Conversations with Ramesh Ramanathan, MD,
Sterling Holiday Resorts (India) Limited: Part I
Ramesh Ramanathan is an Economics graduate and a rank holder from Madras University, with a Management Degree from the Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata. Ramesh has over 35 years of work experience across a range of industries - including Home Décor, Consumer Durables, Tyres, Organized Retail, Information Technology and yes…Hospitality. Ramesh has been an early pioneer in the Vacation Ownership industry in India. He was with Sterling Holidays in the early 1990s, did a migration to help set up Mahindra Holidays and Resorts in 1996, and has rejoined Sterling, to infuse new thinking and strategies.
This interview is in a two-part series that will be concluded in December.
A: Sterling Holidays is a pioneer in Vacation Ownership and a leading player in the industry. The company was incorporated in 1986 with clearly articulated objectives of delivering Great Holiday experiences in a country still new to the timeshare phenomenon. In its early days Sterling did the right thing first - set about building a network of leisure resorts at some of the best holiday destinations in India. Today, we’re still a key player with a total inventory of 1404 rooms spread across a network of 19 resorts across India.
While it is true that Sterling went through a few setbacks, the Sterling name has continued to remain top-of-mind amongst consumers. Today, I am happy that there is a positive buzz around Sterling again, as the word spreads about our resorts being renovated to global, best-in-class standards and the enhanced customer service levels.
A: Now this could be a really long list, but here’s how I’d like to answer that question. With experience spanning over 25 years, Sterling Holidays now plans to expand the Leisure Hospitality industry in India and set new benchmarks in the Vacation Ownership and Leisure Hospitality space.At the ground level, we’d like to expand the destination footprint for timeshare and increase inventory – we have 13 additional sites available to us where we plan to add new resorts in the coming years. Besides offering members a network of scenic getaways, what’s closely linked to expansion is the need to create innovative products and distribution channels. We’d like to be seen as the destination for diverse leisure vacation options. At the core of this objective is a delivery mechanism for a superior and memorable holiday experience in aesthetically designed, full-service resorts located in scenic leisure destinations in India and around the globe. I assure you that it’s a wonderful world out there, and we look forward to creating exciting vacation experiences for our customers.
A: Our USP is reflected in our service mission to deliver ‘Happy Holidays’ that not only give you value for money but also create emotional value in terms of lifetime memories. The differential in our service mission is reflected in our unique product and service design. Take for instance, the strategic thinking that has gone into choosing our destinations and resort locations. We take a great deal of care in ensuring that all our resorts delight holidayers with stunning views. After all, vacationers seek holiday destinations for their beauty and tranquility.
All successful organizations are attuned to customer needs. Sterling is no different. Today, we are consciously adapting our product and service design to match global, best-in-class standards. We have recently renovated and upgraded three of our resorts in Kodaikanal, Munnar and Ooty. Lake View in Kodaikanal has been renovated to reflect a classic, English countryside resort. Similarly, Green Vistas in Munnar has been renovated to a fusion theme of contemporary and traditional Kerala architecture. We have re-launched these two resorts as Kodai - By The Lake and Munnar - Terrace Greens respectively; these are identities that reflect the new stature of the resorts. In Ooty - Fern Hill, we have chosen to renovate the resort to capture the facets of the ‘fern’ plant, which grows in abundance in the area. The lobby and reception area play out the resort’s inspiration prominently, with several stylized ferns adorning the backdrop. Further, the resort has been opened up to offer sweeping views of the valley and a coziness that is Sterling’s signature across all its properties.
This interview with Ramesh Ramanathan will conclude in the December segment of Q&A.
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.