Tag Archives: Founder

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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Flipkart partners with MakeMyTrip

Indian e-tail major Flipkart announced its tie-up with MakeMyTrip for travel bookings. “Through the partnership, users can now make travel bookings through MakeMyTrip’s services using Flipkart’s mobile application,” an official from MakeMyTrip said. The partnership will be rolled out with domestic flight bookings in the next few weeks, followed by hotels, bus and holiday bookings. The companies, however, did not specify the exact time frame for the rollout. “The partnership will help us reach out to an even wider consumer base through MakeMyTrip’s multiple travel booking sites — MakeMyTrip, Goibibo and redBus — and open up the online travel market significantly,” said Deep Kalra, Founder and Group Chief Executive Officer, MakeMyTrip. The tie-up also helps in furthering Flipkart’s goal of being a “one-stop destination” for all digital transactions, added Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO, Flipkart. The companies did not disclose the financial details of the partnership. Founded in 2007, Bengaluru-based e-commerce platform Flipkart claims to have a customer base of over 100 million in the country.

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Cygnett Hotels & Resorts launches Cygnett Lite Ramachandra in Vizag

Cygnett Hotels & Resorts has recently launched Cygnett Lite Ramachandra at Visakhapatnam, adding 42 keys to its repertoire. The hotel is strategically located at a distance of just 30 minutes’ drive from Visakhapatnam International Airport. The hotel emphasises on approachable design, has spacious and modern rooms and offers an all-day dining service. With its latest addition, the chain will now have a total of 15 operating hotels under its wings. Moreover, nine new properties are scheduled to open by December 2018, including Vishakhapatnam. Another seven to eight hotels will be lined up for opening by this financial year. “Our vision is to reinvent the definition of leisure and business travel, transforming the hotel into a preferred choice for guests. We are committed to creating memorable guest experiences by combining the Cygnetture brand experience and the city’s local attractions. Cygnett hotels are further expanding its brand portfolio, across the growing Tier-I and II cities in India and we foresee a great potential in becoming the favourite hospitality brand for travellers in the city,” said Sarbendra Sarkar, Founder & Managing Director, Cygnett Hotels & Resorts. “Reflecting the brand’s promise to provide what matters most to today’s independent travellers, the hotel offers the brand’s defining touches, including the Cygnett Comfort Bed, complimentary bottled water, free Wi-Fi and Cygnetture breakfast,” said Alok Verma, CEO, Cygnett Hotels & Resorts.

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OYO acquires Chennai-based Novascotia Boutique Homes

Having inked its first business acquisition, OYO has entered into an agreement with Chennai-based service apartment company, Novascotia Boutique Homes. The acquisition will add to the company’s existing portfolio and reiterate its focus on corporate service. Commenting on the development, Ritesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO, OYO said, “The acquisition forms an integral part of our inorganic growth plan, in line with our ambition to create quality living spaces and add value to every form of real estate. OYO is poised to deliver 180,000 keys by the end of 2018 and with Novascotia’s strength, we will be adding service apartments to our existing portfolio.” With this acquisition, OYO will bring its distribution, operational, transformational and technological capabilities on board for offering corporate travellers accommodation options. The acquisition will boost OYO’s portfolio by 350 rooms across locations where Novascotia has its footprints. Novascotia has built a portfolio in locations including Chennai, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Kochi and Trivandrum. OYO plans to expand these offerings to 12 cities by the end of 2018. These serviced apartments are located in the heart of business hubs equipped with spacious rooms, upscale interiors, meals, gym and dining area to cater all the requirements of business travellers.  

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Travel Duet moves HO, opens office in Mumbai

In an effort to expand its reach further in the market, Kolkata-based ‘A Travel Duet’ has moved its head office to Mumbai. Pritish Shah, Founder, A Travel Duet, who has also moved to Mumbai, says, “We had a branch office in Mumbai while being headquartered in Kolkata. But we soon realised that if we want to expand, Mumbai is the place to be, specially with the kind of products we offer. Mumbai is also a trendsetter in many ways. We also have a huge emphasis on having Preferred Partners such as Relaix & Chateau, Four Seasons, and Luxury Lodges of New Zealand and we are keen to expand that portfolio from about 10 brands right now to 100 this year. That is also one of the reasons why we wanted to move to Mumbai.” The Mumbai office will have a staff strength of about 15-20 people and will be located in Khar West. The company offers high-end, exclusive leisure holidays to couples. Speaking more about expansion plans for this year, Shah adds, “We want to make the company the best luxury travel brand for couples in India. At a later stage, we will also open an office in Delhi which will purely have a sales and operations team.”    

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BigBreaks launches two touring options for Indian travellers

BigBreaks has announced the launch of ‘Self Drive Holidays’, a unique product in association with Myles, India’s leading car rental company. At the initial stage, the holiday packages have been designed for Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai, which would soon extend to other major cities too. At an all inclusive price, travellers can book a complete holiday, that includes self drive car rental and hotel accommodation on pre-planned routes. “Designed for young travellers, these self drive holidays have seen an excellent response”, said Kapil Goswamy, Founder & Managing Director, BigBreaks. Another recent launch by BigBreaks was Pilgrimage Holidays. Given the size of the pilgrimage market, both among resident Indians and non-resident Indians, Goswamy is extremely bullish on this segment. “From Kedarnath and Badrinath in the north, Rameshwar in the south, to Jagannath Puri in the east and Dwarka in the west, we’ve launched Pilgrimage Holiday options to over 20 of the important pilgrimage spots in India, and more are being added everyday. The most popular so far have been Chardham Yatra’s , where for those short on time, we’ve even begun offering Do Dham Darshan in just one day ex Delhi, Goswamy shared.

