Issuu on Google+

Vol 14 Issue 2

Pages 72

A MONTHLY ON HOSPITALITY TRADE

`50

CO2

By DDP Publications

Green

Technology

Hotel reviews, online bookings, mobile apps, Facebook, Twitter, Wi-fi, ipads, brands, smartphones

Hospitality

february 2014

magazine

&


February 2014

Cover Story

28

Tech Trends for Gen XYZ Cutting-edge technology in the hospitality domain can give a competitive edge at all levels.Tech experts delve further into the trends and challenges of IT in hospitality. Cover Design: Ruchi Sinha

contents THIS MONTH

President’s Message FHRAI Desk Secretary’s Message News Updates Products & Services Appointments Events

8 12 14 24 64 66 68

24 News You Can Use

FEATURES Guest Column 56 Green IT to reduce carbon footprint This article focusses on IT and the role it can play in mitigating emissions and optimising resources

Wellness 58 Spa Mantra: From indulgence to Wellness The focus of spas is shifting from just indulging the body senses to enhancing wellness and health

58 Wellness

6

February 2014 I www.fhrai.com I


FEATURES Interview 60 Hospitality remains capital-intensive Sonica Malhotra, Director, The MBD Group, reveals the success strategy of The Radisson Blu MBD Hotel, Noida

Restaurant Review 62 Scrumptious Sunday Brunches Savour an eclectic mix of Asian dishes at the Sunday brunch in Turquoise Cottage

62 Restaurant Review

Report 70 Making hotels kid-friendly The Kid Classified survey reveals that family travel trends are influenced by kids’ choices

64 Products & Services secretary general M D Kapoor - sg@fhrai.com Editor Deepa Sethi - deepa@ddppl.com Associate Editor Kanchan Nath - kanchan.nath@ddppl.com sub-Editor Shubhi Tandon creative Design Ruchi Sinha

FHRAI B-82, 8th Floor, Himalaya House Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi 110001 Tel: 91-11-40780780, Fax: +91-11-40780777 Email: fhrai@vsnl.com FHRAI Magazine is published, edited and printed monthly by DDP Publication Pvt. Ltd. On behalf of Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India and published from DDP Publications Pvt. Ltd. 72 Todarmal Road New Delhi 110001 Email: fhraimag@ddppl.com Tel : 91-11-23731971 Fax: 91-11-23351503 Printed at Cirrus Graphics Pvt. Ltd. B 62/14, Phase-II, Naraina Industrial Area New Delhi 110028 This issue of FHRAI Magazine contains 68+4 pages cover

Advertising Gunjan Sabikhi - gunjan@ddppl.com Asst. Vice President – Marketing Delhi Prateek Sahay - prateek@ddppl.com Senior Manager – Marketing (+919650911388) Udit Pandey - udit@ddppl.com Senior Manager – Marketing (+919650399907) Shradha Kapoor - shradha@ddppl.com Senior Executive – Marketing (+919650196525) All information in the FHRAI Magazine is derived from sources, which we consider reliable and a sincere effort is made to report accurate information. It is passed on to our readers without any responsibility on our part. The publisher regrets that he cannot accept liability for errors and omissions contained in this publication, however caused. Similarly, opinions/views expressed by third parties in abstract and/or in interviews are not necessarily shared by FHRAI Magazine or DDP. However, we wish to advice our readers that one or more recognised authorities may hold different views than those reported. Material used in this publication is intended for information purpose only. Readers are advised to seek specific advice before acting on information contained in this publication which is provided for general use, and may not be appropriate for the readers’ particular circumstances. Contents of this publication are copyright. No part of FHRAI Magazine or any part of the contents thereof may be reproduced, stored in retrieval system or transmitted in

68 Events Mumbai Harshal Ashar - harshal@ddppl.com Deputy General Manager (+919619499167) FHRAI - Marketing S.P. Joshi Production Manager Anil Kharbanda Advertisement Designers Vikas Mandotia Nitin Kumar Aarushi Agrawal any form without the permission of the publication in writing. The same rule applies when there is a copyright or the article is taken from another publication. An exemption is hereby granted for the extracts used for the purpose of fair review, provided two copies of the same publication are sent to us for our records. Publications reproducing material either in part or in whole, without permission could face legal action.The publisher assumes no responsibility for returning any material solicited or unsolicited nor is he responsible for material lost or damaged. This publication is not meant to be an endorsement of any specific product or services offered. The publisher reserves the right to refuse, withdraw, amend or otherwise deal with all advertisements without explanation. All advertisements must comply with the Indian and International Advertisements Code. The publisher will not be liable for any damage or loss caused by delayed publication, error or failure of an advertisement to appear.


Xxxxx president’s message

Dear fellow members, At the outset, on behalf of FHRAI, I would like to sincerely thank Shri Parvez Dewan, Secretary (Tourism), for his gracious presence and kind words of encouragement at the official launch of the prestigious FHRAI Indian Hotel Industry Survey 2012-13 on January 20, 2014 in New Delhi.

S.M. Shervani President

Tourism rightfully deserves to be a high priority in the national economic and legislative agenda of the incoming Union Government and Parliament

8

February 2014 I www.fhrai.com I

This eagerly awaited new edition of our acclaimed publication, will serve as the most comprehensive and credible source of data and in-depth analysis on the performance of the hotel industry. I am confident that all our members will find this report to be an indispensable resource. The cover feature of this month’s FHRAI Magazine throws an insightful spotlight on the evolving role of IT in the hospitality industry. Technology has always been a vital business tool for all companies, large or small, to streamline processes, reduce administrative costs and optimise operational efficiencies. However, in recent years, there has been a new wave of emerging technologies such as cloud services, mobile computing, online intermediaries and social media, which are radically transforming our industry’s landscape. More than just being mechanisms for productivity enhancement, these innovations can catalyse sales, facilitate a deeper engagement with customers, help in personalisation of products / guest services and brand differentiation in a competitive market space. With new opportunities, these technologies also present some complex challenges for companies, for instance, seamless integration with existing internal systems, generating a sustainable ROI, legal and ethical concerns on issues like data security and privacy, etc. At the 2014 FHRAI Convention, our members can look forward to interacting with some of the best minds in the field, on how to mitigate these attendant risks and successfully unlock strategic value from their investment in IT. In a couple of months, our country will go to the polls to elect the 16th Lok Sabha and a new Central Government. A record number of 80 crore Indians will be eligible to cast their ballots, out of which nearly 4 crore will be first-time voters. In the past year, a sharp deceleration in the economy has pushed economic issues to the forefront of the public and media discourse in the

run-up to the general elections. In this scenario, FHRAI believes that it is important for us to reach out to national parties across the political spectrum and highlight the vibrant contribution which hospitality & tourism make to the Indian economy, particularly through large-scale employment generation. Through this initiative, we will seek to underscore the fact that effectively addressing certain systemic impediments, which have constrained our sector, requires a national vision, bipartisan consensus and focussed synergy between the Central and State Governments. As such, tourism rightfully deserves to be a high priority in the national economic and legislative agenda of the incoming Union Government and Parliament. In this regard, I had written to all our members and invited suggestions for this proposed representation. We are extremely gratified not only by the overwhelming response which we received from across the country but also your generous appreciation for this endeavour! I would like to share with you, the salient issues which we have raised in FHRAI’s manifesto for revitalisation of the Indian hospitality and tourism sector Include Tourism in the Concurrent List of the Constitution - Tourism as a separate subject does not find place in the Seventh Schedule of the Indian Constitution, even though a number of its components are either in the Union List, State List or the Concurrent List. This has often given rise to significant ambiguity and conflict between various government and administrative machineries, thereby hampering the uniform growth of the sector. We propose that Tourism should be placed in the Concurrent List. Such a step will provide constitutional recognition to the tourism sector and help in channelising its systematic development by enabling the Central Government to put in place a robust pan India regulatory and governance framework. High-powered National Council for the Tourism Sector - The Central Government should constitute a National Tourism Development and Promotion Council, which will be chaired by the Prime Minister and comprise of senior representatives from key Union Ministries, State Governments, the industry and other stakeholders. The role continued on page 10...


president’s message ...continued from page 8

The Union Government through an appropriate legislative amendment should ensure that all states recognise tourism as an Industry of this proposed council should not just be advisory in nature but rather it should be empowered with the requisite executive authority for decision-making and oversight on the entire gamut of issues pertaining to policy formulation and implementation in the tourism sector. The proactive stewardship provided by such a body will lead to greater synergy, congruence and accountability in our national efforts toward the integrated development and promotion of tourism.

A seamless and differentiated visa mechanism to encourage and facilitate foreign tourist travel is imperative to position India as an attractive and welcoming destination

10

February 2014 I www.fhrai.com I

Liberalisation of the Visa regime - A seamless and differentiated visa mechanism to encourage and facilitate foreign tourist travel is imperative to position India as an attractive and welcoming destination. Bureaucratic hurdles and antiquated processes that often accompany visa procurement such as long wait times, absence of local consular offices and excessive documentation requirements discourage travel, constraining visitor spending and the jobs and growth it generates. Acknowledging the economic benefits of visa simplification, the new Government must commit to reviewing our outdated visa regulations and favourably explore the adoption of a system of e-Visa (Electronic Travel Authorisation). Leveraging technology to modernise our visa regime will enhance speed, efficiency, convenience and flexibility, while minimising security related risks. ‘Industry’ status for Tourism and parity with other Exporters - The Seventh Five Year Plan (1985-89), had proposed that tourism should be accorded ‘Industry’ status. The implementation of this decision, however, was left to the discretion of individual State Governments. It is indeed disappointing that even more than two decades later, many states are yet to adopt this progressive measure, in letter and spirit. Even in those states which have officially declared tourism as an industry, tangible benefits which are offered to other industrial units, often do

not accrue to the hospitality industry. It is worth noting that major economies, such as China, United Kingdom, France, Germany, UAE and our South-east Asian neighbours like Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore, have for long recognised tourism as an industry. The Union Government through an appropriate legislative amendment or instrument, should ensure that all states must recognise tourism as an Industry, so that hospitality establishments throughout the country can avail incentives and concessions under the Industrial Policy of the respective State Governments, such as n Property Tax, electricity and water tariff charged as per industrial and not commercial rates n Land Bank for budget hotels n Interest subvention schemes / capital subsidies n Exemption / moratorium on payment of certain local and state levies n Single-window clearance mechanism for facilitating all requisite statutory approvals, licenses and permits This will significantly lower the operating cost structure and enhance the overall competitiveness of the tourism industry. Tourism has consistently been one of the country’s largest earners of Foreign Exchange. In 2013, the sector generated more than $18 billion in valuable Foreign Exchange and contributed 4.2 per cent to total exports. Therefore, given the quantum of its Forex Earnings, the hospitality and tourism industry should be entitled to avail various exemptions / incentives which are offered to other exporters from time to time, under our tax laws and the Government’s Foreign Trade Policy. Next month, I will share with you details of FHRAI’s specific proposals pertaining to two of the most urgent concerns for the hospitality industry – rationalisation of our tax structure and access to cheaper finance. With warm regards, S. M. Shervani President, FHRAI


fhrai desk

FHRAI releases Indian Hotel Industry Survey 2012-13 S. M. Shervani, President, FHRAI, M D Kapoor, Secretary General, FHRAI and Manav Thadani, Chairman-Asia Pacific, H.V.S presented the FHRAI Indian Hotel Industry Survey 2012-2013 to Shri Parvez Dewan, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, who was also the Chief Guest at the event held at The Leela Palace, New Delhi.

12

February 2014 I www.fhrai.com I


secretary’s message

Chronicling the Hotel Industry’s dynamism FHRAI Indian Hotel Industry Survey

Vivek Nair Hony. Secretary

Dear fellow members, As the pre-eminent national voice of the Indian hospitality industry, FHRAI steadfastly strives to be the leading source of credible current data, groundbreaking research and contemporary thought leadership on all aspects related to our vibrant industry. As a profound manifestation of this resolve, for the last 16 years, FHRAI in cooperation with HVS Hospitality Services, has published the widely acclaimed Indian Hotel Industry Survey. This unique and innovative annual publication chronicles the financial and operating performance of hotels in all major Indian cities across star categories and market positioning. It is a source of immense satisfaction for us that by virtue of serving as a dynamic barometer of the hotel industry’s performance and elucidating the myriad strategic and competitive trends which are shaping the sector, this publication has come to be regarded as an indispensable reference for hospitality professionals, Government officials, investors, media persons and other stakeholders.

