The Boutique Hotel & Resort Chain Leveraged Simplotel Hotel E-commerce & Simplotel Digital Marketing to Skyrocket its Direct Bookings in Six Months
Stone Wood Hotels & Resorts (SWHR) is a hospitality chain that offers luxury and comfortable getaway experiences through its boutique hotels, villas, service apartments, clubs and restaurants situated majorly in the Indian state of Goa; as well as Rajasthan and Karnataka.
Since its inception in 2018, SWHR has rapidly grown its footprint to 10 properties within a span of five years. Mr. Kamal Sewalia, Associate Director of Revenue at SWHR, says that the hotel chain will soon be opening its doors in scenic locations situated in Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh within the next six months.
Kamal has over a decade of experience working in the travel & hospitality sector. With stints at Yatra.com & Cleartrip, he possesses a sharp acumen about driving online bookings. “I wanted SWHR to provide our guests with a booking experience similar to online travel agencies (OTAs). My peers in Goa had highly recommended Simplotel Hotel E-commerce (Simplotel Website Builder and Simplotel Booking Engine) as they had witnessed phenomenal growth in direct bookings. We loved the product and saw great value. And, we did see a phenomenal growth in direct bookings.”
In January this year, SWHR did 17 direct room nights across all properties through its website. In April, it scaled 94 direct room nights, and a month later, scaled a record of 200 room nights. “About 65% of our overall business comes from the online channel. Honestly, along with Simplotel Hotel E-commerce, we really made a good decision to leverage Simplotel Digital Marketing. The SEO (search engine optimisation) work done by the team was fantastic which resulted in substantial growth of our organic traffic and consequently, direct bookings,” says Kamal.
From negligible direct bookings, Simplotel now contributes 1-2% of the total occupancy for SWHR. “We see a lot of potential to grow our direct bookings with Simplotel. The best part about their team is they are very proactive in their reports and support. Other vendors only provide a website and booking engine, and the story ends there. With Simplotel, there’s a constant follow-up and we’re more like partners.”
Kamal believes that Simplotel OTA-like technology which provides a seamless booking experience is a powerful solution for hotels looking to drive direct bookings. “For instance, the backend is so user-friendly, that my team can create offers for a single hotel or even the entire chain on-the-go. This helps us to optimise our revenue strategies according to the day, month or season. Notwithstanding, Simplotel’s analytical reports really help us gauge our successes and our areas of improvement.”
Kamal says youngsters who wish to enter the hospitality industry, need to have passion and the ability to don various hats. He believes this is the mantra to succeeding in hospitality.