Interviews/Opinions

In Conversation With Kalindi Juneja, CEO of PoB Hotels

Kalindi Juneja, CEO of PoB Hotels, boasts two decades of experience in luxury hospitality, spanning roles in prestigious luxury hotels globally. Her expertise lies with the independent hotel market both in the UK and internationally. Since taking the helm at PoB Hotels in 2021, she has strategically repositioned the brand and increased market share by over 400%. Beyond her professional accomplishments, Kalindi is passionately committed to advancing the hospitality profession, actively engaging in various industry initiatives and charitable endeavours.

Read our interview with Kalindi to learn more about PoB Hotels and gain insights into some fascinating travel trends.

What would you say is the mission behind PoB Hotels?

As a brand, our mission is to inspire our guests and delight our members by unlocking a world of luxury in hospitality, dining, wellness, and adventures. For our guests, we curate unforgettable experiences that embody the essence of luxury and British hospitality, ensuring every moment is Pampering, Outstanding, and uniquely British. For our members, we are dedicated to expanding their market presence and equipping them with the tools necessary to compete on a larger scale, empowering independent hotels to reach new heights of success. We proudly champion the best of British hospitality, celebrating the individuality of our properties and crafting bespoke experiences tailored to the desires of our discerning guests.

What has been your greatest achievement since becoming CEO of PoB Hotels?

In our quest for enduring relevance and resilience in a rapidly evolving market, we’ve undertaken a comprehensive rebranding initiative aimed at placing the consumer experience at the heart of everything we do. This pivotal transformation has breathed new life into our brand, aligning it more closely with our core values and messaging. Since our rebrand in February 2023, we’ve embarked on an exhilarating journey to make PoB Hotels not just relevant but indispensable to today’s guests.

We’ve translated this vision into action through dynamic campaigns, strategic digital initiatives, and impactful partnerships with kindred brands and Ambassadors. Central to this rebranding endeavour was the creation of a fresh brand identity, encompassing a revamped website, an expansive social media presence across eight platforms, and a suite of collateral including gift vouchers and our signature annual publication, The Handle.

This year, The Handle serves as a platform for our latest campaign, “Seasoned to Perfection,” a celebration of culinary excellence featuring over 40 recipes contributed by acclaimed chefs within our collection. Our rebranding journey has not only rejuvenated our brand but also reaffirmed our unwavering commitment to delivering extraordinary experiences while upholding the values of quality, innovation, and quintessential British hospitality.

Behind the scenes, we’ve elevated our commitment to quality through a rigorous overhaul of our hotel inspection process. Through an annual mystery guest program, we’ve implemented new criteria focused on elevating service, product standards, and overall guest experience, ensuring that every stay exceeds expectations.

What would you predict to be the biggest travel trend of 2024? And how are you incorporating this trend into your plans for PoB Hotels?

Following the findings from our inaugural Whitepaper, we detected that ‘palate-led travel’ would be a huge trend for 2024. Our excitement for the launch of our new campaign, Seasoned to Perfection, is fuelled by recent insights from our Whitepaper, revealing that the allure of food and drink remains a pivotal factor in capturing the attention of our guests. Remarkably, 82% of respondents identified it as a primary influence in shaping their travel decisions.

Alongside this, we know that wellness will continue to be a key component for domestic holidays – our Whitepaper revealed that 66% of emerging and HNWIs consider wellness features as incredibly important when deciding what hotel and where to book. Finally, sustainability continues to be integral to preserving our planet and this year, conscious travel will again be a key travel trend. Our Whitepaper highlighted just how important sustainability was when booking a hotel with an incredible 59% of respondents prioritising hotels that embrace sustainable and responsible practices.

What makes the British Isles such a great holiday destination?

There are so many reasons! The diversity of experiences within our borders is unparalleled and so is the quality of hospitality available to the discerning traveller. The abundance of British homegrown produce celebrated at our restaurants ensures guests have unparalleled dining experiences whilst the variety of wellness options gives guests the escapism they desire. Our fantastic infrastructure makes for fantastic road trips too. At our doorstep is heritage & history, coastlines and vibrant cities, adventure and relaxation.

In light of this, we have created PoB Breaks, a specially curated selection of itineraries across the British Isles, which have been thoughtfully designed to immerse travellers in the very essence of a region, allowing them to savour every moment of their journey. PoB Breaks celebrates the nature of slow travel and offers the perfect way to delve deeper into our nation, visiting landmarks, and amazing restaurants and experiencing the wonders of the British Isles.

Have you noticed an increase in demand for any specific destinations in Britain?

Through our research and creation of the PoB Hotels Whitepaper, we found that the Southwest of England emerged as the top UK region of interest for British holiday-goers, securing 59% of their attention for 2024. The Northeast, Cotswolds, and Scotland closely follow in popularity whilst the capital is always popular.

Do you have any exciting plans in the pipeline for PoB Hotels?

Plenty! 2024 is set to be another incredibly exciting year for PoB Hotels. We have already launched our latest campaign which I’ve already mentioned. Seasoned to Perfection will be all focused on food and award-winning British hotel dining experiences. It’s a new initiative which will allow guests to enjoy a series of incredible Six Hand Dinner events that will showcase delicious, seasonal dishes from three properties in the PoB Hotels collection at once from some of the collection’s best chefs including Executive Chef Ricki Weston (Whatley Manor), Executive Chef Douglas Balish (Grove of Narberth) and Executive Chef Ollie Bridgewater (Gilpin Hotel & Lake House).

We’re also thrilled to be working with our excellent ambassadors including BBC 1 Saturday Kitchen’s Presenter and Chef Matt Tebbutt, TV Presenter Amanda Lamb and wellness expert Madeleine Shaw.

This year, we’re set to unveil even more exciting campaigns and ambassadors – watch this space…

Luxury is highly subjective, what does it mean to you personally?

Luxury to me transcends mere opulence and extravagance; it embodies a profound sense of tailored excellence and genuine care. True luxury lies in the meticulous attention to detail, the seamless integration of personalised service, and the creation of memorable moments that exceed expectations. It’s about curating environments where one feels not just pampered, but truly understood and valued.

What is your life motto?

As an eternal optimist, I focus on the positives in every situation, always finding reasons for gratitude. Additionally, I believe in the importance of nurturing networks and communities, whether by building exceptional teams with purpose in the workplace or fostering meaningful connections with friends.

Find out more about PoB Hotels: pobhotels.com