The Government should provide subsidies and tax rebates to hotels for incentivising investment in energy management systems and efficient green technologies

14

February 2014 I www.fhrai.com I

The latest edition of the Survey, underscores that even in the face of adverse macroeconomic headwinds and a difficult operating environment, the Indian hotel industry has resiliently stayed on course with its commitment to deliver exceptional value to our patrons and globally benchmark our product and service standards. Through a focus on re-aligning cost structures, leveraging modern technology, pursuing customer-centric innovation and adopting agile business models, hotel companies are seeking to deftly navigate the challenges and capitalise on new opportunities which a rapidly evolving market offers. In the past year, India witnessed a distinct deceleration across sectors, as reflected in GDP growth falling to a mere 5 per cent, the lowest in a decade. Despite this slowdown, 2012-13 saw hotels maintain steady occupancy levels of 60.4 per cent. The average increase in hotel room supply was estimated at 11 per cent, whereas aggregate demand grew by 9.2 per cent during this period. Inevitably, this temporary mismatch in the demand-supply scenario led to pressure on the ARRs. The survey reveals a heartening trend

that even though business travel was subdued on account of the economic downturn, demand from domestic and foreign leisure travellers remained robust. Another encouraging development is the gradual diversification in the international source markets for the Indian hospitality sector. Thus, while the USA and UK are still our dominant source markets for FTAs, the contribution of Middle-East, Russia, CIS and SAARC nations has been increasing at a healthy pace. With the Government now signalling its clear intent to move towards a more liberal visa regime, I expect this positive trend to gain further momentum. To compensate for the somewhat static room revenue, hotels have been actively seeking to tap other demand drivers such as F&B and banquets & conferences. In fact, the share of non-room sources in gross revenue now stands at a high of 47.8 per cent. We anticipate that a burgeoning middle class and its propensity to spend, will continue to augment demand in these segments. The survey also points to some areas of urgent concern, which we must collectively address. For instance, over the last year there has been a sharp rise of 13 per cent in energy costs for the hotel industry. In an already high inflationary environment, absorbing this additional impact is simply not feasible. The Government must intervene to ameliorate the debilitating burden by ensuring that hotels are entitled to avail power and water at lower industrial rates and not be compelled to pay heavy commercial tariff. The Government should also provide subsidies and tax rebates to hotels for incentivising investment in energy management systems and efficient green technologies. I am confident that all of you will find the FHRAI Indian Hotel Industry Survey to be an edifying resource and we look forward to your feedback and suggestions on making future editions even better! With warm regards, Vivek Nair Honorary Secretary, FHRAI


fhrai desk

Industry networks at SATTE 2014

Photos: Simran Kaur

S. M. Shervani, President, FHRAI was present for the inauguration of the 21st edition of SATTE, 2014. Other dignitaries included Parvez Dewan, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Goverment of India, Alla Peressolava, Head, SILK ROAD Programme/FAIRS Programme, UNWTO, Zulkifly Md. Said, Director General, Islamic Tourism Centre, Malaysia, Nakul Anand, Chairman, FAITH, Iqbal Mulla, President, TAAI, Zakkir Ahmed, President, TAFI, Guldeep Singh Sahni, President, OTOAI among others.

16

February 2014 I www.fhrai.com I


fhrai desk

FHRAI welcomes extension of FSSAI deadline

M

r. S. M. Shervani, President, Federation of Hotels and Restaurants Association of India (FHRAI) has welcomed the government’s decision to extend the last date for obtaining the License and Registration for existing Food Business Operators by a period of six months. The earlier deadline set by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) was February 4, 2014. Shervani said, “We have been vigorously engaging with the Government at the highest level, on various technical and regulatory aspects of the new Food Safety Law. We demanded an extension of this deadline as it did not take into account the ground realities and practical constraints faced by the industry.” “FHRAI supports the progressive intent and basic tenets of the Food Safety & Standards Act, but we have strong reservations on certain procedural issues and

implementation mechanisms envisaged in the new law and its accompanying regulations. We also firmly believe that a sweeping reform of this nature can only be viably introduced by adopting a calibrated and consultative approach. Instead of arbitrary deadlines, the current focus must now shift to building greater awareness, particularly in the unorganised sector and allowing sufficient time for both the regulator (FSSAI) and our industry, to put in place robust internal systems, transparent processes and a pragmatic compliance framework,” he further added. As per the Safety & Standards Act, eateries and restaurants will require a food business operator licence from Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to conduct business. According to the rules, if a restaurant is found to be operating without a licence, the authority can penalise it and even have it shut down. Noncompliance will attract a penalty of `5 lakh.

HRAWI members raise industry issues

H

RAWI held a meeting with Dr. Satyapal Singh, Commissioner of Police, Greater Mumbai in December to discuss various issues of the hospitality industry. The meeting was attended by Mr. D S Advani, President, HRAWI, Mr. P Ghai and Mr. Malvinder Narang. Dr. Singh referred the matter to Ms. Sharda Raut, DCP HQ 1, who assured HRAWI members that the issues would be addressed. The association addressed the following issues recently:

Hunar Se Rozgar workshop

Hunar Se Rozgar workshop was held at Hotel Blue Diamond, Pune, to verify the effective implementation of the scheme at the categorised hotels in the region. Representatives of hotels in Pune, Lonavala and Satara were invited to attend the workshop.

Online registrations

With support from Ms. Aswati Deorji, DCP HQ II, and the training workshops conducted by the DCP’s office on online registration of ‘C’ forms for foreign guests details, all members of the Association stopped manual registrations as per the FRRO office requirement.

FSSAI

FSSAI Act

18

With the FSSAI Act coming into effect soon, sourcing of suppliers for the Association’s proposed laboratories are on and proposed locations have been identified at Vadodara and Ahmedabad.

February 2014 I www.fhrai.com I

Single Window Clearance

A meeting has been proposed with Mr. Sumit Malik, Principal Secretary, Tourism, to check the status of implementation of the Single Window Clearance Excise, as per the report submitted by Accenture.

HRAWI successfully petitions Court for Mumbai to party till 5 am on New Year’s Eve When the Mumbai Police refused permission for the New Year’s Eve events to go beyond 1.30 am on grounds of public safety and preserving law and order, HRAWI petitioned the Mumbai High Court on December 30, 2013, to get an extension. Following the hearing conducted by the Bombay High Court, all members of the Association were successfully permitted to remain open till 5 am on January 1, 2014. A list of 389 members was tendered on behalf of the Association. The High Court pronounced that establishments which remained open till 5 am would arrange for their own security inside the licensed premises and immediately outside the licensed premises and music was not permitted outdoor spaces after 12 am.


fhrai desk

Committee (DPCC) and Mr. Sandeep Mishra, Member Secretary, DPCC at their office at Delhi Secretariat and represented the following issues concerning the industry. HRANI submitted the following proposals: l Reduce the fee levied by DPCC to obtain consent to establish and operate, which has been increased by many folds and is exorbitant in comparison to the earlier fee.

p(L-R): Mr. S M Shervani, President, FHRAI; Ms. Renu Thapliyal, Secretary General, HRANI; Mr. R N Kukreja, MC Member; Mr. Garish Oberoi, President, HRANI, Sh. Sanjiv Kumar, Chairman, DPCC and Mr. Sandeep Mishra, Member Secretary, DPCC

HRANI raises Fee Issue with Pollution Committee

A

HRANI delegation led by Mr. Garish Oberoi, President, HRANI with Mr. S. M. Shervani, President, FHRAI, Mr. R N Kukreja, MC Member and Ms. Renu Thapliyal, Secretary General, HRANI met Mr. Sanjiv Kumar, Chairman, Delhi Pollution Control

l The fee for consent to operate should not be charged in retrospect (since 1991) as the hotel and restaurant industry is already reeling under pressure of high taxation. l De-link the levy of fees with the cost of capital investment on land and building, plant and machinery (without deprecation) and should be linked with number of rooms in case of hotels and with number of covers in case of restaurants, to make it justified, reasonable and feasible. The chairman and member secretary gave a positive note of consideration after the meeting.

HRANI aids students to match skills with jobs

D HRANI

elhi Institute of Hotel Management & Catering Technology (DIHM & CT) with close support from HRANI conducted the Hunar Se Rozgar Tak (HSRT) program. The certification ceremony of batch IV of the program was held on January 22, 2014 at the DIHM & CT campus in Delhi. 143 candidates successfully completed the training.

20

The event was attended by Mr. Gajender Kumar, Regional Director – North, India, Government of India, Mr. Rajindera Kumar, Director, Vivanta by Taj, Mr. Garish Oberoi, President, HRANI, Mr. Salman

February 2014 I www.fhrai.com I

Qureshi, Director - HR, The Park Hotel, Ms. Renu Thapliyal, Secretary General, HRANI and Mr. Rajiv Mittal, Director, R K Associates & Hoteliers. The dignitaries talked about the scope of job opportunities and growth prospects in hospitality sector. Sh. Rajindera Kumar, Member on Board, DIHM & CT, commended the hard work and sincere efforts of Mr. Ravi Prakash, Principal and his team. In 2013-14, the Ministry had mandated DIHM&CT to impart training to 300 students.


fhrai desk

SIHRA engages with Tier II & III city members M

r. K Syama Raju, President, South India Hotels and Restaurants Associations (SIHRA) had directed that EC meetings be conducted in Tier II and III cities, with the prime objective of engaging the local members of the industry. It would also be a platform to present their problems and concerns and build awareness of the various functions of the Federation at the national level. Accordingly, meetings were held in Vijayawada, Pondicherry, Madurai and Mangalore that were well received and well attended.

Beach and temple tourism

SIHRA

I

22

n the SIHRA EC meeting held at Mangalore, members were questioned on matters concerning the hospitality industry. The prime objective was the need to build awareness on beach or temple tourism in and around the area. Mr. B A Moiudden Bava, MLA, Mangalore and Mr. Ramnath Rai, Minister for Forests were in attendance. Other participants were local hoteliers and members of Kanara Chamber of Commerce.

February 2014 I www.fhrai.com I

Bio Urja – Reduce waste

S

IHRA organised a presentation and demonstration on ‘bio urja’ a machine designed by Green Power Systems. This is an advanced biogas system that can process all kinds of bio-waste into cooking gas. It is a well known fact that a huge amount of every city’s waste comes from bulk waste generators – the hospitality industry being a major contributor. Adopting a system that can process bio-waste into usable clean energy would be financially viable and environmentally friendly and will also address the problem of landfills in cities. Member establishments were encouraged to undertake a ‘waste audit’ as a first step to identify best solutions in this connection. The meeting was organised in the convention centre of GRT Grand, Chennai. The participants were senior management of all hotels and restaurants of the city, local NGOs and members of the academia of IIT Madras.


news updates

Expansion

3 Holiday Inn hotels to open in West Bengal

I

HG (InterContinental Hotels Group) announced their partnership with the real estate company, Jain Group to bring Holiday Inn to West Bengal. As a part of the agreement, the hotels will come up in Kolkata, Siliguri and Durgapur within the next two-three years.

IHG, one of the biggest hotel companies of the world, for our first venture into the hospitality sector, with the Holiday Inn brand. We are investing over `300 crores in developing the properties. The Holiday Inn, Kolkata is expected to be operational by the end of this year.”

On announcement of the partnership, Douglas Martell, Vice President - Operations, South West Asia, IHG said, “It is a significant milestone for us today as IHG marks its entry into the eastern part of the country. Holiday Inn as a brand focusses on needs of both the business and leisure travellers and we are confident that these hotels will address the increasing demands of today’s consumers who are familiar with global standards of hospitality. We are delighted to partner with Jain Group for this important step of our growth plans and look forward to a successful partnership.”

Rishi Jain, Executive Director, Jain Group, said, “We have commenced work for all the three properties. While the Kolkata hotel will be the first Holiday Inn in Kolkata, the Siliguri and Durgapur hotels will bring international level of hospitality services for the first time to these cities. We look forward to the opening of the hotels as each of the three hotels are situated at premium locations and we are confident of their success.”

Commenting on the occasion, Shrayans Jain, Vice Chairman, Jain Group said, “We are pleased to join hands with

New Hotel

Holiday Inn Durgapur and Holiday Inn Siliguri will be the first internationally branded hotel in the respective cities. There are currently eight Holiday Inn hotels in India in New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Goa and other key destinations.

Ginger Hotels debuts in Chandigarh

G

inger Hotels announced the launch of its first hotel in Chandigarh. Located at Industrial Area Phase I, the hotel is easily accessible from key points in the city. Ginger Chandigarh was inaugurated by Ashish Gupta, Director, Hind Inns and Hotels in the presence of P K Mohankumar, MD and CEO, Roots Corporation.

Roots Corporation has entered into an agreement for managing the property owned by Hind Inns and Hotels. The launch of this property will mark Hind Inns and Hotels’ foray in to the hospitality sector. The hotel will cater to the industrial and commercial sectors. Speaking on the occasion, Mohankumar said, “We are very happy to launch our first hotel in Punjab in the progressive city of Chandigarh that is known for its enterprise and endeavour. The city is equipped with highly capable human capital, first-rate infrastructure and access to large domestic and international markets. Designed exclusively to cater to the valuedriven traveller, we hope to bring a fresh flavour to the city’s hospitality landscape with the launch of Ginger Chandigarh.” Commenting on the alliance, Gupta said, “We are happy to partner with Roots Corporation and given the chain’s robust pan-India presence, brand value and strong operational model, we are confident that Ginger Chandigarh will be well received.” The hotel is easily accessible from the airport and railway station as well as major business hubs in the city. With the launch of its new hotel, Ginger now has 30 hotels across India, with more in the pipeline.

24

February 2014 I www.fhrai.com I


news updates

Mobile App

Revenue management software on-the-go

I

DeaS Revenue Solutions launched the latest versions of its cloud-based revenue management solutions– featuring an integrated mobile app with capabilities to view, update and deploy hotel pricing information. The mobile app IDeaS Mobile RMS extends the software to phones and tablets allowing hoteliers on-the-go access to business-critical information and the ability to make pricing decisions directly in the app. “The enhancements to our revenue management solutions will help hoteliers make smarter decisions and drive even greater bottom-line results,” said Sanjay Nagalia, Chief Operating Officer, IDeaS. “We live in a mobile world and have seen incredible customer demand to stay connected to our solutions, in and out of the office. For instance, our new IDeaS Mobile RMS allows users to view valuable KPI’s, receive alerts, and manage and deploy pricing decisions anytime, anywhere.” The IDeaS Mobile RMS is compatible with Android and Apple iOS and allows users the opportunity to view

Opening

“Now that we’ve used the new IDeaS Mobile RMS through the company’s charter program, I can’t imagine working without it,” said Blake Madril, Director of Revenue Management, Pacific Hospitality Group. “We’re constantly working on our phones: from the soccer field, at home or at the airport, and we’ve been very pleased with the capabilities of the app. The greatest benefit is the ability to stay connected to our properties even when we’re away from our desks,” he added. The IDeaS Mobile RMS is also able to access current competitive rate comparisons, review operational forecasts and override Best Available Rate (BAR) the moment a change is needed and deploy pricing to your selling systems directly from your mobile device. The app is available in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store and has been developed with sophisticated security measures to ensure data encryption and protection.

