Musafir.com is one of the leading travel websites, which has a solid presence in both consumer and business markets in the UAE, India, and Qatar. Musafir was founded by owners and entrepreneurs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Thani and Sachin Gadoya. Musafir’s co-founder Sachin Gadoya speaks to The Integrator about Musafir Business, a platform that facilitates year-round business trips and itineraries for SMEs and large enterprises.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with The Integrator, Mr. Sachin.
We are excited to hear about Musafir Business, the corporate travel platform you created for businesses. Give us an overview:
Musafir Business allows SMEs and large enterprises to organize year-round trips for their entire workforce. It is an automated system that gives individual corporate employees options to book hotels, flights, and transfers, with utmost transparency. There is flexibility built into the system to allow for approvals and to change or cancel the itinerary. We established the platform to simplify the process and eliminate unnecessary records, receipts, and emails. All travel requirements are saved and accessible on Musafir Business, meaning corporates can save up to 20 percent on annual travel expenses.
What category of businesses do you focus on and how does the process take place?
We focus on SMEs and large-scale corporates that seek cost savings and transparency in their corporate travel.
While our sales team handles the onboarding process, our operations team simultaneously starts negotiations with our airline partners based on the requirements of the corporate client. This ensures that once the onboarding is through our travel consultants are ready to meet the client’s needs seamlessly from day one.
What has made you identify the need for a platform like Musafir Business?
We understood that there was a real need for a platform like Musafir Business when we did our research and it dawned on us that a majority of UAE-based corporations deal with a lot of back and forth from travel agents. This seemed extremely inefficient and we knew that the whole process could definitely be made smoother with the simple use of technology.
We have a robust network of airline partners, hotels, and holiday suppliers – so, really it was only a matter of time before we took the learnings from the gap in the market to provide a simple and seamless platform that focuses on super-saver policies, paperless approvals and puts the traveler first.
We started the platform in the UAE and expanded to Qatar and India. We are planning to expand the platform for customers across the GCC soon.
How do you think the SME sector handled the pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic created distress in every business in the Middle East and globally. Travel Tech SMEs were particularly hard-hit during the early stages of the pandemic but overall tech companies are adaptable and flexible. We cut costs and continued to invest time and effort into our technology.
Fortunately, the UAE government handled the pandemic well and so we were lucky to be an open nation with travel and tourism options. The pace is only increasing with events like Dubai Expo 2020 and corporate travel increasing.
How do you observe the growth of SMEs in the UAE?
Luckily in a country like the UAE, SME growth is always encouraged and supported. With the EXPO 2020, the SME sector has only received a better boost.
The location of the UAE is as close to perfect as it gets. With a central location that connects Eastern and Western Europe, Africa, and the relative ease of doing business, a lot of entrepreneurs like myself are coming forth to establish their centers here.
Share the business goals of Musafir for the coming years
The business goals are simple – lead, expand and adapt. We envision Musafir and Musafir Business to lead corporate and consumer travel throughout GCC and parts of Africa. Today’s customer needs are so dynamic that we are constantly on our toes looking for ways to adapt and meet the expectations of our customers through outstanding services.
Would you share about any business challenges you face(d)?
The travel restrictions brought on by the pandemic were the major challenge we have faced for more than a year. We aren’t worried about our competitors, we have been building loyalty for years and know the needs of our corporate travelers and consumers but yes, the way forward is clearer now that the country has opened up and that will definitely bring its own set of challenges that we are more than ready to face.