In Eco-Tourism Customer Is Not The King
Sustainability Next|March 2017

The debate about whether the customer is the king or an ass goes on. Steve Jobs was one of the early disruptors of the ‘customer is the king’ belief – he gave customers something they didn’t know they wanted. Today, Apple is the most valuable company on Planet Earth. Jose Dominic stumbled upon this idea in 1988, even before Steve Jobs did, and has become wildly successful since then.

“Why do we load him (customer) with kingship? It’s like holding a tiger by its tail. Neither he nor us, will know where to go,” Jose says. Instead, he believes in the villagers’ approach – ‘give what they have, not give what the customer wants.’

This learning has made Jose Dominic India’s pioneer in authentic and eco-friendly luxury resort business. He learnt his way up without forgetting lessons each of his projects taught him. In fact, he is happy to share it with everyone so that it has a multiplier effect. That’s what he did at an eco-tourism conclave he participated in Bangalore late February 2017. The conclave was put together by NGO Dharthi, IIM Bangalore Centre for Corporate Governance & Citizenship (CCGC) and SustainabilityNext.

Jose’s firm CGH Earth (formerly known as Casino Group of Hotels) has been in the hospitality business since 1954. It began as a small hotel catering to Cochin Port’s visitors. Today, it has grown into a large experiment in immersive tourism. The group’s hotels include Spice Village in Thekkady, Coconut Lagoon in Kumarakom, Spice Coast Cruises on the Vembanad Lake, Marari Beach in Mararikulam, Brunton Boatyard and Chittoor Kottaram in Cochin, Maison Perumal in Pondicherry, Visalam in Chettinad, SwaSwara in Gokarna and Kalari Kovilakom in Kollengode. His first project in Bangaram Island 25 year lease expired recently.

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