Keys Resorts’ The Pratap Palace opens in Pushkar

K

eys Resorts, an upscale resort brand of Berggruen Hotels announced the launch of its first five-star luxury palace property, The Pratap Palace, A Keys Resort, Pushkar - Ajmer. Located on Ajmer – Pushkar bypass, the property has been launched in association with Rangwanis Hotels. The Pratap Palace is Berggruen Hotel’s first palace property and marks their venture into the five-star luxury palace segment. On the occasion of the resort opening, Sanjay Sethi, MD and CEO, Berggruen Hotel said, “The launch of The Pratap Palace, A Keys Resort is a very important

26

monthly, weekly or daily snapshots of key performance metrics including occupancy, Average Daily Rate (ADR), Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR).

February 2014 I www.fhrai.com I

milestone for Berggruen Hotels. This showcases our relentless effort in making Berggruen Hotels a holistic hospitality company. This will provide travellers to Ajmer, Pushkar and Mayo School a high-quality hospitality experience. The resort is also an outstanding venue for destination weddings and high profile events.” Pratap Rangwani, MD, Rangwani Hotels added that this resort is a great addition to Ajmer. One of the core attractions of the resort is its location. It is conveniently located for visitors to the Dargah Sharif, Ajmer, The Brahma Temple and Pushkar.


cover story

TechTrends@Smart

it

Experts

Cutting-edge technology in the hospitality domain can give a competitive edge at all levels. Recent years have seen a voracious increase in demand for e-commerce and online bookings. In conversation with tech experts, FHRAI Magazine delves further into the trends and challenges of IT industry in hospitality. Kanchan Nath

28

February 2014 I www.fhrai.com I


cover story

n Gaurav Chiripal, Chief Executive Officer, Quadlabs What will be the next big thing in online travel market which can significantly change the way hotels function? Content is King: This will rule the market for next few years. It has become imperative to provide high resolution graphics, pictures and pre-booking hotel experiences to the consumer in the online world. The consumer is looking to see the hotels in details before they can process the booking online. Customer Knowledge: Most of the hotels are now focussing on providing better customer experiences by knowing their customers’ Gaurav Chiripal Chief Executive Officer, preferences. Sharing the Quadlabs customer preferences across the group hotels will also make a big difference. Another important aspect is real time connectivity to the hotel system through channel and revenue management systems. This enables the hotels to be more transparent on their availability of rooms with consistent rate parity across various channels and also provide real-time information to the consumers. Hotels should get more equipped to provide postcheck-in options to the customer once they are in the room or the hotel. Imagine if you can control the room temperature from your own mobile or can put a movie reminder in the room using your own iPad. Can you send a room service order through a mobile site of the hotel? How easy would it be to bypass the checkin formality by having your phone’s radio frequency identification (RFID) IDs validated by the hotel as you walk-in the reception. How well-prepared is your security vis-à-vis cyber crime? How secure is the personal information of all your clients with you? Most of the e-commerce sites in India are well secure from cyber crime. There are multiple ways to secure the

personal information of your clients. In addition to this, the RBI rules for online transactions are very secure and we have the most aggressive security policies in India in comparison to the world.

è Tech Trends in Hospitality

þ Channel & revenue management system providing rate parity

þ Pre-booking hotel experience - virtual tours and graphics

þ Centralised Customer Relationship Management (CRM) across the group hotels

þ Post-check-in options through smart phone apps and websites

þ External connections to internal Procurement

Management Support Systems (PMSS) - primary for distribution of inventory

**** **** **** ****

Shift to mobile platform

n Vikram Malhi, General Manager, South & Southeast Asia, Expedia What will be the next big thing in online travel market which can significantly change the way hotels function? The next big thing that is going to change not just hospitality but the whole travel Vikram Malhi industry is the shift to mobile General Manager, South & Southeast Asia, Expedia platform. Mobile applications are revolutionising the way in which customers interact with brands. The smartphone penetration is increasing in every segment and this phenomenal growth made it necessary for brands to have a presence on this medium to connect with the consumers. The ever-connected traveller relies on this platform a lot, especially for last minute bookings. Thus the hotels are also now seeing the benefit of tying up with the OTAs to raise their bookings.

Experts

Content and Customer is King

it

Hotelierl Genxyz


cover story

>> Stay on Top of Tech Trends » Anil Shukla, Director, CSAT Systems With technology adoption on a rise, the expectations from restaurant industry have also increased manifolds. New technology is going to continue to affect how you do business, so staying on top of the trends that are shaping Anil Shukla Director, CSAT Systems the industry can help you stay profitable. Anil Shukla, Director, CSAT Systems says that some of the most relevant technology trends for restaurants are Mobility, Cloud Computing and Social Media. Mobility Guest self-ordering at counter and full-service concepts will be done either online, prior to arriving or on-site via tabletop interface, consumer smartphone, tablet or a kiosk. The younger generation guests prefer to interact with the staff through technology. It’s also critical that restaurants have websites optimised for smartphone screens, especially for reservations, online ordering, feedback and contact information.

it

Experts

Cloud Computing Cloud computing is streamlining processes and reducing operating costs for chains as well as smaller restaurants. Cloud has long been a popular management device for businesses in the sales industry, but the hospitality industry seems to be on board with this latest tech development. Social Media The reach of social media is also growing substantially and now restaurants are using it more than ever to engage with both new and existing customers. Restaurants need to harness the power of social media in order to stay ahead of their competitors. It is important for restaurants to actively monitor comments on social sites and not allow negative comments to go unanswered. Mobile loyalty solutions will increasingly integrate social media, for example, customers earning loyalty points when dining at a restaurant by adding notifications on their social media pages. Taking these into consideration CSAT® has unveiled new eCABS® POS FnB applications to assist restaurant owners with these latest technology trends. This application consolidates the POS FnB Billing data from Multiple - Outlets.

30

February 2014 I www.fhrai.com I

How will you contrast the Indian online hotel market with that of other countries? The Indian traveller is evolving with time and moving onto the next level of shopping by booking through the online platform. However, there is still a large segment of consumers who opt for the online medium only for research and then get their bookings done through the agent. This makes the Indian online market different from other countries, which have a much higher record of online bookings. What hospitality trends should one watch out for in 2014? The Indian traveller has evolved into a more aware consumer who pursues his own interests and itinerary and decides his own destinations, in pursuit of an overall experience. Online travel research and booking is the enabler for this segment of travellers. Hence, online travel is becoming increasingly significant in the space, thus the OTAs have to ensure that they are able to give their consumers the easiest way possible to book trips.

è Tech trends in Hospitality

þ Rise in Mobile bookings

As per the Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) report, India is the third-fastest growing mobile app market in the world. India has more mobile phone users than PC and laptop users, so mobile applications hold a bright future in India.

þ Flight+Hotel packages

Every traveller has his own preferences and budget for his trip. With increasing reliability on OTAs, we have to ensure that we are able to serve the needs of every customer. Last minute bookers are the ones to get most out of this product, as it save not just money but time as well. **** **** **** ****

Crowd-sourced information will be the game changer n Sajid Malik, Chairman and Managing Director, Genesys International Corporation What will be the next big thing in online travel market which can significantly change the way hotels function? We believe the enormous amount of importance currently being given to word-of-mouth publicity will only increase over the coming years. Travellers will increasingly

Sajid Malik Chairman and Managing Director, Genesys International Corporation


cover story

look at what peers have to say about a destination or hotel, rather than simply go by what a hotel or locals from a particular city have to say about it. Any apps or sites that make it easier for this sort of crowd-sourced information to come to the fore will compel hotels to up their game considerably. Kindly elaborate on the growing relevance of websites for hotels today. How important is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Search Companion Marketing (SCM) for hotels? Ensuring visibility in a crowded market has always been a tricky issue for the hospitality industry. Technology makes this visibility a lot easier to manage, thanks to SEO. Any hotel with an online presence cannot ignore the benefits of SEO when it comes to ensuring that more potential customers are made aware of the property’s presence. Managing their social media presence is, however, becoming as crucial, if not more. **** **** **** ****

Increasing role of data analytics

it

Experts

n Anil Porter, Chief Technology Officer, Interglobe Technology Quotient (ITQ)

32

What will be the next big thing in GDS which can significantly change the way hotels function? GDS continues to be the most efficient channel in providing end-to-end solutions. Most travel agencies and online booking tool providers rely on the GDSs, for their reservation requirements. With the latest infrastructure in place, GDS is currently able to provide accurate information to its customers. There used to be rate variances a couple of years back, on the rates that used to be shown on the GDS, versus the rate that the customer may get directly with the hotel or from their website. With features like BAR (Best Available Rate) and LPR (Lowest Public Rate), our travel partners get the same rate that they get directly from the hotel. BAR gives an agent, access to the best nonrestricted published rates that a hotel offers, which a normal customer would see on the hotel website or when they call the hotel directly. LPR takes one step ahead to provide the lowest unrestricted rate which may have deposit of pre-payment requirements or more stringent change/cancel policy.

>> Software Solutions for Hotels » Raj Kumar Jain, Director, Bestman Infotech Bestman Infotech has an experience of 12 years in this particular industry. They are a professional team of software outsourcing that come from various backgrounds and expand the creative potential of the company. Telling us about themselves Raj Kumar Jain, Director, Bestman Infotech said, “The expertise that we possess embraces a wide range of custom programming skills involving the latest and most effective development technologies, such as .VB, ASP.NET, SQL Server, etc. which to a great extent defines the quality and reliability of the custom software applications.” Further, they provide professional services at very affordable prices. Their competence and experience ensures that they deliver excellent services and products to their customers. At every stage of the development process, from conceptual design to product release, the highest quality standards are maintained. They keep in touch with their customers 24x7. Their method of development provides access to prototype modification and update. The hotel management software features include: front office management restaurant management, guest history management, housekeeping and laundry, touch screen POS, photo tagging, room reservations management, membership management/allotment, member data management with photo, stores and materials management, financial accounting, purchase and accounts payable, banquets and conferencing management, VAT, Luxury Tax, Service Tax and all tax compliant, five client multi-user, online database, more than 200 reports, mailing of final checkout bills to guest, accounts zooming from balance sheet. without hassles on his GDS terminal. Apart from this, the customer gets to earn revenue on the bookings they make.

How can GDS help increase occupancy and ARRs in an increasingly competitive environment for hotels? It has always been our endeavour to GDS has gone beyond customer come up with products that enable our Anil Porter expectations, where they give access to the customers to meet the challenges in the Chief Technology Officer, Interglobe Technology property’s own inventory, offering alternate market. In the recent past, it has been a Quotient (ITQ) availability in case the requested property concern for our travel partners that their is not available, and various ratings applicable to revenue has shrinked due to the commission restriction the property, etc. An agent dealing with a corporate imposed by various airlines. On the other hand, there customer would be able to get his customer’s negotiated is an underutilised opportunity that gives our travel rates loaded on the GDS. This makes it all the more partners to remain profitable by selling hotel content. easier for travel partners to make hotel reservations As part of our strategy to make sure our customers

February 2014 I www.fhrai.com I


cover story

>> Dance to your tunes with iBT 97 Amson Interconnect as part of in-room technologies offers iHome Alarm Clock Radio and Dock. This Bluetooth speaker phone is a universally compatible, convenient to use system. The speaker plays and charges while the guest’s music is playing and can also take calls simultaneously. The latest trend with hotel guests these days is that they like to carry their own entertainment in the form of music, pictures, movies and presentations with them. They require a product which can plug and play their personal entertainment which is the next desirable device than the television in the room. It has become immensely difficult to meet the guest expectations in entertainment from a predetermined menu provided by the hotel. The iHome alarm clock radio dock is a complete in-room entertainment device. It helps enhance the guest experience. The iBT97 is a multi-function bedside alarm clock with twin speakers for room surround sound. Control your music or take calls with wireless speakerphone over

it

Experts

remain profitable, we have introduced a product called Travelport Rooms and More, an innovative solution which offers our customers an access to a wide variety of accommodations around the world. The access is not restricted to the GDS they currently use. It gives them the freedom to shop, book bed-&-breakfasts, boutiques, five-star deluxe hotels and budget accommodations. Above all, our travel partners get a commission for the content they sell. This product is widely accepted in the market and our customers find it a helpful as a tool to sell hotel inventory. With this easy-to-use tool, we believe that it would help increase hotel bookings in our market, and our hotel partners also would see an increase in the occupancy rates.

