After a two-year-long lull for the hospitality industry, Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Limited.’s chief, Kavinder Singh, is optimistic for the company’s growth during the coming fiscal.
Singh, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, spoke to BusinessLine about the company’s expansion plan, adding more destinations., and goals for member addition.
Kindly shed light on the company’s growth in the past year and its expansion plan for the coming fiscal.
We added new resorts. Last year, we added 465 rooms and nine resorts. We are a 4300+ room inventory; we’ve had our highest ever addition in the recent past. We will have over 4,500 rooms by the end of this year. We are optimistic about the future. Leisure travel is picking up, and we see a huge opportunity for Mahindra Resorts. We are now 80+ destinations, including 10-12 resorts abroad. To differentiate our offerings for our guests, we have over 2,000+ experiences at our resorts.
As of last quarter, the company had added 3,700 members taking the company’s total member count at 2,62,000 members. How many members does Mahindra Holidays plan to add by this quarter end?
This quarter is normally supposed to be good, but, no doubt, Omicron has affected us in January, so we did not add as many members as we would have wanted to. However, there is interest generation in February and March. We have seen a pick up in momentum. While we cannot give you absolute numbers, I could fairly say that we are on an upward trajectory. I don’t see a harm in crossing the number we crossed had the previous quarter.
Almost 58 per cent of our members are now coming from referrals and our digital platform. This also means that the quality of members is also getting better. More importantly, our cash position is also getting better, and they are paying upfront, which is a good sign for the company. These are coming from our target age group between 30-55 who are purchasing our 25-year membership.
Multiple projects, including properties in Gujarat, Ganpatiphile, Shimla, were stalled because of covid. Has the company been able to open those?
Yes, we had a property in Netrang, which we opened up. We also had the Golf Resort called Club Mahindra Resort - Kensville Golf Resort, Ahmedabad. Ganpatiphule is still in the pipeline, but it will be started this year. It’s a nice 235 room property. The room addition in the Kadaghat, Shimla resort will also be completed by this year-end. We have also been recently awarded a PPP boutique project in Janjehli, in Himachal Pradesh. It is a 28-30 room property. We are also working with Maharashtra Tourism to see where we can expand our presence in the state.
For the coming fiscal, which regions in India do the company plan to add resorts in?
We’d like to explore the Eastern region for resorts and members. We plan to add one more resort in Gangtok and expand the existing resort. We are also looking at property additions near Darjeeling, Digha, Kaziranga, and Sundarbans. We will also have our presence in Shillong. In the South, we continuously plan to look at properties in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and Maharashtra, where we have a good member base.
The company was looking at distressed sale properties. Did it find any?
It’s a work in progress. However, in our case, hotel rooms have to be studio apartments and other rooms. We cannot have small, cookie-cutter rooms because we are a resort company. We look for resorts in spread-out locations, with big rooms that are not easy to find. One has to work hard to find such properties because good properties are never in distress. Also, these properties which are in distress may not be up to our standards or may not even be in a position to be brought to our standard.
The company was looking at a separate arm for management contracts. What’s the update on that?
We are looking at that segment in a detailed manner. You will soon hear from us on that in the next couple of quarters.