Sunday, May 1, 2016

ChaturMusafir for Roadies, Day Trippers - Check in and Pay for Just a Few Hours

Attention roadies, day trippers: Check in, and pay, for just a few hours

(Micro-stays are catching on as hotels, apps and websites allow business and transit travellers, roadies and day trippers to check in — and pay — for just a few hours.)
There used to be just one kind of place that gave out rooms in hourly batches. Not any more.
Responding to demand from travellers — mainly business and transit, but also day trippers and roadies — website is helping guests book rooms for anything from 3 to 12 hours, and pay accordingly. Guest has to verify their account in advance before getting this facility.
And no, these aren’t just rest houses and lodges; they range, in fact, from budget to boutique and starred hotels..
The term for such bookings is micro-stays, and the concept first became popular in Europe during the economic downturn of 2008, after which it spread to the US and then parts of south-east Asia.
With changing market dynamics, including online bookings and real-time reviews, hotels too must change, says Adarsh Shetty, president of AHAR, the Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association. “Micro-stays are a reflection and a part of that change.”
They’re certainly making some hotels more popular.

ChaturMusafir for Roadies, Day Trippers - Check in and Pay  for Just a Few Hours

Chatur Musafir allows guests to book hotel rooms in packs of 3, 6 and 12 hours. In 19 months, the website has seen 14,000 micro-stay bookings at 2-, 3- and 4-star hotels across 20 cities.
In a price-sensitive market, if we can resell the same room in a same-day cycle and double our revenue, then why not,” says Sujith Chandrasekharan, director of rooms and the man leading the micro-stay initiative at Park properties across Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai, Goa and Navi Mumbai.
At the Taj Lands End in Mumbai, there is no new-age aggregator involved, but the five-star hotel came to the micro-stay model on its own. Land’s End now offers four-hour stays between 9 am and 6 pm.
Given today’s hectic work schedules, people find it difficult to plan holidays in advance. Checking into a hotel, even in their own city, can provide a break from the routine. Since these guests may not necessarily want to rent the room for an entire night, we came up with the micro-stay option,” says Zal Tarapore, director of rooms at Taj Lands End.
Courtyard by Marriott in Gurgaon and Sahara Star in Mumbai both introduced micro-stay options three years ago too, responding to the many short-stay inquiries they received from business travellers.
How Chaturmusafir Started
Two years ago, ad executive Preeti Jain and her husband Manish, a businessman, were travelling from Coimbatore to Jodhpur by flight and then train, with a nine-hour gap in between.
We needed a room for, say, six hours. Just to wash up and relax. But we still ended up paying the full day’s tariff,” says Preeti, 35 Co-Founder . “We decided to do something about that, and that’s how Chatur Musafir [Smart Traveller] came into being.”
Their website now allows guests to book hotel rooms in packs of 3, 6 and 12 hours. In 19 months, it has seen 14,000 micro-stay bookings at 2-, 3- and 4-star hotels across 15 cities, including metros like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, smaller cities like Jaipur, Kochi and Amritsar and pilgrim towns like Shirdi & Katra.
Mumbai-based businessman Manoj Mehata, Director @ Kora Gifts used the website while driving to Gandhidham, paying just Rs 1,400 for a 12-hour stay at a 3-star hotel in Ahemedabad, which would have otherwise cost Rs 3,000 (for 24 hours).
Imuch prefer inter-city drives to trains or flights, but finding a nice, reasonable place to stop for the night was always a problem,” he says. “Four months ago I stumbled upon Chatur Musafir while searching the internet with word combinations like Hourly Hotels, short-stays etc. This time, I checked in at 10 pm, slept through the night, had a shower the next morning, grabbed my complimentary breakfast and was back on the road by 8 am. It was convenient and great value for money.”
* Disrupting the traditional 24-hour check-in-check-out cycle, micro-stays allow travellers to book hotel rooms for fewer hours and pay less too.
* While Japan’s ‘capsule hotels’ that offer tiny sleeping spaces to businessmen and its ‘love hotels’ for space-starved couples have been around for a while, micro-stays first become popular in Europe during the economic downturn of 2008, and then spread to the US and south-east Asia.
* Here, hotels ranging from budget to boutique and five-stars such as Courtyard by Marriott in Gurgaon and Sahara Star in Mumbaihave begun to offer the option over the past three years.
* Websites and apps such as 6 Hourly, Stay Uncle, Chatur Musafir and HotelsAroundYou have also joined the game, acting as aggregators and tying up with hotels to offer packages in cities across the country.
* Options range from 3 to 12 hours, although many aggregators refuse to entertain unmarried couples.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

GoPigeon Simplifying Business Logistics in Courier Shipping

Imagine a single transport carrier charging haphazard amount for your transport needs. GoPigeon shoots the same question in regard to shipping your courier. How far is the reach of a courier company that you can trust on for your organizational needs. The same question goes for a single transport carrier that has a very limited reach and hence you have a big fight everyday reaching your desired destinations. Definitely you would trust a courier shipping company that has widest and farthest reach, is quite economical, providing good quality of service. GoPigeon works on the same lines to cater to any business' needs. With phenomenal reach and ethical charging policies unlike many other courier shipping companies that charge you more than other carriers for shipping to some places that are not very popular or accessible. 