34

How equipped are you to cater to the Gen X, Y & Z consumers? Travelport has been investing heavily on technology to bring in the latest applications keeping in mind, the users of next generation. You could call them Gen X, Y or Z but at the end of the day, we need to meet their requirements by equipping them with the latest tools to extract data they require, from the GDS and sell the inventory to serve the passenger. With this intention, Travelport has come up with Smartpoint, which reduces the number of key strokes by 15 per cent while giving the user double the information, within a single request. It is a user-friendly interface built with the capability of translating commands which works on other GDS. Another product is Travelport Universal API (application

February 2014 I www.fhrai.com I

Bluetooth, or listen to FM radio or line-in audio. A 2.1 amp. USB port rest inserts keeps all your mobile devices charged and ready to go. iHome speakers are specially designed for hotels & service apartments and offer them feature rich in-room entertainment system. These products are simple plug and play devices. Amson Interconnect is the national distributor and authorised partner for iHome in India.

programming interface) which can access a variety of content via a single API. This helps the customer clear the clutter of multiple programming interfaces, while saving valuable time and money. How secure are your hosts and where are they hosted? Our main data centre is in Atlanta which has a proven track record of site availability, logging over ten years without loss of any core computer component due to a facility related issue. On security front, we are completely PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliant. Vital information like credit card details and customer passport details get masked to avoid any misuse. How well-prepared is your security vis-Ă -vis cyber crime? How secure is the personal information of all your clients with you? The access to the host is restricted to authorised users only and there is a stringent password policy. All users have been given a password life of 90 days after which they are prompted to change their password which cannot be any of the past 10 passwords, a combination of certain obvious passwords are not allowed, etc. Access of the user gets automatically locked after few unsuccessful tries. Over all, the system security cannot be bypassed by the user at any given time. User access and functionalities can be restricted by the authoriser at any time, giving a better control


cover story

it

Key features of the Product: Bluetooth

astounding clarity, depth and power

Alarm

Wake or sleep to Bluetooth audio, FM radio, built-in tones or buzzer Start or end your day just the way you want it to sound

Programmable snooze time Gradual Wake and Gradual Sleep Dual Alarm with weekday/weekend alarm settings Two independent alarms lets you wake up to Bluetooth audio, built-in tones, FM radio

Sound

Additional

Speakerphone features Integrated microphone, ATI SoundClear voice echo cancelling and answer end call controls Reson8 speaker chambers Specially designed sealed speaker enclosures deliver

Aux-in jack Listen to Aux audio sources (e.g., computer, CD player) Sure Alarm battery backup for alarm during power interruptions 8-level display dimmer control

Wake and Sleep

Experts

Bluetooth wireless audio Send digital audio wirelessly from the iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Android, Blackberry or other Bluetooth-enabled audio device Inserts for resting devices in portrait or landscape modes Enjoy music or videos in any position while keeping your iPhone, iPod, or other device fully charged via USB port


cover story

on various accounts.

è Tech Trends in Hospitality

þ Increase in alliances between airlines, hotels and

cars to offer a single package to the end customer. The low cost carriers have set the trend, which may be followed by other carriers as well

þ Using social media to promote properties by sharing customer experiences, for example, TripAdvisor is becoming standard and leads to decision making by a traveller

þ Reputation management through online presence

- With emergence of social media, nobody has the freedom to make mistakes. Quality in service leads to a high reputation and image for the brand on social media

þ Role of mobile and handheld devices and apps

to play a vital role in promotion of products and services in hospitality industry which could utilise location-based services to offer hotel properties to customers

þ Use of data analytics for industry players to place their property / services for the right audience

Experts

**** **** **** ****

Get on the SEO bandwagon

it

n Raman P Rama, Vice President & CTO/CIO, JHM Hotels Kindly elaborate on the growing relevance of websites for hotels today. How important is SEO and SCM for hotels? International and domestic travellers are now using technology for their research and if a hotel does not have Raman P Rama Vice President & CTO/CIO, a website, the customers will JHM Hotels not be able to find them thus they would lose a lot of potential business. SEO is very important for the website as if the link of the website does not appear on the first five results or at least on the first page, they tend to lose exposure. Hence the SEO is of utmost important for customers to visit the site and know more about the hotel and also helps them in the decision making process and book the room based on their preferences of location, type of hotel, facilities and rates. How can hoteliers ensure that their website is

36

February 2014 I www.fhrai.com I

hosted at a secure facility? One has to decide the website hosting company from their experience and by reviewing their customer list. There has to be a Service Level Agreement that would show stability of the uptime of the website and if the connection was lost, would they be able to divert the traffic to another location and still be online 99.99 per cent of the time. Companies should visit the physical places and see how secure the facility is and what measures the company has in place to secure their servers. How has technology pushed hoteliers to connect with the B2C segment instead of the B2B segment? Technology has pushed hoteliers to connect with the B2C segment with ease due to the new enhancements in mobile smart devices and availability of connectivity on their mobile devices at a very reasonable price point. One has to also develop their websites or applications that are mobile-friendly as the world is becoming flat and is always connected. This technology has helped companies to be more responsive to the needs of the customers. Customers are deciding themselves, instead of using travel agents for making arrangements for their travel and the window of making decisions is very short. They want access to information any time, any place for them to be able to plan their trips. Hence they go on TripAdvisor and other social media sites, and make a decisoin on the basis of reviews posted by their friends, relatives or other guests. How secure are hotel websites against cyber crime? A hotel owner has to make sure the site is secure from any cyber crimes. People are taking advantage of loop holes in programming errors or of sites not well secured, to steal sensitive information. The sites have to be secured with SSL certificates and any confidential information should be encrypted when it passes from the guest input to the final destination and wherever the information is stored or processed. How can IT be leveraged to provide more security in hotels? There is technology available to secure hotels. Starting from video surveillance systems to door-locking to in-room safes and all computer systems or websites have to be secured using technology available for this purpose. Any information written on paper can be compromised and hence the use of paper is vanishing to a great extent.

è Tech Trends in Hospitality

þ Demand for free high-speed internet connectivity


cover story

þ Growth in mobile technologies

Search is huge and continues to grow and I think search companies and search experts in India are shrinking. Ten years ago, everybody jumped the bandwagon. As search became more intelligent, more intuitive and more dynamic, it ensured the data scientists and the intelligent consumer insight Google guys remain, while the rest fled to other safer, more predictable professions.

þ ‘Bring your own device’ and ‘bring your own

content’ technology integration in guest rooms

**** **** **** ****

Imperative to invest in a good server n Avijit Arya, Chief Mogul, Internet Moguls

Kindly elaborate on the growing relevance of websites for hotels today. How important is SEO and SCM for hotels? High time hoteliers realise that their projected revenues and Avijit Arya Chief Mogul, Internet Moguls ‘Profit and Loss Statement’ (P & Ls) will not make the targets unless their brand website is delivering revenues. There are many case studies from industry leaders in the five,

Especially in SEO for hotels, the experts are few and far in between. So with fewer experts and a growing market of consumers the scope for those who get it right is huge. How can hoteliers ensure that their website is hosted at a secure facility? Why hoteliers spend time, money and effort into a revenue engine called their websites, then host their loyalty programmes and still choose poor, unreliable hosting providers because they are cheaper, is beyond comprehension. I’ve seen people losing jobs over this. When sites go down and all hell breaks lose and revenues are hit way more than the costs that were

Experts

four, three and independent category hotels that have paved the way and shown Indian hoteliers that websites are the best investments today.

Standards) / PII (Personally identifiable information) Security Compliance

it

þ PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security


cover story

generator and a marketing tool, rather than just a booking facilitator **** **** **** ****

Hotels need to ‘mobile optimise’ their branding n Nikhil Sama, Co-founder, SnapLion

trying to be saved. So please ‘invest’ in a good server and a reliable human resource to manage it whether you are small or big.

Experts

How has technology pushed hoteliers to connect with the B2C segment instead of the B2B segment? Technology has made the smallest hotel available and visible to clients from across the globe. The pace at which people are getting online the consumers - the B2C segment, will only increase and the hotels focussing on digital marketing will get the full share, while the business for others will come through OTAs or travel agents, with a 25 per cent cut. How secure are hotel websites against cyber crime? Not secure at all. Two of India’s most prestigious hotel websites were hacked last month. This is because technology is an expense, not an investment for many of us hoteliers and till that changes, we well have substandard firewalls and other solutions protecting our guest information.

è Tech Trends in Hospitality

þ Mobile devices will be used to check hotel deals

it

þ Revenue Management and Price Predicting Tools will rule the roost, since revenue managers are few and far between

þ Reputation Tracking Monitoring and Replying Tools

are important - if one brand does not manage their online reputation, they will see a direct impact on their bottom line

þ Website Content Management Systems (CMS) þ Intelligent and intuitive Internet Booming Engines

(IBE) which predict guest requirements when he’s on your website. The hotel’s IBE should be a revenue

38

February 2014 I www.fhrai.com I

Kindly elaborate on the growing relevance of websites for hotels today. How important is SEO and SCM for hotels? Nikhil Sama Co-founder, SnapLion Target audiences for hotels are affluent consumers and corporate executives. This segment of the audience prefers time-saving and convenience over deals and discounts. Websites and mobile apps are time-saving and are convenient for routine tasks such as service discovery, reservations, ordering and other concierge functions. This is the key driver behind the growing relevance of websites and mobile apps for hotels today. How has technology pushed hoteliers to connect with the B2C segment instead of the B2B segment? Technology- mobile apps and websites - scales very easily to additional users. This incremental scalability enables hotels to deliver the highest quality of convenient concierge service, earlier reserved for top tier B2B customers to everyone - including the first-time B2C customer. Kindly elaborate on the trends of the hotel industry, moving from e-travel to m-travel? A few years ago less than two per cent of internet traffic in India was mobile and 98 per cent emerged from desktop and laptop computers. Fast forward a few years in 2013, more than 60 per cent of all internet traffic originated on a mobile phone. Internet consumption for Indians is moving from desktops, laptops, and websites to mobile apps at the fastest pace in the world. As more and more internet traffic emerges from mobile devices, it is important for hotels to ‘mobile optimise’ their branding content and concierge functionality. How relevant and important are mobile apps for hotels and restaurants? The smartphone is the first computing device that is within reach of consumers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In today’s day and age, where everyone has a smartphone and most of the internet access is done on a mobile device, a mobile app is not a luxury - it is an imperative for any hotel or restaurant.


cover story

Kindly name five most useful mobile apps for hotels and restaurants in their order of importance The first and most important app for any hotel/ restaurant is - their own app. A custom app for your hotel or restaurant, the kind the SnapLion builds, is important because it focusses on your brand - with no other competitors, advertising or distractions. This enables customers to engage directly with your brand, and enables your brand to develop a long-term relationship with your customer in a way that would be impossible on an aggregated utility app such as TripAdvisor or a hotel chain app. Other useful apps include TripAdvisor, Hotwire, Kayak and TripIt. **** **** **** ****

Website: Key medium to market Brand n Dr Vinnie Jauhari, Director IIMT, Oxford Brooks University

it

Experts

Kindly elaborate on the growing relevance of websites for hotels today. How important is SEO and SCM for hotels? Website is becoming a key medium to communicate about Dr Vinnie Jauhari Director IIMT, Oxford the brand and also a tool to Brooks University share the offerings and engage with the guest. It creates a moment of truth and can communicate the philosophy around guest orientation giving online tours of facilities and also access to the city. It has to be attractive and also at the same time provide the functionality that the guest is looking at. Ease of navigation and also aspects which a particular guest segment is interested in should be in-built, when designing the website. The guest expectations must be kept in mind when building in features or enablers on the website. Search engine optimisation is certainly very helpful if appropriate words are deployed and tagged as it helps bringing guest traffic to the hotel website. Search companion marketing is a form of retargeting the consumers. When someone searches for a keyword term and they choose a listing, the related product’s ad is shown to them on the page they are visiting from the organic click. It holds lot of importance as it creates more visibility for the brand. How can hoteliers ensure that their website is hosted at a secure facility? There are number of ways through which hospitality firms can ensure that the website is hosted at a secure point. You can reduce the risk to your hotel by ensuring that your booking engine provider provides you with evidence of PCI DSS compliance and adheres to the standards. Secured servers should be deployed both at

40

February 2014 I www.fhrai.com I

the server that is hosting the website and the site where the website is being developed with latest firewalls and anti-virus software. Latest updates should also be implemented. Password policy should be in place. External devices should have restricted usage on the systems being used by the employees of the hotel. How has technology pushed hoteliers to connect with the B2C segment instead of the B2B segment? The availability of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices across a spectrum of brands has greatly enhanced the usage of mobile applications. It is now easier to reach the B2C segment with these new technologies and devices. The availability of broadband infrastructure has also helped greatly. Guests are looking at solutions while they are on the move and options which make their life convenient. Therefore there is growth for companies which embrace these technologies and become solution providers. The mobile applications enable reach to a large audience. There is a popular trend towards automated check-in and check-out and other applications which can be enabled through mobile device. Kindly elaborate on the trends of the hotel industry, moving from e-travel to m-travel? There is a lot of business coming in through internet. Global hotel internet transaction value sales are expected to reach US$88 billion by 2014. With increased usage of mobiles, m- travel is bound to increase. The hospitality firms will have to have applications based on mobile platforms. The firms will have to deploy applications such as Facebook and Twitter to engage with consumers. The mobile platforms also put in more power in the hands of consumers. The expression of being happy or unhappy with the service is more overtly expressed through social media. The hospitality firms can also develop innovative applications deploying mobile platforms. These solutions could be customised for a consumer segment group. Also to engage with consumers, customisation could also be easier by deploying technology tools while the guest is staying at a hotel. The TV in the room could be a device which could be connected through the smartphone and lots of functionalities could be achieved through the same.


cover story

è Tech Trends in Hospitality

þ Seamless connectivity essential to the staying experience

þ Guest-facing technology such as a device which enables them to deploy their content can enhance their experience

þ Rise in mobile apps and deployment of smart devices

þ Social media is very important as a tool to reach

large sets of consumers and generate PR. However the flip side is that negative word of mouth through social media is also a challenge to handle

þ More takers for cloud computing in the times to

come. It minimises property hardware requirements and reduces overall cost of ownership specially for smaller firms

Experts

How can IT be leveraged to provide more security in hotels? There are number of ways in which IT can be leveraged to provide more security in hotels. One must ensure that the provider you work with is PCI DSS compliant. This ensures that certified best practices are being implemented by the vendor. Also, there are other technologies that can be implemented such as biometric technologies which would eliminate security threats.

it

How secure are hotel websites against cyber crime? The hotel websites could be prone to cyber crime on account of the kind of information that they have for guests and credit cards. It is important to work with diligent partners who share the same security and privacy aspirations that is consumer oriented and protects data.


cover story

DSS, ISO 27001 are implemented. Conduct a pen-test of your ICT; check for malicious content on your site; protect website from Advanced Persistent Threat (APT); do ensure you have all the backups. The Data Centre that where a hotel is hosting their website on should be Tier 4 compliant and should have intrusion detection, prevention and monitoring systems in place with a quick incident response team. Further it is strongly recommended to check for the withdrawal clause in case you are using on cloud services. Replace the legacy system with new stateof-the-art and integrated solutions. How secure are hotel websites against cyber crime? The hospitality industry has a long way to go as far as cyber security practices go. Hence they are vulnerable to attacks as they hold very personal sensitive data of their guests.

