Parthaa Kundo, CEO & Founder, Esperienza

By Team YS|17th May 2010
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Esperienza

Indians have been everywhere, you name an exclusive holiday and chances are one or more people you know have been there. When it comes to the “vacation” we Indians are in desperate need of some variety. Parthaa Kundo believes that he has that variety and then some in Esperienza.Their vision statement describes how they will “enable Indians to dream of unearthly destinations and to believe that they can visit their dreams whenever they desire.” Yourstory met up with Parthaa for some more information on his wares and how they will take us to where we have never been before...

What kind of holidays does your company provide?

Esperienza, India's first Lifestyle Experiential Vacation Co. offers luxurious and theme based vacations to the discerning and well heeled Indian looking for true adventure and global experiences in culture, education and enlightenment. 

Esperienza, which in Italian means 'An experience of a lifetime', believes that a vacation is not just a promise made to family and friends to get away from it all. 

We believe vacations give us a chance to live a second life. A life that we can surprisingly choose and design for ourselves, share with our dear ones to make memories that we will cherish forever.

How does Esperienza ensure a truly inimitable experience for its customers?

Our unique concept in niche travel seeks to create a market by winning the allegiance of a new generation of contemporary vacationers who have traveled across the world, and yet seek more exciting luxury travel options. Esperienza aims to provide the discerning world traveler with choices of experiences unheard of in the domain of experiential leisure travel. It encapsulates a unique potpourri of theme based journeys & unusual destinations and locales set amidst grandeur and opulence.

For the first time in Indian market Esperienza is introducing Round the World Private Jet Journey, Harley Davidson Vacations in USA & Certain part of Europe, Experience IGLOO vacation in Greenland, Luxury expedition to the North Pole, Greenland & Antarctica on nuclear power driven icebreakers, swim with sharks in Australia or fly in a MIG 29 Fighter Jet in Russia. Take wine trails & Gourmet tour in Indochina, France Italy & Spain, chase Gorillas in Africa, Explore Amazon jungle, Hunting vacations, It also promises some of the most unconventional and exclusive experiences like Ferrari, BMW, Maserati tour in Europe, Discovering countries like Poland, Latvia, Czech, Tunisia, Argentina, Venezuela, Chile & many more unexplored destinations....

The creation of 'Esperienza ' is a new dimension in travel where a world of magnificence waits to be explored; a one-of-its-kind lifestyle experiential travel company that aims to provide a host of never-before experiences. As a brand we aim to be a luxury byword for adventure tourism that will inspire instant rapport with the global Indian who is in the quest for exciting and exclusive travel options conducted in his signature flair of magnificence.

How big is the scope for a business like Esperienza, in India?

Well, considering that we are India’s perhaps ONLY Lifestyle Experiential Travel Company, our scope is wide. Experiential travel is in a nascent stage in the country today. It is a different concept of vacationeering, not one where one lies down and lets the masseur take over. It is giving your life a different dimension. We at Esperienza call it, `getting a second life’. And that is why our company is called `Esperienza’, an experience of a lifetime! These luxury destinations are not just soaking in the lap of opulence, but pushing yourself to taste, smell, drown into unfelt sensations. How else can you describe a joyride in MIG 29 or staying inside an IGLOO ?

Our services can be used by companies to offer value added services to their personnel. We are already in talks with wealth management companies, private banks & few concierge co.’s to take over as their travel partner for their marquee clients. For the companies this means improving and diversifying revenue flows, increased customer insight, greater customer loyalty and a stronger perception of customer service. This apart, we are here or the niche Indian who knows his taste in adventure, has lived in style and believes he deserves the best of both experiences.

How unique are you from the normal Travel and Tours Company?

Compared to the other players in the field of travel and tours, we are different in many ways: Firstly, our luxury experiential tours are not for the masses to cater to whom, there are numerous companies offering travel packages. However, as of now Esperienza is only for the HNI citizens of India. Not just in the expenses involved, but also in the luxuries & activity, theme based journeys offered with the tours. Secondly, since ours is an exquisitely niche market offering, reaching out to the rarefied 2 to 5 per cent of Indians, pricing is not a factor which would be for the bigger players (Travel Co.’s), which means no apple to apple or orange to orange to comparison between the journeys / experience what we are providing to our target audience with other XYZ tour providers. Thirdly and most importantly, Esperienza is offering what is Generation Next in Vacations. Indians are moving from visiting pilgrimages to national parks. From beaches to mountains. From laidback houseboat stays, to rappelling and mountain climbing. From India and Far East to Latin America and Europe. Group tour to FIT tour …

What next? This is where Esperienza comes in. What will you go looking for after all the hills and valleys of South America are seen? You go ahead to the next level of vacationing: Understanding cultures, partaking in experiences, learning from different worlds, challenging your own physical and mental barriers in adventure and thrill, knowing in the true sense of the term, what this planet and this world of ours is all about. And doing all this in a luxury that is the hard earned right of the Indian citizen. This is what Esperienza has to offer: The next Generation in Vacations, which is not a vacation, but a next level of living. Which is why our tour packages are named: Insignia, Zen and Spellbound 

: As much an identity of our clients, as the identity of our own Esperienza.

