COVID-19 proved to be a bane for the hospitality industry, with a majority of the players still trying to shrug off its after-effects. However, Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd (MHRIL) has emerged relatively unscathed from this ordeal.
While the company’s business did take a battering in Q1 of this fiscal, the second quarter saw it register 30% occupancy, which rose to around 80% by end of Q3. In January 2021, the resort chain had reached pre-pandemic occupancy levels, touching 87% and was cruising around 84% in Feb.
Needless to say, Kavinder Singh, MD and CEO, MHRIL is a happy man, especially as these occupancy rates are averaged out across the company’s 70 resorts in India and overseas. Some properties even posted 100% occupancy; a feat few other hotels can lay claim to currently.
But then again, Singh maintains that MHRIL is not in competition with most hotels. According to him have the confidence have a well-furnished lobby, a well-stocked bar, a swimming pool and restaurants. This is apt for business travellers or people in transit.
However, when people take a vacation, they want to go to places where children can run with abandon, where the elderly can walk through leisurely pathways, and the entire family can participate in an array of activities that binds that together. And that is what MHRIL offers at its properties.
“Children can be left unsupervised at our resorts and participate in activities like pottery, water Zorbing or rappelling while their parents laze on a hammock or enjoy a spa treatment,” Singh noted. Most traditional hotels are unable to offer these experiences because they lack the leisure of space – something that MHRIL’s resorts have aplenty. That also explains why the company takes pride in calling itself a leisure vacation brand.
In fact, Singh pointed out, that MHRIL members have the confidence that they were safe vacationing at its properties, since their spacious resorts have open-air areas and larger apartments. Most engagement activities are conducted while keeping safety protocols and social distancing in mind. With all these boxes checked, why would guests, who suffered from cabin fever during the lockdown, not want to visit these resorts?
MHRIL ran two programmes since May 2020 – ‘Safe Stay’ and ‘Travel With Confidence’. The former hinged on three pillars, which included a contactless transaction experience, right from check-in to check-out. “We had created an app for our members a couple of years ago, where they could book rooms, check in and out, order meals, give feedback, etc. This helped us tremendously during the pandemic,” Singh noted.
The second pillar was a Bureau Veritas platinum certification, which underlined that its properties followed all the prescribed hygiene protocols. The last leg was implementing best-known safety policies.
“No one ever asks if a hospital room has been disinfected before they are admitted there. That is the level of trust people have in the cleanliness of healthcare facilities. So, we learnt the disinfection protocols followed in hospitals from a facilities management company and then implemented it in our properties,” Singh stated.
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