Recent surveys show that Indian visitors look at lodging to express their individuality. They want to assert a vacation. This is unique in each way. With domestic remains and boutique mattress-and-breakfast alternatives throughout the globe catering to this aspiration, Lounge spoke to Saurabh Rai, government vice-president (South Asia, South-East Asia, Middle East, Africa, and Australasia), Preferred Hotels & Resorts, which has a numerous portfolio of independent resorts, inns, and houses, about how luxury hotels are growing to this project. Edited excerpts:
Outbound travel from India is still a lot about motels, but there may be a small but fast-developing phase of shared area lodging space. The multigenerational journey trend—grandparents, dad and mom, and kids visiting together—backs it up. The sense of freedom you get in shared accommodation is an applicable issue. The 2nd factor is that city Indians have a very mature journey palette. They have an experience of the journey and want to strive in various things, far from the tried and examined in the lodges space. Since we installed an office in India in 2007-08, we’ve not seen a set of consecutive years where our numbers dipped.
The marketplace is humongous, and the bounty is endless, from number-one cities with Delhi to secondary towns and tertiary ones like Indore. I am happy to confirm that across segments, India’s outbound has been strong. One is seeing an increase in shorter-haul locations, including Singapore, Hong Kong, and Dubai. The thrilling trade is that travel is now not about going to primary gateway towns, including Paris, butbut about staying in Lyon, Strasbourg, or Rhône Valley.
You have spoken in advance about the underwhelming numbers of global leisure inbound journeys. What can lodges do to restore that?
Last I heard, Dubai has a more enormous officially registered resort room inventory—with nearly 118,000 keys across three-, 4- and five-famous person motels—than India as a rustic. In destinations that have managed to do nicely in the global amusement section, hotels have become the window to the vicinity. It is not just about imparting a fantastic experience simultaneously as being in the confines of the motel. However, it’s far from the general feel of the destination that the tourist takes again.
In India, we were the front runners in offering trendy lodging worldwide, but the moment you step out, the blast for your face is so excessive that it makes you quickly forget about that lap of luxury. How do you deliver an experience of consistency to the occasion? Not for a second am I announcing that this needs to be a continuously high-priced enjoy, which compromises the authenticity of all of it. But can you curate and enjoy this in a minimal, relaxed, and provocative way? Can a partnership exist between hotels, journey and advisory, and the ground carrier community to offer a properly orchestrated revel? Unless we bring completeness of enjoyment, there can be an experience of fatigue across the destination.
What differentiators can hotels provide to counter studies curated by way of boutique B&Bs?
The differentiator lies inside the provider, humans, and software. Some of the most memorable guest stories have always had to do with people and almost by no means with the product. It’s the human contact that topics.
Hotels deliver a sense of curation. If you’re going to a destination and are curious about the artwork, you might need to flip a coin and wish that the host at the boutique B&B is artsy. But accommodations, especially independent ones, have started being attentive to this. You can go to a concierge at a motel along with The Leela Palace, New Delhi, and they may be able to draw up a trail based totally on your pastimes, whether those are meals, theatre, zoology, or politics.
Preferred Hotels works with 750 unbiased accommodations, houses, and particular lodge businesses throughout eighty-five international locations. How do you attain a balance between immersive neighborhood reviews and global requirements?
We have a two-pronged technique—of reaching out to the marketplace and the marketplace reaching out to us. We have had several lengthy-status partnerships with The Imperial, which is in its seventeenth 12 months. For these to be sustainable, we want to ensure our capacity to contribute to a property. We usually sit down with a map of the vicinity and drop pins on all the challenging enterprise locations. Then, we observe subdivisions of towns and scope each out in phrases of its micro ability. Let’s say we’ve recognized a clear possibility in Hyderabad, wherein we’ve one lodge in Hitec City; however, none in Jubilee or Banjara Hills. So, we are looking out for areas there.
When it comes to entertainment hot spots, we look at itineraries, and being mindful of our current portfolio, we discover gaps of possibilities across cities. It doesn’t make sense to make one motel in Udaipur. It might be higher if we can offer an immersive revel in Jodhpur, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, and Udaipur. Currently, Hampi, north and primary Goa, and Jodhpur hold many hobbies for us. We have also been looking at the coffee plantations and the tea estates within the east. We are in a space where we either paint with impartial lodges or independent-minded proprietors. It doesn’t make paintings if neither of the two bins is ticked.