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Happy Retreats Curates Your Special Celebrations

Happy Retreats is a creative hospitality firm solving this problem by providing an alternative destinations for people who are looking for celebrating their special occasions

We caught up with Mr. Pradeep Gowri, Founder of Happy Retreats and talked about new trends of hospitality industry, various opportunities in India and about Happy Retreats.

How the landscape of hospitality industry changed in recent times?

The advent of technology in hospitality industry has significantly changed the hospitality landscape, in terms of hotel discovery, access to information and ease of booking, the entire hotel or place booking e experience from discovery until payment has become much more convenient and accessible. The shift to online comes with its own pros and cons, in terms of pros as hoteliers we can now directly reach a much wider audience both here at home in India and abroad, our distribution network has expanded giving us access to a much larger market – the ability to reach customers directly and allow them to book online has been a great benefit.

The cons, of course, include the competition from online travel agents and consequent discounting of the product to levels never seen before, which hurts businesses and undervalues products thus leading to a far more price sensitive market, where every decision hinges almost exclusively on price.

We are trying hard to tilt the balance back in favour of the experience and value for money as opposed to merely getting the cheapest price. Customers have also learned the hard way that booking the cheapest room or the most heavily discounted room can often result in absolute disaster.

Finally, the current trends of cash-backs and discounting by intermediaries has seriously changed customer behaviour and demand dynamics. While it has spurred demand in the budget space, we are likely to see significant the customer resistance to paying higher fares when these discounts are removed.

Global Trends:

Enhancing the guest experience with humanisation: One thing for sure is that generic or impersonal hotel companies will struggle to survive. The hotel must have a personality that connects to both existing and prospective guests. It’s a vital ingredient for travellers who are looking for a unique travel experience. Obviously this personality must be conveyed via your staff and the property itself. Every hotel room and human interaction should reflect what your brand represents. You can make many interior design and decorating statements to support your message. This personality should also permeate your online presence. To humanise your hotel online, tell hotel branded stories, anecdotes, funny moments and most importantly, have empathy and compassion for your guests.

Maintaining the immediacy of Social media:

On top of craving personalisation, travellers want things now – and they want them on-the-go. It is necessary to use each of the existing channels of communication with your guests.

Pages in social networks with a large number of users and visitors, however, with a low level of involvement, will be lowered in the rating, which will reduce their availability, referring them to the passive and irrelevant category.

Interactivity is an important part of Internet marketing, and therefore in 2018, you need to increase interaction. So, provide your brand with insurance in the form of adequate content and its correct classification on the site, optimizing everything for search robots.

One of the main hospitality industry trends lies in the fact that an active user of social networks likes to watch small videos and does not like to read even the most interesting, but long posts.

Live content with smiling guests (all sorts of Insta-stories) is something that catches the future client.

We cannot miss any events in the world, “fall out” from the information flow and not timely deliver information to your guests. Messengers are becoming more popular, practically replacing users with social networks, and their “children” – chat-bots – will definitely replace people.

Therefore, do not neglect the opportunity to communicate with your potential guests with the help of instant messengers. Share the most important news and details from the life of your hotel in the “here and now” mode.

Emotions and Reputation become ore even important:

Analysing the activities of the hotel staff, it is important to remember that in pursuit of compliance with standards, you can lose the very emotion for which a guest comes, and be known as “an inanimate hotel with robotic employees.”  Reputation is now easily tracked using online travel agencies, and this is also one of the greatest technology in the hospitality industry.

Therefore, take care of the reputation of your hotel, for this, there are many convenient programs. And do not pursue blind compliance with standards, so as not to lose guests who come to the hotel for positive memories.

The notion of Luxury is changing because of Technology:

One of the hospitality trends is in the fact that strictness is no longer a distinguishing feature of a luxury hotel. Ease becomes one of the main criteria of this segment. Many guests of luxury hotels no longer want to burden themselves with anything on vacation. They want to come to the restaurant in sneakers and training pants (of course, expensive).

Today’s luxury consumer earned the same money as his predecessors 5-10 years ago, but he spends them quite differently. This is especially true of the generation of “millennials,” which spends money not on material wealth, but on a unique experience.

Where India is placed, challenges and opportunities.

