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a cross section publication

Volume 3. Issue 1. February 2014. Rs 50


Top 3 Market Trends for 2014 FHRAI Report on the State of Indian Hospitality Technology: Next Gen Conferencing in Hotels Eco-tourism: How to Conserve Energy

PRS OBEROI REVIEWS THE PAST AND PREDICTS THE FUTURE Hospitality Industry in a Turbulent Election Year


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EDITOR’S NOTE Dear Reader,

Volume 3. Issue 1. February 2014. Rs 50

a cross section publication


Top 3 Market Trends for 2014 FHRAI Report on the State of Indian Hospitality Technology: Next Gen Conferencing in Hotels Eco-tourism: How to Conserve Energy

PRS OBEROI REVIEWS THE PAST AND PREDICTS THE FUTURE Hospitality Industry in a Turbulent Election Year


Editor: Navin S Berry 

Managing Editor: Priyaanka Berry

Features Desk: Anupriya Bishnoi, Nikita Chopra Advertising: Saurabh Shukla

Design: Ashok Saxena, Neelam Aswani HotelScapes is published and printed by Navin Berry, printed at Anupam Art Printer, B-52, Naraina Industrial Area, Phase II, New Delhi-110 028 and published from IIIrd Floor, Rajendra Bhawan, 210, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg, New Delhi - 110002. Editor: Navin S Berry, Tel: 91-11-43784444; Fax: 91-11-41001627. E-mail: This issue of HotelScapes contains 68 pages

With this issue, we begin our third year of publication – we started somewhat modestly, but over these two years we have found it challenging to re-discover our roots, as it were, as our first tryst with a hospitality magazine goes back to the mid-70s. With this issue, we also strengthen our commitment to providing a leadership among industry magazines, to become the most effective voice for and within the industry fraternity. Times are changing, and it is our privilege to bring Nakul Anand back on the cover. He was also on the cover in our inaugural issue. These last months have seen the rise of an unusual industry bonding – with the creation of FAITH, and it is not any surprise that industry stalwarts have openly reposed faith in Nakul Anand's leadership and, equally importantly, his neutrality and transparent agenda. With the hospitality industry doing well to emerge from the dark days of the recession, with an understanding that perhaps it has not been so bad after all, the outlook is more positive. Yet there may be fresh turbulence ahead in the next few months as this country enters a new and exciting phase in this election year, with an optimistic upturn likely for the industry in the latter half of the year. In this issue we explore some of the themes that are of direct relevance to hoteliers this year. In the Forum of the Month we talk to top hoteliers about the industry disconnect and whether there was adequate and sustained dialogue within the fraternity. In an interview with P.R.S. Oberoi, the doyen of hoteliers, we see him travel down memory lane and talk about the evolution of the hotel industry. Then we have the FHRAI hotel survey that aims to provide the most comprehensive guide to all India performance trends for this industry. Talking about heritage properties is Aman Nath, C-chairman, Neemrana Group, who discusses the importance of bringing the rural countryside into the hospitality mould. We interview Virender S Dutta who has assumed different roles during his tenure in the hospitality industry – from F&B Manager, to chef to General Manager and who exemplifies transitions in the hospitality industry. In the GM Speak section the General Manager of Hyatt Regency Pune tells us of the goals and concerns of a General Manager and how to be ever ready for any crisis. Highlighting the importance of high-tech gadgets and facilities provided by hotels, we ask different hotels about their options in technology that make for a memorable conference. Gaurav Singh, General Manager, Courtyard by Marriott, Ahmedabad talks about the unparalleled experience of Gujarat. Moving further, we learn about recent trends in food for 2014 as we interview six top chefs in the hotel world who tells us about food fads for this year. In the design section, we interview Rahul Shankhwalker, Partner, Studio SEA and India, Hirsch Bedner Associates who believes that serving an experience to guests through design and services is the trend for Indian as well as international hospitality. In the Eco Tourism section we talk to ITC and The Park about their initiatives in Green practices. In the Guest column by Stephen Farrant, Head, Youth Career Initiative draws is about bridging the gap between industry and young people. Also various hotels tell us of the security solutions they provide to make guests feel safer.

February 2014 • HOTELSCAPES 3


Volume 3  Issue 1  FEBRUARY 2014

February 2014

New Developments 6 HVS announces key changes


in India and the Asia-Pacific Region

8 New horizons for Lemon Tree Hotels

Buzz in Hospitality 10 Top 3 Market Trends for 2014


12 Hospitality Industry in an Election Year



Forum of the Month 14 The Industry Disconnect? Is

there an adequate and sustained dialogue as a fraternity?

In Conversation 16 P.R.S. Oberoi: In the lair of the doyen of hoteliers


20 Nakul Anand: A new energy, a new momentum

Report 24 The state of Indian hospitality Interview 28 Aman Nath: On bringing the rural countryside into the hospitality mould

30 Virender S Datta: The students are not adequately industry-involved

GM Speak 34 Mohammad Labban, General

Manager, Hyatt Regency Pune: On GM working as an anchor

Technology 36 Next Gen Conferencing 4 HOTELSCAPES • February 2014

Chef’s Page 42 Food Trends for 2014

Photo Feature 56 Appetising Republic Day Celebrations

Design 46 Rahul Shankhwalker: On how

58 Products 62 New Snippets Domestic 64 Movements in the Industry 66 Last Page

hotel designs are Influenced by local culture

Eco Tourism 50 Practicing the ‘Green’ Business Hotel initiatives for energy conservation

Hotel Security 54 How to beat fear and terror at your hotel

Guest columns

40 52

Gaurav Singh: Vibrant, colourful Gujarat Stephen Farrant: To bridge the gap between industry and young people




Manav Thadani

Kaushik Vardharajan

Achin Khanna

HVS announces key changes in India and the Asia-Pacific Region


ith dema nd for international tourism the strongest in Asia Pacific in 2013 and the industry showing considerable resilience amidst global slowdown, the region remains a major focus for us with nine HVS offices located here”, says Stephen Rushmore Jr, President and CEO of HVS announcing four significant promotions in the Asia Pacific region. l Manav Thadani, Chairman of HVS South Asia since 2010 and company’s first employee in Asia more than 17 years ago, has been tapped to lead the larger region in the capacity of Chairman, Asia Pacific. An effective leader, Thadani has been a trusted advisor to various industry stakeholders in this part of the world. In his new role Thadani will provide the team direction and ensure that the HVS offices in the region operate cohesively and effectively. He will specifically focus on HVS’ three regional, annual conferences: China Hotel Investment Conference (CHIC), Hotel Investment Conference – South Asia (HICSA) and Tourism & Hospitality Investment Networking Conference (THINC), previously known

6 HOTELSCAPES • February 2014

as Indonesian Hotel Conference (IHC). Thadani will also continue to serve on the HVS Board of Directors. l Kaushik Vardharajan, a global veteran at HVS, with 13 years in the firm, has been promoted to Partner and Managing Director, HVS Asia Pacific from Managing Director, HVS South Asia. During his tenure, Vardharajan performed more than 1,500 market studies, feasibility analyses and valuations in North America and South Asia, with a specific focus on large mixed-use projects and portfolio valuations. Vardharajan will oversee HVS’s growth in Southeast Asia and China from the Singapore office. He is a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and sits on its Valuation Board for the region, which is responsible for establishing professional standards for property valuations. l Dan Voellm, Managing Partner of Hong Kong, Bangkok and Shenzhen, will now become Managing Partner, HVS Asia Pacific. Having spent nine years with HVS, Voellm has considerable on-the-ground knowledge of Asian countries, having performed assignments in Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, South Korea, Thailand, Australia, Vietnam,

Cambodia and Guam. Prior to moving to Asia, Dan was a Vice President at HVS’ New York office, where he delivered a wide range of appraisals, market studies and underwriting due diligence services throughout the United States. Wo r k i n g w i t h T h a d a n i a n d Vardharajan, Voellm will continue to assist HVS in the overall growth of the region. l Ac h i n K h a n n a , Direc tor, H VS Consulting & Valuation team’s New Delhi office, has been promoted to Managing Director, HVS South Asia. Khanna, an integral member of the India team for the past seven years, has completed hundreds of market studies, economic feasibility analyses, and large scale portfolio valuations. Additionally, he spearheads the Transaction Advisory Services for HVS South Asia. As a part of this vertical, he specialises in undertaking exclusive buy/ sell mandates for hospitality/mixed-use assets. Prior to joining HVS, Khanna spent a decade in the United States affiliated with Hilton, Homestead Studio Suites and Wyndham Hotel Group, spanning various roles including hotel operations, revenue management, franchise relations and business development. ■


New horizons for Lemon Tree Hotels


emon Tree Hotels has opened its properties at Delhi Aerocity - Lemon Tree Premier and Red Fox Hotel with a joint inventory of 500 rooms. Speaking on the occasion, Patu Keswani, Chairman & Managing Director, The Lemon Tree Hotel Company said, “We are happy to be a part of the Delhi Aerocity Hospitality District and to be one of the first hotels to open here. Lemon Tree Premier and the Red Fox Hotel at Delhi Aerocity are our flagship hotels for these brands in the upscale and economy segments, respectively. Both brands cater to distinct traveller profiles and are best-incategory hotels. We are looking forward to welcoming our guests and promise them the highest standards of service and unbeatable value-for-money.” L e m o n Tr e e P r e m i e r f e a t u r e s a contemporary design with all 287 rooms

8 HOTELSCAPES • February 2014

equipped with hi-speed WiFi, a media hub, a digital safe, an orthopedic mattress and premium bath amenities. The dining options include Citrus Café, a 24x7 coffee shop; Slounge, a recreation bar and Republic of Noodles the award-winning pan-Asian restaurant. Guests can rejuvenate at Fresco - the spa or hit the pool. The property also features a special section designed keeping in mind women travellers. Red Fox Hotel, an economy business hotel features 207 smart rooms with WiFi and

essential amenities. Guests can choose to relax at Clever Fox Café, a 24x7 casual restaurant or head to the fitness center. The security arrangements are state-ofthe-art and include hi-end solutions like crash bollards and boom barriers at each entrance; under vehicle surveillance system, back-toback CCTV coverage of all public areas; face recognition analytical cameras, bio-metric access control for all back-of-the-house areas, panic buttons at key locations and more. ■

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Top 3 Market Trends for 2014 This year comes at the cusp of time when the old businesses in the hospitality industry change from the old to the new. HotelScapes explores the top business trends on the horizon and how industry copes with changes that have an international dimension.

Rajeev Menon,

Area Vice President, South Asia, Marriott Hotels

Raj Rana,

Chief Executive Officer, South Asia, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

The Pressure on market will continue

Average Rates will come under pressure:

Industry will experience collaborations

Second half will be stronger for hospitality sector

From the overall business trend point of view, I feel the pressure on the market will continue in 2014 also. There is a considerable supply coming into the market and the economy also seems to be sluggish. The first half of 2014, particularly, is expected to be like this and then it can pick up in the second half. I think the hotel industry will continue to experience consolidations and collaborations. The industry will see smaller players exiting markets, because of their inability to make money or get good returns. We will also see opportunities for conversions that I believe can be one of the major trends of 2014. There will be more conversion opportunities.

Increasing Expectations of Consumers

The third trend I would say from the consumer point of view is that the consumer’s expectations are increasing. As the Indian consumers globalise and travel more globally, they will keep on increasing in numbers. They will continue to demand a better experience and authentic cuisines. Hotels will also try their level best to deliver quality.

10 HOTELSCAPES • February 2014

In 2014 we will see hotel managers most likely tighten their belts, as average rates come under pressure because of excess supply in some markets. This means that hotels need to work smarter in driving incremental revenue growth and efficiently managing operating cost. 2014 could also see corporates and businesses tighten their belt, particularly pre-elections.  However, post-election stability may release a pent-up demand for travel and therefore the second half of the year will likely be stronger for the hospitality sector.

Increase in Domestic travel continues:

Domestic travel will continue to increase with the growth of middle class wealth. These travellers will seek mid-scale hotel accommodation that offer good value.



Atul Lall,

Sunder G. Advani,

Vice President, The Claridges Hotels & Resorts, General Manager, The Claridges New Delhi

Chairman and Managing Director, Advani Hotels & Resorts (India) Limited

Not much increase in demand from foreign market

To our surprise the numbers of tourists visiting India last year increased by only four percent as compared to the 13 percent increase in the previous year. There is not much increase in demand expected from the foreign market especially when issues such as the safety of women travellers have been highlighted in the international news media.

Reduction in Occupancy

The demand for hotel rooms from the domestic market will also be lower till the middle of the year until elections are over. In comparison, there will be an increase in the supply of hotel rooms in several major cities, especially Delhi, and these which are already in the pipeline. The net result will be a reduction in occupancy in the near term in most cities. The hotels which have a large percentage of foreign occupancy will continue to show higher revenues due to the weakening of the Rupee. 

Mumbai preferred over Delhi by International travellers

Hotels in Mumbai and nearby areas will see a good increase in occupancy as a result of the opening of the spectacular T2 integrated Terminal at Mumbai Airport which will be preferred as the gateway to India with lesser landing charges and fog free disruptions as compared to Delhi. Domestic tourism will be affected as airfares to south East Asia should come down with the start of new low cost carriers.

Booking Applications for Smart-phones

Social media these days plays a very important role in helping people plan their trips. From finding destinations and booking hotels to looking for places to visit and what to eat, customers are always looking for great package deals. Also, with business travel on the rise, last minute bookings have increased. This is where online travel portals like Expedia, MakeMyTrip, Tripadvisor and Agoda prove fruitful by establishing the credibility of hotels, their services and products. Easier access to technology and the use of smart-phones has made hotel booking apps the norm.”

No Bacteria Rooms

Today’s customers have a huge access to a range of information and have varied choice. This makes them more demanding. Health and fitness are increasingly popular with guests. A lot of hotels have come up with the concept of personal trainers and flexible gym timings available 24 hours. The environment guests stay in plays a role when booking hotels. People look for Hygiene travel – no bacteria rooms, hygienic surroundings and healthy food.

Boutique Hotels

The idea here is that customers are probably looking out for more boutique and intimate hotels rather than the huge sparkling glass towers that are ruled by corporate. In terms of services and guest approach, boutique hotels offer a more personal approach and these hotels usually have the time to address the guests’ preferences or services, making it a lot more customised and personal. ■ compiled by NIKITA CHOPRA

February 2014 • HOTELSCAPES 11


Hospitality Industry in an


Any year in which general elections take place is likely to be interesting. While 2014 is an year full of expectations, the polls will impact the hospitality industry. Will election tourism take off this year and how is the year likely to shape up is the question. HotelScapes wonders along with those at the top of the hotel fraternity what this year has in store.

Sandeep Gupta, Executive Director, Asian Hotels (West) Limited

Expectations for hospitality in the election year We look forward to a stable government as of now.

Plans to encounter such turbulent times

I don’t think that it will be fair to call it ‘turbulent times’. I cannot predict anything right now, as we will have to wait and watch what happens once the government stabilises. The economy is going through significant changes. With multiple, long-term forces restructuring our economy, and on-going challenges in our immediate outlook, it is crucial that we look ahead to the longer-term growth path. But, 2014 surely seems to be a year full of expectations.

Chander Baljee,

Chairman and Managing Director, Royal Orchid Group of Hotels

Expectations for hospitality in the election year

Improvement of infrastructure and roads for reaching tier 2 cities of tourism interest. These have now become the industrial centres too. Earlier, there was a demand for inventory in tier 2 cities but now there is a surplus. Hence we look forward to things getting better. If infrastructure is taken care of, it will not only enable an increase in the movement of the leisure traveller but that of business travellers too and there will again be a situation of short supply in inventory which will enable profits to stabilise.

Plans to encounter such turbulent times

To encounter turbulent times we have the following: Sales Offices – We are penetrating deep into the market with all our sales offices at Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai , Chennai, Jaipur, Goa, Ahmedabad, Pune and Hyderabad doing wonderful jobs in getting us a good market share. Corporate and Airlines Tie ups – We have strong tie ups with corporate and airlines like IndiGo. Central reservations – A 24 hour central reservation system, GDS, Travel portals,  Travelocity, travel guru, Expedia, Yatra, Make My Trip, Clear Trip, Other electronic mediums like internet distribution systems, Mice Business, Long stayers, and leisure travellers are our other assets. 12 HOTELSCAPES • February 2014



Dr. Ramesh Kapur,

Chairman & Managing Director, Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi

Expectations for hospitality in the election year

There is a lot of uncertainty in the outcome of the election, especially because of new angle of the AAP entering the ring with lot of positive public response and enthusiasm. Obviously, we expect a very lean period for the hospitality sector till the outcome of general elections, hopefully by May, 2014. In spite of all these factors, I feel that four and five Star hotels will be able to retain 55-60 percent occupancy during this period due to the long term interest of multinationals as also their conviction about the basic long term strength of the Indian economy.

Plans to encounter such turbulent times:

We strongly feel that during the last 15 years of our operations, we have been able to establish a good brand equity. Realising the future threat from new hotels, our decision to renovate the whole property bringing them up to contemporary, luxury standards during the extended period of 2004-2011 ends in a running hotel has paid rich dividends. In spite of the growing competition from 2009 onwards, with the opening of number of three, four and five Star hotels in Gurgaon and recently three hotels in Aerocity, we have been successful in retaining our market share because of hundred percent Guest Satisfaction Guarantee and the ‘Yes I Can!’ spirit complimented with a well appreciated product. Our timely focus on adopting dynamic marketing strategies and innovations to create additional values to our customers has helped us in retaining customer loyalty.

K.B. Kachru,

Executive Vice President, South Asia, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

Expectations for hospitality in the election year

Pre-election uncertainty will generally impact business growth, particularly from the corporate segment. However this should improve after elections. A stable government will instill confidence in the market and accelerate India’s economy, which will greatly benefit the hospitality industry as it is a significant contributor to India’s GDP. In 2014, we are looking forward to opening 11 hotels in India.

