RARE India took a drift away from its annual soiree and organised their first showcase in New Delhi for their hotel partners, which was attended by 45 properties and resulted in some very constructive meetings.
A total of 45 properties were part of the showcase, informed Sowmya R Vijaymohan, Partner, RARE India. She added, “There are properties divided into Rajasthan, Central India, South India, hill retreats, hideaways, and small properties. This is the first time we are doing a showcase like this and possibly the first time that so many boutique hotels and some of the finest under the country are coming under one roof. When it comes to standalone individually owned hotels, a showcase like this is important because they come together as one community and reach out to agents – both domestic and inbound, as well as domestic travellers and corporates,” she added.
Shoba Mohan, Founder Partner, RARE India, added that for a very long time they have been largely B2B, but now they are reaching out to direct customers as well. “Our marketing strategy is telling the stories of these RARE hoteliers. They are not just about checking in, sitting by the pool and go away kind of properties. So, when we promote such properties, it becomes very important for us to keep improving upon the narrative and tell the traveller or the tour operators exactly what they are looking for and what they will be offering when they will be selling a RARE hotel.” Sowmya added, “When we started, it was more inbound oriented and until a few years back we realised that the domestic market holds a lot of potential for us. We’ve been in the market and deal with inbound and domestic agents. It’s been received very well both by the hotel partners as well as with the buyers. I think the time is just right for travellers that have done the luxury bit and have realised that it’s the experience that matters.”
However, when it comes to pricing, RARE properties are in the higher bracket. Mohan clarifies saying, “Pricing is a very tricky thing for small hotels. One must remember that these properties are very price intensive because firstly they are off the beaten track, which means that operationally each property has higher cost than a normal city hotel. Secondly, there is a conservation ideology behind each one of them. Thus, that cost must be borne into the room cost as well. However, our hoteliers have been very efficient in the way they have priced themselves. Some of them actually go the extra mile to keep them exclusive because RARE properties are something which not everybody would want to go to or everybody would understand.” On the commissions front, she said that they are in keeping with the industry norms. “RARE partner hotels offer packages with many experiences, activities, and most of them include meals as well. Thus, the cost is consolidated, and the commission is on the entire package, which becomes an incentive for the tour operators,” claimed Mohan.
“The time is just right for travellers that have done the luxury bit and have realised that it’s the experience that matters”
– Sowmya R Vijaymohan, Partner, RARE India