I was not very excited when my good friend and celebrity digital guru,Kiruba Shankar invited me to be part of an un-conference of achievers in various fields cemented by their love for travel.
Not the concept but the host,Sterling Holidays made me a bit uneasy.
I was once a proud owner of Sterling Timeshare and enjoyed the comfort of ‘owning’ an exclusive hotspot for a week in exotic destinations across the country for 99 years.
But the whole idea evaporated one fine day and I felt a sense of personal loss to see a favourite brand cave in.
But Kiruba asked me to be there with an open mind and take fresh measurements.
So,off we went, a motley mix of travel/food bloggers,travel planners,photographers,storytellers,digital evangelists to Sterling Fernhill Resort,Ooty.
Refurbished would be a massive understatement. Reinvented is THE word. Sterling Holidays has spruced up all 33 properties not just in infrastructure but the quality of human resources.
We were ceremonially welcomed by the members of the Kota community,an indigenous tribe of the Nilagiri region who have mingled well into the society occupying various posts in the govt and private sector.
Followed by a sumptuous lunch in a tastefully decorated dining hall with a feast, ‘Chettinadu Virundhu ‘
Infrastructure, attention to minor details and willing to go all out for the customer have set new standards here. Very thoughtfully designed menu to suit different palates.
Well,one could argue that these facilities have become hygiene as customers today are exposed to best practices around the world. But what I feel sets Sterling Holidays apart is they’ve developed rare experiences for their customers.
For samplers,they got special permission for us to hold a meeting on a hilltop with 360 degree view of the landscape. On the WORLD’s highest tea garden,(Korakundah estate)if you please!
And because they have experienced managers like Mr Richard and Mr Bharath on rolls, exclusive tie- ups are made possible.
Well,I did take fresh measurements and some distinct factors emerged.
The time-share model is inflation-proof.
The well heeled Indian traveller today looks for neighbouring overseas destinations like Dubai,Sri Lanka,Singapore as extended weekend getaways. I noticed that Sterling’s tie-up with RCI ( Resorts Condominiums International) offers a wide range of stay options.
The atmosphere is more familial with plenty of activities for kids,treks,long walks and entertainment by home grown talent.
View from my cottage
A wholesome,fun-filled experience,thanks to the assiduousl attention to details from an industry veteran,Peshwa Acharya,the chief marketing officer and Vimla Dorairaju,a time-share junkie as she calls herself.
Thanks a lot,folks!
Sterling is about to launch an advertising blitzkreig to announce their refined look. So,grab the membership benefits right now and thank me eternally for the tip !