Our Bureau

Bangalore, April 6

CLUB Mahindra Holidays, a subsidiary of the Mahindra & Mahindra group, aims to increase its membership base to 100,000 from 70,000.

The timeshare company has already set up 14 resorts in different parts of the country and opened its first unit in Karnataka in March.

Club Mahindra hopes to acquire more properties to achieve its objective of becoming the leader in the business.

Speaking to newspersons in Madikeri in Coorg, where its new resort has been formally opened, Mr Arun Nanda, Chairman, and Mr Ramesh Ramanathan, Managing Director, said that in a short time the company had witnessed rapid growth, with the member base going up by 52 per cent last year.

This has encouraged the company to target 1,00,000 members in about five years.

The Club Mahindra Kodagu Valley Resort has been built at an initial cost of Rs 20 crore; it has 62 units of studio and single bedroom apartments.

The entire project, with 170 units, to be completed by October is estimated to cost Rs 43 crore.

The resort was formally opened by Mr Keshub Mahindra, Chairman of the group.

Spread across 30 acres of lush green valley amid coffee plants and 30 other species of vegetation, Club Mahindra Kodagu Valley Resort seeks to capture the essence of Kodagu culture and ambiance.

"We have attempted to highlight the rich Kodagu culture in every aspect of the resort, right from the architecture to the rooms used by the guests and cuisines," said Mr Ramanathan, adding that it would also provide several nature trails, jungle walks and bird watching tours.

Encouraged by good response from different segments of clientele, Club Mahindra is planning to address the middle class with a product addressing their aspirations in terms of cost of ownership and other facilities, said Mr Nanda, adding that no firm plans have been worked out as yet.

Plans global expansion

CLUB Mahindra Holidays s aiming at taking its brand globally by acquiring properties or tying up with local partners.

The company, which in less than ten years has set up 14 resorts in the country, plans to invest about Rs 100 core in two years towards expansion and marketing and sales.

Club Mahindra made modest foray into the international market by acquiring its own property in Thailand while the company extended its presence in the South East Asian region by buying units from the existing resorts to provide the "international experience" of its brand to its Indian customers. It plans to acquire a property in Sri Lanka while it has an exchange programme with a local resort in Kuala Lumpur.

Mr Keshub Mahindra, Chairman of M&M Group, told Business Line in Coorg that having gained strong hold in the infrastructure business, the company made a conscious decision to focus on resort as "we saw timeshare as a catalyst for the growth of family holidays".

He ruled out the group entering the airlinesindustry saying "we will seek growth only in the areas where we are strong and would aim for consolidation".

Mr Arun Nanda, Chairman of Club Mahindra Holidays, elaborated on the company's plans and said it was looking for tie-ups or acquiring properties in conformity with the regulations of other countries to expand its network abroad.

He said the US was an important destination for Club Mahindra.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated April 7, 2005)
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