Plans to encounter such turbulent times

We have been successfully operating hotels over the past 15 years and have witnessed challenges that are part of the business cycles. We are confident that our hotels have the right fundamentals and are focused on capturing a strong market share. Our Radisson Blu hotels with their competitive business offerings such as free internet and business class rooms are fast becoming the preference of business travellers. In many cities, we are the only international branded hotel and that puts us in a good position to capture the business travel segment. ■ compiled by NIKITA CHOPRA

February 2014 • HOTELSCAPES 13


Anil Kumar Bhandari

Anil Madhok

The Industry Disconnect? Is there an adequate and sustained dialogue as a fraternity? We bring you some expert opinion

K.B. Kachru

Chairman, South Asia at Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

“In today’s rapidly evolving and cutting edge business world, one tends to agree that the industry is going through a big disconnect, and a combination of some of the factors mentioned state the same. It is correct to assume that with the outburst of supply in key cities, we have witnessed hoteliers indulging in short term price war strategies in order to retain the customer. One has to reflect above such short term gains and do what is right for the industry as a whole. The hospitality sector has been demanding an industry status for quite some time but to no avail, perhaps one of the reasons for this unsuccessful demand seems to be lack of focus by the government 14 HOTELSCAPES • February 2014

and individuals who do not think in the collective manner. However, the blame cannot be passed on to individuals at the operating level as they are the ones who are bearing the brunt of excessive competition in the markets, leaving them with incessant budgetary cuts but with no respite in targets to achieve. Having said that, it is important to note that all is not wrong and associations like HAI & FHRAI are very actively organising meetings and events for collectively thinking about the needs of the industry. These associations act as the adhesive needed to keep together the hospitality sector during testing times. Initiatives taken by such associations invite participation by the fellow members which help us on the way forward. A recent welcome step has been establishment of FAITH.”

Anil Bhandari

Chairman, AB Smart Concepts

Raising Issues with the State Governments I am in agreement with your assumption that there is some industry disconnect at the macro and possibly even at the micro level. Commercialisation and competition are receiving more importance rather than collaboration and consolidation among stakeholders of the travel and tourism industry. The middle and lower level management has turned more target-oriented, considering that the pursuance of policy changes with the concerned authorities is futile. The disconnect needs to be acted upon before it is too late. The top management needs to support common cause in the initiative to advance tourism developmental

FORUM OF THE MONTH activities through their associations at both the inclusive and micro levels with the Centre and State Governments. The senior echelons need to involve the middle and lower level management to pursue the proposed plans. FHRAI, HAI, FAITH and other tourismrelated associations need to connect with one another directly, build up their organisational structures at the regional as well as state level and utilise the services of well qualified and experienced persons in their regional secretariats to maintain regular interaction and seek follow-up action on resolution of pending issues. The help of concerned NGOs could also be sought for assistance in various tourist destinations. The assets of Incredible India are largely in the States/UTs and the solutions to problems faced by the travel and tourism industry are largely in the hands of the State Governments. FHRAI which has been in the forefront of the industry for the past 59 years, HAI at 18, the not-even-one-year-old FAITH, and others belonging to the tourism-related fraternity have all been asking for their demands to be met. If one association is nearing its 60s, the other is crossing the teens and the third is still to grow its milk teeth. But their belief in one another and the cause they are raising is belied by their ages. The different voices of the fraternity are in tune but they need to be louder and in unison.

Anil Madhok

Sarovar Hotels Pvt. Ltd.

You are very right that there is some industry disconnect at all levels. There is no doubt with the competition it is getting more commercialized and today it is survival of the fittest. Old days of fewer players getting together, having a certain bond is no longer valid.


an these come back. Do they need to come back? Or, are they gone for good as relics from the past. When you say no longer valid, are you saying not required any more?

I am not saying that they are not required but given the number of brands and organisations in this business and business dynamics having changing tremendously, I do believe that bond may not be possible though desirable. I do feel that we need multiple organisations related to travel trade and a lot of these exist. But most of them do not have an effective



ut we do have FHRAI and HAI – why is the effective voice not happening? Is the secretariat not strong enough? As an umbrella organisation, we now have FAITH – does that have the kind of future you are mentioning?

T he va r ious orga nisations have been trying hard and we must give them credit for whatever they have achieved with a government that has never taken tourism seriously. I think we cannot give it up. We will have to continue to persist and hopefully one day we have a government that really understands the importance of tourism. As regard the attitude at lower and middle levels it is more I think a company philosophy that they represent. I don’t think same can be held true across the board.


herefore, are the hotel groups no longer looking at fraternity and seeking their own individual solutions?

You are very right. Now most of the hotels are looking at their own solutions except for certain issues which are beyond individual hotel being able to find a solution and as such the trade organizations will have to step in to help. I think the days of our professional bodies going and asking from the government for concessions are almost a thing of the past. We need to make a very, very strong pitch with the government as to what we bring on the table, what are the benefits that travel tourism offers

to the country – economic benefits, an increase in employment and multiple allied benefits of tourism, for the government to really appreciate our contribution to the economy and be more proactive for the promotion of travel trade.


o we have a case, really? After all, we are still an elitist activity for the more affluent sections of our society? What can we do to remain in sync with trends that the aam aadmi represents?

Irrespective of the aam aadmi phenomena country needs to grow whoever comes to power. Economic activity needs to be accelerated and hotels are very much part of that activity. I am sure even an aam aadmi would want a vacation and the economic benefits of travel trade should appeal to any government that is serious about the economic growth. I am sure it has been done in the past but unfortunately successive governments have not really taken tourism very seriously.


an and is there room for making all these efforts once again? How can we make a yet another attempt, and ensure we succeed? Where have we gone wrong?

Yes we cannot give up. We will have to continue. Our dialogue needs to change from what we want to what we bring on the table, what would be the benefits of development of travel and trade. I don’t think we have successfully exposed this aspect except in our own conferences. We need to do this not only with the central but all state governments. ■ by NAVIN BERRY

February 2014 • HOTELSCAPES 15


IN THE LAIR OF THE DOYEN OF HOTELIERS P.R.S. Oberoi lets his hair down and talks of the past and the future in an engaging chat with Ragini Chopra, the first female trainee at the Oberoi School of Hotel Management and a former colleague. This conversation was conducted at the recent Oberoi Alumni Conclave in New Delhi. Thank you for joining us this evening, and thank you for a lovely evening, yesterday.

brand. So, a big hand. My first question, therefore, will be, what did it take to make this award-winning global brand?

I enjoyed it too, when I saw all the people. Last evening, I was really quite touched. We’ve been trying to do this for many years. I must congratulate the people who’ve been involved – particularly Ajay – in organising this conclave.

Well, I must say, that I was a little surprised. Very surprised, when this happened, but no, humility, I must say that it’s not me only, it’s the whole team, and everybody who works for the company. No one person can achieve this. So, I think that the, everybody who is in the company should be congratulated. Well, I say that with all humility.

I think I’ve been chosen for this task, perhaps because I was the first woman management trainee with you. Were You?

I was. And, I think, I’m particularly delighted, because If I look back, its almost 40 years ago, that you interviewed me. So, It’s taken me 40 years to interview you. So it’s a long time. If it’s a true interview. No trick questions.

No trick questions. I promise you. Yeah. No, I think, this audience here, of course, knows you and celebrates every time Oberoi Hotels wins an award or you, particularly, win an award, and the group is recognised. I think many of us know that in 2013 the readers of ‘Travel and Leisure’, USA voted Oberoi Hotels and Restaurants as the best – as the world’s best 16 HOTELSCAPES • February 2014

Right, I know it’s the people that have made the place, and it’s great that you are giving them this credit, but there has to be that direction, there has to be something that got them to move towards that.

Well you remember, that the institutional investor used to have great hotels and you remember, that the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok was rated the best hotel in the world for many years, and my late father said to me once, reading this, he said, why can’t we build some hotels that are recognised around the world ? And, I said to him, quite honestly, I said, it’s a tough task. So, we built some nice hotels, but I must say, building a hotel by itself is not the end. You have to have the right people working in it. Teamwork, and quality. Some of you, who have

IN CONVERSATION worked in the company, know how we’ve striven for quality. And, I think, it’s all training, and of course, good food, good accommodation, good ambience, all goes into it. But, ultimately, it’s the people that count. I get many letters complimenting us about our hotels. The first few (lines), the first paragraph says , “I was at your hotel, on such and such date, and I enjoyed my stay”. A very short paragraph, but the next paragraph talks about the people, invariably. So, I think it’s the people that count. And all comes from training, and I think our school is … you were there. And, lots of persons have been there. It has played an important part in this endeavor.

Sir, I think it certainly has. Ever since last night, a lot of us have got together, people who’ve shared the training school, people who work together, there’ve been a lot of memories revived. You were not here in the morning. We had a lot of funny occasions, things that happened during the work space, and everybody related those incidents. So, we all went down memory lane. May I take you down memory lane, a little bit, and understand from you, what were the few memorable events, occasions, memories from your growing up days?

Well, I think important events have been, I have been thinking about this, and one of the important events was when my father took over – the first public takeover of a public company. As far as I know, it hadn’t happened before that. It was, I think, in 1942, and the Spencers controlled the company at that time, and they had only about 25 percent equity in the company. And, my father quietly bought with his friends what we could – more than 51 percent of the equity. The Registered office of Associated Hotels at that time was in Shimla. So he went up. He went to Shimla, attended the AGM, and during the meeting he said to the Chairman, who was a gentleman called Sir Edward Buck. He said to him, Sir Edward Buck, I have more than 51 percent in your company, and Sir Edward Buck was very gracious, and he got up from his chair, and said, “Mr Oberoi, then you come and sit here.” He didn’t even check the chair scripts. So, my father said, “Sir Edward, you stay on as Chairman. I’ll appoint my board.” And, that’s the end of that story. I was about 13 or 14, at that time. I think it’s in the book, in Rai Bahadur’s book. So that was one. The other one was I think, when we opened the Delhi Hotel. It was in 1965, and as we opened the hotel, there was an air raid siren. We were at war. So, the hotel had just opened, and we all had to go downstairs and my good friend, Pillu Modi, with his rather bulky shape, in his dressing gown, looked very funny, and we were all gathered in the basement. We thought we were safe. I don’t know if we were. So that was the second incident that I can remember. Of course, there are many others. But, these are the highlights ..

I remember one, if I may remind you. I said I remember one which you shared with some time ago, if I may remind you. Yeah.

You said, in Shimla, when at the Cecil, how you used to sit on the steps, and watch when people used to come in, dressed in their in their finery. Yes, yes. That was 1948.

That’s right, I remember you saying that. Or ’47. Sorry. ’46. ‘46

You were not allowed in? No. 1946, summer.

Right. And, what would be the key influence that Rai Bahadur had on you as, both as a father, and as a hotelier? Well, I think, he was very passionate about what he did. And, he said to me, you have to be passionate. If you are not passionate, you don’t like what you’re doing. So if you’re not passionate, don’t do it. And, you have to be very persistent. Set a target and go for it, and don’t give up. And, I think that was good advice. And, I have tried to live like that.

As a son and as a hotelier? I beg your pardon

As a son and as a hotelier. Hotelier, I think. You want to build a hotel, build it properly. When we first started building some of the hotel, people said, “oh, Mr Oberoi is crazy. Biki Oberoi is mad. He is spending so much money in these hotels. He’ll never make it.” Now, everybody is doing it, and they’re spending money. So, I think it’s all a question of how you look at things. The other thing he said to me, was that you have to take risks in life. If you don’t take risks, you’ll never succeed. But, take calculated risks. Don’t go crazy.

All right. And, all your risks have proved right? Well, some have. Some haven’t.

Lot of us never dared to ask you this question. What was your first job role, or achievement ? My first job. I don’t know if people know. I’ve said this before, was to manage maidens.

To manage maidens? Yeah.

I didn’t know that. I don’t know if anybody’s old enough to remember that. But we had – and I learnt a lot from him – a General Manager, Gerard Paul, who later became the General Manager of the Bisco, in Vienna. He was Austrian gentleman. A very fine fellow, and I learnt a lot from him. I also managed the hotel, but he was doing all the work.

And did you consider that as your first achievement or was there something else later that you considered.

It wasn’t an achievement. I learnt a lot but I didn’t achieve much. In those days all the diplomats used to stay in the hotel, since they had nowhere to stay and they were very difficult people to deal with. We had an Ambassador who was very difficult, especially with food, but it was an interesting period.

Sir did you consider anything else after that as your first major achievement ? I think when we opened the Bombay, the Oberoi Bombay

That was something that you completely… I spent a lot of time on that hotel.


Of course, when we re-built it now…

Yes of course,

In 18 months, there was nothing left in the hotel. Everything is new there. For one month, I didn’t know what to do. So, we decided we have to renovate the entire place. So, everything was new, including windows. Only the structure was there.


And, I got a lot of help from our people. I couldn’t have done it alone.

Right. Right. Mr. Oberoi, you’ve seen the hospitality industry come of age. It’s grown since the time you came, joined the hotels, or directed all of us. What do you consider will be the next big trend February 2014 • HOTELSCAPES 17

IN CONVERSATION in hospitality ?

understanding the environment is very important.

Well, it’s difficult to, you know, (predict). I can’t crystal gaze, but I think two things are going to be important. One, I think is technology. And, technology is growing very fast. I don’t know what’s going to happen. Things are happening, but difficult to predict. I think, time will, very soon will come, when people want video-conferencing in their room. To their home, or to…

And, of course, businesses in India have improved so much more as well. So, building hotels in the sixties and eighties, even the nineties, different from what it is now. First, there was the influence of the West, then there was a lot of the influence of the east. What do you think, is going to define your next generation of hotels ?

Their office, while they’re travelling. And, this is become a must. It will become like e-mail, or the net. And, I think, the other thing that is going to be very important is the environment.

Well, I don’t agree with you Ragini that it was always the west, or the east. Yes, some fine hotels were built in the east, and there were not so many hotels built in the west, at that time. So, the impression is that, there is a lot of influence of the east. But, I don’t think that, what is the actual question, sorry ?

Their television screens?


People are going to be questioning, they’re already asking questions. Where does your water come from ? What do you do with your waste water? Are you using, what are you doing for power? Do you have solar power? So, I think technology is going to be very important, and technology is growing so fast, it’s very difficult to predict what people will want. But, I think, these will be the great challenges, in my view.

And, in terms of design and sort of restaurants. Is there anything ?

Of course, restaurants, I had a friend and colleague here little earlier who made some very good points. I don’t know if anybody, all agree with me. Everybody here agrees with me, but I think, the days of the standalone fancy restaurant, with French food, which you know, the French restaurant are gone. People want casual dining.

That’s what Rahul was saying, a little bit of fun.

They don’t want fancy dining, with fancy prices also.


I mean you can do that, in Paris, and maybe New York, maybe, but not in London. But not many places. And dining is becoming very informal now.

Right. We have now so many International brands in India, global brands. What do you think Indian homegrown brands have to do, to compete with them ?

I think, Indian brands have been competing with foreign brands, I mean, Hyatt has been here, how many years now?

Over 20

Twenty years. Other brands have been here. At the upper end, there are not that many brands, still, fortunately. They are going to come. I think one advantage that the Indian companies have is that their team, top team in the hotels has to be Indian, and there’s consistency there. A General Manager from abroad comes for two or three years. He takes six months to understand the environment, and before the three years are up, six months before, he wants to pack or wife has to pack up. I think the advantage is that, we have to have many more Indian managers. We have them. I think most of our managers are Indian. And we have to train people, and I think that’s the advantage we have That the advantage we have. Thank you. So, I think we can compete. It’s not easy always.


Their reach is much more. That’s one advantage.

Their ability to market themselves, perhaps. Yeah. But, we understand the local market.


I remember, when all the reservations used to come from abroad, in our hotels, very little from within India. Now, it’s the other way round. It’s the local person who recommends the hotel. So, I think contacts, 18 HOTELSCAPES • February 2014

No, I said that, what would be the next generation of your hotels? Where would be the concepts? Would they be more local? Would they be more global? Would they be more influenced by the East? I remember, was a time when eastern hospitality was the trend that the people spoke about.

Well, we have one advantage, that we have more staff, for instance we give better service. Not always. We have too many people. But I think the advantage that we have is that we have good trained people. In Europe, or in America even, people don’t stay long in their job. I think our turnover is much less. In New York, you go to a hotel, and everybody is changed. Even the GM is gone. So, I think that is one advantage that we have in India. I think, Indian hospitality, our people, well we have lots of people who want work in hotels. I think that is one advantage that we have.

So, in the sense that the trends in hotels, for your hotels, will the design elements, and so on. Would they be imbibing a lot more of the Indian hospitality, or Indian culture?

I think, you shouldn’t go into a hotel and it should look the same as New York. I agree. You know, or the other side, the extreme end. Chinese. Or Japanese. I think, the hotels have to be international, but you must have Indian…


Indian elements in the hotels. So, people understand your culture, your art. I mean, some of the hotels we’ve built, we’ve used all local handicrafts.

And, I’m sure they appreciate it? Yeah.

So, You’ve recently opened Dubai, and I know that over the years, you’ve had hotels overseas, and in India. What would your advice be to these people, investing in India, or overseas? Are there any tips/ any guidance? Any suggestions you would like to give to them? Well, the first thing, I think is the location of the hotel. I think, the hotel has to be (well located), we are very fortunate that we have some very good locations, and I think that’s what one, in Singapore would think. Choose the location properly, in the city. And, the other thing that is very important is…I know, some independent hoteliers here, and abroad, first they build the hotel, and then they say, now where is the market ? Who are we going to cater to? I think, you have to build the hotel, and understand the market first. I think, that’s key. These two things are key.

So, the location?

Location and understanding the market.

Right. I’m sure when they meet you, they will have lots of

IN CONVERSATION questions from you about any other tips that you may have for them when they are investing overseas, but one more question would be… In the morning, you weren’t here, and we were just saying, everybody was complementing you on your vision of having started the hotel school, and actually creating this brand that came out with the management trainees regularly, and we of course, complemented ourselves, because they said you were the best recruiter as a group. Yourself and the group.

Yes. I really don’t know, that’s a difficult question. It’s a good question. But, I really, don’t know what I would do differently. I know personally, I used to in the old days, before television was there, I used to read a lot. But, now with television, one is tempted to…

Watch ?

Watch television. And I think it’s not good. So, I think personally that’s the difference I found.

Well, I wasn’t the recruiter.

And, in hospitality, in your work life, is there anything that you would have liked to do differently?

Except for one year. We started the programme, I think in 1968, Ajay? ’67?

As you know, I’m no longer Chief Executive. So, I’ve more time to think about other things. And, look at the future more. Not get involved in day-to day nitty-gritty.

Yes, but the company. ’66.

’66. So, ’66 – over 45 years now, more. We have three courses, everybody knows. We’ve average of at least 20-22 in the General Management course, so that’s nearly a 1000 people.

Yes. Sir everybody said

And then the kitchen training, and housekeeping training.

Yeah. And the guest services training.

And, so there’s nothing specific that you can think, that you would like to do differently? How to improve our hotels, I think.


