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Sarovar sees 500% growth in revenue from direct bookings

Facade of Parallel Hotels at night

Parallel Hotel hits 100 monthly room nights in direct bookings via website

The luxury hotel in Udaipur, Rajasthan reached this milestone within five months of onboarding Simplotel Hotel E-commerce.

Most of us do not take the road less traveled. But then you have Sarovar Hotels and Resorts who did, and they became trailblazers in the Indian hospitality industry.

Sarovar operates 96 hotels across 55 destinations worldwide. One of the leading hotel chains in India, Sarovar was founded by Anil Madhok (Executive Chairman) and Ajay Bakaya (Managing Director) nearly a quarter of a century ago. Sarovar Hotels was the first mover in India to adopt the asset-light model, where it manages and services other hotel properties through strategic alliances with other chains.

Sarovar started operations when it took franchises of Park Plaza and Park Inn brands for India. A decade later (circa 2005), Sarovar began promoting its own brands: Portico, Hometel and Premiere. Fast-forward to another decade and the Louvre Hotels Group, one of Europe’s leading hospitality brands, purchased a stake in Sarovar in 2017. Another milestone in this impressive growth story.

Parallel Hotels is a luxury hotel anchored in the scenic Indian city of Udaipur — the City of Lakes. With mesmerising views of the Fateh Sagar Lake and towering mountains, this urban oasis offers seven categories of accommodation across five themes: art deco, Bollywood, contemporary, Hollywood and industrial. The 55-room property with state-of-the-art amenities caters to both domestic and international guests.

After opening its doors to guests, Parallel Hotels onboarded Simplotel Hotel E-commerce (website design and booking engine) after receiving great feedback from other hotels in the industry. Manan Khetan, Owner of Parallel Hotels, says, “Today, the hospitality industry has embraced digitalisation. We wanted to take our first step towards developing our online brand visibility and growing direct bookings with Simplotel. We’re glad we made the right decision.”

Shatabdi Dutta, General Manager (Marketing) at Sarovar, believes that Simplotel’s USP is its digital marketing service. “Simplotel helped us rank in terms of traffic generation across online channels and drive conversions. We received great technical support from the team, which we lacked earlier. The website design is great and user friendly. We have received positive feedback from guests that the booking journey does not take much time, is hassle free, and most importantly, the mobile site is responsive!”

Within five months of onboarding Simplotel, Parallel Hotels hit 100 room nights through its brand website in a month. Pulkit Garg, Director at Parallel Hotels, says, “Since the website was on a new domain, it took time to build credibility. Our room nights grew gradually and we hit 50 direct monthly room nights in the third month itself. I have to appreciate the Simplotel Digital Marketing team. Their efforts really helped us drive organic traffic and rank higher on Google. Reaching 100 direct room nights was only a matter of time.”

Infinity Deck at Parallel Hotels

“I love the fact that we are able to personalise the guest journey on our website, which is similar to that on online travel agencies (OTAs). Our website remembers guests, their preferences, and their search history, which helps us customise offers & promotions and even remarket to them. We can now mimic the marketing efforts of OTAs both on the desktop and mobile devices because of Simplotel Hotel E-commerce,” says Khetan.

Sky view and infinity pool at the Residency Towers Chennai

Garg adds, “I love the analytic reports on Simplotel’s dashboard. We get complete visibility into ‘length of stay’ and ‘advance purchase patterns’. These insights help us to optimise our revenue well.”

Khetan concludes, “The best thing about Simplotel is their team. They are proactive, uber-response and always keep us on our toes to try out new strategies. Our new milestone is to now hit 300 monthly room nights before the end of the next fiscal year.”

Within a year of onboarding Simplotel, Sarovar had hit over 3x growth in revenue from direct bookings. In another year, this growth doubled to 6x since it went live with Simplotel. “We were able to use Simplotel’s technology to begin promotions and campaigns that gave us a major boost”, says Khan. The average monthly organic traffic also nearly doubled for The Louvre Hotels-backed hospitality chain. However, this was only possible as Sarovar had managed to put their vision into action and achieve the almost impossible in such a short span of time.

On personal learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic, both Khan and Dutta agree that they have learned to live life more passionately and prioritize family. On the professional front, they have learned to think out of the box to jumpstart Sarovar’s operations and forge deeper connections with their partners.

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