Partial success for bed & breakfast scheme in Delhi

Partial success for bed & breakfast scheme in Delhi

New Delhi: When the Ministry of Tourism announced its bed and breakfast scheme two years ago, Vikram and Bhavna Atwal thought it was the perfect opportunity to make use of a large piece of property they owned in Delhi’s posh Greater Kailash II area.

All it took was a relatively simple registration process with the Ministry of Tourism, which went surprisingly smoothly. Soon, Atwal’s business took off. "We have a lot of business and leisure travels and weddings as well. People are looking for budget accommodation where their guests will be taken care of so even that is a big scope", says Bhavna Atwal.

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b245a6b4-ac17-11dd-933d-000b5dabf613.flvThe India-wide scheme has particular importance in Delhi, which is expected to be short of about 18,000 rooms when its hosts the Commonwealth games in 2010. To fill this gap, the ministry hopes to have 3000 bed and breakfast units registered by then.

Vikram and Bhavna charge between Rs3500-5000 per night per room. Their average occupancy rate is 60%, and goes as high as 90% during the peak season.

But not everyone’s been successful like the Atwals. G.K. Sethi, another Delhi resident, had high hopes when he registered his East Delhi flat for the bed and breakfast scheme. He says he relied on the ministry to market the property. But after six months of waiting for occupants, he decided to rent out his space.

The Atwals have extensively used their own contacts to get the word across, contacting corporations and setting up their own web site. They are also planning to form an association with other bed and breakfast units for marketing collaboration.

The ministry of tourism so far has only about 300 registered bed & breakfast units. But officials say they plan to step up the campaign and take it further.