Tag Archives: Founder & CEO

BLS Lake Cruise Switzerland begins operations; awaits Indian travellers

Switzerland, currently being regarded as one of the safest countries to travel to, has announced the opening of tourism businesses with cautious optimism. In light of the same, BLS Navigation, that owns and operates boats on Lake Thun and Lake Brienz in the famous Interlaken region of Switzerland, has announced selective resumption of operations for tourists. Represented and promoted by AccessIndiaReps in the Indian market, BLS Lake Cruises in Interlaken have become a favourite for Indians in the past few years. “All boat journeys here are included in the Swiss Travel System Pass free of cost for individual travellers, and we offer great prices for groups,” says Ashish Saran, Founder & CEO, AccessIndiaReps. Kaspar Stettler, Head of Sales, BLS Navigation, adds, “We are happy to resume our Interlaken Lake Cruise operations with necessary precautions and are operating our boats from various locations popular with tourists and local visitors, including restaurant services on the boats. We are positive that cross-border travel will open up from other parts of Europe and the world, and we resume full services soon. We love Indian tourists and have been seeing good numbers in the past years and are extremely hopeful that the Indian market will recover soon and we will see our Indian friends again.”

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Technology would be used in hotels to monitor guests’ health: Dilip Puri

Speaking at the third TravTalk Digital Conclave, Dilip Puri, Founder & CEO, Indian School of Hospitality (ISH), said that technology would be used in hotels to monitor guests’ health. “Many hotels have started working with technology or proximity software. With our loyalty programme, we wanted to recognise our platinum guests in and around the lobby, allowing us to go ahead and personalise their stay more. In terms of policing in hotels, they need to understand the health condition of a customer and see if social distancing is being maintained. Technology would begin to take this over as well. Not only will the guests be thermally scanned and checked while entering a hotel, but there would be technology that would also allow hotels to recognise a guest’s health condition, like what the Aarogya Setu App is doing. How technology is going to play out in this new normal is going to be a very significant factor in how hotels operate in the future, whether they are new hotels, existing hotels or hotels under renovation,” he said.

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FICCI paves way for start-ups at Digital Travel Summit

The second day of FICCI Digital Travel, Hospitality & Innovation Summit 2018 focused on start-ups and what investors look for before they fund new businesses. Two sessions were held on investments, acquisitions and start-ups, followed by another start-up pitching session. The first panel discussion titled ‘The Future of consolidation, Merger & Acquisition & Foreign Investments in the Travel Industry’, was moderated by Alok Mittal, Founder & CEO , Indifi Technologies. The panel included Matt James,  Senior Manager, Corporate Strategy & Business Development, Amadeus Asia Pacific; Ankush Nijhawan, Co-Founder, TBO Group; Vikram Gupta, Founder & Managing Partner, IvyCap Venture; Tej Kapoor, Managing Director & Head, Fosun RZ Capital India; and Bhavik Vasa, Chief Growth Officer, EbixCash. The panelists discussed what it takes to attract investments and how they judge ideas to put money into them. The second panel, ‘Learning Through Peers : Case studies of  successful travel start-ups’, was moderated by Ashish Kumar, Co Chairman, FICCI Travel Technology Committee & Managing Partner, Agnitio Consulting. The panelists included Sakshi Vij, Founder & CEO, Myles; Anirudh Gupta, Co-Founder, Tripoto; Stephanie Strunk, Community Manager, Corporate Startegy, Amadeus Asia Pacific; Aishwarya Kachhal , Co-Chair, Harvard Business Alumni Angels India and Rajiv Malhotra, Founder, Hotel Launcher.

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OYO launches first Townhouse in Hyderabad

OYO has launched OYO Townhouse in Hyderabad. This is the first launch of OYO Townhouse – a brand-new category of “friendly neighbourhood hotel” – outside Delhi-NCR. This will be the 5th hotel in the Townhouse portfolio since it was launched in January this year. After Jubilee Hills, the company plans to introduce OYO Townhouse hotels at other popular locations in the city such as Banjara Hills, Hitech City, Gachibowli and Panjagutta. The rooms will be priced at INR 2,500 and upwards. Ritesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO – OYO, said “This is our first Townhouse offering outside Delhi NCR and we are excited to choose Hyderabad for our debut outside home turf. Hyderabad has transformed into a cosmopolitan city representing a millennial outlook towards experiences and expectations. OYO Townhouse’s efficient hospitality and multi-utility concept fits perfectly into this millennial lifestyle. It delivers a seamless experience through a format that operates as 25% hotel, 25% home, 25% cafe and 25% merchandise store in one place, providing a perfect complement to our guests’ lifestyle. OYO Townhouse represents our ongoing commitment to innovate and create world-class hotel experiences from India.” Elaborating on the philosophy behind Townhouse, Ritesh added, “Townhouse will deliver an all-encompassing experience to guests. We are excited to showcase and deliver this proposition in Hyderabad today. We are confident that our guests will love the experience of these tastefully done hotels staffed with Managers trained to deliver authentic and unique Townhouse service.” The hospitality industry in India suffers from a major disconnect between demand and supply of quality living space, forcing travellers and city-dwellers to compromise on decision variables of location, comfort and pricing. OYO Townhouse addresses this gap by creating a …

