Q&A: Talking to coffee broker Venu Ovian, about timeshare
This month we talk to Venu Ovian who owns and manages Indcaffe - a leading coffee brokerage house based in Bangalore. Indcaffe enables intermediary links within value chains and buyer communities, in addition to placing local entrepreneurs on the world map.
Venu has held senior positions at the State Trading Corporation of India Limited, and Mohan Exports India Limited where he was Chief Trader, and responsible for their coffee related operations - including physical and futures. With nearly 30 years in the coffee sector - and 20 years running Indcaffe - Ovian is a seasoned commodities professional, with in-depth physical sector experience across green and soluble markets.
We have chosen Venu Ovian for this interview because he travels extensively on work - meeting customers in Europe and the US. He also goes on holidays with his family to popular holiday locations in India and overseas. We now share some excerpts of our chat with Venu about how he may have side-stepped timeshare as a vacation ownership option, for no particular reason.
That’s an interesting question, because you’ve also answered it for me. As I am nearing 60, I wonder if I should have done something about a timeshare plan a long time ago. But looking back, I was working real hard to build my brokerage firm and sustain operations in a globally competitive marketplace. Now that I have grown the brokerage successfully, maybe it’s time to look at timeshare - I might talk to my son about it at an opportune time. Right now he has set his sights on higher education overseas, so I guess timeshare will have to wait.
A: Good suggestion, but here’s some feedback that could help sales teams fine tune their interactions with customers – especially at sales presentations. For any prospect there could be a hundred priorities in a queue - timeshare may or may not figure on that list. I agree, timesharing is an interesting vacation format but I might consider other priorities before adding ‘timeshare’ to my basket. Every customer knows when the time is right to nudge that purchase, and a sales person’s urgency won’t really speed things up. A sales presentation can sometimes put you in a spot in terms of sheer impact – but I am told AIRDA member resorts believe in fair play and are very ethical when it comes to a pitch. That should be a welcome relief to prospective customers.
A: I like the changing portfolio of offerings from today’s resorts. Not too long ago, I guess a vacation only meant a cozy cottage with a view, or maybe a balcony overlooking a pool. These days resorts are offering exciting outdoor activities, plantation visits, river rafting, hillside trekking and yes … some very interesting F&B options.
Timeshare is a holiday format that has a long, long calendar and it is nice to know that your membership is ticking long after you’ve paid your installments. I also love the idea of swapping your weeks through exchange companies. I guess this straight away opens your window to the big wide world of international timesharing.
Another key benefit according to me is the ability to vacation with your entire family – or extended family that includes in-laws and grandparents. That is welcoming indeed.
It is reassuring to know we have a voluntary body setting ideal standards for timeshare operations in the country - that’s a definite plus. This way I can see AIRDA playing a key role in expanding the footprint of organized timeshare in the overall tourism pie.
Interestingly, I also see AIRDA as an association of the members, by the members, and for the members. A useful getting together of like-minded professionals committed to the cause of promoting timeshare in the country.
What does an AIRDA membership mean to resort owners and developers? AIRDA comes in as your industry partner, conscience keeper and business catalyst - with a wide portfolio of support services.
What does AIRDA mean to holiday seekers and prospective customers? AIRDA comes in to provide information and offer guidelines on making the right timeshare decisions.