The Bird Group was founded in 1971 with the incorporation of Bird Travels. Today, as it holds over 40 years of experience with more than 40 offices supported by over 5,000 staff and clientele of over 500 top corporate companies, Bird Group is a well known diversified entity in India. With diverse businesses such as travel technology, aviation services, hospitality, retail and education, Bird Group has a comprehensive portfolio of services. And over the last couple of years, it has increased its services by broadening business horizons with new ventures. Its various verticals are expansions of its main travel business. “As our group was expanding, it was important for us to diversify and look at business synergies in all the verticals we expanded into,” says Ankur Bhatia, executive director, Bird Group. The group’s expertise in the travel sector puts it in a position to understand its business potential, identify the gaps, and know which areas to make an investment in. For example, based on this expertise, it started a high-end hospitality product called the Dusit Devarana in New Delhi.
Before the company enters any business, it weighs the risk and reward factor. The company ensured that it had a detailed business plan for all its verticals, which entailed step-by-step integration of risks and rewards. “This helped us weigh our prospects and make calculative decisions to overcome the challenges we faced in venturing into new businesses and at the same time focus on the existing ones,” shares Bhatia. Debt and internal accruals were a huge financial support to the diverse businesses, he adds.
As far as the process and operations are concerned, the company set up separate legal entities for each of its verticals for smooth functioning of its businesses. Along with the existing workforce, the group also hired separate teams for each of its verticals by bringing in talent with relevant industry experience.
Recently, the Bird Group entered into a franchise agreement with Swiss luxury goods firm, Labelux, to launch the latter’s leather goods brand Bally in India. “Venturing into retail coincided with our hospitality real estate business as both are an amalgamation of luxury living. Also, hospitality and travel go hand in hand. Therefore, we have ventured into these businesses with a strategic approach,” comments Bhatia.
The group always looks for synergies when it diversifies. “Strategic thinking and evaluation is a must for diversification,” shares Bhatia, adding, “We have achieved successful synergies by combining our verticals with complementary and continuous marketing, financial and operating management efforts across all verticals.”