Tag Archives: Founder

IATO brainstorms on key issues on the first day

With a day stacked with business sessions focusing on imperative issues and state presentations, the audience was treated with intense discussions on day one of the two-day convention in Vishakhapatnam. The day started with the conventional IATO Run for Responsible Tourism in the morning. The first session of the day aimed to highlighted the challenges of touching the ambitious milestone of 20 million foreign tourist arrivals within the next few years. The panelists also touched upon the ways in which this can be achieved. The second session brought together members of key hotel companies face to face with tour operators to discuss what both industries can do to help the other since it is getting harder and harder to do business, whether it is the hotels or the travel trade.  The following session had an all-women panel who spoke about their personal experiences that are evidence that India is a safe country. However, they did present ways in which the safety of women travellers could improve. The final panel discussion, moderated by Rajesh Mudgill, MD, Planet India Travels, deliberated on how to change one’s business to adapt to the changing mindset of today’s travellers. In between the state presentations and panel discussions, the audience also took advantage of individual presentations made by Nakul Anand, Chairman, FAITH; an informative session on how travel agents can use digital marketing by Avijit Arya, Founder, Internet Mogul.  

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OYO acquires wedding banquet company

OYO Hotels has announced the acquisition of wedding banquet company Weddingz.in to expand its playfield to real estate sector. Globally, the wedding industry has grown to become a $500 billion market and OYO’s sharp focus on global expansion will support its debut in disrupting these markets. Commenting on the development, Maninder Gulati, Chief Strategy Officer – OYO, said, “What this partnership facilitates is combining OYO’s capabilities of asset management and technology with the scale Weddingz.in offers in India’s fragmented $40bn weddings industry. The company has a healthy scale of managing 1,500-plus wedding events per quarter, with an inventory size of over 40 banquets spread across Mumbai and Delhi.’’ With more than 10 million marriages in India held annually, the segment holds immense potential for innovation, improvement and standardization of processes. “Weddingz.in is India’s largest banquet management company specialising in weddings led by an extremely ambitious founder Sandeep Lodha and his talented team and the value proposition they bring to the table via skills in managing weddings is clearly visible in their dominance and popularity.’’ added Maninder. Sandeep Lodha, Founder, Weddingz.in, commented, ‘’This alliance will work towards simplifying wedding planning for Indians while tapping the enormous opportunities this space offers.”    

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OYO enjoys robust business growth in China while continuing dominance in India

Expanding its presence in China in November 2017, OYO has grown its presence in the country by 50,000 exclusive rooms with a strong presence in cities including Hangzhou, Xian, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Xiamen and Kunming among others. It recently launched its exclusive hotels in Hulunbeier City, Sanya City and Hainan Province. Commenting on the business performance, Ritesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO, OYO said, “We are thrilled with the response OYO Hotels has received in China. It is well-established that there is a great demand for good-quality accommodation among the 400 MM middle income people in the country. July was a milestone month where we added 25,000 rooms to our chain and look forward to achieving a similar feat in the coming months. It’s been a truly exciting journey for us and we believe that the innovation and R&D being offered in China will assist us and the mission globally.” With its unique business model, OYO works in close proximity with its hotel partners while ensuring a quality living experience to guests, promising benefits to both. In India, OYO has a 100,000-exclusive-rooms strong chain with a presence in over 160 cities with Malaysia and Nepal as the other two international destinations where the chain is present.

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Princess Cruises unveils more stand-out features for Sky Princess

Princess Cruises has unveiled new details revealing features onboard its new ship Sky Princess, including a first look at its first-ever Sky Suites. The accommodations are centrally located on the top decks of Sky Princess and feature the largest private balconies ever offered by the line. Measuring 700 square feet, the balconies will provide a private vantage of the ship’s Movie under the Stars screen and create the ultimate space for entertaining. The two suites will also offer a 270-degree panorama and have sleeping capacity for five guests, and more for entertaining — making them ideal for families. “Our two new Sky Suites reflect Princess Cruises’ continued commitment to offer new and expansive accommodations that meet the needs of our guests who wish to explore the world in ultimate comfort,” said Jan Swartz, President, Princess Cruises. She also added that Princess Cruises’ guests could look forward to the roll-out of more new features as the cruise line’s fleet expanded debuting in the Mediterranean in October 2019. The 143,700-ton Sky Princess will include the best of the stunning features found on its three sister ships as well as new offerings that represent an evolution of the current ships’ designs. In addition to the Wake view pool, Sky Princess guests will enjoy two new deep-tank top deck pools, a restorative Retreat Pool, and more jacuzzis than previous Royal-Class ships including two jacuzzis cantilevered over the deep-tank pools. Nishith Saxena, Founder & Director, Cruise Professionals, shared, “Princess Cruises has always been in the forefront of meaningful innovations which enhance customer experience and it is great to see innovations like Ocean Medallions & Sky Suites which are changing the way high-end clients perceive cruising.

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Social media is the biggest source for international wedding business

According to a Travel Wedding Show survey on how to generate business for weddings, 43 per cent of the business gets generated through social media; so the more one is on social media, he will get enquiries for international weddings, 25 per cent is by search engines. 13 per cent by referrals and rest is by other sources. In India, 50 per cent of the business gets generated through referrals; 20 per cent from social media; 15 per cent through search engine and 15 per cent from other sources. “Destination wedding for the next five years will be the biggest thing. Weddings are big business, and everyone wants a piece of the pie. If as wedding planners we have to survive, we need to go out, to different cities and destinations and procure more business. Indian and international destination weddings will remain, the next business thing,” says Rajeev Jain, Founder and Director, Rashi Entertainment.