Digitally connected world

n Suresh Menon, Managing Partner, Leonis Consultancy LLP

it

Experts

Kindly elaborate on the growing relevance of websites for hotels today. How important is SEO and SCM for hotels? Today the world is a digitally connected where real time information flows where there are no jurisdictions and information is available at fingertips via search engines.

Suresh Menon Managing Partner, Leonis Consultancy LLP

For the hospitality industry to ensure that their presence is felt, SEO & Pay Per Click (PPC) is extremely important, along with social media such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs to ensure that query traffic is channelled to their site. OTA’s make full use of this in a big way. We would suggest usage of Open Source Content Management System (CMS) like Joomla, Drupal to build the website on. Websites are very important and should have more of relevant content on what the guest generally search for. Instead of just the traditional rich images of the property and low content, hotels should include things and services about the property that really matter to your guests. How can hoteliers ensure that their website is hosted at a secure facility? Overall good practices for technology solutions include, ensuring the hotel’s website is built applying good secure coding principles; updating all software patches regularly; encrypting sensitive data and ensuring compliance standards like PCI

42

February 2014 I www.fhrai.com I

Today’s world is moving to mobile computing and bring your own device (BYOD). Guests are highly connected and multi-device dependent. They are increasingly bringing and using their own gadgets. It’s common for a guest to have a laptop, tablet & smartphone. Cameras can now use Wi-Fi to transfer photos. Solutions using tablets that could automatically open your door for your visitors post via CCTVs, who is at the door, are already implemented. Intelligent rooms that understand the guest preferences and configure services accordingly, will soon be a normal feature. Kindly elaborate on the trends of the hotel industry, moving from e-travel to m-travel. Mobile phone applications are already available that allows hotel guests to interact and communicate directly with the reception and make requests concerning wakeup calls, in-room dining, reservations, turn-down services even while out of the hotel, rent a car, early check-in and checkout, interactive maps, languages of local areas on mobile, provides convenience to guests on a device that is their own and they are familiar with. The


cover story

it

end result is that information is processed in real time, without cumbersome paperwork – in effect, that results into enhanced decision making. Hotel employees, thus spend less time in inputting and processing data and more time in ‘serving’ guests. Hotels must deliver high-speed network connectivity, online services and allow guests to optimise their own digital experience. Guests expect very good network connectivity speed and free Wi-Fi, which could be the USP of your hotel. Simple conveniences like online check-in, online ordering of room services would be the trend of the future. Ongoing awareness on cyber security to key stakeholders and employees of the hospitality industry is important.

þ Using the in-room HDTV to welcome the guest

þ Analyse digital behaviour using data mining tools

þ Targeted personalised broadcast based on customer

þ Rooms analogue phones will be replaced by mobile

þ Green Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design

that will enable better guest satisfaction

phones that could be loaded with local applications, allowing free local calls and be carried locally by the guests

þ Phone charging in rooms would be simplified i.e. wireless charged mats

preferences

(LEED) buildings

þ Tracking of inventory like towels and cutleries would be monitored using RFIDs

þ Cyber risk insurance for guests

Experts

è Tech Trends in Hospitality


cover story

Online booking engine to connect directly with customers n Mohan Nair, Chief Marketing Officer, Avenues India

it

Experts

Q1. Kindly tell us about the different products that you have on offer for the hospitality industry? The ResAvenue solution has three different elements – direct connect, electronic distribution network and value added services that offer immense opportunities to improve the client’s business by making the most of their presence on the internet.

44

India and abroad, to make it easier for its partner hotels to distribute their room inventory to a wider market. The result of these efforts is ‘ResAvenue® Channel Connect’, a pan India and international distribution network. Global Distribution System & Internet Distribution System ResAvenue provides clients with easy and seamless access to the leading Global Distribution Systems such as Sabre, Galileo, Amadeus and Worldspan through the Pegasus Switch. It also seamlessly connects clients to thousands of travel websites via Internet Distribution System (IDS) including leading travel websites like Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline and Lastminute.com.

ResAvenue’s ‘Direct Connect’ is a hotel booking engine that enables clients to In addition, we also offer value added services handle reservations made directly on like GDS Commission System, Search Engine their hotel website from various sources marketing and ResAvenue PhonePay to such as corporate sales, travel agents, Mohan Nair support and enhance your business efforts. direct sales, etc. ‘Direct Connect’ improves Chief Marketing Officer, Avenues India efficiencies, reduces administrative costs and cuts commissions costs paid to intermediaries è Tech trends in hospitality by going ‘Direct-to-Customer’. ‘Direct Connect’ is a plug ‘n’ play online hospitality management solution In 2014, the main focus for any hotelier will be finding that seamlessly integrates with the hotel’s website and new ways to encourage direct bookings. Embracing transforms it into a proactive online sales engine. It comes the latest technological advancements is the only way equipped with a state-of-the-art multi-currency payment forward. gateway that offers a large bouquet of payment options, including credit cards, debit cards, cash cards, direct debit þ Renewed focus on property websites and mobile payment-collection facility, which helps to Online transactions are popular with travellers. close sales in real-time. Keeping this in mind, the website needs to be the most important avenue for booking to ensure maximum ROI. Our innovative booking engine offers a range of online Considering this, the hotel websites need to be visually customisation tools that enable clients to duplicate appearing and user-friendly. ‘look and feel’ of their website and add branding to their booking engine for a seamless booking experience. þ Mobility The booking experience is enhanced with an availability A SmartBrief poll suggested that 45 per cent of hotel calendar that enables guests to check for room guests travel with two devices and 40 per cent with vacancies for their selected dates. We have also ensured three or more. Tablets, mobile phones, smartphones and laptops have become critical tools on both sides of the that clients can capture a large global audience. Our check-in desk. booking engine enables them to display their reservation pages in nine major international languages. Clients can even enable multi-currency processing on their website, þ Social Social networking has spread its wings to all the major allowing guests to pay in their local currency. industries and the hotel industry is no exception. TripAdvisor, Facebook or Twitter have become the main ResAvenue also offers Facebook Connect, a proprietary sources of information for people researching holidays, Facebook app that integrates our booking engine to hotels and leisure facilities. the client’s Facebook business page, enabling their customers to make instant hotel reservations in-stream. TripConnect is our latest offering that empowers hotels þ Globalisation Reaching out to international customers is the key. registered with us to compete for online bookings by Booking engines must accept the major international sharing their rates and availability directly on TripAdvisor, currencies. the world’s largest travel site. Our booking engine has recently been upgraded and it is now fully responsive to emerging technologies. The new booking engine is þ Meta Search Ensure your property is listed on major meta search sites compatible with the latest tablets and smartphones. We like TripAdvisor for better visibility and higher returns. have been actively developing a distribution network in

February 2014 I www.fhrai.com I


cover story

Tech-Savvy Hotels for the connected traveller

HOTELS

With increasing connectivity and rise in popularity of social media websites, online presence is important for hotels. FHRAI Magazine speaks to the hotel chains about how they are adapting to the technological advancements.

Digital rankings increase business

it 46

have developed a comprehensive digital marketing plan for our hotels to cater to the Gen X, Y & Z consumers. We use direct marketing techniques like targeted e-mail campaigns. Azmat feels that user-generated online We provide social media support, and ratings mean more to the hospitality our digital marketing team works to industry than it ever has before. Digital understand the social media needs of our review sites such as Zomato and TripAdvisor various hotel units and devise an effective are viewed as extremely important by way to make social media interesting. consumers. The power of what’s posted on We are launching a revised version of our the web and digital word-of-mouth can website very shortly. This version is based severely impact businesses revenue for on the responsive HTML5 technology, thus S M Azmat better or for worse. making it user-friendly on the palm. The Sr. Jt. President – Sales & Marketing, Jaypee Hotels upcoming version is also search engine optimised, to boost our organic How equipped are you to cater to the Gen X, Y & Z consumers? website traffic. We also have an online booking We at Jaypee Hotels have the right technical expertise engine, which helps the consumers to book with us easily and quickly. and a careful evaluation of our brand positioning. We n S M Azmat, Sr. Jt. President – Sales & Marketing, Jaypee Hotels

February 2014 I www.fhrai.com I


cover story

How well-prepared is your security vis-à-vis cyber crime? How secure is the personal information of the customers with you? We are well equipped to act against any cyber criminal activity. We have a good multi-factor authentication system with policies requiring strong passwords that are changed frequently; smart card/token or biometric systems; access controls; encryption technologies to protect customer data; continuous monitoring and reporting of security event; a comprehensive incident

è Tech Trends in Hospitality

þ Content marketing þ Digital rankings and referrals mean business þ Providing free Wi-Fi services to in-house guests þ Service and social integration þ The lobby as the social and technology epicentre -

communal tables, outlets, and charging stations are more encouraging than just transactional traffic in hotel lobby spaces. More and more guests are seeing lobbies as a way to get work done while enjoying the atmosphere and networking opportunities

HOTELS

How secure are your hotel websites and where are they hosted? Our current hotel websites are using SSL protocol to provide security over the internet. Passing personal information between the website and the web server or database is secure. Our web server is hosted in the USA and we have also locked down our web server directories and file permissions.

response plan; and so forth. We collect personal information for a variety of reasons including the provision of ongoing customer support and the compiling of customer databases to enable us to communicate more accurately and upgrade. We may also use personal information to identify our customers and to allow us to better personalise and tailor communications for them. To secure this information, we timely transfer the information into our offline database.

it

What are you doing to target the B2C customer? For targeting B2C customers, we are using effective digital platforms to drive customer engagement. Our strategic tools employed include: content strategy, email marketing, social media, online travel agents, GDS, blogging, etc.


cover story

Connectivity and consistency of the Internet is key n Nilesh Patel, Regional IT Manager, Accor India “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” This is the Third Law of famed science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke. In conversation with Patel, we find out more.

è Tech Trends in Hospitality

þ Mobile app solutions þ Free & stable internet connectivity (Wi-Fi) þ Guest service automation solutions Nilesh Patel Regional IT Manager, Accor India

How equipped are you to cater to the Gen X, Y & Z consumers? Connectivity and consistency of internet is a key for current guests. We are equipping our hotels with stateof-art equipments like dual frequency Wi-Fi equipments with Gig backbone which can cater to this generation. Nowadays many guests prefer to interact with the hotel staff through technology rather than picking up the phone. New concepts like mobile apps for hotel booking & information, virtual concierge, e-check in, etc. are being piloted and tested at Accor currently.

it

HOTELS

How secure are your hotel websites and where are they hosted? Our websites are PCI compliant and follow high security standards (OWASP Top 10, NIST, Intrusion test procedure) during development phase and they are hosted at a very high secured zone. Hotels are homes away from home. How well equipped are your hotel rooms to cater to those who bring in their inseparable devices and gadgets? Do your hotel rooms provide adequate and easy to reach plugs and bandwidth capabilities? Universally in today’s scenario almost 85 per cent guest carry more than two or more gadgets (laptop, tablet, smartphone) while travelling and it is a necessity that all gadgets are always hooked on to internet. All Accor hotels across India provide free basic internet connectivity to in-house guests. Option of premium bandwidth is also offered in case if they need a higher bandwidth. Hotels are well equipped with bandwidth upgradability / scalability, load balancers and state-ofart equipment which ensures that there is no or minimal downtime on connectivity. How well-prepared is your security vis-à-vis cyber crime? How secure is the personal information of the customers with you? We follow very high security standards for our website which are in compliance with universal security standards. Peer-to-peer isolation is maintained at the hotel level

48

February 2014 I www.fhrai.com I

guest network where in our guest information is safe. Standard set of policy and procedures are followed at all levels to maintain data integrity.

þ Social media presence þ Guest and public areas as tech hub, providing huge

touchscreens for information or to send e-greetings to family & friends, etc., entertainment solutions like XBOX

Golden Rules: n Keep it simple for the guest. n We shouldn’t raise the expectations of customers with a beautiful icing on the cake, if we cannot first provide them with an excellent and consistent cake. n While keeping an eye on ROI, we nevertheless need to keep dreaming and experimenting to discover what could make a difference tomorrow. **** **** **** ****

Targeted e-mails tap the B2C market

n Ajai Kumar, Chief Information Officer, Lemon Tree Hotels Lemon Tree hotels were one of the early movers in the virtual private cloud space which has enabled them to offer customer services with speed and ease. In conversation with Kumar, we find out more. Ajai Kumar How equipped are you to Chief Information Officer, cater to the Gen X, Y & Z Lemon Tree Hotels consumers? At Lemon Tree we always strive for technology sophistications in order to cater to the demands of each section of our consumers. We have been early movers in the virtual private cloud space which has enabled us to offer customer services with speed and ease. Our digital systems enable consumers to use multiple devices with high speed Wi-Fi and media panels. We have been pioneers in bringing the concept of multi-flavoured Wi-Fi and offer both wired and wireless internet services.