How we can serve our guests better.

Right, That’s a continuous process ? Yes.

I go abroad, and quite often, people come up to me and say, “I was in your hotel, you know.” And, some of our waiters are now managers.

Well, you know, I’ve seen colleges have this bonding, and I have seen universities and schools have this sort of a bonding. It’s rare in an organization. You see this great camaraderie, this unique feeling of togetherness that these people have here today, and there is lot of potential in this. There is a lot of power and goodwill. What do you think of this initiative, and how do you see this going forward ?

Well, in the old days, there was not that much competition. So, sales and marketing was an important…

Well, I think it’s a terrific initiative, and I must again, congratulate Ajay. He must have taken a lot of his time to do this, and I hope we can continue this every year. And, more and more people will come. I don’t know how well publicised this event was.

Yes. Sir, we all spoke about how as a group, the group was one of the best recruiters in the business. So, in a sense, complementing ourselves as being one of the best, but what I’d like to know is, how do you see the difference between the managers of the yesteryear, a gentleman here, and the young managers of today? Area?

Area. I think, today, a manager has to know, understand sales and marketing very well, apart from all the other things. And, we as a company, I must admit, our sales and marketing till recently wasn’t good, because we never had competition.

They’re all laughing because I was in sales and marketing.

And, I think now our people understand how important it is. They concentrated mainly on hotel operations, but they didn’t look at the market. They didn’t have contacts. They didn’t know how to market the hotel, or sell the hotel.

But what about the manager himself? Are there any essential differences in the kind of person the manager of yesteryear was, and the kind of person ?

I don’t think so. I don’t think there is that much difference, because we’ve chosen with care, and I think our one thing I found that in the old days, when we used to have the interviews, quality was better. Now, they’re…I think people have, they can go to banks, they can go to insurance companies, there are so many…


Options, which there weren’t in those days. So the quality of people is not as a good as it was before.

So, recruitment has become that much More difficult.

Mr Oberoi, looking back, if there was something that you would want to do differently, and you have the time to do it now, what is that one something that you would do differently ? Well, it’s as far as hotel operations are concerned, or ?

Anything, yes.

We tried.

But, I hope we’ll have more people coming each year. And, I’d like to thank Ajay for all the…for what he’s done.

So, now my trick question. Questions.

My trick question. Only one that I can share. Trick question?

Well, it’s not really trick question. I know, that a lot of us here have a great amount of fondness for you, and for the group, and we do miss you. Do you miss us? I beg your pardon?

Ok, my question was that a lot of us have a great amount fondness for you, and for the group, and we know that we do miss you, and the group. The question is, do you miss us? Oh. And I’m not saying this, because you ask this question. Of course, you know I felt very nostalgic last evening, when I met so many people, who I have not met for many, many years, and I hope that I’m flattered because of their fondness for me. Some have, some may not have.

Well, that’s frank.

But, I can say truthfully, that whenever I meet our people, anywhere, I’m very happy to meet them. And, I’m so happy that most of the people are doing well. I must take this opportunity to congratulate all of them, and I hope they go from strength to strength.

Thank you. Thank you, Mr Oberoi. I’m really delighted. Thank you. Thank you very much. ■


February 2014 • HOTELSCAPES 19


A new energy, a new momentum: Nakul Anand

20 HOTELSCAPES • February 2014


As the hotel industry creates a new matrix for itself to discover what is common to all in it, and with fresh optimism in the air despite the downturn, HotelScapes engages in a conversation with Nakul Anand, the Executive Director of ITC who is also Chairman of FAITH and President of the Hotel Association of India, to discuss challenges and prospects.


s a leading hotelier, how do you view the current hotel scene? There are many who remain very depressed, with many hotels put up for sale.

Admittedly, there is an imbalance in the short term. Let us also not forget that this downturn has come after a long bout of success. We are now faced with a global recession. We believe this is short term and that the fundamentals are more than strong. India’s hotel industry has been grossly under-serviced. We just have to look around us. A billion Indians make the domestic market and just a one percent share of the global traffic means 10 to 12 million foreign travelers. If we see the two streams, there is ample room for growth. Visa on arrival is for us a game changer for the industry as a whole. We believe travel needs to be simplified. India must become a travel friendly country, and we need to bring efficiency into the system. We need to create the pull for our tourism effort.


n the last few years, what has been the effort like, and what could be a possible learning curve, if I may call it that?

We have been talking all this while to the centre when most of the issues we are addressing are state-centric or state-specific. Therefore, much of our efforts have been futile. Understandably

so. Now we have separated the two – the centre- specific and the state-specific issues - and are addressing them directly, as they merit.


nd how is your understanding of the hotel and tourism industry, in relation to the country as a whole?

It is not a secret that what sells most today with all concerned —with governments and with t h e p e o pl e — i s e c o no m i c development. Till very recently, tourism had the elitist tag, and only now is its economic impact being discovered and accepted. The battle for power is being fought on economic issues and it is here that tourism will score. The topmost consideration is being given to the creation of jobs. According to government estimates, some 120 million jobs are needed by 2020 and tourism alone can account for 36 million. It is here that our efforts are being centred – that tourism must be viewed more as an economic activity.


ut in this scenario, should not domestic tourism and travel be given the highest importance?

Surely, but if you see air travel as the creamy layer, we are suffering most on account of high Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) prices. But here again, ATF is a state subject

Without FAITH nothing is possible Some successes of the recent year Presenting and propagating the Economic benefits of E visa to the tourism ministry and planning commission - Resulting in e visa/visa on arrival now being extended to 180 countries. l

Conceptualising and focussing on a ‘big 5’ objective both with the central government and the state government. l

Bringing together state tourism ministers and state tourism secretaries, along with the central government tourism minister and tourism secretary to sensitise all stakeholders and create a shared vision for tourism India. This year, for the first time, in our endeavours to stimulate tourism, we have shared with the tourism secretary and presented a consolidated view point of the industry as part of the union budget to the revenue secretary in the ministry of finance. l

FAITH has engaged with the ministry of commerce and contributed with recommendations on what tourism and the hospitality industry can do as part of the foreign trade policy 2014-19 l

We have contributed with suggestions from the tourism & hospitality industry in the Government of India’s negotiations with the RCEP (Regional comprehensive economic partnership) countries l

We are engaging with government and the industry at the state level, sensitising and bringing together key stakeholders to propagate tourism in their state. We have engaged with Delhi, Maharashtra and Rajasthan thus far…and will be reaching out in Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh next. l

As a practise we hold brainstorming sessions even within the associations of FAITH and have been presenting FAITH’s progress scorecard at industry events like IATO, TAAI, CII and others l

February 2014 • HOTELSCAPES 21

INTERVIEW and we have begun to tackle this at the state level, instead of at the centre. Goa has a most clever pricing strategy. The percentage of tax will depend upon the number of aircrafts that touch into the state. They have incentivised tax levels and created the pull for the state.


nd which states have you been tackling, so far and where do you look into the future?

WelcomHotel Dwarka, New Delhi

We have made presentations and engaged with the states of New Delhi, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. We are now engaging with Uttar Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh.

H fast?

ow come this energy has emerged, and so

Frankly, much of this is the outcome of our presentation to the state tourism secretaries, after the centre convened this meeting for us. It has unleashed a new energy, a new momentum.


ut do you feel the change has happened?

WelcomHotel Raviz Kollam

ITC continues to grow ITC Hotels recently added several managed hotels under its WelcomHotel and Fortune brand portfolio, including ‘WelcomHotel Dwarka, New Delhi’, ‘WelcomHotel Raviz, Kollam’ and ‘WelcomHotelRaviz, Kadavu’ in Kerala and two Fortune hotels in Dubai. Also on the anvil are an ITC super-premium luxury hotel in Mahabalipuram, a WelcomHotel in Jodhpur and Patna and more than 30 hotels under the Fortune brand in the next couple of years (these are all managed hotels). ITC Green Bharat – a luxury resort which also houses a golf course is slated to open later this year at Manesar. 22 HOTELSCAPES • February 2014

It is happening and it is most encouraging. It is there still, a mindset against tourism, seeing it as elitist. But we are grappling with it. Also, let us not forget that in the past, we have sent out a multiplicity of messages. We are pulling out the big issues, and directing them to where they matter.


hen you say we have sent out multiple messages in the past, where is the change now?

I think, for the industry as a whole, the big redeemer is the creation of Federation of Indian Tourism and Hospitality (FAITH). All the industry associations have come together to say we are united, and unified in our approach to our problems. We have created a matrix to identify what is

common among us and these become FAITH issues. Each association continues to do what is left out of the common list – but we deal with what is common at the level of FAITH.


nd what has been your success as FAITH?

Very good to start with, I would say. There is a long way to go, but the mission is clear. We are engaging the world and the media at home and every policy-planner as well with some of the good that has happened. Earlier, we had some of the worst airports in the world, and now we have some of the world’s best. Visa on arrival is in the process of being implemented. We are engaging the media and giving them the larger perspective within which to look at tourism. We need a more effective PR effort for the industry. We are in the process of creating a crises team for the industry as a whole.


n the ground, what have been the successes – many of these are still in the pipeline?

I would think infrastructure status for hotels, even though at present this is only for projects upwards of Rs 200 crores (is a success), as has been announced. I believe this is a great start. We have achieved something significant for the industry. Perhaps R s. 50 crores would have been better, and would have benefited more players across various spectrums, and we are working towards it. In some states like Mumbai, we can now buy Floor Space Index (FSI), which I believe is also a big start, and a big example, for other cities and states to follow. In Delhi, the FSI has already been increased from 1.75 to 2.25. Our hope is to get it increased to 4.00. ■ by NAVIN BERRY

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The State of Indian Hospitality The Indian hospitality industry has emerged as one of the key industries driving the growth of the services sector. The FHRAI Indian Hotel Survey 2012-13 aims to provide the most comprehensive guide to all India performance trends for this industry. Results of the survey will empower industry stakeholders such as owners, investors, operators, business analysts, and researchers with information about the operational aspects of the industry. It will also help owners benchmark the performance of their operations against industry standards and seek professional help if corrective measures are required. KeyTrends

This section is divided into two parts: There are Country Trends and City Trends. In the first subsection, an overview is provided of the broad trends along with survey findings related to key operating statistics that have been observed in the country in the past year. This is followed by the city trends, which reflect HVS’s perception of each city, as well as our expectations with regard to its future performance. An interesting trend to note is the correlation between the supply and demand growth, with the supply growing at 17.8 percent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) and demand at 17.3 percent from 2008-09 to 2012-13. The fact that occupancy levels remained generally stable during this period despite strong increases in supply, is indicative of the healthy growth in demand. However, the occupancy performance is only part of the story; there appears to be a trend where hotels are dropping average rates to attract customers in the face of increased supply. As a result, HVS is of the opinion that a new customer mindset is emerging that is sensitive to the price instead of the traditional one, which was more loyal to a hotel or brand. As operators battle increasing departmental costs and owners struggle with debt service payments, hotel companies need to reconsider their rate strategies. 24 HOTELSCAPES • February 2014

Country Trends

• Hotel Industr y Performance – Grow th in Demand and Supply : In 2012-13, the country experienced a slowdown in growth across sectors, as reflected in GDP growth of five percent. Despite this slowdown, the year saw hotels maintain occupancy levels at a steady 60.4 percent (60.9 percent in 2011-12). HVS estimated that major cities across the country witnessed a growth of 11 percent in hotel room supply in 2012-13, while demand exhibited a strong increase of 9.2 percent during the same period1. The nationwide results of this year’s Survey, however, reveal that the average rates declined by 3.6 percent when compared to those in 2011-12 (Exhibit 1). Increasing Contribution from Food & Beverage and Banquets & Conferences to the Revenue Mix: India continues to receive a greater contribution from both the Food & Beverage (F&B) and the Banquets & Conferences department. The Banquets & Conferences segment also recorded a year-on-year increase of 17.4 percent in PAR revenue in 2012-13 (`2,26,793) over that in 201112, while Food & Beverage recorded an increase of 4.2 percent in the PAR revenue (`5,41,494) for the same period. The revenue contribution (in percentage of total revenue) from rooms has seen a steady decline over the last five years, recording a

negative CAGR of four percent bet ween 2008-09 and 2012-13. Going forward, as the competition further increases in the market with the entry of new supply, we expect F&B revenues to continue to contribute a large portion of gross revenues as they are not solely driven by occupancies. Additionally, the burgeoning middle class and its propensity to spend will continue to augment demand for F&B across cities in India. With hotels focusing on the Banquets & Conferences segment in off-season months to beat seasonality, it is anticipated that this department will increase its contribution to the total revenue pie. Declining Net Income (as a percentage of total revenue): The FHRAI Survey results in the last five years have shown that Net Income as a percentage of the total revenue has consistently declined year-on-year, as witnessed by a CAGR of -5.7 percent. The year 2012-13 has seen a decline of 4.7 percent in Net Income as a percentage of revenue over the previous year. This phenomenon can be attributed to rising departmental costs. This is a result of rising inflation coupled with an increase in energy costs. The last year also experienced an increase in departmental expenses as a percentage of total revenues, resulting in declining profits. Exhibit 3 illustrates the FHRAI Survey trends in Revenue and Net Incomes over the past five years.

REPORT Increasing Utility Costs: Energy costs continue to rise and pose a challenge to the hotel industry. The Survey, this year, has revealed a rise of 13 percent in PAR energy costs ( ` 1,82,067) over that in the previous year ( ` 1,61,479). Additionally, the Survey results show that only 26 percent of the hotels surveyed have an energy management system in place across India. The rise in Energy costs coupled with the limited conservation measures employed highlight the dire need for sustainable practices to be used in the industry. HVS is currently tracking a proposed supply of 84,650 branded rooms, of which 60 percent is actively under development and is expected to enter the Indian hotel market over the next five years. Given the anticipated increase in hotel room supply, together with a high inflationary environment, HVS re-emphasises the need for operational efficiency and sustainable practices in order to curtail a further decline of profitability. Going forward, companies like HVS Sustainability can assist hotels in improving their financial performance along with the environmental and social one. Continuing High Manpower to Room ratios: Employee-to-room ratios in India continue to be on the higher side when compared with global benchmarks; almost twice as much. The all India average of employee-to-room ratio stands at 1.6. This can be attributed to the large chunk of four star and three-star hotel respondents, which have an average employee-to-room ratio of 1.7. Typically, hotels in India provide services and facilities beyond their positioning; hence, they require more manpower. 
 With rising manpower costs, the higher ratios are posing a problem to hotel companies. Hence, companies are now seeking ways to rationalise employee-to-room ratios and cut down on payroll costs, which will improve operational efficiency. Effective manpower management is the need of the hour along with effective training programmes. The training programmes include cross exposure to other departments, hotels and brands, consequently incentivising staff and

simultaneously training them to multitask. This training focusing on multitasking would save on manpower and reduce payroll costs, leading to an overall increase in efficiency. Additionally, given the increasing supply of new hotels entering the country, effective training should be accompanied by growth opportunities for existing employees and sound retention policies, to keep good talent from moving to the competition. This will also help stabilise costs over time, as companies need not incur fresh costs in hiring replacements. Changing Source Markets: The United Kingdom and the United States of America are the largest international source markets for the Indian hospitality sector, contributing 23 percent of the overall demand in 2012-13. However, it has been observed that their share continues to decline as witnessed by the 4.3 percent drop this year as compared to last year’s arrivals. This may be attributed to the fact that Indian hotels have seen a greater contribution from the Middle East, Russia, and the SAARC nations. The rise in visitation from Asia and the Middle East may be attributed to the improved connectivity, easier visa norms and infrastructure development. Market Mix and Declining Seasonality: The Indian hotel industry continues to cater to the Business traveller, who contributes the largest share to the market mix at 39 percent. This is primarily due to the fact that most hotels are situated in business cities. The survey also reveals an increase in the growth of Meeting Participants segments (fewer than 100 and more than 100 attendees). As mentioned earlier, it has been noticed across the country that hotels are targeting Banquets and Conferences in off-season months with attractive packages and rates in order to offset the low occupancies experienced during the traditionally slow season. 
Additionally, both the Domestic Business and the Domestic Leisure traveller have continued to show resilience and maintain their share of the pie and overall length of stay, when compared to

the nationwide average from last year’s survey. While the real growth in 2012-13 came from the Domestic travellers, it is interesting to note that India also experienced an increase of 5.4 percent in foreign tourist arrivals.


Table 1 illustrates average occupancy and rate for 33 cities/regions across the country over the last five years culled from the FHRAI 201213 Survey results. This is followed by HVS’s viewpoint on the demand-supply scenario and performance of the 20 identified hotel markets, based on in-house research and data from ‘HVS 2013 Hotels in India Trends & Opportunities’.


Given the travel time, distances and new hotel supply in different parts of the city, Bengaluru has witnessed the formation of micromarkets. The cit y remains heavily dependent on commercial demand with peak occupancy being recorded from Monday to Thursday. Bengaluru’s hotel market relies heavily on the IT/ITeS sector with a high foreign-to-domesticguests ratio, making it more vulnerable to global economic changes than most other cities in the country. The city experienced an increase in supply of 10.7 percent, while demand grew by nine percent resulting in only a marginal drop in occupancy. The year saw the entry of mid market and budget hotels; consequently, the marketwide average rate declined by 4.5 percent. The central business district (CBD), with the highest concentration of luxury and upscale hotels, witnessed a marginal drop in average rate while still maintaining near similar occupancies as last year. Whitefield, with budget, mid market, and upscale hotels saw an increase in occupancy and a decrease in average rate. Electronic City, with mostly budget and mid market hotels recorded declining occupancy owing to new supply but no marked increase in average rate. The newly formed micromarkets of ORR South and Yeshwantpur saw a rise in branded supply and increase in occupancies and rates, with new hotels ramping up operations. Going forward, Bengaluru is anticipating 10,700 hotel rooms to enter the market in the next five years. This, coupled with approximately 50 percent increase in office supply and overall vacancy rates below 15 percent makes us bullish about the future outlook for the hotel market here.