INDIA’S POPULATION of 1.3 billion presents a massive potential for the hospitality industry. In 2015, India was the fastest growing economy among the BRICS countries. That year, India’s travel and tourism sector contributed INR8,309.4 billion, amounting to 6.3% of the country’s GDP. This is forecast to rise to INR 8,913.6 billion in 2016, and reach INR18,362.2 billion (7.2% of total GDP) in a decade’s time. The Indian hospitality industry has experienced prominent growth in recent years due to various factors, including the rising purchasing power of domestic travellers, an increase in commercial development and foreign tourist arrivals, a growing airline industry and government-led initiatives aiming to stimulate the sector. There is a great deal of scope to expand tourism across India, and as the country improves air travel connections and relaxes visa restrictions, tourist arrivals should increase.

The hospitality sector is a significant source of employment in India. In 2015, the travel and tourism industry directly supported over 23 million jobs (5.5% of total employment), which is expected to rise by 3.2% in 2016. The international inbound leisure tourism sector in India is seasonal, and the majority of tourism activity in India is driven by the domestic market. Seasonality in India is region and city specific and can vary significantly. This brings its fair share of challenges in terms of human resource management, and also in terms of operational strains that need to be well prepared for. Average staff turnover in the industry remains high, at above 30%. The connection between staff retention and client satisfaction, combined with high staffing costs, highlights the ever present need for talent recruitment and retention.

I believe that adequate and adapted training can reduce turnover rates among Indian hoteliers. Hospitality management education can help cross-train staff and streamline the guest experience, reducing the cost of running a hotel and providing hotel staff with a higher amount of sought-after job skills. Staff who feel bored due to a limited role may be less tempted to leave for a new job if they are made to feel valued and useful. Furthermore, hoteliers should consider investing in education that will position them as strong niche players.

To accommodate this need and the growth in tourism, India has many hospitality schools, including the NIPS School of Hotel Management, several branches of the Indian Institute of Hotel Management, and Ecole Hoteliere at Lavasa, which is certified by Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL). Overall, India is powered by a thriving middleclass and resurgent economy and its hospitality industry is evolving in a promising direction.

As the leading hospitality school in the world, it is our responsibility at Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne to anticipate market evolution so that we can best prepare our students. Hospitality schools need to evolve in line with, or rather ahead of, the hospitality industry, and we place a strong emphasis on equipping our students with the skills and experience required to actively shape the future.

The word hospitality itself denotes human relationships. Do you feel that digital automation can replace that human relationship connect aspect?

No technology can ever replace the importance of human interaction – a welcoming smile, a reassuring voice in times of crisis, a warm and caring staff assisting a guest with a health ailment, an empathetic staff member who can understand your frustration with something at the hotel and work towards finding you a solution – these are fundamental aspects of hospitality that can never be replaced by any amount of automation. The human touch remains at the very heart of the industry and this shall remain so, at least for the foreseeable future.

The flip side is that a lot of things can be easily automated, and for some people, or for some use cases, technology will lead reduction in human interaction, and even job losses. For instance, with smart-phone app check-in and NFC key entry, the entire check-in process is obviated, so there may not be much use for that in the near future, especially in business hotels.


Families looking for family getaway options ( Celebration of family bonding is the outcome)

What Happy Retreat brings to the table?

Pradeep Gowri and Pradeep Goud Nagula (Nag) are childhood buddies. Happy Planner was launched in the year 2013, while Pradeep working in the IBM. Nine-Five Marketing Executive job provided Pradeep with ample time for customising the surprise event in late evening and in midnights. Dressing as a Teddy Bear and surprise customers was a Pradeep’s first role in Happy Planner.

In 2015, Being a part of Happy Planners, curating the experience for the customers, Pradeep and Nag learned the gap in the hospitality space. Customers wanted to book an exclusive destination for their celebration. That’s when they started to search for the new destination and they are not able to find a new venue for celebrations. That’s where Pradeep and Nag connected the dots and started off the service called ‘Happy Retreats’.

We are a creative hospitality firm solving this problem by providing an alternative destinations for people who are looking for celebrating their special occasions (Birthday’s, anniversaries, weddings, team bonding etc ) in an offbeat location,instead of a typical hotel or a resort . All our retreats are maintained and operated by Happy Retreats just to ensure that we give signature attention to the customer requirements and maintain all the hospitality standards without any compromise on the quality of the service.