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Royal Orchid announces partnership with UK’s Bespoke Hotels

Royal Orchid Hotels has announced that it has reached an agreement to represent Bespoke Hotels in India. With this strategic partnership, Bespoke and Royal Orchid shall work together to enhance each other’s revenues and brand presence in their respective markets. Royal Orchid now has the ability to offer its guests hundreds of hotel options across multiple global markets. Bespoke, in turn, shall promote this new partnership in the Indian subcontinent to its guests. Bespoke Hotels has grown to represent and manage over 200 properties worldwide, with over 50 represented hotels in India, and stands as the UK’s Largest Independent Hotel Group. Founded in 2000 by Haydn Fentum and Robin Sheppard, Bespoke has consistently grown to the point where they now manage over 9,500 hotel rooms, 8,000 employees and £815 million of assets. Chender Baljee, Founder, Royal Orchid Hotels, says, “We are thrilled to have Bespoke Hotels on board, to offer our guests 100’s of hotels abroad, and to market our hotels to inbound International travellers. We are looking forward to growing and reinforcing the standing of both brands in the future.” With over 47 hotels under management and ownership, Royal Orchid Hotels encompasses a range of luxury and five star properties in Bengaluru, Jaipur, Mumbai, and Goa. Robin Sheppard, Founder, Bespoke Hotels, says, “We are delighted to have reached agreement to represent Royal Orchid and welcome them to our burgeoning international portfolio. They boast a portfolio in some of India’s finest locations, with a commitment to the highest standards of hospitality.”

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Travelport and MakeMyTrip join hands

MakeMyTrip and InterGlobe Technology Quotient, the official distributor of Travelport in India have forged a strategic alliance that will allow the OTA access into Travelport’s Travel Commerce Platform. Under the agreement, MakeMyTrip can expand the use of Travelport’s technology from the Ibibo Group to their other primary distribution channels starting in the second half of calendar year 2017. Gordon Wilson, Travelport’s President and CEO, commented, “India is a market with enormous growth potential where Travelport, working with our distributor ITQ, has grown in air booking terms by 14 per cent in the first half of 2017 when the GDS air market has grown by 11 per cent. Securing a partnership with the leading online travel agency in the market, with a high growth profile and tremendous track record, gives even further impetus to our plans in the country.” Deep Kalra, Founder, Chairman and Group CEO, MakeMyTrip, added, “This is an exciting time for MakeMyTrip and we are delighted to partner with Travelport and ITQ as part of our growth strategy in the service of the travelling Indian consumer.” Travelport currently boasts a portfolio of approximately 400 airlines, including the merchandised content of over half of these carriers such as fares families and ancillary products (paid seat assignments, baggage fees, priority boarding, etc). MakeMyTrip, along with its other entities Goibibo and redBus receives over 33 million visits via its desktop and mobile-web platforms and serves over 40 million mobile app active users each month.

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Seychelles Tourist Office, India, conducts seminar in Seychelles

Seychelles Tourist Office, India recently conducted a seminar for local hoteliers, DMCs, tourism board head office and other establishments in Seychelles. The seminar is aimed at defining the Indian market and presenting its nitty-gritties to the local travel trade fraternity of Seychelles. The event witnessed speeches on the cultural and behavioural differences between the two countries by three eminent speakers from India. These included Ashutosh Mehere, COO Alliances, Cox & Kings, India; Jai Bujhwala, Founder, Holidays Box; and Parthip Thyagarajan, Founder, WeddingSutra.com. Sherin Francis, CEO, Seychelles Tourism Board, was also present at the event. She said, “The seminar was one of its kind and highly informative for all our private sector partners. It created awareness about the diversity of India and answered many questions about the trade and tourist behaviour. It certainly created a high inquisitiveness about the market among the locals which is a great sign for developing further relations with the Indian market.” Lubaina Sheerazi, COO, Blue Square Consultants, Seychelles Tourist office India, explained the cultural diversity and uniqueness of the Indian market setting stage for the speakers. She says, “We were happy with the reception of the seminar and glad that our agenda of bringing out the differences between any other market and India for Seychelles had been met. The speakers gave some highly thought provoking inputs which will certainly better equip the private sector to cater differently to the Indian audience and allow us to further expand our vision for the destination.”

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TAAI-NR gets a new team; Neeraj Malhotra elected as Chairman

Travel Agents Association of India- Northern Region has elected Neeraj Malhotra, Co-founder and CEO, Ganpati Travels, as its new Chairman, while Gaurav Dogra, Founder, Plan Your Holiday, is the new Honorary Secretary. Gurdevinder Singh of Bhagwant Travel and Tours has been elected for the position of Treasurer for 2017-19. Malhotra said, “I am thankful to the team of TAAI-NR for their support and faith in me. Going forward, our first agenda is to consolidate the members and also focus on increasing membership during our term. Since our industry is going through tough times with the implementation of GST, we will be conducting various knowledge sessions to address and explain to the members how they can work under this regime. Also in collaboration with various organisations like PHD Chamber of Commerce and CII, we will be holding education seminars for our members to increase the information quotient. We are also looking at offering value additions to our members like education conferences abroad, more familiarisation trips to learn about new destinations and sell them to increase their revenue arm.” TAAI Northern Region also plans to partner with multiple tourism boards to conduct learning sessions for its members.

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