"Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going."
- Paul Theroux

Views & Interviews

In conversation with Rajiv Agarwal,
Head of Marketing, Salarpuria Sattva Group

August 2018

Rajiv Agarwal heads Marketing at Salarpuria Sattva Group. He holds an MBA degree in Marketing and Finance, and has over 12 years of experience in marketing.

As Head of Marketing he wears many hats - including leading the marketing and business development teams for the last 7 years, and helping shape the communication objectives of the company. He creates innovative strategies and achieves goals across residential portfolios, and has helped the company to explore new markets in Coimbatore, Goa and Pune by setting up operations in these locations.

We now chat with Rajiv about a very interesting and unique promotion idea that his team has come up with, in association with RCI - global leaders in holiday exchange, with the world's largest network of resorts, destinations and holiday experiences in vacation ownership.

Q. Rajiv, how did your team think of vacation ownership as a promotion idea? (Especially, since it is customary to offer things like gold coins and cars?)

It is difficult to be innovative in our industry as compared to other verticals – especially FMCG, where they have really big budgets. So it came down to brainstorming with team members on the most effective promotion ideas – something that would be associated with long term value and benefit to our customers.

And while our marketing team was looking at the big picture, we asked our sales team about their interactions with customers.To give this effort added focus we looked within the aspiration window of our customers.

We asked them about desired experiences linked to their aspirations, and a lot of them seemed to talk about vacations - ‘dream vacations’ as many of them visualized it. This seemed like a revelation, so we explored this platform further and linked it to our main proposition – especially as most people look forward to taking a break at least once in the year.

Q. Does the promotion idea match the lifestyles of your customers?

The segment we are looking at is the segment that travels fairly regularly on work and vacation – it’s the segment that is increasingly aligned to formats such as vacation ownership.

Customers buy our homes for a lifetime, so the rewards too need to speak the same language. At Salarpuria Sattva, we believe in building a lifetime of memories for our customers – they truly deserve the best.

Q. Was the promotion idea based on specific interactions with customers?

A lot of our effort here is customer oriented, which largely means that our is thinking inspired by interactions with our customers. While that is true, ideas that come into our final set of options need to be analyzed carefully and verified. It tells us how the idea will fly.

So we did a test run of this promotion linking it to one project of ours, and I must say the response was more than encouraging. Prospective customers were really keen to know more about our unique long term holiday offer – and when a customer shows initial interest, it means the idea has merit and potential.

Q. Did the long term benefit of the offer add weightage to your choice?

I am truly confident about that. Ours was an offer that went a long, long way in terms of a time frame – 21 years to be exact. Where else would you find a promotion plan that comes close?

We also leveraged this offer through a tie up with RCI – opening the gates to a really wide horizon. Which means access to 4300+ hotels and resorts across the world through the RCI network. At the end of the day, there is something for everyone.

Q. Has the offer gained traction on social media? (What’s the buzz like?)

As we speak, all the cogs and wheels of this entire process are turning, and I think it is too early to come up with figures and analysis.

But as I said earlier, there’s something called being upbeat about an initiative – I get the feeling that this offer will go a long way in sustaining interest levels. Backing this is the kind of enquiries that we are currently seeing, from an operational aspect.

I am also happy we have tied up with a globally recognized exchange company in the world of vacation ownership. RCI brings in a tremendous amount of weight and traction, as you can see.

Q. Is it possible to quote one prospective customer’s response here to make this interesting?

I would be glad to, and I can certainly recall one inspiring testimonial, at this moment.

“Not only did I get a high quality Salarpuria Sattva home that was delivered to me on time, I also got a free RCI-linked holiday package for “7 days every year for 21 years”- at the most exotic locations.I never imagined that buying a home would come with so many added privileges. (That’s a proud owner of Salarpuria Sattva Magnificia - luxury homes close to Indiranagar, in Bangalore.)

Q. What is the legal status of this plan, in terms of customer support over the years?

We have checked and executed all legal documentation between the hotel/ resorts and RCI.There will be an agreement executed between the clients and the resort to ensure all terms and conditions are documented for a hassle free holiday experience.

In addition to a resort membership plan, our promotion package comes with a pre-paid RCI membership for five years. Guidelines for the future in terms of renewal cost and terms are pre-confirmed by RCI, and clients can then renew their membership after five years by paying a nominal fee to RCI.

While our association with RCI on this promotion has been confirmed, we have finalized on a few and are still in the process of finalizing a tie up with individual resorts.  At this point we’re looking at partnerships that will truly benefit our customers.

Q. Vacation ownership as a concept is not really understood by many customers / buyers - will you make an awareness presentation to these customers?

We will have a representation from the home resorts, as well as RCI (occasionally) at our sales venues to discuss and clarify any queries that customers may have, to understand things in a more detailed manner. Any offer with a tenure of two decades needs to be explained in a clear manner and understood by customers, without any grey areas.

At the end of the day, it’s about keeping customers happy, in their homes, and their “home away from home” as it is popularly described in the vacation ownership industry.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to share our insights and experience in getting to know our customers better.

For further information contact:
Sonakshi Murze:
+91 7022027847

This interview is an editorial story about a current promotion offer that has a clear date of closure – other related conditions would also apply. We request readers to keep this in mind, since this interview may be accessed on the website at a later date.

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