Tag Archives: Chief Operating Officer

MakeMyTrip appoints Vipul Prakash as COO

MakeMyTrip has announced the appointment of Vipul Prakash as Chief Operating Officer for MakeMyTrip and Goibibo. In this role, Prakash will be responsible for developing and executing  strategic direction and priorities of the company. He joins MakeMyTrip from PepsiCo where he was last serving as Senior Vice President–Beverage Category for PepsiCo India region. Rajesh Magow, Co-Founder and CEO–India, MakeMyTrip, said, “We are excited to welcome Vipul to our leadership team. His rich experience of two decades at PepsiCo spanning geographies, deep understanding of consumer market and expertise in industry leading operational practices are truly invaluable. We are confident that his proven track record and extensive experience will extend MakeMyTrip’s upward trajectory.” Speaking about his new role, Prakash said, “MakeMyTrip is an iconic brand that has played a defining role in shaping the online travel space in India. I have been truly impressed with the company’s institutional expertise and relentless focus on serving customers better. I look forward to drive the next phase of innovation and growth through operational excellence.” Prior to joining MakeMyTrip, Vipul was associated with PepsiCo for 20 years. In his previous role, he was responsible for delivering revenue growth, share and brand equity for PepsiCo’s beverage portfolio of five brands. Vipul joined PepsiCo in 1998 and held various positions in marketing and franchise, at sector and global levels. In 2007, he relocated to the US, where he spent three years on the International Beverages Marketing team and moved to Dubai in 2010 to head the Foods and Beverages Innovation department for PepsiCo Asia, Middle East and Africa before moving back to India.

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Now fly direct to Milan on Air Italy from Delhi and Mumbai

Air Italy has announced its entry into the Indian market, offering services from Delhi and Mumbai to Milan effective December 7 and December 14, 2018 respectively. Connecting Italy to two of the main business destinations in Asia, India will be the fourth international addition to the Air Italy network after the successful launch of its operations to New York, Miami and Bangkok from its new hub in Milan-Malpensa. Rossen Dimitrov, Chief Operating Officer, Air Italy said, “We look forward to the connection between Italy and two of the main business and tourist destinations in Asia – Mumbai and New Delhi. With the launch of our India operations in December, we are excited to offer newer routes and a wider travel option to the discerning travelers from India. Our new service will increase convenience for business guests, leisure travellers as well as students, travelling between India and Italy, further strengthening commerce as well as tourism ties between the two countries.” With the addition of the two new routes, Air Italy offers travellers a range of both domestic and international connectivity options from the airline’s hub and access to exclusive destinations. Passengers travelling from India to Milan will benefit from convenient connections via Malpensa to Italian key cities and destinations. Airbus A330-200 will be deployed for the two new routes from India to Milan, operating thrice a week from both cities.

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South African Tourism appoints Neliswa Nkani as Hub Head—Middle East, India & SE Asia

South Africa Tourism has recently announced the appointment of Neliswa Nkani as Hub Head—Middle East, India and South East Asia at a networking dinner hosted in Mumbai for the travel trade. Hanneli Slabber now takes charge as the General Manager— Asia, Australasia and Middle East for South Africa Tourism. The event of Nkani’s appointment was attended by Sthembiso Dlamini, Chief Operating Officer (COO), South African Tourism along with ML Ramokgopa, Consul General—South African Consulate, Mumbai.

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Lords earmarks 30% of portfolio for pilgrimage segment

Lords Hotels & Resorts has broadened its portfolio of hotels to better accommodate the needs of the leisure tourist, the business traveller, the bag-packer as well as the pilgrimage tourist. It will now also target at becoming the fastest growing pilgrimage hotel chain in the country. “Our next big focus is to serve the pilgrimage tourist for whom today the stay options fall largely in the unorganised domain. Out of the 26 properties that we currently operate, 7 are in the heart of such pilgrimage destinations and we are aiming at maintaining at least 30 per cent of our portfolio for pilgrimage tourists. We have identified Katra, Mathura, Vrindavan and a couple others for our upcoming projects dedicated for pilgrimage tourists,” says Rishi Puri, Vice President, Lords Hotels & Resorts. “Our hotels across the country have registered room occupancies in the range of 70 – 75 per cent in the last Financial Year. While there was only a marginal rise in ARR, the RevPAR grew by almost 8-12 per cent. This is an indication of demand outpacing supply and the need for increasing room inventories,” says Mr P R Bansal, Chief Operating Officer, Lords Hotels & Resorts. In the current financial year, the hospitality chain has plans of establishing hotel properties in Kolkata and Bhubaneswar in the East, and in Hyderabad and Chennai in the South. “We have identified potential projects in the East where Lords Hotels & Resorts has not made a mark yet and also in the South where we see tremendous growth in the coming years,” adds Bansal.