What are you doing to target the B2C customer? We have setup certain processes and introduced


cover story

several attractive offers to capture the attention of the B2C customer and actively use targeted e-mailers and loyalty programmes to tap them. We reward such customers through exclusive offers from time to time as well. We also actively reach out to the customer base by continuously upgrading our web technologies and social media efforts. How secure are your hotel websites and where are they hosted? Our hotel websites are designed on robust and secured technology (http + SSL) architecture which enables secured communication by encrypting all data, to and from the site, making web transactions highly safe and secured. Our websites are hosted on servers based out of USA through one of the best service providers in the industry. Hotels are homes away from home. How well equipped are your hotel rooms to cater to those who bring in their inseparable devices and gadgets? Do your hotel rooms provide adequate and easy to reach plugs and bandwidth capabilities? Our hotels are equipped with best in class technology and provide high speed internet access (HSIA) not only in the rooms but also in all public areas within the hotel premises. Our Business Centres are enabled with Wintel and Macintosh computers. Guests can also use their personal gadgets through ‘Plug n Play’ media panels installed in our premier hotels.

it

HOTELS

How well-prepared is your security vis-à-vis cyber crime? How secure is the personal information of the customers with you? We have deployed the best in class user authentication systems and gateway level security devices to prevent cybercrimes and cyber attacks. However, to respect our guest’s information privacy, we have installed systems based on PCI DSS (Payment Card Information Data Security standard) as well. How are you using technology for branding and marketing of the hotel? We have deployed multiple systems like loyalty rewards, social media campaigns, IDeaS Revenue Management System and Analytics for branding and marketing of the hotels. We have partnered with leading Channel Managers, OTAs and Global Distribution Systems for online data interchange. We also run a 24x7 Reservation centre, 365 days a year, for taking reservation requests and use it as a channel to promote our hotels.

è Tech Trends in Hospitality

þ Mobility þ Business Intelligence

50

February 2014 I www.fhrai.com I

þ Big Data computing þ eCRM (Customer Relationship Management) þ Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) **** **** **** ****

Enhancing consumer engagement

n Priti Chand, VP, PR & Corporate Communications, Zuri Group Global The main focus is to understand the consumer audience and the way the Zuri Group does this is through social media channels and by providing virtual customer services. Chand tells us more. Priti Chand How equipped are you to VP, PR & Corporate Communications, cater to the Gen X, Y & Z Zuri Group Global consumers? Communication strategies are very different for each of these generations. The common point about these generations is that each of them in some way use technology and the internet. By being transparent, being consumer oriented and by being connected across different platforms – mobile, tablet, desktops. On e-commerce deal sites, company websites and social media, we are able to showcase our brand, products and our consumer experiences.

What are you doing to target the B2C customer? We need to keep enhancing consumer engagement to collect data. The main focus is to understand our consumer audience and the way we do this is through social media channels and by actively providing top notch virtual customer services. By continuous engagement in a personalised manner we are able to learn important aspects about our consumers. Then we analyse the data collected and run specific campaigns, promotions, etc. to build on the existing relationship, thereby building on brand loyalty and building brand awareness. How secure are your hotel websites and where are they hosted? We always strive to be responsive to consumer requirements which also include the data which is captured during various interactions. We respect our guests’ privacy and are committed to keeping it that way by adhering to the principle laws applicable for data protection and privacy laws which is applicable throughout the world. Are the different IT systems, used for check-in, marketing and sales and F&B in your hotels,


cover story

integrated with one another? We currently have and work on different designed platforms – which work on the same operating software. This remains the backbone of our everyday operations. Team members in the hotel are able to access the entire consumer information at the click of a button – which helps simplify operations and also ensures that information is transparent for all departments. Hotels are homes away from home. How well equipped are your hotel rooms to cater to those who bring in their inseparable devices and gadgets? Consumers today are looking at flexibility, multi functionality, and connectivity and consumer experience with end-to-end solutions. Commoditisation with technology generates a feeling of security, which in turn increases familiarity enabling the consumer to associate with his / her surroundings just as they would at home. By being multifunctional, we are able to provide consumers, the experience they choose - it could range from the room doubling up as a meeting room, to an iPad docking station which would make the room an entertainment centre or high-speed wireless connectivity for virtual conferences. The consumers’ requirements are endless, and we have learnt to evolve with our consumer.

it

HOTELS

Do your hotel rooms provide adequate and easy to reach plugs and bandwidth capabilities? Most guests travel with two devices – could be a smartphone, laptop, ultra-book, tablet or e-reader. These guests are also highly dependent on connectivity. Demographics have made it clear that most travellers want free Wi-Fi in hotels. For a business hotel like ours, Wi-Fi would be one of the top priority factors for any of our guests booking our hotel. Hence not only are our rooms equipped with adequate and easy to reach plugs, we also ensure bandwidth capabilities are met for all our consumer electronic devices. How well-prepared is your security visà-vis cyber crime? How secure is the personal information of the customers with you? The privacy of our clients is of utmost importance and we constantly evolve ourselves to ensure we keep it that way. We are always learning and implementing updates in security solutions which ensures high levels of security and trust by our customers / guests. We have a highly qualified IT team whose main focus has always been on data security and data protection across channels.

è Tech Trends in Hospitality

þ Mobile technology for the mobile / social traveller

52

February 2014 I www.fhrai.com I

þ More productive solutions defined around the consumer

þ Social Media þ Near Field Communication (NFC) / Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

þ Cloud computing **** **** **** ****

Social media integral in choosing a hotel n Harish Chandra, General Manager - IT, Sarovar Hotels Today’s traveller uses multiple communication devices. These include smartphones, tablets, iPads, gaming devices, etc. Guests in hotels operate smart phone on local Wi-Fi instead of mobile data connectivity. Hotels need to upgrade and align their wireless network accordingly. Chandra tells us more.

Harish Chandra General Manager - IT, Sarovar Hotels

What are you doing to target the B2C customer? With hotels depending more and more on high commission channels like OTAs, it has become imperative for us as hoteliers to attract customers directly to our website. Today the B2C customer browses through at least four websites including OTAs to book a hotel room and more and more searches are fired on Google which makes it extremely important to have a highly optimised website for search engines. We have recently started a SEO campaign with our technology


cover story

partners to start building a base of highly relevant organic traffic. We have also started grabbing the top of the mind recall of the potential booker through PayPer-Click (PPC) and online display campaigns. Social Media is fast evolving as well and people are looking to share their experiences online with their friends and family which in turn stimulates future demand. Each of these channels needs to start contributing to the overall traffic of the website if we want to increase the share of business from our own websites. Are the different IT systems, used for check-in, marketing and sales and F&B in your hotels, integrated with one another? We use integrated systems. We deploy time tested systems that integrated where with all functional departments or with PBX, Wi-Fi authentication, Door lock or time attendance system. The major challenge is that IT & Telecom ‘OEM’ – Original Equipment Manufactures’ do not focus on hospitality industry. They develop technologies and solutions for industries like banking, finance, service and insurance, etc. from where they get maximum business and try to push the same products in hospitality. If specific solutions at reasonable cost are developed for the hospitality industry, it would reduce the operational cost. Hotels are homes away from home. How well equipped are your hotel rooms to cater to those who bring in their inseparable devices and gadgets? Do your hotel rooms provide adequate and easy to reach plugs and bandwidth capabilities? Most of our guests are in the age of 25-35 years. Today’s traveller carries many electronic gadgets. They would like to use them with the same ease in a hotel room as they use them in their home or office. An awareness and strategy of Wi-Fi coverage for mobile devices is needed.

How well-prepared is your security vis-à-vis cyber crime? How secure is the personal information of the customers with you? We work only with partners who demonstrate the highest level of security and global standards. Thus, our online reservation module is powered by Hotel Commerce Solutions who are the official re-sellers of Sabre Hospitality Solutions. The online reservation path is completely secure and PCI compliant thus protecting the personal information of our guests. How are you using technology for branding and marketing of the hotel? Social media plays an important role in the selection of hotel. Online reputation management tools help in the same. A good website and presence of OTA, social website has also become a must to stay ahead in ever becoming competitive market. Managing room inventory and selling at competitive market has become challenging. Guests look for hotel review on engagement tools and websites. They prefer to book guest room directly from social websites like Facebook instead of logging on to the hotel websites. We are working to leverage technology for branding and marketing of the hotel.

è Tech Trends in Hospitality

þ Secured high speed internet access þ Rise in usage of media hub to charge iPad and

connect the same with HD LED\LCD for personalised music and video

þ CIS – Customer Information System – Using the

power of guest data prior stay, so that his future stay could be tailor-made as per his likes and dislikes. This increases loyalty and guest retention with a brand

þ Good cellular coverage þ Clear and clutter free TV channels on LED\LCD high definition TV.

Guests operate smartphone on local Wi-Fi instead of mobile data connectivity. Hotels need to upgrade and

þ iPad as all room function controller

HOTELS

We provide media hub to charge iPads and connect the same with HD LED\LCD in many hotels for personalised music and video in most of our hotels. It helps guest to connect his personal entertainment devices for playing music or video with the TV.

it

align their wireless network accordingly. We justify the appropriate investment on high-speed internet access (HSIA) to our hotel owners, looking into the ever growing demand of speed Wi-Fi connectivity of today’s business and leisure traveller.


cover story

>> Providing strong and secure internet through Wi-Fi » Rukman Naik, Country Head, WiFonic

it

HOTELS

WiFonic provides a faster reliable connection with backup leased line internet facility at all its locations. Rukman Naik, Country Head, WiFonic tells us more:

54

Discussing with many hoteliers, I find that Wi-Fi is the most requested amenity a guest would look for even before booking a hotel room.” Recently, with the boom in smart phones, digital cameras and recorder, the demand for faster internet access has gone up. Not only the youngsters use the internet but people from all ages starting require it. Therefore, having a high-speed Wi-Fi connection is something essential in today’s time.

The general buzz is that today technology is of 3G/4G and data cards. All people carry smartphones with these services enabled during their vacation and journey. Many have the notion that there is absolutely no need for Wi-Fi hotspot services. Naik shares his experiences, “I travel a lot Why one should not connect to an every month to different cities and stay unsecure network? in all categories of hotels. I have my Many times sitting in a hotel room, iPhone which is 3G enabled. In spite of restaurant or coffee shop we use to having 3G services, I get a speed less check emails, do online shopping, bank than 2G in almost all locations across transactions, browsing Facebook, etc. Rukman Naik Country Head, WiFonic India. Sometimes, it is very difficult to where we need to provide our personal get voice signal inside a hotel room. In the details. In an unsecured network a hacker metro cities also the situation is not very different. who is sitting within your router range can access all If I compare the 3G service of my iPhone with the your personal details within few seconds. That’s how Wi-Fi from broadband connection at my home, it we invite cyber crime. Now, just providing a Wi-Fi is just incomparable. Wi-Fi is much faster than the connection is not a big deal. The bigger challenge is prevailing 3G services. Besides, the 3G/4G service to provide a secure and high speed internet access providers slated several limitations. In this connection to each and every user simultaneously without again I would like to brief you about my recent past compromising on the speed. In the hotel industry, experiences.” providing secure and faster network is highly desirable as many guest select hotels based on this requirement. He added, “Last month, I was in Jaipur in an official trip and was using 3G on my smartphone. I crossed the A Hospitality Internet System should be data limit and my service provider instantly stopped Secure: Guests should be protected from hackers and the 3G plan. I had to call my office to renew it. The hotel’s private network. It can be possible with our 3G/4G services always come with this data limit plan. client privacy feature. The cost is also more during the roaming. Nowadays most of the hotels provide free Wi-Fi services. So, Simple: It should be made very simple for the users. I prefer to use a Wi-Fi rather than my 3G service. You need only to press a button to get an internet Though, we are inhabitant of 3G/4G technology, India still needs to improve the quality of services, speed and coverage to all cities of the nation. Till date our mobile service providers do not have sufficient bandwidth to provide the state-of-art services required by 3G/4G network. The fact is very well understood by the hoteliers of our country. They understand the current need of their valued guests. The 3G/4G services are an option in a rare situation where no Wi-Fi services are available. Today, Wi-Fi is the most reliable source for faster and secure internet connection.

February 2014 I www.fhrai.com I


cover story

Fast: WiFonic provides a faster reliable connection with backup leased line internet facility at all its locations. We take care of the load balancing and fail over facility.

Support: We maintain all aspects of the system remotely and onsite for you and make sure all the equipments work for 24x7 and compatible with the latest technology. Plug-n-Play: Simply plug your preconfigured WiFonic Wi-Fi Gateway into your Internet connection – even behind the firewall. The hotspot will begin to work immediately. Easy to Use: We have made it so simple that one can

Transparent: Our hotspot functions entirely in the background without hindering your business. Security: All guests must be checked in or guest users must register before gaining access to your network. You can offer a free or paid internet access. Customised Welcome Page: Your Wi-Fi Gateway will have a customised welcome page/ home page for all your visitors to view. This page will identify your customers who will be using your internet connection. You can also use this page for seasonal and specials promotions. Customised Thank You Page: Your visitors will be directed to a customised Thank You page. Use this for additional messages or advertising opportunities. Ethernet Network: If you already have a hard-wired Ethernet connection in each room, then you can add WiFonic Wi-Fi Gateway. You can also provide Wi-Fi services to your conference rooms, lobby and pool area with a secured network.

