Page 1

Volume 1. Issue 12. January 2013. Rs 50

all about hotels & hospitality

JW Lounge, JW Marriott Hotel New Delhi Aerocity

Experience-driven hotel designs SWHG forays into India with the launch of five hotels Royal Orchid Group launches brand Regenta How to be a blue-blood chef‌the inside story

Outlook, forecast and trends for 2013


Volume 1. Issue 12. January 2013. Rs 50

Volume 1  Issue 12  JANUARY 2013


JW Lounge, JW Marriott Hotel New Delhi Aerocity

Experience-driven hotel designs SWHG forays into India with the launch of five hotels Royal Orchid Group launches brand Regenta How to be a blue-blood chef…the inside story

editor’s note

As the year kick starts, we bring you the forecast for 2013 from industry’s leading captains like Sushil Gupta, Nakul Anand, Anil Madhok and others who predict how the year would shape up for the industry in terms of room occupancies, MICE business, leisure travel, F&B et al. Turn to our big ‘Cover Story’ for more. Read about ways of controlling costs in our ‘Trends 2013’ section. The other ‘Trends’ article is about how technology has revolutionised housekeeping, making it more guest-friendly. Read about tech devices in use today to speed up the functioning of the housekeeping department. In our ‘Design’ section, we introduce you to some path breaking designs to make your hotel a winner in the race. Learn how to be a blue-blood chef in our ‘F&B Trends’ section. The well-travelled guest looks for a descriptive food menu that explains the dish in detail, carries allergy warning, nutritional aspects of dishes etc. Our ‘Guest Column’ explains how a well-framed menu can attract guests back for more. The ‘Marketing’ pages are about blogging, emerging as a cost-effective marketing tool for hoteliers. Bloggers have the power to make information go viral on the Internet in a few hours as compared to print/broadcast media that takes much longer. Hotelscapes gets an interview with Chender Baljee on the Royal Orchid Group’s new brand Regenta, and further expansion plans. Other highlights include an interview with StayWell Hospitality Group on their foray into India. We continue to provide other industry news and updates. Do write to us with your feedback.

Outlook, forecast and trends for 2013

I n the news 2 WTTC India gets a new team; Jyoti Suri hosts Worldwide CEO 3 Kapil Chopra is the first President of both Oberoi and Trident Hotels Upcoming events

4 A sneak peek into HICSA 2013

New hotels

8 The Khyber, Himalayan Resort & Spa opens in Gulmarg


10 StayWell Hospitality Group forays into India with the launch of five hotels

Forum of the month

14 Outlook and forecast for 2013

Quick take

24 Royal Orchid Group launches brand Regenta


26 Experience-driven hotel designs

Trends 2013

32 Controlling costs and looking ahead

readers write in The F&B feature on live cooking was really good. I was informed about the must-haves required for this set-up, the pictures – especially the flambing one was really good. Keep the food stories coming in. Rita Chopra, New Delhi I learnt a lot about Chennai hotels in your Cover Story – the city as an emerging MICE destination, and the two new upcoming hotels, The Westin and The Leela Palace. The hoteliers provided an overall perspective of the city. Informative article! Shyam Nair, Chennai


36 Technology makes housekeeping more guest-friendly

F&B trends

40 How to be a blue-blood chef


44 Cost-effective blogging emerging as a marketing tool for hoteliers


52 9th Annual Chef Awards 2012

Products Editor: Navin S Berry  Assistant Editor: Manisha Almadi Midha Advertising: Saurabh Shukla  Design: Ashok Saxena, Neelam Aswani Hotelscapes is published and printed by Navin Berry, printed at Anupam Art Printers B-52, Naraina, Phase II, New Delhi and published from IIIrd Floor, Rajendra Bhawan, 210, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg, New Delhi - 110002. Editor: Navin S Berry, Tel: 91-11-43784444; Fax: 91-11-41001627, 41001628. E-mail: This issue of Hotelscapes contains 64 pages plus 4 pages cover

58 New launches


60 Movements in the industry

Guest column

50 Food menus must not be elaborate, yet descriptive

January 2013 hotelscapes


in the news

David Scowsill with Jyotsna Suri and Keshav Suri

David Scowsill with Sujit Banerjee and Mandip Singh Soin

WTTC India gets a new team; Jyoti Suri hosts Worldwide CEO Jyotsna Suri, Chairperson, The Lalit Group, hosted an industry get together in honour of visiting WTTC Chief David Scowsill while he was in India to attend the recent Hi-Fi conclave.

D Priya Paul

Dipak Deva 2

hotelscapes January 2013

avid Scowsill made good use of the opportunity to network with Indian industry and exchange opinion. Those in the audience included former DG Tourism Vinod Duggal and Amitabh Kant, Chief Executive, Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor. Talking to Hotelscapes, Jyotsna Suri disclosed how her forthcoming project in London was proceeding on schedule. A boutique property, The Lalit London would essentially be a restoration project, as per local laws. But when the guest enters within the hotel, he will be transported to an Indian ethos. The Chandigarh project was expected to open shortly. In the meanwhile, as happens annually at the WTTC India Initiative, there has been a change of guard in the office bearers. Priya Paul, Chairperson, Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels has been appointed as Chairperson, WTTCII for the year 2013. Paul, who was the Vice Chairperson of WTTCII for the year 2012, takes over from Vikram Madhok, Managing Director, Abercrombie & Kent India who completed his term at the recently held AGM in Delhi. Dipak Deva, CEO Destination Management-India & South Asia, Kuoni Destination Management is the new Vice Chairman, WTTCII for the year 2013. Deva started his career as the Branch Manager of Travel Corporation India (TCI) in Jaipur in ’89. He served his last at TCI as the GM, Inbound at Mumbai. He went on to join hands as one of the partners of Distant Frontiers until Kuoni India acquired the company in 2006. In a brief discussion with Hotelscapes, Priya Paul mentioned how she was keen to introduce some new initiatives on behalf of WTTC India. She mentioned how she had interacted with a number of industry opinion makers, who had impressed upon her the need to innovate and provide a new direction for the industry as a whole. â–

in the news

Kapil Chopra is the first President of both Oberoi and Trident Hotels It is for the first time in the history of Oberoi and Trident Hotels that the two have come under a common leadership, with one professional heading both the organisations.


apil Chopra is the new President for The Oberoi Group and he will be responsible for both The Oberoi and Trident Brands in India. This is for the first time in the history of the group that the two brands have a single command. In times such as these when brands are assuming increasing competitive proportions, this single leadership augurs well for the hotels, providing a more seamless operation for the 25 odd hotels in the country. Chopra is also possibly the youngest occupant in this position. He has 19 years of hoteliering behind him, and is only 40 years old as he takes over the iconic Oberoi Hotels. He is an alumni of Oberoi Centre for Learning and Development (OCLD). Most recently, he was the Executive Vice President of the Group and was instrumental in opening two flagship properties – The Oberoi and Trident in Gurgaon. Apart from being an hotelier, Chopra is an avid collector of Indian contemporary art and writes regularly for various national and international publications. He also writes a blog on Indian He has founded the country’s first e-magazine on art called The Wall. ■ January 2013 hotelscapes


upcoming events

L-R: Gary Garrabrant and Manav Thadani, Chairman-HVS India at HICSA 2012

A sneak peek into HICSA 2013 Be there for HICSA 2013 – the industry’s muchawaited annual two-day hospitality conference hosted by HVS India.