Chennai is the southern financial capital of the country. Its diversified economy consists of the finance sector along with the growing

February 2014 • HOTELSCAPES 25

REPORT auto and auto-ancillary sector, manufacturing, and IT/ITeS sectors. The city has witnessed a significant increase in hotel supply over the last 18 months mainly in the luxury and upper upscale segments. As a result, occupancy and average rates have declined. However, demand for hotels has witnessed steady growth across all areas in the city. Chennai is expected to witness a substantial increase in supply over the next two to three years especially along Old Mahabalipuram Road, and consequently, further pressure on occupancy and average rate is anticipated. However, with considerable investment in infrastructure projects, we anticipate a steady growth in the office, retail and residential sectors, which will in turn drive growth in demand across different segments for hotels. The commercial segment continues to be the largest for the city with demand generated from the finance sector in the commercial business districts, manufacturing and automobile companies in the industrial pockets of Sriperumbudur, Irungattukottai and Oragadam located along the periphery of Chennai, and from Old Mahabalipuram Road, widely known as the IT Corridor of Chennai. The growth of commercial activities in these areas along with the development of Omega Township, a 1,500-acre industrial and residential zone about 50 km south of Chennai, is expected to support continued growth in demand in the Commercial and Extended Stay segments. Additionally, with the opening of hotels with large meeting and conference facilities, we expect the city to start witnessing large-scale conventions and events. Moreover, the opening of the new international and domestic airport terminals is anticipated to increase air traffic and consequently, airline demand for hotels in the city.


Goa continues to show year-on-year growth, both in marketwide occupancy and average

rates. Much of the growth over the past four years has been domestically driven, with improved visitation during the summer and the monsoon periods (June to October). As a result, it has reduced the sharp seasonality that was inherent in the market and helped mitigate the large occupancy gap between seasonal peaks and troughs. Average room rates, though, continue to vary significantly between the strong foreign-tourist dominated winter months and the domestically driven summers and monsoons. Growth in foreign tourist arrivals has been driven by a yearon-year increase in charter business to Goa. While Russia, United Kingdom, and Scandinavia remain the major feeder markets for the Foreign Leisure segment, Goa has lately seen a strong growth in demand emerging from the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries. Another segment that has seen recent growth is Meetings and Conferences especially since the opening of the Grand Hyatt that offers extensive meeting facilities. Goa is India’s preferred destination for company offsites, conferences, incentive programmes, and social events. However, lack of quality infrastructure continues to be a major hurdle in the overall progress of the state. Although, the new integrated terminal at Dabolim Airport is ready and scheduled to begin operations in January 2014, there is high uncertainty associated with the development of the new international airport at Mopa. Historically, supply growth in Goa has been moderate; however, the current government ’s promptness in rewarding necessary licenses and permits has resulted in a strong pipeline of hotel projects that are under active development. We view this as a positive sign and a welcome development for a state that displays strong demand growth every year. Goa continued to witness a marginal increase in occupancy in 2012-13 over that in

the previous fiscal. During the same period, average rates exhibited a healthy increase. Due to a robust charter season coupled with strong growth in domestic demand, we expect this trend to continue in the current fiscal.


Kolkata is the regional headquar ters for a number of domestic and international companies, banks and financial institutions, such as ITC Limited, Britannia Industries, Coal India Limited, Allahabad Bank, and United Bank of India. Despite being a major metro, Kolkata has seen limited hotel supply in the last five years. Consequently, the city boasts of high and stable occupancy and steady growth in average rates. Demand in the city continues to be driven by PSUs and domestic companies, insulating the city from global economic changes. Kolkata is also a preferred location for conferences and seminars in the eastern part of the country. This is due to facilities such as the Science City and Milan Mela, located along Eastern Metropolitan Bypass, which are favoured destinations for large conferences, seminars, and exhibitions. The past three to four years have also seen rapid development along the city’s eastern periphery into areas of New Town (Rajarhat) and Salt Lake. Prominent IT/ITeS companies have set up operations in these areas with some companies also moving from the CBD to New Town. Kolkata has recently seen some modernisation with the opening of the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, which has triple the airport capacity than before. HVS is currently tracking 3,511 rooms that are proposed to enter the market with 64 percent of them under active development. Like most other cities, the proposed supply is primarily in the upscale and mid market segments. Consequently, we anticipate occupancy to be subdued while average rates are expected to experience moderate growth.

Table 1 Average Occupancy and Average Room Rate: 7 major Cities/Regions in India

26 HOTELSCAPES • February 2014


Mumbai, the state capital of Maharashtra, is also India’s financial capital and its largest trading port. This metropolitan city makes an important contribution to the economy of Maharashtra as well as to India on the whole. The main industries in and around Mumbai are pharmaceuticals, tex tiles, gems and jewellery, film equipment, automotive parts, food processing, electronics, manufacturing, IT/ITeS related businesses, financial services, and petrochemicals. The city is also home to Bollywood, India’s largest film industry and also one of the largest film industries in the world. With several of fices shif ting base to business districts across Nor th Mumbai, hotels here were positively impacted while those in South and Central Mumbai continued to witness a drop in demand. Additionally, various micromarkets in North Mumbai such as Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), Andheri, Malad, Goregaon and Vikhroli amongst others are witnessing continuous additions to office stock, which is expected to fuel demand for hotels located in these micromarkets. Going forward, it is anticipated that these areas will witness a new hotel supply. With supply increase in the branded space over the next year expected to be almost negligible, we estimate marketwide occupancy to continue improving. We anticipate that a majority of hotels to give precedence to growth in occupancy to capture a larger market share, thereby we believe average rate to witness a decline and thereafter to grow marginally. However, as new hotels enter the market in the medium-to-long term, we expect the city to witness some occupancy and average rate pressure before stabilising in the long term. The robust nature of the hotel market along with infrastructure development such as the metro and monorail, upgradation of the existing airport, and the opening of the Bombay Port Trust Road amongst others, leads us to be bullish in our long term outlook for Mumbai.

Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR)

In the Delhi-NCR region are included hotels located in Delhi, NOIDA, and Greater NOIDA. Delhi, the administrative capital of India, houses several government bodies and embassies of various countries. Additionally, the city is regarded as one of the largest commercial hubs across the country. Over the last decade, the central administration has worked towards improving the infrastructure of the city, which is evident in the development of several flyovers, arterial roads, and expansion of the Delhi Metro. The city also acts as the aviation hub for the country as Indira Gandhi International Airport provides connectivity to various cities

within the country and around the world. In the past few years, Delhi has witnessed the addition of several new hotels, primarily in the western and eastern parts of the city that have displaced demand from South and Central Delhi hotels. This has led to a decline in the overall performance of hotels situated in and around the central business district area. We anticipate this trend to continue in the short term. As per the Trends and Opportunities Report 2013, also published by HVS, around 5,200 rooms are expected to be developed in the various submarkets in Delhi, with a majority of them located within Aerocity. We expect the development of these hotels to put pressure on the marketwide occupancy and rates in the short-to-medium term. However, owing to the collective meeting facilities and inventory these hotels offer and their proximity to the airport, we expect them to induce demand in the Meetings & Conference segment. Therefore, our outlook for the market remains positive in the long term. For little over a decade, NOIDA and Greater NOIDA have developed into hubs of industrial activity and have, therefore, received focus from hotel developers in recent times. However, with lack of demand for branded hotel rooms coupled with a substantial increase in hotel room supply, performance of hotels within these micromarkets has been declining. HVS is tracking a proposed supply of 5,615 rooms in NOIDA and Greater NOIDA, of which 28% are actively under development and are expected to open over the next five years – an increase of 87% over the existing base. Given such significant supply increase, we anticipate considerable occupancy and average rate pressure over the next few years.


Pune is the second-largest city in the state of Maharashtra, and is also known as the cultural and educational centre of the state. The economy of the cit y is centred on manufacturing and forging industries and more recently on the automobile manufacturing and IT/ITeS sectors. Unlike other major cities, Pune lacks a conventional CBD and demand for hotels is predominantly generated from the industrial pockets of Pimpri, Chinchwad, Talegaon, Chakan, and Rajangaon, along with the IT hubs of Hinjewadi, Magarpatta and Kharadi. In 201213, the city witnessed a growth in occupancy as growth in demand outpaced change in supply. Demand growth was fuelled by new projects being set up in Talegaon, Chakan, and Hinjewadi. Additionally, the city witnessed tremendous increase in Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Events (MICE) demand as it played host to several large-scale conferences and weddings. As hotels continued to focus on building occupancy levels, average rates declined moderately in 2012-13 when compared with those in 2011-12. Going for ward, in the shor t term, we anticipate strong growth in demand, led by the IT/ITeS sector. Demand from the manufacturing sector, however, is expected to be subdued owing to the slowdown in the automobile industry. Increase in supply is anticipated to be moderate over the next two to three years and will mainly be concentrated in the pockets of Hinjewadi, Chakan and Nagar Road. With a steady growth in demand and modest increase in supply, we expect occupancy levels to continually improve. Average rate growth, however, is expected to remain muted in the short term. ■

February 2014 • HOTELSCAPES 27


With 29 “non-hotel, hotels” in India, the Neemrana group is at the forefront in the field of heritage hospitality. Based on a philosophy of simplicity which is the ultimate style, the joint chairmen, Francis Wacziarg and Aman Nath, are focused on building and strengthening rural and village tourism. We speak to Aman Nath on the nature of operating in the rural countryside and what challenges come along with it.

Cliff House, The Ramgarh Bungalows

The Neemrana Connect

Bringing the rural countryside into the hospitality mould W

hat does it mean to have a hotel in the rural countryside?

Aman Nath Co-Chairman

Rural or Village Tourism means being received by rural people in their homes. Agro-Tourism in Italy is easier as they already have proper bedrooms and loos.


28 HOTELSCAPES • February 2014

In India we forget that ‘rural hospitality’ does not mean just a hotel in the rural countryside! Rural or Village Tourism means being received by rural people in their homes. Agro-Tourism in Italy is easier as they already have proper bedrooms and loos. You can sit instantly at their table and eat bread, cheese, pasta and drink whatever wine, besides clean water. Our contrasts of lifestyle in India do not make it easy. A lady can hardly use a loo in any normal village of India. The fields are better! At Neemrana Hotels, the closest a guest would get to rural hospitality would be at The Ramgarh Bungalows (Uttarakhand) and The Piramal Haveli (Shekhavati, Rajasthan).


hat are the challenges in terms of manpower, design, operations and marketing?

All the challenges exist for rural tourism in full measure. And, if you mean heritage

tourism in rural areas, you have to re-invent the wheel again and again.


ow do you bring in technology which is compatible to a rural environment?

We try hard. We ran Neemrana for 22 years on generators. We could always employ outsiders but we prefer to hire locally. Some of the locals from a nearby village have now been trained to make computerised bills. But being pioneers means all this. Look how Taj did Fort Aguada!


n the light of the above, what have been your diverse experiences across the country?

Neemrana Hotels are in 10 states. We can’t really say that tourism is really any politician’s priority. Kerala catapulted on a series of moves made at opportune moments. But running a hotel there is not easy. First they wanted a hotel classification before the bar licence be given and then the bar licence before the

INTERVIEW the sea, or in the mountains. You can just get the keys to stylish, running homes which you can step into and call your own. And it isn’t always easy to find such amazing locations as where these Noble Homes are located! Although individual rooms can be booked, the essence of the Noble Homes’ concept is that you must feel master of the whole space that you see and inhabit. This is best experienced by renting the entire home so that all the ‘public’ spaces become private in usage. It’s a niche market for guests who don’t want to be churned in and out of a hotelfactory.

H Le Colonial at Cochin

classification! Now The Tower House (Cochin) is classified by the Ministry of Tourism as a heritage hotel and six months later we are still awaiting the bar licence.


ou have property in a very competitive environment like Goa where tourism and hospitality are

well established but you are also in Tranquebar which is relatively pristine. In these diverse environments, how do you marshal your resources?

We have competitors but less competition. In Goa, we run three Neemrana Noble Homes. Neemrana’s ‘Noble Homes’ believe that you don’t have to build one home each by a river,

ow much is the potential in rural hospitality and how much have you tapped?

The Indian potential can only be is limitless with over 70 percent open-hearted people living in villages. Opening a Neemrana property takes training and employment to their doorstep. It avoids rural migration to city slums, etc. And, for guests who go there, it is the real India, still somewhat unspoilt. A villager’s innocent smile has no match in the plastic city smiles! ■ by PRIYAANKA BERRY

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“The students are not adequately industry-involved” From F&B Manager, to Chef, to General Manager, Virender S Datta has assumed different roles during his tenure in the hospitality industry. Now with his institute, the Indian Institute of Culinary Arts he believes it is time to pay back. He talks to us about the current situation in the HR segment in hospitality industry and suggests a few solutions to improve it.


anpower has always been a challenge for the industry, what is the current scenario in the industry?

Virender S Datta

Founder, Indian Institute of Culinary Arts

Currently the entire focus is on management training, where we are opening IHM institutes by dozens, in private as well as the public sector. Everybody joins these institutes thinking that he’ll be a manager. For example, a hotel of 100 rooms might have 100-200 employees, but only 10 managers. So where are the rest of 190 coming from? Who is training them?


30 HOTELSCAPES • January February2014 2014

I believe that the current situation is not good. Tourism in the country is not growing at the rate we thought it would. It is a constant subject of debate; we are getting only 0.06 percent of the global tourism shares. And we must look at why. Any service is served by the people who are involved in it. Any satisfied customer is your best sales person. Obviously this is not happening everywhere. I personally attribute this directly to the lack of trained manpower in the hospitality industry. There is a great rush for fast growth. Hence, at times, the training is not complete, their understanding is not complete. So this is one fundamental reason I believe the situation is not good. We need to focus very aggressively and seriously on the subject of what do we need first of all, what kind of training do we need, and what are we doing at the moment. Cu r r e nt ly t he e nt i r e fo c u s i s o n management training, where we are opening IHM institutes by dozens, in private as well as the public sector. Everybody joins these institutes thinking that he’ll be a manager. For example, a hotel of 100 rooms might have 100-200 employees, but only 10 managers. So where are the rest of the 190 coming from? Who is training them? So with this logic, the distribution of training facilities should also be 10 percent vs. 90 percent. This is not happening; hence the answer is very clear. We do not have training facilities; we are training in the wrong direction. Those people who are trained thinking that they will be managers are dissatisfied when they come out and have to pick up plates and other menial tasks and then they start looking for other industries.


hat should the current focus be on to get skilled people?

Skills are again perceived as hand skills but they are of many forms. There are skills of the hands such as cookery and engineering and there are also skills of articulations such as speech, and other services as well, so you require skills at all levels. There is a lack of training facilities available and there is a lack of skills available. There is also a social stigma attached with the skills so anybody’s child who does a little better, thinks skill is out of question for him, and he goes for academics. The first and major challenge for us is to change the social perception of skills and of taking them professionally. The skilled man is more important than one who does only academics. Today various skilled people are doing better than many other people who do academics. I think the fundamental issue is skill comprehension, what is skill and why it is so important. I must say in this direction, there is a very significant move by the government. There are skill councils they are putting up and there is also a hospitality skill council being developed. The government is now introducing programmes where a chef can do PhD in the culinary arts and a carpenter can do PhD in his sphere. These kinds of programmes, now being developed will raise the social status of a skilled person and he will be as respected as those in other professions. Therefore, good people will start coming to the industry.


o get the required number of trained manpower, how many more institutes do we need to have?

My figures may not be correct but with reference to a recent presentation at the skills council committee it was explained that we need millions of trained manpower. If we go by the current rate, it will take us 100 years to train them. So I think we are just on the tip of a huge


iceberg and the rest of it below is waiting to be explored. We are very basic; putting any figures would be irrelevant at the moment. There is much more to be done in the training facilities they just don’t exist, the concept is not there.


hat are the major reasons behind this shortage of skilled manpower?

The first and foremost reason for the shortage is the social acceptance of skills. I think, as today’s generation grows up and become parents, the situation will change because they are going through this. We are a young age nation so I believe when this young age nation grows and comes into parenthood; they will value skills much more. Wisdom existed before also, but there was not the appropriate application of the same. Today much more wisdom exists and I am sure with the right environment the coming times will be better. A major mind shift is required and it will happen also.


urrently, what step can be taken by the industry and the institutes together to bring a change?

First of all, industry and educationists must work together and I feel the moment this happens, things will be better. Right now we are working at cross purposes. The industry complains a lot that they are not getting the right students. So I think it is time that we come together and become partners in education. The faculties must work together, plan together and understand. Industry must tell us how are we doing, they must guide us as to what we should do and then must participate in sharing their highly professional staff, sharing their knowledge, being available. And this must become a part of their schedule, to train people, and come to the institutes. Secondly, I personally believe that the

THE STUDENTS ARE NOT INDUSTRY READY YET. THERE IS A REASON BEHIND IT. MOST STUDENTS ARE FROM INSTITUTES WHICH TEACH MULTIPLE SUBJECTS. moment a professional crosses the age of 55 years, he should think of education, he should think of transferring knowledge through education. He has been lucky. He has been fortunate to join good employers who invested heavily in him/her. What is the use of taking it home, and saying I used to do this and cursing the current situation. They should join in. This is very common practice in the western world and should now be practiced here too. Share your knowledge, be available to the institutes, and tell the students your mantras. There should be more availability of trained faculty, which is only possible if the senior professionals when planning their second innings, allocate a few hours of their lives to the institutes. Similarly, people in the industry also, who are at higher levels, must share learning options with them. This can change quite a lot from the industry point of view.


hy did you choose to take culinary education forward?

Applying the same logic, when I turned 55, I switched to imparting knowledge. I was quite lucky to have employers like The Oberoi and ITC and others. They spent so heavily on me and sent me to England, America and Europe. I have played my innings. I have reached where I could have. Everyone has a level of incompetency. Everyone reaches there sooner or later. It’s was then time for me to transfer my knowledge and so I started planning three years before my retirement. When I was travelling abroad, I was looking at education more seriously, I established contacts with

education providers. So my awareness of education as a subject increased much more. When I retired I was absolutely ready to launch this inning. In 2005 we launched this institute and I believe that this was the best decision of my life. I am very satisfied as youngsters come to me with their parents and the parents have dreams in their eyes for their children, and they leave all those aspirations with me. So this is a noble profession, it is not business and it is most rewarding to society. This is payback and it is high time we do it.


hat is IICA’s vision? How do you plan to improve the situation?

