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[dropcap]M[/dropcap]umbai: Over a span of 24 months, SaffronStays: Where Families Bond, a micro-hospitality start-up founded by Devendra Parulekar and Tejas Parulekar has already catered to over 13,750 guests from its strongest captive market: Mumbai. SaffronStays curates boutique homes across the country and partners exclusively to manage the hospitality operations, branding, marketing and reservations. Each home that wishes to be a part of the Leisure Home Network undergoes a series of stringent checks before being considered. Every Home goes through a rigorous 100 point checklist that involves upgrades to every aspect from tasteful interiors to landscaping, from staffing and their training to technology deployment, to deployment of SaffronStays processes and methods. Unlike other online portals that only manage reservations of spaces, SaffronStays manages the complete holiday home experience for all the homes that join the Leisure Home Network.
SaffronStays presently has properties in Alibaug, Dapoli, Mulshi, Matheran, Panchgani, Karjat, Gholvad, Kamshet, Lavasa, Goa, Gwaldham, Jaipur, Kodaikanal and Ooty and holds over 100 rooms in its inventory. Now, the company is looking to position itself as a category creator in the micro-hospitality industry and establish an Indian market for highly curated vacation rental and holiday experiences. By onboarding over 2000 homes in the next 3-4 years, the company has set its target to an inventory of over 10,000 rooms. With an Average Room Rate of INR 7,500 SaffronStays aims to compete with global giants based in Europe, USA and China that were valued at 200 million USD via corporate M&A transactions over the past 12 months.
The brand that has acquired more than 30 exclusive homes across the country with a strong presence in Maharashtra, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, and Uttarakhand is now looking to replicate its successful model in Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Poducherry with a target of acquiring and managing 45 homes with 180 rooms across 6 states by the end of FY 2018. The steady pace, and strong dedication to the brand philosophy has ensured a controlled expansion of the company that is actively eyeing the Southern states of India; and has opened a Southern Regional Office in Bangalore to manage operations and maintain SaffronStays standards across the country.
Tourism in South India is fueled by abundant Tea and Coffee Estates, culturally rich packages and royal, heritage homes. SaffronStays aims to tap into markets like Coonoor, Coorg, Munnar, Yercaud and Poducherry that align with the brand outlook.
Devendra Parulekar, Founder, SaffronStays said, “We are specifically targeting watering holes of HNIs – exclusive clubs and associations like member-driven gymkhanas and Owners Associations to spread the word. These homeowners are money rich and time poor, and we want to restore and manage their estates for them. Owners of large ancestral homes in Coorg and Coonoor were the flag bearers of homestays in India, and we want to make sure their product is available to a larger market via our services. At present, the Indian leisure home market is sparsely populated – approximately 200,000 homes across the country. Over the next 7 years, this number is projected at 700,000 homes. The scope for penetration is immense.”
SaffronStays Milton Abbott, Ooty is one such home that highlights the charm of a restored and well-maintained heritage home. The 1865-built royal home situated next to Ooty Golf Course and Gymkhana, is surrounded by a 4.5 acre estate that is a respite from a saturated Ooty market. Such homestays are now widely accepted in India, and SaffronStays eyes to be the national leader in this space. SaffronStays aims to hold over 2000 homes managed and branded by the company in the next 3-4 years, and the company is looking to raise 20 million USD to fund these expansion plans and strengthen their position across India and the world.