otel Investment Conference – South Asia (HICSA) 2013 hosted by HVS India, promises a very impressive line-up of speakers for its ninth edition. Set to surpass itself yet again, the two-day annual conference will bring together, for the very first time, four global CEOs of world’s leading hospitality brands on a common dais to address the hotel investment forum. Controlling over 30 percent of the world’s internationally branded rooms across 10,000 hotel properties, managing 44 hospitality brands in over 300 countries and together generating employment for nearly half a million people across the globe, the conference will showcase the global prowess of Arne M Sorenson, President & CEO, Marriott International; Christopher J Nassetta, President & CEO, Hilton 4

hotelscapes January 2013

Worldwide; Frits van Paasschen, President & CEO, Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Mark S Hoplamazian, President & CEO, Hyatt Hotels Corporation. HVS’ discussions with hotels owners over the last year made them realise the need for addressing/debating and finding potential solutions to the challenges faced by this very important stakeholder of the industry. Hence, this year’s HICSA will see a ‘strictly by invitation’ Pre-Event Round Table especially for this group to discuss issues ranging from Development Costs and ways to keep them in check, Constraints of Management Contracts, Profitability, Human Capital to Availability of Funding among others. The goal is threefold – one to offer the owners a platform where they can jointly and candidly express their views and concerns,

two – as an independent third-party, HVS to make a note of these, and three – to subsequently communicate and take it up with the concerned parties within the industry. No brand will be allowed at this pre-event! Manav Thadani, Chairman- South A sia, H VS Hospitality Ser v ices a nd Founder of HICSA said, “Bringing to the forefront, today’s important and most relevant hospitality topics, HICSA has grown beyond my expectations. For me the presence of Arne, Chris, Frits and Mark at HICSA 2013 not only establishes their recognition of HICSA as one of the world’s leading hospitality investment conferences, but more importantly reinforces global focus and faith in the Indian hospitality industry and the opportunities for growth, investment and development that India represents!” He further added, “HVS India’s aim is to create HICSA not only as a forum for hospitality leaders but also as a platform to engage experts from other sectors who can support the industry and engage in dialogue with hospitality stakeholders. This can assist in tapping unexplored verticals and addressing some of the critical challenges faced by the industry.” HVS India looks forward to welcoming all delegates at HICSA 2013! ■

January 2013 hotelscapes


upcoming events

Snapshots from

Hicsa 2012


hotelscapes January 2013

January 2013 hotelscapes


new hotels

The Khyber, Himalayan Resort & Spa opens in Gulmarg Gulmarg in the picturesque Kashmir has a new luxury resort now, overlooking snow capped Affarwat peaks.


he Khyber, Himalayan Resort & Spa, Gulmarg’s first luxury resort was formally inaugurated by The Hon’ble Chief Minister of J&K, Omar Abdullah. The opening of this much-awaited luxury resort breaks a new dawn for travellers to enjoy the legendary beauty of the picturesque Kashmir valley, which has seen a steady increase of tourists. Gulmarg in particular has witnessed a heady rush of travellers and this roundthe-year paradise is once again becoming a must-visit destination.

Experience luxury in snow capped mountains Located at an elevation of 8,825 ft in the

Alex Koshy GM-The Khyber, Himalayan Resort & Spa, Gulmarg

The Khyber will be the first resort in Gulmarg to offer comforts and facilities that a discerning international traveller seeks. We have attended to every detail to make this resort truly unique. 8

hotelscapes January 2013

Pir Panjal Range of the majestic Himalayas, The Khyber, Himalayan Resort & Spa, Gulmarg, is spread over seven acres in a pristine pine valley. This international class, 85-key resort, clad in timber and stone, offers breathtaking views of snow capped Affarwat peaks. The awe-inspiring location of the resort combined with the unfolding drama of Gulmarg’s changing seasons will tempt guests to return again and again. The resort is an easy walk from the Gulmarg Gondola, the highest ski lift in the world. It takes over 600 visitors and skiers per day to Kongdoori Mountain on the shoulder of Mount Affarwat, the highest ski point in the Himalayas at 13,780 ft.  So, get ready to enjoy the all season resort in absolute luxury. Engage in heady action in the snow in the winter and enjoy one of Asia’s five best ski destinations. The Khyber is the ideal base to go for some of the most beautiful treks in the world or tee-off at the world’s highest green golf course.    “The Khyber will be the first resort in Gulmarg to offer comforts and facilities that a discerning international traveller seeks. We have attended to every detail to make this resort truly unique,” said Alex Koshy, GM-The Khyber, Himalayan Resort & Spa, Gulmarg. “Guests at the resort will experience luxury on par with international standards and personalised service that hasn’t been seen in Gulmarg,” he added.

The facilities All eighty rooms, four luxury cottages and the Presidential Cottage offer breathtaking panoramic views of the Affarwat peaks or of evergreen valleys. The interiors are designed with traditional materials and showcase fine Kashmiri crafts. Namdas of felted wool, silk carpets from local looms, furnishings embellished

with crewel embroidery, carved walnut paneling, teakwood floors and papiermâché accents draw upon Kashmir’s rich heritage of craftsmanship. Guests at the resort will have ample choice of dining options at Cloves – the allday dining restaurant, Chaikash – the tea lounge, Calabash – the cigar and sheesha lounge and Nouf – the terrace restaurant. After a day of outdoor activity, skiing or sightseeing, guests can relax and rejuvenate at the world class Alaya Spa scheduled to open in the summer of 2013. Adjoining the spa is a state of the art gym with the latest equipment and an impressive heated indoor pool offering dramatic views of the mountain ranges.  The sprawling resort includes the beautifully landscaped Paradeez gardens and an amphitheatre, retail outlets, ski shop and more than 10,000 sq ft of meeting, banquet and event space. The Khyber truly embodies the mag-

nificence of Gulmarg. In addition to skiing, other popular winter activities include snowboarding, sledding and horse drawn sleigh rides. During the spring and summer, Gulmarg valley is blanketed with more than 20 varieties of wildflowers, earning it the sobriquet, ‘Meadow of Flowers.’ The Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa will offer a host of spring and summer activities including trekking, golf, mountain biking and normal biking, gondola rides, horse riding, rock climbing, trout fishing, photography safaris, and jeep excursions. The resort will feature a yearround Activities Concierge that will help guests plan these exciting outdoor activities as well as those offered at the resort, such as films at the mini cinema, Igloo  kid’s club and snooker to name a few. The room tariffs start at Rs 14,500 per night and go up to Rs 105,000 per night. For more information visit ■ January 2013 hotelscapes



Australia based SWHG launches five hotels in India

Simon Wan, CEO and MD, StayWell Hospitality Group talks about their expansion plans in India, and the hospitality group’s positioning in the country.

Leisure Inn, Serviced Apartment Hotel, Greater Noida


hotelscapes January 2013

one-on-one Leisure Inn, Raipur


imon Wan has been an international hotelier for more than 30 years and has worked for a number of large international hotel groups such as Holiday Inn, Hyatt, Southern Pacific Hotels, Park Plaza and Accor before joining StayWell.

Together with its group of investors and shareholders, SWHG has equity and/ or ownership interests in the majority of its hotel portfolio, committing a large amount of investment resources throughout its hotel network.

What made SWHG foray into India? Tell us about StayWell Hospitality Group. StayWell Hospitality Group (SWHG) is one of the largest independently owned hotel management groups in the Asia Pacific and is based in Sydney, Australia. SWHG has a network of 35 properties with locations including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville, Hobart, Launceston and international hotels in Singapore and Dubai as well as hotels located in Morocco, India, London and Birmingham in the UK, China and New Zealand currently in development. The expansion into India compliments StayWell’s growth in Southern Asia and China as well as leveraging off its established Leisure Inn and Park Regis properties in Australia, Singapore, Dubai and the UK.

Simon Wan CEO and MD, StayWell Hospitality Group

We have five properties currently in India in Hyderabad, Greater Noida, Goa, Raipur and Thane. In our next development cycle we will be exploring cities like Bengaluru, Chennai and Trivandrum.

India is a growing economy and will become one of the largest economies in the world over the next 15 to 20 years. The country has a domestic growing annual travelling population of 650 million travellers, representing enormous growth opportunities for accommodation providers which are very apparent to all the hotel operators. In addition, the growth of low cost carrier airlines with increasing passengers capacities provide unprecedented travel opportunities within India, further creating higher demand, with at present, limited good quality supply of hotel accommodation for the mid-scale market. Our expansion plans are realistic and reflect the potential growth in India particularly in the Tier II and Tier III cities which has higher and faster growth poJanuary 2013 hotelscapes


one-on-one tential as there is a big gap in supply and demand ratio for branded hotels. With StayWell we offer recognised international brands and established systems and hotel networks supported by comprehensive staff training; something that is lacking in the Indian market.