GoPigeon Simplifying Business Logistics in Courier Shipping

Would a business rely on multiple carriers in that case? And how much money, time, and resource you would be willing to spend on finding the right courier company every time there is a need to deliver at the right place and with the right price, and of course, without any compromise with the quality and reliability factors. There is a lot to introspect and think on the subject to fit the economical spectrum. Any business would not like to take a risk that would backfire arising a number of unanticipated risks. As a business you have to deliver to your customers without bothering about howsoever remote the deliveries need to go. And if it does not work, if will impact severely on your business. That is where you are required to ensure that all the shipments to be delivered to various customers are delivered within the stipulated time and at minimal cost.
GoPigeon Simplifying Business Logistics in Courier Shipping

GoPigeon works on these guidelines and thus is able to build a trust among its customers. It has access to thousands of pin codes across India thereby ensuring timely delivery of your shipment, consistently. On top of it by lowering the shipping costs, and does it by finding the best carrier with the most competitive rates. Within a year of start of business, it has reached over 20,000 pin codes and has met with the commitment of cost-effectiveness and timely deliveries.

Friday, April 22, 2016

CollarFolk Helping Pet Parents Go On Hassle Free Vacation

CollarFolk is a one month old startup from Delhi that helps pet parents go on an enjoyable and comfortable vacation with their pet. It is a one-stop solution to everything a pet parent would need and want to know as they plan and book a pet friendly vacation.

 Traveling with pets in India is a relatively new concept, it being possible mostly if you have your own accommodation up the hills or down the coast. Today, Indians are only just exploring the idea.. CollarFolk has good news. A Pet friendly holiday in India is now an absolute reality and something that is becoming incredibly easy to plan. CollarFolk is happy to be a part of this change in our country, where they are now facilitators of the ideal vacation – one where pet parents can take the entire family, including their beloved pet! With a comprehensive list of pet-friendly resorts, hotels and homestays to choose from, and all the guides and information for a stress free pet vacation, CollarFolk helps make the dream holiday come true.
CollarFolk Helping Pet Parents Go On Hassle Free Vacation

CollarFolk was started by Rukmini Vaish who is a pet parent herself. Like every other pet parent, she faced this dilemma when planning a holiday, “where will I leave Kiki?” This got her researching properties that welcome pets and to her surprise there were quite a few. A couple of vacations with Kiki and she knew that every pet family would love this! Voila – CollarFolk was born. (watch footage from some of these holidays in our video, the adventures of Kiki)

How does CollarFolk make this happen?
In a world that presents an overload of information, CollarFolk cuts to the chase and brings to you what is relevant, appropriate and worthy of calling a ‘vacation’.

Properties they partner with are hand-picked properties that welcome pets aboard. They individually meet and verify the properties to make a database of resorts, hotels and home stays that are genuinely pet-friendly.

Properties listed on the website are verified and checked for suitability and some of the key factors that are considered include:  management and staff’s pet friendliness, open space in property, availability of pet food, vet on call, add on services for pet families such as availability of a pet sitter, access to common areas for the pet, pet friendly pool to carpeting or carpet free rooms. They also integrate travel, by providing pet friendly transportation for the holiday.

In addition, CollarFolk also provides pet taxi services in Delhi NCR. Co-operative and pet-friendly drivers, hygienic, well equipped cars with pet hammocks and back seat barriers, spacious interiors and reliable and convenient service are what makes their vehicles truly pet friendly.

CollarFolk loves happy customers, even more so happy tails!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Poetry: Travel Experience of a Child to Adulthood

When a child is born
give a fragrance of family
something resembling the scent of fresh Pomegranate

When a child is in the growing
give a fragrance of patriotism
something resembling the scent of a stalk of wheat

When a child is studying
give a fragrance of being on the top
something resembling the scent of a bamboo

When a child is struggling
give a fragrance of never dying attitude
something resembling the scent of spear mint

When an adult gets married
again give a fragrance of family
to remind the beginning of a new cycle in life

Sunday, March 30, 2014

An Interview With Ann Alexander And Her Fantastic Venture Montisi Magica

Born and brought up in Manchester England, she enjoyed a successful career as a lawyer for over 25 years before deciding to have a complete change and she is now trying to be less of a workaholic. She divides her time between the UK where she does some Consulting work and occasional documentary programmes for BBC radio, and Tuscany in Italy where she has a wonderful travel business – Montisi Magica. She has 2 wonderful children both grown up and independent now and a gorgeous cockapoo called Bella.

A very warm welcome to Ann Alexander and thanks for accepting an invite for this interview. Here we go... 
You fell in love with Italy many years back. When was this exactly and how did it happen?
I had been going to Tuscany for some years on holiday but I really fell in love with it when I spent a month in Florence learning Italian in 2008.