It is driven from my personal experiences. In my opinion I did the right thing by shifting and becoming a chef. I had realised the lack of availability of chefs in the industry. I also realised how we were promoting people with less knowledge. There was nobody at the helm of affairs in any company who was a chef at once. I could have opened IHM and got many more students but I felt that this was one area which was neglected and needed to be filled in. My firm belief is that a chef can be a great General Manager one day if he wants to be. There are various examples in the industry currently. So if you want to be the General Manager of a hotel, start the chef route. You will reach that stage faster and better equipped. It is not about the cooking knowledge but the managerial skills you experience. It is better to be a chef than to be personnel in any other department of the hotel. This is so because managing a kitchen involves human resources February 2014 • HOTELSCAPES 31

INTERVIEW and leading the team. This is also the only department where the food cost is calculated every day, so the chef needs to be good at cost consciousness too. In the food business you get only one chance. If it is bad, the customer is gone, he has lost his appetite. This makes you quality conscious and you have to be right the first time and every time. Therefore, a chef’s managerial skills develop better. Once he is the General Manager, he is very incisive. He is very involved and he leads from the front.


o you think the batches of students coming out of these institutes are industry ready? Or do they need to undergo another round of training?

They are not industry ready yet. There is a reason behind it. Most students are from institutes which teach multiple subjects at one time. The reason is obvious. They are not very industry-involved. The course curriculums are so heavy that they cannot complete the theory part. Where do they have time for the practical? Internationally, hotel management institutes have classes only three times a week

32 HOTELSCAPES • February 2014

and that too for just four hours a day. After that the students are expected to work in the industry. They are industry ready even before they pass out. Industry uses them. Students here are not industry ready. Hence they have to undergo training programmes. We, at IICA, have a different approach. We are governed by international methods because of our course curriculums and affiliations. Our students are industry ready within four months of joining the college. We have tied up with hotels and restaurants where our students work after three p.m. They work for five to 10 hours, they get paid, they get experience and so they get placements easily as they are already involved. We are a skill rooted industry. All growth will happen through the skill route. The second reason why they are not ready is that industry is not involved with the institutes. They have to start giving more value to these students coming from the institutes. The industry must ensure that they are not used as a cheap labour. Also the leaders of the institute must have close links with the industry. As industry is the end user, so they have to be

partners, hand in gloves with us. Various hotels are coming forward but more should come up.


hat new development do you see in the HR segment in the industry?

The major development that I see is that now students will be working also. This must happen faster and this is possible if the industry accepts it. That major shift to multi-skill is going to happen which will make the shortage of chefs history. Within the industry also they should expose young people to new experiences. I used to put my Sous Chef in manager’s uniform whenever the Restaurant Manager was on leave and vice versa just to make them experience what the other person goes through. The management has to think a little bit more out of the box. We are too much in the box. We must break out of this mode of thinking and think about innovation and change. I believe HR Managers and people on the board must start thinking differently and take such people on board as are skill oriented. ■ as told to NIKITA CHOPRA


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How to be an exemplary General Manager The job of a general manager comes with endless responsibility. Apart from being accountable for budgeting and financial management, planning, organising and directing all hotel services, a GM works as an anchor and an example to the entire hotel. HotelScapes in a conversation with Mohammad Labban, General Manager, Hyatt Regency Pune, asks him about the challenges, goals and strategies of being an ideal GM.


ow would you define the role of a hotel GM? What are top three knowledge/skills for this position?

It starts with supervising the day-to-day operations at the property to innovative solutions together with the team to generate and enhance the business. Awareness and market intelligence is absolutely necessary to the role. In addition to this, the vision to incorporate these developments and the ability to adapt to the changing trends in the industry is also a must. Needless to say, discipline and a passion for the job is a strong pre-requisite.


hat makes a good and an efficient hotel manager?

Knowledge, discipline and a passion for the job go a long way in the making an efficient GM. Also, it is imperative for the GM to realise that paying attention to the needs of the employees is just as important as paying attention to the needs of the guests. Such gestures ensure that the hotel staff feels cared for and this in turn encourages them to provide the best experience for our guests.


hat is your routine?

Mohammad Labban General Manager Hyatt Regency Pune

Realising the fact that our clientele is largely corporate, we at Hyatt Regency Pune are dedicated to being the preferred choice for meetings, incentives, conference and exhibitions (MICE). We will continue our focus on increasing Global Distribution System.


34 HOTELSCAPES • February 2014

Health and fitness are a top priority for me as I strongly believe that a healthy mind and body serve as the biggest asset for an effective and efficient personality. As I go about my daily managerial operations, I keep myself updated with the latest advances in the hospitality sector and continue to increase my knowledge of finance as well as sales and marketing experience to ensure that I provide sound leadership for my hotel in the face of rising competition. And finally, I love to unwind with golf as the sport teaches me a lot about patience, endurance and striking when the time is right.


hat are the challenges of your job and how do you face them?

The hospitality sector is a dynamic field and Pune is experiencing rapid growth as a business hub, which has resulted in immense competition in the hospitality sector. The opportunities are often followed by numerous challenges. I believe that patience and diligence is the key when it comes to tackling issues like poor infrastructure, high cost of land procurement and multiple licenses as well as levies. The hospitality sector in Pune is expected to soar and the next one or two years may be a phase of building, before the high growth trajectory emerges.


hat are your basic concerns/goals and how do you execute them?

Realising the fact that our clientele is largely corporate, we at Hyatt Regency Pune are dedicated to being the preferred choice for meetings, incentives, conference and exhibitions (MICE). In addition, we aspire to host large weddings and exhibitions as well as other events such as doctor’s conferences and corporate conventions. We will continue our focus on increasing Global Distribution System (GDS) and Online Travel Agency (OTA) bookings, amongst other priorities. We are proud to announce that the introduction of our 15,000 sq. ft. convention centre has greatly increased our capacity to absorb big conventions.


f something ever goes wrong, how do you handle it?

The best approach in any situation of crisis is to not panic but to try to find the root of the problem so that we can take calculated efforts to come up with a relevant and effective solution. Having a team that is dedicated and co-operative is crucial to troubleshooting


when it comes to the hospitality industry. When the staff itself is self-motivated, every member sees it as their personal responsibility to avert bothersome situations as well as making sure that the guests don’t have to bear the brunt of the unforeseen predicament.


hich department of the hotel is most important and why? How do you look after it?

Even though Sales and Marketing is the revenue generating department, a l l de pa r t me nt s a r e e qu a l ly important in the role they play for a smooth and successful operation. More important, running a large business requires team effort and that is what makes a difference.


hat are your ways of promoting your hotel?

Besides the standard methods of promoting the property through strategic advertising and marketing, we rely heavily on providing a top-

notch experience to the guests so that our quality of service itself becomes our biggest for m of promotion. Whether it is the staff or the aesthetic standard of our venues, we ensure that the guests not only keep coming back for more, but also highly recommend the property to others as well.

W hotel?

hat will make guests want to stay at your

Hyatt Regency Pune prides itself on its truly international standard of service. We go to great lengths to ensure the comfort of our guests and we accept no compromise on the quality of our hospitality. Whether it is the food or the serviced apartments, everything is designed to provide luxury, with special emphasis on guest experience that is nothing short of exemplary. We believe that our standards speak for themselves and are our best form of publicity. â– by ANUPRIYA BISHNOI

February 2014 • HOTELSCAPES 35


Regency Ballroom with projector

Next Gen Conferencing Some hotels top in rendering best of technology in conferencing, making the guest experience a memorable one. HotelScapes talks to some of the representatives of these hotels in India which offer the best of technology available in conferencing making the guests come back again.


s new technolog y c u r e s t r a d i t ion a l boring business and meetings and conferencing get a new meaning, o n e o f t h e b i g ge s t t h i n g s that set high-tech conference facilities apart is their versatility. Preparation, service, and versatile technology options are the key to a successful and positive conferencing experience. According to Megha

Ajgaokar, Director Of Sales & Marketing, Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel, “The presence of the state of the art and modern gadgets offers a larger than life picture to the client, gives a more futuristic feel to the event, makes it more interesting for the participants and makes conferences more successful. Companies are able to offer their dealers, clients and employees a much better

36 HOTELSCAPES • February 2014

and varied experience than any competitors.” Some of the cuttingedge technologies that the hotel offers are – 22000 lumens HD projectors which give best picture quality. They are also available in 3D options for high-end events. “With tools like watch-out and other servers provided by the service provider, they are moving away from the ordinary and make the meeting experience different and more modern,” adds Ajgaokar.

Taking pride in the gadgets and technology installed inside the hotel, Ajgaokar says “with the assistance of our technology partners we are able to offer High end and HD projectors of 22000 lumens, indoor LEDs (3mm), varied ranges in projectors (600022000 lumens), watch-out screens, video mapping gadgets, screens of any size and shape as against regular screens, teleconferencing equipment, hi-end Barco projectors

TECHNOLOGY which are number one projectors worldwide. Today every hotel is competing to be the best, so you have to do things differently and in a much better way than other in order to stand out.” Innovations constantly bring technology to the next level and one such hotel practicing innovation is Novotel HICC Hyd e r a b a d . R a s i k a S i n g h , Director of Sales & Marketing, Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre says “Audio-visual trends have been constantly developing in India and at a much faster speed due to high demand for technologically advanced events. Even event managers would prefer to add on a bunch of new things to their dossier year on year due to cut-throat competition in audio visual.” Also some of the trends that have evolved over time are shifts from Analog to Digital, Wired to Wireless, Manual to Online to

ALSO SOME OF THE GADGETS AND TECHNOLOGY IN CONFERENCING IS HELPING IN ENHANCING THE EXPERIENCE FOR GUESTS... DELEGATES CAN SHARE THEIR VISITING CARDS, PRESENTATIONS AND PORTFOLIOS WITH JUST TAPPING A KEY. App based interactive Interfaces, Multiway analog systems to digita l signa l processing to digitally controlled line array technology. Similarly other trends are a shift from High wattage lights to DMX controlled lights and moving heads to Low power controlled LED based luminaires, LCD to DLP to 3D projectors to Large format Seamless imaging to Projectorless LED large screen displays to Projection mapping a nd 4K proje c t ion a nd SD video to HD video. The trend is towards graphics/animation integration and live broadcasting to multicasting of live events over a wide range of interfaces. Other trends are a sensory engagement

of participations using AudioVisual Media and the convergence of AV and IT. Singh further explains the speciality of their conferencing gadgets. “We have 10,000-22,000 lumens of hi-definition projectors which stretch the projection up to 220 feet of screen, VRX speakers, I Live Digital mixers for better quality sound in huge venues, Bosch congress system with interpretation, voting with automatic sensory camera controls, Flexible LED dynamic screens of 3.9 mm, Image mapping software used for logo or theme projections, Fibre optic live transmissions, Video production centre with updated software and Webcasting

Ranvir Bhandari Vice President South & General Manager, ITC Grand Chola Our hotel is the preferred destination for global business and MICE travellers. Keeping in perspective the needs of these discerning guests and ITC Hotels’ ethos of Responsible Luxury, we offer cutting edge, trend setting technology that further accentuate the experience of the hotel’s world class service standards and trained team of professionals. We are committed to ensure that such futuristic amenities are seamlessly available to our guests at the right place at the right time for the right value.

coder and decoders for up to 32 simultaneous channels. We have some really outstanding gadgets which deliver ultimate experiences to the guests.” Also some of the gadgets and technology in conferencing is helping in enhancing the experience for guests. Some of them are – Geo fencing technology for tracking the event flow and also acts as a guest locator, Bump, tap, sharing technical session in fraternity events where delegates can share their visiting cards, presentations and portfolios with just tapping share key on their mobiles or IPADS. There is also 4K projection for virtual speech in the events, Holographic projec t ion for distant presentations or while addressing the meeting, Digital B2B events and Ghost posting – Third party social media postings (It’s a kind of e-feedback system which a delegate can post even while sitting anywhere in the convention centre). There is also 3D mapping of projections, Interactive gesture controls during presentations wh ic h ma ke s t he sp ea ke r s ha nds f ree a nd ca n cha nge over the slides through sensors Advergaming involves hyperparticipatory experiences which can utilized for marketing events where mass crowd involvement is required. Webinar meetings enables the organisers to save speakers time on travelling and still give presentations/speeches in seminars. Adobe connect e-trainings is for small group residing in different cities and 360˚ screens with dynamic projections are for interactive projection for gaming.

February 2014 • HOTELSCAPES 37

TECHNOLOGY ITC Grand Chola, Chennai has technology worth mentioning for each of its board room and banquet hall. At a sprawling 2,465 m2, Rajendra is one of the country’s largest pillarsless banquet halls. Inspired by Rajendra Chola, who’s valour and conquests are legendary, this architectural masterpiece truly reflects the glory of the dynasty under his reign. Rajendra has its own pre-function area of 1,584 m2 and can be divided into eight separate halls, each with sound proofing capabilities. Hence, it facilitates hosting of multiple functions simultaneously. It also features a private VIP entrance, a freight elevator capable of comfortably accommodating

a limo, drop down screens and LCD projectors, making it the preferred banquet choice for discerning guests. Tanjore is equipped with futuristic boardroom technology like pop-up LCD displays, high definition cameras which can be controlled directly from the table and drop-down screens. Spread across 980 square feet, Tanjore can seat 24 persons and is the ideal choice for those focal boardroom sessions. Some of the highlights

are Twin Feature Transmission (TFT) monitors that pop-out on the boardroom table and a data card reader which is a camera that can scan all physical documents and project it on the screen. Kaveri meeting rooms are an unmatched manifestation of luxury and corporate class. These four suave spaces, at a total area of 240 m2, are outfitted with a host of accoutrements for your distinct business requirements. Keeping in sync with individual

Megha Ajgaokar

Rasika Singh

Rakesh Kumar

The presence of the state of the art and modern gadgets offers a larger than life picture to the client, gives a more futuristic feel to the event, makes it more interesting for the participants and makes conferences more successful.

Audio-visual trends have been constantly developing in India and at a much faster speed due to high demand for technologically advanced events. Even event managers prefer to add on bunch of new things in their dossier year after year due to cut-throat competition.

The Regency Ballroom at Hyatt Regency is the only ballroom in the country to house an in-built Christie projector. It produces 32,500 ANSI lumens and is supported by two Christie Roadster HD18K HD digital projectors, which offer high resolution and crisp images.

Director Of Sales & Marketing, Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel



Director of Sales & Marketing, Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre

38 HOTELSCAPES • February 2014


Director, Engineering The Regency Ballroom, Hyatt Regency


requirements, the four boardrooms are versatile enough to be merged into one distinct meeting space. Hyat t Regency, Gurgaon takes pride in their Christie Projector which is the world’s brightest and best HD digital projector. According to Rakesh Kumar, Director, Engineering, “The Regency Ballroom at Hyatt Regency is the only ballroom in the country to house an in-built Christie projector. It produces 32,500 ANSI (35,000 centre) lumens (Highest Lumens offered in native HD) and is supported by two Christie Roadster HD18K HD digital projectors, which offer high resolution and crisp images. There are 144 inbuilt LED Par Cans and eight Moving Heads at the Regency Ballroom with different pre-set lighting options and special effects.” Also all the meeting rooms are equipped with 40 ” LED screens, In-built Bose audio systems, broadcast quality video equipment, wireless high-speed broadband internet connectivity, ISDN capability to facilitate live broadcast, compatible outfits for multi-media presentations. Kumar further says “Our hotel also offers ceiling mounted LED lights which are mounted TITAN (DTS) RGB LED projector lights to create the desired ambience/mood as Guest’ request, with different colour temperature at UPS supply. All projectors lights are controlled through media server controller AVOLITES make to personalize the ambience. Also all ceiling lights wall sconce are on UPS supply with 30 Minutes power backup mean no light interruption.” ■ by ANUPRIYA BISHNOI

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Gaurav Singh

General Manager, Courtyard by Marriott, Ahmedabad

Vibrant, colourful Gujarat is an unparalleled experience An established international brand in the city of Ahmedabad, Courtyard by Marriott has witnessed successful operations in the rapidly emerging state of Gujarat. Gaurav Singh, General Manager reflects on some of the factors that have made the world sit up and take notice of Gujarat.


ith the country gearing for the general elections in 2014 and the last few years being sluggish, only a few have been able to stay even as Gujarat has emerged dramatically to show its colours. The focus on tourism clubbed with the vibrancy of its people has provided unparalleled experiences. Tourist inflow and interest in investments have attracted the attention of large multinationals and corporate investors. The tourism campaign of Gujarat is one of the most successful in the country and many unexplored destinations such as Gir, Kutch, Somnath and Dwarka have gained deserving recognition. Further, with the addition of the progressive policies of the government, fabulous infrastructure, burgeoning air connectivity and of course the spirit of the people of the state, the brand value of Gujarat has increased. Celebrations common to every household in the state now have found unique opportunities with the colourful gaiety that Gujarat offers through Navratri, Rann Utsav, International Kite Festival of Uttarayan, thus encouraging foreign tourists to join the local festivities. Cour tyard by Marriott, Ahmedabad, established in 2010, and located in the new Central Business District of Ahmedabad –

Satellite Road, has emerged as the market leader in just four years of operations. The hotel has witnessed a growth of doubling its market share from 89 percent in 2010 to 181 percent in 2013 despite an additional supply of almost double the inventory of rooms in the city. The hotel has also become synonymous with hosting high profile guests including government delegations and highly placed corporates. The success of Marriott International’s choice of introducing the Courtyard by Marriott brand to Ahmedabad is attributed to many factors. The quality of service provided by well-trained young professionals reaps high guest satisfaction. This coupled with aggressive sales strategies have made this venture a profitable entity. The annual calendar of events, large conventions, big Indian weddings and continuous growths in infrastructure supported by the government give visitors many reasons to travel here. Ahmedabad is also a city of food lovers and eating out is one of their favourite past times. Courtyard by Marriott, Ahmedabad, keeping in mind this fondness of the local culture offers fine dining all vegetarian restaurant – Shakahari. The hotel chefs have been able to connect and hit the right chord with the city’s culture of dining out by being able to introduce novel tastes,


interesting culinary trends and true Indian and international flavours. With a statewide ban on Bars, the hotel soon launches its equivalent serving exquisite ‘Teas and Coffees’ by bringing in a popular Marriott International brand – Java+ for the first time to India. Giving back to the community has always been a mantra that Marriott as a company strongly believes in. The hotel has integrated this culture of ‘Spirit to Serve’ through some strong corporate social responsibility initiatives. Such activities are organised all around the year and involve active participation of all associates from across the hotel. Some of these include organising a tree plantation ceremony for Environment Day, initiating a fun cooking competition for female students from local catering colleges for Women’s Day and adopting a local home for AIDS affected children. The culture of giving also extends to our associates. Marriott International has been recognised as one of the best places to work by AON Hewitt as well as Great Places to Work in 2013. As hospitality is a demanding industry to work in, the hotel always put in an effort to engage the associates through various activities. One of the biggest initiatives is to celebrate ‘Associate Appreciation Week’ every year in the month of May which engages them through fun competitions and activities. Courtyard by Marriott, Ahmedabad is also a company known for celebrating the local culture, be it through organising garba nights during Navratri, encouraging kite flying during Uttarayan or serving local delicacies in the cafeteria. The management also makes a conscious effort to employ people from local catering colleges and give students the opportunity to train with us. The company also firmly believes in giving equal employment to all. This is reflected in the practice of employing differently abled people in various departments of the hotel. While the year 2013 was one that saw tremendous growth in Gujarat, the dawn of 2014 shall continue to witness this upward surge. Capitalising on the existing potential, new players are expected to enter the city this year which shall increase the rooms supply and competition. Investments would also be fuelled by specific hubs that are being developed by the State Government such as The Gujarat International Finance TecCity (GIFT) and Dholera metro city. For those in hospitality and tourism trade, this is undoubtedly an exciting time to be in the pulsating state of Gujarat. ■


Food Trends for 2014 With the advent of New Year fashion racks have been decked with novel trends. Kitchens around the world are also welcoming new food trends. These are changing the food scenario for 2014. While we leave it for fashion magazines to update you with all the abuzz fashion, HotelScapes takes the initiative to update you with the dining trends predicted by Executive Chefs around the Capital for 2014.

