September 26, 2017

Ramesh Ramanathan, Managing Director, Sterling Holidays, in an exclusive interaction with Voyager’s World, talks about how Sterling Holidays in tune with the changing consumer preferences, is going through a transformative phase as well as about his vision for the company.

Anju Anna Alex

Brand Repositioning and current objectives
Sterling Holidays is indeed going through a transformative phase. In the last few years, all the resorts have been upgraded to best in class standards. We have defined our new brand proposition and positioning in line with the changed needs of today’s travellers. We understand that today’s holiday goer is looking beyond a nice room in a nice location with good food. People are graduating towards curated experiences and discoveries. Sterling is hence busy identifying interesting experiences at the resort destinations as well as at the cities of residence of its members and guests.

Where does Sterling see itself in the next 5 years?
Currently our member base is 85,000 which is on a steady growth track annually. The onetime holidayers segment is also growing healthily year on year. In the next 5 years, we will continue pursuing this unique hybrid business model of hosting members and guests. We see Sterling emerging as a leading experiential holiday company with best in class resorts in India and Indians-led holiday destinations beyond India.

New properties, expansion plans in traction
Sterling currently has a room inventory of over 2000 rooms in 27 resorts across 24 destinations. We also have 4 resorts under the Nature Trails portfolio. Our primary focus remains the domestic market currently. We are looking at expanding our portfolio to give wider experience to our customers. In FY18, we expect to add 3-4 properties with an additional 200-300 rooms, taking our total resort count to 33-34. These properties are likely to be in scenic locations like Wayanad in Kerala, Mount Abu in Rajasthan and Kanha in Madhya Pradesh. For the overseas, Sterling is planning to expand to destinations like Sri Lanka, Thailand and Malaysia in the next two to three years. The discussions for the same however will begin by the end of this year.

Marketing and Promotional Activities
From time to time, the resorts and branch offices run themed, engaging marketing and promotional activities and events. One initiative that is extremely differentiated and unique is Sterling’s 100 Days of Joy Calendar. We have identified 100 Days of Joy through the year that our resorts and branches will celebrate with members, guests and customers. These include the usual festivals and national days of significance as well as a whole host of “fun” days like Colour Days, Wildlife Weekends, Days to experience Treks n Trails, Food Festivals etc. that are sure to add that extra zing to the holiday experience

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