Happy Retreats is a service based startup. Customer has got a requirement where they are looking for an exclusive venues, where they can customise anything and everything. Happy Retreats focuses on the four elements based on the customer’s requirement,

● Customisation

● Exclusivity

● Privacy

● Consistency in Hospitality Standards

Our service fits exactly into the customer’s requirement.

Our TG is very clearly defined and our revenues are generated when the below mentioned TG books our places. Minimum duration of the booking varies from 12 hrs to 24 hrs and maximum is 3 Nights.

 1. Families looking for family getaway options ( Celebration of family bonding is the outcome)

 2. Weddings or people who are celebrating any special occasion, looking for offbeat venues.

 3. Corporates looking for experimental team outings or off sites. (Celebration of team bonding is the outcome)

We believe in giving signature attention to every guest who’s willing to experience our retreats and that’s the only reason we take up only one booking at a time. I am glad that entire happy retreats team chooses quality against quantity.

Each and every customer can decide how they would like to experience our places and our team puts in the best possible efforts to make sure that they enhance the customer experience in every possible format.

Every location we choose goes through a rigorous checklist and that’s our USP which in turn gives an assurance to the customers that all our retreats are handpicked and have a unique story to be told.

How customised retreat create effective interpersonal relationships in the workplace?

There is a trend shift in the way people are celebrating their special occasions and the list of celebrations are increasing over a period of time and at the same time people are always on a lookout for unique destinations to enhance their celebration to the next level.

We are a creative hospitality firm solving this problem by providing an alternative destinations for people who are looking for celebrating their special occasions (Birthday’s, anniversaries, weddings, team bonding etc ) in an offbeat location,instead of a typical hotel or a resort . All our retreats are maintained and operated by Happy Retreats just to ensure that we give signature attention to the customer requirements and maintain all the hospitality standards without any compromise on the quality of the service.

Happy Retreats is a service based startup. Customer has got a requirement where they are looking for an exclusive venues, where they can customise anything and everything. Happy Retreats focuses on the four elements based on the customer’s requirement,

● Customisation

● Exclusivity

● Privacy

● Consistency in Hospitality Standards

Our service fits exactly into the customer’s requirement.

The success rate behind personalised getaways and its advantage over other getaways.

Our TG is very clearly defined and our revenues are generated when the below mentioned TG books our places. Minimum duration of the booking varies from 12 hrs to 24 hrs and maximum is 3 Nights.

 1. Families looking for family getaway options ( Celebration of family bonding is the outcome)

 2. Weddings or people who are celebrating any special occasion ,looking for offbeat venues.

 3. Corporates looking for experimental team outings or offsites. ( Celebration of team bonding is the outcome)

We believe in giving signature attention to every guest who’s willing to experience our retreats and that’s the only reason we take up only one booking at a time. I am glad that entire happy retreats team chooses quality against quantity.

Each and every customer can decide how they would like to experience our places and our team puts in the best possible efforts to make sure that they enhance the customer experience in every possible format.

Every location we choose goes through a rigorous checklist and that’s our USP which in turn gives an assurance to the customers that all our retreats are handpicked and have a unique story to be told.

Future of customised event space and experiential event organising

Starting from the inception till date we have spent good amount of time in setting up the processes and adding new properties under the brand. Now for the next 18 months we will be majorly focusing on marketing and optimising the occupancy of the existing retreats. We might add three more locations to the list.

How to organise an experiential events solely focusing on the hospitality.

This is still very much an unorganised market in India. Most of the companies/startups are competing with the international aggregator like Airbnb by chasing the aggregation path and promoting the holiday homes/ vacation homes but not many players are really solving the core problem of consistency and standardisation of the guest experience which is possible when the brand actually operates these places. Though Airbnb has now come up with the verified properties, the quality of the service is still dependent on the respective owners who are managing their places.

These aggregators are solving the major problem of revenue generation for the asset owners but still most of the asset owners who owns these holiday homes majorly look for someone who can give them an end to end solution, because maintenance of the property always tops the priority list of any asset owner prior to revenue generation. We are giving that assurance to the asset owners from the B2B perspective. This becomes a win win situation from both B2B and B2C perspectives.

As a brand we always focus on creating the value to the existing eco system of the hospitality space and the numbers and revenues are just a byproduct of all our positive efforts.

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