What is the primary problem with mainstream hospitality, outfits & travel industry at present?

There are some things the new generation traveller really don’t want to face when they are about to take a well earned break.

  1. Finding a great offbeat destination that has something for everybody
  2. Finding and booking a great multi generational experiential eco lodges who will give promised services, serves great food & brews, and at the best prices
  3. Finding and booking all the must see and do unique experiences in that destination including adventures, excursions & festivals
  4. Finding and hiring a local guide who knows all the great places to see & restaurants, and can get local permits done
  5. Booking flights, a reliable car for transfers and excursions, and visa & insurance, if required.
  6. Facilitate 24/7 emergency and dedicated concierge services

There are infinite combinations and it takes many days and interacting with many people to design and book a great holiday.

Conventional Hospitality Assets till now have never thought beyond and hence never built capabilities beyond a good room, restaurant and pool. Lately they have included wellness in their pool of travel services and were content with operating a high margin travel desk to facilitate transfers and local sight seeing

Tour Operator’s business model and high margins were based on access to asymmetric information and an ability to book these on cryptic GDS based booking systems. This has been completely destroyed by the travellers ability to find, filter, and book all travel services over the internet.

What the new generation experiential travellers where everybody in the family is a decision maker with individual travel preferences asks for includes not only a good rooms, good food and brew, good spa and reliable transfers but also exciting excursions, plenty of amazing adventures & activities, music and entertainment, local shopping, and a great guide i.e. complete all inclusive multi generational experiential travel package delivered seamlessly to make everybody in the family happy.

The answer to this problem is for you to transform into an experiential eco travel company

The answer is to transform from being a mainstream travel company to a combination of specialist hospitality and unique experiences outfit that design and deliver Tailor-made all inclusive multi generational experiential travel packages with no hidden costs, and which has something for everyone in the family.

You have to empower the travellers to experience the destinations deeply in the way they want, and when they want instead of just being a middleman that doesn’t add any value to the system.

To add this value using knowledge and solve the traveller’s problems in making his family happy is the next BIG Opportunity in Leisure & Corporate Travel.

The travel industry is going through a major inflexion. With the rise of internet, self discovery and self service based tourism services is what the discerning traveller prefers.

Logistic companies that empowers the consumer to keep track of their products and services from the warehouse to the consumer house on a real time basis has created sky high services standard where the guest want total control on his/her product at all times. The same consumer behaviour is now noted when they buy travel services – the traveller has access to comprehensive information and online booking and a natural progression of this access is their desire in creating their holiday they way they like it.

The new generation traveller is traveling more often, and can source-review-book flight, hotel and tours & attractions over the internet. The suppliers too are happy to decrease their distribution cost and increase profitability by eliminating the wholesaler and tour operator from the supply chain.

More importantly they are able to service guests better without playing Chinese whispers with them or losing guests preferences in translation thus creating more customer delight. This results in delivering customisable services exactly the way the guest wants thus creating a virtuous cycle of increased word of mouth, glowing reviews on travel websites, an ability to create sustainable in-house guest loyalty programs, and an almost inimitable or irreplaceable sales funnel of raving fans.

The guest loves the experience that is tailormade, and keeps the whole family engaged and enriched in the exactly the way they want to be engaged and enriched.

This ofcourse brings new challenges where the hospitality chain or independent hotel or resort can no longer be content with providing

  1. a room with a view and clean toilets and
  2. great food & beverages.
  3. deliver events and MICE

They have to now graduate to creating and delivering content for everybody in the family, and for all season and occasions.Companies like ClubMed has pioneered what is now called as ‘Experiential Travel’ or ‘All Inclusive Resorts’. And they are able to engage your 5 year old son who loves sport, your 9 year old daughter who loves art, your spouse who is a culture connoisseur and spa fan, and you who wants to do nothing with equal elan.

While 1st generation experiential travel companies like Ecomantra (disclaimer – I am a cofounder), CGH, Camps of India, Help Tourism, SLA, MHE etc was created about 2 decades ago to design and deliver these unique experiences including excursions, adventures, workshops and learning programs and have acquired world class competencies in experiential travel.Iconic old hospitality companies like Oberoi Hotels (see oberoiexperiences.com) and Taj Hotels (see its wildlife lodges) have caught on and will transform in to great experiential travel companies in the years to come using internal services and delivery model.

Outsourcing that was taught to the world by ITES companies and which has successfully reduced the cost of operation of behemoths and help them crunch the learning curve is now increasingly the way forward for hospitality and tourism companies.

While cities like Lavasa, where Ecomantra designs and delivers all mounted, electric and camping adventures, and hotel chains are now increasingly collaborating with expert SME experiential travel operators and adventure outfits to create new content, new revenue channels and increase its occupancy without having to worry about how to do it well.

The capex based asset heavy hospitality companies continues to focus on its profitable room and f&b operations while outsourcing all tours and attraction based content to asset light specialist companies that are good at it. Again adventure based tourism are intrinsically dangerous and has zero margin for errors. Its best to outsource it to specialist companies that has intrinsic ability to deliver these experiences safely and more importantly effectively.

The tours and attraction companies in return are able to follow an asset light model to grow the number of destination they service without getting in to the capex based hospitality services.

And together they do more, make more and create more customer delight