Ola Joins ONDC for Food Delivery Services and Eyes New CEO for Cab Business

Ola Joins ONDC for Food Delivery Services and Eyes New CEO for Cab Business

By Author

Published on September 3, 2023

Ola, the mobility giant, is venturing into the food delivery arena once again by partnering with the government-backed Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC). This move places Ola in competition with the likes of Swiggy and others in the food delivery space. The feature has been under testing for over a month within the Ola app, initially for employees and a select group of users, under the name 'Ola ONDC food.'

While this venture marks Ola's fourth attempt at food delivery, it appears to have promising potential. The ONDC platform connects online buyers and sellers, and Ola's integration with it simplifies the process of bringing multiple restaurants and food brands to Ola's app for food delivery. This strategic move eliminates the complexities associated with integrating restaurant partners and consumers.

Moreover, there's buzz about Ola appointing a CEO for its cab business. This shift is aimed at streamlining operations and enhancing efficiency. The new CEO, possibly an ex-Unilever executive, is expected to join the company soon, according to reports.

These moves come on the heels of Ola reporting losses amounting to INR 3,082 crore in the fiscal year 2021-22. However, Ola's foray into food delivery and the appointment of a new CEO signal the company's determination to diversify and expand its services, potentially leading to a more competitive and dynamic future in the mobility and food delivery sectors.

As ONDC continues to make waves in the e-commerce landscape, this partnership could redefine the food delivery industry by offering restaurants and food chains more competitive pricing options due to lower or non-existent commissions, depending on buyer-seller agreements. This strategic integration positions Ola for growth and innovation, while the appointment of a new CEO reflects the company's commitment to strategic leadership and operational excellence.


Everly Hotels Collection Launches First Property Near Brighton

Everly Hotels Collection Launches First Property Near Brighton

By Nithyakala Neelakandan

Published on July 17, 2024

Everly Hotels Collection has opened its first property, The White Horses, in Rottingdean near Brighton. This boutique hotel marks a significant milestone for the brand, featuring 32 stylish guestrooms and a 290-seat restaurant with stunning sea views.

The White Horses offers a variety of room options, from classic doubles to superior balcony rooms and suites. Three of these rooms are dog-friendly, catering to guests traveling with pets. Each room has been thoughtfully designed with contemporary interiors, celebrating local landmarks and stories.

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The hotel's restaurant, seating 290 guests, includes outdoor terraces that offer beautiful sea views. The bar and restaurant focus on local and regional British produce, presenting an all-day menu with seasonal classics. The signature seafood platter, inspired by the coastal location, is a highlight. In-house chefs and mixologists prioritize fresh, quality ingredients, creating innovative dishes and drinks.

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At the reception, guests will find 'The Little Store,' which sells local produce, handcrafted art, and gifts like candles and toiletries. This initiative supports local businesses and provides guests with a taste of the region's craftsmanship and flavors.

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Vincent Madden, Managing Director of Everly Hotels Collection, expressed excitement about the opening: “The official opening of The White Horses hotel marks a pivotal occasion for Everly Hotels Collection as the first property in our repertoire, and we’re thrilled to finally be welcoming our guests through our doors. The hotel balances the timeless comfort guests can expect from an upscale boutique hotel, with experiences that are very much rooted in the local area – a meeting point for locals and guests alike.”

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The White Horses is the first in a series of planned locations across the UK. With a multi-million-pound investment, the hotel sets a high standard for future properties in the Everly Hotels Collection. The focus remains on providing upscale boutique experiences deeply rooted in their local communities.

Image Credit: thewhitehorseshotel-rottingdean.co.uk and their official social media handle.


India Opens New Visa Application Centers in Seattle and Bellevue

India Opens New Visa Application Centers in Seattle and Bellevue

By Nithyakala Neelakandan

Published on July 17, 2024

The Indian Consulate in Seattle has launched new visa application centres in Seattle and Bellevue, providing full visa and passport services to individuals traveling to India. The inauguration was attended by notable figures, including Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, Port Commissioner Sam Cho, and State Representative Vandana Slatter.