You have opened five hotels in India. We have five properties currently in India in Hyderabad, Greater Noida, Goa, Raipur and Thane (on the outskirts of Mumbai) in such close succession represent the speed in which StayWell is gaining ground in this market. The new properties comprise an 82 room hotel located in the city centre of Hyderabad which is proposed to open in May 2013, a 192 room serviced apartment hotel in Greater Noida scheduled to open by late 2013, a 94 room hotel located in North Goa scheduled to open by late 2013 and a 99 room property located in Raipur which is part of the largest retail mall in the region and is expected to open in 2014.

Park Regis Suite, Goa


hotelscapes January 2013

The hotels in Hyderabad, Raipur & Greater Noida are under Leisure Inn brand and the Goa would be Park Regis hotel. In addition, we have other deals in India nearing completion, including properties in Jaipur and NCR as well as high probability of further properties in Chandigarh, Indore and Pune. We are looking at properties in New Delhi, Gurgaon and Ghaziabad as well. In our next development cycle we will be exploring cities like Bengaluru, Chennai and Trivandrum. The group wants to increase its portfolio in India to a total of 25 hotels

We have other deals in India nearing completion, including properties in Jaipur and NCR as well as high probability of further properties in Chandigarh, Indore and Pune.

by the end of 2014 and 50 hotels by 2017.

You have two hotel categories – Leisure Inn and Park Regis respectively. What differentiates one from the other? In India, we are offering full service hotels in both categories. Leisure Inn is a midscale, three and a half star property and Park Regis is up-scale of a four star and four and a half star hotel. Both the brands have very distinctive features. The Leisure Inn brand encapsulates what guests want and deserve from a quality hotel product. Each hotel in the portfolio offers value-for-money accommodation with all hotels being located in truly unbeatable locations with exceptionally comfortable rooms, modern facilities and friendly and welcoming staff. Leisure Inn offers economy and budget accommodation in India. Our Leisure Inn’s will have multiple F&B options and large banquet spaces as large part of the top line in Tier 2 cities


Leisure Inn, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad

is driven by functions and weddings. We will have baggage assistance in all our hotels as the Indian customer is spoilt for hospitality in India and they expect some basic services which they get at home anyways when they check into hotels. Our brand elements will be recognisable so the customers can relate to all the StayWell brands as they visit our hotels. The Park Regis brand is a quality accommodation product and aims to deliver up-to-date features, innovative technologies and welcoming service. Park Regis properties are centrally located offering accessibility and a prime position to attend to business or act as an ideal base for sightseeing and leisure activities.

What are your room tariffs like?

In India, we are offering full service hotels in both categories. Leisure Inn is a mid-scale, three and a half star property and Park Regis is up-scale of a four star and four and a half star hotel. cities as well. We are interested in growing in Tier I and Tier II cities or Tier III cities because all these markets have large industries but no branded hotels.

Is your clientele the business traveller/ leisure traveller or both?

Room tariffs in India are: Leisure Inn: Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,500 Park Regis: Rs 6,000 onwards

We are targeting both segments.

You are targeting Tier II and Tier III

We have engaged local experienced ho-

How would you adapt the hotels to India?

tel interior designers and consultants, as well as our local India management team headed by our Managing Director, Rohit Vig, to assist StayWell in adapting our international brand and service standard to a product that will be acceptable in India including good food and beverages and functions facilities as well as high level of customer services. We have completed a full research of Indian customer’s expectations of hotel product and have also looked at all our competitors features and standard in coming up with our own product standard taking into consideration India’s culture and diverse regional backgrounds.

What will set your hotels apart from the rest, and how will you deal with the competition? At StayWell, we will offer ‘value for money’ with high level of product and service standard with emphasis on customer satisfaction and loyalty. ■ as told to Manisha Almadi Midha

January 2013 hotelscapes


forum of the month

Outlook & forecast for 2013

Leading Leading players players of of the the industry industry provide provide aa quick quick recap recap of of the the year year gone gone by, by, and and predict predict what what the the year year 2013 2013 holds holds for for the the industry, industry, the the trends trends and and much much more. more.


hotelscapes January 2013

forum of the month

Sushil Gupta Chairman & Managing Director, Asian Hotels (West)

The economic environment does look somewhat better in USA however, Europe is still struggling. Indian economy is showing some signs of recovery therefore, the occupancies as well as average room rate should improve thereby giving a slight push to fiscal year 2014.

Asian Hotels (West)

Sushil Gupta, Chairman & Managing Director

JW Marriott Hotel New Delhi Aerocity

The industry is expected to go better in 2013 as compared to 2012. Occupancies in Mumbai were around 70 percent last year, this year they are expected to go to at least 73 percent. As an hotelier 2012 has been a very tough year for us because of inflation and almost nil growth in revenues. Revenues of 2012 are going to affect the profitability for the fiscal year 2013. The economic environment does look somewhat better in USA however, Europe is still struggling. Indian economy is showing some signs of recovery therefore, the occupancies as well as average room rate should improve thereby giving a slight push to fiscal year 2014. Since we are located in metros, therefore, our main clientele is business traveller and leisure traveller also to a small extent. 2013 looks positive. Our hotel JW Marriott in New Delhi is likely to open very shortly and as such, there should be a big leap in revenues for our group. January 2013 hotelscapes


forum of the month

ITC Maurya, New Delhi

ITC Hotels

Nakul Anand, Executive Director – ITC Ltd./ President – Hotel Association of India

Nakul Anand Executive Director – ITC Ltd./ President – Hotel Association of India

The segments demonstrating growth are international business travel, domestic business and leisure travel. The international leisure segment/long haul holiday segment is yet to show growth. 16

hotelscapes January 2013

Hotels are a great barometer of the state of the economy and consistent with expectations we have seen a recovery in demand. However demand is yet to reach pre-recession period levels. The big difference the industry is experiencing this year is the market has become relatively more price ‘inelastic’, thereby inducing pressure on yields. With a positive economic growth in the country, ‘cautious optimism’ would best describe how the travel and tourism industry would perceive 2013. Some of the major trends for 2013 are business destinations continue to lead the charge. Increased inventories in key destinations and other macro economic factors continue to put pressure on rates leading to lower RevPAR’s. However volumes are showing upward mobility. The numbers are in comparison to a lower base in the previous year. There has been a drop in the long haul holiday travel due to leading economies experiencing recessionary. In an industry that is growing the availability of trained manpower continues to pose a challenge despite steps being taken to create more professionals. Staff turnover and the non-availability of a reliable pipeline to substitute this turnover will continue to pose a huge challenge for hotel companies and the industry at large. Our strategy is to clearly focus on a few niche areas and provide unique and differentiated value propositions in keeping with our ‘responsible luxury’ ethos. We have

forum of the month

Fishing deck at Vasundhara Sarovar Premiere, Kumarakom

leveraged the unique advantages that India has to offer in terms of diversity and heritage. In the years to come, we will have a portfolio of 150 hotels. In the super premium luxury segment we have three hotels under construction and another four hotels on the drawing board.

Sarovar Hotels & Resorts Anil Madhok, Managing Director

Anil Madhok Managing Director, Sarovar Hotels & Resorts

We expect the year 2013 to be more stable globally and internally. As Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) approvals being passed by government will attract new investors, it is expected to bring buoyancy again in hospitality industry.