HOTELS

Flexible: It is just like a plug-and-play device. You don’t even need a PC to operate it. Simply one has to press a button. All functions are contained within the system. You can also have a kiosk type of PC that operates through the system for guests who don’t have a PC or PDA with them to get their email.

easily operate without a prior knowledge.

it

access. No ordering of ‘scratch cards’ is required and also no need to change the client’s PC settings.


guest column

Green IT to reduce carbon footprint Niranjan Khatri General Manager, Welcomenviron Initiatives, ITC Hotels

This article focusses on IT and the role it can play in mitigating emissions and optimising resources by co-evolving with all stakeholders.

I

n the last two decades, ‘environment consciousness’ has been transformed to ‘environment concern’, on account of rapidly depleting resources. Hence the subject is not about moral obligation, but sustenance of the human race. While the broad challenges are well known to the global community, concerns are not transformed into action mainly because most people think resources are infinite. A lot has been written about waste management, water management, energy conservation and renewable energy for the benefit of the tourism trade. This article focusses on IT and the role it can play in mitigating emissions and optimising resource use by co-evolving with all stakeholders. The IT industry contributes two per cent of global emissions on account of the energy guzzling servers that hold global data. This is forcing large server-centric companies to operate their servers with renewable energy. Some other companies are shifting to colder regions to reduce energy consumption. Some companies even have underground server rooms, where the ambient o temperature is always at 23 C.

Ten Tips for Green IT Keeping the above picture in mind, the hotel industry should work towards enhancing its energy efficiency by taking some of the following simple steps:

u For new establishments, investing in flat screen systems will consume less energy and will reduce the capacity of the server. In the flat screen domain itself, there are some energyefficient products which new hotels could adopt.

v The temperature ino server rooms is normally maintained at 18 C. However, according to number of new server companies, server rooms can be kept at a temperature of o 22-24 C. Companies should look for newer

56

February 2014 I www.fhrai.com I

Co2 practices to reduce the energy costs of server room application.

w The Building Management System (BMS) should be integrated with IT to help reduce the energy cost of air conditioning and lighting in hotels, banquet halls and other public spaces.

x Sensor-based technologies can reduce the

lighting load in corridors during the day and the back of the house, depending on occupancy levels. It does not make business sense to use resources sub-optimally in the face of depleting resources.

y These measures should be dovetailed with

the use of daylight, wherever the building opportunity exists in old hotels. In new hotels, design needs to incorporate maximum daylight design, to reduce operation costs.

z There is a need for a connected environment which allows seamless information sharing


guest column

between devices. For example, when a guest swipes his/her card in the lift to go to his/her room, the room air conditioner should come on and vice versa.

{ Guest areas should be continuously on ‘energy consumption watch’ which ensures energy is used and consumed only when required. For example, when a guest enters a gym and noone else is there, the lights and air conditioner use should be limited to the guest zone.

| Building systems (air conditioners/lighting) consume 50-60 per cent of total energy, whereas IT consumes less.

} Human behaviour is critical to the energy

optimisation process; however, it is tough to manage. The key is to have an intelligent and smart process, to not only reduce human intervention, but also to manage human behaviour. Real-time report on energy consumption patterns displayed at the bottom of the guest room TV will make guests more conscious and reduce energy wastage.

Guest areas should be on energy consumption watch ensuring energy is used and consumed only when required ~ Resources can be aligned with presence to

reduce wastage. Lights in an empty lift should come on only when the lift button is pressed to call the lift.

Businesses possess the capacity to create gamechanging social business models, by unleashing their power of entrepreneurial vitality, innovation, genius and creativity. Different industries have innumerable opportunity to tweak and use IT to create larger societal good. The trick lies in analysing what each industry can do in the social domain by meshing IT capabilities with its core values. (Views expressed are that of the author, Niranjan Khatri, General Manager, Welcomenviron Initiatives, ITC Hotels)


wellness

Spa Mantra:

Indulgence Ă˜ wellness Many hotels are enhancing their guest experiences with value-added spas. The focus of spas is shifting from indulging the body senses, to enhancing wellness and health. In conversation with Alka Katar, Director - Spa, R The Spa, Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi, we find out more.

Q

What is unique about R The Spa? We are unique in our offering, as our three-level spa is carefully designed, with each level dedicated towards guest rejuvenation, relaxation and replenishment. Each level of the spa is self-contained yet linked to the other. The concept of checking-in directly to our private spa suites delivers a level of opulence that would delight the most discerning connoisseur of the finest things of life and is the best offering for people in transit and the corporate travellers.

Q

What new offerings do you have for the spa junkies? R The Spa integrates treatments and holistic rituals to create an overall health enhancing experience. Positive energy work and holistic healing techniques incorporated in a therapy helps in delivering health benefits ranging from system recovery to spiritual growth. Traveller Massage, Mens Package, Valentines Special, Wedding Package for Bride and Groom and Bespoke Spa Membership packages are some of our new offerings.

Q

What ingredients do you use in your Alka Katar therapies? From where do Director Spa, R The Spa, What are the signature Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi you source them? spa treatments Our purely botanical formulaavailable at your spa? tions provide basic value to Indian guests We offer a variety of spa treatments such with western ethos and international as the aqua therapy with green coffee guests with Indian ethos. Our products are wrap performed on dry floatation bed, hypoallergenic, not tested on animals and synergy signature spa therapy, sabai stone are absolutely safe for Asian and western massage, caviar and pearl age-defying skin type. We use Pevonia International, Spa Factory Bali and Ayurvedic formulamask and spa transit packages. Price tions and source them from their exclusive range for the spa therapies is `3600 distributors. to `4500.

Q


Q

How has the response of the guests been to the spa? We have received appreciation for our ability to deliver on our promise of providing relaxation by in-house guests, corporate travellers, fashion designers, models, Bollywood celebrities, socialites and editors. Our guest retention ratio for our non-resident guests is 95 per cent. Our popular therapies include aqua therapy with green coffee wrap performed on dry floatation bed, synergy signature spa therapy, caviar and pearl age-defying mask, youthful vitality mask for men and spa transit packages.

Some such activities include hiking in mountains, doing yoga in a garden, fitness programs that encompass seaswimming, aqua aerobics, jungle gyms, outdoor rock climbing, challenging mountain biking, meditation walks along beautiful beaches, yoga in outdoor spas, tree-top spas, etc.

Q

What are the new and emerging trends in wellness and spa industry across the world? Spa vacations to spa destinations, Sparty concept (spa-themed events and parties), ‘Gifting a Spa’, Weekend Spa getaways, increased spa usage by men are some of the new and emerging trends. It is also important to note that, for a spa experience, there is a shift from indulgence to enhancing health.

Spa experiences today integrate fitness, holistic activities, meditation and treatments. Rather than putting people indoors to carry out their wellness programme, many hotel spas and wellness resorts are focussing on getting guests to engage with the natural resources and uniqueness of their locations.

Q

What are the most prominent destinations for wellness travellers? The prominent destinations for a spa vacation and rejuvenation include Ananda Spa in Himachal, Spas in Kerala for a detailed body detox program, Spas in Bangkok, Bali and Maldives.

Q

How is this industry growing in the country? The industry is growing at 10 per cent right now and in the future the growth is likely to increase up to 15 per cent.


interview

Hospitality remains capital-intensive Sonica Malhotra, Director, The MBD Group, has been the driving force in leading The MBD Group into hospitality and mall development ventures. The Radisson Blu MBD Hotel, Noida is the maiden hospitality venture of the Group. In conversation with this dynamic entrepreneur, we find out more. Kanchan Nath

S

he feels hospitality is an important and challenging vertical. The MBD Group made its foray into hospitality ten years back with its flagship venture, The Radisson Blu MBD Hotel Noida and in a decade the hotel has created new benchmarks in hospitality. Commenting on the same, she said, “I think every business is tricky if you do not get into the details of it, not just hospitality. Of course hospitality is very capital intensive. I think the entire project depends on the location. For instance when we entered Noida, we entered a virgin market. There was not a single five-star hotel here. By God’s grace we have done phenomenally well. We have been able to get our returns back in a short span of time.”

60

February 2014 I www.fhrai.com I


interview

In a span of ten years, MBD Hospitality has earned lot of recognition as a strong hotel operating company in the country. Talking about the hotel’s performance she said,“In terms of my primary competitor set, I am in the number one position. For entire Delhi NCR I sit on the number 5th position on my RevPAR. My ARRs sit at `10, 000. On a Year-to-date (YTD) basis, it stands at `9,200. Hotel occupancies range from 82-85 per cent. On YTD basis, they stand at 80 per cent. So my RevPar ranges from `7800 to `8000.” Telling us about the profile of the hotel guests, she says, “Ours is a very consistent business, we have got a very loyal corporate base, which has been built up in the past decade by our own sales team. The top twenty corporate accounts are the ones who contribute about 65 per cent of our business and have been constantly using our services. About 30 per cent of the business is from new business and industry as well. These business houses are more price sensitive and explore more options. About 5 per cent of the business comes in from the leisure segment.” Talking about future plans, she says,“Well now our concentration is on Bengaluru. We have started construction of our new project MBD Zephyr in Whitefield, Bengaluru. MBD Zephyr will entail a luxury hotel and luxury service apartment. Since it is a huge project it will take three years to complete. We have already completed two projects by the name of MBD Neopolis in Ludhiana and Jalandhar, which are mixed use developments. MBD Neopolis includes a mall, multiplex and the first five-star hotel in Ludhiana – The Radisson Blu Hotel MBD Ludhiana. MBD Neopolis Jalandhar on the other hand includesa mall and a multiplex. We have already bought land in Greater Noida and we will start planning that project in a year. We are also on the lookout in Chennai and are very keen on Delhi and Mumbai as well. Telling us more from her experience in the business, she says, “This industry cannot be ventured into purely upon emotions and passion. You have to get your numbers right. It is very important to get

your analysis done, projections thrashed out, before you actually decide to start any new venture. I see a lot of these new generation entrepreneurs who have land parcels, wanting to get into a glamorous business. They do not get their financials

maiden venture The Radisson Blu MBD Hotel, Noida (Delhi NCR) is the maiden hospitality venture of the Group. The Radisson Blu MBD Hotel Noida is fully owned and managed by the MBD Group and is the first five-star deluxe hotel in Noida. For this property, the MBD group has entered into a franchise agreement with Radisson Hotels & Resorts, a group company of Carlson Hotels Worldwide. Among the many awards the hotel has won are: ‘The Best Business Hotel in Delhi & NCR’, ‘Asia Pacific’s Best Performing Franchised Hotel of the Year 2013 for the third consecutive year’, ‘Responsible Business Hotel of the year 2012’ and Certificate of Excellence by Trip advisor. The Radisson Blu MBD Hotel has also featured amongst the top 100 best Business Hotels in India by Conde’ Nast Travelers (2012).

right and then they stumble. Market research is a must and finances need to be thought through well. If you are confident that your parameters are working fine, then take a conscious decision to take it forward.” Talking about whether stand-alone hotels need a brand name, she says, “A brand always helps in getting business from other countries. At this point of time, GDS plays a very important role in hospitality business. It is at times difficult for standalone hotels to create the kind of spends required for GDS. In our case, 70 per cent of our business is from foreign guests and we need a strong GDS to ensure the same. A strong brand name definitely helps towards this. ” On successfully completing ten years of The Radisson Blu MBD, Noida in the industry, she says, “We are very pleased to see how well the maiden venture of the group has done. Radisson Blu MBD Hotel Noida, has successfully completed its ten years and has earned a lot of recognition. It has given the MBD Group a lot of recognition as a strong hotel operating company in the country. The Radisson Blu MBD Hotel Noida ranks above all Carlson Rezidor hotels in Asia Pacific for its customer satisfaction score. It has restored our faith in our ability to run a strong hospitality vertical.”


restaurant review

Scrumptious Sunday

Brunches Established in 1997, Turquoise Cottage offers a Sunday brunch menu with an eclectic mix of Asian dishes. The brunch menu is regularly changed after every two-three weeks, and something new is constantly incorporated into the menu. Ramya JS D’Rozario

S

unday brunch is a trend fast catching on. Fostering a lazy and relaxed ambience, Turquoise Cottage (TC) offers a Sunday brunch menu like no other. Located in Restaurant Block at DLF Place in Saket, Delhi, the property is ideally situated to capture its target audience with its eclectic mix of Asian dishes. Offering a pub-like atmosphere, the restaurant has a heavy wooden appeal. The dark brown walls are in sync with the wooden tables and chairs and quaint memorabilia adorns the walls. The bar with a large antique clock and the ambient light-emblazoned wall offers the perfect backdrop for the bartenders to set the house on fire. The feel of the

restaurant is very rustic and earthy, and the venue is mostly built with a wood and brick setting, which gives the feeling of home. Established in 1997, Turquoise Cottage offers 87 covers. The brunch menu is regularly changed after every twothree weeks, and something new is constantly incorporated into the menu. One of the new items added are the Po Boy sandwiches, Sushi and Sashimi Platter and the TC Sampler. The Po Boy sandwiches are like submarines with Oriental ingredients, served with sesame ginger slaw and paprika potato chips. The TC seafood sampler offers Prawn Salt and Pepper, Crispy Calamari Rings, Chilli Garlic Rings served with fries, side

t Chef Marshel Lepcha,TC Saket

62

February 2014 I www.fhrai.com I


salad and dips. The butter garlic exotic mushrooms need special mention. Even the Oriental Barbeque Pork Square Ribs are a hot favourite at the restaurant. The Tempura Ice Cream is a unique dessert that balances the sweet with the savoury. On breaking down the dish, it is essentially vanilla ice cream rolled in tempura flour, deep fried and served with luscious chocolate sauce. This one is definitely a treat! Karan Khurana and Gaurav Soral, Owners, Turquoise Cottage, Saket talk about the concept behind the Sunday brunch,“The idea behind it was to create a wholesome brunch experience for our guests with live soft music and dishes showcasing the different cuisines available pan-Asia.” The concept of a Sunday brunch has become massive in our country

as people are looking to unwind and have a wholesome family meal on Sundays. This is something rooted in our culture and Sunday brunch provides the best environment for the same, they added. “Since we are a music-oriented restaurant, we have a live stage as well for gig nights

which provides an ambience of its own.” With customers becoming more proactive in terms of feedback and decision-making, most restaurant proprietors are changing the way they promote and attract their target audience. They added, “Most of our promotions come from online marketing through Facebook, followed by radio, fliers, emailers, etc.” Online portals such as Zomato and other social media offer the perfect platform to get in touch with the targeted customers directly and have become the most important way for staying in touch with the customers. With the Indian public experimenting with their taste buds, Turquoise Cottage plans to expand in the near future, and take the brand to cities like Pune, Bengaluru and Mumbai.


