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CONTENTS/EDITORIAL Volume 1 Issue 7 AUGUST 2012

EDITOR’S NOTE Foreign leisure tourism is not contributing as much as domestic travel and tourism is contributing to the business of hotels, and adding up to the revenue, even as the supply of rooms adds up inventory. Our Forum of the Month explores this in some detail. Our Trends section focuses on how hotels are making a statement with swimming pools. Learn to make your pool extraordinaire with our industry inputs. In our Design column, we introduce you to Bobby Mukherji, an Indian designer whose hotel designs bring the international touch to hospitality. In marketing, we discuss online marketing strategies for hotels. Hotels need to look beyond websites, and explore social networking sites like the Facebook, to connect with their audience, and build their brand. In recent events, we bring you the complete coverage of Hyatt Regency, Chennai turning a year old with the Bee Festival. In our interviews section, Kapil Chopra, executive vice president, The Oberoi Group reveals that rebranding is underway for Trident Hotels. Jyotsna Suri, Chairperson of the Lalit Group talks about the upcoming Lalit hotel in London and the brand’s further expansion plans. We bring you many more industry interviews in this issue. Fairmont opens its first property in India at Jaipur and Hilton DoubleTree opens its first luxurious hotel in Goa. Read on about all this in our New Developments section. Besides these, we also get you other industry news and updates. Do write to us with your feedback.

New Developments 4 The first Royal Tulip in South Asia opens in Navi Mumbai 6 Fairmont opens its first property in India at Jaipur 8 Hilton DoubleTree opens in Goa

Recent Events 10 Hyatt Regency Chennai celebrates a year with a Bee Festival

One-on-one 14 The Lalit Group to expand to London and beyond 16 Rebranding is underway for Trident Hotels

Forum of the month 18 How is foreign leisure travel impacting the business of hotels

Heritage Hotels 20 ITC WelcomHeritage to focus on standardisation

Report 22 Indian hospitality industry’s top trends revealed

Brand Analysis 24 Tivoli Group is expanding with more clubs in Delhi/NCR

READERS WRITE IN I found the ‘Development’ article on the branded hospitality experience in pilgrim towns really informative. Since we all plan a pilgrim visit, at some point in our life, its good to know about the pilgrim towns and some of the hotels in these towns, one can visit during one’s stay. Ritu Singh, New Delhi ‘Destination Analysis’ – Bengaluru hotel market has been dissected and its finer details denuded in this well-researched article by Jones Lang LaSalle, the globally reputed Hotels research agency. This informative piece has touched all the aspects like hotel supply distribution, lodging market performance and new rooms which are expected to enter the pipeline in the future. Sridhar Ramaswamy, Bengaluru

Design 28 Indian designer Bobby Mukherji brings an international touch to hospitality

Trends 34 Hotels make a statement with trendy and innovative swimming pools

HR Trends 40 Bringing back that energetic work environment to your hotel

In Focus 44 The MICE business: South Mumbai stakes its claim

Destination 48 A guide to Puducherry’s boutique hotels

Eco Practices Editor: Navin S Berry Assistant Editor: Manisha Almadi Midha Business Development: Sudhir Sood Advertising: Saurabh Shukla Design: Ashok Saxena, Neelam Aswani Hotelscapes is published and printed monthly by Navin Berry on behalf of Cross Section Media Pvt. Ltd. and printed at Anupam Art Printers B-52, Naraina, Phase II, New Delhi and published from IIIrd Floor, Rajendra Bhawan, 210, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg, New Delhi - 110002. Tel: 91-11-43784444; Fax: 91-11-41001627, 41001628. E-mail: info@crosssectionmedia.com This issue of Hotelscapes contains 64 pages plus 4 pages cover

52 ITC Hotels show the way in green banqueting

Marketing 61 Online social media strategies for hotels

Guest Columns 26 Lessons in food stylisation for the hospitality industry 47 Franchising a hotel in difficult times August 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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NEW DEVELOPMENTS

L-R: Vimal J Singh, managing director - South Asia, Louvre Hotels Group and Suresh Wadhwa, chairman, Concrete Builders at the launch of Royal Tulip Navi Mumbai

The first Royal Tulip in South Asia opens in Navi Mumbai Louvre Hotels Group, affiliate of Groupe du Louvre, announced the opening of its first Royal Tulip in South Asia, Royal Tulip Navi Mumbai, in partnership with city-based Concrete Builders.

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atering specially to the corporate and business travellers, Royal Tulip Navi Mumbai is centrally located in Kharghar, Navi Mumbai. It is about 40 km from Mumbai international airport and 2 km from the upcoming international airport. Navi Mumbai's first five star luxury hotel is built to capture the essence of the city's culture. Royal Tulip Navi Mumbai stands tall on its architectural features and demonstrates a fine blend of European and Indian sensibilities. The distinctive two giant towers that dominate the façade are perhaps the most prominent feature of this luxury hotel. Vimal J Singh, MD - South Asia, Louvre Hotels Group said, “We are very bullish on the Indian market and are aggressively looking at developing Louvre branded hotels in India.” Suresh Wadhwa, chairman, Concrete Builders added, “As Navi Mumbai lacks high end 4

HOTELSCAPES August 2012

luxury hotels, we decided to tap this opportunity and give the city a luxury hotel which shall turn into a landmark product in the hospitality landscape of Navi Mumbai.”

Design and guestrooms The hotel encompasses 97 rooms, each exuding an ambience steeped in rich classical décor and, includes plush international amenities such as Bvlgari accessories, Frette bed and linen, and much more. The hotel also features six theme suites that recreate the splendour of royal dynasties in their stately rooms. These include The Mughal, The Rajput, The Maratha, The Pallava, The Maurya and The Nizam.

designed keeping in mind the needs of a discerning business traveller.

Dining The hotel has a specialty Awadhi cuisine restaurant Mukammal, a coffee shop Kahwa that serves world cuisine, the Connoisseur Lounge for the aficionados of fine spirits and The Plunge – the poolside area.

Limousine service Royal Tulip Navi Mumbai offers a complimentary limousine service. The luxury fleet comprises latest BMW five-series cars that match up to the individual guest's lifestyle.

Pet services Meeting facilities and banquets Five aesthetically designed meeting rooms along with a plush executive board room, feature in-house video conferencing and are

Additionally, the hotel introduces pet services which include pet welcome kits, pet menus, pet walking service as well as pet sitting services. ■


August 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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NEW DEVELOPMENTS

Fairmont op first propert Jaipur is the

Experience the luxury of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts in the pink city of Jaipur. 6

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pens its ty in India: e first halt

NEW DEVELOPMENTS

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airmont Hotels & Resorts, a leader in the global hospitality industry, an nounced the opening of Fairmont Jaipur. Fairmont Jaipur is an ode to the pink city through superlative luxury highlighted in elegantly appointed rooms, exclusive dining options, established traditions of bespoke service, customised features and leisure experiences. “I am pleased to announce the opening of Fairmont Jaipur, the brand's first hotel in India. Created from the ground up, the overarching design influence of the property pays tribute to the great Mughal dynasty, and is a sensitive re-imagining of the traditional Mughal palace. This 255-room hotel, also features the signature Fairmont Gold Room, a variety of restaurants and bars, while the villas and 5,500 square meters (60,000 square feet) of meeting space for weddings and functions and a 1,300 square meters (14,000 square feet) Willow Stream Spa will debut later," said Jennifer Fox, president, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. “Marking the brand’s first foray into India, guests can enjoy the same benchmark service as they have come to expect from our other international selections such as The Savoy, London and Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai. With an auspicious beginning at Fairmont Jaipur, we look forward to successful growth in the region and offer a memorable stay to our valued guests,” said Atul Lall, general manager, Fairmont Jaipur. Fairmont Jaipur, reflecting the great Mughal dynasty, is a meticulous re-imagining of a traditional Mughal fort. Nestled amongst the majestic Aravalli hills, rooms at Fairmont Jaipur are elegantly done up in perfect blend of the traditional Rajasthani décor and modern luxury. The hotel also boasts of eclectic dining options. The Fairmont Gold Floor, the brand’s exclusive ‘hotel within a hotel’ which features access to the Fairmont Gold Lounge with personalised service will be introduced to guests for an exclusive lifestyle experience. Guests can embark on a journey of sensory delights as Fairmont Jaipur has an eclectic array of fine dining options offering authentic cuisines from around the world. Zoya, the all-day dining restaurant, boasts of a world cuisine menu with a dedicated section of Rajasthani fare highlighting heritage dishes from the royal households. Serving an unrivalled selection of authentic, high quality teas, Fairmont Jaipur's lobby lounge Anjum

ATUL LALL GENERAL MANAGER, FAIRMONT JAIPUR

Marking the brand’s first foray into India, guests can enjoy the same benchmark service as they have come to expect from our other international selections. With an auspicious beginning at Fairmont Jaipur, we look forward to successful growth in the region. offers a local twist to the long standing Fairmont tradition of afternoon teas. At the regency style library bar, Aza, guests can sample an impressive selection of wines and malt whisky with old world oak display cabinets and bespoke cocktails. With a mix of high and lounge seating, Fairmont Jaipur's Cigar Diwan, is a classic smoking room, perfect after dinner space. Fairmont Jaipur offers a multitude of experiences accompanied with host of excursions and unique services for guests. Ranging from hot air ballooning, mountaineering at the Aravalli hills, elephant rides, picnics and a stroll through the nearby village, guests can indulge in a number of outdoor activities. Traditional Rajasthani entertainments accompanied with a story teller, guests can relive the Mughal era every moment. A magnificent lighting ceremony in the evenings or a guided tour to the city’s most popular attractions, the hotel has a vast list of itineraries planned. Guests can also explore the ancient art of falconry with hands-on lessons led by a true falconer present at the hotel. ■ August 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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NEW DEVELOPMENTS

Hilton DoubleTree opens its first leisure property, in Goa Hilton Worldwide has opened the newly-renovated, upscale, full-service DoubleTree by Hilton Goa-Arpora-Baga, the third DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in India.

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nsconced in a quiet setting, the 104room hotel is located centrally just a few kilometres from the picturesque Baga and Anjuna beaches and in the heart of the popular shopping, dining and entertainment districts. The Saturday Nite Bazaar and Splash Water Park are both within walking distance from the hotel, and the Anjuna Flea market is also close, making the hotel a comfortable and convenient base from which to explore the breathtaking coastline of North Goa. Formerly known as Riviera De Goa, DoubleTree by Hilton Goa-Arpora-Baga will mark its new affiliation with a range of refurbishments that include refreshed guestrooms and public spaces, extensive landscaping, a new 8

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business centre, up-to-date technology and an enhanced dining experience that will encompass the new restaurant Flame, which will offer an extensive menu of Goan, Indian, Chinese and Italian delicacies. With this transformation, guests at the hotel will be able to experience the same warmth and hospitality characteristic of more than 300 DoubleTree by Hilton hotels and resorts in 24 countries around the world. This hospitality begins with the warm welcome of the brand's signature chocolate chip cookie presented to every guest at check-in and the rewards of Hilton HHonors guest loyalty programme. Martin Rinck, president, Asia Pacific, Hilton Worldwide said, “The launch of

DoubleTree by Hilton Goa-Arpora-Baga will be another significant step in our growth strategy in India as it will represent our entry into a leisure destination in the country. With the opening of this hotel, Hilton Worldwide will operate 10 hotels in India. Following on from a great year of growth in 2011, when we opened six hotels, we are expanding rapidly in India and anticipate increasing our presence to 14 hotels by the end of this year.” Rob Palleschi, global head, DoubleTree by Hilton, said, “DoubleTree by Hilton GoaArpora-Baga will reiterate our commitment to welcoming international travellers in key destinations. With the launch of this, our third hotel in India, we will be well on our way to achieving our target of increasing our net-


NEW DEVELOPMENTS

AGNELO M BRAGANCA CHAIRMAN AND MANAGING DIRECTOR, RIVIERA DE GOA RESORTS

We are delighted to be associated with the DoubleTree by Hilton brand in India. The hotel enjoys a loyal clientele, and with this conversion we are confident that it will become the first choice of travellers to North Goa.

MARTIN RINCK PRESIDENT, ASIA PACIFIC, HILTON WORLDWIDE

The launch of DoubleTree by Hilton Goa-Arpora-Baga will be another significant step in our growth strategy in India as it will represent our entry into a leisure destination in the country.

work to 25 hotels in the country by 2016. We have two hotels in Delhi NCR, at Gurgaon and Mayur Vihar, and we will open an allsuite, extended-stay hotel in Bangalore in the last quarter of the year.” Owned by Riviera De Goa Resorts and Hotels Private Limited and managed by Hilton Worldwide, DoubleTree by Hilton Goa-Arpora-Baga will feature spacious and comfortable guestrooms, most with a private balcony or patio and an expansive lagoon or pool view. All guestrooms will be equipped with wired and wireless internet access, HD LCD satellite television, electronic safe, refrigerated private bar, in-room tea and coffee making facilities, radio alarm clock with MP3 player connection, iron and ironing board and a refreshing collection of Crabtree & Evelyn citron bath and body products. Additional amenities will include 24-hour inroom dining, laundry and concierge services. In addition to Flame, dining options at the hotel will include Caffeine, an all-day café that will serve a range of patisserie items, light snacks and freshly brewed tea and coffee. CoBa is the poolside bar and restaurant which will present a selection of light snacks and beverages. Appreciating the needs of today's travellers, the hotel will feature 3000 square feet of

flexible conference and banqueting facilities that accommodate up to 200 people and is ideal for business meetings, conferences, trainings, seminars, social gatherings and private receptions. For guests who wish to keep up with their workout schedule, DoubleTree by Hilton Goa-Arpora-Baga will offer a fitness centre and an outdoor swimming pool. Agnelo M Braganca, chairman and managing director, Riviera De Goa Resorts and Hotels Private Limited, a subsidiary of Riviera Constructions Pvt. Ltd, said, “We are delighted to be associated with the DoubleTree by Hilton brand in India. The hotel enjoys a loyal clientele, and with this conversion we are confident that it will become the first choice of travellers to North Goa.” Hilton Worldwide currently operates the following hotels in India: DoubleTree by Hilton New Delhi-Noida-Mayur Vihar; DoubleTree by Hilton Gurgaon-New Delhi NCR; Hilton New Delhi/Janakpuri; Hilton Mumbai International Airport; Hilton Chennai; Hilton New Delhi-Noida-Mayur Vihar; Hilton Garden Inn New Delhi/Saket; Eros Hotel-Managed by Hilton New Delhi/ Nehru Place and Hampton by Hilton Vadodara-Alkapuri. DoubleTree by Hilton Goa-Arpora-Baga is located at Ximer Arpora Bardez, Goa. ■ August 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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RECENT EVENTS

Hyatt Chennai celebrates one year with a Bee Festival Earlier this month Hyatt Regency, Chennai unveiled 55 exclusive art installations conceptualised on the theme of 'Interdependence like a bee to a flower'. Hotelscapes visited Hyatt Regency, Chennai to cover the event.

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n August 8th, 2012, Hyatt Regen cy, Chennai turned about a year old. And for a hotel that young, to put forth its concerns for the ecology on a mega scale came rather unexpected. Pollinator 1: The Bee Festival held from August 2nd to 4th was a first-of-a-kind event orgainsed by Arun Saraf, owner of Hyatt Regency, Chennai, and his art connois10

HOTELSCAPES August 2012

seur and collector wife Namita Saraf, along with South Asia’s noted artist and designer Rajeev Sethi. “This festival is intended as an ode to the bee. For a hotel to commission more than 50 art pieces centered on bees is remarkable and we will install more art in the future. The resilience of these bees in building such large hives in the middle of concrete jungle

inspired us to use them as a theme for Hyatt Regency, Chennai,” said Sethi. The event saw as many as 70 members from the media. And on day one, nearly 600 attendees thronged the ballroom; on day two and three the crowd rotated from 300 to 500.

The dignitaries The event saw notable dignitaries like AR


RECENT EVENTS Arun and Namita Saraf alongwith Rajeev Sethi inaugurating the Pollinator 1: The Bee Festival at Hyatt Regency, Chennai

ARUN SARAF OWNER OF HYATT REGENCY, CHENNAI

Bees play a vital part in our eco system. This (Bee Festival) is our creative contribution to the society as a whole, and as we know, nothing of this scale and thematic relevance, has been achieved in the hospitality sector so far.

