Offering a luxe touch to inbound

Très 2023, held recently at Andaz Delhi, showcased 60 outstanding boutique hotels, retreats, lodges, and camps. The two-day event drew more than 50 overseas travel operators from the UK, France, Australia, and the USA. TRAVTALK spoke to travel agents to understand what their clients are looking for, and hotels to learn about their latest offerings.

Janice Alyosius

Très 2023, a B2B event held recently at Andaz Delhi, revealed that hotels are adapting to the changing needs of travellers by introducing new offerings and products. The event highlighted that luxury and high-end properties, personalized services, and unique experiences are in high demand.

“Luxury and high-end properties are on the agenda for many travellers, especially after spending so much time at home during the pandemic. Experiential travels that provide great photo opportunities and lasting memories are also in high demand. In addition, spa treatments, good food, and shopping are popular among travellers,” shared Jean Wethmar, Executive Director, Glam Girls Lux Travels.

Participants at the event shared that Rajasthan and Kerala are popular travel destinations, but there are many other interesting states and cities to explore, such as Lucknow, Kolkata, and Ladakh. “When it comes to destinations, Jaipur is the most popular among travellers. The city’s beauty and charm, including the pink walls, make it a must-visit destination. Samachu is also a popular destination, with many travellers staying for five days,” Wethmar said. She also mentioned that she wants to include in her portfolio a river cruise and a spa that she experienced in Rishikesh.

Dr Claudia Behlert, African and Indian Wildlife, Culture and Conservation Specialist, Daktari Travel GmbH, said, “International travellers planning a trip to India are looking for authentic experiences that allow them to explore the country’s nature, history, and culture. The preferences of each traveller may vary, with some being interested in wildlife, rural experiences, heritage, or wellness. As a sustainable company, we prefer small owner-run hotels that offer an authentic experience of the country.”

She added, “When it comes to popular Indian destinations among international travellers, Rajasthan and Kerala are the most well-known due to their rich culture and natural heritage. However, there are many other interesting states and cities to explore, such as Lucknow, Kolkata, and Ladakh. Travellers also consider exploring individual states, as they each offer a unique experience. India offers a diverse range of experiences, and it may take multiple trips to fully explore the country.”

As a luxury holiday designer for all of India, Joanna Lester George, Founder and Director, Koko India Luxury Travels, shared her insights on what international travellers are looking for when planning their trip to India. “With the pandemic making people realize that they should fulfil their travel dreams sooner, India has become a popular bucket list destination. The country has much to offer in terms of wellness, from luxury retreats to peaceful countryside getaways. India’s diverse geography, including rivers, lakes, deserts, and mountains, has something for everyone,” George shared.

She added, “Rajasthan is always a popular destination as it represents the sensory overload and colourful culture of India, but every state has its own unique and magical experience to offer.” George believes that as time passes, more and more interesting places outside of the Golden Triangle will be discovered.  George enjoys meeting new people and finding places that offer something different, visionary, and progressive. She appreciates India’s history and the unprecedented experiences it offers and is interested in seeing how the country is moving forward after COVID.

Despite the challenges resulting from the pandemic, Pugdundee Safaris has managed to strengthen their business and broaden their product offerings. Aashima Bhalla, Brand Communication and Marketing Manager, Pugdundee Safaris, said, “We recently opened a new lodge called Waghoba Eco Lodge in Tadoba, Maharashtra, which was previously an unexplored region for us, in order to expand our reach. While our main focus has been on Madhya Pradesh, we wanted to increase our presence.”

In addition, Pugdundee Safaris has introduced new offerings for their Denwa Backwater Escape in Satpura, such as boat safaris, to provide guests with a personalized and exclusive safari experience on the water. They have also installed wildlife photography heights at their Pench Tree Lodge and Waghoba Eco Lodge in Taroba. These heights give guests the opportunity to take eye-level shots of wildlife as they bathe and drink near water sources, providing a unique and unparalleled photography experience. Bhalla emphasized that these new products and experiences demonstrate the company’s

dedication to providing guests with exceptional and unforgettable experiences.

Stanzin Jigmed Namgyal, Director, Stok Palace Heritage Hotel, takes pride on offering a unique and memorable experience for their guests. As the only heritage property in Ladakh, they provide a one-of-a-kind stay that combines history, culture, and luxury. Currently, they offer five beautifully appointed rooms within the main property, and guests can enjoy a variety of experiences during their stay, such as traditional Ladakhi cooking classes and guided tours of nearby monasteries and cultural landmarks. In addition to their main property, they also offer their sister property, Chulli Bagh Villas, which provides a peaceful retreat for guests seeking a longer stay.

Anuja, Co-Managing Director, Rainforest Resort, Kochi, shared exciting new products and offerings that the resort has introduced, such as offering Kerala cuisine, which is a must-try for foreign customers looking to experience the local culture. The resort has also implemented sustainable practices by promoting and reviving the lost culture of the four tribes in the rainforest, adding to the cultural experience of the guests.





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