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, who handed out the first Indian passport and visa at the event, praised the Indian community's contributions to strengthening ties between India and the USA. Prakash Gupta, Consul General of India in Seattle, highlighted that the opening of these centres demonstrates the Indian government’s commitment to deepening relationships with the Pacific Northwest states.

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In addition to the Seattle centre, a drop-off facility in Bellevue has been established to make it easier for residents of the east side to access these services. Both centres are managed by VFS Global, the official visa services partner for the Indian government, ensuring efficient and streamlined processes for applicants.

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These centres will benefit the large Indian diaspora in the consular jurisdiction, covering nine Pacific Northwestern states: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming. Consul General Gupta emphasized that these facilities aim to provide a convenient and efficient experience for all consular applicants.

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The Seattle centre is equipped with modern amenities to offer a superior application experience. VFS Global has been a trusted partner of the Indian government since 2008, handling services like visa applications, OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India), passport services, and more. Amit Kumar Sharma, Head of VFS Global, expressed excitement about expanding their partnership with the Indian government and enhancing customer experience.

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The opening of these centres follows the inauguration of the Indian Consulate in Seattle in November 2023. Consul General Gupta stated that providing smooth and efficient consular services is a top priority and welcomed feedback from applicants to further improve their operations.

With these new centres, the Indian Consulate aims to make the visa application process more accessible and convenient, thereby supporting the travel and consular needs of the Indian community in the greater Seattle area.

Image Credit: indiainseattle.gov.in


JW Marriott and Flamingo Estate Partner for a Sensorial Journey Rooted in Well-Being

JW Marriott and Flamingo Estate Partner for a Sensorial Journey Rooted in Well-Being

By Nishang Narayan

Published on July 14, 2024

JW Marriott, part of Marriott Bonvoy’s portfolio of over 30 hotel brands, and Flamingo Estate, a California-based lifestyle company, have announced a global brand partnership. This collaboration aims to elevate travelers' well-being by engaging two powerful senses: scent and sound. Grounded in a shared ethos of fostering holistic well-being through a deep connection with nature, the partnership will traverse several sensorial touchpoints, bridging the paths to mindfulness.

Serenity Through Scent

The collaboration introduces an exclusive co-branded scent named Expansion, inspired by the JW Garden at JW Marriott properties worldwide. This herbaceous and uplifting fragrance welcomes guests with notes of lush greenery, damp earth, and rich flowers, complemented by white lotus flower, rosemary, and Holy Basil, known for its adaptogenic qualities. This scent will be featured at JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu and encapsulated in a signature candle hand-poured in Los Angeles.

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Harmonizing Wellness with Sound

JW Marriott and Flamingo Estate have created four exclusive playlists titled Aurora, Sun, Dusk, and Moon, each designed to correspond with different times of the day. These playlists, accessible on Flamingo Estate’s Spotify channel, will be integrated into the global sound strategy at JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu, creating a serene and mindful environment for guests from morning to night.

Bruce Rohr, Vice President and Global Brand Leader at JW Marriott, commented, “Together, JW Marriott and Flamingo Estate are reimagining luxury hospitality by cultivating a fusion of elegance and sensorial experiences that deeply resonate with travelers seeking to elevate their path of well-being.”

Richard Christiansen, Founder of Flamingo Estate, added, “We both believe in real hospitality, and it’s at the heart of what we do. The rare art of making someone feel loved and cared for is communicated through all the senses, but especially sound and smell.”

About JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts

JW Marriott is part of Marriott International’s luxury portfolio, offering properties and resort locations worldwide. With over 100 hotels in more than 30 countries, JW Marriott focuses on mindfulness, helping guests feel present, nourished, and revitalized through its programs and offerings. JW Marriott participates in Marriott Bonvoy, the global travel program from Marriott International, which provides members with exclusive experiences and benefits. For more information, visit MarriottBonvoy.marriott.com.

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