Rahman; Congress Spokesperson Renuka Choudhary; Anil Srinivasan, classical pianist; MS Swaminathan of MSSRF, Chennai; Gopalkrishna Gandhi, former Governor, West Bengal; TM Krishna, writer, lyricist and Carnatic music vocalist; filmmaker Shyam Benegal, dancer Sonal Mansingh and a host of other dancers, scientists and mathematicians. They worked up their charm and educated the attendees about the growing extinction of bees, and how their absence could mean death for all living beings. The sprawling Hyatt Regency put together all its energy into explaining the tiny bee's crucial role in the working of agriculture and food supply; its behaviour – the interdependence, the co-existence and harmony.

The vision The three-day event brought together a cultural milieu of arts, dance, math, science, ecology, architecture and painted a picture of the reality that is beginning to threaten human kind – the reality of our fragile eco system that is rapidly facing depletion of green energy and beautiful organisms that we are all dependant on.

Sethi envisioned an event that could perhaps spread the word about saving the bee. The medium he chose: art in unimaginable avatars sprawled across Hyatt Regency's very many corridors, pathways and restaurants. This art-sensitive property even boasted of a sculpture garden by the pool. The garden reflects multiple interpretations, thoughts all buzzing and mirroring the many facets of bees, their methodical working, their gratitude, their way of giving back to the society, their beauty, their unity – and how the human race can learn so much from them. Sethi's massive art installation of a 'thousand pillared Mandapam' sits right at the entrance, and over the three days garnered a lot of response. The installation hints at a warm welcome and suggests coming home or the joy of becoming whole. Saraf added, “Bees play a vital part in our eco system and their survival is very important for our environment. Understanding the deep relevance of the issue in today’s world, we are engaged with Sethi to bring together various artists and their perspectives on the concept. The work of each artist has contributed in enhancing the overall creativity, eccentricity of the art installations, emphasisAugust 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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RECENT EVENTS

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Art at Hyatt (1) S Nandagopal (Copper, brass, steel sheets – cut, forged, shaped and welded) This welded sculpture made of copper and brass is mounted on a tree of hives created with cast aluminum, pigmented with paint by the artist P Suresh Kumar. It is twenty two feet in height and fourteen feet in width at its widest, making it arguably the largest contemporary sculpture in the country using the unusual combination of media.

(2) Artist Andrew Logan (Steel, glass, resin and wood over four floors)

RAJEEV SETHI ARTIST AND DESIGNER

This festival is intended as an ode to the bee. For a hotel to commission more than 50 art pieces centered on bees is remarkable and we will install more art in the future. The resilience of these bees in building such large hives in the middle of concrete jungle inspired us to use them as a theme for Hyatt Regency, Chennai. ing the need of honeybees in our eco system. This is our creative contribution to the society as a whole, and as we know, nothing of this scale and thematic relevance, has been achieved in the hospitality sector so far.” Some of the key artists whose artwork is installed at Hyatt Regency, Chennai are Vibha Galhotra, Andrew Logan, Jean-Francois Lesage, Shamala Nandesh, Sunil Kumar Sree, Saravanan Parasuraman, Anjum Singh, Rani Rekha, Adil Writer, Antra Sinha, Sharbani Das Gupta, Ganesh Selvaraj and Shambhavi Singh. Sethi along with the many artists, ecologists, speakers and academicians succeeded in making the media and delegates realise why it is important for the honey bee to thrive, not just for the lustrous honey it gives. The event also invited traditional bee keepers from the forests who are the real heroes, and conducted sessions on the importance of these keepers of traditional knowledge. How we could help make life a little easy for them. NGOs, activists and teachers gathered to advocate the importance of instilling edu12

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The large floating structures are mere shadows of our ever expanding tectonic cities, and the seemingly whimsical trails in between are the dance of bees looking for nectar in the concrete jungle. A swarm of form embraces the world as a patch of colour conducts the dance.

(3) Vibha Galhotra (Anklets, bells, fabric, thread and steel) The beehive is a work created with ghungroos, trinkets tied to a dancer's feet to make a musical sound with intricate footwork. As one looks at the beehive, one sees it in all the visual beauty as it exists in nature. Yet there is no audible sound or movement like when the dance maestro lifts his feet without a sound…absence as a part of the rhythm.

(4) Shirley Bhatnagar (Ceramics) Seen as labyrinths of lines, shadows and negative spaces, each hive is different suggesting continuity, activity and fluid dynamic. The forms individually are female inspired. The little pockets which show bright yellow or red glaze could also stand for honey or something precious protected in the complex folds of clay.

Shyam Benegal, AR Rehman and his wife with Namita Saraf at the festival

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RECENT EVENTS

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cation about bees in children. Shubham Chandra, director-sales and marketing, Hyatt Regency, Chennai, said, "the initiative pertains to our concern for the bee. We are positive an event of this size will definitely help spread the word about the relationship between bees and the ecology." He added that the event will also help the hotel from the marketing point of view. Pollinator 1 has been made possible with a collective contribution of MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, National Biodiversity Authority, CPR Environmental Education Centre, Asian Heritage Foundation, and Hyatt Regency, Chennai.

Trendsetting event

Eminent Indian classical dancer Sonal Mansingh

As nature enthusiasts and other attendees of the event pondered over Hyatt Regency's extraordinary art pieces, it became clear how art speaks volumes and makes a point almost instantly. For instance, an installation of a gi-

ant honey drop carved out of molten glass, hung over one of the floors of the property, tempted all the onlookers with its lustrous look. This event can make way for the hospitality sector to start a new trend of partnering with a cause and making art an accomplice to eventually make the world a better place.

An air of elegance An air of sophistication swirls around this five star property. This 327-room contemporary business hotel is popular for its extensive art work created by some of India’s best-known contemporary artists. Hyatt Regency's location in Anna Salai, helps it appeal as a business hotel. The property enjoys proximity to Chennai's key business districts, Anna International Airport, IT corridor, Chennai Trade Centre, and prime residential areas. ■ by CHESTA WADHWANI

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ONE-ON-ONE

The Lalit Group enroute to 18 properties strong Jyotsna Suri, chairperson, The Lalit Group is unrelenting in her commitment to building a nationwide chain with existing properties in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and in Goa; adding recent properties in Jaipur and Kerala and soon to open in Kolkata and Chandigarh. She has already announced a development in London. The Lalit London: formerly, a grammar school, this Grade II building in central London is being restored and converted into a 70 room boutique hotel.

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ighteen hotels, including those in operation and those under development, either in India, or in London, Dubai and Thailand is a formidable build up to the chain’s strength. The Lalit Group also enjoys an impressive presence in industry circles through its chairperson’s personal initiatives in the tourism bodies, both Indian and internationally. Meet Jyotsana Suri, who has provided great industry leadership to the Great India Tourism Bazaar, held annually in Jaipur, in her capacity as the head of FICCI Tourism Committee for the last six years. She is also an executive committee member of the WTTC worldwide based in London.

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HOTELSCAPES August 2012

Our interview predictably started with a discussion on London, the city where The Lalit has announced a new property.

For Jyotsna Suri, the heart has been, and will always remain, in India. Yet, there are and will be some aberrations, some exceptions so to say. So, how come, a hotel in London? Lalit, my husband, had always been passionate on a hotel in London for over 15 years. In his lifetime, he was very keen to build one but it did not happen. After he passed away in 2006, I stepped up these efforts, more in the spirit to achieve his ambition. Lalit

loved London and it remained his favourite city; ironically, it is also the city where he passed away. Recently, a major developer of London, namely Barclay Homes was mentioned as doing a very big development around London Bridge. This was a mixed development, and included a 70 room boutique hotel in a period building which once housed a grammar school. This was hived off into a separate project and this is when we stepped in with our bid.

So, what are the time lines, and when does this open? In London, when it comes to graded buildings, it takes time to get permissions.


ONE-ON-ONE There is lot of preservation work to be done, lot of attention to detail and to heritage in general. Then, we need to get the right consultants on board, with various specialisations. We hope to start work around March 2013 and open the property around the end of 2014 or early 2015.

hospitality are still considered elitist. We are not given a special consideration, and only find ourselves burdened with more and more taxes. Operational costs are going up all the time; room rates are going down all the time. We are caught in between and survival is getting to be difficult.

Where is the team from? And what kind of property do we expect? And how do the economics work? It is always better to get a local team, as they know the lay of the land. It will be a 4-star high end hotel. This is a Grade II building on the South bank of River Thames. We bought the property for 15 million pounds and plan to invest another 12 million pounds. We expect to break even from the third year of operation. Our studies show that the expected room rate would be between 150175 pounds per night.

You have had other overseas projects, too. One in Thailand and another in Dubai? That's right. In Thailand we have a beautiful plot of land, right on the beach, in KohSamui. This is 10 acres of land, for which we have permission to build 46 odd cottages. It is next to a Four Seasons hotel, with a golf course across the road. There are plans to build this, but not just now. Presently, we have our hands full, now with this new development in London, and also a few new properties scheduled to open within India. In Dubai, we have a joint venture with Nakheel Group, but this is presently in cold storage, so to say.

And what are the plans for India, in the immediate future? We recently opened Bekal in Kerala and another property in Jaipur. Early next year, we open Chandigarh and Kolkata. But I have planned to do the opening puja at both these sites, on 19th November, Lalit's birthday, in his fond memory. Next in line would be hotels in Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Pune and Dehradun.

You have so much development going. But how is the present state of business, and how are the occupancies looking for your hotels, and for the industry in general? Not good, very simply put. Our business is

What is your recommendation to your fellow hoteliers?

JYOTSNA SURI CHAIRPERSON, THE LALIT GROUP

We recently opened Bekal in Kerala and another property in Jaipur. Early next year, we open Chandigarh and Kolkata. Next in line would be hotels in Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Pune and Dehradun. dependent on so many factors. We are all aware of the difficulties at the national level and these will obviously impact hotel occupancies. Supply has also increased bringing average rates down.

We gather Srinagar has been a different story, though? Yes, thankfully. We have been working on Srinagar for so many years. We knew this day will come, we had the belief and the confidence. Even in the worst of times, we did not close the hotel for even a single day. This season has been a big confidence booster for all of us – the hotel staff and even more so, for the people of the state. As we all know, tourism is the backbone of the economy of the state and has suffered for too long.

Tell me, is the tourism story getting any better, after all these years that you have been working on making it a higher priority for the country? I am afraid, we still have a long way to go. I am afraid, we find that tourism and

Primarily, to remain lean and thin. To keep costs down and to work up new streams of revenue. I also have been advocating domestic tourism and domestic business for a long time. I believe project costs must be kept within control – you cannot go and splurge unmindful of the final cost and viability of the project. We have to remain rational in our development.

In this tough scenario, you are going on adding hotels. How do you find the market in Jaipur? Rooms business has been somewhat slow. But local banqueting and restaurant business has seen some happy results. As the entry point into Rajasthan, Jaipur is a good bet for us. Our Jaipur property has also seen us develop our budget brand, Lalit Traveller, coexisting with the main brand. We have started with 40 rooms to be sold within the Rs 3,000-3,500 bracket.

How is the Lalit Group selling and how much is your business agent specific? We have been very active on the web, and some 30-35 per cent of our total business is coming through the web. We also have a central reservation office with a toll number. The agent specific business is largely with foreign groups – here the tariff may be higher but not so much our retention.

What industry activity are you working on presently? Lalit Bekal will be hosting the annual WTTC India summit in mid-September. We are also working on the next edition of the GITB in Jaipur where we remain constrained for space as the existing venue is not exactly suitable for exhibitions. We remain open to more ideas and hope to work with everybody concerned for the good of tourism in the country. ■ by NAVIN BERRY

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Trident Bandra Kulra Complex lobby

TRIDENT HOTELS I

Kapil Chopra, executive vice president, The Oberoi Group discusses the expansion plans for Trident Hotels, and reveals that the brand will soon unveil its new look. t has remained the unnoticed, younger sibling in the glory of the older brand. The Oberoi hotels and Trident hotels have co-existed for a long time, ever since Trident opened its first property in Chennai in 1988. Subsequently, Trident had a marketing alliance with Hilton even though they continued to be run and managed by The Oberoi Group. In recent times, new thought processes are coming to the table and the new Trident hotels are ready to take on the best in the world. Hotelscapes caught up with Kapil Chopra, executive vice president, The Oberoi Group who is directly looking after the twin properties of The Oberoi and Trident in Gurgaon in addition to being responsible for Trident hotels in Agra, Jaipur and Udaipur. Chopra, along with the marketing team of Trident Hotels, is also responsible for all brand marketing initiatives across India. “Trident is a most unique hotel brand; we are emphasising the excellent value for money proposition that no other brand can offer. Trident comes from the same service philosophy and orientation as any Oberoi hotel and at a lower price point. Trident Udaipur, for example, is built over 30 acres, on the banks of the picturesque Lake Pichola and has only 135 rooms. No other hotel in Udaipur comes even close to it and at a price point of less than Rs 5,000 a night in the summer season. It offers 'value for money' like never before. No wonder it was sold out between 8th and 25th of August on individual travellers alone.� He goes on to say, that as green field developments in leading metros, no other chain has penetrated the heart of business travel in India in recent years, as Trident has. With iconic properties in Gurgaon, Mumbai and one opening soon in Hyderabad, Trident has covered the Indian metro landscape like no other brand has. No one has built iconic luxury hotels with such distinct identities in metro cities, says Chopra. But what does the Trident brand symbolise? The three pillars that define the Trident brand experience are substance, spirit and service. They offer a defining architecture in an enchanting ambience with a value for money proposition that has never been experienced in India before. Also, the service standards are a derivative of the same service philos-

Reposition the value experience, rebranding underway 16

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ONE-ON-ONE ophy of The Oberoi Group. The executives and teams for both The Oberoi and Trident hotels come through The Oberoi Centre of Learning and Development. It is not that the better ones are sent to The Oberoi and second best to Trident. They are chosen on the basis of who is best for the assigned job. There are also open transfers between the two brands, as and when opportunity demands. This consistency in service standards has also been fundamental to the success of the brand, which now has nine hotels under it across the country with a 10th opening soon in Hyderabad. It is noteworthy, therefore, that when ‘Trident Holidays’ were launched in August this year, with a clear message of the value proposition offered, the group sold 1062 packages this year, against 538 last year. Sales at Agra, Jaipur and Udaipur have increased 100 per cent, year on year on 'Trident Holidays' while other competing hotels have had declining

KAPIL CHOPRA EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, THE OBEROI GROUP

Trident comes from the same service philosophy and orientation as any Oberoi hotel and at a lower price point. Trident Udaipur, for example, is built over 30 acres, on the banks of the picturesque Lake Pichola and has only 135 rooms. No other hotel in Udaipur comes even close to it and at a price point of less than Rs 5,000 a night in the summer season.

Trident Agra

occupancies. This, in spite of the fact that new hotels have opened in Jaipur and Agra but guests still prefer Trident over them, mainly because of the quality of service. When asked what Trident stands for, Chopra says that Trident ‘offers contemporary luxury with warm, personalised service and great value for money experience’. How else can you explain that the average room rate at Trident Bandra Kurla Complex is substantially higher than any other hotel in the same complex or in the vicinity, even including some big names and big international brands? Chopra further states that it is this larger understanding that will take the Trident brand forward. It therefore comes as no surprise that work is already underway for a rebranding exercise. The new brand's look and feel which communicates the contemporary and energetic 'personality' of Trident hotels will be out soon. Speaking of the Trident rewards programme, called ‘Trident Privilege’, Chopra said that this initiative has emerged as the most engaging guest recognition programme in the country. With a reduction in redemption points this year, the programme has become more lucrative and promises more ‘value’ to its members. For instance, for a three nights stay at any Trident city hotel (Mumbai, Gurgaon, Chennai), a member can enjoy a complimentary stay at a Trident Resort property in Agra or Jaipur. There is no guest recognition or rewards programme, even globally, that offers such rich redemption features. In addition to this, if you stay at any Trident city hotel for seven nights, not only do you earn points but also earn a complimentary night at any Trident hotel. Where do we expect the next Trident?

