Women's travel club has world at its feet
Paulomi Bhatt is a former marketing manager who last year started running a travel group in the Middle East called World at Her Feet. She explains why the group was started and whom it targets.
World at Her Feet started a few years ago in India. Why did the venture's partner and you decide to bring the concept here?
Today's woman really wants to travel much more. The group is … aimed at the lady who wants to travel but doesn't have anyone to travel with - be it a friend, partner [or] husband. It's kind of a support group for ladies.
What has been the most challenging part of operating this group?
The most challenging part has been when people [initially] read about us and didn't know if we'd be a fly-by-night operator, or whether we're here to stay. Once they met up with me, and we had a small do a couple of months ago, [they] got to know me and see our other trips. I did a presentation for where I'd gone.
How do you ensure trips run smoothly?
We travel as much as we can with known suppliers. We, ourselves, travel one day before the group just to see everything is the way it is supposed to be.
What is one of the biggest obstacles in expanding this group?
Someone said: "Would you be doing local-centric trips for [Emirati] ladies?" Is that for now? No.
Why is that?
Like everything else, we don't do anything halfheartedly. Even though I've been here [living in the UAE] for 11.5 years and know about the traditions and norms, the trip involves everything - clubbing and pubbing. And when I'm planning a local trip, obviously I'd be very sensitive to local needs and need to educate myself more on this before I'd feel confident to promote a trip for local ladies.
What kinds of trips do you have planned this year?
China in May, then Spain in June. The upcoming trip we have in July and August is [for] just a mother and child - the concept being that even if it's the [summer] holiday, and you're going away with your family, you still probably have 1.5 months where the husband has got to go back to work and the child is still out of school. The destination is going to be totally child-centric.
How much beyond travel fees does it cost to join the group?
[Our charge] is never more than Dh500 [US$136]. It's enough to sustain us. For example, we just went to Bali; we charged the ladies Dh7,000 for seven days, including air fare and all accommodation. We have our [travel] cost, printing cost, various things … My trip goes ahead if there are six ladies; that's what the minimum is.
Updated: May 1, 2012 04:00 AM