‘I am a great believer in the intrinsic skill, talent and diligence of the individual’

| Updated on January 09, 2018

Dhruv Shringi, Co-founder and CEO , Yatra Online

“The future of tech in travel is extremely exciting and fascinating,” says Dhruv Shringi, the dynamic co-founder and CEO of online travel agency Yatra Online. Last year Yatra listed on Nasdaq, becoming the second OTA from India to do so, after Make My Trip. Shringi, who founded Yatra in 2006 along with Sabina Chopra and Manish Amin, has helped scale the OTA to a 2,400-people-strong organisation. The Insead alumnus is a qualified chartered accountant and has had stints at Arthur Andersen, Ford Motor Company and Ebookers, working in London before turning entrepreneur in India. He wears many hats. He currently serves as the Chairman of FICCI’s online travel and technology committee and has in the past served as Vice-Chairman of the Internet and Mobile Association of India. Here are Shringi’s thoughts on:

Dealing with today’s unpredictable world

I think the only way to succeed in this VUCA environment is to be flexible, open and agile so as to be able to change depending on the environment. One needs to be quick to learn from past experiences and continuously move forward with new ideas. It is also definitely important to keep abreast of what’s happening by reading as well as interacting with leading-edge thinkers and practitioners in one’s industry.

Upcoming disruptions in the travel industry

No category has been more disrupted in the last ten years by the digital transformation than the travel industry. Today’s travellers are extremely well-informed and seek unique travel experiences making personalisation a key tenet of the business. In fact, Yatra’s new positioning of being ‘India ka travel planner’ is based on this very insight and promises to offer different kinds of travel experiences to different kinds of travellers. Personalisation is thus a very important part of our services and this has been empowered by technology.

One can expect a great deal of disruption in the travel space driven by emerging technologies such as virtual reality, AI-powered bots, live streaming and immersive tech.

Scaling up, yet retaining culture

To retain the culture that we created when we were a 20-person startup, the key step we took as we scaled up was to be very rigorous with our hiring process. We hired only those people who truly believed in our values and shared our vision of creating a great travel company focused on delivering wonderful experiences to Indian travellers. Meritocracy, customer-first, collaborating and being honest and authentic were some key values that we focussed on, and that has paid us rich dividends.

Foreign MBA vs an Indian one

The course definitely helped me become more analytical and objective in my thinking and refined my business skills. However, I don’t believe that it is a sure-shot recipe to success. I have seen enough very successful people who have not done an MBA and have learnt on the job.

Foreign MBA vs an Indian one — I don’t think there is an easy answer to that. A foreign MBA does have its benefits as it helps you gain a deep understanding of your own culture and value system and at the same time helps broaden one’s world view. It also gives you an opportunity to study different leadership styles and business models, and the cultural diversity one is exposed to broaden one’s perspective. It also ensures that the world is your stage and you are employable anywhere in the world and not just in India. However, at the end of the day, I am a great believer in the intrinsic skill, talent and diligence of the individual and feel that is what matters rather than which country one has done his MBA from.

Time management, juggling business & industry responsibilities.

To be able to manage my time effectively, I choose what to focus on and what to delegate to my direct reports. This clarity allows me to focus my energies on important tasks, rather than being mired in day-to-day operations.

De-stressing from work

The best way to keep stress at bay is to work out, stay fit and healthy and try to switch off from work as much as possible when at home. In today’s connected world, achieving that is easier said than done!

Must-have travel accessories

My phone, a battery back-up, a laptop, headphones and my gym gear.

Published on November 22, 2017

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