Chopra says that there would be more properties, as and when city dynamics demand more hotels. Also, the location matters most to any Oberoi or Trident property and there will never be any compromise on location. In the meanwhile, upgrading and refurbishments continue. Trident Chennai has had a makeover, with a new lobby and refurbished rooms. It also has a new spa. In fact, all Trident resorts now have new, state of the art fitness centres and very soon will open its divine spas in all these properties. The Tridents in Jaipur, Agra and Udaipur will also enhance and enrich the culinary landscape of the city with new, iconic restaurants opening next year. In the pipeline are great packages such as the ‘Trident Express Weekends’, which includes a night stay at Trident Agra for Rs 4950, including breakfast and a late checkout. The opening of the Yamuna Expressway has made Agra an easy drive of just over two hours, making it an even more attractive weekend getaway from the city of Delhi. The ‘Trident Express Weekend’ package becomes an ideal short break offer, at great value. Trident will continue to offer such attractive and innovative offers in the future. Trident hotels are all about contemporary luxury at an attractive price point thereby offering great value. The hotels have been recognised internationally as well as at home. Trident Gurgaon was voted ‘Asia’s Leading Hotel’ by the World Travel Awards, 2011 and Trident Bandra Kurla was ranked by readers of Conde Nast Traveller India as the “Favourite New Hotel in India” in 2011. Moreover, Trident Gurgaon has always led the country in Revpar (revenue per available room) terms, further reiterating that the Trident brand is a force to reckon with. ■ by NAVIN BERRY

August 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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FORUM OF THE MONTH

Inbound tourism and Indian hospitality! How much does inbound tourism, or leisure group travel from overseas, contribute to hotel occupancies? The answer would vary, depending upon the location. Ajay Bakaya, CEO, Sarovar Hotels & Resorts The contribution of tourism to the hotel business depends on location. Metro cities like Delhi and Mumbai contribute approximately 10 per cent while contribution from locations like Jaipur and Jodhpur goes as high as 50 per cent. Besides this, domestic tourism to leisure destinations contributes as much as 10 per cent and is growing constantly. India’s growing tourism needs more quality rooms. In tourism it is a known fact that capacity pulls demand. It also leads to competition that improves the quality of the product and its price offering. Tourism meaning leisure business is adding partially to our revenue. While volumes are going up, the realisation is reducing. This is so because most selling is done through intermediaries, whose business requires much lesser capital investments. There is a co-relation between India's tourism, meaning foreign inbound group travel, and our occupancies. 90 per cent is business related travel. Foreign inbound business is erratic and this can sometimes hamper the occupancy graphs extremely. It seldom goes as per forecast. Besides occupancies, in the recent past, there has been a steep decline in revenue realisation. The underlying assumption we are looking at is two years of challenging occupancies and rates in hotels across the country. Addition of inventory in the long term is definitely a plus for India. But this will involve short term pain. Slowing down of the Indian economy and uncertain political scenario aggravates the pain. There is a tremendous scope for toursim in India. But hotels in city locations do yearround good business. From an investor's point of view these are safer. Sarovar will continue to expand its tourist location footprint beyond Goa, Rajasthan and Kerala. 18

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Jean-Michel Cassé, senior vice president, operations, Accor Hotels India Tourism today does not contribute much to our hotel business as most of our hotels are located in business hubs. Therefore, the leisure segment is not what we are looking at, but things are evolving. Now that we have a broad footprint across India with six brands, we are looking at tourism as the way forward to leisure hotels. At Accor, we currently operate 18 hotels, primarily at key business districts. Tourism or leisure travel does have a role to play in the overall scheme of things, and we at Accor try to maintain the right mix of segments to cater to the various needs of today’s travellers.

Tourism is not only a matter of increasing revenue but is about a brand catering to its customers during all their trips including when they travel for pleasure with the family. We at Accor take a ‘customer-centric’ approach and are continuously involved in taking note of what drives travellers, in both the business and leisure segments, to better understand their needs. Currently, leisure plays a small but significant role to drive business in our hotels. We have designed unique leisure packages to attract this segment during weekends. We also offer a unique proposition for this segment through our Novotel brand (currently five hotels operational in India) under the ‘Family and Novotel’ programme which offers

AJAY BAKAYA

JEAN-MICHEL CASSÉ

CEO, SAROVAR HOTELS & RESORTS

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, OPERATIONS, ACCOR HOTELS INDIA

The contribution of tourism to the hotel business depends on location. Metro cities like Delhi and Mumbai contribute approximately 10 per cent while contribution from locations like Jaipur and Jodhpur goes as high as 50 per cent.

Tourism today does not contribute much to our hotel business as most of our hotels are located in business hubs. Currently, leisure plays a small but significant role to drive business in our hotels.


FORUM OF THE MONTH key benefits such as free accommodation and breakfast for children, 50 per cent off on a second room (for children), late checkout on Sundays etc. Our Mercure Lavasa is also driven by the leisure segment for which we drive not only the FIT business but also groups – MICE. This brings into play our focus on MICE. Accor currently manages two convention centres in India at Hyderabad and Lavasa. All the Novotel Hotels in India focus on the MICE segment, so much so, that Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre has brought Hyderabad city to the forefront of being the most preferred convention destination in India. In November 2011 we launched the Novotel Visakhapatnam Varun Beach with 40,000 square feet of banquet space – we have managed to create a brand new leisure destination with this launch. And as we grow the portfolio of our hotels in India, we do see the leisure segment playing a more significant role than before.

The main purpose of tourism is leisure. The Ministry of Tourism does not maintain segment wise data regarding the purpose of visit of each

tourist. Most businessmen travelling to India obtain tourist visa rather than business visa since it takes more time to obtain business visa. Presently only foreign tourist arrival numbers are given. I suggest segment wise data be made available by hiring an external agency. This would facilitate the hotel and travel industry in planning their marketing strategy as well as help the Ministry to gauge the impact of the ‘Incredible India’ campaign. Not only foreign tourist arrivals, the number of domestic tourists has also been increasing annually and their requirements for accommodation are rising as a consequence. During 2011 domestic movement was 851 million, registering an increase of 13.8 per cent. Presently, the number of hotels in India is 135,000 in the approved category and probably 100,000 in the unapproved category. The combined strength of the industry, that is approximately 235,000 hotels, catered to 6.29 million FTAs and domestic travellers during 2011. Tourism adds to the revenues of the hotels. The business traveller gives a higher yield per room (tariff) than the leisure traveller. Presently, the leisure tourists are few in number. We need to re-look at our marketing

ANIL KUMAR BHANDARI

SURESH KUMAR

CHAIRMAN, AB SMART CONCEPTS

CEO, FORTUNE HOTELS

Anil Kumar Bhandari, chairman, AB Smart Concepts

The leisure tourists are few. We need to re-look at our marketing strategy and improve our infrastructure, build more convention centres, offer good visitor experience and promote MICE segment for hotels.

There is a very thin line separating business and leisure; as business traveler can also become leisure traveler on a weekend or by extending his/her stay by an extra day to visit the local attractions.

strategy and also improve our infrastructure, build more convention centres, offer good visitor experience and promote MICE segment for all hotels at leisure locations, as they benefit from foreign tourist arrivals and domestic tourist visitors. I suggest we should build more convention centres to attract and promote the MICE segment.

Suresh Kumar, CEO, Fortune Hotels Tourism can be defined in simple words as ‘travel for recreational, leisure or business purpose’. There is a very thin line separating business and leisure; as business traveler can also become leisure traveler on a weekend or by extending his/her stay by an extra day to visit the local attractions. Fortune Hotels is a leading player in the ‘mid-market to upscale segment’, operating ‘first-class, full service business hotels’ across the length and breadth of the country, servicing the growing and newly prosperous upper middle class population, many of whom are accessing travel for the first time. We continue to maintain our fundamental belief that the industry will continue to now thrive on this segment and therefore the need for ‘Full Service’ hotels. The demand, while maintaining the benchmark standards, of these hotels for corporate and leisure travellers at affordable price is gaining popularity. While business travel accounts for much of our revenue, convenient locations, excellence of cuisine, attentive service and competitive pricing, has made it popular with travelers across all categories, i.e., domestic and international. Its unique “value driven” philosophy and contemporary product/ service positioning has made it carve a strong niche in the affordable hotel segment. The foreigner to Indian ratio for our chain is 25:75. Therefore, though the revenue for our chain comes from inbound (Foreign Tourist Arrivals) as well as domestic segment (both leisure and business travel), the major contribution comes from the latter, especially for the business hotels which form a major part of our brand portfolio. Hence, the impact of India’s inbound tourism (FTAs) is greater on our occupancies in leisure locations. However, given the overall potential of the Indian economy, we feel that the industry is robust and the next few years will see more growth in this segment. ■ by NAVIN BERRY

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HERITAGE HOTELS

ITC WelcomHeritage to focus on standardisation Sanjay Kirpal, who has recently taken over as the CEO, ITC WelcomHeritage talks to Hotelscapes about the legacy which he has inherited and how he plans to consolidate it.

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he brand ITC WelcomHeritage has a collection of the finest heritage hotels in India. Their portfolio includes 40 hotels spread across 37 destinations in 13 states. ITC WelcomHeritage has a wide range of hotels which range from the grand palaces and forts in Rajasthan to quaint hill resorts in Himachal Pradesh, from an outdoor adventure holiday in the jungle lodges of Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh to serene nature resorts in Kashmir, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, West Bengal, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim and Goa. Following are excerpts from an interview with Sanjay Kirpal: ITC WelcomHeritage Balsamand Garden Retreat

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You have recently taken over as head of ITC WelcomHeritage, what did you inherit? I inherited a wide and large canvass of products all through the country. We worked on rebranding within the brand and created some sub-brands. In the bargain we had to do away with some of the hotels, since they did not fit into our sub-brands. Our strength is that we have different types of hotels in different locations, in fact in multiple locations and there is uniqueness of product at different locations.

How will you consolidate

your strength? We have consolidated our strength by creating three sub-brands, namely, ‘Legends’ under which we have nine hotels, ‘WH hotels’ which have 20 hotels and ‘Nature Resorts’ which have 11 hotels. Our focus is on standardisation of operations, as per our manual and training for all sub-brands.

How do you plan to overcome your weak arenas? First of all, we have created manuals because our hotels are owner-driven and we do not have direct control over them. Weaknesses are overcome by constant visits to


HERITAGE HOTELS ITC WelcomHeritage Khimsar Fort

the properties and also with frequent interaction with the owners by briefing them on up gradation of their operation.

How is the business in present times? It is mid-stream I would say; it is neither very healthy nor bad. Global turnover has slowed down and has impacted the hospitality in general. We hope to have a better time during the winter season.

Who’s your clientele?

SANJAY KIRPAL CEO, ITC WELCOMHERITAGE

I inherited a wide and large canvass of products all through the country. We worked on rebranding within the brand and created some sub-brands. We had to do away with some of the hotels, since they did not fit into our sub-brands.

Mainly we get domestic tourists. Talking specifically about the percentage break-up we get 80 per cent domestic tourists and 20 per cent foreign tourists. Our domestic traveller is aged between 50-60 years and comes from a metro. He takes two-three holidays a year for three-four nights. Similarly our foreign traveller falls in similar age group but has longer length of stay.

Your properties do not make a circuit, how do you plan to overcome this problem? In some cases the properties do not fall in circuit, but we have been able to identify

The brand ITC WelcomHeritage has a collection of the finest heritage hotels in India. Their portfolio includes 40 hotels spread across 37 destinations in 13 states. these missing links especially in Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. We are looking at locations where we can pick up some properties and come out with the circuits.

Some properties have been upgraded while others have not been, can you throw light on this? We are not financially involved in these properties but we tell owners to upgrade their properties. It is his discretion where he wants to invest the surplus from his properties.

What is your USP? Our USP is location, diversity of product with every unit having a story to tell. â–  as told to VASUJIT KALIA

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Indian hospitality industry’s top trends: TripAdvisor TripAdvisor, the travel site, announced the results of the latest TripAdvisor Industry Index, which revealed some startling findings about today’s top hospitality trends for India and around the world.

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his hotel survey is based on more than 25,000 responses from hoteliers around the globe. The Asia Pacific region accounted for slightly over a fifth of the entire sample and India formed the largest segment of this region with just over 1,500 respondents, making it a big hotel survey in India as well. 50% of Asia-Pacific respondents reported optimism about the economy for the remainder of the year believing the economy would improve. The report further shows that hoteliers in Asia Pacific, North America and Latin America were twice as likely to report being profitable in the last six months than hoteliers in the EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa) region who are the least optimistic about the future. TripAdvisor’s hotel survey has also uncovered a number of other industry insights, including accommodations' business outlook, how they are engaging with travellers on social and mobile platforms and their plans to offer eco-friendly programmes. Summarising survey highlights for India, Nikhil Ganju, country manager, TripAdvisor 22

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India said, “Most survey results for India cue a positive industry sentiment. In fact, we designed an industry scale based on survey response on economic and business outlook of properties, which indicate better than average business health for India, which ranks second in APAC region and fifth in the world.” Adding further, he said, “Another highlight of the survey reveals that though Indian hoteliers recognise the importance of social and mobile marketing, they are slow at adopting their use to connect with current and potential customers, compared to global numbers.”

next six months. 66 per cent respondents support the claim that the economy will improve a little or lot in the second half of 2012. The positive business outlook also seems to be evident from the staffing plans in second half of 2012, as India ranks highest globally among all countries surveyed, for staff turnover based on increased staff levels. While most respondents in APAC reported there would be no change in their staffing levels in the next six months, respondents in India were more likely to increase their staff (39 per cent), followed by Thailand (31 per cent) and Indonesia (30 per cent).

India displays healthy start and hearty optimism

Simmer summer and a flagging fall

Indonesia and India have the highest proportion of respondents in Asia Pacific, reporting their business as extremely profitable (6 per cent for both areas) or very profitable (38 per cent for Indonesia and 29 per cent for India) in the last six months. India shows unbridled optimism with the highest proportion of businesses in APAC that expect the economy to improve in the

While 50 per cent businesses reported an increase in room occupancy this summer compared to same period last year, 70 per cent hotels said they had to bring down room rate or keep them same to attract more guests in the summer. Only 24 per cent hotels actually increased the room rate. Also 62 per cent hotels are looking at reducing or not revising their room rates, leading up to the fall season.


REPORT Business outlook rankings India ranks fifth in the world for hotels with the best business outlook, while Greece ranks last, according to respondents answers to a number of questions gauging the perceived health of their business.

Playing catch up on social, online and mobile Social 59 per cent of Indian businesses claim to be using social media to engage with current and potential guests. While this number looks very encouraging, it is still a far cry from businesses in South East Asia with over 80 per cent of respondents in Malaysia and Indonesia using it. Top three reasons cited by Indian hotels to use social media are: ● Responding to reviews (57 per cent) ● Posting deals/special offers (55 per cent) ● Promoting events (33 per cent)

Online booking Majority of hotel respondents in Asia Pacific

confirmed having a website for their property with online booking facility. India had the lowest proportion of hotel respondents with online booking. This is further corroborated by the survey finding that only 11 per cent respondents cited online booking through hotel website as the top source of reservation for them. A majority of 66 per cent respondents claim ‘direct enquiry with hotel’ to be among top three sources of reservations for them.

Mobile While the importance of mobile as a marketing platform is recognised by the industry at large, properties have not yet adopted mobile programmes en masse. 86 per cent Indian properties believe that allowing the guests to book online via mobile apps is somewhat important and 75 per cent of properties also believe it is important to make special offers available to users of mobile devices. However, only 21 per cent respondents confirmed they actually

offer any programmes to engage with current and potential guests using mobile devices.

India top deals So far this year, room rate discounts and amenities (e.g. free Wi-Fi access) emerged globally as the two most common special offers doled out by hotels to attract customers. India too follows the global trend with 54 per cent businesses who offered discount on room rate and 48 per cent who gave access to special amenities.

Eco-friendly programmes: ‘Winwin’ for hotel budgets and environment Hotels in Asia Pacific indicated eco-friendly practices as being more important for them than inns and bed and breakfast establishments. Eco-friendly practices are most likely to be reported as very important in India and least likely in Australia. India ranks eleventh globally and fourth in APAC in a rank of nations based on the proportion of respondent that have eco-practices actually in place. New Zealand tops the global and regional list with 95 per cent of respondents with ecofriendly practices. Cost reduction and industry trends rank as the top two reasons globally driving adoption of eco practices by businesses, including India.

