Tag Archives: Partner

33% of hotel bookings in India to be made online by 2021: Google-Bain & Company report

The proportion of online bookings has been increasing rapidly and is expected to reach 33 per cent of all hotel bookings by 2021 due to a proliferation of online aggregators, according to a latest study titled ‘How does India travel?’ jointly prepared by Google and Bain & Company. The report states that during key research-heavy phase of interest, research and experience, digital plays a pivotal role with over 86 percent of consumers being influenced by online channels. During this phase, travellers spend their maximum time on search, travel tour provider websites, price comparison websites, and travel articles. Online video too plays a significant role with 21 per cent of travellers being influenced by this platform. In the booking and sharing phase, the report states that nearly 60 per cent of customers book transport and lodging online, and over 50 per cent share feedback online with social media being the dominant platform. Talking about the market opportunities for online travel players, Vikas Agnihotri, Country Director – Sales, Google India said, “New users perceive that online channels are geared towards the more frequent flyers and experience-oriented travellers; and existing travellers research online but the lack of trust in payments and booking experience make them end up booking offline. If travel players tap these online users through personalised marketing, messaging and travel plans, they can further augment online travel bookings. This can be done by adopting digital technologies to influence customers early in the journey and moving from one-time engagement to ongoing relationships to have a positive impact.” “There is a perception amongst consumers that online channels are geared towards premium customers, along with a marked distrust around payment and pricing terms. It is imperative for businesses …

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Sterling Holiday Resorts to open its 34th resort in Jaipur

Sterling Holiday Resorts is set to launch its latest resort in Jaipur. With this launch, Sterling now has increased its holiday network to 34 resorts across the country. This is Sterling’s second property in Rajasthan, underlining the importance it gives to expansion in India’s foremost tourist destination. Sterling Holiday Resorts has signed a management agreement with Atharva Hotels and Resorts for Sterling Jaipur. Located on the Jaipur-Ajmer NH-8, Sterling Jaipur is spread across 6 acres of land and is divided into two wings: the Palace and Cottage wings. The architecture is inspired by the world-famous Rajasthani art and architecture. There are 45 luxurious rooms in the resort. Speaking on this occasion, Ramesh Ramanathan, Managing Director, Sterling Holiday Resorts stated, “Rajasthan is at the heart of cultural experiences and attracts tourists from different parts of the world. This resort will further bolster “Brand Sterling” in providing experiential and immersive holidays to its guests.” Commenting on this partnership, NBS Raathore, Partner, Atharva Hotel & Resorts said, “We are delighted to work with Sterling and we believe “Brand Sterling” brings immense leisure hospitality expertise, and with this launch we look forward to establishing Sterling Jaipur as a premier resort.” The resort offers extensive recreational and meeting facilities, which include a conference hall, three spacious lawns for banquet and weddings facilities, spa and swimming pool, two restaurants and a rooftop resto-bar.

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RARE India hosts maiden Très RARE in Delhi

The maiden edition of Très RARE recorded over 100 Indian destination management companies and 30 foreign tour operators from the UK, US, France, Germany and Italy. Instituted by RARE India, the event was a showcase of the finest boutique hotels, lodges, hideaways, camps and retreats in India, Nepal, and Bhutan that aimed to engage with the bespoke tour operators and media from India and overseas, alongside an eclectic mix of world travellers. Conducted over two days, the event focused on intensive one-on-one engagement, knowledge building and innovations. The close interactions with hotel owners and hosts were followed by 11 hosted familiarisation trips across India. The event also hosted speakers on hospitality and related topics to add value to the concept of experiential travel in the sub-continent. Sowmya R Vijaymohan, Partner at RARE India said, “This is probably the first green event where no plastic has been used, thus following the green document. It is a tribute to all the bespoke boutique hotels. These boutique hotels inspired us at RARE to break away from the traditional and create an intimate showcase that focuses on the niche rather than the mass and mainstream.” Some of the hotels which participated at Tres Rare were RAAS Jodhpur in Rajasthan, Bhainsrorgarh Fort, Rajasthan, Hotel Druk, Bhutan, Pepper Trail, Kerela, Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge, Nepal, Deccan Odyssey, etc.

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MTOA conducts GST seminar for members in Mumbai

Following close on the heels of national travel trade associations, the Maharashtra Tour Organisers Association (MTOA) recently conducted a seminar on the impending GST for its members in Mumbai. It was conducted on June 5, 2017, by noted Service Tax expert Manish Gadia, Partner, GMJ & Co, who conducted similar sessions for TAAI as well as IATO. Sudhir Patil, President, MTOA, says, “We welcome the new GST regime though there is a lot of fear factor attached to it. Complications are expected. But I hope that more seminars will help us make this a smooth transition.” The association also launched its website (www.mtoa.co.in) on the same day.

