When we first sat to ‘design’ Vedanta – right from the concept to its implementation, we had only one goal – to be different. We are proud to say that with our first hotel in Fort Kochi we have shaken up the local hotel industry. We are offering our guests accommodation that is twice as good as our closest competitor at one fourth the price. The feedback, reviews and ratings we have received on several travel websites suggest that our guests love us for our hospitality. A lot of our business comes from guest referrals and word of mouth. We were rated #1 on Tripadvisor and several other websites within our first three months of operations, to the shock and awe of many. There was even an incident when the entire local hotel association descended on our gates, stones in hand, to shut us down for what he had done to their business.
We have challenged conventional concepts of hospitality and designed a model that we think should be the future of the industry. We only charge for things that we, as guests, would have liked paying for. A small incident at the Apple store in New York in 2006 has inspired me ever since. Apple distributes a pair of white headphones with its iPod. After about two years of usage the headphones went bad. Online these were retailing for around $20. I went into the store and before I knew it they gave me a free replacement, no questions asked. They did not have to think about this act, they did not have to check the piece or the warranty nor did they have to consult a superior. It may seem like a very small gesture, but Apple made sure that you were paying only for what you would have liked to pay for – the iPod. It was one of those ‘wow’ moments.
Conventional hotels like charging for a whole load of stuff, we don’t. Conventional hotels don’t enable their guests to have a socially fulfilling experience in their premises – to meet other guests and make new friends, we do. If a guest feels like he shouldn’t be paying for the room we let the guest stay free. Our guests should walk away feeling they have been treated well, they have got maximum bang for the buck and most importantly they haven’t been jipped.
This is just the beginning.