Methodology The latest TripAdvisor 2012 Industry Index was conducted between June 7-14, 2012 and was sent by email to a random sample of global accommodation owners and managers. The survey generated 25,517 responses worldwide. A total of 5,458 respondents were based in the Asian Pacific region, making up just over a fifth of the entire sample. The region was divided into nine different areas. India formed the largest segment of this region with just over 1,500 respondents, followed by Australia with just under 1000 respondents. Data analysis and other survey consultation were performed by Brainbox Research Ltd. Sample size for India was 1516, contributing the largest to the pie in Asia Pacific. Please note sample sizes for the following countries were low compared to the other countries surveyed: China (188), Malaysia (129), Mexico (151) and Russia (64). ■ August 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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BRAND ANALYSIS

Tivoli Group: Making clubs and banquets a big business Club Tivoli, TDI City is a plush club which will fulfil recreational pursuits of the residents of TDI City, Kundli. Ravinder Taneja, vice chairman and managing director, TDI talks exclusively to Hotelscapes about this plus club which is replete with five star amenities. What is the environment in and around Kundli? Kundli is a promising city, located just 2.5 km from National Capital Region (NCR). It is a 15 minutes drive from sprawling west Delhi townships of Rohini and Pitampura. It’s proximity to KMP (Kundli-Manesar-Palwal) and KGP (Kundli-Ghaziabad-Palwal) expressways, makes it a much sought after destination. The proposed rapid rail transit system (RRTS) will connect Kundli and ISBT Delhi in 20 minutes. Delhi metro is also scheduled to reach Kundli. With the growing infrastructure developments in and around Kundli, the area is bound to develop in line with Gurgaon in the near future.

RAVINDER TANEJA VICE CHAIRMAN AND MD, TDI

Club Tivoli is an opulent recreational centre well planned for the residents of TDI Township and of Sonipat area alike for organising social gatherings and business meetings.

Why did you choose to open the club in this area? In our endeavour to develop a world-class self-sufficient township, we have planned each service in place within the township. Club Tivoli is an opulent recreational centre well planned for the residents of TDI Township and of Sonipat area alike for organising social gatherings and business meetings. TDI City, Kundli is the largest township development in the area. It comprises plots,

flats, independent villas, group housing, commercial complexes, mall cum multiplexes with various amenities and facilities like super speciality hospitals, schools, parks, religious building and many more.

How is the market growing for the club around Kundli? As of now Club Tivoli is the only operational club in the area. So there is no competition for us and the market is ripe waiting to be explored.

How big is this property and how many suites are there? The club is spread across two acres of land and there are a total of 18 suites.

What is an average room area? A room is 330 sq ft.

What all facilities do you offer in these rooms? All suites overlook the pool and are replete with modern five star amenities like LCD TV, complimentary tea and coffee makers etc.

Who has designed the rooms? Vivek Puri is the architect while the interiors have been done by Kaushal Khanna.

Who is your target customer? Our target customers are the residents of TDI City in Kundli which is spread across 1250 acres and Sonipat.

What are the banquet and buffet options? We start at Rs 1,500 per person, whereas our buffet is priced at Rs 750.

What is the USP of this club? It is located within the bustling township of TDI City, and is very close to Delhi. There is a mall cum multiplex and various commercial units in the vicinity.

What are your expansion plans? TDI will have similar clubs at their upcoming townships in Panipat and Mohali. â–  by VASUJIT KALIA 24

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GUEST COLUMN

FOOD STYLISATION IS IMPORTANT FOR THE F&B INDUSTRY Hoteliers and chefs are understanding that the food on the table must look as delectable as it tastes, says Anil Kumar Bhandari.

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ood stylisation is becoming trendy in India. There is a new breed of ‘food designers’ who specialise in ‘decorating’ food. The ‘food designer’ uses his imagination so that the dish appeals to the diner and stimulates his appetite. Stylisation of the dish in an artistic manner is one aspect of the presentation to be taken into consideration. After all, much time and skill is spent by the chef in the process of preparation of the dish. Part of his contribution includes artistic ways of cutting the raw vegetables to be used in the preparation. Chinese, Japanese and Thai chefs make good use of this skill as their cuisines lend themselves to excel in this artistry. The diner is not aware of these behind-thescene activities. Because when the diner sees the food designer’s artistic handiwork what he observes is the overall view. These include, apart from the dish, the crockery, cutlery, table setting and flower arrangement. To create an overall pleasing experience for the diner, all these factors have to be in harmony with one another. An ideal dish is one which looks attractive, has irresistible aroma and sets the taste buds tingling. Food stylisation is an art that can turn dishes into works of art. Impressive examples of food stylisation can be seen in French, Japanese, Thai, Chinese and the Mediterranean region cuisine. In simple form, food designing is arranging the food on a dish as neatly as possible and giving it colour and shape contrast in the form of a suitable garnish. Alternatively, it means decorating the food item in an appropriate manner bearing in mind the correct use of design elements and the impression that is to be achieved. When considering decoration in any form the best single standard is restraint. Food that gives the impression of over-decoration is distasteful to most people. For festive occasions, decoration and ornamentation should be used with discretion. Just as the jeweller displays one or two 26

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Food stylisation is an art that can turn dishes into works of art. Impressive examples of food stylisation can be seen in French, Japanese,Thai, Chinese and the Mediterranean region cuisine.

perfect gems in a setting to get maximum attention, so should food be decorated for immediate ‘eye appeal’. Too many items on a plate distract from the main one, too much garnish distracts from the food itself. The word ‘garnish’ means to decorate or adorn. Yet, if the basic ingredients of a dish are not properly prepared no decoration or adornment can make the food appealing. Food carefully prepared and planned is beautiful and the garnish or decoration is used only to emphasise its inherent beauty. For instance, slices of pearl-white onions, quarters of shiny yellow-skinned lemons and a sprinkling of chopped coriander leaves decorated on a plate of tangri, kakori or galauti kebabs sets the salivary juices flowing. Indian sweetmeats are artistic in shape, eyecatching in colour, and shaped in classical or traditional designs. Nowadays contemporary designs are in vogue. The regal-looking rajbhog, kesar rasbhari and thin diamond-cut kaaju and badaam katlees, decorated with slivers of almonds and pistachios and covered with a thin silver sheet of varq, agitate the viewer’s hunger pangs. Indian curry needs to be made more appealing. The curry items are served in bowls with a garnish of fresh coriander, ginger, chopped onions and green chilies, sliced cashew nuts, or a dash of cream, depending on regional cuisine choices. Indian chefs need to work on curries and look into the garnishes so that Indian dishes look more attractive and appealing to the eye. While the chefs consider innovative changes with the introduction of new forms of presentation of curries and new garnishes, the food stylists might reflect on the form and shape of their artistic presentations, the shapes of serving bowls and plates, keeping in mind that these factors have to be in harmony with one another to make Indian cuisine irresistible. ■ The author is chairman, AB Smart Concepts


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DESIGN

BOBBY MUKHERJI:

an Indian designer who brings the international touch to hospitality Bobby Mukherji’s designs for five star hotels like Le Meridien in New Delhi have won him many accolades. He has now bagged the project to design and develop a private air terminal at the Caribbean Island's airport. The architect reveals that the hospitality industry remains his core competency, in an interview with Hotelscapes. 28

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obby Mukherji founded his design firm Bobby Mukherji & Associates in 1993. Presently it has projects worth over Rs 6,500 crores. BMA holds expertise in lighting and landscape design, with specialisation in architecture and interior designing. Some of the notable projects to Mukherji’s credit are the Aamby Valley, Kalpataru Clubs, Raheja Exotica Club, Whistling Woods, Hiranandani School and Infinity Mall (Malad).


DESIGN Aamby Valley

wood stars, heads of states, royalty from various countries, who own their aircrafts, or charter planes or even lease an aircraft. It might also open up for the first class passengers of commercial flights. It will be designed keeping in mind the climatic, topographical and logistic challenges. The structural design will have hurricane proof doors and windows manufactured from Miami. The exotic landscape will contain both hard and soft elements for enhancing the beauty of the place. Plants like palms, banana trees, oleander, sea grapes and tall grasses are proposed for this project throughout the driveway. The project is worth $15 million US Dollars and will be operational from 2013 onwards.

Of your projects, 75 per cent are for the hospitality industry.

Le Meridien New Delhi

You have recently bagged the project to design and develop a new private air terminal at the Caribbean Island’s Robert L Bradshaw International Airport. The airport terminal is a smaller version of a boutique hotel which makes it appear as a boutique airport with a tinge of Caribbean flavour in its design. The airport will have a capacity to accommodate 75 VIP passengers. This private terminal will cater to Holly-

Our services range from urban planning to airline infrastructure, from residential to commercial and from recreational to institutional. However hospitality is something we enjoy doing and it is our core competency. It allows for our creative juices to flow in its fullest. We have been specialists in the field for almost two decades now and are probably the only Indian firm to be working on five star hotels. Common to eminent brands like Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Marriott International, Carlson hospitality, Sahara hospitality, The Royal Orchid Group, The Lalit group (formerly The Intercontinental) among many others, we have now tied up with the Hyatt Hotels and the Hilton group as well.

Le Meridien New Delhi was awarded the ‘Best redesigned hotel in India’ by the Hotel

BOBBY MUKHERJI PRINCIPAL ARCHITECT & FOUNDER, BOBBY MUKHERJI & ASSOCIATES

The fact that we’re here in India and are able to deliver to standards set internationally sets us apart. My dream hotel project is to design a hotel to the scale of those, in Las Vegas like the Aria, off the newer crop. Association of India. You also maintain it is one of your best projects so far. Yes, this was possible only because we were allowed a free hand and given full artistic freedom. And more importantly, courtesy our clients who understood the importance of good design which they believed would translate into profits. We designed this hotel in phases and in its first phase itself the clients August 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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Caffee e Chocol Art, Le Meridien New Delhi 30

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DESIGN received a fabulous guest response with great ROI. We were also able to do full justice to the product because budget wasn't really a constraint. Our clients understood the value that each component we designed, would add. We consider this property to be a true amalgamation of art and technology. Starwood Hotels & Resorts too, rated Le Meridien New Delhi as their benchmark for Asia-Pacific.

What is the design sensibility behind hotels? Design sensibilities differ from project to project and are based on pre-requisites or a specific brief given by the client. Our main aim is to compel great return on investment through the power of design. We’re also pluralistic in our approach and cater to needs individually. We do not believe in tying clients down to a singular style or trademark.

Do you incorporate local elements in hotels? Each of our properties exudes a distinct style and has its own identity. We’re also sensitive to the location. We try and include local influences in the most subtle manner in our effort to maintain sanctity of the region and its culture through art and accessories. It also provides for a sense of belonging. The shell is always more neutral to allow for artistic freedom unless it’s a themed property.

Although four and five star hotels are your forte, you are also focusing on boutique hotels in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Yes, with the global meltdown and cost-cutting in projects; the focus is shifting to mid-sized and boutique properties as these are very functional and purpose oriented. They're cost effective. With their limited size and keys, if located strategically and designed thoughtfully, they face little or no crunch in occupancy. Boutique properties with a budget also allow for more freedom in terms of design and concepts. With heaps of development seen in tier 2 and tier 3 cities today; business travelers are always on the move and pressed for time. They’re looking for simpler accommodation with good levels of hygiene and a taste in food at an affordable price. This segment now appeals to a larger share. The cost for making a hotel of this kind is much cheaper than a full service or a lifestyle oriented one, hence the return on investment is also a lot higher. It makes

absolute business sense in my opinion.

What is your USP? Creativity and thoughtfulness comes naturally to us. It does not interfere with the position or status we've earned today. Rather, it is an incentive to do better as expectations exceed. We believe in 'functionality meets design' and work towards making the environment operationally viable and aesthetically pleasing. We also invest a lot in researching the latest that the world has to offer in terms of materials, lighting and technology. The fact that we’re here in India and are able to deliver to standards set internationally sets us apart. BMA is headquartered in Mumbai. Our hospitality projects are mainly concentrated on the four and five-star category. There is not much competition for us within India. At a time of global meltdown with many companies shelving projects, cost cutting in designs has not yet been experienced as much. Now, Indian owners and developers are looking at Indian design firms who can understand the requirements and deliver on time. Being an Indian with an experience of what is happening around the world, gives us an edge as we're able to deliver world class design services, sitting in the neighbourhood of the client. Our offices in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Bangkok help facilitate easy operations. The perception regarding capability of Indian firms for designing luxury landmarks is changing. Many of our projects have come to us through international design competitions; many were inherited at a stage left by foreign architects or designers as we conform to that caliber and are also cost-effective. It saves the client a lot of time and money as, in case of a situation we can reach any place within India in less than 24 hours at one-third the cost they’d have to pay to fly down a foreign architect or designer. Clients are no longer tied down to one style or concept of design. Hence, it allows us a lot more creative freedom. The other exciting development is in terms of materials. With the global burst in the industry and the availability of imports, better design alternatives are available, that manage to optimise both utility and aesthetic quality. Sometimes they are also cheaper for the customer, as in hotel projects we’re able to exploit the EPCG facility. Hence, we’re able to buy luxury at an affordable price. We believe in doing quality work more than quantitative work. August 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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DESIGN The Marriott Jaipur

The Sahara Star Mumbai

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DESIGN As construction of hotel projects are spread over a few years there is bound to be an escalation in budgets and costs due to exchange rate fluctuations and the economic situation. To try and maintain costs, we normally estimate 25 per cent more than the actual, right from the beginning.

Coffee shop, Royal Orchid Vashi

What is your take on ecofriendly hotels?

Tell us about some of your innovate designs? Among many, we created the world’s tallest free standing glass sculpture. I designed it and I had glass sculptor Stephen Gormley execute it. We also designed the largest light fixture made out of alabaster stone serving as a backdrop to a reception counter, giving an illusion of daylight. The company in Spain that executed this for us too won an industry award for the same in their country.

What are the challenges associated with hotel projects? How do you overcome them? Designing of the interior of any hotel is by far

Prominent hotels designed by Bobby Mukherji ☛ Le Meridien New Delhi ☛ The Sahara Star Mumbai ☛ The Marriott Jaipur ☛ Radisson Blu Paschim Vihar New Delhi ☛ Radisson Blu Dwarka New Delhi ☛ Royal Orchid Vashi ☛ Royal Orchid Bangalore ☛ The Grand Intercontinental Chandigarh ☛ The Lalit Grand Palace Srinagar ☛ The Grand Ashok Bangalore ☛ The nightclub and Indian fine dine restaurant at The Lalit New Delhi

different and most challenging from designing any other kind of project. It involves a whole lot of technical components that need to be integrated with design. Practical aspects in terms of comfort, user friendliness, low maintenance and durability are the most critical aspects that one needs to tackle. Intensive research work has to be done on the latest technologies to create a world class environment. Concepts have to be upgraded constantly, to keep up with time and make the place look truly international and conform to that caliber. It is essential to keep oneself abreast of the latest international trends, materials, furniture, equipment and lighting as they are vital to the success of any design. The other challenge is the sourcing – dependence and correspondence with other nations for new age materials, lights, furniture, techniques and craftsmanship, as most components are foreign made. Also, budgets available are lesser than international projects though the components are almost the same, except for the labour which, is cheaper here than abroad. Achieving a look that appeals to the masses and the need to be liked and admired by people of all age groups is a challenge. Cost factors have to be taken into consideration while designing as it is the cost of the design project that allows creative indulgence to think innovatively. Ideally, it should be in sync with the entire project worth taking into consideration – land cost, cost of property construction at that given moment of time.

An eco-friendly hotel concept broadly integrates many interests and aspects of sustainability, emphasising reduction of environmental impacts through a holistic approach to land and building uses and construction strategies. Unlike a conventional structure, an eco-friendly hotel incorporates several sustainable features such as efficient use of water, energy efficiency, eco-friendly environment, use of renewable energy, use of recycled or recyclable materials, effective use of landscape, control and building management systems, and improved indoor quality for health and comfort. Due to import component in hotels, materials are also suggested to be sourced from within the immediate hinterland. Eco-friendly hotels increase property values and may be eligible for incentive programmes. Substantial savings are realised on a per square foot basis when energy consumption is reduced. Green buildings offer easier maintenance and lower operating costs, which translate to a higher market valuation. It’s interesting that much of the pressure to go green is coming from environmentally sensitive guests who favour eco-friendly hotels to energy guzzlers. The hospitality industry is acknowledging the long-term benefits to be reaped in terms of reduced maintenance and energy saving, especially when energy costs are escalating. With technology constantly improving and becoming cost-effective, initiatives that seemed too expensive a short while earlier are now within reach of most hotels going for green certification. But in my opinion, this concept is apt for a three or four star category hotel. It does not justify, when it comes to a five star luxury hotel like The Four Seasons or a Ritz-Carlton.

