I have faced so far. I realize that we have not yet reached there but we are on our way already. The construction of a new swimming pool is already under initiation. Other activities like the “Zorbing Ball” and “Dirt Biking” have been introduced as well which is sure to up the excitement quotient. Infact for off roaders and ATVs, there is probably no other place where the riders can enjoy and have fun.”
While a lot of visible effort is going in towards the achievement of this objective, there are certain clichéd steps that Mr. Kumar is steering clear of. While he recognizes the importance of a good team and its support, he does not indulge in mindlessly employing larger numbers because ‘we do not need more people and therefore greater overheads’. Explaining his stance, he says, “Our kind of property is such that we cannot possibly have multiple outfit. Hence we will focus on one property at a time, develop it to its fullest capacity and only then look at other locations and more people.”
Mr. Jagwani seems to know the direction he’s taken. Not just in business but in the way his business must play out the role of benefactor too. Desert Trails has been known to not only bring smiles to the faces of weary travellers but also to the villagers of surrounding areas as it has brought them employment through allied activities. While regularly organizing camel safaris, folk music, jeep safaris, puppet shows etc, not only does the resort encourage local flavours to enthrall its guests but also lets local villagers coordinate these activities and also earn simultaneously.
Jagwani apprises of their other noble activities, “We also run an NGO which encourages children to go to school and give out prizes to the best child in an adjoining school each year at the closing ceremony of the “Women’s Car Rally”
Of his own personal quests and entrepreneurship spirirt, Mr. Kumar says that he always wanted to do something interesting, challenging and something of his own for his own satisfaction and that the only regret he has is not getting into business much earlier. His customers seem to endorse his brilliance in business as well, as Desert Trails has seen repeat business from customers time and again, a fact that Mr. Jagwani considers a huge achievement in the service industry and accredits the success to his team, “My team, partners, employees have been with me through thick and thin. They are my greatest assets.”
For 2010, the entrepreneur envisions making good money, keeping his people happy and adding more fun activities for his guests. For now though, he is happy taking it one step at a time, staying buckled on the ride of entrepreneurship through challenges and ambitions.
His advice to entrepreneurs is, “Just dream, focus and go for it. The path is quite tough but you’ll be there and you’ll be there happy and satisfied. As somebody has rightly said – “If you have not found a thing in life that you can die for…Life is not worth living.”