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VIEWS AND INTERVIEWS

Q&A: Talking to Srikala Bhashyam - journalist and investment consultant

May 2014

Srikala began her career as an investment analyst and her first job was with Batlivala & Karani in 1989. Her understanding of economic and business scenarios and an ability to communicate with insight and vision, soon opened doors for her at the Financial Express. Over the years, she has worked with leading publications including The Hindu Business Line, Times of India, Economic Times and Bangalore Mirror. Her last position was with The Times of India in Bangalore as Special Correspondent. In 2006, Srikala turned entrepreneur, joining hands with an associate to start an investment consulting firm called RS Consultants.

In this interview, Srikala talks about the places she has been to on the timeshare network and shares some of her experiences about food, customer service and other value adds around the product.

Q: When did you go on your first timeshare holiday?

A: A long, long time ago. If I remember right it was around 1998 or 1999. I think this was a time when a lot of people were talking about timeshare and there was a general buzz around the concept: a whole new way of planning your holiday and committing to quality time with your family.

Q: What timeshare holiday locations have you been to?

A: I must say our family has really explored the holiday circuit within the timeshare framework. We’ve been to Goa, Coorg, Munnar, Ooty and Thekady. Come to think of it, we’ve even been to Shimla.

Q: Which according to you, is your most preferred timeshare location?

A: Coorg, because it’s practically next door -  just a short drive from Bangalore. Coorg is good for short breaks, and locations like Goa are ideal for longer vacations. Initially, we were not really into dedicated slots for annual holidays, but after experiencing the benefits of a planned holiday, it seems like the most natural thing to do.



Q: What are the plus points of a timeshare membership?

A: I think timeshare holidays are a great way to unwind and relax, at locations that are definitely “a home away from home.” Only timeshare can give you spacious rooms, flexible food plans and plenty of scope for activities. And yes, a timeshare plan does give you the comfort of long-term benefits – the math makes sense.

Q: What are the plus points of a timeshare membership?

A: I think timeshare holidays are a great way to unwind and relax, at locations that are definitely “a home away from home.” Only timeshare can give you spacious rooms, flexible food plans and plenty of scope for activities. And yes, a timeshare plan does give you the comfort of long-term benefits – the math makes sense.

Q: Is there any other benefit that comes to mind?

A: Yes, there’s another big benefit – timeshare encourages you (and enables) going on holidays with your family. And there’s always something happening at the resort location for dads, grandads, grandmoms and yes… grand children as well. The younger mid-thirties segment of course will find lots to do and many ways to unwind in terms of outdoor and high-energy activity.

Q: What do you have to say about the quality of food?

A: I remember, when we first went on timeshare vacations, it was an added bonus to be able to cook your own food. The husbands felt they were never too far from the wife’s apron strings and familiar food flavours. These days, wives want to take a break from the kitchen as well – they too want to put their feet up and call for room service, or try out the wonderful buffet spreads that greet you at the dining areas.

Q: What about customer service, what’s your view?

A: I think the quality of services delivered to the customer are now at an all-time high, with encouraging standards set by market leaders such as Mahindras and Sterling. I can see that the staff is indeed well trained and hand-picked for a job that involves close interactions with customers. Good customer service is a key ingredient and I can see more of this happening these days.

Q: Do you have any suggestions for timeshare customers?

A: Like most things around you, the cost of entry into a timeshare plan will invariably go up over the years. Invest only if you have the time and habit of holidaying on a regular basis. Don’t take on a plan and grumble about maintenance costs year after year. Understand what the resort offers you and what you need to do to keep your tenure alive, well in advance.

 
 
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