From the Table of the CEO – WelcomHeritage: Abinash Manghani

WelcomHeritage Hotels is in a space whose time has come. The covid years thrust the “experiential travel” category into the mainstream with Indians choosing to take to road travel, to get away from cities to destinations as diverse as Rajasthan’s fabled Forts & Palaces, or to be with nature in India’s fledgling Wildlife destinations and hill stations amongst others. When borders reopened, inbound tourism further fueled this demand albeit to select destinations.

With a byline “Redefining Experiences” and with 38 operational hotels and many more to open across the country, WelcomHeritage has truly a national footprint. I asked Abinash Manghani, to share his views in his capacity as the CEO of WelcomHeritage. Q. With 38 Hotels across the country, how do you manage such a diverse portfolio of Hotels, Resorts, Palaces? How would you characterize the WelcomHeritage Brand?

WelcomHeritage has adapted and evolved over the years into an “Experiential Brand” incorporating Culture & Heritage and folded in the Natural Heritage components of being close to Nature, Wildlife and Wellness as they truly represent India’s bounty of authentic offerings. Correspondingly, we now have a 50:50 split with Nature, Wildlife & Wellness resorts at varied destinations, coupled with our focus on Heritage Palaces, Forts & Havelis with an eye to attract travelers from outside India.

Much of this is primarily due to consumer demand from within the country. India is yet to achieve its pre-covid numbers of inbound tourists. However, domestic travellers have filled that gap to some extent. There is however, now, a renewed interest in India as a destination, so things are changing.

The next few years will experience a more balanced growth in both these segments with the revival of international tourists and continued strong domestic demand.

Q. Since you manage or franchise the brand, what is the relationship between the owners of these assets and why do you think they prefer WelcomHeritage to other brands? What does it require for a property owner to be impaneled or get branded as part of the WelcomHeritage collection?

We are proud that our owners have participated wholeheartedly in the growth and development of WelcomHeritage as a brand. We share a very cordial and constructive relationship with our owners, and they have reciprocated by endorsing our strategy and implementing our brand standards and sales & marketing initiatives, particularly with regard to distribution and e-marketing. It’s been a mutual relationship where the brand also contributes to its growth with new projects & expansion efforts. Almost 40% of our growth is on account of current owners and that to my mind is a huge endorsement of our relationship.

We are a true indigenous brand, and this is part of our brand appeal as we are seen as an Indian brand promoting and supporting Indian tourism by bringing the most authentic experiences the country has to offer.

Q. How has the brand progressed in recent years and what can guests expect when they stay at a WelcomHeritage, Resort, Palace or Wildlife resort? Are there any other experiences you would be able to elaborate upon?

As mentioned earlier, we have, over the past few years, opened several destinations including the award winning WelcomHeritage Cheetahgarh Resort & Spa in Rajasthan, WelcomHeritage Tadoba Vanya Villas Resort & Spa in Maharashtra, thereby creating a strong niche in the Wildlife segment. These are certified TOFT resorts following sustainable policies. We also opened several amazing nature destinations in India’s popular hill stations of Ooty, & Coorg in the South and Shimla, Mussoorie with several exciting resorts in North India. We are active in the East and will be opening in Gangtok as well. Our Haveli in Allahabad (Prayagraj) next to the Sangam is extremely popular and our Houseboats in Srinagar is rated as a “must stay” for travellers exploring Kashmir. For those seeking a regal experience, our flagship palaces offer a glimpse into royalty, with properties like WelcomHeritage Bal Samand Lake Palace in Jodhpur, WelcomHeritage Mandir Palace in Jaisalmer, and WelcomHeritage Shivavilas Palace in Sandur (Hampi).

All in all, we are a wholesome brand and that’s part of the brand appeal across the length and breadth of the country not just for owners of properties wishing to be part of our journey but also for travellers who patronize us!


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