Branded accommodation aggregator Vista Rooms targets Tier II, III cities for expansion 'The real need for good quality and affordable accommodations lies in smaller towns than in metro cities.'

By Swadha Mishra

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(L-R) Amit Damani, Co-Founder & Head of Online Sales & Marketing; Ankita Sheth, Co-Founder and Head of Partnerships; Pranav Maheshwari, Co-Founder and Head of Technology, Vista Rooms

Mumbai-based branded accommodations aggregator has announced its entry in the online space targeting Tier II & III cities, with an aim to provide comfortable and standardised stays not just in bigger towns, but in smaller cities across India. Post building a network of over 450 properties in more than 55 cities from just 4 properties in April this year, Vista Rooms is primarily targeting to tap the unorganized affordable accommodation segment in India.

The Inception

Vista Rooms is founded in April 2015 by three Co-founders - Amit Damani, Ankita Sheth and Pranav Maheshwari. Although there are players in the branded accommodations segment in the big cities, the founders realised that nobody concentrated on the smaller cities of India, where the real need for good quality and affordable accommodations lies.

Speaking on the same lines, Ankita Sheth, Co-founder & Head of Partnerships, Vista Rooms, shared, "We believe that the budget stay space in India is vast and needs improvisation and standardisation. We commend all the players in the market for focusing on standardization of such a large and fragmented budget hotel market. We see ourselves complementing other players as our focus is primarily on smaller cities and towns of India, where we see the biggest need for quality assured stays.".

With 25 per cent repeat customers, Vista Rooms' on-call concierge team strives to provide personalised and customised services to each guests. They go that extra mile to help customers with specific requirements, such as organising transportation for them or even helping them determine the best places to eat around the hotel.

Expansion Plans

The start-up has aggressive growth plans, and has recently raised an undisclosed amount of funding to expand its network of branded stays, bolster its technology and hire new talent. "We started off with 15 hotels in Mumbai and Pune, and are now placed to launch across multiple cities in India. With our tech-enabled systems and processes, we are in a position to expand our asset-light as well as people-light model anywhere and everywhere," said Pranav Maheshwari, Co-Founder and Head of Technology, Vista Rooms. It plans to expand in smaller cities like Mangalore, Coorg, Coimbatore, Ooty, Coonoor, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Pushkar, Nashik, Shirdi, Kolhapur, Aurangabad, Belgaum, Lonavala, Vapi, Surat, Bharuch, Valsad, Baroda, Rajkot and others along with major urbanised hubs such as Mumbai and Pune.

Strategic Tie-up

The firm has also tied-up with an Ahmedabad-based hotel management company Burgeon Hotels & Resorts to ensure comfortable and standardised stay to customers by creating operational efficiency and improving customer service. Speaking on the tie-up, Satish Nair, Co-founder & Director of Operations, Burgeon Hotels, said, "Vista Rooms combines well with our desire of showcasing India to Indians and giving them a standardised product not just in metros and Tier 1 cities, but even Tier 2, 3 and 4 cities in India be the places of business, tourist or pilgrimage importance."

"Burgeon comprises of a team of founders with prior experience working with hotel companies such as The Oberoi, Taj and The Intercontinental Hotel Group. Burgeon Hotels will help Vista Rooms in auditing, training and ensuring standardized quality being offered to customers across its properties," Sheth added further.

Market View

Worldwide, the travel and tourism space accounts for around $6.5 trillion. Of which, hospitality, a major segment of tourism, has grown by 10-15 per cent on the back of strong consumer sentiment, with major steps taken from Government's end to make India a global tourism hub. The healthy growth is fuelled by robust inflow of foreign tourists as well as increased tourist movement within the country.

Though, at present, the Indian hotel industry is highly fragmented, with a large number of small and unorganized players operating in this space, the online budget accommodation domain is now seen as a sun rise sector garnering a lot investor attention lately. And according to experts, the market is expected to reach $30 billion in size by 2015. "There are more than 1,00,000 budget hotels across India and standardized, branded properties make up a small sliver of this market. We see this market evolving rapidly with standardized branded hotels becoming the norm rather than anomaly," shared Sheth.

The online branded network of affordable hotels is already led by well-funded start-ups like OYO rooms, Zo Rooms, Wudstay, Treebo, and FabHotels etc., and it would be interesting to see Vista Rooms directly competing with these players for a slice of the growing budget hotels aggregation space. OYO Rooms recently announced to raise $100 million from SoftBank, and other existing investors. Similarly, Delhi-based Zo Rooms had also raised Rs 192 crore in fresh round of funding from Tiger Global.

Swadha Mishra

Former Staff,

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