Hotels trying to attract guests in bleak season

Hotels trying to attract guests in bleak season
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First Published: Tue, Apr 28 2009. 10 10 PM IST

Affordability: The Leela Palaces Hotels and Resorts has special weekend rates for its Mumbai property, which is cheaper than the week days. Hemant Mishra/Mint
Affordability: The Leela Palaces Hotels and Resorts has special weekend rates for its Mumbai property, which is cheaper than the week days. Hemant Mishra/Mint
Updated: Tue, Apr 28 2009. 10 10 PM IST
Mumbai: After a punishing season on account of the economic downturn, and ahead of a long, four-day weekend—elections in several parts of the country, including Maharashtra, are scheduled for 30 April, and this is followed by May Day—hotels across the country are offering special deals to attract guests.
Affordability: The Leela Palaces Hotels and Resorts has special weekend rates for its Mumbai property, which is cheaper than the week days. Hemant Mishra/Mint
“The meltdown has hit the lifestyle of people across the globe, but in India, people are planning to take a breath in the upcoming long weekend,” said Amal Purandare, head of India operations at Arzoo.com, a Mumbai-based travel website.
The Leela Palaces Hotels and Resorts has special weekend rates for its Mumbai property, which works out cheaper than the week days. Bangalore-based Royal Orchid Hotels Ltd is also offering summer packages that are 20% down from last year.
Luxury chain Royal Orchid Hotel last year was charging Rs10,000 for a room at its Goa and Jaipur properties and Rs11,000 at Mysore. This year, prices are Rs7,999 in Goa and Jaipur and Rs8,999 in Mysore.
Even Chicago-based luxury hotel company Global Hyatt Corp. has launched a global guest loyalty programme, christened “The Big Welcome”, as part of which its hotels across the world are offering a 10,000 free nights sweepstakes and a total of 31,095 free nights for guests that avail of special packages.
“At a time when others may be tempted to cut back, we consider these enhancements a long-term investment in our business. Three people will win 365 free nights, 30,000 people will win one free night (10,000 in each of three regions around the world), and countless others will have a chance to experience Hyatt world-class hospitality through our new programmes,” said Mark S. Hoplamazian, president and chief executive officer of Global Hyatt Corp., in a statement.
In the statement, the company said the tumultuous economy has led to drastic changes in the way people travel. While cutting down on travel expenses overall, consumers are now more singularly focused on returning to the essential pleasures of travelling: pampering, relaxation and good, old-fashioned hospitality, it said.
“The high-end of the hotel market has traditionally been available only to a select few, but now many more travellers can treat themselves to a bit of luxury and experience a champagne lifestyle without breaking the bank,” said Johan Svanstrom, managing director (Asia Pacific) of Hotels.com, in a statement.
Hotels.com, which offers more than 99,000 hotel rooms worldwide, is a booking website that is part of the US-based travel firm Expedia Inc.
However, the trend is not limited to luxury hotels; budget hotels are also offering special deals to pull in guests in the midst of a bleak season.
Ginger hotels is offering special Web rates starting at Rs999 and is giving a straight concession of 20% on all online bookings. Ginger is operated by Roots Corp Ltd, or RCL, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Indian Hotels Co. Ltd.
Rival budget hotel chain Lemon Tree Hotels is offering three complimentary room nights in a suite and all meals for a billing of Rs1 lakh, going all the way down to one complimentary room night on a bill of Rs25,000.
Svanstrom said many hoteliers are now also including added bonuses such as complimentary airport transfers, free car parking, as well as food and drink vouchers or spa treatments for staying customers. “When you add up the cost of the extras that are sometimes included, the price is now comparable to, or even providing better value than, hotels at the lower end,” Svanstrom said.
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First Published: Tue, Apr 28 2009. 10 10 PM IST