The Mumbai-based boutique hotel chain sees 250% growth in direct bookings
Bawa Group of Hotels is a collection of four boutique hotels in Mumbai. The chain is the hospitality arm of the Bawa Group of companies, which also comprises Bawa Realty (real estate), Iosis Wellness (wellness) and Bawa Kitchen. The boutique hotel chain was founded in the 1980s by Gurinder Singh Bawa, the chairman of the Bawa Group of Companies.
Bawa Group of Hotels comprises Hotel Bawa Regency, Hotel Bawa International, Hotel Bawa Continental and Hotel Bawa Suites, all strategically located near the airport and railway stations in Mumbai.
Harmit Kaur, a consultant for revenue optimisation and brand management at Bawa Hospitality, believes hotel guests have become more customer-savvy and prefer booking rooms online after the pandemic. “We wanted to capitalise on this opportunity and increase our direct bookings. We were happy with our previous vendor, but Simplotel’s technology is much superior. Also, we needed to improve the customer journey on the website & booking engine. Therefore, we needed a fresh look at both our assets. So Simplotel was a no-brainer for us.”
About six months after onboarding Simplotel, the Bawa Group of Hotels saw its direct bookings hit 8% of its total bookings. This figure was around 2-3% with the previous vendor. “We had realised that we were losing credibility with our customers when they would visit our booking engine to complete their transaction. They would be redirected to a third-party website to complete their booking. The change in URL (unique resource locator - which is a unique address of a resource on the worldwide web) would put off potential guests and they would be sceptical about entering their payment details.
Simplotel’s Hotel E-commerce made the booking engine an extension of our brand website. The booking experience was seamless and hence our direct bookings have grown to 23% of our total online business,” says Harmit.
Harmit is an avid motorcyclist and an adventurer. She learned to drive her first motorbike, a Harley Davidson, in her 40s. “A lot of people were doubtful of my ability to drive a heavy bike. I did have minor accidents. But that’s all part of learning & growing. It was the same with our brand website. A lot of vendors told us that direct bookings are a lost cause. It’s the online travel agencies (OTAs) that are ultimately responsible to bring in the business. However, Simplotel was the only company who we believed could spell magic for us. Their OTA-like features, especially the ‘secret deals’ option, really helped us to capture more direct bookings.”
Harmit believes Simplotel has a great team. “I really loved the design and content which were followed to the T as my brief. Lovely designs and engaging content. If I had to summarise Simplotel, it would be Simple!”