Sterling Holidays expects 70-75 per cent occupancy during the festive season. Average Room Rates (ARR) have also seen steady growth by up to 35 per cent in the past two quarters. 

Speaking to businessline, Vikram Lalvani - Chief Excecutive Officer, Sterling Holiday Resorts Ltd, said the company, which has been cautiously optimistic, is now optimistic that travel will recover by the end of this fiscal. “There has been a hockey stick recovery over the past two quarters. Hence, our outlook is positive, and we are confident about H2 of FY23,” he said.  

September to November are important for the Indian travel industry due to the festive season and it sees the highest occupancy rates during this period. Sterling Holidays, too, is expecting a 70-75 per cent occupancy rate during the festive season. “Due to Covid, Indians had not been travelling much. However, this festive season we’re seeing confidence amongst travellers.”

However, there has been a change in the way they are travelling post-Covid. “Prior to Covid, people preferred long-haul domestic travel over short-haul options. It used to be a 70:30 split. That trend has flipped entirely. Now people prefer driving to closer destinations, and planning multiple smaller trips.”

In view of this trend, the company is building on a multi-destination hub model. It is opening resorts at places like Madurai, which is a connection point to Kodaikanal, and Kalimpong in West Bengal. The company aims to have more such hubs within India in the next fiscal. It plans to add new locations, including Pench in Madhya Pradesh, Igatpuri in Maharashtra, Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu and Karwar (expansion) in Karnataka. 

Sterling Holidays, which essentially functions on a time-share model, is moving towards a hybrid model which allows the company to demand a higher tariff from customers.

As of September 2022, Sterling had around 40 resorts across India. Speaking about the company’s inventory plans, Lalvani said they would double inventory to 5,000 rooms across the country in the next three years. 

If FY22, Sterling Holidays posted revenue from operations of Rs 245 crore, compared to Rs 194 crore at the same time in the last fiscal. It’s profit after tax doubled to Rs 40 crore (Rs 20 crore at the same time in the last fiscal). However, its expenses rose to Rs 216 crore from Rs 180 crore last fiscal.