Chef Christophe Gillino, Executive Chef, The Leela Palace New Delhi General trends The trends to watch out for in the first quarter of the year will include vegan menus, lifestyle and healthy offerings like gluten free delicacies. The thrust will be on organic ingredients and menus. We are soon going to introduce a concept of food & wine fine dining for guests. Imagine a restaurant come up in an unexpected environment and perfect ambience offering the best food & wine experience just for a night like never before.

perfect reflecting the details of each authentic ingredient which plays an important role to bring out a perfect dish. At Le Cirque the concept is to celebrate fine art of food, to make the European cuisine just as exciting to the palate as it is a feast to the eyes. The focus is on the ingredients, flavours and their combination and colours. We constantly experiment with food to invent some of the best classic Italian as well as creative and modern dishes.



With a host of different culinary offerings, our endeavour is to keep the presentation in line with the philosophy of the cuisine and the concept offered. The presentations at The Leela will vary according to the restaurants. For example at MEGU, the presentation is more inclined towards modernJapanese keeping it simple yet

Flavour is a constant guideline for any successful menu. The flavour in the food comes from the quality and selection of the ingredient and the technique used. No ingredient is the same, hence it very imperative to balance the flavours each time to maintain the consistency of the taste. They observe the highest standards of quality of

ingredients and thereafter the responsibility of the executive chef is to ensure the parity between the menu offerings and the concept of the restaurant. I always teach my collaborators to work in the above direction as, for us, the sky is the limit. We use all culinary techniques to get the best dish with the exact amount flavours each time.

Technology They have all the advanced culinary technology and they also use the traditional Indian cooking style technique, like tandoor and more. They also possess induction, steamers, conve c t ion ove ns, low temperature cookers, pizza oven, large grills, blast-chiller, smoking guns and more. We are also trained for the vacuum system and the molecular cuisine which is nowadays considered as a modern technology tool.

Soumya Goswami, Executive Chef & Chef de Cuisine The Oberoi, New Delhi General trends A lot of comfort food in quirky surroundings will be the trend for new restaurants, stand alone and 5 star hotels. Classics like chicken a la Kiev, prawn cocktail will be re-incarnated.

Presentation Minimalistic, modern style, s t ra ig ht l i ne s , mole c u la r gastronomic garnishes will be 42 HOTELSCAPES • February 2014

the trend. Use of edible flowers, foams, and preserved flavour dust will be in vogue.

Flavour Flavours will not be subtle this year. International culinary trends of the past year show that there is a strong emphasis on very high flavours derived out of spice mixes and different kinds of kelp, seaweed, grains

and chillies.

Technology A lot of equipment has now come into the market which allows quick dehydration, regulated slow cooking, blast f r e e z e r s , a nd h ig h sp e e d grinders and distillation units to enhance the cooking process and extract the maximum flavours out of ingredients.


Sreenivasan G, Executive Chef, Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi, Mahipalpur General Trends Using Local and fresh Produces Chefs who have had a free hand to procure imported stuffs to their requirement are forced to focus on local produce to hold their rising costs and, at the same time, to give full value for the customer’s money. So local products can be seen in different forms in a more innovative way.

Switching over to standalone restaurants Restaurants with comfor t food have overtaken hotel restaurants in the last few years. This trend will continue in the coming year also. We could see more reputed restaurant chains coming up offering quality food at reasonable prices. Regional cuisines in more depth: Regional cuisines which have made a mark over these years are looking to get in more variety and unusual food from

smaller towns as additional choices for customers.

Star restaurants: Highly rated restaurants (for instance Michelin star rated abroad) are finding their way into luxury hotels showcasing their gourmet meals meant for high-end class society. Healthy and Vegetarian meals: A small section of society is slowing changing. Some are becoming vegetarians while others are similarly on healthy diets, particularly in cash-rich middle class families and are increasing in numbers. Rising awareness and availability in food stores have made health food products accessible to wider population. For example, consumption of probiotic drinks, whole wheat biscuits, low cholesterol butter and high calcium milk and Kellogs Cereals is getting higher day by day.

Ready to eat Snack food Wit h cha ng ing life s t yle, pre-packed ready to eat food is estimated to grow in the coming years.

Presentation of food We can already see food being plated in wooden boards, fancy platters, glass bowls, shot glasses and cane baskets. Sleek and contemporary garnishes are used in food without destroying its look and giving more finesse to the dishes. Various kitchen tools are available to chefs who find them handy in making innovative garnishes and use them appropriately in making dishes look pretty. Gone are the days when buffets used to have huge gateaux’s and cakes. It’s completely portion sizes now in miniature cups and specially designed bowls and glasses. They can be assembled in any pattern to enhance the buffet look.

Chef Prem Kumar Pogakula, Executive Sous Chef, The Imperial New Delhi General Trends Organic food T he bulk of high- qua lit y organic produce in India is going into export markets. In recent years, the organic sector is expanding, particularly in urban areas. Supply chains are being developed and diverse marketing channels, from speciality retail to online commerce and directto-home, are emerging. As a result, organic farming has even reached the mainstream media. While awareness of organic is generally increasing, the majority of consumers are still unaware of different sustainable farming systems of organic certification and existing labels. Personal relationships with retailers and trust in recognised brands remain a strong factor. Sustainable, local

and organic remains the order of the day. At a time when consumers are increasingly wary of food production techniques and methods, organic, local and free-range are seen as beacons of trust. Sale of organic foods and beverages in India is growing to meet the demand and to supply sustainable products.

Natural highs Natural energy/relaxant drinks and snack bars are increasingly gaining flavours among the mass market. Previously only found in health shops, these natural, c a f fe i ne - f r e e p r o duc t s — delivering energy or relaxation, together with protein, vitamins and beneficial ingredients in highly convenient formats — are making their way into

supermarkets across the region.

Flavours With sophisticated palates around the world increasingly looking for new taste sensations, manufacturers are growing a market that offer flavour c ro ss ove r s suc h a s c h i l l i and chocolate, sea salt with caramel, strawberries with fava beans, oyster and kiwi. This year’s food shows will include a range of exhibitors showcasing unexpected flavour combinations that taste terrific.

Technology Despite testing economic times, the consumer appetite for new formats, related technology and eating experiences shows no sign of abating.

February 2014 • HOTELSCAPES 43


Amit Chowdhury, Executive Chef, The Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi General trends and flavours

Super foods will be in vogue like: Freekeh is a cereal food made from green wheat and it has at least four times as much fiber as ot he r compa rable g ra i ns, consisting mostly of insoluble fiber. It also has a low glycemic index. Quinoa is a species of goosefoot grain  crop  grown primarily for its edible seeds. Quinoa’s p r o t e i n c ont e nt p e r 10 0 calories is higher than brown rice, potatoes, barley and millet, in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is also a source of calcium, and thus is useful for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant. It is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. Fa r r o   i s a fo o d pro duc t composed of the  grains  of certain wheat species in whole form.  It is sold dried and is prepared by cooking in water

until soft, but still crunchy. Tef f, is an  annual  grass, a species of  love grass  native to nor t h  Et h iopia . It  ha s a n at t rac t ive nut r it ion profile, being high in dietary f iber  a nd  iron, prov iding protein and calcium. It is similar to millet and quinoa in cooking, but the seed is much smaller and cooks faster. Repositioned Palate: Bold flavors such as tangy, smoky, salty, herbal, sour, and bitter will dominate the palates of people.

Deconstruction of textures More tha n a technique, deconstruction is a gastronomic trend that uses creative flair to change the form but not the basic nature of the dish, with the end purpose of awakening all the senses, not just those of taste and smell. It is precisely this approach that has enabled innovative techniques to be

created a nd developed to change the texture of food, such as jellification and foams.

Desserts in Jar The new trend is to have your sweet fix in an attractive jar. A new trend will now have you tucking into ganache, fruit crumbles, and red velvet cakes – all in a glass jar. It’s catching on w i t h p e ople who a r e watching their weight. This concept has versatility. You can even try serving gajar halwa and rabdi in a jar. For the dessert specialist the concept of fusing Indian and international desserts makes for beautiful presentation and innovative preparations. Gulab Jamun tiramisu and gulab jamun truffle in a jar have also been successfully experimented with. It’s a fun, fusion mix and the desserts have longer staying power this way.

Marin Leuthard., Executive Chef, Hyatt Regency New Delhi

44 HOTELSCAPES • February 2014

General Trend

Expected Trends

As today ’s consumers a re curious about what they are eating and where their food comes from, the focus will be on organic products. Going by the trend, most of our promotions will be based on seasonal product availability. Fa r m f re sh s t rawb e r r y promot ions is some t h i ng that we have considered for January and February due to the abundant availability of farm fresh strawberries from our own farm. Most of the vegetables used in our restaurants are largely a produce from our farms.

A lso, dur ing the yea r we expect to witness a rise in the introduction of various food concepts ranging from traditional to contemporary will be the highlight of the year. We too have recently introduced the concept of weekly Swiss & German Stammtisch. This is mainly done to encourage f r ie nd ly ge t- toge t he r s or business meetings. Time will be well spent in the warmth of friends and lover ones over delicious food conversations. Though the concept of Stammtisch originally came up in Germany as a space where people (and even strangers) met

up each week to spend some quality time on likeminded conversations over food and drinks.The concept has been started here as a weekly ritual at the Café, the all-day dining restaurant, every Friday of the month, between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. Over the course of the year too, we plan to come up with interesting concepts and lot more than just delicious food.

Presentation Styles Focus will be on introducing contemporary presentation styles. Contemporary designs and eye eating food presentations will be the focus. ■ by ANUPRIYA BISHNOI



Influenced by local culture Rahul Shankhwalker, Partner, Studio SEA and India, Hirsch Bedner Associates believes that serving an experience to the guests through design and services is the trend for Indian as well as international hospitality in 2014. He tells us about the materials and styles that are in vogue in designing hotels.


hat are the current trends that you see in the designs of hotels in India?

India is going through a significant change in the way hospitality is delivered to its guests. That is because there is a significant change in the profile of travellers. There are people from all over the world travelling to India and Indian people travelling all over the world and then coming back to the country and travelling dome s t ica l ly. T hat I t h i n k

has created a very interesting dynamic in the kind of needs and wants a traveller has. Many of business travellers who travel internationally or from overseas to India are also treating the business travel as a means of leisure travel. This has changed the dynamics in the way hospitality is delivered or that is requiring for dynamics of conventional hospitality to change. It is no longer about one going to a new place, staying in the hotel, doing business and then going off. Everyone tries to get an

46 HOTELSCAPES • February 2014

experience of what local culture is and that can be divided into two aspects, a soft and a hard experience. By hard experience I mean, how does the design of the hotel give one a sense of place. How does the hotel tell that it is in Mumbai or Singapore or Jakarta or any other place the moment one checks-in? So designs are starting to be very contemporary, very influenced by the local culture. So this is the hard aspect of the design. How I design the floor,

wall, and ceiling and how I relate that to the local architecture, cultural contacts is starting to be a big influence on the way we design. The soft experience is how a hotel in Mumbai integrates itself to the local contacts, that is how hotels are starting to help guests get a flavour of the local streets and culture. All these hard and soft experiences become very important for the guests and therefore for me as a designer, so I think integration into a local experience is one of the major



design trends right now. Not just in India but internationally as well. We are moving away from prototype hotels. When you get in the luxury segment, the hard interior design starts to be very place specific, and the question is how I integrate a found object, such as from Chor Bazaar in Mumbai into my lobby. This is starting to be a key driver for the experience of the guests. All these sorts of things are becoming quite important and is also helping us to manage the cost.

Rahul Shankhwalker

Partner, Studio SEA and India, Hirsch Bedner Associates

We don’t use any unique materials but what is unique about us is how we use these materials. For example, I use black granite a lot, but just by the degree of its finish, I get many materials.



hich materials do you prefer using in the hotels you design?

We try and use a lot of local material; we use a lot of local craftsmen, because that is again tied into a local experience. So you can’t use materials from some other part of the world and try to give a local experience. If you are trying to create a local context, then you have to use the local material. You cannot use material

that is out of context. Everyone uses the same materials – stone, timber, plaster and metal. These four materials are being used by everyone, but is not about the materials but it is how you use those materials, how do you bring them together, how do you detail them and how do you create a narrative for the consumption of the materials. We don’t use any unique materials but what is unique about us is how we use these materials. For example, I use black granite a lot, but just by the degree of its finish, I get many materials. From a very rough finish to a very polished finish, I can get ten materials. Ten finishes in one material. Also the cost varies depending upon how much you finish it. The more you finish it, the more expensive it gets. That’s not always possible in marble because it is a very soft material. It is best in a polished format or a semi polished format, you can’t do a rough finish on marble, it is very soft and when

you try to do the rough finish, it tends to crack or absorbs water. Granite being a very tough material, you can turn it in whatever format you want. So we try to play around with manipulating the surface finishes of material. If we are doing a 3-4 star hotel, and we know that the owners can’t afford timber paneling on the wall or stone on the wall, we start using the conventional plaster in an unconventional way. How can you create patterns in plaster and how can these patterns be inspired by the local culture – from patterns you see in the past and create those in the present – that is the question.


hat colours do you think will be the trend of 2014?

It is all context driven. If we find that the local culture has got a lot of colour, we try to use those colours in our designs. Rajasthan is one of the most colourful states in the country as compared to Mumbai which is more toned down with subtle colours. It all depends on where we are. There is no uniform application of colours. As there is no Mughal history in Mumbai we do not create Mughal there. There is very strong English, Parsi, Maharashtirian, Shivaji presence in Mumbai and we try to mix all those elements to give a new experience to the guests. If you go to Rajasthan, Udaipur

February 2014 • HOTELSCAPES 47



or Jaipur, where the colours are bright, they are very earth, bright primary colours, and then we use those colours in our designs. But India per say is far more colourful country than other South East Asian countries. Colours do form a very important part of our design. It’s never dull. It does has a vibrancy of colours but these colours just don’t come through the use of paints. The colours come through the inherent colour presence in the materials that we use, like stones or the timbers or the fabrics we use, all the accessories we put in. So all of them come with an inherent colour and we try to blend them all together into the experience.


tyle you predict for 2014

I b e l ieve it i s a l l ab out designing an experience and whatever is required for that experience. We see what are the trends happening in the international market and we try to predict for the future of the Indian market. Not many designers think like us. When a project comes to us, I ask the

client what he thinks about integrating the hotel into the experience of the street, how does he integrate t he loca l businesses, how can he organise an authentic meal for the guests in their private dining room. The trends are the experience – how delicately or how detail wise you make a hotel local.


hich area of the hotel is heavy on design elements?

T he mo s t de sig n e le me nt s are included in the areas that contribute directly to revenue. Restaurant, banquet, rooms, public areas like business center, meeting rooms – these are the areas that people are spending money on so you need to create an experience. People should have an heightened sense of awareness. They feel nice; it contributes to the consumption of what that space sells. For example, guest rooms – you need to ensure that it is not gaudy and it is not tacky but is beautiful. Someone must feel nice to spend time in that room or work in that room

48 HOTELSCAPES • February 2014

or have a meeting in that room. When one goes to the restaurant, you want it to contribute to the whole experience of consuming the delicious food. These are the areas where you tend to spend money. For example a circulation corridor, you can’t do a bad job there. You have to spend money, because it contributes to the revenue. Same thing with the lobby. You are not necessarily generating direct revenues in the lobby but that is changing now with the introduction of a lobby lounge. Hotels are now reducing number of seating in the lobby but attaching it to the lobby lounge. So, this space has also now started generating revenue.


hat should hotels take care of while designing the interiors?

