What is the current trend identified within the sector?
The Indian hospitality sector has witnessed a transformation in the last one decade. The standard of facilities provided to guests has gone up considerably and guest satisfaction is becoming the prime motive. The room rates and occupancy have been getting consistent gains from both domestic and international travellers in the business and leisure segment. Indians are slowly graduating to FIT travel, and online hotel booking is a normal practice. Travellers are moving away from traditional group travel but it is still immensely popular with tier II and III three cities where outbound travel is still a relatively new concept. In terms of FIT travel, emphasis is on short haul destinations within Asia and Indian Ocean islands. This has mainly come in effect due to paucity of time and budget availability. Another interesting trend for metro travellers’ is to take more than one outbound holiday in a year and once again South East Asian destinations work out both economical as well good value for money. Our resorts are designed to offer variety of activities in some scenic locations across the world for the above target group.
How well has the ‘All inclusive concept’ been accepted by the Indian audience?
Club Med’s philosophy is to bring happiness to everyone which creates a joyful and positive atmosphere in all our resorts around the world. Our resorts are designed to offer variety of activities in some scenic locations across the world based on all inclusive concept. The concept has been largely accepted in India as we have seen around 50 per cent of Club Med customers in India as repeat clientele or through references and our clients are extremely satisfied with our service levels in our resorts. The concept has been accepted because of hassle free concept with no hidden costs and an opportunity to explore various food, sports and entertainment options without having to pay heavily for every item separately.
What are the various offerings at Club Med?
The all inclusive tag also covers every aspect of vacation interests. Club Med offers all type of meals, sumptuous international buffets, morning, noon and night including unlimited flow of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages allowing guest to eat and drink as much as they want. It provides guests host of land and water activities and a wide range of truly world-class spa treatments, including Balinese massages, warm stone massages, pure nature facials, reflexology and aromatherapy. There are various facilities for children like Petit Club service for two-three years, Children’s Club from four years old, Passworld, Junior’s Club for teenagers between 11-17 years.
Who is your target clientele?
With the all inclusive concept, Club Med largely attracts all age groups and types of clientele who want a relaxing hassle-free holiday without worrying about organisation, schedules or costs. For instance, we have families with kids who come largely during festive season. These are the people who would want to enjoy their own space without worrying about their kids. Our resort in Maldives attracts a lot of honeymooners who are looking for a quiet peaceful stay at an exotic location.
Another trend identified is that a lot of honeymooners prefer adventure led activities like water sports, etc during their stay. Club Med fits into the concept as all our resorts have various land and water activities from deep sea fishing, sailing, kayaking etc. Up market global Indians, enjoy meeting different nationalities and discovering new cultures, food lovers enjoy discovering different cuisines from Asia, young at heart vacationers and sports enthusiasts love the idea of trying out different sports activities on vacation.
What markets are you looking at in India?
In India, our main markets at present are Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru.
What is the growth rate registered in the last year? What growth rate do you expect in 2013?
Club Med in India has registered a growth rate of around 25 per cent every year and with a focused approach we expect to double our number of guests per annum by 2014.
What are the marketing and promotional activities in India?
In India, our activities are centred around increasing concept awareness in defined markets and business volume by expanding through a strong distribution network of travel agents. We undertake online campaigns, offline media activities, BTL programmes etc that keeps our consumers aware, educated and regularly updated on our offerings and ongoing initiatives. We are working towards creating Club Med specialists with our preferred travel partners who will counsel their customers on our unique holiday offering and are also looking at an aggressive distribution strategy by which it will be available through multi outlets.
What are your plans for expanding client base across India?
Club Med aims to widen its clientele and cater to various traveller segments like corporate companies, expats, families, honeymooners, enticing holidayers who are looking for a relaxed, all inclusive hassle free holiday, and its Indian marketing office is ensuring an easy access for Indians to this unique holiday concept.
Any challenges and problems witnessed within the sector that you would like to highlight?
The overall slowdown in economic growth coupled with ever increasing inflation which immediately impacts spending capacity of customer is a challenge. The new tax structure which has made outbound travel even more expensive is a concern. In terms of domestic and inbound tourism, there are various issues like terms of lack of infrastructure, inadequate accommodation, etc. Poor hygiene conditions at tourist spots and other accompanying problem too stall the growth of the industry. We need to take steps to make our destinations tourism friendly so that the industry can reach its full potential.