Was entrepreneurship a conscious choice or just a matter of evolution for you?

I will have to tell you about my background. My mother was a school teacher. Father a salaried employee. Being born and brought up in Delhi meant I was surrounded by friends who had businessmen parents and well, loads of cash as pocket money. I was raised in strict conservative Bengali family morals and values, one which said if you wanted to spend more than the meager pocket money you get, go earn it yourself! Since teenage, hence, I worked. I did all kinds of marketing, including going door to door to sell vacuum cleaners, selling credit cards, even worked with MP Handlooms Sarees etc... At a very young age, I got to know what it meant to be doing business, making my own money and how to deal with a diverse number of people. I suppose the seeds of having my own company, was perhaps sown during this period.

My interfacing with people, tackling crisis, reaching deadlines and thinking out of the box skills were honed in the 17 years I worked in the service & tourism industry. It was here that I realized that a) the experiential travel segment was very under - developed in India. Not many companies were interested in it, maybe because obviously the number of clients interested would be conservative. And b) luxury and experiential travel was an idea whose time has come to India. A booming economic growth, a growing confidence in the Indian traveler to take on the world, these are the two things, that I think is making the Indian come out to venture into experiential vacations. This married with my desire to do something different, my passion to launch something unique in this country, and Esperienza was born. The idea of starting something from scratch, that includes educating Indians about experiential travel, convincing them that it is the next thing in luxurious living, and offering them superlative services, is heady, and what I have been wanting to do for a long time.

What is the most difficult part of the Tours and Travels industry?

Two challenges: Setting up the product line and convincing CEOs of companies that I could deliver despite having no big name or brand or company or investment bank backing me,

The product line was tough. Talking to numerous world class tour operators across the globe, late nights, convincing them that India was hot not just for economic growth, but also the growth of the Indian’s desire for adventure and thrill and luxurious travel. Sifting through loads and loads of travel packages and picking up the best and most exciting from the Indian’s point of view, that was my biggest challenge so far. I overcame it with my enthusiasm for my project and my belief in that I was on the right track. If you go through my website, you will see we have really handpicked some of the best tours on offer.

Indians as a race are different from others and are choosy about destinations. So, while for an American, an all out `out bound’ trip would be most tempting, for Indians, it has to be a mix of discovery, magnificence, spellbound beauty and luxurious care. So we have private jets that take you to seven destinations across the globe, where you get to see the sun rise at the Machu Pichu and set in the African wildlife of Tanzania. We have luxury expeditions to the North Pole, Greenland & Antarctica on nuclear power driven icebreakers, you can swim with sharks in Australia. We have on offer wine trails & Gourmet tour in Indochina, France Italy & Spain…you can see my tour destinations in my website, www.esperienza.in

My second challenge was facing the Indian CEOs and company heads. In India, we have a tendency to write off young first generation entrepreneurs who have nothing except their hard work and exciting idea to offer. I don’t blame them. Experiential travel is new in India. Helming a company that has no obvious industry biggies supporting it is more difficult to trust for these company heads. So I hit a lot of road blocks on that score.

Also, this being a sector that services super HNIs there is a code of confidence and non-disclosure. Since I cannot name drop these clients to impress other companies as testimonials of my work, it works against me. People ask who did you do work for? Who have been your clients? I cannot tell you. That is another challenge. Inspiring confidence thus becomes difficult.

What is it about entrepreneurship that keeps you hopeful?

The ability to transform my dreams, I think. This is a dream project for me and I am so confident that it will take off. Our tour packages are strong, alluring and absolutely transparent. I have been in the profession for the past 17 years. I am getting eager response and support from the industry. That helps me keep focus and not lose hope. Also, I have unstinted support from my wife Rikta & my childhood friend Aruna who despite their hectic professional schedules finds time to look into my work, has ideas for the company and is supportive in every means possible. I also have friends who are with me in this Endeavour. So I am here for the long haul, I guess!

What do aspiring Indian entrepreneurs have to be wary of? How would you motivate them?

Ah. The biggest challenge for an Indian entrepreneur, especially a first generation one, is convincing the immediate family that it will take off. Secondly inspiring confidence in the vendors and business partners that you can deliver. What works in our favor is that while we may be slower than the western world in believing in ourselves, we are gaining in confidence with every passing day. Now, you can truly believe in yourself and show the world you can!

It is going to be tough. But don’t give up. Hang in there!

Parthaa has put his 17 odd years of business expertise and experience to good use in Esperienza. His proven track record as a luxury travel and vacation expert will undoubtedly see him adding yet another feather in his entrepreneurial cap.

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