V Resorts is a new age travel solutions company that provides standardized premium experiences in the leisure travel space. With a corporate philosophy and values that fit in perfectly with the Central Government's pro-tourism agenda, which stresses the role of tourism in boosting employment and economic growth, and contributing to skill enhancement of local communities, V Resorts takes under-management properties that already exist and turn them into eco- friendly and sustainable getaways. Aditi Balbir, Founder and CEO of V Resorts was named as a contender to the BW Disrupt 40 Under 40 list in 2017.
In an interaction with BW Disrupt, Aditi Balbir talked about her venture.
Success mantra - In today’s world, it is all about identifying a niche and pursuing it with passion. And once you do that, don’t settle — keep innovating, keep yourself relevant in this dynamic and ever-changing business environment. Through proper use of technology, it is possible to run a small boutique hotel even in the remotest corner of India, cater to all hospitality aspects of the traveller — from booking standardised rooms and meals, authentic on-ground local experiences — all these with each resort breaking even at as low as 20 per cent occupancy. Today, we generate upwards of 15 per cent gross profit across 80 properties. Consumers are more demanding now and are ready to accept these new changes coming their way. It is about finding that need gap.
Government support - As entrepreneurs, we have to see ourselves as partners of change and work closely with the government. The government is continuously providing us with forums and platforms to exchange our views and learn from our counterparts not just in India but also abroad. I was a primary contributor to the white paper on the Indian Tourism Sector released at the India Economic Summit by the World Economic Forum held in October. And few of the recommendations in the report were about investing in both physical and digital infrastructure development to confront the issue of last mile connectivity, hazardous road travel and the lack of affordable hotels hampering international travellers’ experiences. Another aspect is the diversity in India where we are yet to take full advantage of the unexplored 6 lakh villages with their own cultures and heritage, ecotourism and cruise tourism to create unique experiences for travellers.
The inspiration - Brian Chesky of Airbnb. Airbnb has spent less than $300 million of the $3 billion it has raised from outside investors ever since it was founded nine years ago. Their growth story is phenomenal and some of the things they do are so simple and so effective.
The next step - Our main opportunity is the large market size — domestic travel is huge and rising at a fast pace. We aim to raise $10 million from investors to expand our presence to become the largest green hospitality chain in India with more than 20,000 rooms under management. The money raised shall be spent primarily on acquiring new resorts and building technology. We are also liaising with the Central Tourism Board of India to help us expand to states where tourism potential is high. South East Asia is among the favourite overseas destinations with Indians, so it is a prudent decision to focus our initial expansion efforts there.