The Weekend Plan, a year-old marketplace offering exclusive and private villas on rent to high-end travellers is looking at increasing its portfolio to 50 properties by the end of 2017. Currently, The Weekend Plan manages 34 villas across North Goa (15) and Maharashtra, taken on long-term lease. Throwing light on the concept, Satish Dodani, Co-Founder, The Weekend Plan, said, “We are offering luxury, convenience, privacy and comfort to the guests in our villas. Families and groups can enjoy the unique experience of staying in a villa, where the experience speaks for itself. Each villa has multiple caretakers who usually are locals and ensure 24/7 catering (at a cost) service, and private swimming pool besides many other assured amenities and exceptional guest services. We also have separate serve ware and cook ware for vegetarians and non-vegetarians in all the villas, besides being pet-friendly.”
Currently, The Weekend Plan relies on social media marketing through sites like Facebook and YouTube, and word-of-mouth publicity. But, the founders believe it is time to engage with the travel trade. “The Indian travel industry with regards to the villa rental business has been an unorganised sector. Therefore, we have created a site called ‘RentVilla.in’, an unbranded website which showcases at least 75 photographs of our villas besides detailed video walkthroughs and clear write-up along with MRPs. Agents can access the site, check the availability of a villa as per the client requirement and sell it accordingly. We want agents to empowered, because they are the best guide to a customer. The commission slabs for agents start from 10% for a star property, and for booking above INR 1 lakh we offer 15% and so on up to 35%, the highest ever in the industry. A unique first is the fact that we don't charge a premium for premium dates like New Years, Diwali, etc.”
Currently, The Weekend Plan receives groups and family travellers and its major source markets are Delhi, Gurgaon and Chandigarh, while the markets of Hyderabad, Agra and Chennai have started picking up. The company also receives group bookings from corporate entities. Dodani said that they are looking to tap the leisure and weddings segments in the near future besides international markets like Phuket, Sri Lanka and the Philippines.
In Maharashtra, The Weekend Plan manages villas in Lonavla, Alibaug and Panchgani. The other Co-Founders of the company are Chirag Mehta, Vishad Mafatlal and M B Raghunath. The Weekend Plan has received initial funding of INR 2.25 crore from The Forecast Group and Mafatlal Family. The founders expect to break even by next fiscal year.