Expects 30-40 per cent growth in business this year
KAHINI CHAKRABORTY – Mumbai
With an aim to gain 30-40 per cent growth in business this year, Mahindra Homestays, the hospitality arm of Mahindra Holidays and Resorts India, has introduced new categories of vacation options. The company has expanded its destinations to more hill stations like Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh including Leh, Coorg, Ooty, Kunnur apart from wildlife, urban getaways, beaches and backwaters, rural communities. After offering hosted homes, it is now offering vacation homes, as well as adding new experiences like houseboats in Kashmir, Allepey or tented accommodations in Himachal Pradesh. These accommodations would be close to 10 rooms. The company is also looking at entering into partnerships with state tourism boards who are keen to promote homestay options.
Speaking about the latest developments on the company’s front, Vimla Dorairaju, business head, Mahindra Homestays said, “Keeping in mind the travel habits of Indians we are introducing new categories of homestays options. Apart from the new categories of vacation options to choose from, we are also looking at introducing weekend breaks which are closer to cities. We have been leveraging on social media and have benefitted immensely. Last year we sold 7,000 room nights and this year we are expecting 30-40 per cent growth in business. Almost every week we keep adding new destinations to our offerings.”
The company is also in the process of refurbishing its website in order to make navigation and functionality easier for travellers. The website has options such as destinations, new itineraries and add ons, blog post. It is in its last leg of including options like pet friendly homestays, different kinds of category vacation experiences. Dorairaju added, “The fundamental behind refurbishing the website was the functionality aspect. The number of traveller visits and booking on the website has doubled. For sure, there seems to be a growing awareness for homestays experiences. It is a trend that is catching up in the Indian market lately. We are also open to working with the Indian travel trade. We already have been successful with foreign travel trade and provide our homestay options to 25 inbound tour operators.”