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Townhouse, OYO’s friendly neighbourhood hotel

OYO has come up with another offering and has launched OYO Townhouse, positioned as a friendly neighbourhood hotel. The new category will operate under the OYO Townhouse brand and aims for a footprint of 250 properties with 10,000+ rooms across 12 cities in India by end of 2017. OYO Townhouse offers a combination of a hotel, home, merchandise store and lounge and is targeted at Millennials, for whom price, convenience and a differentiated experience play an important role in determining choices. Ritesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO, OYO, said, “OYO Townhouse represents our ongoing commitment to continue innovating and creating world-class hotel experiences from India. Townhouse will operate as a hotel, community hotspot, cafe and merchandise store – to deliver an all-encompassing experience to guests. This launch marks a milestone in our journey towards the next level of Hospitality, consolidating our position as a category innovator and leader.”

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Travel Experiential Show witnesses 650 meetings

The first-ever Travel Experiential Show concluded with 650 meetings conducted among 23 exhibitors and 25 buyers on Dec 18, 2016 at Le Meridien Gurgaon where representatives from destination management companies, hotels, travel agents and tour operators, among others, met under one roof to network and explore opportunities. “From the feedback we’ve received, the show was a huge success,” stated Punam Singh, Associate, Pacific Leisure Group. “We welcomed a lot of familiar faces but also some new ones and the platform helped them discover newer avenues to further their business. We will surely be back next year to bring more people together.” Speaking at the inauguration, keynote speaker Sushil Shamal Wadhwa, Founder & CEO, Platinum World Group, highlighted, “The whole idea of experiential travel is presenting something exclusive and unique, be it the most expensive dinner that costs $300,000 for five people, or activities like archery and falconry in a destination like Mongolia. Experiences like these first turn you speechless and then into a storyteller. As the demand for luxury increases and people become more open to trying newer experiences, the segment will continue to evolve and grow.”

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Goibibo enables hotels, guest houses, BnBs to collect digital payments

In the backdrop of the demonetisation drive, Goibibo has launched a feature for its partner properties to collect online payments from their walk-in and offline customers. There is no requirement of POS machines. This is a secure and scalable feature launched by Goibibo for its partners. Goibibo has enabled 9000 properties in the first phase. There is a significant volume of properties in India that have a large percentage of walk-in guests. Also these properties do not have access to POS machines or digital payment instruments. Properties range from budget hotels, guest houses, BnB’s, alternate accommodation, homes, villas, cottages, houseboats etc. It is estimated that there are more than 100,000 such long tail accommodation units in India that lack access to digital payment solutions. Walking in customers can pay at the hotel via Credit and debit cards, EMI linked payments, Net banking and a host of wallets. Unlike wallets, this channel does not have any payment limits.  Ashish Kashyap, Founder & CEO, ibibo, says, “We at ibibo welcome demonetisation and digitization of transactions. Our mission is to organise the accommodation and transportation industry. This payment feature for offline use case is a step in this direction. Online travel is one of the few industries that has 100% of its transaction in a digital format. By launching this feature, we are catalyzing the movement from offline to online and at the same time solving problems for the hotel industry”

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Travellers can’t spend currency at local shops, restaurants

Debjit Dutta, Chairman, IATO Eastern Chapter and Founder & CEO, Impression Tourism Services, says this bold move has definitely caused an inconvenience for travellers. “Foreign tourists who have recently exchanged money are now facing several problems even to buy food and shop since they are on holiday. Since we are tour operators, our business runs mostly on cash payments so it has hindered business as well. I feel that some facility should have been in place keeping in mind the number of tourists that are affected with this change – such turn of events might just lead them to have a bad impression of the country and go back with the same thing in mind,” he adds.

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Now sunrise check-in from 6 AM at OYO

OYO has launched early check-in up to 7 days prior to booking. This facility is being offered free of cost in many OYOs, and at a nominal charge in others. With this launch, OYO claims to be the first hotel brand in the world to offer guaranteed early check-in to guests. OYO’s Sunrise check-in is now live both on its website and mobile App. Customers can easily identify, select and book hotels that offer confirmed early check-in. In addition, guests can also modify their existing booking and secure an early check-in. Speaking on launch, Ritesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO, OYO, said, “Despite changes in the way we live, travel and work, the hotel industry across the world continues to follow the outdated concept of a standard check-in time. Nowadays, travel is no longer about following prescribed itineraries. At OYO we understand our guests and build features tailored to their needs. With Sunrise check-in travellers can plan their mode of travel, duration and trip-itinerary in a better way, without being constrained by the check-in time.”

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Now, OYO Rooms in Malaysia

Ritesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO, OYO Rooms, has revealed in his blog that the budget hotel aggregator has now started its operations in Malaysia. Citing the achievements of the company in 2015, he said, “A small team at OYO worked very hard last 3 months to launch OYO in the international market. And after a December of stealth testing, I am happy to announce that you can now officially check into an OYO in Kuala Lumpur. We are all very excited and as always with a city launch, you can see the visiting card photo!” With this move, the startup company has made its entry into the international market. It now eyes “travel markets across the worlds that have the same characteristics as here in India – trust deficient, unorganized and love for travel,” he wrote on the blog. After Malaysia, the company plans to take OYO to all such markets this year.

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