What is your dream hotel project? To design a hotel to the scale of those, in Las Vegas like the Aria, off the newer crop. ■ as told to MANISHA ALMADI MIDHA

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TRENDS

ICONIC POOL ON THE 76th FLOOR, O

How W Hong Kong innovates a

SWIMMING POOLS:

How hotels make a statement Hotels across the country are making use of various types of swimming pools to woo clientele. Some of the hotels and resorts have the most innovative and incredible swimming pools to give the guests an out of the world experience. Hotelscapes talks to hoteliers and hospitality experts to know their views on how to make the pools extraordinaire. 34

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TRENDS

ON TOP OF HONG KONG

and markets its USP PETER HILDEBRAND GENERAL MANAGER, W HONG KONG

O

ur swimming pool, named WET, located on the 76th floor is the highest outdoor swimming pool in Hong Kong. The pool is temperature controlled year round at 28 degrees Celsius and the Jacuzzi at 38 degrees Celsius. Its dimensions are L 25m X W 7.5m X depth 1.4 m. It is reserved for the use of in-house guests at W, apart from during the summer when we do WET Sunday sessions from 3 pm-8 pm, where we offer entrance for HK$280 including one signature cocktail and use of the pool to outsiders. At this time we also have a DJ and two other stages set up at the edge of the pool with girls dancing in bikinis throughout the afternoon / evening. It really is quite a party scene and very much what W is all about. We also do a Summer Series of five pool parties on Saturday nights once a month throughout the summer during which we usually team up with fashion brands etc. These have become very popular with the local community. It is a very special area and all the tiles on the dramatic Bisazza mosaic wall were imported from Italy. This mosaic wall was designed by an Australian designer Fabio Ongarato around the design theme of “Head in the Clouds� at a cost of HKD5 million for the wall alone. The space around the pool is used for events and in the past we have done product launches, weddings, trunk shows for fashion labels, corporate events and private parties and barbeques. We also have WET deck which serves refreshments and food from 11 am to 9:30 pm daily. by NAVIN BERRY

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TRENDS The Leela Palace, New Delhi

Hoteliers share their views on trends in swimming pools, and ways to make them unique. Read on for industry inputs.

The Leela Palace, New Delhi Tamir Kobrin, general manager In today’s hectic environment, people are very particular about health and wellness, therefore the pools, spas and fitness studios are a must-have in the constantly advancing hotel business. We have taken innovation to the next level and ours is the only city hotel with a rooftop temperature-controlled pool exceeding guests' expectations, making it a unique attraction and a key determinant for their accommodation decisions. Pools have become more spectacular than ever, regardless of whether they are in tropical destinations or in busy business capitals. They not only have to look incredible; they have to have great views coupled with cutting edge technology. As said earlier, our pool is a mix of traditional and modern design blending in seamlessly with the overall architecture and design philosophy of the hotel. We have integrated highest level of technology to maintain the water temperature, keeping in view the comfort of our guests. The rooftop pool showcases some of the art forms, like the unique vertical garden with rare flora dressing one side of the pool and brass murals adoring the other side. It further 36

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provides the guests with an option to enjoy their cocktails and hors d'oeuvres while they rejuvenate in cabanas or soak in the sun. The swimming pool area is designed in a particular manner to create a peaceful, serene atmosphere to get away from the capital's bustling streets to a place of tranquillity and privacy. Our pool is designated on the rooftop of the hotel to entice the guests, making it a very exclusive experience. Surrounded by vertical garden and being open to sky, gives it a touch of natural environment, heightening the experience with an infinity appeal.

The Park Hotel, New Delhi Debjeet Banerjee, director-food & beverage Swimming pools make an integral part of any five star hotel. They don't just make an ideal space for the guests to relax or swim but allow them to rejuvenate as well. For getting a five star deluxe category, you need to have a swimming pool in the hotel, also it adds to the ambience of the hotel. There are many shapes of a pool like circle, rectangular and square but the most sought after shape is rectangular as it is considered the safest of

TAMIR KOBRIN GENERAL MANAGER, THE LEELA PALACE, NEW DELHI

Pools have become more spectacular than ever, regardless of whether they are in tropical destinations or in busy business capitals. They not only have to look incredible; they have to have great views coupled with cutting edge technology.


TRENDS Innovatively designed swimming pool at The Park, New Delhi

DEBJEET BANERJEE DIRECTOR - FOOD & BEVERAGE, THE PARK HOTEL, NEW DELHI

There are many shapes of a pool like circle, rectangular and square but the most sought after shape is rectangular. As per international guidelines, the pool tiles have to be in blue colour basically for safety.

all. As per international guidelines, the pool tiles have to be in blue colour (not dark) basically for safety feature. At The Park, New Delhi, we have a pool by our Alfresco restaurant and Aqua Bar which is known for its cosy and chic ambience. The wooden deck, cabanas and orbit chairs give it a very serene look. Aqua pool parties also known as ‘Aqua Summers’ are very popular in the city. We organise these parties every Sunday from 3 pm onwards. The theme is done up on the lines of beach with thatch bars etc. There is great music, pool games and food. Other than these signature parties, Aqua is a preferred location for fashion shows and various other theme events. Maintenance makes sure that the swimming pools remain in top condition for a long time to come. It’s a mandate to maintain 5ppm value of chlorine for the pool, there is a daily suction sweeping, swimming pool circulation and yearly maintenance like changing tiles. Chlorine TCC-90 is used for health and safety purpose. The Park is an ISO certified hotel and maintenance of swimming pool is an essential part of ISO 22000 and 14000. The Park Hotels are known for their style and boutique concepts all across the group. We design modern and chic concept unlike

any conventional five star hotel. We have always believed in leadership through differentiation and that's why we are there. A perfect example is that we have a residential DJ seven days a week next to our pool, who pumps some funky house music towards evening. The pool at The Park is open for in-house guests as well as for people who have taken the pool or spa membership. On weekends, the pool is open for the outside guests for pool parties, but at the same time, rights of admission are reserved, and you have to have a prior reservation for Aqua.

Designer Group Khozema Chitalwala, principal architect Today the traveller is health conscious, especially the international traveller, thus swimming pools nowadays are an integral part of the hospitality sector. However, if space is available, a swimming pool is made as per the design brief. With space being a constraint in smaller buildings, pools are located on the terrace. In their briefs to architects, developers include the provision of one and in case of larger properties; even up to three pools are included. August 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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TRENDS

The infinity pool at Royal Orchid Central, Pune

KHOZEMA CHITALWALA PRINCIPAL ARCHITECT, DESIGNER GROUP

Talking of designs, pools can be geometric or organic depending on location, size and space. Most of the city hotel pools are placed at the podium or the terrace level, hence the size is limited.

AKSHAY KULKARNI REGIONAL DIRECTOR-HOSPITALITY, SOUTH AND SOUTH EAST ASIA, CUSHMAN & WAKEFIELD

Innovative things can be done to increase the utility of the swimming pools, like organising pool parties which could vary from a simple pool party to the one organised on a floating stage or Sunday brunches. 38

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Almost every hotel from two-star level upwards boasts of a pool. In fact, swimming pools have now become an essential part of every development – residential, hospitality and even offices or institutions. Talking of designs, pools can be geometric or organic depending on location, size and space. Most of the city hotel pools are placed at the podium or the terrace level, hence the size is limited. Most are planned to be infinite pools so as to create a different experience for the guest. Average size of a pool is 100 to 150 square feet. It could be larger depending upon category and area available. Most pools in resort hotels are expected to be larger as it becomes more of leisure than exercise or health. There pools can be elaborated with artificial waterfalls, fountains, splash pads, wave machine, Jacuzzis, spa whirlpool, varying depths of water bridges or the island bar. A pool can be built either above or in the ground and with materials such as metal, plastic, fibre glass or concrete. Though an architect may design a beautiful pool, it is up to the swimming pool construction specialist to execute it well and provide users with relative maintenance-free amenity for recreation or exercise. In the hospitality sector, swimming pools are of course well used. But in smaller Indian hotel brands, largely, one adds a swimming pool to brief as it is a mandatory element in the star classification guidelines. Sometimes, even a small pool is made, which otherwise may not be sufficient for proper exercise or recreation. And since it is indeed not even used very much, a small pool can be justified. Most of indoor pools in India are with temperature control equipment. For example, Fariyas, a leisure hotel in Lonavala has both indoor and outdoor pools with temperature control equipment.

Cushman & Wakefield Akshay Kulkarni, regional director-Hospitality, South and South East Asia Swimming pools are an integral part of hotels. However, its importance depends on the category and price point that is being targeted, as well as the micro market one is operating in. The pool colours should ideally be blue or green but depending on water clarity one could use other colours to create motifs, design or inlays. As far as the shape is concerned, it is largely driven by space availability and also the target market. I would say that most business hotels would have rectangular straight forward pools or infinity pools. Whereas if one goes into resorts then there would ideally be a main pool area where some serious swimming can be done and then there would be peripheral water bodies in various shapes and sizes for relaxation. Various innovative things can be done to increase the utility of the swimming pools, like organising pool parties which could vary from a simple pool party to the one organised on a floating stage or Sunday brunches. Lastly, I don't think that most of the hotels in India will be too keen to go in for hot water pools in winters as the hotels abroad because most locations in India don't really have harsh winters. However, this has to be driven by usage and it is expensive to have a heated pool. So if there is no real usage or market then it doesn't make sense to have these kinds of pools. Also most heated pools would need to be indoors and that would amount to calculation of usable FSI (floor space index) which from a revenue perspective would be better used for higher revenue generating areas. â–  by VASUJIT KALIA


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HR TRENDS

Bringing back that energetic work environment to your hotel Ever wondered what creates motivated, contributing workplace? How do you maintain high employee morale when people work long hours? How does your reward and recognition system contribute to or deflate employee motivation, positive morale and retention? We at Hotelscapes try to look for the answers...

I SUDEEP JAIN EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, JONES LANG LASALLE HOTELS (INDIA)

Motivation is everything. One person can do the work of two people, but he or she can't be two people. Instead, one has to inspire others down the line and get them to inspire their people to perform. 40

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n today’s turbulent, often chaotic environment, commercial success depends on employees using their full talent. And to make the best use of their talent and hard work, it is important that they remain motivated because, the way your employees feel about their job and their workplace determines how motivated they are. There is a clear link between job satisfaction and productivity. Motivation is an employee’s intrinsic enthusiasm about the drive to accomplish activities at work. Every employee has some aspect of his or her life that he or she finds motivating. The trick for employers is to figure out how to inspire employee motivation at work. Employees need motivation at all points of time and the people working in the hospitality sector are no different. You should

appreciate the fact that employees in the hospitality sector work under stressful atmosphere. At times working hours can be long, boring and mentally demanding. Speaking on the importance of employee motivation in the hospitality sector, Sudeep Jain, executive vice president, Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels (India) says, “Employee motivation is extremely important in any industry. This is especially so in the high-stress field of hospitality, which often entails long hours and odd work timings. It is generally understood that motivated employees equal satisfied customers, which in turn generates customer loyalty and leads to bigger profits. The shareholders will then benefit through the company’s success. It is a fairly straightforward equation which none but the most amateurish hospitality outfits overlook.” Abhijeet Umathe, senior manager (hos-


HR TRENDS pitality and leisure), Kinght Frank (India) echoes similar sentiments when he says, “Motivated employees are the key to any successful business especially so in the service and hospitality industry where direct client interfaces happens at many levels, multiple times a day creating several moments of truth. For example, you might build the most expensive hotel in the world with the best of interiors, infrastructure, at the best location with the most luxurious amenities, cuisine and services, market it really well and the sales team does a good job of getting the customers in; but what good is all this if the doorman does not smile at the customer as she walks in? All the effort preceding the last moment of truth comes to naught." Param Kannampilly, chairman and managing director, Concept Hospitality, says motivated employees act as the brand ambassadors and hence their motivation is important. “Since hotel team members interact with our guest directly and our least paid team member can meet and interact on a one on one level with our highest paying guest, it is very important that all team members are motivated and act as our ambassadors,” says Kannampilly. Manas Krishnamoorthy, executive assistant manager, The Imperial New Delhi, says motivation is as important as is air to a car tyre. “While it is seldom seen as a critical part to the machinery, the effects of ‘just right’ or ‘too little’ is for everyone to see. It can make the organisation move forward at stellar speed, or can completely bring it to a grinding halt. The focal point of hospitality is that we are in the business of selling experiences. And these emanate from person-to-person interactions, what we popularly refer to as 'moments of truth’. Many, if not all these interactions with our customers cannot be monitored by management piecemeal. To impact the quality of these experiences we are selling, our endeavour, necessarily, has to do with injecting the culture of the company with motivation amongst employees at all levels,” says Krishnamoorthy. All the employees like to be encouraged and motivated. The need and type of motivation differs from position-to-position and person-to-person. Generally we can divide motivation into two type’s monetary and non-monetary incentives. Non monetary incentives generally comprise appreciation, awards and trips to name a few and the mon-

etary as the name suggests is related to the money like hikes or perks etc. Krishnamoorthy says that both monetary and non-monetary motivators play an important role in motivating an employee. “A balanced diet of both monetary and non-monetary motivators is really the key here. An employee may join for the brand value of the organisation, but stays and blooms from the culture and quality of his work life," opines Krishnamoorthy. Echoing similar sentiments is Mahender Singh, HR manager, Radisson Blu Hotel, Greater Noida when he says, “Both monetary and non monetary motivation go hand in hand for employees’ motivation to work. The absence of any one may lead to diminishing of interest at work and also doesn't reflect a good work culture. In hotel industry specially, we focus a lot on monetary rewards as the employees on an average are in the younger age group who look forward to and get encouraged by monetary increments, whether it is a small hike or a big one, it keeps them hooked to their work. Besides, we even try to motivate employees through some non monetary benefits like recognition and performance certificates which satisfy their esteem and recognition needs.” Kannampilly emphasises employers should do the following things to motive their employees, “They should ensure that the team member is adequately trained for the job he or she has to perform. The infrastructure required in the back of the house and the equipment required should be well planed and adequate, the systems and procedures installed in a hotel should not hamper a team member in performing their duties and lastly the team member should be empowered to carry out their function." Going on further, Kannampilly spelt out the need for both the monetary and nonmonetary benefits in motivating the employee. "Both play an important role in motivating employees and an employer to ensure that employees are paid well and on time, the general manager and the human resource department should ensure that welfare programmes are properly implemented.” However Umathe differs from Kannampilly and says, “It is a myth that employers can motivate the employees, employers can hire people with the right attitude and at best create an environment that is fair, just, professional and empower people to do what they do best every day. Everybody

ABHIJEET UMATHE SENIOR MANAGER (HOSPITALITY AND LEISURE), KINGHT FRANK (INDIA)

It is a myth that employers can motivate the employees, employers can hire people with the right attitude and at best create an environment that is fair, just, professional and empower people to do what they do best every day.

PARAM KANNAMPILLY CHAIRMAN AND MANAGING DIRECTOR, CONCEPT HOSPITALITY

Since hotel team members interact with our guest directly and our least paid team member can meet and interact on a one on one level with our highest paying guest, it is very important that all team members are motivated. August 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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HR TRENDS

MANAS KRISHNAMOORTHY EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT MANAGER, THE IMPERIAL, NEW DELHI

While it is seldom seen as a critical part to the machinery, the effects of ‘just right’ or ‘too little’ is for everyone to see. It can make the organisation move forward at stellar speed, or can completely bring it to a grinding halt.