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Lords Hotels & Resorts announces launch of new resort in Chotila, Gujarat

Lords Hotels & Resorts has announced plans of launching a new resort in Gujarat’s Chotila. Currently under construction, the resort is expected to commence operations in the last quarter of 2018 making it the chain’s 16th property in Gujarat and overall its 29th. To be launched as Lords Resort Chotila, the forty-six rooms resort will offer accommodations to the pilgrimage tourists visiting the popular Chotila Mata Mandir. Being a resort property it will host all kinds of recreational facilities which will serve as great holiday stays for the leisure tourists too. The development is also in line with Lords Hotels & Resorts’ focus on capitalising on pilgrimage tourism – a segment which is one of the support pillars of the Incredible India campaign. “We are delighted to announce our latest venture in Chotila. This will be our eighth property located at a pilgrimage site and we are consciously focusing on expanding in this segment. While Lords Resort Chotila will be a great place to stay for the pilgrimage tourist, the resort will be a fabulous retreat for the leisure traveller too. The resort architecture is inspired by the shape of a crescent moon and the rooms are designed in the traditional Bhunga style with adjoining private sit out areas overlooking water bodies built around it,” says P R Bansal, Chief Operating Officer, Lords Hotels & Resorts. “I wish to congratulate Ramzan V Halani who owns the property and look forward to partnering for future ventures in the region,” he adds.

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AccorHotels launches Novotel Chennai Chamiers Road

Chennai welcomes its seventh AccorHotels property with the opening of Novotel Chennai Chamiers Road. The property is conveniently situated in the heart of the city within walking distance of many clubs like Madras Club and elite neighbourhoods like Boat Club. It is a mere 10-minute drive from popular locations like the T Nagar shopping district, Marina Beach and the business districts of Nungambakkam, Egmore, Adyar, Mylapore and Alwarpet. The hotel is less than a 30-minute drive from both the Chennai International Airport and the Chennai Central Railway Station. “We are excited to partner with AG Hospitality to launch Novotel Chennai Chamiers Road and look forward to a fruitful partnership. The opening of this hotel marks our seventh hotel in Chennai and eighth property in the state of Tamil Nadu. Chennai is fast becoming a key market fuelled by both strong business and leisure traveller growth in an improving economic climate.” said Jean-Michel Cassé, Chief Operating Officer – India & South Asia, AccorHotels. Novotel Chennai Chamiers Road is the first Novotel with a contemporary design and interiors. The hotel has been conceptualised by SODA, an international design firm known for creating fresh, innovative yet sustainable spaces. The hotel features around 100 well-appointed rooms including four suites, as well as rooms designed for the specially-abled.

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India’s millennial business travellers want constant booking info with human advice

Millennial business travellers in India are changing the landscape of corporate travel by demanding both cutting-edge digital support throughout their trips and on-demand advice from human consultants, according to a recent independent global study commissioned by Travelport. For the research, 11,000 travellers were surveyed in 19 countries who took at least one return flight in the last year. The results showed that half (47 per cent) of India’s millennial business travellers now count being unable to access booking information across their devices 24/7 as one of their biggest gripes, compared to two fifths (40 per cent) of Gen X2 travellers and one third (35 per cent) baby boomers. The research also revealed that three fifths (56 per cent) say they get frustrated when companies don’t use data analytics to provide highly personalised travel recommendations based on their past preferences, compared to two fifths of both Gen X (43 per cent) and baby boomer (41 per cent) travellers. Two fifths (43 per cent) say not being able to get expert advice from human consultants during the booking process is a major pain point. Sandeep Dwivedi, Chief Operating Officer, InterGlobe Technology Quotient, said, “The findings demonstrate the digital shift among Indian business travelers before and during their journeys. And the necessity of $7.6 trillion global travel and hospitality industry to adapt continually to provide responsive, relevant and timely services for customers. More importantly, in an age where Gen X and Millennials are increasingly becoming tech savvy, they want relevant and timely content at their fingertips, at the very moment, from the time they search to their return from the trip.”

