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DreamFolks Sees Increased Demand Of Premium Benefits In Tier II & Tier III Cities Though aggregate footfalls remain higher in the top 5-6 metros currently, Tier 2 and 3 pockets are witnessing much faster growth in demand for premium benefits, says Liberatha Kallat, chairperson & MD, DreamFolks

By Shrabona Ghosh

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With the mission to deliver maximum comfort and convenience to travelers, DreamFolks began with airport lounge as a service and have since expanded to become an end-to-end travel and lifestyle experiences platform.

Today, DreamFolks commands over 90 per cent share in the domestic lounge access market for India-issued debit and credit programs. "As we continue enhancing and personalizing our premium inventory of services, the emphasis remains on deeply understanding both client objectives and customer preferences to tailor holistic solutions. This ensures that our clients have a one-stop solution for their diverse needs, including value-added benefits, customer engagement, loyalty, channel partner relationships, and sales effectiveness," Liberatha Kallat, chairperson & MD, DreamFolks.

When DreamFolks entered the airport services ecosystem in India a decade ago, established players had already commanded the travel services space for 30+-plus years. The company is rapidly expanding its presence across lounge and non lounge services coupled with a strong international foot hold.

Contributions from tier-2 and 3 cities

India's rising middle-class segment and growing appetite for premium travel experiences is propelling strong demand from Tier II and III cities. Shifting post-pandemic priorities accentuating leisure and family trips has also increased lounge awareness in such locations.

In the past, smaller city airports may have lacked sufficient lounge facilities. However, thanks to privatization initiatives, these airports are prioritizing more indulgent spaces aligned with service quality benchmarks seen in metro hubs. "Though aggregate footfalls remain higher in the top 5-6 metros currently, Tier 2 and 3 pockets are witnessing much faster growth in demand for premium benefits," she added.

The company works closely with regional airports and partners to customize engagement initiatives targeted at these high-potential markets. With the right exposure that stimulates adoption, smaller cities could contribute nearly as significantly as mega-hubs in the coming years as rising incomes and progressive mindsets shape behaviors.

Non lounge services, Railway lounges & international expansion

DreamFolks has built a dominant position in India's airport lounge access market through its proprietary technology solutions. "Significant headroom exists to diversify beyond core offerings by expanding into adjacent premium travel and lifestyle services. As per our strategic plan, contribution from non-lounge categories like spa, golf, beauty & grooming, gifting, healthcare, and visa services is expected to contribute 20 per cent of total revenue," she added.

While aviation currently represents a larger market, railway passenger growth is tracking a similar upward trajectory. DreamFolks aims to expand the railway lounge footprint in coming years as customer segments recognize this value proposition. "We expect adoption as more & more travelers are exposed to these services regardless of their transit mode choice. While the category expansion is still in early phases, partnerships are underway to broaden access to premium rail travel hospitality that resonate amid changing tastes. Over time, we are expecting this segment to contribute significantly in the overall revenue share."

In addition to maintaining domestic leadership, DreamFolks is set for international expansion. It recently strengthened global presence through partnership with global lounge operators Grey Wall, besides, it expanded global footprint by entering the Malaysia market, providing its technology offerings across three airports - Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, and Kuching.

Growth strategy for 2024

With the growing credit card penetration and an uptick in travel, DreamFolks has built a foundation in India with over 1,500 service touch points across the globe. "As we look ahead to 2024 and beyond, the growth strategy focuses on expanding presence in India across all offerings like lounge access, airport transfers, visa, spa, golf services and offering experiential services for travelers like meet & assist, porter service, buggy rides, and more. The objective is to deepen penetration in metro cities while accelerating adoption in Tier 2 and 3 cities," the chairperson explained.

Internationally, it plans to take the full-stack platform suite abroad enabling card networks and banks to provide bespoke premium travel perks in key global regions. The next two years will see rapid enhancement of DreamFolks' value proposition and delivery machinery internationally.

Shrabona Ghosh

Correspondent

A journalist with a cosmopolitan mindset. I lead a project called 'Corporate Innovations' wherein I cover corporates across verticals and try to tell stories on innovations. Apart from this, I write industry pieces on FMCGs, auto, aviation, 5G and defense. 
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