‘As leisure travel picks up, we are optimistic for the financial year ahead,’ says Mahindra Holidays CEO

After a two-year lull for the hospitality industry, Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Limited chief Kavinder Singh is optimistic about the company’s growth over the next financial year.

Singh, Managing Director and CEO, spoke with Activity area on the business expansion plan, adding additional destinations and goals for adding members.

Please shed some light on the company’s growth over the past year and its expansion plan for the coming fiscal year.

We have added new resorts. Last year we added 465 rooms and nine resorts. We are an inventory of over 4300 rooms; we had our highest addition ever in the recent past. We will have over 4,500 rooms by the end of this year. We are optimistic for the future. Leisure travel is picking up and we see a huge opportunity for Mahindra Resorts. We are now more than 80 destinations, including 10 to 12 stations abroad. To differentiate our offerings for our guests, we have over 2,000 experiences at our resorts.

As of the last quarter, the society had added 3,700 members, bringing the total membership of the society to 2,62,000 members. How many members does Mahindra Holidays plan to add by the end of this quarter?

This quarter is normally supposed to be good, but, without a doubt, Omicron hit us in January, so we didn’t add as many members as we would have liked. However, there is a generation of interest in February and March. We have seen a resumption of momentum. Although we cannot give you absolute numbers, I can rightly say that we are on an upward trajectory. I don’t see any harm in crossing the number we ran into the previous quarter.

Nearly 58% of our membership now comes from referrals and our digital platform. This also means that the quality of members also improves. More importantly, our cash position is also improving and they are paying in advance, which is a good sign for the company. These come from our target age group between 30 and 55 who purchase our 25 year old membership.

Several projects including properties in Gujarat, Ganpatiphile, Shimla have been stalled due to covid. Was the company able to open them?

Yes, we had a property in Netrang, which we opened. We also had the Golf Resort called Club Mahindra Resort – Kensville Golf Resort, Ahmedabad. Ganpatiphule is still in the pipeline, but will launch this year. It is a beautiful establishment with 235 rooms. The addition of rooms in the Kadaghat complex, Shimla will also be completed by the end of the year. We also recently won a PPP boutique project in Janjehli, Himachal Pradesh. It is a 28 to 30 room establishment. We are also working with Maharashtra Tourism to see where we can expand our presence in the state.

For the coming fiscal year, in which parts of India does the company plan to add resorts?

We would like to explore the eastern region for resorts and members. We are planning to add another complex in Gangtok and expand the existing complex. We are also considering property additions near Darjeeling, Digha, Kaziranga and Sundarbans. We will also have our presence in Shillong. In the South, we continuously plan to search for properties in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra where we have a good membership base.

The company was looking for distressed properties for sale. Did he find any?

It is a work in progress. However, in our case, the hotel rooms must be studios and other rooms. We cannot have cookie cutter small rooms as we are a resort business. We are looking for scattered resorts, with large rooms that are hard to find. It takes hard work to find such properties because good properties are never in distress. Additionally, these distressed properties may not live up to our standards or even be able to be brought back up to our standards.

The company was considering a separate branch for management contracts. What’s the update on this?

We examine this segment in detail. You will soon hear from us about this over the next two quarters.

Published on

March 22, 2022

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