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Travel and Culture

Travel and Culture
Travel and Culture

Why Mobile Concierge Services are the future of digital strategy for hotels

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By Somali K Chakrabarti   ‘Sell the destination, not the plane’  has been a long standing adage for airlines marketers. People do not fly the plane just for the sake of it, they take a plane to reach a destination. The adage holds true for hotels as much as for airlines. So far, digital marketing by hotels in India has been all about their properties and services; destination finds little mention in digital marketing strategy as of now. This, however, is likely to change !   As tourism industry matures in India, destination should become the centerpiece of the strategy for hotels that want to push up their direct sales. In future, mobile concierge services may emerge as an essential component of the destination centric digital strategy for hotels. The Gateway Hotels (a brand of the Taj group of hotels), for instance, has taken a lead over other hotel chains by adopting a mobile concierge for their hotel in Agra.   Smart devices are now powerful machines that can be harnessed to deliver traveller experience that is not possible on the web. An interactive mobile concierge with engaging destination information can be a dynamic customer engagement tool having the longest interface with…

Travel and Culture

The Economic Impact of Taj Mahal

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By Somali K Chakrabarti ‘A Teardrop on the Cheek of Time.’ is how Rabindranath Tagore described the Taj Mahal. The beautiful mausoleum on the bank of river Yamuna in Agra, made by emperor Shah Jahan, in 1631, in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal has a dreamlike quality, and showcases the art and culture of the Mughal times. Though much has been written about the splendor of Taj Mahal on moonlit nights, tourists no longer have the privilege to visit the Taj Mahal at night. Even so, early in the morning, the Taj Mahal, with its shadow on water, almost appears like a floating pearl and presents an intriguing picture. The opulence and grandeur of the marble wonder is so mesmerizing that it is difficult to take your eyes off it. The finesse of the carvings on marble is captivating, as are the symmetrical arches. Due to the timelessness of its beauty and its ethereal quality, nearly four centuries after it was constructed, Taj Mahal still attracts a large number of tourists from all over the world, thus bringing up a relevant question:

Travel and Culture

Why the World is more Indian than you think

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By Somali K Chakrabarti China targeting Indian wedding market                                                                                                                                                               –  The Economic Times on 18th Oct, 2014 This catchy headline in ‘The Economic Times’ was hard to miss. On reading the article, I found that the glamour of Indian weddings has allured the Chinese, and they see a lucrative market and viable business opportunity in the lavish wedding celebrations. Here’s an excerpt from the article. Impressed by the lavish Indian weddings, Chinese Consul General Wang Xuefeng said his country was aggressively marketing several of its cities like Kunming, Lijiang and Dali as attractive wedding destinations. Many Indian families are now going to Thailand, Dubai and Mauritius for weddings, but now they are also looking towards China which has several beautiful cities like Kunming which is called the…

Travel and Culture

Kolkata in the 19th century – Vintage Pictures

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By Somali K Chakrabarti Kolkata, the ‘City of Joy’, is a city with a glorious past! For those who live there, Kolkata is also about its alluring spirit, emotions, heightened sensibilities and creative energy. It is a city with fabulous heritage architecture where the old merges with the new. Going back a bit into the history of Kolkata (previously Calcutta), we find that Calcutta was developed by the British by merging three villages – Kalikata, Sutanati and Gobindapur. Calcutta became the headquarters of the East India Company by 1772 and was the capital of British India, from 1858 to 1911, before the British relocated their capital to Delhi. The 19th century saw a socio-cultural resurgence and intellectual awakening in Kolkata, known as the Bengal Renaissance, which continued up to the early 20th century. During this time prominent literati of the city contributed immensely to the art, architecture, literature, science and philosophy. Charles D’Oyly, (1781–1845), a public official of the British East India Company, and painter from Dhaka produced numerous images on India. In 1848, Dickinson & Co., London published his drawings of Calcutta in a large folio-size book titled Views of Calcutta and its Environs. Here are some vintage pictures depicting the landscape of Kolkata from the 19th century. . ON THE RIVER – INDIA…

Travel and Culture

Devi -Manifestations of the Divine Mother

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By Somali K Chakrabarti Autumn (Sharad) or Fall is the season when you feel the first crispness in air, the summer is gone, monsoon has infused new life into trees and fall is in the air. As nature turns the world into its big canvas, people in most parts of India prepare to worship the Divine Mother. An exhibition ‘Devi – Manifestations of the Divine Mother‘, organized at the beautiful Chatrapati Shivaji Musuem in Mumbai gives a historical perspective on the worship of Mother Goddess, and reveals the spiritual significance of the festival. Presenting here some excerpts:   Worship of the Divine Mother is one of the oldest forms of worship known to humanity. In prehistoric times, God was worshipped as the Divine Mother all over the world.  Evidences for Mother Worship have been recovered in different places in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. ~ Durga Puja, Belur Math.org  

Travel and Culture

Mumbai in the 19th century – Vintage Pictures

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By Somali K Chakrabarti History has its own charm! Vintage pictures of Mumbai, from the 19th century evoke a sense of nostalgia. These pictures, with their old world charm and enticing simplicity tell the story of how life would have been in those times. The images, though may not be of practical significance, have an expressive value and a cultural significance. These broaden our horizons beyond what we have seen since our childhood, as we get transported back in time, away from the hustle and bustle of the day to day life, to a quaint world that is hard to imagine today.   Panoramic view of Thana Creek painted by James Wales.ca. 1791   Paintings by James Wales, a Scottish artist who arrived in Bombay in July 1791.  Back then, Bombay was a smaller and less affluent market than Calcutta or Madras for a British painter. James Wales made portraits and captured the glimpses of old Bombay in his drawings and paintings. .

Travel and Culture

Unique Expressions of Art

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Warli Wall Art Festival, 2014. When the walls of a school were used as canvas, it resulted in some amazing paintings! The Wall Art Festival was organized for promoting sustainable international cooperation through the Power of Art. The walls of a primary school in Warli, Gujarat were used as a canvas on which two artists, one from India, the other from Japan, made paintings on the majority of the wall in two separate classrooms. Read the complete article on

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