2012 was not a brilliant year. Occupancies were affected marginally – negatively due to new hotel room supply. ARRs were affected by about 10 percent in most cities with increase in competition. There is a lot of pressure on bottom lines as payroll, energy and food costs also continue to climb. 2013 will be another challenging year. A lot of new supply will come in this year as well. Rates will remain under pressure. One defining trend will be the availability of trained manpower. People are limited with new hotels opening. Hotels will have to look at multi-tasking, rationalising staffing and invest in technology to reduce energy costs, which is another major expense. Therefore, we expect a similar growth i.e. 8-10 percent. Next two years of the industry are going to be highly competitive, but growth in arrivals may be slow. Supply in the pipeline may create short term surplus supply. Smarter, more efficiently managed ‘no frill’ hotels would see the greatest success. We have a mixed portfolio of business and leisure destinations where feeder market remains more domestic market January 2013 hotelscapes


forum of the month

Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad

for business hotels and inbound foreign traffic for our leisure hotels. Our portfolio derives business from corporate clients, tour operators and destination management companies for conference and wedding and through electronic channels. Technology, gadgets and gizmos have made the customer more aware and demanding. Success of hotel chains will depend upon how they embrace technology both in terms of acquisition and usage aiming at providing personalised and efficient experience. Also there has been a significant shift towards online distribution channels. The relationship between the hotel industry and online travel agents (OTAs) continues to develop and deepen, as customers increasingly use electronic distribution channels to search out and purchase hotel rooms.

Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces

Deepa Misra Harris, Sr. Vice President-Sales & Marketing

Deepa Misra Harris Sr. Vice PresidentSales & Marketing, Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces

Business clientele forms mainstay to our metro city hotels and leisure to all our resorts. However upcoming segments this year are weddings and MICE and Taj Hotels are best suited for both. 18

hotelscapes January 2013

The industry is showing some signs of recovery in the fourth quarter of the financial year and we expect to see this trend continue through 2013. Keeping this positive outlook in mind Taj Hotels recently revised its room inventory rates across all portfolios by approximately five-seven percent. We commanded the highest RevPAR’s in almost all the major cities. Whilst Average Rates were under pressure, our occupancies and revenues grew across all brands in varying measure. In the year 2012 we also launched four new Vivanta Hotels – Vivanta by Taj – Surya in Coimbatore, Vivanta by Taj - Begumpet in Hyderabad, Vivanta by Taj – Bekal in Kerala and the most recent spectacular spa destination in the middle of a rainforest – Vivanta by Taj – Madikeri in Coorg. The response to these new properties has been very encouraging. Foreign arrivals for leisure and business are expected to grow this year and we also see a trend where Indians will travel globally for holidays as well as business. This in turn shows great promise to the Taj, considering our portfolio and presence across

forum of the month

all geographies and segments. The Vivanta by Taj and Gateway Brands are also likely to see higher growth this year. Business clientele forms mainstay to our metro city hotels and leisure to all our resorts. However upcoming segments this year are weddings and MICE and Taj Hotels are best suited for both with the splendid grand Palaces – like Rambagh Palace, Umaid Bhawan, Taj Lake Palace and Falaknuma Palace that lend itself to fairytale weddings and hotels like Taj Palace Delhi, Vivanta by Taj Yeshwantpur in Bengaluru which have been specially designed to cater to international MICE events.

Möevenpick Hotel & Spa Bengaluru Biswajit Chakraborty, General Manager

Biswajit Chakraborty General Manager, Möevenpick Hotel & Spa Bengaluru

Demand will grow in upscale segment companies will continue to watch cost for five stars and luxury players to reduce rates. Restaurant business will grow and would be exciting since most Indian and international brands are showcasing F&B in a big way.

We are quite buoyant for 2013 vis-à-vis last year. The European markets are looking stronger with a certain amount of bounce back. One can see movement from Scandinavian countries, Germany, Italy and France. These are specific to multinationals which are brands already established in India. This would definitely benefit brands such as ours which are household names in Europe. Our expectation for hotel occupancy would be in the range of around 65-70 percent in Bengaluru for five star upscale hotels. In 2013 supply will continue to grow. Of the hospitality industry more dominant would be the upscale hotels with a fair amount of luxury hotels also entering key markets – there would be intense competition for establishment, domination and RGI. I am personally optimistic. If there are no major upheavals or natural disasters, I would peg the demand and growth for hotels rooms almost running parallel to growth of Indian economy. Sectors such as IT, infrastructure and pharmaceutical would be at forefront. The MICE market should do well this year both for city and resort provided hotel brand gives “value for money” and customer requirement are met both in terms of their conference needs and budgets. However competition will be intense in this sector. There will be constant pressure by airlines to reduce crew rates since most of them are not faring well. Our main clientele will be the business traveller. January 2013 hotelscapes


forum of the month

Trends for 2013 will be – supply in upscale segment would grow steadily in all major and secondary cities in India. International brands would be the major contributors bouquet of sub brands for different markets. The luxury hotel space could see a bit of a slowdown in construction other than New Delhi. Guest expectations would be simpler based on quality, products, healthy food and value for money.

Fairmont Jaipur

Atul Lall, General Manager

Atul Lall General Manager, Fairmont Jaipur

There has also been a rise in technology trend in the hotel industry. Tablet technology and smart phones now function as room keys. Another growing trend in the Indian hospitality industry is the increase in online booking. 20

hotelscapes January 2013

The hotel industry is going through an interesting phase in India. International hotel chains are influenced by the growing economic setting and demand for more hotel rooms across categories. In 2013 the market will definitely be in a stronger position than 2012. The first quarter results will set out the trend for the rest of the year. I am quite sure that it will have a positive impact, especially with incentive moments becoming big within the hotel industry. Fairmont Jaipur has effectively met its targets for 2012 but there has been a decline in ARR. This is because earlier Jaipur completely relied on one segment. But now other, newer segments like MICE have opened up proving largely beneficial to the city. So, Fairmont Jaipur will still continue with 350 $ ARR as market stabilisation is an automatic outcome of the new supply coming in. 2012 has been a great year for Fairmont Jaipur. As far as the market is concerned, we have had a good response from both wedding and MICE segments; weddings being the driving element in the months of August and September. Additionally, the Fairmont loyal customer’s online booking has fairly been strong. The Indian government is proposing several measures that will increase investment in the hospitality sector and accelerate the process of growth. With the opening of FDI in hospitality, the market is attracting more foreign investment onto Indian shores. This in turn has the investment atmosphere buoyant for Indian investors and promoters of hotels as well. 2013 is likely to increase and shape investment in the hospitality sector, across a broad price band.

forum of the month

Since the city has also shown a great potential as a MICE destination, one of the key focuses at Fairmont Jaipur is MICE and we will offer a variety of service mix to business and leisure travellers. 2012 saw a strong resurgence on inbound incentive travel. As far as the meetings market is concerned, it’s growing. The Indian hospitality sector has witnessed an increasing interest in MICE and destination weddings. Moreover, sports tourism has put India on the global hospitality map, consequently increasing demand for hotels and rooms. There has also been a rise in technology trend in the hotel industry. Tablet technology and smart phones now function as room keys. Another growing trend in the Indian hospitality industry is the increase in online booking. Travellers today are looking for tailor-made travel and stays. The more personalised the services the better.

Pankaj Katyal General Manager , Radisson Blu Hotel City Center Chennai

Hotels with good banqueting space will continue to enjoy the benefits by picking more social events and MICE business. OTAs will continue to grow and their contribution will be significant. Social media will be a new thing to watch.

Radisson Blu Hotel City Center Chennai Pankaj Katyal, General Manager

2013 looks tough but it will be manageable, due to extra supply in various cities there will be a lot of stress. One has to be optimistic of the current situation and be smart enough to grab opportunities early which 2013 will present. Room occupancies will continue to be sluggish due to slow growth, don’t see ADRs going upward at all but there is a big chance that it will go down. The positive thing amidst all this will be growth in F&B business, hotels with good banqueting space will continue to enjoy the benefits by picking more social events and MICE business. OTAs will continue to grow and their contribution will be significant. Social media will be a new thing to watch. 2012 was a good year despite the number of hotels opening we were able to sustain ourselves. I took over Radisson Blu City Center in the third month of operation as General Manager. From there onwards the hotel has seen a steady growth in terms of occupancy and revenue. Overall, it was a good year. As per CII, they have predicted a growth of five-and-a-half to six percent in 2013 January 2013 hotelscapes


forum of the month

which seems to be decent considering what is happening globally. This year should be sustaining one. I see similar rates, occupancies and revenues like last year and don’t see any drastic improvement. I see this year as a phase of consolidation, demand will pick up marginally but that will be overshadowed by the supply. Overall, it will be a decent year and from here onwards the growth phase will begin. Our clientele remains the business traveller.

