Rebranded KTDC budget hotels making profit, despite pandemic

Foodie Wheels, a bus cafe, to be launched at Vaikom on Monday

Buoyed by the response to KTDC hotels and motels that were given a facelift and rebranded in 2019, the agency is set to launch Foodie Wheels, a bus cafe, facing the backwaters at Vaikom.

A bus was procured for the purpose from the KSRTC and an upper deck added, after which it was tastefully done up and placed at what was once a dumping yard behind motel Aaram in Vaikom. In addition, the premises were landscaped to provide guests a soothing experience. The concept was borrowed from Sayahna, the garden restaurant of the KTDC-run Hotel Mascot in Thiruvananthapuram.

The ₹35-lakh venture near the Vaikom temple will be inaugurated on Monday by Minister for Tourism and Public Works P.A. Mohamed Riyas.

Tie up with KSRTC

The first-of-its-kind initiative from the KTDC-KSRTC tie-up will be extended to other tourist locales where land is scarce and construction is tough, said Krishna Teja, Director of Kerala Tourism and Managing Director, KTDC.

Mission Facelift

It is the latest from the stable of Mission Facelift, which the KTDC — whose properties are located in prime areas — launched in 2019 to improve patronage. Under this, many motels known by the name Aaram were rechristened as Aahar (Sanskrit for food), which people speaking different languages can easily relate to. Furthermore, each was given a name which captured the essence of its location, be it backwaters (hence Ripple Land for its property in Alappuzha) or Loom Land in Kannur (a district famous for looms and ballads).

The economy hotels, hitherto known under the Tamarind brand name, are being upgraded and rebranded as modern budget hotels that end with the name Land.

Profit making

Interestingly, hospitality units which got a facelift and were rebranded have begun to yield operational profit. They include what is better known as Grand Chaithram, a budget hotel in the heart of Thiruvananthapuram city. It was all about reinventing each unit, which began with doing away with unnecessary compound walls to improve their visibility. In addition, colours that appealed to tourists were selected and lighting and signages improved. Substantial changes were made to interiors, public toilets, and gardens, Mr. Teja said.

The rebranded Aahar units have become popular as clean restaurants serving quality food. In addition, premium resorts will be readied at Muzhipilangad, Bekal, and Kanyakumari, sources said.

The KTDC has used its own funds and those provided by the Kerala Tourism for the facelift, while its website has been revamped. Every individual property has, in addition, been assigned a new logo, with the help of an empanelled body to provide a corporate feel.

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