The recent move of Standard Chartered Private Equity to buy Naspers’ stakes in Travel Boutique Online (TBO) further consolidates the leadership role of TBO in b2b domain in homeland and away. TTJ took this opportunity to get up and close with Ankush Nijhawan, Co-founder, TBO Group to traverse the thought process to gauge the nitty-gritty that is bound to create a big bang in the industry.
Travel Boutique Online, the dominant player in online business to business (b2b) travel distribution space was co-founded by Ankush Nijhawan in the year 2006 with headquarters in India. It is a global travel technology company focused on providing a range of travel services to travel agents and tour operators around the world. The bouquet of services includes airline reservations, hotel reservations, train reservations, holiday packages, bus bookings, car rentals besides travel insurance.
The recent development of buying Nasper’s stakes in TBO by Standard Chartered Private Equity (SCPE) is likely to have a cascading impact on the growth of TBO.
Comparing Naspers and SCPE, Ankush outlines, “We had great partners in Naspers who believed in autonomy. SCPE being a private equity entity, we are expecting bullish growth with faster returns on the capital and also for the share holders and senior employees of the company. We are back in control with our stakes.”
Outlining the priorities and the strategy Ankush shares, “Asia and China are the focus markets. Last year, we targeted Indonesia, Philippines, Hong Kong and Malaysia and we are hitting the numbers there. China is not going to be easy. We have the option to build or buy but we feel it’s better to buy and hit the market. In Australia, we are gaining gradually. Moreover, we are thinking in terms of acquisitions in India as well as in international markets and we have already identified some companies towards that end.”
TBO is the clear winner in b2b India market but he is quite candid to state, “We are strongly placed in the Middle East, Africa and emerging in Latin America and Southern Africa.”
Delving on the features of the company Ankush sketches, “We are truly a homegrown MNC with operations in 93 countries, 26 global offices, 28 nationalities and seven languages in contrast to Thomas & Cook, American Express and Carlson & Wagonlit that have foreign origins.”
Ankush very humbly acknowledges the success and says, “We are thankful to our partners, travel fraternity and TBO team for what we are today and will continue to maintain our service levels through technological advancements and innovation.”
TBO with profitable and scalable business in b2b space is poised to attain next level of consolidation while leveraging the extensive network and business planning expertise of SCPE.
We are very happy to have SCPE as our partner as we embark on the next stage of TBO’s growth. Through leveraging SCPE’s extensive network and business planning expertise, we would be able to strengthen our position as a leading B2B travel distribution player in the global landscape.
Co-founder, TBO Group
The overall b2b travel distribution landscape is ripe for consolidation and we believe that in partnership with SCPE, we can leverage our strengths in technology and scale to drive this consolidation.
Co-founder, TBO Group
We are extremely excited to partner with Ankush and Gaurav, both first class entrepreneurs, who have built a profitable and scalable business with a strong market position. We look forward to supporting the company by leveraging our experience and network to drive the company’s growth strategy.
Managing Director, SCPE India