Shangri-La’s-Eros Hotel New Delhi

Aditya Shamsher Malla, Director-Sales & Marketing

Aditya Shamsher Malla Director-Sales & Marketing, Shangri-La’s-Eros Hotel New Delhi

The expectations for 2013 are consistency in taxation and excise on beverages. The outlook is positive; the upcoming elections in 2014 could bring a mixed bag of inventions on one hand and inhibitions on another. GDP growth outlook looks healthy and enhanced. 22

hotelscapes January 2013

While the fundamentals are strong, there could be unexpected challenges, sociopolitical instabilities. All in all 2013 is a positive year of growth in terms of occupancy and room realisation. The year 2012 has been a mixed year, while the city performed well others declined in occupancy and ADR. As an hotelier, we saw the entry of international hotel chains making the market place more competitive and setting a path of innovations. The year 2012 was a mixed year for the hotels as the leisure European and American markets continued to decline. The average room rate was under pressure because of the growth in the volume. The industry saw no new investments initiatives to boost the business travellers. We witnessed the increase in the inventory of convention facilities in Pune and Hyderabad. The past year has also seen the growths of Band C category cities as lot of quality accommodations were opened. The expectations for the year 2013 are consistency in taxation and excise on beverages. The outlook is positive; the upcoming elections in 2014 could bring a mixed bag of inventions on one hand and inhibitions on another. GDP growth outlook looks healthy and enhanced. As an industry we will get the benefit. The hotel’s today have to be flexible in catering to business and leisure travellers. 2013 should see revival of European and American leisure travellers. A boost in economy and FDI should see growth in business travellers. ■ as told to Manisha Almadi Midha

January 2013 hotelscapes


quick take

Royal Orchid Group launches Brand Regenta & plans expansion in Tier 2 cities Quick take with Chender Baljee, MD, Royal Orchid Hotels.

Regenta One Hyderabad


hotelscapes January 2013

quick take


here was some meltdown in the hospitality sector. How has it impacted your group?

The situation has definitely improved with occupancies and ARR’s showing an improvement in this current financial year. Moving forward, we are positive about things getting better.

How are you taking things forward now with a new emerged reality? What new developments should we expect from you? We still have our:        • Strong customer base • Location advantage • With sales offices at Bengaluru, New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Jaipur, Goa, Pune and Hyderabad, we are penetrating deep into the market, and this is getting us good market share • A 24-hour central reservation system • Other electronic medium-Internet distribution systems • GDS • Airlines tie-ups like Kingfisher, Jet Airways and Indigo • Travel portals – Travelocity, Travelguru, Expedia, Yatra, MakeMyTrip, Cleartrip • MICE business • Long stayers • Leisure travellers: We rope in people exploring holidays, through our enticing seasonal packages • Advertisements We have recently launched an upscale brand Regenta with Regenta One being the upscale business and leisure brand in Hyderabad (5 star), Regenta Central Ashoka in Chandigarh (4 star) and Regenta Hotel & Convention Centre in New Delhi/NCR (resort and convention portfolio). We are looking at further expansions in Tier 2 cities.

How is the New Delhi unit doing on the Rajokri side? There has been a sudden growth of motels in this area. Is there

enough business for everyone? We have a loyal corporate customer base, and this being the wedding season – we are going full.

You have also entered the leisure circuit in recent years – how does selling leisure differ from selling business hotels? Does the audience change? There is a certain amount of overlap but we have a focus set of clients – foreign tour groups and individual travellers, destination wedding and mice segments which also contribute.

What has been your experience with foreign leisure in 2012? It’s been excellent.

Which cities are doing better this year, for you and why? Which cities are doing worse, or not as good? All cities are doing good especially, the West and Northern region with Bengaluru too showing better growth than last year.

Where do you see the national ARRs going? We are seeing an improvement in ARRs in most cities and moving forward we might see a rationalisation of rates.

Which segment of the hospitality business do you think is the safest bet, in terms of ROI? Geoffrey’s, Royal Orchid, Bengaluru

Mid-segment hotels best fit the bill. ■ as told to Navin Berry January 2013 hotelscapes



Experience-driven hotel designs Architecture and design is the skeleton of a space but it plays the most pivotal part in the hospitality industry’s race to be the best. Hotelscapes spoke to a few leading architects from India and overseas to unearth what the hoteliers can do to make their hotel, a winner in this race.


hen a patron checks into a hotel, what makes him do so? What makes him want to come back for more? The answer is simple. It is the experience or the framework to attain the experience that one has dreamt of. Large spaces, mesmerising views from the balcony or windows, a feel of being engulfed in luxury away from the humdrum of daily life are just a few of the aspects that most

Reception, D Caves Hotel, Hyderabad


hotelscapes January 2013

patrons desire when on the lookout for a hotel. Architecture and interior design is the foremost agent that can create the ‘it’ experience. It brings together all the facilities that an hotelier wishes to provide under an umbrella and designates the right place. It creates the ambience that cannot be compared to home or an apartment. Thus it is safe to say that architecture is the framework of a property and can be a deal breaker for most patrons. The patrons may not know archi-


Sanjay Puri Founder, Sanjay Puri & Associates, Mumbai

When a hotel property is being conceptualised they should keep in mind that their product is going to sell an experience and a different experience cannot come about when a hotel in Goa and Mumbai looks just the same.

Chrome Hotel, Kolkata

tectural nuances and study of design but they are highly aware of the experience that they came out for. Most architects argue about the fact that a hospitality brand can create a memorable stay for their guests with the help of the right design, and experiencedriven architecture has been the talk of the town for the architect community. But, what is the right design and what are the accurate elements of interior design? This may be a very subjective question as

with any form of art but there are a few requisites that cannot be neglected if a hospitality brand wants to carve a niche for itself. We spoke to few architects and delved into the concept of experiencedriven architecture.

Sanjay Puri & Associates, Mumbai

Sanjay Puri & Associates has designed some path-breaking hotels in the mid-lev-

el segment such as Mosaic Hotel, Delhi; Chrome Hotel, Kolkata; D Caves Hotel, Hyderabad; and Sahara Leisure Centre, amongst others. Sanjay Puri The one trend that has been ruling the hospitality architecture is ‘innovation’. Off beat and unique designs are being lapped by the hospitality industry on a global scale but in India hotel architecture is far behind. Hoteliers do not have the open mind needed to execute unique concepts. They maybe open to the idea of investing in interior design but architecturally most hotels in India follow a mould and do not want to break from it. When a hotel property is being conceptualised they should keep in mind that their product is going to sell an experience and a different experience cannot come about when a hotel in Goa and Mumbai looks just the same. The design should be very contextual; it should have the elements of the place it is located in. We have designed a hotel in Lucknow where we have used chikankari work as focal point. January 2013 hotelscapes


design The next important aspect of a hotel design to be considered is openness in space and fluidity in space. Most urban cities have very small apartments and the patrons from their cities come to a hotel to feel the freedom in space, and tiny rooms and public spaces of the hotel can be a dampener. If it’s a business hotel in an urban city and has a space constraint, then adding personalised touches and avoiding repetition of elements such as same chairs in the dining area or same type of art on the walls, can create a unique experience. Smaller seating arrangements strewn over in a public area with different elements such as diverse chairs, flower arrangements etc can make a space look livelier and not like a fancy mess. For example, the Chrome Hotel in Kolkata that we have designed is situated on a very busy road and adding to the chaos is a flyover facing the hotel. Therefore, the exterior of the property on the first four floors is clad with frosted glass, so the guests can enjoy a cup of coffee or dinner undeterred by the chaos on the road and flyover. In the D Caves Hotel in Hyderabad, we had space restriction along with big boulders in the middle of the space. We decided to maintain the boulders that echo a Hyderabadi feel and created smaller structures around the boulders, one of which houses public areas such as the restaurants and clubs, and the operational areas so the guests

Lounge 18, The Marriott, Jaipur


hotelscapes January 2013

do not get disturbed by the operations and can enjoy a nature-clad holiday. Both of the aforementioned properties are of home grown brands and not of international brands. The sad state of the hospitality industry is that the big and international brands are not ready to break away from the mould. They are too wary of losing their brand identity even if an architect proposes a unique design. It is even more desolate as these brands have the revenue and the space to experi-


Bobby Mukherji Principal architect & Founder, Bobby Mukherji & Associates, Mumbai

When we studied the locals of Jaipur we realised they have had an overdose of opulence and royal elements. They were not looking forward to any more palace-hotels thus we decided to design a very urban space with minimalism.