What was the reason behind you selling off your law firm?
My children grew up and my priorities changed. I had had a wonderful and hugely satisfying career as a lawyer, helping many people and changing systems for the better and I decided that I wanted to do something completely different.
What were various alternatives for you at that moment when you sold your law firm to pursue as your passion or career, or both?
The two things I really wanted to do were to learn to speak Italian and to make a documentary for BBC Radio 4 – and I achieved them both!
You decided to go for an intensive Italian course. When was this? How intensive was this? And what was the reason behind going for this course?
I spent a month in Florence at the British Institute learning Italian in a complete immersion course. I felt this was the best way to learn. The teacher was amazing and after the first 10 minutes of the first class, she spoke no English! Before I began I had a handful of words but once I’d finished the course which was huge fun I understood how the language worked and was determined to try and speak fluently.

How do you define Tuscan life?
Living in a tiny village in the Tuscan countryside is like living a dream! It’s stunningly beautiful, very relaxed, full of amazing people and experiences and just so much to see and do. And the food and wine? There is nothing like it anywhere else!
How your awareness towards Montisi and the richness of its surrounding area happen? When was this?
When I rented a house for a month in Tuscany I visited Montisi for the first time. I fell in love with this beautiful medieval hilltop village.

How big is this area?
It is part of the Crete Senesi, a large area of Southern Tuscany best known for its big skies, rolling hills and signature cypress trees.
What is so special about this area? It’s people? It’s culture and traditions?
It’s very beautiful – stunning scenery, historic villages, friendly people and so much to see. They really live life to the full and there are frequent festivals to enjoy.
What makes Siena as one of your favourite places in the world? What is so unique about it?
It is magical! Full of history, little has changed in hundreds of years and the architecture is stunning.

Tell us about the magnificent 3-day medieval pageant that happens every year?
The Giostra di Simone in August each year records events from hundreds of years ago and the village holds dinners in the streets, medieval processions and a contest on horseback between its districts. Such fun – and I was honoured to be the Dame in the procession last year.
What various compliments have you received from your visitors?
So many wonderful compliments:
We have been lucky enough to have been on many holidays over the years and this one has been up there with the very best. Ann promised us a variety of walks, food and wine and most of all her personal attention. She exceeded our expectations in every category. Nothing was too much trouble and on every occasion did something which surprised us. She hasn’t got a Trip Advisor page yet but when she does we’re sure all her reviewers will give her top marks; we certainly will
Trudie and Will Kintish, September 2013
Ann, I just want to say a huge thank you for organising such a wonderful week in Tuscany. Montisi Magica certainly lives up to its name – it was a magical experience, created by your warm hospitality and attention to detail. Nothing was ever too much trouble and our smallest wishes or needs were met. 
Sue Webster, Independent Business Consultant, September 2013 UK.

The Tuscan dream...Ann Alexander dedicates her time and tailor makes your personal holiday adventures and experiences with warmth, fun and unforgettable memories! Every email to phone call to meeting in person, Ann really goes the extra mile to ensure you have a wonderful Tuscan holiday.
...thank you from the Ellenthorpes - July 2013 X

Tell us about the pilot week that you scheduled in October 2012. How many people were there in the group and from which countries/ places? What did they enjoy most during their visit there?
There were 8 people all from the UK – 3 couples and 2 singles and none of them knew each other even the singles. They enjoyed the whole thing – the cooking, the touring, the wine tasting, the eating! - encouraging me to start the business but best of all they have remained firm friends and have had a series of reunions.
How many such tours planned and executed in 2013? Please share some success stories, wonderful magical moments and feedbacks received.
Testimonials above! We had cookery weeks, mixed Creative Breaks and walking and wine touring in 2013 with more planned for 2014.
Tell us about wine tour of Tuscany?
This was a 10 night wine tour of Tuscany for a group of Canadian tourists who stayed in Florence and Pienza, each day visiting, touring and sampling different wineries with all sorts of extras thrown in including truffle hunting!

Who is Giancarlo Caldesi and how is he associated with your mission?
Giancarlo Caldesi is a well-known Celebrity Chef, born in Tuscany but living and working in London where with his wife Katie he runs two Italian restaurants and a very successful Cookery School. I met them when I went to their cookery school in Tuscany many years ago and Giancarlo came to Montisi last year and recreated over 50 dishes during a week’s cookery school for my guests. It was such a success that he is returning for two weeks this year
 About your education

I was educated in Manchester and London and became a lawyer because I wanted a ‘proper’ career. In those days choices were limited and I remember my maths teacher telling my mother that ‘girls couldn’t become accountants’!

What languages you can speak and write?

English and Italian with a smattering of French.

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life?

My late uncle who inspired me to become the lawyer I turned into.

What are your future plans?

To continue to enjoy life and helping my guests to have magical holidays in Tuscany!

Your origin of birth and other countries you have visited/ stayed.
Manchester England born and I have visited various parts of Europe, the US and Asia.

Your favorite time of the day?


Your zodiac/ sunsign?


Ann Alexander
Montisi Magica

“Turn your dreams into the reality of a truly memorable Tuscan getaway”