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IATO’s GST session gets a full house in Mumbai

The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) recently organised a seminar with noted Service Tax expert Manish Gadia, Partner, GMJ & Co to talk on GST and to reply to member queries. The session mostly touched upon how GST is likely to affect inbound agents. Himanshu Agashiwala, Chairman, Maharashtra Chapter, IATO, said, “Everyone has been discussing about GST and so we decided to conduct this session in Mumbai. We saw a fantastic response with more than 75 members attending the event. We even welcomed a couple of non-members from the trade.” The association also discussed a few state-related issues before the session including the scarcity of guides, transport tax and upcoming events. Agashiwala also urged members to get more active and help out the committee in various tasks, including volunteering for the Hotel Inspection Committee that IATO is a part of.

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JA Resorts & Hotels to open property in Sri Lanka by end of 2017

Dubai-based JA Resorts & Hotels, that currently has properties in Maldives, Seychelles, and Dubai, will be making inroads into a new destination with its property in Sri Lanka. Pooja Wadhwa, Partner, Avant Garde Consulting, that is the promoting the group in India, reveals, “JA Resorts & Hotels is now making its way into a rather unexplored region in Sri Lanka later this year. Its third luxury beach resort, JA Eclipse Beach Resort, is under construction on the east coast of Sri Lanka and is due to open in the last quarter of 2017. It will be a premium tropical beach resort in Kathiraveli with 33 acres of greenery and a beach front of 450 metres.” Local design features such as laterite stone walls, wood teak ceiling, veneer teak walls, split granite and rich vibrant Sri Lankan textiles have been incorporated in to the design. Moreover, JA Hatta Fort Hotel, the group’s charming getaway retreat located an hour’s drive from Dubai, recently underwent a major refurbishment and is now all set to welcome guests for leisure, special occasions, business and incentive stays. It is set in 80 acres of manicured gardens in the majestic Hajar Mountain range and has quaint chalet-style rooms, with rock feature swimming pools and restaurants.

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Higher tax for tour operators

CA Manish Gadia, Partner, GMJ & Co, says, “The Service Tax has indeed gone up from 1.5 per cent to nine per cent on the total tour package now, which is a huge jump. While the tour operators will now have to pay a higher tax, they will also stand to benefit from this as they can now take set-offs in the form of CENVAT credit. According to this, service providers are allowed a set-off of the taxes paid on the services that are incurred while providing the same.”

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JA Resorts & Hotels appoints India representative

Mumbai-based Avant Garde Consulting has taken on JA Resorts & Hotels as part of its connoisseur’s collection, which is a collection of seven properties spread across Dubai, and one each in the Maldives and Seychelles. Pooja Wadhwa, Partner, Avant Garde Consulting, said, “The company has an analogous marketing philosophy and market segmentation as ours, and we see a perfect fit for each of their properties in various segments within the ever evolving Indian market that desires an authentic and enriching experience. We look forward to building the JA Resorts & Hotels brand in India, and subsequently acquire a large market share for JA in India.” JA’s Portfolio includes seven properties in Dubai, JA Manafaru exclusive island resort in the Maldives and Enchanted Island Resort by JA in Seychelles, which is a super-luxurious 10 villa property each with private beach access and a private pool.

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RARE adds 4 new hotels to its portfolio

Representation and marketing company, RARE has added four new hotel partners to it’s portfolio. “We are thrilled to introduce these fresh off the boat properties for the year 2016. Call us RARE 50 as we endeavor to be a curated collection of 50 of the most unique concept oriented properties,” says Sowmya R Vijaymohan, Partner, RARE India in a statement. These new properties are: Raas Devigarh, Udaipur and Khaas Bagh, Jaipur in Rajasthan; Rajakkad Estate, Palani Hills in Tamil Nadu; and Reni Pani Jungle Lodges, Satpura in Madhya Pradesh. 39-suites strong Raas Devigarh, Udaipur, is within the spectacular fort complex of Devigarh in a rural setting just under an hour, north of Udaipur. While Khaas Bagh, Jaipur (Raj.) is no more than a ten minute drive from the city of Jaipur. Built on the lines of a haveli, but spread out like a country home with large open terraces, courtyards, verandas, and offers 18 spacious suites. The Rajakkad Estate in Palani Hills (TN), just under a two hour drive from Madurai, is a unique homestay located on a 40 acre coffee and pepper plantation. Reni Pani is an elegant lodge focused on the wildlife experience, a short drive from the Tawa Reservoir. Stylish and spacious cottages, 12 of them are distributed for privacy on a varied landscape featuring grass lands, a seasonal nulla and a hearty tree cover allow animals, insects, reptiles and birds to flourish. The lodge manager, himself an avid birder captains a team of naturalists constantly trained under his supervision.

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