Verda Group of Hotels ventures into the virgin market of Ladakh, courtesy of AICGIM

The niche tourist destination, Ladak, has been attracting national and international tourists since the time it became a part of India’s Union Territories

Verda Group of Hotels, Verda Hotels, Ladakh, AICGIM, December 2020, Atal Incubation Centre, Goa Institute of Management

The Verda Group of Hotels, a hospitality start-up which began its journey on the shores of Goa in 2011 has become the first hotel chain to get a foothold in mountainous Ladakh, one of India’s latest Union Territories and a virgin market as far as the hospitality industry is concerned.

Commenting on the hotel chain’s latest foray into Ladakh, the first by a hotel chain in the Northern Union Territory, Parmar said, that the niche tourist destination has been attracting national and international tourists.

Avinash Parmar, Co-Founder of the Verda Group of Hotels said, “We saw an opportunity to be an early part of the growing tourism story there and create a network of hotels with international standard services. We are overwhelmed with the acceptance and superb support of the locals,” he said. “We signed our first hotel in November with ‘The Verda Driftwood’. Today, we have four hotels there covering the circuit of Nubra with ‘The Verda White Sands’, Pangong with ‘The Verda Driftwood Lake Homes’ and Durbuk with ‘The Verda Driftwood River Retreat’,” Parmar said.

The next target is to focus more on tier two and three cities with properties of up to 40 keys and venture out into two international destinations by August 2020.

“We are already present in four states. This year, we plan to cover at least one property in all 29 states and seven Union Territories of the country. We have a target of adding 50 more properties by December 2020. We have been bootstrapped till now and contrary to the usual start-up notion we are profitable. Since we are planning hyper-growth in 2020, we would also be raising external investments,” Parmar said.

The Verda Group of Hotels is an invigorating success story, which was nurtured at the Atal Incubation Centre at the Goa Institute of Management (GIM), one of a series of incubation centres promoted by the NITI Aayog to promote innovation and entrepreneurship the country and create scalable and sustainable business enterprises.

“Our core effort is towards making the customer experience delightful. Customer delight doesn’t only come from a standardised room alone. At Verda Group of hotels, we take complete charge of the property. We implement strict standardised SOPs which cover upping guest relations, ambience, housekeeping, food and beverage practices, developing quality amenities and incisive training of human resources,” Parmar said.

Essentially, the Verda Group of Hotels fill in the gaps which major hotel aggregators tend to miss out on. “While established hotel aggregators focus on standardising just room quality, they have a limited control over the overall experience of the guests in a budget hotel. Things like quality of food, politeness of staff, SOP’s for overall operations, consistency in branding, etc, are not managed by other room aggregators,” he also said.

Asked about how the AICGIM helped him incubate his project, which seems poised to make rapid strides, Parmar said: “We are the part of the first cohort of AICGIM and the B-school has been working with us as an extended team. The strategic support and access to a wider industry network is very helpful”. He also said, that the AICGIM team helped to refine their business model and supported to create a go-to market strategy.

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