Q&A: Talking to Madhukar Katragadda – Founder and Chief Mentor of the Majors Group
The Majors Group is a diversified group of companies specializing in Vacation Ownership and Lifestyle services. The Founder and Chief Mentor of the Group is Madhukar Katragadda, whose prime focus point in life is "work that adds quality to life and the environment."
Madhukar is a visionary and philosopher who believes that humans perish but organizations live on forever. Through the Majors Group, he aims to create and nurture organizations that seek perpetuity.
In this interview, we talk to Madhukar about how timeshare came into the picture – in his career path and entrepreneurial journey.
A: There is always an 80% chance that your new venture will fail, unless you are free from the fear of failure - this is how you can embrace true challenges. Leaving a secure a career in the Army and moving into the entrepreneurial space was one such challenge, because I was interested in areas that were truly diverse. What I had in mind was Housing & Hospitality, Vacation Ownership & Timeshare, Lifestyles & Wellness, Risk & Security, IT & Media, Vocational Training & Education, and philanthropic activity.
We started the Majors Group in the early years of the 2000 decade – and even in those initial years, we had our objectives defined with a clear road map. Our early vision and enterprise has helped us seek new horizons and chart new paths – it has also helped us grow into a multi-faceted 9-company group. Today we enjoy the reputation of a reliable player offering end-to-end solutions for the timeshare industry.
A: Till around 1996, the market was upbeat for timeshare. In the early days, I worked for a timeshare company managed by Europeans and gained insider experience of an industry I found fascinating. Those days, there was a favorable buzz around the concept – as well as acceptance by people who were looking for new ways to holiday. However, the initial offerings were designed to suit the Western style of holidaying, which involved spending a week or more at one holiday location. The local preference and practice was about taking short breaks of three to four days in different seasons and at more than one location.
In early 1990s, as there was no regulatory framework for timeshare in India, some of these companies adopted marketing and sales techniques that were probably short-sighted. Thanks to my exposure in the army, which imbibes a sense of character, commitment and an ability to understand ground realities, I could easily modify the product to suit domestic needs and tailor marketing and sales methodologies around that. At the end of the day, we managed to create the first metro timeshare product in India, and this success underlined my confidence in the timeshare platform.
A: The Group’s diversification strategy has been based on the need for self-sufficiency. In today’s environment there are many value and expertise based components that can take the business forward and improve the quality of delivery. A logical extension to this realization was the setting up of a timeshare specific IT services company within our group. Similarly, we have been successful with other support areas such as the provision of trustee services, HRD & training services, property development & management, marketing & sales and other line extension operations such as re-sales and rentals. For us it was also important to create separate entities in each of these areas to enable independent market penetration and expansion.
A: This will sound strange, but it’s true. I have traced successful examples of timeshare in India, in different avatars. Take for example the Tirupati Devasthanam Cottages in Andhra Pradesh; these were built from generous contributions made by ardent devotees. Based on the donations, they were entitled to a stay over at this temple complex on darshan visits. A facility that was extended to them every year, for a lifetime - with the privilege of gifting the entitlement to family and friends.
The TTD management would handle the upkeep and maintenance of the cottages and during periods of non-occupancy, allow other tourists to use them. The concept is evidently identical to the timeshare model and has been working successfully at many religious centres in India for years.
At a core level, the concept of timeshare (why rent when you can own – just buy the time that you need) is very simple and makes economic sense for various asset categories - real or movable. Car pooling, for example is another form of shared ownership. Extending the logic, it also makes economic sense to “timeshare” business centres in metros.
A: Let me first say that I feel proud to be a part of an organization such as AIRDA. Being on the panel of its office bearers as the Secretary, and being a part of its Leadership as a member of its Executive Committee, I feel I have an important role to play. Giving me an opportunity do my best in helping the organization fulfill its vision, mission and scope of purpose.AIRDA is an independent, self-regulated advisory dedicated to the timeshare and vacation ownership industry. At a primary level we offer resort developers a constructive platform to share ideas and strategies on the running and promotion of timeshare. At a macro level, we represent our members at influencer circles and government departments to voice concerns that hinder growth or operational flexibility. We also play an advisory role with end-customers with the objective of raising awareness levels of consumer rights and responsibilities and getting the most out of their memberships.
Welcome to AIRDA's virtual tours gallery - an initiative to provide an enhanced visual experience of our member properties.
What does an AIRDA membership mean to resort owners and developers? AIRDA comes in as your industry partner, conscience keeper and business catalyst - with a wide portfolio of support services.
What does AIRDA mean to holiday seekers and prospective customers? AIRDA comes in to provide information and offer guidelines on making the right timeshare decisions.