The hotelier must have faith in the designer. It is important is for the owners to design something specific to the market they are catering to or the segment; the financial segment. So you don’t want to design a three star hotel and spend five star hotel money

or you don’t want to do vice versa and expect guests to pay you five star prices. A lot of owners don’t understand these dynamics. That mentality needs to change and they need to understand what the dynamics are. In terms of design, I think at the rate at which India is progressing towards modernity, it is a very flexible design idiom. It’s like modernity can take any layers of tradition on it but you need to do it intelligently. You can’t have very ornately classical interiors and then put a very clean modern sofa in it. It may not work. So you have to work very tactfully and modern designs can be built at a very affordable price as opposed to classical designs which have very intricate labour details. Also, hotels need to be a lot more socially responsible. They are the first port of calls for a guest to visit in the city. So being that hotels are almost the ambassadors that tell what the city is all about. Hotels need to carry that sensitive responsibility with a great bond of trust and faith. I believe strongly that it is not just the service or the design that brings your guest back but it is how you help them experience the city which is outside your hotel, through your hotel. This is the future of not just India but the global industry. We have all become world citizens and we want to get the taste of local culture in the shortest period of time.  ■ as told to NIKITA CHOPRA


Practicing the ‘Green’ Business – Hotel initiatives for energy conservation With hotels jumping onto the eco-friendly bandwagon, the environment benefits, without affecting there patrons’ experience. HotelScapes got into a conversation with hotels in possession of the Green Certificate and are practicing and eco-friendly way in running their property.


n recent times, the hotel i ndu s t r y ha s e mbra ce d ‘Green’ or eco-friendly ways, with every upcoming hotel property aspiring to possess a green tag, and the existing ones trying to assimilate sustainable practices without rebuilding from scratch. ITC Hotels and The Park talks in depth about eco-friendly initiatives taken by them and to what level they are saving the energy. ITC Hotels is said to be the greenest luxury hotel chain in the world. By adopting distinct green practices, ITC’s Hotels have created a unique value proposition for discerning guests. In addition to the wide spectrum of environment friendly measures that ITC’s Hotels implement, the group’s carbon positive, water positive and solid waste recycling positive status ensures that a guest’s stay at any of its luxury hotels contributes to a lower carbon footprint Today, all ITC Hotels (ITC Maur ya in New Delhi, ITC Grand Chola in Chennai, ITC Maratha and ITC Grand Central in Mumbai, ITC Sonar in Kolkata, ITC Windsor and ITC Gardenia in Bengaluru, ITC Kakatiya in Hyderabad and ITC Mughal in Agra) are rated LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) Platinum by the US Green Building Council for

their commitment to perform to the highest standards of energy, water and waste efficiency and continuing to provide inspiration to the Green Building movement in India. “This coveted feat uniquely positions ITC as the first hotel chain in the world to have all its premium luxury hotels rated at the highest LEED Platinum rating. This achievement exemplifies the credo of ‘Responsible Luxury’ adopted by ITC’s Hotels’ Division – delivering globally benchmarked quality, services and luxury in the greenest possible manner. Across all ITC hotels, the average savings on energy are in the range of 30 to 40 percent, while water savings are to the tune of 40 to 45 percent”, says the spokesperson, ITC Hotels. Anirba n Simla i, Genera l Manager, The Park Hyderabad, which is also among the Green Hotels of the countries says “LEED Green building certificate is issued to building by US Green building Council (USGBC) or by Indian Green Building Council in India after evaluating Project on five categories. These c a t e go r ie s a r e - Su s t a i n able Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy a nd Atmosphere, Mater ia ls a nd R e s ou r ce s a nd I ndo or Environmental Quality.” Also The Park has one ‘GO Green team’ which monitors and

50 HOTELSCAPES • February 2014

The Park Hyderabad

controls wastage of energy. ‘’For us energy waste refers to energy used to produce heat, motion or sound when those forms of energy aren’t needed. A common misconception in this regard is that a person must sacrifice to save energy”, adds the spokesperson. Some of their ways of saving energy are- turning off lights when not needed, close curtains and blinds, using a micro wave oven to heat foods, using dishwasher as they are more efficient than washing dishes by hand, Stopping all leakages and minimising all wastages and using computers in power saver mode. “Our Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels Limited Group was very clear in mind that they have to build all new hotels with Green

building certification. The Park Hyderabad is our first hotel project with LEED Gold Certificate hotel from the US Green building Council”, adds Simlai. The ITC Grand Chola in Chennai is the world’s largest LEED Platinum rated hotel that integrates efficiency in energy, water and waste management. Apart from the LEED Platinum rating, ITC Grand Chola also has a five star rating under the Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) system, which was developed jointly with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and The Energy and Resources Institute. Innovation, cut ting edge technology and design integration

ECO TOURISM have enabled ITC Hotels to earn new benchma rks in energ y efficiency, water efficiency, solid waste recycling and carbon reduction. US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton lauded the ITC Green Centre as “a monument to the future”. ITC Sonar is the only hotel in the world to earn carbon credits under the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convent ion on Cl i mate Change) Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism. A conscious focus by the Company’s hotels on design and

on water as we use recycle water for Flush tank, Cooling tower and Gardening. “At The Park Hyderabad, we are using energy efficient equipment, building management system, lighting control management system, rain water harvesting, sewage treatment pla nt for recycling water, heat recovery system and Waste management programme”, adds Simlai. Innovation measures have also been initiated such as at ITC and a carbon mitigation programme at Maurya’s through the installation

the U.S. Green Building Council standards. In addition, to achieve 100 percent waste recycling, measures have been introduced for waste segregation at source, with more than 99 percent of the total solid waste either reused or recycled through recycling programmes” comments the spokesperson. Organic waste is converted into manure by an Organic Waste Converter in several properties of ITC. In addition, in most Hotels, wet garbage is converted into manure, through the Wealth to Waste programme. “Sustainable

ITC Maurya, Delhi

construction practices ensures energy efficiency, conservation of resources and most importantly, a superior quality of indoor environment. All ITC’s premium luxury hotels use 18-29 percent less energy than USEPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) national average for large size luxury hotels. T H E Pa rk Hyde raba d i s LEED Gold certified hotel from US Green Building Council and hence they are able to make some significant energy savings. For example 7 percent cost saving in HLP per month, 9 percent LPG cost saving per month by using Bio fuel, 40 percent cost saving on AMC by doing in house maintenance and 37% cost saving

of t he world’s f i r s t on- site Paraboloid Solar Concentrator (with 320 sq. m. reflective area) in the hospitality industry addresses the thermal requirements (steam and hot water) of the hotel. “In line with ITC’s commitment to achieving zero effluent discharge by treating and recycling all the wastewater generated in its units, its hotels have also initiated measures towards achieving rainwater harvesting and 100 percent waste water recycling. Only treated recycled water is used for flushing, landscape treatment, cooling tower and miscellaneous cleaning while sensor operated waterless urinals and dual-flush water closets result in further reduction of water consumption, considerably below

material sourcing also enhances the positive environmental footprint of our hotels. More than 50 percent of on-going consumables used at several properties are either local or recycled. Low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) paints and FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified wood is used for refurbishments and renovations. In addition, sustainable site de ve lop m e nt p r o t e c t s t he ecological stability of the immediate surroundings and landscape”, comments the spokesperson. ITC’s Hotels have also adopted a number of indoor environmental quality standards to provide the freshest, cleanest and most eco-friendly atmosphere within its premises, like appropriately treated fresh

air infusion for higher human productivity and better health, enhanced occupant thermal comfor t, use of Green Sea l certified Housekeeping chemicals, equipment a nd prefer red reliance of mechanical means of elimination of rodents and use of eco-responsible pesticides. Also, to ensure optimum comfort for guests, the hotel is saving energy by introducing unique air-conditioning features such as carbon dioxide sensors a nd room climate controls. Many of the properties have multi-glazed windows with energy efficient glass to ensure minimum sunlight ingress and glare thereby reducing the air conditioning load. The hotel also provides occupant comfort by establishing project criteria for background noise levels in each room, speech privacy and airborne sound isolation between spaces. Unique temperature control and air-conditioning standards that include Heating, Ventilation and Air-conditioning (HVAC) system, Thermal system, Water management system and Building Management System enhance performance efficiencies a nd cont r ib ut e t o a muc h lower carbon footprint are also provided. Hotels ensure that more than 30 percent of the food and beverage used is harvested and processed locally within 100 miles of our hotels, endorsing the ‘farm to fork’ approach. Also 20 percent of the material used in the new hotels is sourced regionally to promote the local culture and generate employment in the region. Eventually, ITC has been able to achieve some prominent landmarks in energy savings. The energy that is been produced through their wind farms is sufficient to light up a 1400 km stretch of a highway for a year. Also they recycle enough water to irrigate 65,000 trees. ■ by ANUPRIYA BISHNOI

February 2014 • HOTELSCAPES 51


Stephen Farrant

Director, International Tourism Partnership

To bridge the gap between industry and young people The youth carrier initiative gives a new meaning to corporate social responsibility.


hilst most hotels and hotel companies have Corporation Socia l Responsibility commitments and programmes, it can be hard to pick programmes to support as there are so many great causes out there. Many companies opt to support philanthropic projects which support the local community and environment but which lack a tangible link to their business. So imagine if you could combine supporting your local community, developing the talent and skills of the next generation and at the same time securing a stream of workers to enable you to grow and develop your hotel business: enter the Youth Career Initiative! The Youth Career Initiative ( YCI ) – a progra mme of the International Tourism Partnership – is a 24-week life and work skills programme for disadvantaged yo u n g p e ople . S e le c t e d by the K herwadi Social Welfare Association, young people from l ow - i nc o m e a n d v u l n e r a bl e groups undertake over 750 hours of combined classroom-based and practical training designed to equip them with a wide range of transferable skills which will increase their chances of finding

employment after graduating. T he pu r p o s e i s to e mp owe r the young participants to make informed career choices and realise the options available to them, enabling them to improve their employability and enhance their long-term social and economic opportunities. The India country programme was the latest addition to YCI’s global presence, which now operates in 12 countries across the world. The Hotel Investment Forum India (HIFI) conference provided funding to launch the pilot in Mumbai in 2012, and its continued support enabled the YCI Global Team to extend its work to New Delhi in 2013. With global youth unemployment at a record high of almost 75 million, as per the figures of ILO, YCI offers a practical solution to bridge the gap between the growing industry need for a skilled workforce on the one hand, and the many young people struggling to find a job on the other. Jim Burba, Founder of the Burba Hotel Network (BHN) which operates the HIFI Conference, e x pla i n s : “ T he i ndu s t r y ha s an enormous need for human resources that isn’t going away and at the same time the sector

52 HOTELSCAPES • February 2014

can offer great entry-level jobs for younger members of society. By supporting YCI, you help underprivileged youth break the cycle of poverty and get a fresh start in life. It’s a life-changing programme for t hose young pe ople who participate, and it is an amazing way for a hotel to be engaged with the local community. Being part of the effort that helped launch YCI India was a no-brainer for BHN and HIFI.” In addition to equipping the participants with transferable skills that are essential for their insertion into the labour market, YCI triggers a deeper change within the young people who go through the programme. There is strong evidence across all YCI markets of a transformative effect. YCI gives its participants a sense of direction and responsibility and a real motivation to develop a career path. This is particularly powerful

considering the starting point from which a lot of young people join the programme. Most of them are stuck in a situation where they are unable to find employment and can’t afford to go into further education. Moreover, unsure of what the future holds for them, they lack clear goals and interests and they can often find themselves at a risk of exploitation. Deepanshu Sharma, 2012 graduate of the Hyatt Regency Delhi, says: “I was doing nothing before YCI. YCI has made me change. I have the confidence to speak to anyone now. My friend circle has changed. My standard has improved.” The change in the students is very noticeable for the staff at the participating hotels. Majima, Tra ining Manager at Trident Bandra Kurla in Mumbai, says that YCI has given them the chance to get their own hotel staff engaged: “The trainers at the hotel felt involved knowing


they would transform these kids into something fabulous after six months. This has truly been a rewarding experience for us.” The majority develop a real passion for the hotel sector. Ranjeet Kumar, graduate of the Westin Gurgaon, Delhi, says: “YCI was an opportunity to explore the hotel industry. Now I have opened up, I am more confident, I can talk a little English now. I want to work in a hotel. There are many kids like me in my village who will get benefit from this if these hotels continue their support.” In Mumbai, nine full service properties of both international and Indian hotel companies are

participating this year, namely the Courtyard by Marriott, the Four Seasons, the Grand Hyatt, the Hyatt Regency, the Holiday Inn, the JW Marriott, the Renaissance Convention Centre, the Trident Hotel Bandra Kurla and the Westin Garden City. Roger Pereira, Training Manager at the Grand Hyatt Mumbai says: “The Youth Career Initiative team is doing a remarkable job at making this ambitious project work on the ground. The key objective is to offer learning and development opportunities to students who ordinarily would not have access to the skills-based training programmes offered by established hotels. We

are definitely proud to be a strategic partner with this initiative.” This year sees the expansion of YCI India to New Delhi. Three hotel properties - the Courtyard Marriott Gurgaon, the Hyat t Regency Delhi and the Westin Gurgaon – welcomed 31 young participants from various areas of the capital. In addition to the support from HIFI, YCI India also benefits from sponsorship from the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and the support of Accenture with probono training in a range of life skills including financial literacy. T h e i nv o l v e m e n t o f t h e hotel industry, local community organisations, international funders


and the YCI Global Team makes the Youth Career Initiative a unique programme where collaboration a nd p a r t ne r s h ip a r e ke y i n generating and sustaining a positive impact on local communities. Ms. Monica Suri, Complex Director H R & Tra i n i ng , T he We s t i n Gurgaon & The Westin Sohna Resort & Spa said: “YCI is a great initiative and we are more than happy to be associated. It provides us with a chance to “care for the community” and to reach for the greater good of society which is in line with our business ethos.” A nyone interested in supporting the further growth of YCI or investing in the programme should contact Stephen Farrant, Director of the International Tourism Partnership or Alberto Canovas, Head of the Youth Career Initiative http://www.youthcareerinitiative. org/ ■

February 2014 • HOTELSCAPES 53


HOW TO BEAT FEAR AND TERROR AT YOUR HOTEL Security has been a major concern for hotels since ever and even more after the 26/11 blast at Taj Hotel, Mumbai. To enhance the security systems in hotels in India, different companies have products with modern technology. HotelScapes gives you an overview of these.


he ne e d fo r l a t e s t security solutions in luxury hotels is diverse today. With so much terror creeping in, visitors now look for proper security solutions at hotels before checking in. Foreign nationals, specially, watch out for this more carefully. The security solutions need to be up to the mark and updated.

KritiKal SecureScan

T hey have be en producing products of great quality to enhance the security systems of hotels. Their flagship product NuvoSca nT M is one of the two variants of indigenously d e v e l o p e d U n d e r Ve h i c l e Sca nning System. It adds a reliable layer to the security infrastructure of hotels to prevent the undetected carriage of any prohibited objects like bombs, explosives and contraband which may be hidden on the underside of any vehicle. K ritiScanTM is an AER B (Atomic Energy Regulating Board for health and safety regulations) certified range of Multi-energy X-ray baggage scanners which use advance image arithmetic, allowing high resolution imaging and real-time image processing functions of hand baggage of various sizes. Ta l k i n g a b o u t s e c u r i t y solutions that the brand provides to hotels, Kapil Bardeja, CoFounder and CEO, K ritika l SecureSca n says, “ We of fer c ut t i ng- e dge pro duc t s a nd solut ions, ba se d on a de ep

understanding of global security issues and challenges posed to Hotels. K SS has designed & developed a range of increasingly integrated security and monitoring products to create complete solution stack tailored to individual requirements. Our Product solutions includes NuvoScanTM – Under Vehicle Scanning System, VehiScan® – Automated License Plate Reader, KritiScanTM – X-ray Baggage scanner and KentaTM – Crash Resistant Pneumatically actuated Retractable Bollards.” Their products and solutions allow efficient viewing and real time detection of hidden objects for example, drugs, explosives and arms on the underside of vehicles and in baggage. They ensure a effective capability in handling peak-hour inspection and vehicle access control in the premises. These work on the guidelines framed by government. In addition to their products like, NuvoScan, VehiScan, etc they have also launched a latest product KENTATM which is the Crash Rated Pneumatically actuated Retractable range of bollards, with speed of operation as low as 2.5 seconds for upward/ downward movement. KENTA is safe from any kind of electrocution and uses less power attributed to low frictional losses and provides longer runs. It also supports high frequency operation and low maintenance, and in addition to the above, the solution offered by KENTA is green!

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T he i r c u s t ome r s i n t he hospitality sector are spread across India. To name a few, Marriott group of Hotels, ITC group Kempinski group, Novotel group, IBIS, Bird, Sheraton and Renaissance. “We are working on a technological platform where the movement of guests/ ve h i c l e c a n b e m o n i t o r e d remotely so that the existing loop holes can be removed. Our organisation constantly works to improve functionality and its related efficiency, thereby, developing technology which is low on maintenance, is durable and is environment friendly, to enhance security in all domains of industry along with hotels,” adds Bardeja.


Ozone offers a wide range of hotel room door locks a nd digital (electronic) safes for room security and safety of customers’ valuables. Hotel room door locks offered by Ozone work on RF ID technology which can be used as security system and also

for access control application. This digital security system ensures only authorised entries and avoids any unauthorised access to a room or space. This technology is most efficient and secure when compared with other technologies or networks. RF ID based door locking system authenticates and va lidates

HOTEL SECURITY the user and opens the door automatically in real time. This locking system is a fast, secure and convenient system. Therefore, every hotel that is committed to providing complete safety and security to its customers, go for the RF ID card based locking system. An exclusive collection of hotel RF ID card locks are available from Ozone in different

more places. Ozone hotel series safes are the ideal solution for hoteliers who want to ensure the safety of their guest’s important documents and valuables when guests are away from rooms. These safes are digitally operated through codes or passwords and equipped with an audit trail function which helps to check the last opening records, time, user

code or master code. Robustly constructed to withstand any kind of tempering, Ozone safes can be easily fixed in cabinets and cupboards for easy accessibility. Ozone ’s sa fe t y solutions comes with three years warranty and within 24 hours service response so that you as a hotelier can provide complete s a fe t y a nd s e c u r it y solutions to your guests.

G4S Securities

designs matching with aesthetic requirement of customers. O z o ne d i g i t a l s a fe s a r e available in a wide range for security & safety of precious possessions at home, office, hotel, showroom, and many

I n t he l a s t fe w ye a r s , t he security needs of a hotel have evolved immensely. Hotels are now investing in good quality security personnel. G4S has developed a specialised training programme which prepares security personnel to deliver on the new challenges being faced

by the hotels in terms of security. Explaining how the whole process works and what standards does G4S take care of, Rupan Sidhu, Director – Corporate Affairs, G4S Corporate Services (India), “Based on these needs G4S has developed hotel solutions offering which helps hotels buy services covering these needs. The offering will deliver on these needs through specialised recruitment which will handpick security personnel with skills to excel in the hotel environment. With the largest pool of security guards an internal job portal provides G4S the advantage allowing it to recruit at a short notice. In addition to this, hotel specific training program developed in participation with the industry security experts, will impart training to the recruits. Use of the latest technology will help in the effective delivery of predeployment and on-job training. All this is backed by a dedicated management team which will ensure ground delivery.” The need for security solutions at a luxury hotel are manifold. It is important to realise that Indian hospitality industry is exposed to various levels of man-made and natural risk. Traditionally, security at a hotel has meant periphera l gua rding and monitoring entry and exit points. “Today hotels expect more than a comprehensive security solution. They are starting to consider security as any other service provided by the hotel. At G4s, we handpick security personnel that have specialised skills to excel in the hotel environment and we provide them on the job training. Our personnel are trained in using latest technology like videos and live demonstrations resulting in better on-site delivery of services. During training, mockup situations are created where the guards are taken through situations to mitigate r isks

and crises. All G4S personnel are thoroughly screened and registered with the police.” “ S e cu r it y at a hotel wa s limited to peripheral guarding and monitoring entry and exit points before 26/11 terrorist attacks. This situation, however, has changed after the incident. There has been heightened s e c u r it y awa r e ne s s a mong customers, corporations and tour operators who are now seeking details of hotel’s security and safety measures before booking rooms,” adds Sidhu.


