URBANPOD : Delivering Comfort, Quality and Feel within Budget

Mr. Shalabh Mittal,Co-founder, Mr. Hiren Gandhi,Co-founder | URBANPOD | Indian business magazine

In an Interview with Insights Success, Mr. Shalabh Mittal, Mr. Hiren Gandhi and Mr. Berlin Lee, the Promoters of Urbanpod gave some insightful answers highlighting the influences made by the company to take hospitality industry to next level.
1) Kindly brief us about URBANPOD. 
Ans- Urbanpod @Andheri SEEPZ, Mumbai is the first-of-its-kind Pod Hotel in India and indulges the discerning travelers with a ‘SMART’ stay-option. Pioneering the concept of ‘SMART’ Hotels, Urbanpod prides itself in defining a new segment of GenNext, futuristic, smart-accommodation and shared-living to the new-age travelers (both business & leisure) at a humble cost without compromising on the comfort, quality & feel. It offers good-value
(value-for-money) without compromising on comfort, safety, quality & feel while offering a unique experience. (We may also stress on the hygiene & cleanliness aspect here which may not be easy to find in 3-4 star Budget Hotels without referring to any names/competitors in particular). Urbanpod is modern, stylish & minimalistic, adding to the elegance and the overall feel & experience. The Pod-theme also makes it a great arena to network and make new friends from across the globe.
2)         Brief us about the Founder/CEO and his/her contribution towards the upliftment of the resort. What was the source of inspiration for your company to be a pioneer in this segment?
Ans- Mr. Shalabh Mittal, Mr. Hiren Gandhi & Mr. Berlin Lee are the Promoters.
3)        Can you tell us about your business model.
Ans- Urbanpod is all about providing value for money accommodation keeping high quality of hygiene and service in mind.  When one is in Urbanpod, the feel is of a 4 star hotel at absolute value.  The cost of giving up a few inconveniences at the price of high quality hygiene and basic amenities is highly appreciated by travelers of this day and age.  We plan to bring this value to travelers all metro, Tier 1 and Tier 2 locations in India.  We are in the process of working with Indian Railways to bring Urbanpod at key railway stations.  We are also in the process of working out a mix of management and franchise model for real estate owners in various locations.  This will bring Urbanpod at tremendous value to small business owners (property owners) and value travelers equally.
4)         What are the different services provided by URBANPOD? How these services setting it apart from its competitors?
Ans- Perfect for anyone seeking luxury-accommodation on a budget, Urbanpod is strategically-located in the heart of Mumbai’s business-hub and closer to the domestic & International airports.

  • It offers 140-pods with various upgrades – Suite Pods, Private Pods, classic Pods& an exclusive Ladies-only Pod categories. Suite-Pod category is suitable for couples; the Private Pods have more room & the exclusive Ladies-only Pod – give the ladies added safety & privacy.
  • The sleek Individual Pods are self-contained with modern, technologically-superior interiors. Each Pod comes with a cosy bed/ bed cover, personal locker with secure keycard access, Plasma TV (with headphone facility), personal reading light, power socket, hangers, a Dresser (Wall mirror), Free wi-fi, adjustable air-conditioning facility, Air-purifier (for pure air circulation) & a sliding door (shutter) with locking-facility for added privacy. Each Pod also has a smoke detector & a fire-extinguisher as a safety measure. After a long day, guests can stretch, unwind & relax in their individual pods with the mood-lighting giving just the right ambience.
  • The modern Architectural design & Interiors gives the Hotel a feel of contemporary, minimalistic living! Guest’s luggage is stored in separate individual-locker facility.
  • The non-attached Bathroom suites are separate-facilities that are contemporary & maintain the highest-quality standards.
  • The chic Cafeteria is a great place to laze around and read a book, network & make new friends from around the globe while having a complimentary breakfast.
  • 24-hour Pod service, laundry & office services are also available as added benefits.

Ans- At Urbanpod, each pod, has a smartcard-access to provide atmost security (Ladies-only pods provide added security to single women travelers).

  • Urbanpod provides comfort, quality with chic, modern & minimalistic interiors – giving a great feel to the place.
  • It is a practical & offers value-for-money without compromising on the things that matter (especially hygiene & safety)
  • The Pod-Hotels indulges the guests to network, make new friends & share thoughts.
  • It focuses on the things that matter to the new-age traveler and therefore, guests pay only for the services it requires.
  • It helps you stay-smart!

 5)      What is your take on customer feedback? How you maintain the quality standard at your hotel?
Ans- We have completed two years and we have served more than 21,000 guest, Our average rating in 4.4 with 1,000 reviews on google which is combination of all portals, secondly ranking #1 of 681 Specialty Lodging in Mumbai on Tripadvisor, and also we have been awarded by (NITI, ET Now etc) for our quality service and guest feedback.  We have Urbanpod standard operating procedures to maintain high quality with standard service for the guest.
6)         What is the current scenario of hospitality industry, from your point of view?
Ans-    The hospitality industry is going through challenging times.  With economy going through a slowdown, aviation industry going through a turmoil and guests getting variable options, the industry has a lot to digest at the same time.  These seem to be short term challenges though, we have a lot to cover in India.  Hospitality industry has miles to go and eventually the industry will innovate to keep guests’ intrigued by offering new products and services.
7)         With the massive technology advancements, what are the opportunities and challenges evolving with it?
Ans-    Change is here to stay! Technology like any other factor keeps hospitality in constant innovation mode.  Innovation through technology is the only way to reduce costs and keep looking for profits.  Challenge is to keep up with the changes happening in and out of the hospitality industry.  Challenges are short term but opportunities are long term, players who are in the industry for the long term will find these challenges irrelevant in the short term.
8) What are the benefits gained by your customers?
Ans- Urbanpod provides a practical & SMART stayoption to travelers.

  • It offers great value-for-money while maintain the quality, comfort & feel.
  • Urbanpod provides at most safety (especially the singlewomen travelers) & maintains the highest quality & hygiene-levels, basic requirements but a must for the new-age travelers.
  • Urbanpod has a set of beautifully-arranged Pods (or arrays) in a shared-room – making it a great option for group-travelers who wish to have their own-privacy and space.
  • Its strategic-location helps travelers save time in commute.
  • It helps travelers optimize their spends rather wisely by paying only for the services that they will definitely use

and that what matters to them most. It is a total- practical option& futuristic as the place offer free Wi-Fi & office
services, as added amenities – as it the requirement for the new-age travelers.
9) What is the role of your employees behind your company’s success? How do you keep them
Ans- Each and every employee is very key and important person for Urbanpod growth and Success, Our review
and rating shows their hard work and focus towards their work, we also treat them as our family members, We
arrange regular get together, We give employee of the month, celebrate their birthdays and many such activities
we do to keep them motivated.
10) Kindly tell us about the future plans of POD
Ans- Going forward, our aim is to provide this innovative-product that offers ‘good-value’ to benefit as many customers as possible. Initially, we have plans to go with 1000-beds in a span of 2-3 years.

  • In future, we plan to explore strategic-partnerships.
  • As this innovative-concept will provide value to the society-at-large (with its quality & convenient-pricing & futuristic Concept, especially, in a Metro like Mumbaiwith its high-rentals & high-influx of travelers who are

looking at SMART, practical stay-options), we would like to explore few more Hotels in Mumbai (the Commercial Capital) because of the sheer-necessity for such spaces, given today’s scenario.

  • We would also like to expand this innovative-concept to the other Metros (Delhi & Bangalore, to start with) which

house large-conglomerates especially, the IT-majors.

  • We would like to explore strategic-partnerships with large Companies, especially, the IT-majors

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