Natraj blossoms into top travel firm of Chicagoland

Natraj Travel Team with CEO and President
Natraj Travel Team with CEO and President

CHICAGO: With twenty years experience under its belt, Natraj Travel headed by CEO Deepak Shah and President Madhu Shah is bracing for further improvement in its services and meet new challenges head on.

In a talk to this paper, Deepak Shah said that from a modest start in 1993, Natraj Travel has now established itself as a premier travel firm bagging awards and high accolades from members of the airline industry and the traveling public at large. “The prime reasons for our success and huge confidence that we enjoy in our business are just two: High level of integrity with the airliners and our clients alike and second, the customized care that we and all members of our staff have been bestowing to our valued customers all the time,” he said.

Madhu Shah, President, he pointed out, has been in the travel industry since 1976. Taking to the industry in Mumbai, she continued to refine her craft while working at various agencies in the Chicagoland area. “After taking a few years off to raise the kids, it was time to get back into the business , and here she is serving all of us as a rock star,” Deepak said
“As with most new businesses, we experienced a fair share of growing pains. However, Madhu’s knowledge and expertise in the travel field was clearly valued by her customers. While customers clearly appreciated her insight, we needed to differentiate ourselves from other travel agencies. In September 1996, we moved to 3601 West Devon Ave and two years later added agents, and I decided to come aboard full time, “he added.

With the expansion, it was time to set a strategic direction. The management decided to be the first full service agency with airline contracts selling directly to customers. It was also the call of the time to be tech savy and the company can boast technically savvy staff with a sharp customer focus.

“Our first major break was in 2001. We were offered contracts for Air India and Kuwait Airways. With time, we also acquired contracts with Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines,” Madhu Shah said recalling yesteryears.

Concurrently, Natraj is a preferred vendor for local small and medium size software companies. Access to the corporate world allowed it to increase the customer base tremendously. “We had best of both worlds, direct corporate business plus the employee personal travel,” Madhu Shah added.

“By 2007, we had established ourselves as one of the premier agencies in the US with the business improving to about 8-9% every year with total sales in 2012 jumping to $10M. Over the years we must have serviced over a million customers,” Deepak Shah pointed out.

Natraj partners with multiple airlines including Etihad, British-American, and Lufthansa-United for over $1M. The biggest partner is Air India, where it has consistently been doing business over $1.5M. “Our newest endeavor is with Qatar Airlines, which we have already grown to over half a million in less than two years.

“As said, the secret to our success is and will always be our great staff and management style. We have an extremely talented team with extensive backgrounds in the travel industry and customer relations. I consider them to be the cream of the crop” Deepak added.

“To meet the needs of continually growing operation, the management has added more full time reservation agents, as well an in-house accounting staff. With customers across the country: Our motto is to keep it simple…One satisfied customer at a time. With first class personalized service we drive repeat business, while continually expanding our customer base.

“The future of the travel agent industry presents unique challenges. Airlines are cutting commissions and the Internet is now a resource for customers. I say there will always be a need for a good reputable travel agent who is available almost 24/7, that provides personalized customer service at an affordable and competitive price.

“We understand the growing needs of our customers and would like to be a one stop shop for all international travel. Expanding on our strong expertise in international air tickets, we will offer customized Group Vacations, Event Planning and Honeymoons,” he concluded.

Surendra Ullal

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