Mumbai: Nijhawan Group, the representations business started by TBO Group co-founder Ankush Nijhawan had a spectacular year in 2018 by adding new products to the portfolio while delivering great results for all partners.

Started in 2008, Dubai-based Emaar Hospitality Group’s Address Hotels + Resorts was among its first clients. Priyanka came into the business in 2011 armed with a Master’s degree in computing and internet systems from the UK, post her marriage to Ankush.

Destination Reporter caught up with Priyanka Nijhawan, Director – Representations, in her Gurugram office. Recently she assumed the role of chairperson, CII IWN (Indian Women Network), Delhi chapter.

“We started with a small team of three in Delhi. Now we are 35 professionals across Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai. We also cover tier II cities through direct sales calls,” she says.

The representations portfolio of Nijhawan Group has expanded feverishly over the last seven years since Priyanka took over the reins.

The Group now handles all of Emaar Hospitality Group (Address Hotels + Resorts, Rove Hotels, Vida Hotels and Resorts, Armani Hotel); Dubai Parks and Resorts; Harbour Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Hong Kong; Ocean Park Hong Kong; Aitken Spence Hotels and Aitken Spence Travels in Sri Lanka; Adaaran Resorts Maldives; and Serena Hotels East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar). In 2018, Nijhawan Group added Dubai Tourism; Bosnia and Herzegovina Tourism; Uzbekistan Tourism; and Kempinski Hotels.

“One direct sales office of a tourism board cannot manage a market as big and complex as India,” says Priyanka. “India is a very relationship-driven market and brands need a local team to build and nurture those relationships.”

Every tourism destination and hospitality player across the world wants to be in India as it is a booming source market with millions of passport holders, soaring middle class affluence, and a fast-evolving demographic including women-only travellers, senior travellers and millennials.

Integrity and transparency have been the hallmarks of Nijhawan Group’s business relationships – reasons why most of the clients have been with them for years, for example Harbour Plaza for a decade now and Emaar Hospitality Group which has handed over the entire portfolio to them. “We are not competing on price,” affirms Priyanka. “We are confident about what we bring to the table. We add new accounts but also retain old clients. This is because they value our contribution.”

The Group is not looking at an airline client. “It is very different from what we do,” she feels. “For long I thought we were not looking at tourism boards either, till we started receiving requests.”

Nijhawan Group offers end-to-end services spanning PR, sales enablement, destination marketing, events, creative, media buying and planning. “We have been holding back from PR,” concedes Priyanka. “We want to get deeper into it in 2019. We started representing tourism boards in 2018 and wish to grow this portfolio as well.”

In the representations business, Nijhawan Group stands tall as one of the largest teams with the biggest portfolio of accounts spanning tourism boards, hotels, theme parks and DMCs.

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