‘Workation’ keeps tourism alive in Kottayam’s lakeside villages

Packages that combine work and pleasure much in demand among IT companies

Just as tourism was looking to take off in the lakeside villages of Kottayam after the COVID-19-induced slump, the devastating rain has brought in more troubles.

However, one bright spot for the rural retreats is an influx of people seeking ‘inspiring locations to work from.’ Hotels and houseboats in Kumarakom are bouncing back because of the surge in demand from ‘workation’ groups, mostly from IT start-ups and mid-level software companies. The packages are intended to combine work and pleasure. The resorts and houseboats focus on offering them an experience of the village life.

Prime choice

K. Arun Kumar, secretary, the Chamber of Vembanad Hotels and Resorts (CVHR), says Kumarakom is a preferred destination for such groups because of its proximity to Kochi, affordability, and access to high-speed internet. “These workations boost our revenues considerably as rooms are booked in bulk and under all-inclusive packages. The average size of groups is between 15 and 30 while the duration of stay ranges from three to five nights,” he said.

Some challenges

The packages present some challenges too as the accommodation units are required to create bio-bubbles for each group and ensure high-speed internet, among other things.

Naveen Mathew, founder of Tyndis Heritage that has organised workation trips for several IT companies, said many groups from Kochi and Bengaluru had stayed at the lakeside properties of Kumarakom this monsoon. The packages are curated to include team-building and de-stressing activities, based on companies’ requirement of the companies. “Besides Kumarakom, places like Varkala, Munnar, and Wayanad are also high on the companies’ popularity chart,” he said.

The many pluses

Robin Tommy, who heads the Rapid Labs project of the TCS, said these programmes seek to improve employee retention, boost productivity, and transform company culture.

“A change in work environment brings fresh perspectives and is proving especially useful for strategic sessions. The team members are discovering a new destination together, experiencing leisure together, thereby forming a bond,” said Mr. Tommy.

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