Hitesh Kshatriya, Chief Operating Officer, Panoramic Group of Companies is an engineer and a qualified cost and management accountant. He is currently driving the group’s integral business called ‘Magic Holidays’ – a highly-reckoned timeshare product.He has over 20 years of experience in various fields of retail business ranging from strategy design, corporate planning, business development, operations, marketing, finance and project management across the diversified industries, has enabled him to set immediate priorities and chart out new opportunities, a key synergy for the Panoramic Group. Beginning his career with GSFC Ltd as an Industrial Engineer in Corporate Planning as the project planning and monitoring in-charge, he managed finance, banking and costing as the head of marketing accounts.
Magic Holidays is a timeshare product of Panoramic Group of Companies, a worldwide hospitality innovator. The basic idea behind Magic Holidays is to own tomorrow's holidays at today's prices giving guests an experience of Unforgettable Times. A one-time payment permits a week of inflation-free holidaying at more than 4,000 resorts and multiple properties in India. For the last 25 years, it has been providing easy accessibility to global destinations, easy transferability, economical prices and in-house travel arrangements to satisfied customers.Timeshare is currently the fastest growing leisure segment in the tourism industry and can be defined as the advance purchase of time in holiday accommodation. Magic Holidays has been able to create waves in the segment with its customer-centric approach that offers them an unforgettable experience.
Replying to Yash Ved of IIFL, Hitesh Kshatriya says “The timeshare industry has grown at an average rate of 18% on year to year and we had grown 5 times more than Industry average.”
What is your outlook on the hospitality industry?
Hotels are an important component of the tourism product. They contribute to the overall tourism experience through the standards of facilities and services offered by them. With international tourism increasing year-on-year and the continued strength of domestic tourism, India will see incredible opportunities for growth.
The Indian tourism sector needs an urgent image makeover and higher investment in infrastructure, including through public-private partnership (PPP) mode to capitalise on opportunities provided by overall growth in world tourist arrivals, according to the Economic Survey 2012-2013.
Timeshare is one of the fastest growing segments in the travel industry in India. While globally this is an established concept, it is only picking up over here. According to statistics there are over 350,000 families in India owning timeshare vacations and it is only set to grow. In fact, timeshare is one of the fastest growing components in the tourism sector in India as it is set to grow at a rate of 16 per cent per annum.
These figures point towards a healthy trend with tremendous potential. Customers find the idea of ‘vacation ownership’ very appealing and are willing to make an investment in spending their annual holidays. With rising costs people are keen on taking a vacation which fits neatly into their allocated budgets and this is where a concept like timeshare holds promise, because it guarantees you with affordable holidays.
What is your growth target for the current fiscal?
The timeshare industry has grown at an average rate of 18% on year to year and we had grown 5 times more than Industry average. We had expanded our presence in India and Ownership of our Hotels / Resorts is currently 37. We have aggressive plan for future and we are confident that we would be able to better our performance.
How many resorts are you planning to open over the next two years?
We are very keen on expanding our footprint in the domestic as well as international markets. Right now, what we are looking at is a model of sustained expansion – which means that our target is to acquire one property a month in India and one in every quarter internationally. Recently we have added four new properties to our portfolio – at Todgarh, Udaipur and Mahabaleshwar in India and one in Singapore.
What is your business strategy?
Our expansion plans focus on two things now – increasing our customer base and propagating our franchise model which will help spread our network.
I expect to leverage the best of opportunities that we find. My mission is to make Magic Holidays a brand name that will be not just the most trusted, but also something that has touched lives and redefined the entire holiday experience.
Coming to our operations, since we are acquiring properties at a rapid pace we understand that this has to be backed up by able services too. This is the reason why we are also setting up offices in all major cities and important tier-II cities in India. Apart from this, we realize that it is not possible for us to be present in every corner of the country, so we have enlisted the services of franchisees and our network is quite strong here. This is another factor that will play a major role in our expansion plans.
We select and recruit Direct Sales Agents (DSAs) from various cities and towns. They are trained as per our training modules to acquire and service Magic Holidays customers. In return, they are given incentives as per the business volumes generated.
Comment on your marketing strategy?
The second phase of marketing is currently under way with advertisements being release in mainline daily nationally. The ads are design to communicate the basic differentiator which Magic Holidays has like, Number of Resort, Booking Conformation, Flexibility in terms of product offerings affordable payment options etc. We are also planning aggressively to promote Magic Holidays in Digital space.
Comment on your Capex plans?
We have internal approvals which are more than sufficient to fund our expansion plans
What are your international plans?
Magic Holidays owns resorts in USA – North Carolina, Ohio and New York; Thailand – Phuket, Pattaya and Bangkok; and one in Auckland, New Zealand. We are looking at several other destinations and our focus is on those places where Indians frequently holiday. Our target is to acquire one international resort every quarter.
Apart from this we are have an affiliation with Resort Condominium International (RCI), which allows our members to stay at any of the RCI-affiliated resorts in the world. Under this we cover more than 4,000 resorts across the globe.
Which are your target cities?
We are looking at buying properties in the following cities: Coorg, Durgapur, Goa, Jaipur, Kumarakom, Mangaon, Munnar, Neral, Panvel, Pune, Tadoba, Hyderabad, Lonavala and Tehri. Internationally we are looking at Phuket in Thailand for the coming quarter. Simultaneously we are also planning to strengthen the Magic Holidays brand by expanding our presence all over India.
Our main target consumers are High Networth Individuals (HNI), those who are above the age of 30 and couples looking to make an investment in holidays.
At present, we 37 properties worldwide including places like Kaziranga, Corbett, Chail, Bhimtal, Bageshwar and in international locations like Auckland, Thailand, New York and North Carolina. Apart from this there are eleven upcoming properties.