MAHENDER SINGH HR MANAGER, RADISSON BLU HOTEL, GREATER NOIDA

In hotel industry specially, we focus a lot on monetary rewards as the employees on an average are in the younger age group who look forward to and get encouraged by monetary increments, whether it is a small hike or a big one. 42

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comes to work to do a good job. De motivation occurs due to expectation mismatch." Umathe says monetary benefits play an important role in motivating the employees but only momentarily. "Beyond covering the basics for a particular, post money is at best a hygiene factor any increase in remuneration or position just serves momentarily to motivate the employee. Most employees quit their manager and not their organisation. In a market that allows the free flow of labour everyone finds their proper level sooner or later. Thereafter it is the ethics, long term stability and growth, people investments etc that work towards employee retention,” adds Umathe.

Applying theories: To help hospitality firms help motivate their employees, several motivation theories have been developed over a period of time. Some of the important motivational theories are: ● Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs ● Herzberg’s two factor theory of motivation ● MgGergor’s theory X and theory Y Krishnamoorthy opines that most of these theories are employed for employee motivation. However, MgGergor’s theory X has become archaic decades ago in most of the industries including the hotels. “While in most industries today, McGregor’s theorised ‘X’ style became archaic decades ago as a viable style of management, I firmly believe that this never had a place in the sun ever in hospitality. Hospitality has always been about warmth, sensitivity and fostering delight in customers and there is never space for the whip. To start with the frame of mind that employees are good and self-motivated to begin with, is a good first step for management, as it makes it easier to mould the human face (in our case, the entire face) of the organisation to echo the organisational ethos. And we reinforce this belief by constantly training and engaging employees. For this approach to work, the management’s belief in and commitment to the ‘Y’ style is primal.” Going on further, Krishnamoorthy adds, “As regards Maslow’s hierarchy, the base levels are pretty basic to any organisation. Else, why would an employee work there to begin with, if his or her physiological needs from an employment perspective are not met? Our endeavour towards helping our team to achieve the higher planes are what we strive to achieve. To quote some examples, at The

Imperial, framed photographs of employees who have walked the extra mile feature on the ‘Wall of Fame’. Every new employee is assigned a ‘Buddy’ within his department. These buddies act as the chaperons and coaches to the employees, not just showing the ropes, but also initiating professional relationships with peers from across the hotel. On a ‘self-actualisation’ plane, the organisation devotes time and money to training and teaching holistic aspects such as pranic healing and transcendental meditation, invests in activities like clean up drives in the city, involvement with cancer patients, support to stray animals, and the like. CSR initiatives of the organisation transcend, with this involvement of employees, into personal missions and callings, helping the people who work with us realise their place in the sun, beyond work and home, onto society.” Speaking on the importance of these motivational theories Kannampillay says, “All these theories are very much required; a team member should feel secure, wanted and have a proper direction, they require proper feedback, given to them on a timely basis. Employees who are motivated definitely perform better where as unhappy team members, who are de-motivated, will ensure that the hotel will lose business.”

Motivation and work productivity Almost everyone seems to agree that a motivated employee is more productive. The end result is that there is an increase in the business of the hotel. “Motivation is everything. One person can do the work of two people, but he or she can’t be two people. Instead, one has to inspire others down the line and get them to inspire their people to perform,” says Jain. Summing it up, Singh says, “Motivated employees experience a higher level of job satisfaction, which leads to improved job performance. Even a mere appreciation by the bosses, result in motivation and better output at the work field. Employees who are motivated believe that they play an important role within the organisation. The sense of empowerment alone can be a motivator when employees feel their work directly contributes to the overall company vision.” Lastly, the difference in intensity and quality of the work by a motivated employee will be noticed by one and all. ■ by VASUJIT KALIA


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IN FOCUS

THE MICE BUSINESS: South Mumbai stakes its claim The Oberoi, Mumbai is just five km from the World Trade Centre, less than one km from the Mantralaya (administrative headquarters of Maharashtra), a mere five km from the residence of the Governor of Maharashtra, a road apart from the NCPA, and at the heart, rather the beginning (or, is it the end) of the famed Pearl’s Necklace, the formidable stretch that curls along the coastline, upto the Governor’s residence, with Nariman Point at the other end. This is the ‘real’ Mumbai, close by to Churchgate, The Fort area, and within a short drive from other famed landmarks like Kala Ghoda, the Bombay Museum, Colaba and Gateway of India. This is the picture postcard Mumbai, for whatever the city has to offer in terms of history, all within a small geographical area. The real Mumbai breathes here, and there is no getting away from the truth that the touristic Mumbai is enshrined in this area – your visit to the city is never complete without this essential pilgrimage! Along with the other legendary hotel, The Taj Mahal, these two iconic hotels of South Mumbai have over 1,500 rooms and suites to offer amongst them. Combine these rooms with some half a dozen other 5-star and 4-star hotels, and you have a great nucleus for conferences and conventions in South Mumbai. All within the heart of quintessential Mumbai. 44

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IN FOCUS

MICE Business: Oberoi Mumbai, the last word in bespoke luxury

A

recent stay at The Oberoi brought us face to face with the familiar 14-level atrium lobby, with its understated opulence in pure white, both walls and flooring, so fresh and inviting, and yet soothing and cheerful. The 287 guestrooms including 73 suites, all redone after the 26/11 disaster, after which the hotel remained closed for over six months. The temptation may have been to go for a new look, but not here at The Oberoi. The atrium is just the same, only more heightened with its own elements. The latest technology has been put into place, the contemporary feel is in keeping with the times. The original hotel opened 25 years ago, and the design remains just as fresh, a tribute to a classic design, meant to last forever! Some outstanding experiences stand out from this last visit – frequent visitors will recall The Oberoi has its own lobby, a small porch entrance. This is the lower lobby, that takes you to the main lobby level, through a dedicated elevator – the hotel elevators are separate. Every morning, hotel guests make a bee-line to the adjoining Marine Drive walking area, in itself another memorable experience of being in Mumbai, a morning stroll on Marine Drive. Well dressed locals, of all age groups, converge for their morning walk and share their paces with you. When an Oberoi guest returns from his walk, and is entering the porch area, the darban is ready with a chilled water bottle, and towel, with the hotel’s compliments. I tried this over three mornings, and everyday was the same. Every guest room has its own dedicated butler. You are self introduced to him. The call button is located in two well thought out points, one next to the bed, and the other at the sofa seating – the butler never took more than five minutes to attend. The institution of the butler encompasses an exceptionally comprehensive range of services, not for VIP guests alone but for all guests at the hotel. The hallmark Oberoi service is accentuated with refined design details and meticulous appointments. The hotel remains uncluttered, even unspoilt, the last word in bespoke luxury both in the rooms as well as in public areas. August 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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IN FOCUS

MICE Business: The NCPA promise

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t the tip of Nariman Point, just a road to divide it from The Oberoi Hotel, is the prestigious NCPA complex, that gives the cutting edge to South Mumbai. The National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA), a public charitable trust, spread over 6.5 acres of prime land, is widely recognised and respected for its commitment to preserving and promoting India’s traditional arts as well as more newer modern works. Divided into five auditoriums, a photographic gallery, extensive archives and numerous gardens and reception spaces, the NCPA offers specially designed venues for the MICE market. Largely, so far, the venue is being used for the performing arts , but the utility is unlimited. In later August this year, the national body of Indian Tour Operators (IATO), is holding their annual convention at NCPA. Rashmi Dhanwani, manager - PR & corporate communications, NCPA explains that “these versatile spaces can be adapted for a huge variety of events, creating dynamic performance spaces or an inspirational setting for presentations, receptions, seminars and teaching.” Established in 1969, the NCPA was the first multivenue, multi-purpose cultural centre to be built in South Asia. Today, it sees over 500 programmes and

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events annually across all major art platforms – Indian music, international classical music, dance, film and theatre and photography. The NCPA formed The Symphony Orchestra of India (SOI) in 2006, India’s first fully professional symphony orchestra, producing two concerts annually. Dhanwani explains that the centre offers amongst the best equipment and technical facilities available in the country and is equipped to organise large scale and complex productions. It also boasts of a choice of four outdoor venues and gardens with a capacity ranging from 60 to 1000 which are often used for companion dinners and receptions with the main events. NCPA has a car park facility for 100 cars. There is a pay and park available close by on Marine Drive and Nariman Point. There are two restaurants – a café and Amedeus, a Spanish and Eastern Mediterranean restaurant open for lunch and dinner. They have also tied up with a few caterers to pick from for events. Dhanwani points out that the cost involved varies depending on the venue booked and whether the show is an exclusive event or an NCPA collaborated event. It also facilitates and guides organisers with regard to procuring the prerequisite licenses and permissions. ■ by PRIYAANKA BERRY


GUEST COLUMN

FRANCHISING A HOTEL IN DIFFICULT TIMES Hotel owners and developers can gain immense exposure and build their brand by associating with international hotel chains, in the current economic turmoil, says Sudhir Sinha.

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hese are tough times for economies all across the globe, yet the primordial urge of humans to travel, combined with the economic imperatives of multinational corporations having their operations/sales across various geographies, keep the tourism economy chugging along. India has been particularly benefited due to both these factors, what with the Incredible India campaign and the affiliated tourism campaigns of states like Kerala, Goa, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and many others, attracting the leisure travelers. On the other hand, the increasing integration of India in the global economy, through various Free Trade Agreements and similar trade pacts, as well as increasing two way commerce, is also driving the volumes as far as corporate travel is concerned. In such challenging and turbulent macroeconomic environment, the well travelled domestic and international guests prefer to choose the comfort, security and benefits of staying in an international hotel brand vis-àvis standalone or non-chain properties. Even as guests budgets have increased over a period of time, their propensity to stay in branded hotels has also shown similar uptrend. International hotel chains like ours are ideally positioned to provide hotel owners and developers the comfort of providing exposure to provide for the franchisee hotel and its global clientele with their strong international branding, marketing and reservation support. With an acre of land, hotel owners can develop about a 60 room property, with an

The only way to beat this scenario is for hotels to tie-up with an international brand, which provides a competitive fee structure in the industry while allowing the hotel to raise the guest profile and ARRs (average room rates) by attracting international travelers, who have more spending power.

investment of just about Rs 15 crore which is well within the means of many first time promoters and investors in the hotel industry, allowing them to recover their investments in a short span of 6-7 years. And during challenging economic environment such assurance is most sought after by new investors. For existing hotel owners, on the other hand, a tough market is a double whammy of sorts, as the revenues of the hotel whittle down while the material, manpower and interest costs go up. The only way to beat this scenario is for them to tie-up with an international brand, which provides a competitive fee structure in the industry while allowing the hotel to raise the guest profile and ARRs (average room rates) by attracting international travelers, who have more spending power. We have actually seen this happening with many of the properties that came to us after having been in operation for past many years and when they eventually joined they saw about 30-40 per cent increase in ARRs as well as growth in their occupancy. The owners were startled with the returns they derived from coming under the chain and many of them have in turn been recommending joining an international hotel brand to many of their partners, associates and others in their professional or social circles who were entering into the hotel industry as promoters/developers. Life is tough for hotels in the midst of the current economic turmoil yet associating with international hotel brands is the best insurance for hotel owners/developers to beat this downturn. ■ The author is President and COO, Best Western India August 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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DESTINATION

Lessons in boutique hotels from Puducherry

A guide to creativity and unique properties

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f you grab a short cat nap on the East Coast Road that runs from Chennai along Tamil Nadu’s coastline there’s a good chance you might actually drive past Puducherry without a glimpse. For a union territory that is under 500 sq km large, Puducherry has a great deal on offer. The Union territory is actually spread over four locations – Karaikal that is about 130 kms south of Puducherry town, Mahe in North Kerala and Yanam in coastal Andhra Pradesh. All erstwhile French colonies that became one entity and joined the Indian union in 1954 retaining French as the official language! Puducherry has always been the ‘go to’ destination for Chennaites who need a quick weekend break or a Sunday getaway. It’s just a three-hour drive down one of India’s most scenic coastal highways (The East Coast Road or ECR). This toll road pushed tourism in Puducherry and put it on the national radar in the last decade. The other factor that played a big role in Puducherry’s rise as a niche destination is the presence of quaint hotels that capture the essence of Puducherry’s French connection. The striking French influence lives on in the capital’s Ville Blanche (White Town), Puducherry’s French quarter with its unique grid like pattern, full of fine examples of French colonial architecture. It’s what earned Puducherry the sobriquet – The French Riviera of the East (La Cote d’Azur de l’Est). Puducherry is also home to the Aurobindo Ashram that draws visitors from the world over. The experimental universal township Auroville is located just 12 km away. Founded in 1968 and designed by architect Roger Anger it was conceived by the Aurobindo Society to promote human unity and today boasts of residents from over 40 nationalities. Matrimandir a spherical structure surrounded by 12 pedestals is Auroville’s best known landmark that took nearly 37 years to build. Often referred to as the soul of Auroville, this magnificent structure is open to the public. Puducherry’s old town is divided into two quarters – the French Quarter (Ville Blanche or ‘White Town’) and the Indian quarter (Ville Noire or ‘Black Town’). White Town’s grid like pattern showcases some awe-inspiring French Colonial architecture that has been painstakingly preserved thanks to conservation efforts. It’s an area teeming with visitors from all over the world checking out old-world restaurants, local shopping, or enjoying a quiet moment at the Ashram. It’s within the perpendicular streets of this neatly laid grid that some old colonial villas have transformed into eclectic boutique hotels; their old-world, charm intact.

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DESTINATION Coloured in a heavy French influence, Puducherry has all the ingredients for a perfect holiday. It has also a rare collection of hand-picked eclectic hotels that transport you to another time and place in the heart of Puducherry’s White Town. Here, hoteliering is being perfected into a fine art. Read on to find out more.

An outdoor conference setup in the courtyard, Hotel de L’Orient

Hotel de L’Orient

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ne of Neemrana’s finest ‘non- hotel’ hotels, de L’Orient was one of the first boutique hotels in Puducherry and smacks of character. Neemrana acquired this 1760s French mansion and restored it to capture its old glory from a near dilapidated state. This ‘non-hotel’ has 14 rooms and two deluxe suites that have all been named after former French possessions and Indian ‘factories’ like Masulipatam, Surat, Calicut and Balassore or larger French territories like Mahe and Karaikal. Each of the rooms features period furniture and rare artefacts with every room having at least one object that symbolises the region in which the French-occupied town was in. The central courtyard which is a signature design element of most French Colonial homes of the period doubles up as the hotel’s dining area and when you are in Puducherry, authentic French cuisine is a given.

Le Dupleix

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f it was good enough for French Mayor of Puducherry it ought to be good enough for your next holiday. This historic residence is a great example of period French architecture that has been tastefully redecorated with a hint of Tamil design influences. There is a sprinkling of contemporary design elements that seamlessly blend with four poster beds and old world flooring patterns. The 14-room hotel managed by the Sarovar group has a gourmet al-fresco August 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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The pool at Dune Eco Village Resort and Spa

tures 30 aesthetic villas and 20 rooms where traditional architecture, modern design and kitsch converge. The resort features a 700 metre beach front, a large swimming pool and two restaurants that serve gourmet fusion food with organic ingredients. The Paradise Spa offers ayurvedic treatments, yoga and alternative therapies like Watsu. The Dune is a hub for artists in residence, a programme providing work studios for artists from all around the world and you can see some of that reflected in the themes and décor of the rooms and villas.

Hotel du Parc

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ocated in a slightly busy part of White Town and yet tucked away, this is one more villa with a historic past that dates back over two centuries that has been converted into a hotel. Villa Selvom also served as a former residence of French governors including Dupleix. The hotel’s yellow and pastel turquoise colour scheme has been inspired from the provence region in the South of France and the design language speaks in classical and contemporary tones with local elements like cane and pottery. The hotel is conveniently located within easy access to the Sunday market and the scenic beach boulevard.

Courtyard restaurant, Le Dupleix

restaurant that serves Indian, Continental and Classical French cuisine while the Governor’s Lounge is easily one of Puducherry’s cosiest watering holes.

Dune Eco Village Resort and Spa

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t’s not in White Town and it’s not a historic building but for its outstanding experience factor, Dune walks into our list. It’s a 35-acre eco-friendly beach hotel that is on the East Coast road enroute to Puducherry and fea50

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Promenade

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or sheer location this hotel is unbeatable. It is located right in the centre of Puducherry’s beach boulevard and offers stunning ocean views. Classical French and contemporary lines intermingle and the white exteriors compliment the historic lighthouse located next door. This five star retreat is managed by the Sarovar group and offers a nice mix of food and beverage options including the open to sky lighthouse that serves a wide selection of grills and barbeques and is a perfect setting for a romantic dinner rendezvous. There’s also a tranquil lounge bar Risque with an impressive wine and beverage list.


