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Budget Hotels In India - Finally Coming Of Age?

Jun 4, 2008
Even for the seasoned traveller, India has always been a hard country to negotiate, particularly when it came to budget travel. More like a lottery as far as getting accommodation right was concerned - you won occasionally but lost most of the time. Sometimes amazing value and at other times you'd get a complete wreck of a hotel room for an inflated price.

At the top end though, travellers usually had ample choice and could choose from the best luxury hotel brands. And whilst these hotels never came cheap, one usually got what one paid for.

But now, things look set to improve - with the fast growth in the tourism and hospitality sector, there are signs of rapid change and new hope for the budget traveller.

The Indian middle class has started travelling more - with more leisure time, a higher disposable income and globalisation all contributing. And they are no longer satisfied by generations of run down lodges and hotels which were hardly ever renovated, the unfortunate hallmark of Indian budget travel over the last many years.

The larger hotel companies were the first to recognise this requirement - Ginger, a TATA enterprise, has twelve hotels already with another 6 hotels coming up. They offer good value rooms with the latest technology including self check-in options. Some of the other new brands in this sector include Lemon Tree, Hometel & Premier Travel Inn.

Another company which introduced a unique new concept to India six months ago is HOME-LIKE HOTELS. The company which was launched in November 2007 works on identifying unique, independent, boutique properties which offer great value across the length and breadth of the country. Once identified and approved based on their criteria, the company then makes the selected hotels available as part of the HOME-LIKE collection.

This offers a clear win for the traveller as they avoid the uncertainty of booking through travel portals like yatra.com or travelguru.com which list every hotel without qualifying them under set criteria.

Currently the HOME-LIKE HOTELS collection features over forty carefully selected boutique hotels in over 25 destinations. They aim to have over 100 hotels available for travellers to book from, by the end of the year. More information on their hotels and destinations is available at www.homelikehotels.com

The key difference between HOME-LIKE HOTELS and the traditional model is the unique character of the individual hotels. They avoid some of the bland standard features that all chain hotels invariably have.

Welcome news indeed for the budget traveller - with the price range for most of these hotels ranging between 2000 and 5000 INR (approximately 25 to 60) a night, the choice for travellers looking for an authentic Indian experience has just gone up.

So is this all achieved by compromising service and what gives to make these all so reasonable priced? Not service apparently - similar hotels usually maintain an employee per room ratio of about 0.5. In India it could be as high as 1.5 in most hotels.

The future should certainly hold a whole new India experience!
About the Author
Vineeth is the Director of his own hospitality company, Hospitality Sales Solutions, based in London, which provides holistic sales solutions to the hotel and travel industry. For more information on his company please visit www.hospitalitysalessolutions.co.uk For more information on HOME-LIKE HOTELS please visit www.homelikehotels.com
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