Leverages Hotel Digital Marketing To Boost Direct Bookings From 30 to 200 Room Nights Per Month
“We don't just sell rooms, we sell nature.”
Ashutosh Goyal, Director of Ananta Hotels and Resorts.
You could probably call Mukund Goyal a rebel with a cause. The founder and chairman of Ananta Hotels and Resorts started out in his family business of garment manufacturing in the 1980s. By early 2000, the garment industry became stagnant as countries like China and Bangladesh had begun producing cloth at a much cheaper rate. This is when Mr. Goyal decided to diversify his business and enter the hospitality segment. He faced strong headwinds from all sides, but the rest is history in the making.
The three-time Presidential awardee envisioned creating a unique product that provided 5-star facilities. So the group first purchased Country Inns and Suites in 2004, which later got rebranded as Radisson Red. Learning the ropes of hospitality from the Carlson Group, Mr. Goyal then decided to take the next leap.
In 2008, Mr. Goyal stumbled upon land in Pushkar, Rajasthan surrounded by the beautiful Aravalli mountain ranges. He then decided to build a resort culture after again facing criticism from his industry peers. At the time, Rajasthan mainly catered to the international segment, and these guests were interested in experiencing Rajasthani culture. However, Mukund decided to cater to the domestic market and built a unique product comprising Balinese-styled cottages. Ananta Spa and Resort was an instant success. The 80-room property then paved the way for Ananta Udaipur and Baagh Ananta Elite (taken over as a management model). At present, Ananta Hospitality Group has 10 properties under its brand and two more upcoming hotels.
The group’s journey with Simplotel began by onboarding Simplotel's Booking Engine as the luxury chain was keen to learn on how to increase direct bookings. “We knew Simplotel was a pioneer in the hospitality tech space. We are happy we chose Simplotel because we realised that as compared to other technology service providers, Simplotel would always push our team to approve further enhancements on the website and provide effective hotel digital marketing strategies,” says Ashutosh Goyal, grandson of Mukund and the Director of Ananta Hotels and Resorts.
As Simplotel’s Booking Engine accelerated growth, Ananta Hospitality Group then onboarded Simplotel’s Website Builder. Vaibhav Jain, Manager (revenue), says,” We almost saw a 100% increase in direct bookings after onboarding both the booking engine & website (called Simplotel Hotel E-commerce). From 400 room nights a year, we now clock an average of 200 room nights a month.”
Also, the luxury hospitality chain’s total online bookings (including OTAs) for each property is in the range of 20-50%, varying according to location and inventory. “Out of the total bookings, 10-18% are direct bookings through the website,” says Jain.
Jain adds that from the user’s point of view, Simplotel’s content management system is dynamic and very easy to use. From the customer’s point of view, the booking journey is so seamless that you can reserve a room with three clicks. “I also love the fact that we are now able to rank numero uno on a few keywords optimised by Simplotel. We would pay very high commissions earlier. But now Simplotel’s SEO and other digital marketing strategies have been a blessing.”
“Every passing month our business is growing through the website. Our bookings have been growing 8-10% every six months,” says Ashutosh. He concludes, “If you love serving people, then hospitality is the best industry to get into. You get to meet a lot of people from so many different fields of expertise which provides immense learning opportunities.’’