With network security cameras, evidence collection systems, recorders, and various other tools, Panasonic has also been adding to the security portfolio of hotels in India. They have recently come up with some latest technology products for security in hotels. Their CCTV camera, WV-SF138 has a super high resolution at Full HD/1,920X 1,080 created by a 3.1 Megapixel high sensitivity MOS Sensor. The camera also is highly sensitive with Day and Night (electrical) function. In comparison with conventional cameras the super dynamics and Adaptive Black Stretch technologies deliver a 128x wider dynamic range. It is available at a price of ` 60,000 with low profile design for discrete installation. Its coverage spans across 100 degrees horizontally and 81 degrees vertically. It is also an ONVIF compliant model. In addition to the above, they have also recently come up w i t h 3 6 0 - de g r e e s up e r dynamic Vandal Resistant Dome Network Camera. It has a large variety of transmission modes like, panorama, double panorama, Quad PTZ and Single PTZ along with various other enhanced features. It is available at a price of ` 90,000. ■ by NIKITA CHOPRA

February 2014 • HOTELSCAPES 55


Courtyard by Marriott Pune Hinjewadi


Tricolour idlis, Crowne Plaza Rohini

Phirni and Shahi tukra, Crown Plaza Rohini

Trio of Pannacotta, Novotel Pune

Tricolour Pasta, Jaypee Greens Golf and Spa Resort

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ndia offers a range of culinary delights as rich and diverse as its people and history. This Republic Day, hotels around India offered a feast for your palate; an authentic gastronomic odyssey. With wide spread brunches and buffets, restaurants at various hotels celebrated the Republic Day this year with full fervour, inculcating the tri colour in their delicacies. Where some hotels offered food from all over the world with an Indian touch, others created a special Indian spread for its customers. The most spectacular ones were the tri colour chutneys, Pannacota, idli, dosa, mousse, and laddoo as well as pasta and biryanis of different kinds. Guests got the chance to experience the diversity of Indian cuisine combined with the tri colour fervour this day. ■

Tricolour chutneys from Courtyard by Marriott Pune City Centre

compiled by NIKITA CHOPRA

Tricolour Biryani, Shangri-La’s – Eros Hotel New Delhi

Paneer tikka, WelcomHotel Sheraton New Delhi

Tiranga Veg Platter, Radisson Blu New Delhi Paschim Vihar

Courtyard by Marriott Mumbai International Airport

February 2014 • HOTELSCAPES 57

PRODUCTS Smart and user-friendly curtain system from Ozone


zone brings to you smart and stylish – Automatic Curtain System. This newly introduced curtain system is easy to operate with remote control or a wall mounted switch. With fully programmable pre-set stop points and a smooth, consistent movement, this curtain system can be easily installed on any existing wall, ceiling or window casement offering the advantage of minimal change in your interior space. Ideal for use at homes, offices, hotels, hospitals, auditorium and home theatres, Ozone’s Automatic Curtain System conforms to International Quality Standards for long life and is 1,50,000 cycles tested. The price is on request. For more information visit:

Paramount Surgimed launches AroCare

BOLS Kyndal introduces BOLS Premier X.O. Excellence Brandy


rocare by Paramount Surgimed has launched a unique range of mattresses that can prevent and cure decubitus for the patients who would turn over by themselves arduously and lie on bed for a long time at home or in hospital. The Mattress applies dry skin and diffusion of body pressure principle to prevent a skin swelling and sore. It is simple in structure, easy in operation and is better in prevention and cure of bed sores. It is priced at `8,000. For more information visit:


OLS Kyndal India launched its smooth and woody flavoured BOLS Premier XO Excellence Brandy. Established in the year 1575, BOLS is the world’s oldest distilled spirit brand opened by the BOLS family in Amsterdam. Since then, it has mastered the art of distilling, and blending, and uses the perfect ingredients from around the world in accordance with traditional recipes that have been handed down through the generations of Lucas BOLS master distillers. More than four centuries of craftsmanship, passion and experience join each other perfectly in the BOLS Premier. It is priced for Rs. 560 for Quart (750ml), `280 for Pint (375ml) and `140 for Nip (180ml). For more information visit:

Black Dog presents its Triple Gold Reserve


elebrating 130 golden years of its existence, luxury Blended Scotch whisky, Black Dog, has launched this variant in a premium gold packaging underlining the global lineage which signifies sophistication and luxury. Carefully selected grain whiskies and malt whiskies have been matured separately in American Bourbon Casks and then blended together and matured again in Oloroso Sherry Butts to create this unique blend of the Black Dog Triple Gold Reserve. An epitome of both subtlety and complexity, this highly differentiated luxe variant from Black Dog offers a blend that enhances the elegant taste of the legendary Black Dog Scotch. It is priced at ` 1,600 to `2,500. For more information visit:

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PRODUCTS FCML introduces Enofrigo Products in India


CML has recently added Enofrigo products to its front of house – food and beverages segment. Enofrigo s.p.a. Italy, is an Italian market leader in the field of refrigerating, hot and neutral units for food-service dining rooms (buffet, display food cabinets, wine cabinets. They make an entire range of both hot, cold and neutral buffet counters, drop in counters, self-service counters, multi range wine chillers, range of wine libraries, display counters, snack counters, pattisserrie counters and custom made projects to suit your refrigeration needs. The price is on request. For more information visit:

Gaia launches new flavours of green tea



aia has added an exciting variant to its popular line of green teas. Refreshing Honey & Lime. This healthy potion of anti-oxidant rich ingredients helps strengthen your immune system, improves memory and aids in proper digestion. Its distinctive aroma and pleasant taste will instantly refresh and enliven you. Packed with nutrition and an extra kick of flavour, Gaia Green Teas

are great alternatives to regular tea, coffee and aerated drinks. Gaia Green Tea + Honey & Lime are both priced at `150. For more information visit:

Notion introduces the new Screw Less Exterior Cladding


otion has introduced Screw Less Exterior Cladding in India for front elevations. This Cladding has Hidden Fastening System that means all fixing is done by means of an omega – shaped stainless steel clip. It has a longer lifespan, as all boards are manufactured with double groove profile and don’t need to be drilled. A safer and smooth uniform surface which remains untouched, and there lies no scope of splinter and fissure forming. It is priced at `495 onwards. For more information visit:

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Cooper Corporation launches Gensets under Stringent Emission Norms by CPCB II ooper Corporation, an Engine Major launches Gensets under the Stringent Emission Norms by CPCB II. The new emission norms will come into effect from 1st April 2014. Cooper Corporation’s ECOPACK gensets ranging from 10 KVA to 200 KVA comply with the latest CPCB II Emission Limits applied by the Central Pollution Control Board for new diesel engines up to 800KVA. The ECOPACK Genset is lighter in weight, smaller in size and meets with US & European Emission norms. The entire range the ECOPACK Gensets goes up to 180 KVA powered by three, four and six Cylinder Cooper engines. With the lowest cost of ownership, over 2000 units of Cooper Corporations CPCB range of gensets between 10KVA – 200 KVA. The price is on request. For more information visit:


Hilton Garden Inn Trivandrum marks Hilton Worldwide’s foray into Kerala


anaged by Hilton Worldwide and owned by Muthoot Hotels & Infrastructure Ventures (P) Ltd, Hilton Garden Inn Trivandrum is a 134 room property centrally located on Punnen Road, close to commercial establishments, popular tourist attractions, and shopping and entertainment hubs. The hotel is a 20 minute drive from the airport and is 12 km from the IT Technopark at Kazhakkottam. General Manager Manish Garg commented, “We are confident our hotel will fast become the first choice of travellers seeking upscale and affordable accommodation in

the city. We provide an environment that allows travellers to be most productive while on the road, offering a great stay at an even greater value.” Dining at the hotel includes Garden Grille, an all-day worldc u i s i ne r e s t au r a nt ; V B a r, a contemporary sports bar; the 24hour Pavilion Pantry™ convenience mart and room service. Recreational faci l it ie s i nc lude a n outdo or swimming pool and a 24-hour fitness centre certified by Precor™. The hotel also offers complimentary internet, a 24-hour complimentary business centre and Hilton HHonors™.

Choice Hotels India announces a new hotel in Coimbatore


hoice Hotels International has announced a new property in Coimbatore under their upscale brand Clarion. Situated with easy access to the city centre, CODISSIA Trade Centre and Coimbatore airport, Clarion Hotel Coimbatore is well located for business travellers. The property features 107 rooms with unlimited wireless internet access, in- room safe, mini bar, tea and coffee maker, LCD satellite television, and other amenities. The hotel facilities include the Orchid Bali Spa, Zero Degree Bar and 24x7 Bytes Restaurant. Speaking on the occasion, Vilas Pawar, CEO, Choice Hotels India said, “Our aim has always been to offer our customers an experience of world class services at best value proposition. The Clarion Hotel Coimbatore has been designed keeping in mind all details for convenience to delight both the business as well as domestic traveller.”

Sheraton Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway announces free Wi-Fi access in hotel cars


n an understanding that internet connectivity and the ability to stay connected while on the road enhances guests’ experience, Sheraton Bangalore

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Hotel at Brigade Gateway has launched complimentary Wi-Fi in hotel cars. “After receiving an astounding response for Link@Sheraton, we are glad to be the first ones to create a benchmark with free Wi-Fi in our hotel cars. The New Year will provide an exclusive experience to our guests as helping them ‘stay connected’ continues to be our goal”, said Saurabh Bakshi, General Manager, Sheraton Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway. The fleet of cars at the hotel has already been equipped with complimentary Wi-Fi services. Five devices can be logged into the network simultaneously at a speed of 9.8mbps. Access to the service can be secured through a username and password provided by the hotel.

Accor not to sell stake


ccor would like to confirm that it is not in talks with anyone to sell its stake in Sofitel Mumbai BKC as reported. The hotel has seen significant improvement in its operating performance since opening in 2012. We continue to see a steady increase in operating revenue and remain confident in the future of the hotel, according to Jean-Michel Casse, Senior Vice President Operations, India.

PEOPLE FARHAT JAMAL Area Manager for India and GM, Shangri-La’s - Eros Hotel, New Delhi

BISWAJIT CHAKRABORTY General Manager Sofitel Mumbai BKC

Farhat believes that his mission is to exceed the expectations of guests and to deliver service with highest levels of consistency. It is tough to achieve this and needs great focus and effort. He also believes that quality and excellence is driven from the top and that the leadership has to walk the talk. The more we emphasise the value of good training, the better would be the service delivery and overall results of guest experience.

Chakraborty’s key areas will include overseeing all the activities of the Hotel and the expansion of Sofitel Luxury Hotels in India, the Luxury brand of the Accor Group in India. An alumnus from the Bangalore University, Cornell University and with Lausanne Hospitality Consulting, McKinsey & Company and Mercuri Goldman under his belt, he began his career with the Taj Group and later contributed to the growth and stature of the Yak and Yeti, the Oberoi Group and The Leela Kempinski.

FAIZ ALAM ANSARI General Manager Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park

ADITYA MATA Vice President & General Manager The Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa

He has been associated with Starwood Hotels & Resorts since October 2006 and has over 20 years of experience with leading hospitality brands. He has established his position in the industry as an innovative manager in the hospitality space. Faiz is driven by a quest for excellence and this has been his signature in each of his assignments. Prior to moving to Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Park, Faiz was the Hotel manager of the flagship Westin Hotel in India at the Westin Gurgaon.

Mata comes to Khyber with over two decades of experience in the hospitality industry across various formats, brands and locations spanning the Middle East, Nepal, Africa and India. Mata has worked with the world-renowned brands like The Oberoi Group, The Doha Sheraton Qatar and The Grand Ashok, Bengaluru. In addition to his experiences in the hotel industry, Mata also had a brief association with Manipal Hospital Bangalore for asset management and health care.

BASUDEV MAHAPATRA General Manager The Fern Samali Resort, Dapoli

UPAL SARKAR General Manager The Floatel Hotel, Kolkata

Basudev is a veteran hotelier with a 15-year career across India. He will lead The Fern Samali, Dapoli as General Manager as the 16-room, premium resort upgrades to offer a higher leisure experience. Prior to this assignment, Basudev worked with hotels and resorts in Hyderabad, Goa and Bengaluru among others. He has a diploma in hotel management from NIHMC, Bhubaneswar. Being a true leader he will lead the property efficiently.

A career hotelier with a post-graduate diploma in marketing and a diploma in hotel management, he will lead the landmark ship towards newer dining experiences. In his 20-year career, he has worked with respected hospitality names such as Fortune, Radisson, Absolute Hotel Services and Ambuja Hospitality. He will lead the hotel efficiently as he has other properties till now.

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PEOPLE HEMANT TENNETI Hotel Manager Courtyard by Marriott Pune Chakan In his new role, Hemant will be overseeing the daily operations of the hotel along with brand management and positioning strategies; strategy development, delivering the revenues and costs and last but not the least, ensuring rewarding relationships with the associates to deliver the brand promise in line with the strong HR values of the Marriott Group. He has been previously associated with hotelier giants like Taj and Accor Hotels to finally join Marriott in 2011.

KUNAL DEWAN Director of Sales The Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park Kunal is known for his understanding of International Sales & Marketing. Kunal’s proficiency lies in aligning and engaging field sales efforts, achieving goals and leading events. Kunal has been associated with Starwood Hotels & Resorts since December 2011 and has over 10 years of experience with leading hospitality brands. He has established his position in the industry with his knowledge to drive sales activities and promotions.

ABHISHEK RAJAGOLKAR Director of Sales Courtyard by Marriott Pune Hinjewadi

BINDIYA YADAV Director of Services JW Marriott Mumbai

In his career span of over nine years, he has had the opportunity to work with brands like Accor, Taj and Marriott. He has been promoted to this position from his role of Associate Director of Sales at the same hotel. He started his career with the Marriott brand at JW Marriott Mumbai in 2005 and from there moved on to Taj Mahal Mumbai in 2008 and later to Ista Hyderabad followed by Novotel Hyderabad in 2010. In his current capacity, he is responsible for enhancing the business of the hotel.

Prior to joining JW Marriott Mumbai, Bindiya was working with Vivanta by Taj in Bengaluru where she completed a year’s stint. With her appointment, JW Marriott Mumbai once again proves its commitment to providing its guests with exceptional services in the hospitality industry. She brings with her 12 years of experience in the hospitality industry. She began her career as a Housekeeping Assistant at the Oberoi, Udaivilas and soon moved up the ladder.

MAYANK PANDEY Head of Sales Tux Hospitality

MANAS LAL Front Office Manager Courtyard by Marriott, Pune Hinjewadi

Mayank is a highly competent professional crusader, with over 13 years of experience in Operations, Client servicing and Sales & Marketing in the Hospitality Industry. Having worked with established brands like Jaypee Palace Hotel & Convention Centre, Park Inn and Park Plaza in the past, the key functional areas in his purview includes Business Development, Operations and Client servicing. Prior to heading the sales for Tux Hospitality, Pandey worked with Kamat Hotels.

Manas has been in the hospitality industry for more than nine years now and has gained diverse experience with major brands like JW Marriott, Jumeirah and Sofitel Spa & Resort and Palm Jumeirah, Dubai. Prior to joining The Courtyard Marriott Hinjewadi, Manas was a part of the preopening team at the Sofitel Palm Resort & Spa, Dubai and worked as the Assistant Front Office Manager. He played the role of acting Front Office Manager at Sofitel.

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Booking Hotels Made Easier Travellers nowadays are looking for personalised and convenient services which help them in saving time. Various hotels in India and around the world have their dedicated mobile applications which can be used by the guests for searching nearby hotels, bookings, and various other details. We have listed out a few applications which you can use on your smartphones/tablets to plan and book your next hotel stay wherever you are. Marriott International: this new mobile tool enables travellers who are on a time- crunch to quickly find nearby hotels, book a room, check their upcoming reservations and get details about their hotel, including photos. With the app and mobile website, travellers can also enrol in Marriott Rewards, check their point balance, and even find out what’s happening in the local area. With aggressively expanding their footprint in India and across the world, Marriott uses the cutting-edge technology to ensure that their guests don’t face any problem. This free application is available for iPhone, iPad Touch and Android devices. With a few taps, you can now get immediate access on-the-go to their 3,600 hotels across 13 brands in 71 countries. R itz- Ca rlton : helping you navigate around the destination and enhancing your experiences at every Ritz-Carlton destination around the world, this complimentary application is your perfect guide on a vacation. Along with exploring the destination, you can also make your bookings at the hotel and avail the exclusive offers with the help of this application. The application automatically recognizes when you have arrived at a Ritz-Carlton property and sends you location-specific advice and special offers. The application is available on App Store and the Android App on Google Play. You’ll also have QR capability at 20 hotels that lets you scan your smartphone to check in. Concierge Insider Guides by Intercontinental Hotels Group: now you need not go down to

the Concierge desk for your queries, you can have it in your hands with the help of a few clicks. With the free InterContinental® Concierge Insider Guides iPad 66 HOTELSCAPES • February 2014

App, you can go through personal local concierge recommendations for over 120 destinations and video tours for various locations, see an interactive map of recommended to-do things, insider tips and more. You can also view details and book rooms at the nearest InterContinental hotel or resort with the help of this application. The application keeps updating with new destinations across the globe, tips and recommendations. SPG – Starwoods Hotels and Resorts: with richer content

and user-friendly experience, this application has all those features that a traveller would require. Along with easy access to book hotels near and far, the application also gives you access to the latest SPG offers and promotions. You can also save your room number and other hotel information related to your travel plan, which can come handy during your trip. The SPG support team is available for assistance at all times and the application also includes Face Time with the team. You can also connect to other travellers with their social networking communities. Ginger Hotels Reservation: with an easy to use interface and secure payment gateways, Ginger Hotels’ reservation application helps you to book a warm experience with convenience. Ginger Hotels are built around a unique concept. This is to provide facilities to meet the key needs of today’s traveller, at surprisingly affordable rates. The application also takes care of a traveller’s key requirements and helps him to search room availability at different properties of Ginger Hotels, search room availability, book rooms, view reservation history and also cancellation of bookings. The application is available on android devices with Google Play store. ■ Compiled by NIKITA CHOPRA

Date of Publication: 16/02/2014

RNI No. DELENG/2012/47318 No.U(C)-105/2013-2014, Posting Dt. 16-21/02/2014 Reg. No. DL(C) 01/1353/12-14

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