Long back when I was in India, I had had this idea that so many houses/apartments in India are kept locked, because people do not want to give them on rent. It could be a good business model if a company could do a contract with such home owners and create a network in certain areas of a city and utilize them as secondary hotelling options. Today, I think, with so many professionals travelling, it could be a viable business for local business travellers. If one could add in the broadband and other facilities (printing/PCs etc) then it is an excellent business.
Well, Mahindra & Mahindra, a business house that has in recent years earned my respect a lot (Mahindra has slowly become a remarkable player in US tractor market – specifically in the red neck country, check Mahindra Tractors site) has embarked on a similar venture called Mahindra Homestays. They have done it with a twist. Now, they have included some high end house owners and families in their network, who can host other families. The areas and the locations are good and very touristy (except Delhi), for example Leh, Spiti in Himachal, lots of towns in Kerala and some top locations in Rajasthan (specially Havelis). Their site is nice and trendy and has a booking system, which I am hoping WORKS!
For the tourist, at last one gets away from the same hotel type of accomodations where one has to necessarily stay in one room and eat hotel food. This way one can experience the local cuisine and tastes as well as rituals and traditions FIRST HAND. I think it is an innovative idea and one that will surely see many new variations emerging over the years and the need for hotelling increases all over the country.
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