This is a follow up story for Arara Tour. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published over 1 year ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
Hey there, I am Tatev Manucharyan, the new executive director at Arara Tour based in Yerevan, Armenia. I have been working at Arara since 2018 as a Senior tour manager. The year started with great challenges and opportunities. I am passionate about sharing my experiences contributing to Arara’s growth with the new position.
Arara is one of the leading tour operators in the Caucasus, owning companies in Armenia, neighboring country Georgia as well as Uzbekistan, Central Asia. Every year we have thousands of travelers from various parts of the world who contact our agency for unique combined tour packages to the Caucasus region and Central Asia. Besides all-inclusive services - hotels, transportation, professional guiding services, meals and excursions, what we sell to our customers are special and memorable emotions, authentic experiences which stay with them forever.
Last year was a year of recovery from Covid damages. We had many new travelers who had just discovered the Caucasus as a travel destination, as well as our devoted clients who stayed with us since 2020.
This year we expect 500% growth compared to 2021!
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
We have successfully developed new products for 2021, the biggest of them being our catalogue with all-inclusive and unique tour packages to the following destinations: Post-Soviet Europe countries Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia; Russian Golden Ring; Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova; Moscow and Saint Petersburg. We already have strong sales numbers for 2022 and 2023 for such a new product.
Last year we made more investments in marketing to increase traffic and sales, and hired new employees to keep our website content constantly up to date.
This year we expect 500% growth compared to 2021!
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
As most other companies worldwide, we had also started working online since the pandemic.
The online work has its pros and cons, but first of all it creates difficulties in keeping the usual, organized workflow, managing work schedule, staying connected with staff and reacting immediately in case of any issues. Handling the issues on the spot and without any delays has always been one of our most important assets.
After hundreds of zoom calls and online meetings (at times really annoying), we went back to the offline work at the office since mid-2021, which was kind of strange and relieving at the same time.
One of the biggest challenges during and after the pandemic was to keep out key staff. It’s not a surprise that tourism was the most affected industry by the pandemic. We are really proud that we could keep our essential employees without even slightest changes in the salary and working terms.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
After the harsh 2020, promising and favorable 2021 we have many ideas and plans for the future. Some of our essential plans for the next 5 years are:
- To add 20 more countries for our tour operations;
- Increase our sales 30 times;
- Build a strong community of 200 and more total employees in all our owned companies;
- Contribute to our region’s growth to become one of the leading travel destinations in the world.
And an everlasting approach/ goal - never stop inspiring and being inspired.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
Among my personal highlights was “First, Break All the Rules” by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman.
The book was written after doing 80.000 interviews with different managers. The book comes up with the most practical ways of keeping valuable employees and talented people in your company.
The 3 core ideas are: keep your best performers, improve performance and profitability, measure key outcomes.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
Growing a business can be very challenging, as all the problems and new opportunities on your way will require an individual approach with unique solutions. The first and most important advice based on our experience is to stay up-to-date, keep up with the market. Always thrive to generate new ideas to keep your business competitive.
Having a professional, devoted and imaginative community of employees is another crucial point. Recently one of our customers wrote in his feedback that our tour managers have “the soul of a poet and the work ethic of a coal miner or scientist”. For us this is a never-ending inspiration and the best proof of having built a strong community which contributes to the company’s growth.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We are currently expanding our sales department and are hiring new incoming tour managers. We have announced a one-month internship which will give the candidates the opportunity to gain practical skills in the tourism industry, experience in the real working environment and professional development. All the participants will get a certificate upon completion and the best candidate will get the job.
The interested candidates can check our FB page for the details:
Or send CVs to the email: [email protected]
Where can we go to learn more?
Want to start your own business?
Hey! 👋I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
We interview successful business owners and share the stories behind their business. By sharing these stories, we want to help you get started.
Interested in starting your own business? Join Starter Story Premium to get the greatest companion to starting and growing your business:
- Connect + get advice from successful entrepreneurs
- Step by step guides on how to start and grow
- Exclusive and early access to the best case studies on the web
- And much more!
Did you know that brands using Klaviyo average a 95x ROI?
Email, SMS, and more — Klaviyo brings your marketing all together, fueling growth without burning through time and resources.
Deliver more relevant email and text messages — powered by your data. Klaviyo helps you turn one-time buyers into repeat customers with all the power of an enterprise solution and none of the complexity.