Products&Services

products & services

64

Lighting up at low cost

N

TL Lemnis, the LED Lighting solutions company launches a wide range of LED lighting products under the ‘Pharox’ brand, especially for the hospitality sector. NTL Lemnis has created four special categories of products for the hospitality industry – Pharox Retrofit LED Lamps, Down Lights, LED strip, Spot Lights. The LED Lamps meet various requirements of workspaces

and recreational areas in hotels and restaurants. The latest range of aesthetically designed Pharox lamps offer quality lighting for multiple applications, thereby adding style and grace to surroundings. Other features include – energy efficient up to 90 per cent energy savings, lasts more than 25,000 hours, contains no mercury or lead.

Dustbins@3-Compartments

February 2014 I www.fhrai.com I

O

zone@homz has recently introduced a whole new range of manually operated compartment dustbins, ideally designed for use in hospital wards and ICUs/OTs. These bins come with ace quality soft-closing lids in order to keep the noise-level down on the inside of the hospitals. Slim and smart in design, these high-grade stainless steel bins consist of removable inner buckets for the ease of emptying the bin. In addition, these bins also consist of distinctly coloured pedal bars for each of the three compartments for easy cleaning and identification of the hazardous waste kept in each compartment. Also, as a safety measure, the bins have been provided with a very stable non-skid base to avoid any danger of spillage of waste due to skidding of bins during discarding any harmful material. Highly space-efficient, these bins are aimed at better space utilisation inside the constrained areas of the hospital wards or the ICU/OT.


products & services

Diet gourmet food deliveries

T

LC will be offering calorie controlled and portion controlled gourmet food deliveries across the country. TLC offers four basic meal plans, each of which has a customised and caloriecontrolled menu which is designed for healthy living, weight management, aiding in meals for Type 2 Diabetics, and helping with nutritious meals for cardiac health. The meals are portion-controlled, fresh frozen and ready to eat. Each of the meals has been specially prepared according to the customised meal plan, in the state-of-the-art TLC Kitchen in Delhi. The meals are best described as fine dining and offer a fabulous way to stay healthy and fit, all the while dispensing with the need to cook special meals at home. They are ideal for working couples, singletons and anyone who does not have the time or resources to cook healthy food at home.

Italian counters to spruce up the kitchen

F

CML has recently added Enofrigo products to its front of house - food and beverages segment. FCML is the exclusive distributor of Enofrigo in India. Enofrigo is an Italian market leader in the field of refrigerating, hot and neutral units for food-service dining rooms (buffet, display food cabinets, wine cabinets). Product range by Enofrigo includes both hot, cold and neutral buffet counters, drop in counters, self-service counters, multi-range wine chillers, range of wine libraries, display counters, snack counters, patisserie counters and custom-made projects to suit the client’s refrigeration needs.


appointments

new faces

appointments Gajendra Singh

Kunal Chauhan

Faiz Alam Ansari

General Manager Hive Alwar

General Manager The Leela Palace Bangalore

General Manager Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park

Hive Alwar has appointed Gajendra Singh as the new General Manager. Singh holds a Masters degree in Tourism Management and has recently joined the team at Hive Alwar. He has over 12 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Prior to this role, he has worked with brands like Jaypee Palace Hotel & Convention Center, Holiday Inn, Agra, Park Plaza, Delhi to name a few and has delivered an exemplary performance at all times. Singh will play an active role in the overall management of the property and will pay particular attention to maintaining and developing the high quality service.

i

The Leela Palace Bangalore has appointed Kunal Chauhan as the General Manager. Chauhan brings with him a broad array of experience in various senior positions with The Oberoi Group and The Leela Group. Prior to this, he was the Resident Manager at The Leela Palace New Delhi. Chauhan comes with a strong F&B background having set up operations as the Executive Assistant Manager – Food & Beverage at The Leela Palace Ambiance Gurgaon. Chauhan has also served as the Resident Manager at the group’s flagship property, The Leela Palace New Delhi.

i

The Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park has announced the appointment of Faiz Alam Ansari as General Manager of the hotel. He has been associated with Starwood Hotels & Resorts since October 2006 and has over 20 years of experience with leading hospitality brands. Prior to moving to Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Park, he was the Hotel Manager of the Westin Gurgaon, New Delhi. He has established his position in the industry as an innovative manager in the hospitality space. His earlier projects have included stints at the Raffles Hotel, Singapore, managing 18 restaurants & Bars as Assistant F&B Manager, Director of Food & Beverage and Executive Assistant Manager at the Le Meridien, Kuala Lumpur.

i

Biswajit Chakraborty General Manager Sofitel Mumbai BKC Biswajit Chakraborty has been appointed the General Manager of Sofitel Mumbai BKC. Responsible for overseeing all the activities of the hotel, Chakraborty joins Sofitel with over 25 years of hospitality experience. Prior to this, he has worked with the Yak and Yeti in Nepal, The Leela Kempinski Kovalam and Mumbai as well as the grand Mövenpick Hotel & Spa Bangalore. He held key positions in Sales and Marketing as Director – Sales & Marketing in Oberoi Hotels Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai, and has also worked with the Taj Group. He will guide Sofitel Luxury Hotels into its next phase in India, with the development of new properties over the next five year period.

i

66

February 2014 I www.fhrai.com I


events

Gifting ‘chocolate’ roses for Valentine’s Day

C

Rose Bunch’ is specially hand decorated with a personal touch.

Valentine’s Day is known around the world as an opportunity to celebrate love by gifting a red rose which symbolises energy, passion and deep love. The limited edition ‘Chocolate

Choko la has introduced a chocolate fondue, which comes with an array of accompaniments such as marshmallows, fresh fruits and chocolate products. The fondue comes with a pool of Choko la signature dark coverture chocolate and has fresh fruits along with chocolates.

Taj Group represents India at WEF 2014

T

hocolate boutique Choko la has launched ‘Chocolate Rose Bunch’ bouquets and chocolate fondues on the occasion of Valentine’s Day.

aj Group of Hotels set up an indoor café at the promenade of the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2014, held in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland recently. The

aim of the indoor café was to offer the best of Indian gourmet flavours to the delegates. Speaking on the occasion, Chef Hemant Oberoi, Corporate Chef – Luxury Division, The Taj Group of Hotels, said, “The Taj Group of Hotels is the custodian of Indian gastronomical traditions across the globe. As one of the world leaders in hospitality segment, when it comes to cuisines, our kitchens and its fare has united the world at different pedestals.” “As a partner at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2014, the Taj continues its stride as the global visage of Indian hospitality. It is an honour to be the emissary of authentic Indian savour at the World Economic Forum,” said Parveen Chander Kumar, Deputy General Manager, The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai.

68

February 2014 I www.fhrai.com I


events

Coffee, tea in focus at Food&HotelAsia 2014

T

he 2014 edition of Food&HotelAsia (FHA) and Wine&SpiritsAsia (WSA), organised by Singapore Exhibition Services (SES), will be held from April 8-11, 2014.

Dine in the moonlight @SKKY Restro, Mumbai

T

he Ramada Powai, Mumbai, launched the open air SKKY, Restro Lounge & Bar recently. The 4000 sq. ft. rooftop restaurant opens only for dinner. It has water bodies across the dining area and on the edges of the stone walls are frangipani trees, segregating the tables.

At SKKY, celebrity Chefs Rohan Koppikar and Suryakant Sonawane (who was also a part of Kitchen Ke Khiladi) will be serving Pan-Asian cuisine from an open kitchen and adding a personal touch to each of the 200 dishes listed on the menu. The menu offers an assortment of Thai, Indonesian, Burmese, Singapore and Malaysian cuisine. Signature Japanese dishes at Teppanyaki (a live counter) are created to provide an experiential of authentically made Japanese dishes. Popular food such as woodfired pizzas and tandoori kebabs are also part of the extensive menu.

New kitchenware showroom in NCR

A

WK Steelwares has recently opened its showroom in Tronica City, Ghaziabad, Delhi-NCR. The showroom showcases more than 1,000 products like cutlery, bar tools, trolleys, table tops, chafing dish and bathroom accessories. Having its own design, production and marketing setup, AWK Steelwares has been engaged in the manufacturing and export activities of a wide range of stainless steel cutlery, kitchenware, bar accessories and tableware in India since 1977.

In sales and marketing segment, it owns two brands called AWKENOX and SOLO. The business model of the organisation is OEM and the vertical addresses all segments from product conceptualisation to sales delivery under one roof. The company exports its products to Europe, USA, Middle East and all major Indian hospitality chains including Taj, Maidens Hotel, Golden Tulip, Lords Hotels, Park Plaza, Radisson, Pride, Moca, Sagar Ratna, Grand Bhagwati and Seven Seas.

The 19th edition of FHA will see the launch of SpecialityCoffee&Tea, bringing the total number of speciality shows to six.

Lindy Wee, Director of Public Relations, SES said, “Rising affluence and changing lifestyles in the region has created greater demand for gourmet coffee and tea. The launch of SpecialityCoffee&Tea throws a spotlight on the industry and highlights its development, and caters to the region’s booming café culture. In addition to the exhibits at SpecialityCoffee&Tea, visitors from India can also source from the offerings at HospitalityStyleAsia and Bakery&Pastry for all their coffee and tea needs.” This edition of FHA and WSA is likely to see an 80 per cent increase in participation compared to 2012 from Indian companies like Allanasons, Confederation of Indian Industry, Mitora Machinex, Pentair Water India, Elite Global Products and many more.


report

Making your hotel Everyone deserves a vacation to relax, and kids are no exception. Holiday Inn Resorts partnered with Hill+Knowlton Strategies, to conduct the Kid Classified survey in which 1,500 parents and children across USA participated.

kid-friendly A

ccording to the Kid Classified survey, 97 per cent of kids felt that they deserved a vacation as they need a break from homework, chores and staying on their best behaviour. But the survey revealed that even more kids believed that their parents deserved one too, observing that their parents ‘worked too hard and could get moody and stressed out.’ The survey also revealed that family travel trends are increasingly skewed towards their kids’ choices, with almost nine in 10 parents saying their kids’ preferences were influential when choosing a vacation destination. Top preferred destinations include theme parks, beaches and large cities.

Kids’ top three most important reasons for going on family vacation:

u Have fun 40% % v Break from the routine 28 % w Spend time together 21

Why? “I study hard at school and need to relax.” “I have done all my chores.” “I need a break from the same old routine all the time.”

70

February 2014 I www.fhrai.com I

Having children-friendly features were also big considerations for parents: 85 per cent consider a swimming pool as a hotel must-have. The other hotel features which were top of parents’ consideration when they travelled included kids’ suites (64 per cent), kids-eat-free programmes (62 per cent) and on-site children’ activities (61 per cent) to fully engage their little ones and give parents some alone time. Lee Lin Teo, Director - Brand Management, Holiday Inn Brand Family said, “We know that everyone in the family deserves a break once in a while, whatever age you are. While most parents expect Wi-Fi, parking and breakfast to be included with their hotel stays, fewer expect fun games for kids or special activity programmes provided free of charge.”

Kids have more say over family vacations than one may think:

90%

Nearly of parents say that their kids’ preferences are influential when choosing a vacation destination

97% of kids say they deserve a vacation

98% believe their parents deserve one too

More than half of the parents surveyed indicated that saving money while on vacation is the biggest challenge. Other key findings from the report include: n Family travel trends gravitate towards kid-friendly locations: Top destinations include themed parks, beaches and large cities, with 29 per cent of families surveyed choosing themed park as a key destination, followed closely by beaches and large cities at 23 per cent each. n Parents also value their vacation time, with 64 per cent of those surveyed saying they would unplug from work completely. n Majority of kids (40 per cent) wanted to have fun on a vacation followed by taking a break (28 per cent), and lastly, spending time with the family (21 per cent). Source: Holiday Inn Resorts & Hill+Knowlton Strategies


RNI No. DELENG/2000/1230 Posting Date 15-21 (Every Month) Postal Reg. No. DL-(C)-01/1294/2012-2014 at MBC-1 Date of Publication 12-2-2014


fhrai magazine February 14