One of Puducherry’s newest beach resorts, Le Pondy

Le Pondy

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ne of Puducherry’s newest luxury beach resorts, Le Pondy is spread over 14 acres and offers a choice of 70 well-appointed rooms including 16 luxury villas. It’s away from white town but it offers picturesque lake and ocean views and a host of dining options including a poolside barbeque, a bar by the beach and a private dining gazebo. There’s an ayurveda centre, infinity pool and a spa and a host of activities including water sports at the hotel’s private beach that make it an ideal family holiday destination.

The swimming pool at Promenade

Maison Perumal

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uite a few visitors to Puducherry don’t go beyond its French Quarter but there’s another world waiting to be explored in the old Tamil quarter. Maison Perumal is a tribute to this part of Puducherry where a unique parallel culture existed. An old building in the Tamil quarter was carefully restored to become Maison Perumal and the hotel’s minimalist interiors echo Tamil Nadu’s conservative culture with its less-is-more philosophy. Managed by CGH Earth the hotel is full of Franco-Tamil elements like the white local plaster that is offset by stained glass. The hotel serves a nice blend of local and international cuisine with a distinctive French touch and impeccable service.

The Richmond

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ocated on Labourdonnais Street in the French Quarter and walking distance from a clutch of fine restaurants and the shopping district is a three star hotel that is housed in a historic building. The interiors are largely contemporary and strike a contrast with the classical French yellow and green exteriors. The hotel has 14 rooms and an all-day diner and is a great value for money option if you are planning to spend most of your time outdoors.

Hotel du Parc

Villa Bayoud

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ne of the few heritage buildings located on Puducherry’s beach boulevard that has been converted into a boutique hotel, Villa Bayoud features 10 rooms including deluxe suites that offer spectacular views of the promenade and the sea. The rooms feature period furniture and a smattering of local art and antiques but the hotel’s location is its biggest calling card. ■ by ASHWIN RAJ AGOPALAN

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ECO PRACTICES

Turn over a new leaf with green banqueting. Whether it's a conference, jubilee or festivity, give it an unbeatable sheen with a caring dose of green.

Green banqueting: ITC Hotels show the way

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he earth has nurtured human life for thousands of centuries. In this most urgent of times, it becomes our duty to step up our efforts to restore and give back to the natural environment. Over the years, ITC Hotels has been recognised for its unstinting commitment to realising a greener and more sustainable environment. The intent of developing a green banquet design (GBD) is to try and address the issue of waste at different events such as conferences, weddings and board meetings. With the collective effort of guests, the use of unnecessary material can be eliminated or minimised. Additionally, used material may be recycled or de manufactured into value added products. Green banqueting is about taking every possible step to reduce your carbon footprint when arranging a conference, event or reception. From deciding on a venue, to selecting stationery, name tags and mementoes, with a little extra care, not only will you ensure a more environmentally sensitive event, you will also be spreading the green message, while reducing energy consumption and making significant cost savings. ITC has been working with stakeholders to address collective obligations towards nurturing the environment through responsible initiatives. From rainwater harvesting to turning kitchen waste to compost, ITC Hotels has been working to bring about beneficial changes in the conduct of its business by attempting to revise everyday activities to reduce their strain on the environment.

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Green receptions and jubilees This is a chance to give far-reaching, long-lasting green credentials to memorable events such as wedding receptions, jubilees, festive celebrations or re-unions. With green banquets the message of sustainability is woven into the celebration of landmarks and milestones.

Ideal venue Choose venues that are known to observe best environmental practices and focus on places which are in close proximity to, or better still, located in the same place as the hotel and the reception venue. This minimises the transportation carbon footprint.

Paperless invites Send out e-invites instead of paper invitations. Paper is made from wood pulp and therefore must be used judiciously and only where and when it is essential.

Mementoes If giveaways are planned, then consider organic gifts – innovative green gifts that tie in with the subject of the conference leave a lasting impression. The market for such products is well-developed and it is easy to find items made of bio-composites and plant fibers such as jute, coconut husks, bamboo and hemp.

Pony tumblers Serve water in mini-sized tumblers to reduce wastage of drinking water. Often guests help themselves only to a few sips of water served in regular sized tumblers. The remaining precious potable water is then disposed off. The

Jacaranda ITC Gardenia, Bengaluru


ECO PRACTICES

At conferences, use halls that have access to daylight. This saves electricity consumption and helps reduce your carbon footprint. Natural light is also good from the health perspective. use of pony tumblers reduces the volume of such wastage.

Bus it Guests can be brought to the venue from identified points in the city by bus. This will help reduce the carbon footprint, traffic congestion and the strain on the city infrastructure.

Conference material Place writing pads on a common side table instead of putting them before each participant. Not everyone makes use of the notepad and very often many notepads are wasted with doodling: by placing notepads on a side table, they become an option rather than pages that need to be filled up.

Eco-printing Sensitive gifts Put in a message to guests to desist from wasteful gifts and instead make contributions to identified NGOs that work in areas such as education, environment related issues and recycling.

Green menu Ensure that the food you serve is organic and locally produced to minimise your food carbon footprint and also encourage healthy eating. Organic food is largely chemical-free and richer in minerals, vitamins and nutrients compared to food that has been mass-produced. Also rather than providing bottled water, leave the option to guests to fill up as and when needed.

Green conferences, meetings, symposiums Open your conferences to the world of green banquets with simple arrangements that let in the fresh mood of green. Here are a few pointers to set you on your way to greener meetings:

As far as possible, use ‘good on one side’ (GOOS) paper for printing or photocopying. Though it may be apparently more convenient to take printouts that carry print only on one side of a sheet, you should always look at the possibility of using the blank side for future prints or photocopying requirements. To whatever extent possible, ensure that paper is recycled and vegetablebased inks are used.

Daylight At conferences, use halls that have access to daylight. This saves electricity consumption and helps reduce your carbon footprint. Natural light is also good from the health perspective.

Name tags Avoid plastic name tags; plastic is non-biodegradable and its manufacture results in significant carbon emissions. Encourage participants to return tags after events so that they can be recycled for future usage.

Central location Try to hold the conference or meeting at a location that is easily accessible for most participants. It would be preferable if the identified city is well served by mass transportation systems. This reduces traffic congestion and carbon emissions.

Encourage confirmations

Online information

Dress code

Participant material relating to presentations made by speakers should be made available online. All participants can access the same without the need for individual printouts. Put the conference's environmental policy online as well.

At conferences organisers can suggest that participants dispense with coat and tie, allowing the hotel to raise air conditioning settings to 26 degree c, thus saving energy. Champion the environment with green banqueting. â– 

Participants must be asked to confirm their presence at arranged meals in advance. This reduces food wastage at conferences. Reusable rather than disposable dishware, cutlery and linen should be used at meals.

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EVENTS & HAPPENINGS

Taj Travel Awards celebrate excellence in travel trade

d with his awar Tours poses an ny Ba r, na, owne Jamshyd Seth

Vikram Madho k, MD, Aber crombie & Ke nt India rece ives his awar d

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receives his award Le Passage to India Arjun Sharma, MD,

Group with es and marketing, Taj ior vice president, sal sen , rris Ha ra Mis Travels Deepa and South Asia, Sita Dipak Deva, COO-India

h their award ner Holidays pose wit ir Uberoi from Desig Sarvin Warden & Sam 54

HOTELSCAPES August 2012

aj group recently organised the Taj Travel Awards to applaud, reward and celebrate excellence of its travel trade partners, at Taj Palace Hotel, New Delhi. RH Khwaja, secretary, Ministry of Tourism was the chief guest for the evening. The award ceremony which was instituted two years back is aimed to recognise the destination management consultants for their significant contribution to the Taj Group and their support to promote Taj hotels in India. Eminent people from the trade enjoyed a splendid evening hosted by Deepa Misra Harris, senior vice president, sales and marketing, Taj Group. Renowned singer, composer and actor Manasi Scott enthralled the audience with her electrifying performance. This was followed by a performance by India’s famous classical Sufi singer Zila Khan. The celebrity band, The Other People from Mumbai also performed during the evening. Harris said, “the endless efforts of our trade partners and their dedicated commitment to the brand has unstintingly supported our efforts in positioning India as a preferred destination amongst an audience looking for service delivered in the renowned Taj style. This evening is a platform to express our gratitude for their relentless support.” Some of the eminent trade partners who walked away with the honours included Vikram Madhok, MD, Abercrombie & Kent India, Jamshyd Sethna, owner, Banyan Tours, Sarvin Warden, president, Designer Holidays, Arjun Sharma, MD, Le Passage to India and Dipak Deva, COO-India and South Asia, Sita Travels. ■ by VASUJIT KALIA


AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Jaypee Hotels win the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award 2012

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aypee Palace Hotel and Convention Centre, Agra and Jaypee Residency Manor, Mussorie were bestowed with the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award 2012. The Certificate of Excellence Awards is a testimonial to the high standards maintained at all Jaypee properties across India. Recognising the power of traveller feedback, Jaypee Hotels is proud to receive this recognition for Jaypee Palace Hotel & Convention Centre Agra and Jaypee Residency Manor, on the basis of exceptional traveller ratings last year. The Certificate of Excellence awards corporates that consistently earn top ratings from TripAdvisor travellers across the globe. With a rating of four out of five, both the hotels have earned a place amongst one of the best. Expressing her happiness at this winning moment, Manju Sharma, director, Jaypee Hotels said, “We are very happy with this honour being bestowed upon us. These hotels have set a distinguished position in the category of best quality hotels and we promise to keep the momentum alive while maintaining consistent high standards of service. We express our gratitude and thank the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Awards 2012 for recognising our efforts at such a celebrated platform.” ■

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People Dusit Devarana New Delhi Mahema Bhutia has been appointed, director of sales and marketing for Dusit Devarana New Delhi, the first hotel to appear under the nascent Dusit Devarana brand. Dusit Bird Hotels Pvt. Ltd. is a joint venture between the Bird Group and Dusit International. Bhutia is responsible for the efficiency of sales and marketing department in terms of sales, profitability and image. She has 12 years of experience, including stints as director of sales and marketing for Hyatt Regency Pune, associate director of sales at Hyatt Regency Mumbai, senior sales manager for Marriott Executive Apartment and Renaissance Mumbai Hotel and Convention Centre; and manager of banquet sales for the Oberoi group in Mumbai.

Radisson Blu Hotel Jaipur Airport Atal Saran Bhargava has been appointed, director of sales and marketing, Radisson Blu Hotel, Jaipur Airport. An alumnus of IHM Mumbai, Bhargava has an experience of over 17 years, 14 years in the hospitality industry and four years in telecom postpaid business. His experience ranges from corporates, FIT, MICE and travel trade to online business. In the past, Bhargava has worked with Ramada Jaipur, Sarovar Hotels, Mansingh Group of Hotels and Reliance Communications. His new role will include planning and strategising marketing plans for the hotel.

The Leela Kempinski Gurgaon Col Anoop Vaid has been appointed as director of human resources at The Leela Kempinski Gurgaon. He has two decades of association with the Indian armed forces. His last assignment was with the Oberoi group in human resources. He is masters in defence and strategic studies, a post graduate in business administration from Symbiosis and has done a management course from MDI Gurgaon. In his current role, he will be responsible for all HR activities. 56

HOTELSCAPES August 2012

Hyatt Regency Mumbai Sanjeev Advani has been appointed director of sales and marketing, Hyatt Regency Mumbai. He has over 18 years of experience. An alumnus from HR College of Commerce & Economics, Advani started his career with Hotel Leela Venture, Mumbai in October 1992 and thereafter worked with Oberoi Group of Hotels and Resorts, Mumbai as assistant manager sales. He joined Grand Hyatt Mumbai in June 2007. He moved back to Oberoi group of hotels and resorts, as assistant VP sales - Southern India. He was promoted as the director of sales and marketing for Oberoi Group of Hotels and Resorts in Mumbai in July 2009.

WelcomHeritage Hotels Rimi Dutta has joined WelcomHeritage hotels as country head-sales. In her new role, she will be responsible for sales of the brand and creating awareness for WelcomHeritage Hotels. Dutta has nine years of experience. Prior to this, she was associated with Swissotel Hotels and Resorts. She has also worked with Ananda in the Himalayas, Ramada and The Leela. She pursued her MBA from Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management Gwalior.

The Leela Goa With over 15 years of operational management experience within The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts, Shridhar Nair has taken on the mantle of spearheading The Leela Goa as its general manager. He began his career with The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts as a management trainee in 1997 and worked in management capacities across the group’s Mumbai, Bangalore, Kovalam and Goa properties. His most recent position was that of resident manager at The Leela Goa. A double graduate in arts and hotel management from Mumbai University, and a post graduate in marketing management, Nair has attended various Cornell University programmes in the past.


People The Leela Mumbai Morton Johnston has been appointed as the general manager of The Leela Mumbai. Prior to this, Johnston was the general manager of The Leela Goa. British by birth, Johnston began his career at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in London. Subsequently, he joined The Chedi Muscat in Oman and The Ananti in North Korea. He has also worked at the Lanesborough in London and at The Regent, Taipei. Johnston holds a degree in retail and distribution management from the University of Ulster, Jordanstown, Belfast, UK.

Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Hyderabad Banjara Hills Sophia Sumitran has been appointed as executive assistant manager at Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Hyderabad Banjara Hills. She has an experience of over 18 years and possesses knowledge in the workings of front office, reservations, revenue management, housekeeping, laundry, engineering, IT, quality and standards, security, health club and spa, and landscaping in five star luxury properties. In her new position, she will drive the success of the hotel. Sumitran has been associated with international brands such as Starwood, Le Royal Meridien, Raffles, Marriott and Radisson. She played an integral role in the preopening of the Goa Marriott, Le Royal Meridien, The Arusha and now the flagship Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel in Hyderabad. Neha Mishra has been appointed as the marketing and communications manager by Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Hyderabad Banjara Hills. She is a business management graduate from Bangalore, with five plus years of experience in events management, sales and marketing. She started her career with an events management firm in Lucknow and moved to corporate sales with Amalgamated Bean Coffee Trading Company (Coffee Day Beverages), Bangalore. Her key strength is handling brand activation strategies along with extensive PR related initiatives.

The Westin Mumbai Garden City Mohit Kanwal has been appointed as director of sales at The Westin Mumbai Garden City. With over eight years of experience, Kanwal's prior assignment was with Trident BKC as sales manager. His previous work experience includes sales manager at The Oberoi Mumbai and Trident Nariman Point. Kanwal has studied at IHM, Mumbai and is a post graduate in business administration from SIES College of Management Studies. He enjoys photography is his free time.

Abhilash Kumar has been appointed as executive housekeeper at The Westin Mumbai Garden City. His prior appointments include executive housekeeper at The Westin Hyderabad Mindspace and assistant housekeeping manager at Marriott Hyderabad. Kumar has over seven years of experience. He completed his bachelor in hotel management from Regency College of Hotel Management and Catering Technology, Hyderabad. Travelling is amongst his passions.

Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel Chef James (Joo Kiang NG) has been appointed as the new Chinese executive chef at Emperor's Court, Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel. James joins the hotel from JW Marriott Bangkok where he was the Chinese executive chef for two years. Prior to joining Marriott Hotels, James has lent his expertise to hotels like Shangri-La Hotel, New Delhi and Beijing. James comes with 40 years of experience, mastering in Chinese cuisine. He also has great expertise in Taiwanese and Singaporean food. He has worked across the globe and has been responsible for opening many Marriott restaurants. August 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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Products… Gessi introduces iSpa collection Gessi has introduced iSpa collection which consists of a complete furnishing for a bathroom; spanning from faucets proposed in numerous high-tech models, bathroom accessories, sanitary ware and bathtubs. iSpa is inspired by an idea of extreme customisation of the modern bathroom, a place for an aesthetically and functionally rewarding experience representing the owner's personality. The salient feature of this collection is that it offers a complete bathroom; the pieces are rectangular, shaped with smooth rounded

corners. Gessi provides this collection as a complete coordinated bathroom collection where every piece matches the other. This collection boasts of having matching faucets which makes it user friendly. For more information contact: upasna@gessiindia.com or call 9810374919

Parathom range of LED lamps from Osram

Osram has introduced Parathom range of LED lamps. LED lamps are a replacement for classic filament or halogen lamps which are used in sectors like hotels, restaurants, spas, shops and leisure parks. Some of the product benefits include low energy consumption, long life up to 40,000 hours, beam angle of 36 degree and 24 degree, shockproof and vibration-proof, no UV and near-IR radiation in the light beam and mercury-free lamps. The range is available at prominent retail outlets across the country and the price varies between Rs 1000-1800. For more information contact: sachin.gaur@osram.com 58

HOTELSCAPES August 2012

Smart televisions from Samsung Samsung has launched a collection of smart televisions under its ‘Samsung 2012 smart television range’. The range includes LED and plasma models which deliver an outstanding and complete home entertainment to users. Smart interaction allows users to interact with their TV in a new and more instinctive way using sophisticated voice and motion control as well as face recognition technology. With smart evolution users can reinvent their television with the latest in improved picture quality, faster speed, more contents and features. The television range offers superior picture quality for a more realistic and vivid entertainment experience and spectacular 3D imagery in full HD 1080p, with advanced Samsung 3D glasses. Micro dimming ultimate’s sophisticated algorithm enhances contrast, colour and sharpness. The range is available at all Samsung retail outlets across the country and at various MBO’s. The price varies between Rs 37,700-273,000. For more information visit: www.samsung.com


Products‌ Silver framed mirror range by Blackberry Overseas Blackberry Overseas has launched a new range of silver framed mirrors for the living room, bathroom and bedroom. Aesthetically these mirrors are sure to add an elegant touch to the homes. These mirrors come in shapes like circular, rectangular and square. Their versatility can be gauged from that fact that they can be placed on the wall in a portrait, landscape position or can be placed lengthways. Blackberry Overseas had earlier also launched embossed and wooden framed mirrors. The range starts from Rs 30,000 onwards, and is available at the Pitampura store of Blackberry Overseas. For more information call: 011-47050973

Bimax Collection from IDUS IDUS has introduced the luxury furniture range Bimax from Italy at their store. The collection consists of wardrobes and beds which can be customised to create something perfect for one's home. The wardrobe units have a mixture of hinged doors and drawers. The wardrobes are available in matt or gloss lacquer finishes. The bed range is available in oak wood and comes in two versions – wood and upholstered. Ideal for houses, luxury resorts and hotels, the range is priced at Rs 50,000 onwards. The collection is available at the Kirti Nagar Industrial Area store of IDUS. For more information call: 011-45888000

World Bazaar introduces leather sofas

World Bazaar has introduced a range of leather sofas from Hong Kong based brand Carezza. The sofas made from luxury Oxford leather offer a perfect combination of comfort and style and are sure to enhance the appearance of your living rooms. The Oxford Leather collection is made from top-grain leather that is carefully finished to accentuate its natural surface markings, textures and colour variations. The sofas are available in a plethora of colours like Oxford black, Oxford brown and Oxford tan. The sofas are priced at Rs 120,000 onwards. For more information call: 9811945621 or visit: www.worldbazaarindia.com August 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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Products‌ FCML introduces Hydro Spa Seaside 641 from Teuco FCML has introduced Hydro Spa Seaside 641 from Teuco, designed by Joan Talocci. The product uses hydro spa technology and can be used in hotels, hi-end projects and residences. The USP of the product is that it saves the environment and cuts the energy bills by heating the water through solar panels. FCML Luxurious Bathrooms bring together a large variety of global bathroom products under the same roof and offers the Indian customer an assortment of contemporary, innovative and the latest design products. FCML believes bathrooms are no smaller dingy rooms in a corner of the house but spaces to be experienced and enjoyed. For more information call: 9810374919 or contact: upasna@fcmlindia.com

Toshiba introduces PT200 LED Power TV

Antica Ceramica launches Foresta range of tiles Antica Ceramica, a store which is into retailing of tiles and sanitary ware has launched Foresta range of tiles. The made in Spain collection is inspired from typography, and the traditional stamps applied to wood for industrial use, and by graffiti. They can be used in any commercial or residential project including offices, hotels, restaurants, retail, wellness and residential venues. The range is available at Raja Garden store of Antica Ceramica and starts from Rs 350 per sq ft onwards. For more information call: 011-25460498 or email: info@anticaceramica.in 60

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Toshiba has introduced 32 inches PT200 LED Power TV. The TV is framed in a slim narrow bezel and combines the high definition sharp images with efficiency speaker and has power bass booster for an enhanced television viewing experience. At the heart of the PT200 LED Power TV series is the REGZA Engine technology which offers great picture quality by integrating the new auto clean technology and contrast booster feature along with auto signal booster and auto view, to deliver life-like images. Available at all large format retail outlets and electronic stores and Toshiba brand shops, it is priced at Rs 35,990. For more information call: 0124-4996699 or visit: www.toshiba-india.com


MARKETING

Social media strategies for hotels Hotels need to be on Facebook where their audience is. Avijit Arya details what hotels should do on Facebook, and, what they should not.

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or social media optimisation, hotels should consider the following:

Be exclusive Facebook is not just another platform to advertise, promote and sell. It is the platform. And a platform that is pivotal to your business, it is imperative that you treat it as special. Your target audience is flooded with probably hundreds of notifications, news stories and requests on Facebook each day. Unless you are heavily investing in paid campaigns, chances are that your messages to your fans are getting lost among the vast content created on Facebook each day. So, give your fans something special and valuable to keep them engaged. Share exclusive stories with your fans and ensure the same stories are not published elsewhere. Let’s say, give your fans insights into upcoming events much in advance. Or, make Facebook a channel for special announcements and make your audience feel valued. Nothing makes your audience loyal but your own acknowledgement of their importance.

Go local Okay, you are a luxury hotel in a big city and your guests comprise all nationalities one can think of. But what about your F&B services, your spa or your banquets and conference halls? While it is obvious you would want to focus on room nights, it will be foolish to ignore the local market. Become the city's face by creating local content and by engaging the locals. Not only you stand to gain direct revenue from them, you can also count on your

From info on rooms to latest discounts, announcements, special offers, booking engine and everything else under the sun, you can do it on Facebook. If you think you can sell on your website, you can certainly sell on FB too. fan base to create stories about you on Facebook and thus generate online word of mouth publicity for you.

Incentivise the fans You have gone through so much to consolidate the fan base that you have probably spent a big share of your online marketing budget to engage your past and prospective guests. Now that the audience is there and is listening to you, all you need is to give them a little push and see the footfalls to your lobby rise. If you can share profits with OTAs, IBE providers and offline operators, why not give discounted rates to people booking directly via Facebook? Don’t be shy in being vocal about it – write in bold and big letters that the discount is only for your Facebook fans.

Get over websites Forget about referral traffic to your website through Facebook. I go to Facebook because I want to be there and I don’t like it when a fan page sends me out of it. If you have something important to show me and claim it to be of interest to me, bring the content on Facebook. There is absolutely nothing you cannot do on Facebook that you can do on your website. From info on rooms to latest discounts, announcements, special offers, booking engine and everything else under the sun, you can do it on Facebook. If you think you can sell on your website, you can certainly sell on FB too. Your audience is on Facebook and so should you be. Let's get over the love for websites. ■ The author is founder & CEO of Internet Moguls August 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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INTERNATIONAL NEWS

New York City is bustling with new hotel developments New York City continues to witness new hotel developments and the travel industry is benefitting from the dynamic and creative growth of hotel brands, new properties, exciting renovations, and significant increases to room inventory across the city.

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his report of hotel development in New York City adds 12 new projects, three updates and over 10,000 new hotel rooms citywide. We cover 25 projects slated for 2012 plus an additional 28 properties currently in the pipeline through 2014. In total, this report covers 53 new openings plus reviews the 15 projects opened in 2011. Eighteen of the properties in this update are located in the other boroughs beyond Manhattan, representing 26.5 per cent of the new properties coming online. 2012 will mark the fifth consecutive year of strong increases in room inventory. To date, the city has seen eight new openings bringing almost 1,600 rooms into operation (a 1.75 per cent gain since December 2011). The Conrad Hotel (463 rooms), the NoMad Hotel (160 rooms), the Wyndham Garden Long Island City Manhattan View (128 rooms), OUT NYC (105 rooms), the TRYP by Wyndham (173 rooms), the Hotel Vetiver (63 rooms) and a new Holiday Inn in Midtown (122 rooms) join the renovated Hilton New York JFK to bring the city’s active inventory of hotel rooms to 90,400 as of April. Over the

next eight months, through year-end, we expect to see another 2,000 rooms brought online at 17 hotels bringing the operating inventory over 93,000 rooms in all five boroughs (a 4 per cent increase).’ Looking out to 2013 and 2014, we see a number of new projects and the completion of others. The next round of development will add over 6,600 new rooms plus hundreds of renovated rooms back into inventory bringing the total of rooms in active inventory to more than 100,000 by the end of 2014. In addition there are over twenty projects currently in the planning stages. This is an unparalleled pace of development for a major city or established destination. According to STR, the hotel pipeline in the U.S. has slowed, but NYC again has more rooms under construction than any other US destination. With a long-term forecast of over 7,200 rooms in the STR database, New York City is poised to add more than Orlando, Washington DC and Chicago combined. Smith also points out that hotel sales are picking up as reminder that lodging performance in NYC remains strong. Currently on the horizon are new projects OUT NYC

Total new properties and new rooms opened, and in the pipeline from 2006 to 2014 Location

New hotel New properties rooms in (2006-2014) inventory All New York City 239 36,256 Manhattan 150 27,335* Queens 41 4,530* Brooklyn 35 3,349 Staten Island 7 735 The Bronx 2 302 Note: * includes an estimate for properties currently without announced specific room counts.

for Chelsea/Meatpacking District, Lower Manhattan, Madison Square Park, the city’s ever changing fashion district, as well as Brooklyn, Queens, and The Bronx. There are multi-use projects combining hotels, shopping, and residences planned for Harlem, Queens and along Fifth Avenue. There are new brands being introduced including the new Marriott International lifestyle brand Edition, IHG’s Even concept for health conscious travelers and at least one other TRYP. In addition to the newly built properties, the reflagged and completely renovated properties and the repurposing of iconic and landmark buildings, the city is seeing significant investment in upgrades and redesign including the Cooper Square Hotel, the Loews Regency, the Cosmopolitan, the Algonquin, the St. Giles Tuscany Hotel, the New York Palace, the Milford and The Waldorf Astoria. This report is prepared for the travel trade to aid in planning and product development. It is for reference only. Many of the city’s new and proposed hotel projects are provided in the box above. It is not intended as a complete list and as plans continue to change frequently, please contact the hotels directly for additional information. Source: NYC & Company

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NEWS SNIPPETS DOMESTIC/INTERNATIONAL

HILTON WORLDWIDE LAUNCHES NEW MICE CAMPAIGN IN ASIA PACIFIC

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ilton Worldwide announced that it will launch a new meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE) campaign in Asia Pacific ‘From MICE To Millions’ where regional bookers take part in a challenge for a chance to win up to two million Hilton HHonors points. With a total of seven million Hilton HHonors points up for grabs, top bookers from Asia Pacific who organise meetings on behalf of their companies, will be able to use these points towards free nights at Hilton Worldwide’s portfolio of hotels. Or they can redeem a wide range of productivity tools for themselves or their companies, such as laptop computers, mobile phones and printers from the HHonors global mall (HHonors.com/Shopping). To qualify for the challenge, bookers have to make a booking between August 1 and December 31, 2012, to hold a meeting or event between August 1, 2012 and February 28, 2013, at any of the more than 90 participating hotels and resorts in Hilton Worldwide’s portfolio in Asia Pacific. At the end of the campaign, the overall top booker in Asia Pacific, based on highest cumulative revenue generated throughout the campaign, will be awarded two million Hilton HHonors points.

In addition to the overall campaign winner, there will also be a regional challenge where the top bookers from five Asia Pacific regions – Australasia, Greater China, South and Southeast Asia, India, Japan, Korea and Micronesia will be awarded one million Hilton HHonors points. ■

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I SPA EXPANDS BEYOND CHINA INTO THAILAND

SPA, the operator of 15 luxury Thai-inspired spas in China has expanded into Thailand with the opening of two new spas in five-star hotels in Bangkok and Phuket, and with the launch of the boutique ‘I SPA life’ brand in August. I SPA opened the first spa in Thailand at The Landmark Bangkok on Sukhumvit Road. Occupying a 750 square meter section of the hotel's ninth floor, I SPA takes on a Thai-inspired architecture and design and features 10 treatment rooms with 12 spa beds and four foot therapy rooms with five loungers. In response to demand for boutique spa operations, I SPA Thailand has launched the boutique ‘I SPA life’ brand for hotels with a small-scale spa that operates with a flexible setup and treatment range. I SPA brings a range of ancient health and beauty therapies from China, India, Indonesia, Japan and Thailand to create a sanctuary of wellbeing. ■

ONYX HOSPITALITY GROUP TO EXPAND INTO THE MIDDLE EAST, SRI LANKA AND INDIA

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angkok-based hotel management company ONYX Hospitality Group is set to conquer new markets, with the opening of its first Amari properties in the Middle East and India, and plans to enter Sri Lanka in 2014 with new select service brand, OZO. In Thailand, the opening of Amari Hua Hin in August 2012, will see the first purpose built Amari property to embrace the new look of the brand. Mid 2013 will see another first for the brand, as the first Amari property in India is formally introduced with Amari Ludhiana. The first OZO property will launch in 2013, with OZO Wesley Hong Kong. The brand is also set to open its first resort property, OZO Chaweng Samui, on the Thai island of Koh Samui in late 2013. Properties in key Sri Lankan cities, Colombo and Kandy will also be developed. ■ August 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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Pic credit: Sakura, The Metropolitan Hotel & Spa, New Delhi

LAST PAGE

Japanese food is on the tip of the world’s tongue: Hotels.com

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7,000 travellers from around the world voted Japanese as third best cuisine when on holiday. Japanese food could one day rule the world after being voted global travellers third favourite culinary delight, a new worldwide food survey from Hotels.com reveals. The survey, which questioned more than 27,000 travellers, shows there is now tough competition for more traditional favourites such as Italian and French cuisine from food from the Far East. Although international travellers do still favour Italian (32 per cent) and French (24 per cent) cuisine, with them taking first and second spot in the rankings, the dishes from the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’ Japan are gaining in popularity with more cosmopolitan palates. 18 per cent of all people surveyed favoured sushi, tempura, ramen and Japanese soba, particularly when it comes to fine dining. “Japanese food is seen as great example of healthy eating and there are a variety of Japanese restaurants in every multicultural capital,” said Alison Couper from Hotels.com. “I’m a big fan of Japanese and I am not surprised at its elevated ranking. The fact that it beat more traditional holiday dishes such as 64

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tapas and burritos is testament to the world class reputation of Japanese chefs.” Several other Asian countries appear in the top ten list, including China (13 per cent), Thailand (8 per cent), Taiwan and India (5 per cent). The popularity of paella and tapas could have contributed to Spain clinching fifth place (11 per cent) on the list, while those who love burger and fries have helped the USA secure sixth place (10 per cent) in the table.

The world’s best food when on holiday Position 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Country Votes in per cent Italy 32 France 24 Japan 18 China 13 Spain 11 USA 10 Mexico 8 Thailand 8 Taiwan 5 India 5

The plate of Indian travellers According to Indian travellers, the world's best local food is found in India (38 per cent) followed by USA (31 per cent) and China (17 per cent). Within India, travellers voted for the capital city of New Delhi (33 per cent) as having the best local food, followed by Mumbai (20 per cent) at second place and Kolkata at a close 18 per cent. Since Indian culture is known to be family oriented, travellers also voted for the best city in the world for family dining. London, New York and Paris were the top choices amongst Indians for this. If Indians had to recommend to travellers the top three ‘must try’ dishes of India, the following were the choices: Rank Dish Votes in per cent 1 Paani Puri 53 2 Aloo Paratha 45 3 Idli Sambhar 41 The other popular Indian dishes were pav bhaaji with 39 per cent, while butter chicken and mutton biryani followed closely with 37 per cent votes each and sarson da saag/ makke di roti received 34 per cent. ■


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Hotel Scapes August 2012