Celebrating World Tourism Day with memories – condensed fragments of happiness, comfort and warmth borrowed from time.
When I joined SaffronStays in November 2020, the world was co-existing with the coronavirus. Travelling to someplace new felt like a dream packaged with anxiety, survivors guilt and of course, a whole lot of contemplation. Masks, sanitisers, human touch, hand gloves, more than 3 people in the same room… you know?
It was in January 2021 when I realised that the world, coronavirus AND travel can co-exist too. At SaffronStays, we called it ‘privacy, safety and experiential’. Until that time, I only used these terms as any Marketer would – USPs of the brand you’re writing for. Don’t blame me, I’d joined the organisation just 2 months back.
These terms – privacy, safety and experiential – became more than just brand USPs when in April 2021, the entire Marketing team decided to travel to Lonavala to one of the best villas of SaffronStays to shoot and collect content for the ‘Summers At SaffronStays’ campaign.
Where Families Bond, Truly:
The pandemic followed by the mandatory lockdown had enforced a Work From Home (who knew it’d become a thing now) situation on all of us. And because I joined the team during an unusual time as such, I’d never seen my team, people I worked with and talked to almost everyday, in 3D. Yes, remember the ‘can-we-get-on-a-zoom-call’ phase?
2 cars, 9 people, lots of snacks to munch on and just the perfect weather – our content shoot was ALSO becoming an offsite we all knew we needed desperately. After driving for less than 100 kilometers through the western ghats of Lonavala, we reached our first SaffronStays’ villa.
I ticked ‘privacy’ off the checklist immediately. While we were surrounded by other villas, every villa was spacious and big enough for us to get our work completed seamlessly, in peace. After a change of multiple outfits, endless retakes, high fives for getting the perfect shot and really good food, the entire team retired and kicked back in the huge balcony. Conversations floated from everyone’s music taste to funny experiences in their past jobs to funny incidents in our current jobs and ultimately culminating into everyone talking about what they admired about each other. It was the perfect impromptu #TeamBonding exercise.
I remember everything from that day – the cool breeze reigning in during the golden hour, making us drop our work, gaze at the setting sun and just being one with the calm atmosphere; the sky gently lapping into the hues of the night, the silence and mostly, the smiles. I felt closer to my team, and thus, my organisation that day.
Memories – seconds fabricated into everlasting moments.
Solo Travelling For Work:
I found my heart skipping a beat when I headed to SaffronStays Suvarna Sangam in Udupi: one of the best homes in South India. Reason? It’s an estate of 4 cosy cottages and to be very honest, I usually prefer cosy and rustic (fist bump if you come under this category). Besides this, it is surrounded by the Suvarna River from THREE SIDES! ALSO, the Mangalorean twist to the hospitality offered by the local caretakers will win you over. Now, I know, talking good things about the brand you work for is biased but I would be saying the same things if I’d gone there as a guest. And THIS was a big deal to me – to feel good about your association with the company. This was a 3-night long work trip ‘with nature as company’, I must say.
The quietude interrupted only by the euphonious rustling of the coconut trees, the early morning sun blessing the river bank, the unending bliss of the night and the leisurely pace at which I could work, relax and reconnect with myself, mid-work breaks on the riverside deck, the speedboat ride to see the mangroves and the hint of coconut in anything and everything edible – I felt safe, at peace, and enjoyed everything.
Memories – a picture book of your fondest moments with time.
Experiencing The Best Of Both The Worlds – Work And Holiday:
In September 2021, the entire Marketing team had planned a content shoot to Alibaug. The agenda was to capture a whole lot of festive and winter content. After the ‘Summer At SaffronStays’ campaign, this was the first time the entire team was travelling and working on-the-go together. We had to cover 8 homes in 2 days.
As soon as we reached each home, we used to do a recce of the entire estate, open our bank of ideas, think of something new, change outfits if needed, start shooting, finish shooting, travel to the other home and repeat. This routine went on till 8 pm when we finally reached SaffronStays Gardenia – our home for the night. It has a massive garden that rolls right up to the first floor over 2 protruding arms. I always wanted to see this home in person – since the time I saw its pictures on our website. The structure looks very unique and classy. This home is where we had planned to shoot most of the festive and winter content. And so, some of us got started with helping the staff with the barbecue preps while some others helped other staff members create a festive vibe for the shoot. Around 11:30 pm, we were ready to shoot. Reels, photos, videos, boomerangs – we juiced out everything.
It was 1:30 am and we were finally done with the shoot. Tired legs, sleepy eyes but smiling faces. We were proud – of each other, and ourselves. We sang, we danced (for reels and also otherwise), we worked, we hustled but most importantly, we slept that night with satisfaction in our hearts.
Memories – a collection of experiences, divided chapter by chapter.
So, when I was asked to write a blog on A Walk Down Memory Lane With SaffronStays for World Tourism Day, I knew in my heart that I had to write about all these unique homes at all these stunning locations that I had the opportunity to explore with the #BestTeamEver.
When are you setting out to make everlasting memories with your favourite people?