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(Sharing the description under this TEDx Youtube video)

Humanity matters more than any material luxuries or perks that you provide your guests. Because we are people first, hoteliers second. If you can connect with your guests, you will always win.

A hotel is just a building. It can’t run itself. That’s what Bashar Wali does. For more than 20 years, Wali has been driving innovation in all facets of the hospitality industry at companies like Wyndham International, Starwood and Grand Heritage Hotels. As President of Provenance Hotels, he has crafted an assertive growth plan and developed strategic partnerships that have led to marquee collaborations with James Beard Award-winning chefs and alliances with preeminent developers like Woodbine Development Corporation, Bolour and Associates, GB Lodging and Thayer Lodging to expand the company’s national presence and grow its portfolio of owned and managed hotels.

Wali artfully balances this active focus on growth with maximizing the financial performance and market prominence of Provenance Hotels’ award-winning lifestyle properties in the Western United States. He is widely recognized for developing playful guest amenities like the company’s industry-leading spiritual menu and for inspiring the company’s partnerships with companies like Sub Pop Records and Salt & Straw. Based on the philosophy that it is personality, passion, sense of humor and sense of drama that differentiates Provenance Hotels from its competitors, Wali has perfected an approach to the art of hospitality that is as successful at creating memorable guest experiences as it is at putting heads in beds.

Bashar Wali graduated from Johnson & Wales University with a B.S. in Hotel Restaurant Institutional Management. Officially he resides with his family in Portland, Ore. but can often be found jetting to new markets and kicking the tires on potential Provenance Hotels.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx

 

Dr Sheelwant Patel has been an insurance man, a forester, an environmentalist, and a researcher. He has sold insurance for five years and been forester for thirty-three. Dr Patel has climbed hills, stalked killer elephants in jungles, and stayed over at many a haunted house in the Himalayas.

A docudrama he wrote has won him a national award for the best documentary. He lives in Mumbai with his wife and two amazing children with equally fulfilling professions. (One is an animator, and the other is a filmmaker.)

As Chief Conservator of Forests in Bengal, I was looking after the forests of northern West Bengal that are prime elephant habitats. This region contains five sanctuaries, three national parks, and has 14 elephant corridors that are notorious for being the terrain of the most intense human-elephant conflicts in South East Asia. I must add here that Jaldapara and Gorumara in the region are famous for rhinos.

We did organize safaris – in vehicles, in bullock carts, and on elephant back – but jungle treks being unsafe for tourists, we forbid them – especially as the visibility is no more than 10-15 meters in these dense evergreen forests.

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Message of the Month / December 2019

How would you describe “Kodagu” as a travel destination in South India?

How do I describe Kodagu? Ours is such a beautiful experience that I am sometimes at a loss for words. Famous people have referred to it as the Scotland of India – some have even gone to the extent of calling it the Kashmir of Karnataka. I would love to call it “Heaven on Earth” – because Kodagu presents an unmatched panorama of beauty and everything that goes with that.

Believe me, in this fast changing world there still is an old-world charm about Kodagu – expressed so beautifully through its dense forests, majestically flowing rivers and spirited waterfalls. Another key visual experience is the wide expanse of lush green plantation cover.

No story on Kodagu is complete without one drink that says good morning to you, every day – Coorg Coffee. Kodagu is a world famous hill station, largely growing coffee and spices – known the world over for quality and yield.

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Q&A Interview / December 2019

How is the AIRDA community useful for new members?

AIRDA comes in as your industry partner, conscience keeper and business catalyst – with a wide portfolio of support services. The big thing to remember here is that AIRDA is not like a big brother giving you advice – you become a member of a community of like-minded players. And you have some really big players out here who are playing a lead role and showing you the way.

From a larger industry perspective, AIRDA plays the role of a neutral body – aiming to facilitate the smooth functioning of the vacation ownership industry in India. We operate within an ecosystem that we call the organized sector of the timeshare industry.

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Message of the Month / November 2019

In conversation with Jai Sreedhar, Joint Managing Director and CEO, Rosetta by Ferns – our newest member.

“Rosetta by Ferns is a boutique timeshare company that aims to operate and manage a growing chain of 5-star luxury resorts located in the most idyllic locations in South India.

We are here to re-define the timeshare market, because a luxury vacation is no longer an expenditure, but an experience of creating priceless memories. All this, without worrying about inflation – what’s more, at the end of the membership tenure we return your money back. (That’s a very important highlight.)

Our mission is to create a credible and yet affordable luxury-boutique lifestyle brand that delights guests every single time they visit our properties. We shall leverage our immense background knowledge and experience in creating premium gated communities and spaces, to consistently deliver experiences that enthrall.”

More on this story at this link >
Q&A Interview / November 2019