Homestays to see robust progress in coming decade: Puneet Chhatwal, CEO, IHCL

“The homestay section will practical experience strong growth in the coming 10 years as India’s infrastructure of roads and highways is even further developed and amã is properly poised to participate in that advancement journey,” Chhatwal says.

IHCL CEO Puneet Chhatwal says India with countless leisure areas and sturdy domestic tourism will make for a viable market place for homestays.

The changing paradigms considering that the pandemic have led to sudden modify of gear, with homestays starting to be the favoured selection. How nicely do you consider can IHCL journey the wave, contemplating amã is even now a fledgling company?
We launched amã Stays & Trails in 2019 with bespoke homes, including heritage bungalows and cottages, at off-conquer locations throughout India. In 18 months of its launch, amã has developed its portfolio to 44 bungalows in 18 destinations. We accelerated the expansion of this emerging manufacturer for the duration of the pandemic as we observed shopper sentiment and conduct gravitating towards “bubble holidays”, with a solid desire for non-public stays and ordeals, factoring in protection and social distancing steps, and amã has evolved to satisfy individuals requires.

While however nascent, homestays are a escalating idea in India. We recognized the need for a branded and differentiated merchandise in this unstructured current market and have crafted a very clear vision and prepare for amã’s expansion with a target portfolio of 500 bungalows in excess of the up coming few a long time. This advancement will arrive from administration contracts without the need of any cash deployment.

How do you posture and differentiate you, in conditions of working experience to pricing, in a really crowded homestay market place wherever level of competition ranges from men and women and other models to aggregators?
amã is the first brand name to provide the exact same provider philosophy and buyer expertise as IHCL. For customers, regardless of which amã house they decide to vacation in, it will sense like a house absent from home. One big differentiator is our capability to generate options for numerous Tata providers to monetise heritage properties that they individual, typically in off-beat areas like coffee estates and tea gardens. For lots of prospects, these are encounters that are not on provide elsewhere or are pretty exceptional. We sense that our capacity to create this kind of qualities will proceed to be a solid explanation for clients to opt for amã. In addition, there are numerous unique strengths for shoppers as effectively as the proprietors.

Getting from the steady of IHCL, it enjoys huge belief of buyers and amã can also leverage the broad footprint of IHCL in India using a hub-and-spoke design of operations for our bungalows, which are strategically found in the proximity of our accommodations. This design gives customers access to additional experiences, from dining to sports and excursions, for the duration of their holidays. All amã areas provide devoted on-site chef and extremely qualified service team, aside from use of IHCL lodge services like places to eat, spas, fitness centers and pools. A further advantage is that all amã bungalows are pet-friendly.


Homestays give a diverse amount of customisation and rate than lodges. Do you believe this could be an inflection position for the tourism marketplace, where men and women get accustomed to the ‘do-your-very own-thing’ design? And what does that portend for the market?
The value proposition of a homestays is extremely unique from that of a resort. There is a current market for each ideas as they are made use of for different explanations. There will often be more providers at motels and extra elaborate activities feasible for attendees. With a marginal region of overlap, they both cater to a different section and, as a result, do not impinge on each other in any significant way. The homestay section will working experience potent progress in the coming ten years as India’s infrastructure of streets and highways is further created and amã is very well poised to participate in that growth journey.

Will a aim on homestays divert your energies and notice from lodges, and how?
IHCL has transformed from being a resort-only small business to a hospitality ecosystem with various brands and businesses, each individual possessing their very own identification and USP. Every single of these manufacturers also has focused teams to deal with operations and expansion. Taj has been rated as the world’s strongest hotel brand and strongest hospitality brand in India by Model Finance in 2021, reiterating the truth that we have remained centered on every single of our brand names while continuing to enrich benefit for our stakeholders. amã complements our hotel business very properly and supplies a excellent item for guests seeking for exclusivity and a home-like truly feel. We have a powerful method with amã.

amã Stays & Trails - Cardozo House, Goa

amã is mainly positioned in the south. Why is this, given that homestays are flourishing in Himachal and Leh and Uttarakhand? Do you have plans to extend nationwide, and to which destinations? Could you share any targets be sure to?
We launched amã with nine heritage bungalows in the coffee estates of Tata Coffee in Coorg and Chikmagalur and since then have expanded throughout the state. We have seven bungalows throughout Goa. We included bungalows in Lonavala, Madh Island, Khadakvasla, and Alibaug in Maharashtra. We recently opened 7 tea estate bungalows in Munnar. Our pipeline of bungalows features many new places like Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Assam, Darjeeling, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.

Any designs to choose the brand to global destinations?
Our concentration is to expand the nationwide footprint initial. We are also on the lookout at extending this giving throughout the Indian subcontinent in international locations like Sri Lanka. We will search at other worldwide marketplaces at the time we have attained important scale in India.

Looking at that homestays for a brand name like amã are like a recycling task, wherever existing infrastructure is put to use, will this expenditure-pleasant characteristic let you to scale up exponentially?
The asset-gentle product of amã enables us to scale immediately. The model presents full management and procedure of the bungalows by earning management costs on it. It is a acquire-get problem for equally the model as very well as the proprietors, who get the chance to monetise their idle belongings. We imagine that the manufacturer has terrific prospective to increase.


And how major a income generator can homestays come to be for you, in particular with no close in sight to the pandemic?
India with its innumerable leisure locations, and strong domestic tourism prospective will make for an appealing and viable sector for homestays.

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