INTERVIEW: Saagar Panchal

“Young travelers choose to spend money on a desirable experience over a physical purchase”

Saagar Panchal

In his early twenties, Saagar Panchal, Founder & CEO, Hireavilla Hospitality Pvt ltd, expands on how the young consumer drives the hospitality trend today.

As new enterprising young people enter the world of hospitality, the industry is witnessing tectonic shifts in priorities and attitudes towards the business. Most of this new-ness comes from the legions of very young consumers of the hospitality experience. New businesses realize this.

Saagar Panchal, the Founder & CEO, Hireavilla Hospitality Pvt Ltd. India. Started at the young age of 21 years. The business idea was to focus on focused experiences in luxury villas for vacationing clients. His company took off with a team of four individuals and worked hard to gradually expand its properties in the states of Maharashtra and Goa. The business picked up rapidly from day one. Saagar now has a lean team of 12 and they are all under the age of 25.

How do you think digitization will further shape travel and hospitality sectors?

Growing up and working in a connected world, has opened up a plethora of choices and experiences for the new age generation.  They are the first generation to enter the workforce with access to high-end technology that enables them to seamlessly work remotely.

As travel and tourism continue to be a high-growth industry the progress of digitization and technology as a whole is increasing the level of competition, putting pressure on revenues and profits. To take advantage of market growth, incumbent hospitality Indian businesses need to understand the direction of change and the most promising strategies for success.

What will the next-generation hospitality look like?

According to a report by the Global Business Travel Association, 48% of surveyed millennials stayed back for several days after fulfilling work commitments on official travel. That is understandable for it would be a crime not to unwind on a beach or explore an unknown city’s food-scape after that important conference. Next-gen hospitality includes opportunities to combine business and travel along with providing instagrammable and social media moments for the traveller.

The future of hospitality will incline more towards offering end to end sustainable offerings whilst reducing their own carbon footprint. The young, I dare say, are more conscious of it.

Is hospitality actually becoming as experiential than transactional as is talked about these days?

With this generation choosing to live life differently, their perception of value extends beyond the traditional. Possessions no longer matter as much as fulfilling experiences. Almost three-fourths of young travellers choose to spend money on a desirable experience over a physical purchase. They are highly connected, technologically advanced, globally-conscious and are always open to new concepts.

One of the enemies of happiness is boredom. Novelty excites at first but turns dull very soon. Psychologists call this ‘hedonic adaptation’. The excitement of that new car, iPhone or furniture set quickly fades into the background. Experiences like travelling, attending an art exhibit or trying a new restaurant become a part of our identity which brings greater satisfaction.

Why is the demand for luxury villa stays on the rise?

This generation is vastly different from every generation that has come before. Opportunistic, energetic and young, they see great benefits of luxury villa stays over vanilla hotel stays. Where the 5 star hotel was once the luxury to crave for, experiences are now edging towards more relaxed vacations. Now wellness, independence and privacy are prioritized. No wonder luxury villas have become the trend.

One of the biggest perks of staying in a luxury villa is the privacy. And it’s offered at a level that even 5 star hotels can’t beat. When you book to stay in a villa you have a whole property to yourself. The exclusivity of your own residence means that there are no obnoxious neighbours, and no other travellers to share your space with.

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