With over 120 properties spread across 21 states in the country, V Resorts is looking to sign more hospitality management contracts across India and in the Middle East, South Asia and Australasia in the coming years. It’s focus areas: Mountains, Deserts, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Heritage sites and Adventure hotspots
A management graduate from ISB Hyderabad, Aditi Balbir worked in the field of Finance before starting V Resorts in 2014 and has since spearheaded V Resorts – a technology-enabled hospitality management company specializing in experiential stays. At the time V Resorts was set up, the leisure travel space was witnessing a change in India. Currently, this new movement has an interesting storyline focusing on experience creation for the millennial traveler. It isn’t just V Resorts that is riding the wave of personalized and localized travel and stay experiences. With experienced travelers seeking shorter but meaningful holidays, hotels have had to meet guests mid-way by becoming vacation curators themselves. Additionally, the rise of alternative online hospitality providers such as Airbnb has further disrupted the industry, and that is something to be conscious of. In such a scenario, hotel brands and boutique properties are changing the way they function.
Creating hyper-local travel and stay experiences
“Being an advocate of sustainable development and an avid traveler myself, I saw the potential of India’s rich cultural diversity and pitched it to the evolved traveler; while at the same time focused on boosting micro-economies of the local communities,” shares Balbir. The company curates experiences by offering everything local – food prepared fresh by a chef hired locally and local activities like boating, pottery workshops etc. handled by locals themselves. This five-year old company’s mantra is to standardize guest experiences with a focus on its environmental, social and governance responsibilities.
Recently, V Resorts raised US $ 10 Million in Series A funding from various High Net Worth Individuals (HNIs), existing investors Bedrock Ventures and RB Capital. “We are excited about making sustainable tourism a reality at the global stage and plan to use these funds to expand our reach not just within the country, but also to new markets such as Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Middle East, Australia, New Zealand,” says Balbir. The company is gearing up for big scale, with grand plans to have 1,000 properties and 15,000 rooms in the next three years with a focus of providing guests with high-quality, unique experiences in new and unexplored destinations.
Being asset light
While future growth and expansion is important what matters for success and stickiness in the travel and leisure space is standardization, authenticity and consistency. V Resorts manages and operates a host of properties including resorts, hotels, camps, houseboats, homestays, and farmhouses. “Completely asset light, we take unbranded facilities with typically less than 30 rooms on revenue/profit share contracts,” shares the founder. She and her team ensure standardization in their resorts – right from trained manpower, hospitality, design, vendor management, training facilities, technology stack and a sales network. It is this asset-light model that enables the company to launch new properties much faster.
The focus of the hospitality sector in India should be on offering experiential stays, however, at the same time, the aim should be to leave a minimum amount of carbon footprint and cause the least possible harm to the environment due to tourism
Being asset-light also allows V Resorts to reduce their carbon footprint and leave a minimum impact on the environment. “We take over small-sized boutique properties and, avoid making further constructions so as to keep the ecosystem intact. We also engage in conservation efforts like water conservation, waste management and the use of solar power,” explains Balbir.
Resonating in a digital world
By taking its concierge services digital with the recent launch of their custom app – V Resorts Mobile – it is changing the way guests connect with the hotel and is, in turn, helping V Resorts compete in this new marketplace. “Some of the app’s capabilities have helped us overcome challenges which none of the players in the market could solve and it gives us a definite edge over our competitors in this digital era,” says she. Since most of the company’s properties are located in remote destinations with limited or no Internet access, the app works efficiently even without Internet giving customers access to information like bookings, activities, menu, billing details etc. at given any time.
What’s driving travel decisions today is a brand’s philosophy and culture and the possibility of experiencing something new while on holiday. “The focus of the hospitality sector in India should be on offering experiential stays, however, at the same time, the aim should be to leave a minimum amount of carbon footprint and cause the least possible harm to the environment due to tourism,” says Balbir.
The fact remains that the travel and hospitality space in India is a rather cluttered one and with restored havelis, wellness-first properties and museum hotels there are ample little-known, yet unique properties situated in offbeat locations curating local experiences. There’s so much for the modern traveler to check out before they check in; and in such an environment, more and more hotels are moving towards creating authentic and emotional experiences. The leisure travel space now demands differentiation and uniqueness and that’s exactly what V Resorts and its founder are focused on.
In Brief: V Resorts
Founder: Aditi Balbir
Founded In: 2014
Investors: US $10 Million in Series A from various High Net Worth Individuals (HNIs), Bedrock Ventures and RB Capital
About the business: V Resorts is a hospitality management company with a deep focus on creating and curating local experiences for its guests, in remote yet exciting locations across India. The company operates small resorts in places like Sikkim, Corbett, Rajaji National Park and Leh to name a few.