This is an idea that was born out of sheer need. The question here is where can families who own pets go for a weekend break? Hotels and resorts in general are not yet 100 per cent pet friendly in India. The second reason that further motivated the conceptualisers of ‘The Weekend Plan’ website (a dedicated site for premium weekend villa options in India) was the fact that where can a group of women go to if they truly want to party in privacy and enjoy their time at a swimming pool without being constantly worried about decorum and modesty, where she hopes to unwind without being judged. The answer to these questions was the Rs 1.5 crore JV initiative between the Mafatlal Group and Forecast Group that gave birth to The Weekend Plan, an idea that was germinated by one of its co-founders Vridhi Dodani and Satish Dodani, supported by co-founder Chirag Mehta, of Forecast Group and Nishant Amin.
The three musketeers decided to offer their clients weekend villa options that come fully loaded with a cook (offering local cuisine options as well) and other facilities for a comfortable stay. Catering primarily to the family groups, it also targets all women travellers, senior citizen groups amongst others. Speaking passionately about the initiative, Dodani, says, “It was something that was born out of necessity and we are overwhelmed with the response it has generated in a short span of time. We are clear that our business has to offer the best in villa options space and are only looking at offering specialised quality service to our clients from the hardware to the software. From indoor sports facilities, to outdoor adventure options, from an in-house cook to that of doctor on call, we have most of the requirements in place. We want to tap the only girls group segment, for which we have a few properties which are girl friendly with privacy and security and some also have indoor swimming pool facilities.” Amin added that, “Our aim is to constantly upgrade our product and providing quality service to our clients who should have a hassle free break.”Dodani also adds that, “We are for the mothers who really needs her break, where her kids are looked after well at our villa.”
Their strategy does not stop at only renting out villas for weekend breaks. They go a step ahead and adopt the villas in a way by renting it out from the owners, taking over the maintenance and upkeep of the place. They are also insisting on villa owners insuring their property for safety reasons and encouraging them to tie up with insurance companies. Further, the company has also introduced a policy of not charging premium rates on special weekends, which is a popular trend in this space. Mehta concludes that, “We definitely want to increase our footprint in other parts of the country. It will be interesting to pick up properties in areas such as Sikkim, Coorg, Mt Abu, Kullu, etc. We have a reasonably strong presence in Maharashtra and have entered Goa, but this is just the beginning. The company aims to add around 500 villas in its portfolio by 2020.”