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SOTC Travel taking omni-channel approach for expansion

Travel services provider SOTC Travel Friday said it is focusing on an omni-channel approach for expansion and is taking a slew of initiatives.
For this, the company is taking steps to strengthen both online and offline presence in the country.
Currently its distribution centres operates in over 60 cities and towns across India, it said.”As a part of our strategy to increase our online presence, the bulk of our investments are diverted towards streamlining our processes and investing in technology, in order to ensure omni-channel coherence,” SOTC Travel MD Vishal Suri told PTI.
Currently the company sells about 15-18 per cent of its holidays solely through online sales, he added.Highlighting that the customers also prefer to physically interact with the company for certain services, Suri said: “Be it visa, ticketing, or other information pertaining to documentation; customers are more comfortable visiting a brick and mortar store, which is conveniently and centrally located.

For this reason, the company will continue to invest in an omni-channel strategy, he added.”As a part of our investment cycle in this approach, we already have a physical presence in major cities across the country, and will continue to expand in tier 2 and tier 3 markets,” Suri said.
Given company’s omni-channel approach, it has paid considerable attention to ensuring that while alternating between the online and offline models, the customers enjoy a seamless transition, and that the company is well-aligned with its offerings, he added.On being asked about the business segments of the company, Suri said: “We have a Holiday Business, under which, we offer both domestic and international holidays, distributed online as well as offline.
Being a B2C retail or consumer business, it has both physical and digital channels.”
The company also has a significant presence in the Meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) business and has recently pioneered the concept of incentive travel in India, he added.
“We are also a travel management company, and we deliver business travel and corporate travel solutions to large companies, administering the travel policy for them,” Suri said.Recently the company has also ventured into Foreign Exchange business.
At this point in time, it has started foreign exchange activities in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai, he added.When asked if the company was also looking at expanding its existing portfolio, Suri said SOTC Travel is essentially a travel and holiday business, and that’s who it wants to be.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Big brother’s bailout doesn’t mean Anil Ambani is out of the dumps

An eleventh-hour bailout from elder brother Mukesh Ambani may have helped him stave off a jail term, but Anil Ambani has many more battles to fight,(86 crore) to the Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson, a day before a supreme court deadline ended.
In a statement, RCom chairman Anil Ambani thanked his brother, India’s richest person and chairman of the oil-to-retail conglomerate Reliance Industries, for stepping in.My sincere and heartfelt thanks to my respected elder brother, Mukesh, and Nita, for standing by me during these trying times, and demonstrating the importance of staying true to their strong family values by extending this timely support.I and my family are grateful and deeply touched with their gesture.In 2014, Ericsson’s India subsidiary had signed a seven-year deal with RCom to manage and operate its network.
Last year, it sued Anil Ambani’s firm over the unpaid dues. In January, the bench at the top court took a strict view saying there seemed to be a case of “willful disobedience” on the part of the younger Ambani.The failure to pay up yesterday would have meant three months behind bars for him. Rs46,000 crore overall debt.
RCom still needs to pay other creditors, including 40 domestic and foreign banks, the government, and a public relations firm. Next month, a payment of Rs 281 crore is due to the government while it has already defaulted on a Rs21 crore payment to India’s department of telecom (DoT).And no solutions have appeared on the horizon.Last December, a silver lining emerged when Anil Ambani was on the verge of selling RCom’s tower, fibre, and airwaves assets to Reliance Jio Infocomm, his brother’s telecom business.However, the deal failed to take off following DoT’s objections citing the money RCom owed it; Jio refused to take over the debt.Soon after the payment to Ericsson was announced, RCom announced the termination of the deal with Reliance Jio.
The pact would have had helped Anil Ambani raise $2.4 billion and kept his empire afloat for some more time.Besides RCom, the Reliance Group’s power firm (RPower), defence venture (Reliance Naval and Engineering), and infrastructure firm (Reliance Infrastructure) are all in a tight spot.In August 2018, rating agency Crisil had downgraded RInfra’s non-convertible debentures (NCD), a type of fixed-income asset, to default after it failed to pay interest on it.
Last August, Reliance Infrastructure had to sell its Mumbai power business to Adani Transmission.The fallAnil Ambani parted ways with his brother in 2005, three years after the demise of their father Dhirubhai Ambani, who founded the Reliance empire.While Mukesh Ambani took charge of the flagship oil and petrochemical business, Anil Ambani got telecom, power generation, and financial services. A non-compete agreement ensured the siblings wouldn’t step on each other’s toes.These newer-age businesses under Anil Ambani had a promising growth plan and, in order to expand, he borrowed aggressively—and, in hindsight, recklessly.Rs23,950 crore.

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