Bruce Parkinson

Founded less than a decade ago, Markham, ON-based Voyzant Inc. has quickly grown into a major Canadian wholesale travel provider with a global reach, topping a billion dollars in annual sales.

Co-founder and CEO Chitparan ‘Chippy” Jegathesan is pleased with the success, but he has bigger plans for the consolidator that works exclusively with travel agents and agencies.

Voyzant provides a range of services and solutions in strategy, technology, corporate travel and group travel, and operates specialty brands Holidays by Voyzant, Hotels by Voyzant and Onvigo by Voyzant.

The company recently added physical locations in Sri Lanka and Singapore, adding to existing offices in Canada, the U.S. and India. Jegathesan says the next steps will be to open locations in UAE and UK, hopefully by the end of this year. He’s looking to be on the ground in Australia early in 2024, and somewhere in Latin America soon.

AC return to travel event

Chitparan ‘Chippy’ Jegathesan (right) at the Air Canada post-pandemic ‘Return to Travel’ event. (Photo Credit: Bruce Parkinson)

“We want to be a bigger global player,” Jegathesan told TravelPulse Canada in his office north of Toronto, where one wall is filled an impressive collection of aircraft models.

“We want to keep growing and have a bigger footprint. We want to be a global content provider. We’re very strong in airlines, but want to be in the hotel space, excursion space, tour space.”

Current sales are triple pre-pandemic figures, Jegathesan says, and Voyzant has doubled its staff to more than 200 since then. The company handles over 1 million tickets annually and has partnerships with over 100 airlines.

Trained as an engineer, Jegathesan owned media companies and spent years working in the federal government as an advisor and political strategist before turning his talents to travel.

He says that as he was helping out an uncle who owned a small travel agency, he recognized a void in Canada’s travel market and set off to provide a solution. At Voyzant, his goal was to create a quality full-service provider to exclusively handle the needs of travel agents and agencies, while being cost-effective. 

“I saw the potential for a better way of doing things.”

Airlines use consolidators to fill seats on certain routes and at certain times at a volume-based discount. Consolidators can then offer them to agencies for a lower price than the airline’s published fare.

“We help each other throughout the year. Sometimes they need us more than other times,” says Jegathesan. “We know how to tap into the market. We can quickly do that. That’s the power we have, and airlines need it.”

Jegathesan says it is important for a consolidator to have international reach in order to be relevant to multiple carriers.

“Airlines choose to work with a few, not all consolidators. There will be fewer in future, but the channel will continue.”

Much of Voyzant’s current growth is coming through acquisition. Jegathesan says there’s a reason for that.

Planes, airplanes, aircraft, lined up, queued, takeoff, waiting, taxiing, runway, New York, JFK airport

High demand and lower capacity has led to inflated airfares. (Photo Credit: XavierMarchant / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

“Finding people is a big challenge. Not too many people are interested in joining the industry. It’s a big issue for airlines, and a big challenge for growth. That’s why we’re buying companies – we buy for logistics and staffing.”

Despite the fact that most of what Voyzant does is driven by computers, Jegathesan says being able to offer 24/7 support to its agency customers is essential to success.

“People need a personal touch. They don’t like to talk to machines.”

Part of the reason for soaring sales at Voyzant is historically high airfares, a product of post-pandemic demand, lower capacity and higher costs for airlines. How long can that continue?

“Everything is inflated, not just the airline ticket,” says Jegathesan. “Their costs have gone up too.” He cites flights to India that now take two hours longer due to Russian airspace closures. “I hope things will settle down over the next year or so.”

One thing he is sure of is that the industry where he’s hung his hat will go on.

“Travel will continue. It’s part of everyone’s life.”

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