As supply for SaffronStays, India’s foremost and exclusive collection of fully staffed and serviced private vacation homes grows, the brand has roped in Kumar Raipancholia to lead demand as AVP, Sales and Distribution. This comes shortly after opening doors in vital new markets like Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Goa, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Kumar comes with over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry and is tasked with driving occupancy growth and numbers for the 7-year-old start-up that currently has 250+ homes under the banner.
Born and raised in Mumbai, Kumar is an alumnus of Bandra’s MET Institute of Management. In 2012 he had his first brush with the MICE and FIT segments at Grand Hyatt Mumbai Hotels and Residences He then spearheaded the same segments at Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa before moving to Alila Diwa Goa – A Hyatt Brand as Associate Director, Sales. With over 10 years of experience in the MICE-Weddings, FIT and Travel Trade experience of Mumbai, Bangalore, and Delhi NCR markets, Kumar comes armed with immense knowledge in the conventional accommodation space.
Says Devendra Parulekar, Founder, SaffronStays, “Besides setting ourselves on a path of profitability, a critical objective for 2022 that we’d set for ourselves was to professionalise the company. From a start-up that was a rank outsider to the industry, to causing the industry veterans to be a part of the category, SaffronStays has come a long way. It was time to induct professional talent from the hotel industry to take us to the next level. This is why we sought out Kumar Raipancholia as Chief of Sales and Distribution to help us navigate the complex world of hospitality sales. He will build and cultivate distribution channels including travel agents and OTAs, and leading website sales that has been the largest contributor to our sales.”
Says Kumar Raipancholia, “Ever since Airbnb opened its doors, it has opened travellers’ minds to the possibility of staying in a home, instead of a hotel. After the pandemic-induced lockdowns, we have seen a shift in the minds of the guests who are now turning to Homes Stays as an option while looking for their holiday. Private villas are aspirational getaway options; to holiday in and to own. Guests who stay in these estates always go back with a feeling of owning a private villa, and then wanting to partner with SaffronStays to monetise the asset after they’ve spent a few years enjoying it.”
“I am here to build SaffronStays as a brand eponymous with quality standards, experiences and brand values in the premium and budget vacation rental space. This space is growing incredibly quickly and in another 5-7 years will be the default choice for Indians and inbound international guests as well. Today’s consumer wants luxury seeped in privacy, experiences and hassle-free service; and villas offer just that,”