Lobby, The Marriott, Jaipur

ment and heighten the guests experience with design. I would request the hoteliers to give the much-deserved importance to design and open their minds to new concepts, only then hospitality in India will come of age in the true sense.

Bobby Mukherji & Associates, Mumbai

Bobby Mukherji & Associates are the makers of Le Meridien, New Delhi; The Lalit,

New Delhi; The Grand Ashok, Bengaluru; The Marriott, Jaipur and Intercontinental The Grand, Chandigarh amongst others. Bobby Mukherji In the hospitality industry there is not a single trend that can be said as the raging one. Each and every hotel is unique and has its own design aesthetic in its own right. A hotel design is about a relationship between the environment of the place it is in and the guests. We have worked with the top hospitality brands

in the world and all of them have very strict design guidelines. Being the most renowned brands, they impose a lot of their own ideas that they feel adhere to their identity. Our task is to convince the owner and the operator to accept modifications and fit it into Indian contexts. It is noteworthy to mention that it is a mean feat to convince the people who are settled abroad and do not have the pulse of India to break their mould and experiment with a newer design. Our designs are not governed by our design egos; we definitely keep in mind the profitability and practicality in our designs. The end targets for us are the guests and their experience. We have been designing hotels since a decade now and what we have learnt in this process is that comfort comes only with sensitivity to details. With the everevolving technology and science scaling new heights everyday, it is important to understand that every hospitality brand should use abundance of it in order to make the design truly experience-driven. January 2013 hotelscapes


design The guest room is the most important part of the hotel and it must have the right amount of lighting and comfortable bedding. The bathroom should be extremely user friendly. The technology of the shower diverter should be the best, the mirrors should be defrosting, shaving mirrors are also very important. Such tiny details play a pivotal role in enhancing the luxe experience of the guests. The first step of designing a hotel is to study the guest profile. For example, in The Marriott, Jaipur the client wanted to allure the local denizens of Jaipur who have a large spending capacity along with the tourists. When we studied the locals of Jaipur we realised they have had an overdose of opulence and royal elements. They were not looking forward to any more palace-hotels thus we decided to design a very urban space with minimalism. The guests there today enjoy a very modern and modish experience and world-class gourmet. To keep the design contextual, we have used natural sandstones and lime stones in sandy shades to exude a desert feel which the foreign tourists appreciate. So whether through design or material palate, it is necessary to walk the tight rope between being contextual and innovative.

Ministry of Design (MOD), Singapore

Ministry of Design has designed numerThe Club Hotel, Singapore

ous hospitality projects such as Goa Boutique Resort; Hyatt Hotel, Korea; The Club Hotel, Singapore; W Hotel, Bangkok; Concept Luxury Hotel, Dubai and many others. Colin Seah While designing any project, we have three principles that we follow – Question, Disturb, Redefine. We a lways question where the inherent potential of contemporary design lies and then 30

hotelscapes January 2013


Colin Seah Design Director, Ministry of design, Singapore

While designing any project, we have three principles that we follow – Question, Disturb, Redefine. We always question where the inherent potential of contemporary design lies and then to disturb the way they are created or perceived, only to redefine the space with innovation.

to disturb the way they are created or perceived, only to redefine the space with innovation, one project at a time. In hospitality design we believe that it is important to orchestrate a unified design vision to the environment, the guests and the place. It is vital to draw deeply from the context surrounding each property, but also to dream freely and create a unique experience-driven design. We constantly try to be delightfully surpris-

ing but yet relevant, distinctly local but still globally appealing. For example, in The Club Hotel in Singapore, we decided to design a boutique hotel offering the very chic Club Street conservation area with 22 distinctly unique rooms, a rooftop skybar with alfresco deck and a destination F&B venue with a tapas bar on the ground floor. Targeted at the design and lifestyle savvy global nomad, The Club’s blend of sophis-

ticated and comfortable design is at once distinctly local as it is cutting edge global. Searching to ground the hotel in the context of Singapore as well as the historically rich conservation area of Club Street and Ann Siang Hill, we drew its inspiration from two sources. The first is Singapore’s colonial past, which we have made modern tongue-in-cheek references to through art installation like features such as largerthan-life statue of Raffles with his head in the clouds as well as through some key furniture pieces and artifacts. The second inspiration was drawn from the area’s popularity as a remittance center for turn of the century Chinese immigrants where hard earned money and wistful letters were sent back to the homeland. We have taken the memories of these exchanges and created features that hint of this legacy in the rooms of The Club, where the modern day nomad and the nomad of yesterday cross paths for a moment. ■ as told to Priyanka Desai

January 2013 hotelscapes


trends 2013

Controlling costs and looking ahead Sensing the demand potential of the hotel industry in India, international hotel chains have made plans for the coming years. The Ministry of Tourism also estimates an increase in foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs). However, the supply will be more than the demand. The hotels, to sustain their GOP, have to look into their operating costs and find ways and means to minimise them. Sustainable use of energy and controlled wage costs are two factors to be considered, suggests Anil Bhandari.


n 2013 the hotel industry is likely to face challenges due to increase in cost of land, rise in land conversion charges, enhancement of government taxes, higher cost of construction materials as also labour charges and the spiralling cost of financing, all of which result in the higher cost of a hotel property. The rate on investment would be impacted. Room rates for hotels in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad in the third quarter (Q3) of 2012 are 5-20 percent less than in Q3 of 2011. Room rates at luxury hotels in Chennai have dropped by 10-15 percent compared to 2011 because two large luxury hotels, ITC Grand Chola with 625 rooms and The Leela with 326 rooms, have come


hotelscapes January 2013

trends 2013 into the market. In Bengaluru, room rates have slipped by 5-10 percent while Hyderabad has performed the worst with a 20 percent drop in rates over 2011. India is considered one of the most lucrative hotel markets in the world after China and has the second largest construction pipeline in Asia. Growing affluence and the increasing role India is expected to play in the global economy are likely to drive both leisure and business travel to India in the coming years. For most global hotel majors, a significant part of their hotel pipeline is centred on faster growing developing markets such as India. (See box: expansion plans by major hotels). Hotels need to adopt green technology like ITC Gardenia, Bengaluru has to manage rising energy costs

Expansion plans by major hotels After reeling under a downturn for almost two years, 2012 was a year that brought a ray of hope for the Indian hospitality industry following a 5.9 percent rise in FTAs during the January-November period. There were 58.99 lakh FTAs as compared to 55.72 lakh in the same period last year. During 2012 leading international hospitality chains announced major plans for India. The Carlson Group of Hotels plans to open more than 100 hotels across India by 2015. The InterContinental Hotels Group has set a target of opening 150 hotels across India by 2020. Starwood Hotels & Resorts is considering managing approximately 100 hotels by 2015 while the Wyndham Hotel Group plans to open 35 hotels in the country over the next five years. Among domestic players, Lalit Suri Hospitality Group announced an investment of about Rs 2,200 crore for expansion in luxury and mid-segment hotels in the next five years both in India and abroad. The Leela Group made public its intention to set up hotels at Jaipur, Agra and Ashtamudi and in Kerala as part of an ongoing expansion. Sarovar Hotels & Resorts which operates 60 properties in India and overseas, plans to open seven more in the country in 2013. The year 2011-12 witnessed an addition of 12,782 branded rooms in the country, which led to an existing supply of 84,313, an 18 percent increase over the previous year. The new supply was 31 percent higher than the new supply in 2010-11. Nationwide occupancy declined in 2011-12, not due to an absolute decline in demand but due to supply increasing faster than demand. It is possible that hotels, existing as well as new, will see a decline in operating margins in view of further revenue-peravailable-room (RevPAR) decline with new supply entering the market. Overall, nationwide RevPAR declined by 6.3 percent over the previous year. Continuing inflationary trends have led to increase in wages, energy costs, raw materials etc. (See box: FTAs to increase earnings). Effective economy measures are imperative for the growth potential and of assured high levels of return. Sustainable use of energy and controlled wage costs are two factors which can positively influence a control on costs.

