Due to their therapeutic benefits and capacity to reduce workplace stress, water sports have seen exponential growth across the globe. As per the Economic Times, in 2021, approximately 33.08 lakh domestic and 0.22 lakh foreign tourists will choose Goa as their tourist destination, consequently boosting the water sports industry. Despite the unorganized nature of this sector, a successful company has been built on the basis of providing high-quality service. Explore Watersports® serves as an example of how crucial client happiness is to being successful in the competitive space of adventure water sports.
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The Origin: A highly loved bad experience
Ankit Kumar founded Explore Watersports®, Goa, to address the challenges faced by customers in the growing adventure tourism sector in India. His SCUBA diving experience in Goa in 2012 was a horror story. When operators did not deliver what was promised and showed no accountability, he realized that this unorganized sector needed to get more streamlined and accountable.
To provide a solution to this problem, he started EWS in 2016, which is a well-known brand in the water sports sector today. Explore Watersports®, Goa was born. By creating an online platform, it started offering handpicked activities like SCUBA diving, kayaking, and cruising to customers. In a very short time, the company became popular among tourists and adventure enthusiasts and started receiving a lot of positive reviews and ratings. Thus, the bad experience began all this, and I love that bad experience.
Expansion: Diving deeper
Gradually, the company went on to add new activities as they dived deeper into the problems, and customers were happy with the premium service they got. Happy customers not only spread the word amongst their friends and relatives, but some of them also came back and requested the company to arrange HR events for their businesses. This opened up a new avenue, and EWS started catering to corporate clients as well.
EWS has served 21,000 customers and 15 corporate clients so far and counting. With its consistent growth, the company is soon launching a couple of brand-new water sports in the Indian market. Presently, the launch is in the phase of approvals and procurement, but the day isn’t far when adventure junkies will travel to Goa to experience Jet-surfboard and underwater scootering.
Challenges: The High and Low Tides
The journey hasn’t been that easy, though. Seasonal businesses have their own challenges. Most water sports are in operation for barely 6 months, and many times, this time shrinks because of unforeseen reasons like storms, the early arrival of the monsoon, etc. To add to the adversities, a pandemic hit the world, causing the company to face financial challenges when it was still in its infancy.
With sinking funds, fixed costs to pay, and uncertain tourist returns, Ankit had to close the company. He moved back to his hometown to survive and to wait for favorable times. He utilized the difficult time to learn digital marketing and skills that could be used for developing businesses in the future.
The pandemic subsided; people started moving around in a restricted manner, but tourism still wasn’t flourishing. The inner calling was motivating Mr. Kumar to revive the infant, who was left behind and was waiting to start walking. The urge was so strong that he decided to go back to Goa.
Comback: Swim against the storm
Despite the economic downturn, with not much cash and support, he moved back to Goa, as he didn’t want to give up without fighting. There was no team, no budget for online marketing, and very little from personal savings that would help him sustain himself for only a month in the city. But what he was left with was willpower, optimism, and the network he had created in the earlier years.
A lone fighter, he started working relentlessly on all fronts. He revamped the website to create some buzz and started attending customer calls right from 7 in the morning until late at night.
Made conversions, looked after the activities, and also provided customer support. It was a good idea to be a vendor for this season, as being an operator was a costly proposition.
Success: Conquering the Sea
Word-of-mouth publicity paid off during these challenging times as customers started booking activities. Customers kept the show going, and that season closed with good revenue (Financial Year 2020–2021, Revenue: INR 90 Lacs). The company had got a new lease of life, and with all the sweet-bitter experiences, the founder had become stronger to return as an operator the very next year.
Explore Watersports 2.0 is now a successful survival story that can inspire many. The company is set to generate 1.35 Cr this season, and there are a few dynamic projects in the pipeline.
Mr. Kumar, the founder of EWS, says,
” Resilience, handwork, and problem-solving skills can carve the path to success.”
For more details:
Who is the founder of Explore Watersports?
The founder of Explore Watersports is Ankit Kumar.
Where is the headquarter of Explore Watersports?
The headquarter of Explore Watersports is in Goa.