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Int’l hotels woo Indian honeymooners

With honeymoon footfall continuing to grow year on year, and several destinations promoting themselves as ideal honeymoon destinations, international resort chains have set their eyes and minds set on wooing this travel segment. Kerzner International, which so far had only focused its efforts on promoting Atlantis The Palm Dubai to the Indian consumers, is all set to now lure the market to the One & Only resorts that are situated in popular destinations as well. It comes as no surprise that most of these destinations are popular among honeymooners.

“A large portion of our business is fuelled by the honeymoon segment. The honeymoon segment is very important and we take utmost care to ensure that we can create special experiences for our guests. We take all the necessary measures to support the travel trade and woo the Indian traveller. Honeymoons along with the ‘big fat’ Indian Weddings have been a huge success,” said Nicolas de Chalain, Chief Sales Officer, Sun Resorts.

Having long featured on every Indian’s bucket list, Switzerland hotels have benefited greatly from India’s honeymoon sector. “The Indian market is very important to us and we work with Switzerland Tourism India, Indiva Marketing and travel trade partners across the country on various initiatives to promote St. Moritz as a destination to visit in summer as well as in winter,” said Mirjam Bruder, Head of Markets and Business Development, St. Moritz, Switzerland.

Accommodating India

It is no secret that every hotel outside India needs to tweak its services to cater to the Indian market, be it dietary preferences and requirements or service expectations. Taking the effort to cater to this market is also the greatest indication of international properties’ dedication to the Indian travel sector.

“Each of our resorts is unique and has different USPs. We are taking efforts to explain the product and these USPs correctly to the Indian traveller. We offer special offers and packages for the Indian market. We have taken the Indian market very seriously and have understood the tastes and preferences of the Indian traveller,” said de Chalain.

In select properties across Australia, Accor, which is focusing on honeymoon this year, has launched an initiative for India-friendly honeymoons. Properties such as the Fairmont Blue Mountain have added a wine selection and chocolate strawberries, among other special touches to woo Indian honeymooners. The property is also offering Indian cuisine at their restaurant. The Kingfisher Bay Resort Fraser Island has launched a special package to woo honeymooners.

“Indian guests mainly request vegetarian or vegan dishes. We prepare and serve menus respecting requested dining habits in a quality corresponding with our legendary service to meet guests’ wishes and expectations. Furthermore, we have original tandoori oven in the hotel’s kitchen, rare in Prague,” said Werner Anzinger, General Manager at Mandarin Oriental, Prague.

Trends

Bearing in mind that the Indian market is moving from its demands of traditional sightseeing to more adventurous holidays, it is safe to say that the honeymoon segment is no different. According to de Chalain, at some point the couples would like to be involved in an interactive experience which would include various adventure activities like scuba diving, big sea fishing, rock-climbing, golf, tennis and so on. “They also like to party and our trendy night club is a big hit among travellers,” he added.

Beate H.K. Mauder-Kakkar, Managing Director, Indiva Marketing, which looks after the branding and positioning of The Datai, opined that couples are looking for unique and adventurous destinations for their honeymoon. “The Datai offers various activities for couples such as Rainforest walks, nature excursions, jungle trekking as well as water sports. The hotel also has a 18 hole golf course which is soon to be launched,” she stated.

“Indian honeymoon travellers are now very informed and sure of choices. They do a lot of research and refer with families, friends and more than one tour operator in the decision making process. Most have travelled extensively with family and friends. Therefore, they are looking at unique destinations and experiential trips,” opined Manas Sinha, Assistant Director, Key Accounts, Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts and Angsana Hotels & Resorts.

The importance of the trade

Keeping in mind the need to make honeymoons a memorable experience, several travellers still opt to plan their special getaway through professionals, making the travel trade an important part of any international property’s promotion and sales strategy in India. The Datai works with travel trade partners across the county on various B2B and B2C initiatives. Mauder-Kakkar further added that they work closely with Malaysian Tourism, Malaysian Airlines and the local DMCs on various promotional activities. Mandarin oriental, Prague holds regular conference calls, email promotions and annual FAM trips to the property.

“We have created offers, incentives and value additions based on our understanding of the Indian mindset, tastes and preferences. Our approach has been very flexible and we have successfully established relationships with the travel trade for the long term. We plan to better this understanding and enhance the Sun Resorts experience,” said de Chalain.

Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts is also working closely with travel trade in India. “We build the relation by sharing and educating about the USPs of the resort both through tradeshows and closed group training events. Special booking rate offers for trade partners is launched to invite industry partners to experience the resort. At the same time, we endeavour to expand the association with travel trade partners operating in the luxury segment. The response has been very encouraging and reflects in the growth of both our partners and us as a group,” stated Sinha.

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