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Hotelivate hosts 6th Hotel Operations Summit India at Taj Palace, New Delhi

Hotelivate has kicked off its 6th Hotel Operations Summit India (HOSI) at Taj Palace, New Delhi with stimulating discussions on topics pertaining to the hospitality industry. HOSI, the only dedicated forum for hotel professionals in the region, aims to empower today’s hospitality leaders through enabling conversations on management and operations-related issues, the rapidly evolving marketplace, latest industry trends, benchmarking and best practices. With the focus on increasing the diaspora of the speaker by bringing in leaders from businesses that are intricately tied up with the hospitality industry, the programme encompassed a series of keynote addresses by distinguished speakers and thought-provoking group discussions. Notable speakers included industry leaders such as Anshuman Bapna, Chief Product Officer, Goibibo; Dilip Puri, Founder and CEO, Indian School of Hospitality; Jiggs Kalra, Mentor and Culinary Director, Massive Restaurants; Raj Rana, Chief Executive Officer – South Asia, Radisson Hotel Group; Rattan Keswani, Deputy Managing Director, Lemon Tree Hotels; Navjit Ahluwalia, Senior Vice President and Country Head – India, Hilton; Ritesh Agarwal, Founder and CEO, OYO Rooms; Puneet Chhatwal, Managing Director and CEO, Indian Hotels Company, to name a few.

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40-room Cygnett Inn Duvvada opens doors in Vizag

Cygnett Hotels & Resorts has announced the opening of Cygnett Inn Duvvada. The budget hotel features 40 guest rooms and suites with modern interiors, stylish furnishings and spacious event and banquet space. The hotel also adds ease to those travelling to the city as it is conveniently located close to the airport, railway station, and famous tourist attractions. As one steps outside, there is a fitness centre, a business centre and one of three banquet halls to choose from which are segregated among the lobby and the first floors. Pavilion is a one-stop destination to relish in the hotel’s delicacies. Sarbendra Sarkar, Founder and Managing Director, Cygnett Hotels and Resorts, said, “While it cannot be ignored that finances, proper pricing and timed positioning of one’s brand are important aspects for any business to cater to, it is essential that we, at Cygnett always prioritises on giving our guests an experience which hopefully they will remember for life!”

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Private Safaris Southern Africa appoints representation agency in India

Private Safaris Southern Africa, a leading destination management company based in South Africa and Namibia, has recently appointed The Strategy Store as its representative in India. Talking about the appointment, Monika Iuel, CEO, Private Safaris Southern Africa says, “The Private Safaris brand has always enjoyed a healthy support from the Indian market. By partnering with The Strategy Store, and through their excellent relationships and reputation, we will no doubt improve our footprint even further. We look forward to the presence our new partnership with The Strategy Store will bring us.” Commenting on the development, Sherry Varma, Founder, The Strategy Store said, “We have a very emotional connection to South Africa, and we are extremely happy to be assigned the task of handling marketing and sales for Private Safaris Southern Africa in India. Private Safaris’ competitive packages and quality of services will help us to develop and multiply their market share in India. We are very thankful to Private Safaris for this opportunity and are very excited to be part of the team.” Private Safaris arranges all aspects of destination management services in Southern Africa for FITs, groups, business and leisure.

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OYO, Motherland partner to co-develop a series of new hotel formats

OYO has formed a strategic partnership with Motherland Joint Ventures, the group that has helped build India’s global brands, including Incredible India, Royal Enfield, Make in India and IndiGo. This partnership will enable OYO and Motherland to co-develop a series of exciting new hotel formats and enhance various aspects of customer experience – including key touch points such as Interiors and ergonomics – all of which will offer guests an unprecedented combination of style, efficiency and affordability. This category transformation process began in 2017 with the launch of OYO Townhouse, the ‘friendly neighbourhood  hotel’ that is receiving rave reviews as it rapidly expands across the country. This alliance will facilitate and strengthen OYO’s mission of creating beautiful living spaces via its innovative approach to brand strategy, product definition and customer experience design. As part of this strategic partnership, OYO and Motherland will be launching a massive new retail collaboration that will feature a mix of original products specially designed for new age brands such as OYO Townhouse. Initially available exclusively at OYO Townhouses, Motherland products will soon be available at other OYO spaces, including online channels. Commenting on the partnership, Ritesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO, OYO said, “In our pursuit of creating beautiful living spaces, the partnership with Motherland will enable us to co-develop new, exciting hotel formats and enhance guest experiences – including Interiors and ergonomics – offering guests an unprecedented mix of style, efficiency and affordability. We are confident the Motherland alliance will augment OYO’s overall value propositions through their skills in brand strategy, marketing and designing.”  

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SaffronStays empowers rural India through training centre

Micro-hospitality brand SaffronStays has launched its first-ever training centre to facilitate 360-degree training locals who can be employed as cooks and caretakers in vacation homes across the country. The brand will teach, train and empower 1500 individuals in skills ranging from hygiene to health-care, and cooking to concierge. Tejas Parulekar, Founder, SaffronStays, says, “We are an inclusive brand. Our caretakers are our ‘Moment of Truth’ since they are first recall points of brand experience, and hence training them was a priority. The training centre in Panvel is our first giant step towards skills development, and would over time, become a part of our CSR activity. We would eventually look at top hospitality brands to collaborate and co-create the modules to train the staff”. The first successful test run involved caretakers from SaffronStays 9 Palms, Alibaug, SaffronStays Sanskriti, Kashi, and SaffronStays Little Paradise, Murud. The caretakers were imparted in-depth knowledge of local dishes that covered over 25 recipes for breakfast, lunch, high tea and dinner. Various types of service-enhancing modules were taught during the three-day session. This included styling and setting up of community tables, table decoration and flower arrangement using locally-grown flaura. The aim is to cater to the larger goal of running 500 homes and providing a parallel support of skilled caretakers.

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