An international hotel and resort company, Karma Group strives to provide an unparalleled affair giving a multifaceted approach.
Their fantastic restaurants and bars, soothing spas, fun beach clubs, extravagant fashion shows and some of the world’s top DJs all come together as a magnificent concoction, offered on a unified platter.
Luxurious holiday experience is not just about the quality of bed linen, a resort that is highly rated, but having a remarkable experience that is truly fulfilling and worth cherishing. John Spence, founder and chairman explains the level of exceptional standards at Karma.
Q. What’s the response like from the Indian market to a membership based resort chain?
Well, it’s been extremely good to say the least. We started our group back in 1993 in India, Goa— being the first place we set foot in. We have 27 resorts globally now and quite a few of them are based in the South East Asian region.
Working with other countries has given us a global perspective, and I feel that progress in the Indian market has been comparatively smooth.
One of the factors that paved a rather agreeable path was the huge market opportunity that we identified back in the day. We were developing before that in Europe, and that’s when I saw the emerging middle class that held an untapped potential, with the right aspirations and the right resources to fulfill the same. Seeing the warm response, we began strengthening our foothold leading to the addition in Rajasthan and Kerala as well.
Q. What makes Karma a destination within itself?
The one thing that clearly demarcates Karma is our whole smorgasbord of activities. We are unlike other hotel companies that view their jobs as providing either accommodation or a holiday package whilst people are physically on holiday or travelling with them. We aim to and so far have successfully managed to create a close community of people and clients. It’s a well thought of equation that has been created and maintained that keeps our brand essence intact.
Our customers coming and taking holidays with us is an integral part of the equation. Relying on the good old referrals of existing members is yet another pertinent aspect, so we go all out of our way to communicate on a regular basis. We just launched a new app and fantastic websites, which again work towards engaging with customers, both existing and new.
Our offering is more entertainment oriented as opposed to lodging, which sets us apart and helps us in providing a 360 degree experience to all our customers. So Karma, it’s more of a lifestyle, a holistic experience offered in a place where you feel like a part of the family.
Q. The idea of branded resorts is interesting but there are already a lot of Getaway hotels in India. How do you ensure the level of exceptional standards?
India is where we started and extremely important to us but most of our resorts are outside the country.We have established our brand in Bali, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippines, Japan and Australia if you talk of the eastern side of the globe.
In the west, in Europe we are in Mykonos, Crete, the Bavarian Alps, France, London, England, and we are about to develop in the Caribbean. So our members have not only got to holiday and experience Karma with India but also terrific opportunities around the world, which are being built at a rapid rate. Thus I think one of the biggest difference between other similar products in India is that they tend to be very Indian centric.
Whereas we believe that the world is becoming more of a village and the client is becoming more global in her/her perspective and needs.
Q. What are your observations regarding the current global hospitality trends?
When I had first come to India, the idea was about developing holiday destinations and marketing them to the local markets. At that time the Europeans seemed to have this fantastic desire to holiday in India, Thailand and Bali because it was exotic and realistically well priced. Since they had the right resources, catering to that segment seemed like a natural progression for us. Today it’s a completely different picture and the world has done a hundred and eighty degree shift.
We are now buying a lot of properties in Europe, and soon in America, the Caribbean and are primarily marketing it to our clients in South East Asia because they’ve now become our primary target group.
Q. How is your experience in India as compared to other tourism related business elsewhere?
I remember I had a real tough luck in India; maybe because it’s where I started. Looking back I feel, the place has been tremendously good for us, an extremely exciting to develop. We are now in 15 countries, and many in South East Asia, but this is our favourite place to do business. It has its own challenges but unlike a lot of places in South East Asia, I always felt home in India.
There are quite a lot of similarities in the Indian and English way of doing business, and I think there’s a lot of mutual respect. We intend and hope to spend many more years developing resorts and doing a lot of exciting things here. Thus needless to say, the current response is encouraging and we see huge potential to grow further.