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Cox & Kings opens Thai Visa Application Centre in Chennai

Cox & Kings Global Services (CKGS) has recently opened a new Thai Visa Application Centre (VAC) in Chennai. Located at Wellingdon Estate Building, the centre will serve as the Hub VAC for its South India operations and cater to all categories of visas such as tourist, transit, non-immigrant, business, work, crew and medical visa. The new centre was inaugurated by Her Excellency Krongkanit Rakcharoen, Consul-General, Royal Thai Consulate-General, Chennai in the presence of senior CKGS officials. Speaking on the occasion, Rakcharoen said, “Thailand has emerged as one of the most favourite destinations for Indians with the number of travellers crossing a million mark. Considering the growing number of travellers from Chennai, it was essential to start the visa application service centre for this region. With CKGS, we aim to continue hassle-free visa processing for Indian travellers and maintain high professional standards.” Commenting on the opening, Venku Murthi, Chief Operating Officer, CKGS said, “We are expanding out footprints in south India with the commitment to ensure excellent visa services to applicants who want to travel to Thailand.’’ The visa application form can be filled online but the applicants would have to visit the VAC to submit printout of the duly signed application form along with other required documents and collect them once the visa has been issued.

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CKGS opens Morocco visa application centre in Mumbai

Cox & Kings Global Services (CKGS) has opened a new Morocco Visa Application and Information Centre (MVAIC) in Mumbai. The office was inaugurated by Moroccan Ambassador to India, Mohamed Maliki. It currently has centres in Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Pune, Goa, Indore and Bengaluru. CKGS is set to open a new MVAIC in Hyderabad in June 2018. Speaking on the occasion, Maliki said, “The ties between Morocco and India go back over several centuries and both the counties have enjoyed cordial bilateral relations over the years. The government of India and Morocco have agreed on a newly revised air service agreement which will have certainly a positive impact on facilitating and boosting tourist movement between the two countries. Foreseeing the growth in the number of Indians travelling to Morocco, we needed to create a seamless experience for Indian travellers in applying for visas.  The Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco is glad to entrust the responsibility to CKGS by appointing them as our representatives to open visa application centres in India.” Commenting on the mandate, Venku Murthi, Chief Operating Officer, CKGS said, “We are happy that the Embassy of Morocco has put their trust in our proven expertise. Our offices across 12 centres in India will seamlessly facilitate visa processing, thereby accelerating outbound travel to Morocco. This is an opportune time to tap the growing Indian outbound travel market, which is growing in double digits.’’

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Novotel opens first international hotel in Kakkanad, Kochi

AccorHotels along with the MuthootPappachan Group, has opened its Novotel Kochi Infopark located in the IT Hub of Kakkanad Infopark, making it one of the first international mid-scale brands to debut in the industrial zone. The hotel is a 40-minute drive from the Kochi International Airport and 30-minute drive from the Ernakulam Railway Station. It features 128 rooms including eight suites and a room designed specifically for the specially-abled. “We are delighted to launch our first Novotel property in the commercial capital of Kerala. This is our second brand in the city, ibis Kochi City Centre being the first. We are excited to be associated with the MuthootPappachan Group for Novotel Kochi Infopark given their 131 years of legacy of trust and service excellence.” said Jean-Michel Cassé, Chief Operating Officer – India & South Asia, AccorHotels. Thomas John Muthoot, Chairman & Managing Director, MuthootPappachan Group said, “We are delighted to partner with AccorHotels on the opening of the first Novotel hotel in Kochi. We look forward to working with our partners and ensuring our company’s continued growth in the hospitality segment and the best for all our customers in all diverse businesses initiatives MuthootPappachan Group is into.” Recreational facilities include an infinity pool, gym and a dedicated kid’s corner.

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