‘2023 will be the year of no-normal’
Parveen Chander, Executive Vice President – Sales & Marketing, IHCL, says Carecations helps guests volunteer and support local communities during their travels
It was in November 2022 that the country’s largest hospitality company, IHCL, introduced Carecations, a unique travel-centric initiative, under IHCL’s framework of sustainability and social impact measure called Paathya, allows guests to embark on inspiring holidays specially envisaged to lead positive change for a better tomorrow.
On why did IHCL introduce Carecations, Parveen Chander, Executive Vice President – Sales & Marketing, shares, “One of the major trends that is here to stay is a new kind of traveller – the environmentally conscious traveller. They will choose to stay in hotels that have sustainability elements and will come back again. So IHCL introduced Carecations.”
Explaining how Carecations helps guests volunteer and support local communities during their travels, Chander explains, “These packages are available at multiple destinations. Kapsethi in Varanasi is famous for carpet weaving which is now seeing many women entering this traditionally male dominated craft. Guests staying at Taj Ganges and Taj Nadesar Palace can interact with these women, volunteer with basic language and IT training lessons and help support the women to gain self- reliance and earn their own living. This helps in supporting the community.”
He cites another example, “A trademark of the quaint town of Sanganer, the art of blue pottery has been a part of Jaipur’s heritage for generations. Guests from Rambagh Palace and Sawai Man Mahal can watch the skilled artisans deftly paint the Mughal inspired patterns and animal motifs on hand-sculpted pieces of pottery and immerse themselves in its history, evolution and techniques. They can create a piece of art themselves at the workshop and carry it back with them. This itinerary helps to safeguard this cultural art form for many more generations.”
Guests can help in conserving Nature by taking a walk with the Pardhis while staying at Pashangarh Taj Safari in Panna National Park. The Pardhis share a rich history with the forest and have a deep understanding of their surrounding ecosystem. They have moved away from their former lives of being poachers to one of wildlife conservers, as they work closely with the Forest Department.
“The Carecation holiday itineraries enable direct interaction between guests and the beneficiaries, allowing both to discover a rich bank of knowledge and stories. The carefully curated two-night and three-day stay offers are accentuated with excursions spent on purposeful activities. These journeys directly impact the beneficiaries and allow travellers to take back memories of touching someone’s lives in an impactful manner,” he adds.
On the leading hospitality marketing trends for 2023 and how does IHCL plans to keep up with them, Chander says, “We are a unique business as we interact with our guests directly. We listen to them. We also capture data and analyse for trends so as to be ahead of the curve.”
The latest trends, according to Chander, are:
- Personalisation: Personalisation is already a major trend in hospitality marketing, but it will become even more important now. Hotels and other hospitality businesses will use data and technology to create personalised experiences for guests, from customized room preferences to tailored recommendations for local experiences.
- Sustainability: More and more consumers are looking for sustainable and eco-friendly travel options. Hospitality businesses that prioritise sustainability will be able to attract and retain these environmentally-conscious travellers.
- Value-driven travel takes priority: The ways in which people travel this year will change, with travellers prioritising value and experiences. Hoteliers need to ensure that guests feel their experience was worth the cost.
- Shift from amenities to experiences: Travellers are looking for an experience when booking a trip this year and how a property’s amenities and values contribute to that experience will be prevalent. Expedia predicts that 2023 will be the year of the “no-normal”, with travellers ditching conventional travel for experienced-based travel.
- Rich content will become even more important: In 2023, potential customers will have much higher expectations regarding the type of content they expect to see online, and search engines will reward hospitality businesses that get on board. The use of rich content, like videos, social media stories, and virtual tours, will increase as consumer habits shift to prioritize more diverse content offerings.
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