Energy costs The introduction of environmental sustainability in hotels is no longer a fashion but a practical necessity as it can keep the ever-rising energy costs to a minimum. Energy bills at hotels have risen to 15-16 percent of operational costs as compared to an average 7-8 percent in previous years. Heating, lighting and power costs are the second highest behind employee

costs, which too have grown in the past few years. The increase in energy bills is due to the growing cost of power and diesel. The cost of electricity has more than doubled over the past three years while the price of diesel has gone up by over 30 percent in the past two-and-a-half years. It is, therefore, necessary to adopt green technology and environmentallyfriendly methods such as installation of chlorofluorocarbon-free air conditioners, rainwater harvesting, tapping solar and wind power to turn energy-efficient. Elimination of wasteful consumption, recycling of waste materials and sensitisation of employees are other steps which can be taken to effect economy. There was an overall drop of 3.3 percent in energy costs as a percentage of hotel revenue than in the previous year, according to a survey conducted in 201011 by FHRAI. Introduction of various green initiatives can contribute towards a more eco-friendly environment, improved marketability and better efficiency levels to help manage rising energy costs. Many of the low-cost measures for new developments can be initiated at the planning stage when the proposed project is in the hands of the architect and interior designer. A 10-20 percent reduction in energy consumption can be readily achieved through no-cost and low-cost measures, and can increase by two-four percent of the hotel’s GOP margin. Hotels could also source energy from private suppliers at rates lower than that January 2013 hotelscapes


trends 2013

Hotels must review their manpower to help reduce further costs

supplied by the government. Recently a hotel in Gurgaon utilised their services and is saving approximately ten lakh rupees per month. The architect should take into consideration the advantages of natural lighting to increase ambient lighting along with the installation of lighting fixtures with low energy consumption such as LED lights which consume less units of energy apart from the advantage of a having a longer life as compared to other lighting systems. At the planning stage, the food & beverage outlets should be positioned on the same floor as it enables the centralised kitchen to service all the outlets. Apart from reduction in manpower requirements, equipment costs can also be better controlled. For instance, convection ovens can perform repetitive functions better than steamers and grills and better planning would lead to greater efficiency at lower operational cost and a near-zero rate of equipment duplication. It should be the role of the facility planner to ask for the concept and the proposed cuisine and menu of the F&B outlets. This would help in procurement of the requisite kitchen equipment thereby avoiding repetition or non-utilisation. Convectional ovens and dish washers of 34

hotelscapes January 2013

light capacity should be preferred as part of energy-efficiency measures.

Wage costs Strategy development of a hotel was earlier based on extrapolation of the past and the present whereas in more recent times, emerging patterns of the future have become the core of business operations. Implementation of effective measures to control costs involves factors such as multi-skilling, multi-tasking, and new sets of models in training and development for the staff. In today’s competitive landscape the most successful differentiator a hotel can rely on is effective management of its human resources. Use of good quality software is essential for effective management. Despite the use of software in some hotels there has been no corresponding reduction in manpower. Earlier a 3-star hotel room-to-staff ratio was of 1:1.25 while that of a 5-star hotel was 1:1.75. It has now increased to 1:1.50 for 3-star hotels and 1:2 at 5-star properties. Today a 5-star hotel, just for receiving and checking in a guest, employs a durban to open car doors, others to open hotel doors, concierge, page boys, porters, receptionists, guest relations executives and

duty managers in addition to the front office manager, rooms division manager and also a public relations manager. In the 1990s, when there was no software available, the deployment was of durban, page boys, porters, receptionists, duty managers, in addition to a front office manager, and public relations manager. There were fewer people and they provided much better personalised service. It is time hotels review their manpower strength. Mid-market and budget hotels in India tend to offer more expansive facilities than those provided by luxury and first class hotels, especially related to the F&B offerings and therefore require a large number of personnel to manage operations as compared to hotels globally. Being a service industry, where talent redeems the brand promise, employee cost on an average would be 20 percent. In the last one year, that has gone up to 23-24 percent, denting a hotel’s profitability in many cases. A super-deluxe hotel company reported 17-29 percent increase in employee cost during the calendar year 2010. Other expenses such as raw materials, power and fuel, on the other hand, grew on an average by 12-15 percent respectively.

trends 2013

FTAs to increase earnings The increase in FTAs in the January-October 2012 period could reverse the slide in shares of hotel companies which have been battered by investors due to concerns of falling revenues. Companies whose revenues were hit by declining foreign traffic could register higher revenues in the coming quarters. Shares of companies like East India Hotels (EIH), Indian Hotels Company (IHC), Taj GVK Hotels & Resorts and Royal Orchid Hotels currently trade at 3038 percent discount to their average book values. The cheap valuations could be attractive from a long-term investor perspective. Added to this, luxury hotel companies have successfully reduced debt on their books – they are quoting at debt to equity of less than one. Going ahead, such low leverage would help these companies conserve their earnings. Among these companies IHC is placed better than most of its peers. One of the chief reasons for this is the strong presence in all segments – luxury, budget and mid-market, of the hotel industry unlike EIH and Hotel Leela Ventures which cater only to premium travellers, IHC has a presence in the budget and midmarket segments. This offers a strong revenue visibility even in the lean season. In the second half of the present fiscal close to 35 percent of its room inventory would come from the budget segment while the remaining 65 percent of its room inventory would come from the management contract – an arrangement in which the company lends its technical expertise and brand to the hotel owner with a predecided percentage in revenue and profits.

The hospitality business requires entrepreneurs to continuously come up with new services, new ways to present existing services, new ways of enhancing the experiences of their increasingly demanding clientele, and new processes to economise operations. Incentives for maximum output by a minimum-level workforce, as well as to avoid attrition problems, could include hi-quality training modules and employee incentive programmes. Hotels experimenting with outsourcing of their non-core businesses to third-party specialists points to the emergence of a new pattern of cost cutting which is likely to influence the hospitality business in the long run. Existing and new hotels, to sustain and improve their GOP as well as to remain cost-competitive, need to pay more attention towards various methods to cut costs as the addition of more rooms is likely to raise the competition in the face of declining occupancy and room rates. ■ The writer is Chairman, AB Smart Concepts

January 2013 hotelscapes



Technology makes Housekeeping more efficient and guest friendly

Earlier everything from mopping the floors to maintaining daily records was done manually. Now it’s all done with the use of technology that is more efficient and less time consuming for hotels, whilst it provides quick service to guests. Vishal Sapra writes how technology has altered the face of housekeeping, as a clean room, washroom and lobby are what a guest desires upon checking into a hotel.


n the old cartoon show The Jetsons, the future is a world filled with top-notch technology that provides immediate, convenient service – especially when it comes to cleaning and maintenance. These fictional housekeeping amenities might never see the light of day, but in our current world there are several devices that can significantly streamline the maintenance of a hotel, making the lives of


hotelscapes January 2013

trends has its limitations. We may forget or lose track of important information or even misplace our registers. When managed digitally, all details are secure. State of the art technology has made it a lot easier to maintain records, and locate and retrieve information at any time. For an international brand like Hyatt – the accessibility to modern technology is not difficult as the brand is dynamic and open to embracing new tools and techniques that lead to superior performance and sustainable development. Hyatt also ensures that there is adequate training and orientation provided to all our employees so as to optimise the use of the new age tools and techniques. This also helps team members in staying updated on latest trends and practices, and evolve faster than others in the industry. Technology has also facilitated quick guest feedback and internal performance appraisals. It ensures that one’s performance does not go unnoticed since all activities, suggestions and accomplishments are registered online. guests, owners and housekeepers easier.

