Today's Traveller Interviews

Ajay Mehtani: With domestic tourism and travel spends of 8%+ CAGR, expect healthy growth

Ajay Mehtani, Partner, TreeHouse Hotels & Resorts
Ajay Mehtani, Partner, TreeHouse Hotels & Resorts

TT Bureau: What trends do you see shaping the future of the hospitality industry, particularly in the eco-luxury segment, and how is TreeHouse Hotels preparing to meet these trends?

Ajay Mehtani: Overall, we think for India it’s a “game-on” for all formats of the hospitality business, be it hotels, alternate accommodations, bed and breakfast models, serviced apartments etc.

As an operator one needs to understand the market and the segmentation of business one can target in that specific market/location and build a product that will provide the owners ROI while ensuring it meets the customer expectations and is value for money be it any positioning i.e., luxury, economy etc. With domestic tourism and travel spending looking at upwards of 8%+ CAGR over the next few years, we expect healthy growth if you are prudent with your investments.

I think if we are all responsible citizens, sustainability should be part of life at home and work. Do we imbibe the culture? While we are in a niche space and may not have significant capital to invest in becoming Leed certified, we do many things in our small way to contribute towards sustainability with our “Go Green” initiatives.

We think that small things matter even as small as ensuring that we educate our guests about linen changes, our staff on saving electricity, ensuring ovens are fired at the right time and many other things under these initiatives that are sustainable but also help us to save costs. So, it’s a win-win for us to be sustainable.

“In all our greenfield projects we emphasize being energy and water efficient, while focusing on green design, with the help of us consultants and educate owners that  capital investment will save them recurring costs.”

Locally sourced food, growing our vegetables at our hotels where we have access to land, involving local communities at our hotels where possible; our efforts should come to us naturally and not something that we have to think through but imbibe as a culture at all our hotels.

TreeHouse Hotels & Resorts
TreeHouse Hotels & Resorts

TT Bureau: How do you ensure that TreeHouse Hotels remains adaptable and resilient in the face of changing market conditions and global challenges?

Ajay Mehtani: We are very happy and focused on the domestic traveller with domestic visits of over 1731 million as of 2022 (data as per Statista).

I think this number itself is huge and we as a brand want to service this segment of business in upscale with TreeHouse Exotic, Midscale with TreeHouse and Economy with Nest by TreeHouse.

We make our hotel product to suit every need of the young and vibrant domestic audience, that is travelling for work, play, meditation, wellness or any other purpose.  We ensure that we develop menus for local taste buds and hotels that offer great value with quality. The idea is very clear – we want to be the Mid-sized SUV in India with large volume, great quality and efficiency. 

TT Bureau: Are there any new locations or markets that TreeHouse Hotels is particularly excited about?

Ajay Mehtani: Right now, we operate 24+ hotels and are growing rapidly. Initial growth came through references and now we are going out for business development as we have established our process, systems, and technology, the 3 pillars that run our business, other than off-course people.

We are excited about the most obscure places, the smallest of towns to the familiar cities. We think we have a product at each price point and a value proposition for the Owners.

TT Bureau: What are some of the most impactful sustainability initiatives you have implemented across your properties?

Ajay Mehtani: We are imbibing “Go Green” small initiatives for both the front and back of the house.  The point is that if we can do this as “driving a car” it needs to come naturally to our associates and that is the culture we are focussed on. While developing hotels it continues to be our focus as it is a win-win for both the owner and the operator to be sustainable. 

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