We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Fazal Najimudeen. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Fazal below.
Fazal, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today When you’ve been a professional in an industry for long enough, you’ll experience an industry-wide U-Turn, an instance where the consensus completely flips upside down or where the “best practices” completely change. If you’ve experienced such a U-Turn over the course of your professional career, we’d love to hear about it.
I completed four decades in the travel and hospitality by March of 2021 and still moving on. Although I have lived to see many changes in the industry evolving over the past four decades the most significant and impactful would be the covid-19 impact to our industry. This global pandemic has set us back at least five years in terms of revenue and as this was a “sudden impact” and we were totally un-prepared, it literally brought the travel & hospitality industry to its knees with no immediate action plan on how to mitigate the financial implications.
Although the immediate reactions have been painful, it is necessary. In taking pro-active actions during post-pandemic (hopefully the worst is behind us) the focus has become the safety and well-being of our customers and is the center of all remedial actions and financial steps to mitigate the impact.
I would say that “Covid-19” impact has changed the way how we conduct our business and created a new paradigm in the business practices of the hospitality and travel industry.
Fazal, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
I was always been passionate about traveling the world and meeting people of different ideas and ideals, and the travel industry has always intrigued me, and in the early eighties the travel industry was one of the most sort after industries that any young and curios person would want to be in and as such I embraced the trade. It all began on a Tuesday morning of March 10th 1981 it all began in the city of Colombo in Sri Lanka. I started off as a reservations agent, and pursued my career in further in learning tariffs, advance fare computation, interline procedure, proration techniques etc. I had a huge appetite to learn and the aura to advance myself to highest level in the industry. During my tenure in Saudi Arabia I earned the reputation as to be one of the best tariff experts in manually calculating the cheapest possible fare for any international route suing the airline/IATA tariff manuals staying within the parameters of the rules and regulations of the book.
My primary goal is has always been to work diligently and honestly as my credibility if the most important thing in my life. I have always provide my customers the best possible deal with the most convenient options. My customers are the number one priority and telling them the absolute truth and being totally transparent is of paramount importance.
I represent a brand that speaks to my values and has been in business for as long as I have been in this industry. I currently represent the “Riya” brand as its VP of Sales & Marketing for North America.
Riya Travel & Tours is a global travel brand providing a compliment of full travel and travel related services. The products and services offered are; Airfare to worldwide destinations, Cruises, Vacation Packages, Pilgrimage and Special interest Tours, MICE travel, Corporate and Marine travel and the list goes on.
How do you keep your team’s morale high?
We have to be cognizant of the fact that our employees are the most valuable resource, and we hire them based on their unique ability to perform a certain task assigned to them. While doing so we must also recognize their expertise in those fields and empower them to work independently in their own phase and style. Respect their input and ideas and value them by embracing any new ideas. In today’s world we cannot micro-manage our human resources. The best practice to bring out the shining star in them is to empower and monitor and incentivize them for the achievements. Incentives may not necessarily be in monitory form but a recognition for outstanding performance, identifying their ideas and expertise and making it as part of your playbook.
How’d you build such a strong reputation within your market?
The key element is “Honesty” you have to be very diligent, honest and transparent with your industry stakeholders, customers and peers. Always be totally upfront in your intentions and business practices, while displaying your expertise and knowledge in the products and service you distribute. This practice will yield to be most profitable in terms of revenue, brand equity and your reputation in the market and industry associates.
- Website: www.riya.travel
- Instagram: Fazaldeen
- Facebook: fazaldeen
- Linkedin: Fazal Najimudeen
- Twitter: @fazaldeen
- Youtube: Riya the travel expert
None, pics all belong to me