Interview with Mr. Deepak Nangla, Managing Director of Brightsun Travel
Mr. Deepak Nangla is a well-respected figure in the travel industry and the current Managing Director of Brightsun Travel.
With a rich experience in the travel sector, he has successfully led the company to become one of the most trusted and reliable travel agencies in the UK.
Mr. Nangla’s passion for the travel industry started at a young age when he traveled extensively and realized the importance of travel in creating meaningful connections with people from different cultures. This passion led him to pursue a career in the travel industry, and he has never looked back since.
As the Managing Director of Brightsun Travel, Mr. Nangla is responsible for the overall direction and growth of the company.
He has a proven track record of strategic planning, business development, and operational excellence, which has enabled the company to expand its operations to several countries and establish a strong presence in the global market.
Mr. Nangla’s leadership style is characterized by his commitment to building a strong team of professionals who are passionate about delivering exceptional service to customers.
He values the contribution of each team member and provides them with the necessary tools and resources to succeed.
Tell us a little about yourself
Deepak Nangla: I was born in the UK but did my schooling in India up to the age of 7, moving later to the UK for further studies. My love for the country was established in those 7 years.
I am the eldest of three children with parents who were loving, yet strict with their commitment towards studies.
There was no doubt that my education would continue at the university, and my discipline interests were either engineering, accountancy or computer science.
Engineering took my preference and I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, followed by a Masters in Control systems from Imperial College.
Through my studies, engineering taught me logical reasoning and the importance of emerging IT which has been invaluable in the business world.
Kindly brief us about Brightsun Travel, its specialization, and the services that it offers
Deepak Nangla: Brightsun offers travel services including selling hotels, flights, transfers and tours to three main types of customers.
- Travel Trade
- Direct leisure customers
- Corporate customers
We have created different teams to meet the specific needs of these customers, and also an IT infrastructure that supports the brand.
How did you get interested in the travel industry?
Deepak Nangla: My parents started this business, and there were continuous dinner table conversations between them about travel.
Naturally, that spiked my curiosity in the methods and solutions of transporting people from A to B and more complex itineraries.
During my summer holidays, I would deliver travel documents to different customers and learn about the travel reservation process.
Interacting with different kinds of customers taught me how to deal with difficult ones as well as the satisfaction when I found the perfect trip for our customer.
By the time I graduated, the choice was either to develop the business or follow my own career path. I asked my parents for GBP50,000 investments in the IT infrastructure and six months to see where I could take the business. This was in 1992 and there was no looking back after that.
What inspired you to join your family business?
Deepak Nangla: The passion that my parents put into the business was contagious. They were always trying to make the business better, but as with any business they worked extremely long hours and worked very hard with limited resources.
There had to be a way that we could get the complex work done with greater efficiency and reach new markets.
Till date, I am inspired every day by the people I work with and the loyalty and devotion that they offer to make our customers feel special.
What challenges have you faced as a travel and tour operator business owner?
Deepak Nangla: By far Covid has been the biggest challenge. Revenues were slashed to 5% with expenses at 65%, all in the backdrop of losing my mother to Covid.
(She was the Finance Director at the time). There were some very difficult decisions taken and a lot of restructuring to meet the new needs of customers.
There were no services for us to sell, and every day there was a barrage of refunds to customers. Challenges occur whenever there are natural disasters, political unrest or terrorist attacks.
Each time we enhance our systems so that our team has the disaster processes in place in which they can trace customers and offer help.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Deepak Nangla: Again Covid! To come out of Covid and grow revenues by over 300% in one year with a limited workforce is a testament of the systems that we have built.
This was the result of the work carried out during the pandemic, building processes, adding efficiencies, and keeping suppliers and customers informed about the ever-changing global rules. This gave confidence and when travel reopened, we embraced it with open arms.
What advice would you give to someone considering starting a travel and tour operator business?
Deepak Nangla: Either aim to be a large company or a niche company. Your decisions should be based on the finances, your knowledge base and the time you want to invest.
In the initial stages, you could find yourself working 72 hours a week towards your new venture. Be prepared for the small financial rewards.
(If money is your motivation, there are much better professions for you so you can look elsewhere). However, if you strive hard, there are rewards; you will be in one of the most dynamic industries, and every day will be different to the day before.
What are your plans for the future of your company?
Deepak Nangla: We are planning to make the company even more global with additional worldwide offices. However, we will not compromise on customer satisfaction or take financial risk.
We will look carefully at ROI and the emerging markets. We also want to ensure we look after our people.
They should enjoy where they work, and we will continue to invest in them with training and development.
Finally, as we grow, we give back to the society that supports us. We have already committed to many CSR initiatives and will continue to take this forward as one of our priorities is to ensure that we run an ethical company.
Any success tips for young and aspiring entrepreneurs?
Deepak Nangla: Many mentors will tell you this – Do what you love. You will have some bad days, but when you love your work, you will be able to get out of the bed to face those bad days.
Find a niche in the market – don’t copy others – they have had a head start and have encountered mistakes in the past and then worked with it. At the same time, you can use many of the tools that others have created and then make them better.
Be careful with your investments. Right from cost of photocopying paper to cost of developing a website. When you have a hold on your outgoings you will understand your costs better as the business scales up.
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