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You have been in the hospitality industry for nearly four decades, how have things changed from a customer experience point of view? (Facility design, quality of service, cuisine, customer takeaways.)

The industry has undergone a sea change since the time I started. The competition is huge and almost all the best brands are available right here in India. I must say here that the Indian traveler is also more evolved and has a knack of finding and knowing what’s best.

The facility design of our hotels is sleek and increasingly international. Hotels are also finding ways to utilize their public spaces when they are vacant. Moving to cuisine, quality standards here keep improving – and since many of the guests have experienced authentic international cuisine, they expect the same in our hotels.

At the end of the day, “sending back a delighted customer” is the objective of all hoteliers. Hence training plays a very important role to ensure the objective is achieved, and hotels have a steady stream of repeat customers.

All these changes have ensured that you’re at the top of your game all the time. There is absolutely no room here, for complacency.

This is among the many “Views from the Top” being featured
on our website : http://www.airda.org

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What are your feelings like when you’re heading back home, after a really nice vacation?

A good vacation rejuvenates me as nothing else does. No spa, no mall can come close to the feeling of absolute contentment I feel when I am away from the city and when I am one with nature. Of course, the moment I touch city limits after a good holiday, it’s a sinking feeling. The stress sets in immediately, and I know that until my next vacation I have to wake up to the sounds of incessant honking and traffic – rather than the melodious bird sounds and the pollution-free air that I miss so much. I call it the holiday hangover, and the only ‘fix’ that can help me get over it is another holiday. Most of the times, I cannot wait to simply pack my bags, load the camera, and leave.

 

Q&A: In conversation with Travel Blogger Shama Ahmed

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Q&A – May 2019

This month we feature an interesting story that’s so much a part of every vacation seeker’s mind space – post-vacation blues. In our Q&A section, we talk to travel blogger Shama Ahmed about the various shades of post vacation blues, and ways to get over that empty feeling.

I’m sure you know what we are talking about here – it’s that dull hangover you might experience at the end of a vacation. Simply because we just don’t want the vacation to end.

So, what’s my own perspective on post-vacation blues? (And there’s some logical reasoning out here.) Each experience in life has a life cycle – which means there is a beginning and there is an end.  Even Sunday turns into Monday, and you will only see that weekend in your rear-view mirror.

B. S. Rathor
Advisor & Member – Executive Committee

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Message of the Month – May 2019

 

This month, we present an interesting trend or development that has pretty much become a pattern of behavior in modern families. It’s about how children can, or will influence most decisions made by young parents. Right from the choice of TVs and music systems, to picking designations for the family’s annual holiday. (They have a clear say in what, how, where, and when . . .)

These wish lists are a clear indication that the head of the household is open to new ideas – even from children in the family.

Older parents (maybe 10 years ago) looked forward to the familiar when it came to picking a holiday destination every year. And the familiar surroundings of a home resort offered a sense of comfort in many ways.

But young members of the family get bored easily with the “same old stuff” as they say. They want to explore different locations and look forward to new experiences, each time they go on a vacation.

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Message of the Month – April 2019

The Musafir Stories (TMS) is hosted by Bangalore-based couple Saif Omar and Faiza Khan. Here are some sound bytes from our interview with the founders of TMS.

When we moved back to India, I was looking to consume local podcasts but the options were limited. That’s when we wondered about giving podcasting a shot – even though neither of us has any background in media/journalism, or even full-time travel for that matter.

We started TMS as a passion project primarily to make more people aware about India and what it has to offer through conversations with some very interesting people – conversations that are both informative and easy on the ear. As kids, most of us have grown up on the culture of listening to stories from grandparents and elders. We can fondly recall sharing first-hand experiences about travel and life in general, with classmates and friends. The culture of story-telling and listening is deep-wired in us.

To make things different, we try to cover various facets of travel, right from popular destinations, city guides, weekend itineraries, experiences that cover mountains, wildlife and beaches, to activities like trekking, adventure and road trips. We also have other features of interest on our platform for our Indian audiences – like volunteering, slow travel and offbeat travel.

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Q&A – April 2019

 

Jayashree Bhat works as a Senior Manager, Data Management, at Syneos Health Limited. Currently single, she enjoys travelling and connecting with new people. On a vacation she particularly likes to understand and experience the culture, the customs and local flavors – yes, that combo can make things really special for her.

Jayashree has a Club Mahindra membership that she picked up in 2014, and over these five years she has criss-crossed the country on several vacations – some of them outside of the timeshare platform as well.

Along with her friends, Jayashree has been to some really exotic locations such as Ladakh, Saputara/Hatgad, Odisha, Tadoba-Pench, Egypt and Bandhavgadh. According to her, these vacations largely happened because her friends were doing all the planning and coordination – all she had to do was pack her bags and join the gang.

For the AIRDA content team, it was really interesting chatting with Jayashree, because here was someone who looked at travel as an interesting learning experience.

Talking to Jayashree Bhat of Mumbai
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Q&A – March 2019

We live in such troubled times. Climate change, global warming, large scale dumping of plastic waste in our oceans. What has all of this got to do with your vacation calendar for the next 25 years? (Remember, you get a 25-year-calendar on your timeshare membership.)

Your resort may have nothing to do with all this, because the symptoms described above are part of a larger chain reaction. Pollutants floating in ocean waters will eventually wash up ashore – so there goes that picture-perfect beach holiday that you dreamed of. Plastic debris that sinks may be swallowed by the same fish that is served up at a beach shack – slice open your fried fish and you might find a bottle cap inside. Sounds unpalatable, and we do hope that does not happen to you. (But this is a scenario in-the-making and might soon happen at a beach near you.)

B. S. Rathor
Advisor & Member – Executive Committee

More on this story at the link below >
Message of the Month – March 2019