Sterling Holiday Resorts plans to double room-count to 4,800 in four years

NARAYANAN V Chennai | Updated on August 27, 2019 Published on August 27, 2019

Ramesh Ramanathan, MD, Sterling Holiday Resorts Ltd   -  Kamal Narang

Leisure and hospitality company Sterling Holiday Resorts plans to add more than 2,000 rooms in the next four years, according to a senior official of the company.

The Chennai-based company currently has 2,400 rooms spread across 35 resorts across the country, ranging from hill stations to places of heritage and cultural significance.

“Our idea is to double our rooms to go anywhere between 4,800 and 5,000 by 2023,” said Ramesh Ramanathan, Managing Director, Sterling Holiday Resorts Limited.

Lease contracts

As part of the augmentation, the Thomas Cook India subsidiary will enter into lease and management contracts with multiple developers.

The company has signed one lease contract and five management contracts to open new properties at six destinations. The new properties will come up in Guruvayur, Mysuru, Thekkady, Palavelli, Igatpuri and Karjat.

These properties together will add around 450 rooms. While four properties will be ready by the end of the current financial year, Igatpuri and Karjat units will become operational around the same time next year.

“Initially we were using our own resorts then we moved on to leased resorts and now we have moved to management contracts model,” Ramanathan said.

“Companies take to management contract model when their brands are very successful and I think now our brand is successful enough to adopt this model,” Ramanathan added.

Besides establishing hotels in pure holiday destinations, Sterling also focusses on adding more hotels in heritage centres like Jaipur and Agra, pilgrimage destinations like Shirdi and drive-to holiday locations.

Sterling Holiday, a pioneer in the membership-based ‘timeshare vacation business’, is also strengthening its hotel (non-membership segment) to attract customers who are not interested in long-term membership product.

Under the timeshare model, a member is required to pay a one-time membership fee to get holidays for a certain number of days every year.

Currently, timeshare and hotel business contribute equally to the company’s revenues.

“But we are not in anyway de-emphasising our timeshare portion. Our’s is a hybrid strategy, we are growing our non-member portion of the business while keeping our membership side intact,” Ramanathan said.

In order to scale up the business, the experiential holiday company has developed a four-pronged strategy which covers sales, customer (200-plus unique holiday experiences), expansion (management contract model) and people (conducts skill development programmes in Tamil Nadu and Odisha and to expand to four other States).

Ramanathan also said that the company is focussing on increasing the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) business and also added ‘destination weddings’ and ‘reunions’ to its product portfolio.

Published on August 27, 2019
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