18 Jul 2017, 08:11 — 6 min read
Ensuring value addition to a product or service is key for attaining longevity in any business. It requires identifying well in advance, avenues for growth and expansion. Salim Ca, Managing Director of Kodai Resort Hotel, has overseen a rise in tariff by over thirty times for his luxury cottages in Kodaikanal from when he started the business over 25 years ago.
Today, his resort, set in a two-acre plot in Kodaikanal is a haven where tourists come to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Centrally located and close to many tourist sites, the property is an ideal place for people who just want to take a break or those who want to explore Kodaikanal. Extensive gardens with 14 different kind of fruit trees that were planted by Salim himself add to the allure of the resort.
In conversation with GlobalLinker (GL) Salim Ca (SC) shares his journey and the story of his resort. Watch this video to learn more.
GL: Tell us about your business.
SC: I am a first-generation businessman. After my management degree, I worked for 3-4 years with a few companies. With this experience, I decided to establish a business of my own. I started my first resort with a partner in Ooty. That was in 1984. Then I decided to venture solo and I started my own resort in Kodaikanal in 1986.
Kodai Resort is a 50-cottage resort in the heart of Kodaikanal on a two-acre plot of land. At that time, financing was not an easy thing. We had to look for investors who we found and we started out. Today, we are maintaining a lead position among resorts in Kodaikanal. If you look at our Trip Advisor ratings we are number two.
GL: What are the challenges you have faced in establishing your business?
SC: When you operate a resort from a remote place like Kodaikanal, getting good personnel is a big challenge. We need people to come in, settle down with us and we require continuity. In a place like Kodaikanal people visit every year and they look forward to continuity. Fortuitously, we have only had 3 General Managers in the last 28 years. My present General Manager has been with us for the last 14 years.
GL: What is the USP of your business?
SC: Kodai Resort is only 5 minutes away from the bus stand, the lake, and 2 minutes away from Coaker’s Walk which are leading tourist locations. We have the advantage of owning a large plot of land - 2 acres. We have only 50 cottages there. Each cottage is 400 square feet with an open deck of 300 square feet. That is 700 square feet of space. People who come from Mumbai and are used to 150 foot rooms are getting a luxury cottage here.
When you walk out of our cottage you have a beautiful garden. A lot of fruit trees grow here. Sometimes, it is the first time that people see plums, peaches and passion fruit on trees. We have about 15-16 variety of fruits with 4 varieties of passion fruit. It is something unique about the place.
GL: What are some of the milestones of your business?
SC: I have been involved in travel, seafood export, marketing and we have a lot of investments in real estate. My business activities are very diverse. I started a seafood exporting unit in 1992. It was a public limited company listed in all the stock exchanges in India. It grew to be one of the largest seafood export companies in India. However, we ran into trouble with the export market in North America and Europe and I had to shut down that company, selling property in the process to close down liabilities.
At the moment, the biggest success I have is that I have set up my business for the next generation to carry forward. The entire business has no bank loans to pay off. They have been all cleared. Anyone who walks in to take over can leverage this and make the most of it.
At the start of the establishment of Kodai Resorts we had financial issues. I had planned it in such a way that we should start the hotel with minimum investment which can be developed step by step. When I started my hotel in Kodaikanal my tariff was INR 180 a day. Today, my tariff is INR 4900 per day. I could build a value addition of almost thirty times on the same shell of a room.
GL: What role do you feel GlobalLinker plays in connecting & assisting SMEs?
SC: Today, business is all about networking. Digital marketing plays a major role. No one travels to Kodaikanal or Ooty without checking on Trip Advisor or on the phone. Unless you are strong in digital marketing you cannot succeed in the modern world. GlobalLinker helps people connect to one another.
A person in manufacturing can only manufacture the goods. He will need a network that provides a channel for distribution. These days a product can go anywhere in the world, especially with GST coming in, without hindrance. For that you need to have reliable people to be your channel partners. GlobalLinker can be platform to link people to potential partners.
I am confident that GlobalLinker will help us in developing our business and I wish them the very best.
GL: What is your message to aspiring entrepreneurs?
SC: There is potential to do any kind of business in today’s world. Success will depend on how well you do what you do, not how many things you take up. Doing common things uncommonly well will bring success.
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.
Posted byGlobalLinker Staff
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