Monday, 29 November 2010

INDIA - Putting Sensation into Incentive Travel

Whether coincidence or a natural by-product of the destructive attack on the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai two years ago, but at the same time as reopening their Mumbai icon, the Taj Group has just rolled out its exciting Vivanta brand.

The Vivanta brand has added further polish to 16 hotels that now join the three launch and development products, re-branding nineteen hotels and totalling 2,500 rooms. Ray Bickson, MD & CEO of Indian Hotels Company Ltd described the launch as “testament to the dynamism and innovation of the Taj” adding to its 107 years history of superlative service.

Giving it its full name, ‘Vivanta by Taj Hotels’ is described by Ajoy Misra (Senior VP Sales & Marketing) to be positioned at the “Upper-upscale segment”. He went on to say how the brand will “combine the charming hospitality that is the hallmark of the Taj and overlay it with a contemporary, energetic and vivacious twist”.

Great words and great reinvention of luxury profiling. And, despite Ajoy’s copywriting license, the Vivanta product seems to hold its own.

A fabulous example of ‘the twist’ and how contemporary service can sit amazingly within the culture of India’s ancient, ritualistic, colourful and enticing destinations, is what was The Taj Green Cove, Kovalam, Kerala. Now Vivanta by Taj Hotels, Kovalam, the added polish turns a wonderful five star Indian retreat into a truly aspirational incentive.

Kerala is at the southernmost point of India washed by the Arabian Sea. A million miles from the politics of Mumbai, the Vivanta Kovalam comprises 59 cottages climbing ten private acres of palm covered hillside. Their rustic character is topped by elephant grass thatch, which adds to the get-me-into-there jungle ambiance. Private balconies, plunge pools, central infinity pool overlook the swaying palms to the sea beyond. To one side the ocean, to the other the gentle calm of the region's famous backwaters.

Part of the ‘twist’ that turned the Green Cove into the Vivanta is the service level and re-fitted appointment of the cottage accommodation. The Jiva Spa takes serene relaxation and rewarding therapy to new levels. A ‘must sample’ experience is the Keralan signature Ayurveda treatment. The dining concept has changed too, their chef creating exquisite cuisine that is as delightful as the location is unique.

The ASPIRUS twist is that even thinking about India as an Incentive Travel event destination puts a sense of adventure into travel. This is not a five star Dubai sun bed and cocktails by the Royal Mirage pool. This is a travel experience to challenge the senses in every respect:  

Arrive in style, accompanied by
Caparisoned Elephants with traditional Temple attire
Accompanied by 21 Temple drummers
Garlanding with fresh flowers and welcome drinks

Discover the Backwaters of Kerala.
Cruise the small canals passing paddy fields,
villages and small water townships.
Enjoy the scenic beauty, flora, forna, elephants at work.
Experience the unspoiled rural life of Kerala.
Sunrise walk along the beach
Join fishermen pulling in catch for the day.
Tuk- Tuk ride to the fisherman's village
Experience day to day village life

Visit to Hindu Ashram
Watch a traditional Kalaripaiatu performance (the origin of Japanese martial arts)

Relax, dine and be pampered in superlative Vivanta style.

To add adventure to Incentive Travel, the detailed planning and management must raise its bar to the highest level. Success depends upon pre-planning and exemplary ground handling, which is another example of ASPIRUS’ efforts to find the right Destination Partner (DP), in this case Equinox. We call them DPs rather than DMCs as the concept of ‘partnership’ realistically extends our own ethos from client liaison right through to successful ground delivery.

The confidence created by planning and partnership supports inspired, exciting itineraries giving guests the chance to safely immerse themselves in regional ethnicity.

In short it turns the Travel Incentive ‘wow’ into the truly memorable and motivational “OMG WOW !”

Business Class flights with Emirates via Dubai ease the ten hour flight to Thiruvananthapuram, which is just 30 minutes from Vivanta by Taj Hotels, Kovalam. This route is priced at about £1,500 making the five star sensations of Kerala an affordable luxury.

ASPIRE    ACHIEVE    and enjoy the sensation

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