Hireavilla Helps People Escape Reality With Their Luxury Villas

Saagar Panchal, the CEO and Founder of Hireavilla, a luxury villa venture speaks with Mumbai Live, about the entrepreneurial journey he commenced at the budding age of 21.

Hireavilla Helps People Escape Reality With Their Luxury Villas

Every homeowner struggles in regards to maintaining their property. This later also impacts the experience of the guest. To address this problem, Hireavilla has built a solution - Home360. It is a property management solution that automates all tasks related to managing, maintaining and renting a vacation home.

The home-crafted hospitality offered by Hireavilla is a tailored solution for the guest experience, bringing standardisation and hotel-style amenities at the comfort of a vacation home. Hireavilla, along with Home360 is a solution for both Homeowners and Guests. ‘Home360’ aims to automate property management and provide transparency to homeowners in real-time.

Saagar Panchal is the Founder & CEO at Hireavilla Hospitality Pvt Ltd. - a uniquely focused luxury villa rental start-up, which was established by him in 2016. At the young age of 21, when he was in the final year of his engineering degree, he was asked to sign up for placements.

Talking about his entrepreneurial journey, Panchal says, “I was already in the cryptocurrency space as well as gaming marketplace so I had not applied. As someone who grew my venture from a passion project to a lucrative business, I think of myself as an accidental entrepreneur. I did not anticipate the demand for hospitality services in the luxury rental sector.” 

He started with weekend markets near Mumbai and soon expanded to Goa in 2019. Talking about the opportunities in the segment, Panchal shares, "“From being a traveller who was passionate about my experiences as a guest and prioritizing convenience and experiences, I felt the need to step in and elevate the industry. Once I got my foot into the market, I saw that there was more than one opportunity to differentiate myself from the pool of real estate rental agencies. The potential of the market in India is booming as the number of users is expected to amount to 879.5 million by 2025. We aim to expand our North Goa operations to become the biggest market shareholder in the region.”

As a young entrepreneur, at the beginning of his entrepreneurial journey, every aspect of developing the business was a challenge for him. He further adds, “With no prior experience of running a business and its operations, I’ve had to learn from my mistakes and evolve from them.”

Their properties are situated in various areas such as Karjat, Alibaug, Panchgani and other sectors of Maharashtra and Goa. Panchal quips that the properties are those located in Alibaug are the ones that are performing the best. "With the advent of the new-founded connectivity between Gateway of India and Mandwa Jetty via RoRo, more families and large groups can travel with their vehicles to the location. This has encouraged an influx of weekend travellers seeking vacation villas,” he adds. 

Mumbaikars are often seen being attracted towards weekend getaways. Panchal believes this is the case since city-dwellers often seek to take a break from the monotonous weekend schedule of crowds, parties and the concrete jungle. He shares, “They seek more natural environments which are both secure and private with vacation home rentals emerging as the safest bet for group stays. ‘Work from Home’ and ‘Staycation’ are concepts that have resonated brightly. Our villas are often situated in secluded areas and maintain a high standard of hygiene. With our staff available at all hours, ensuring that there is a steady flow of requirements during the stay.”

Additionally, with the pandemic having an adverse impact on the hospitality industry, Hireavilla had to adapt to the constant change of policies, lockdown regulations and COVID-19 protocols that were needed to ensure a secure stay. “Planning and preparing for unsuspected situations led us to believe that the pandemic acted as a catalyst for us due to the demand for private and secure villas where families and friends could freely vacation in their own space. Vacation homes grew in popularity as they became a preferred choice over hotels,” says Panchal.

Similarly, with the concept of work from home gaining traction, individuals no longer need to be confined to their offices to work and can do so from anywhere. On being asked if this notion positively impacted his business, Saagar said, “We saw a trend of CXO’s moving out of their homes with their families and setting up an office remotely during their vacation. With high-speed Wi-Fi, an in-house cook, groceries and housekeeping taken care of by our staff, we created an environment in which productivity and creativity thrived. All of the staff were trained to disinfect and sanitize every surface as well as items being brought in from outside which created a bio bubble and safe space for the guests as well as staff.”

Five years into the business, Panchal believes that there has been a change in consumer behaviour through the years. Talking about the same, he says, “We have seen that people acknowledge the advantages of staying in a private villa as against a commercial hotel. The bigger space, homely attributes, privacy and interaction in the villa encouraged experience-seekers to explore the vacation home space more than ever before.”

When asked what his goals for Hireavilla in the future are, he elaborated, “We see ourselves as future market leaders for not just luxury villas, but for co-living spaces, serviced apartments and more in which Home360 will take forward and be the supporting structure for.”

As a young businessman, himself, his advice to budding entrepreneurs would be that whilst most entrepreneurs focus on networking and publicity, he believes that focusing on the product in a way that attracts publicity organically and creates a network of its own is more important. “When you have a good product there is no doubt that people will notice. Staying persistent and adapting to the times is my key giveaway to those seeking to take the road to entrepreneurship.”

He was once told to “Keep things simple and focus on the basics”. “I think this is a key differentiator for a successful business. With a strong base, we can maximize our goal-oriented efforts.” 

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