Hospitality brand Sterling Holiday Resorts Ltd has announced major expansion plans that will take place over the course of the next four years and see it doubling its room count to almost 5000. The Thomas Cook India subsidiary, which is headquartered in Chennai, is spread across the country with 35 majestic resorts that ooze luxury and are located in some of the most popular vacation destinations in India. The resorts are located not just based on holiday destinations or heritage centers but also in areas which could be a weekend getaway and are just a drive away from major metros, given the hectic lives of working professionals.
Sterling has also got a presence in the major pilgrimage spots in India. According to an official, Sterling has been a brand that provides their guests with new experiences of the country they know so well and ‘exposes a new India to Indians’.
Keeping in mind more such locations, Sterling plans to come up with resorts in Maharashtra's Karjat & Igatpuri, Thekkady and Guruvayur in Kerala, Pallaveli in Andhra Pradesh and Mysore in Karnataka soon and many more projects further on. The initial plan will be to set up almost double the number of rooms that are functional today. The officials also believe that adding focus to the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conference, Exhibition) business will also help in the expansion plans along with adding destination wedding and reunions to their portfolio.
In order to realise its expansion plans, the Chennai-based company has chosen to go via the light-asset model and plans to lease the new developed properties. Sterling is also introducing a timeshare model based on annual memberships which will attract consumers who look for hotels and resorts on a regular basis. These models will help the brand work without any added financial contribution from the parent businesses, hence, creating an easier path for the expansions they have planned.
Speaking to media, Ramesh Ramanathan, the MD of Sterling Holiday Resorts said, "Our idea is to double our rooms to go anywhere between 4,800 and 5,000 by 2023". Elaborating on the asset-light model, he added, "Initially we were using our own resorts, then we moved on to leased resorts and now we have moved to management contracts model."