The advantages over manual cleaning

Housekeeping goes hi-tech During earlier days everything, right from doing the floors to maintaining the daily records, was done manually. Now owing to the technological advancements, we use hi-tech machines and digital technology; these have completely revolutionised the way a hotel’s housekeeping department works today. Earlier, even in five star hotels, housekeepers were required to scrub floors, dust off rooms, maintain records in registers and keep track of the check-ins and guest profiles manually. It was time consuming. Today most cleaning work is done with vacuum cleaners, rotary floor machines like burnishers (marble polishers), micro-fibre mops and dusters, and lamellos etc. Most memorybased work has been replaced with digital cloud-technology that manages guest traffic details, tracks daily hotel activity and ensures higher staff interactivity. Right from when the day starts to when the day ends, we are engaged in one form of technology or the other. From emails to monthly strategy meetings with the management, from online guest review systems to staff interaction interface, it’s all online. Human memory

Vishal Sapra Director of Rooms, Hyatt Regency Chennai

Today most cleaning work is done with vacuum cleaners, rotary floor machines like burnishers (marble polishers), microfibre mops and dusters, and lamellos etc. Most memory-based work has been replaced with digital cloud-technology.

Some of the technology leveraged by the housekeeping department has been use of smart phones Blackberry Triton App/ database (Opera) with specific housekeeping applications, and text message modules ( Triton) to address guests requests and grievances rapidly. A housekeeper will go through a typical routine in a guestroom, and if he or she notices a problem, like a broken toilet or a malfunctioned thermostat, the housekeeper will pick up the room phone and follow through a protocol to identify that specific problem. The report immediately alerts the proper engineer via the engineer’s wireless phone. Numerous housekeeping functions such as room cleaning, lost and found, supplies and inventory, accessing mini bar using telephones and other mundane functions have been automated using smart housekeeping applications. Complaints from guests can be addressed faster through mobile text messages via Triton, rather than through staff stationed at a desk. The constant endeavour is to provide guests with personalised service in the least possible time. January 2013 hotelscapes



Auto posting of mini bar, posting of mini bar expenses through telephone, changing room statuses through telephone which linked to Opera Property Management system, super concentrate chemicals are all common things now that needed a lot of time and separate manpower some time back. These are only few examples of technolog y in housekeeping that has not only enhanced the efficiency of people but also has led to more flawless service delivery that ultimately leads to better guest satisfaction. In the current era, everybody is on the go 24x7 and expects instant problem resolution and service delivery. In the hotel industry per se, guest satisfaction and delighting our guests is our ultimate endeavour and with the new-age tools and methods available now, the task at hand

Human memory has its limitations. We may forget or lose track of important information or even misplace our registers. When managed digitally, all details are secure. 38

hotelscapes January 2013

becomes much more feasible and leaves enough scope to do more than expected towards guest satisfaction.

Technology driven equipments in use To name a few popular tools and equipment used in hotels there is the telescopic pole that eases work by extending itself in to high level areas for cleaning without much of physical work, less space and easy to use options. The same also reduces hazards and is a more hygienic method than manual cleaning. Use of a tool like telescopic pole has reduced a lot of work load, for instance, we need to carry a ladder and move it to the areas wherever high level cleaning is required if we do not have a telescopic pole. Some hotels use PDA’s or blackberry applications interfaced with PMS of the hotel to track cleaning schedules of each room and monthly statistics on average room cleaning time and average room scores can be used for focused individual tra ining a nd counselling. A spring cleaning or special jobs list is included. Another very popular housekeeping technology – Triton has reduced a lot of physical work, and errors. Also the flow of communication and service recovery is greatly enhanced as the message is

conveyed to multiple tiers simultaneously and if action is not taken within the stipulated time, the matter is escalated to the next senior personnel. This not only ensures better coordination and swift problem resolution but also enhances the efficiency of the team. Opera Property Management System gives online information about the status of rooms in real time that helps us clear the rooms faster. It also helps in allocating sections to room attendants at the beginning of shift and calculates room credits each attendant is completing. This helps in evaluating individual performance and also adequate deployment of manpower. Printing of reports, guest information likes and dislikes, roster and floor allocation, efficiency charts comparison etc. History of complaints or feedbacks recurring in a particular room can be done through Opera. We get reports of the arriving guests with their previous stay history, preferences, requests and comments. This helps us have all information prior to guest arrival and we ensure to attend to all his previous stay remarks. This helps in giving the guest what he wants, resulting in him being happy with us. It helps us understand and anticipate guest needs


without being asked and results in the guest being delighted. Another feature of technology is use of air purifiers for e.g. from Daikin which use HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter technology that basically removes dust particles and pollutants and improves the quality of air in guest rooms. Guest satisfaction surveys are a great online tool in understanding guest expectation in housekeeping. The advanced chemicals and machines have reduced a lot of physical work and improved the safety of cleaning personnel. The cleaning machines that are available nowadays have a lot of safety features such as the machine will stop the moment the machine is not used properly and prevents any accidents from happening. It also helps ensure consistent performance as data and information is documented and is accessible by relevant duty in charge. We often have typical requests from our guests and due to high occupancy and busy operations, human mind may not be able to remember the same mentally. Hence the systems come to rescue as the information is all documented based on any guest requests and feedback and helps us service them better without being asked.

Use of a tool like telescopic pole has reduced a lot of work load, for instance, we need to carry a ladder and move it to the areas wherever high level cleaning is required if we do not have a telescopic pole. In conclusion, I can only add that when a guest enters a hotel lobby and finds it clean, a housekeeper is responsible for that. When a guest enters a hotel room and finds the bed made, the bathroom clean and fresh linens available to use, a housekeeper is responsible for that. Behind every clean bathroom and every vacuumed floor in a hotel there is a housekeeper that has done their job. Without clean rooms hotels would not be able to rent out rooms and without housekeeper the rooms would not get cleaned. This position is an extremely important part of the hospitality industry and the support of technology has tremendously helped redefine housekeeping as a task as well as a career option. â– The writer is Director of Rooms, Hyatt Regency Chennai January 2013 hotelscapes


F&B trends

All that it takes to be a blue-blood chef... the inside story

Alto Vino, Pune Marriott Hotel and Convention Centre


hotelscapes January 2013

F&B trends We have heard hoteliers say umpteen number of times that the recession has not actually hurt their businesses. Many claim that while the volumes have not gone down, the classification of customers has changed from business visitors to families. Hotelscapes approached some chefs to understand how the kitchens, a symbol of prosperity, are faring in this slow called slowdown. A smile goes quite well with the business and that is what we got from all, but is the picture that rosy?

Pune Marriott Hotel and Convention Centre Subhash Sinha, Executive Chef I have been with this group for over eight years now. Prior to this, I was a part of the launch team of JW Marriott, Mumbai. I was also a part of the launch team of Courtyard by Marriott Pune Hinjewadi. Having spent so much time in this industry, I can say that it is an easy game if you are moving up the ladder and there is a natural progression. This holds true

Subhash Sinha Executive Chef, Pune Marriott Hotel and Convention Centre

To operate a restaurant, it is the housekeeping team that looks after the hygiene and presentation details, the kitchen team that prepares the menu and the food and beverage team that executes the show.

if you want to switch brands or change your job. However, if you are switching divisions or departments, then one needs to begin from base level and understand the nuances of that particular department in that particular organisation. Having said that I would like to highlight that recession has not hurt us as severely as it has hurt other industries. The number of customers has not gone down or there are no statistics to strongly support this point. In fact, in the last few years, we have seen the growth in the number of people keen on experimenting with food. Young India likes the whole conversation around food, whether verbal or digital. On the whole, it is a great time to be in this profession, where trends and innovation culinary is ruling the roost. If you are a blue-blood chef, an expert in your craft, then sky is the limit when it comes to packages being offered. But let me take the liberty of saying that being a chef is a passion not a profession. There is a lot of hard work that goes into it, we need to undertake multiple trainings that include cluster and regional trainings, also a great chance to interact and network with colleagues employed in different demographics of the same craft bound together by the driving passion. The culinary team is the unseen core of a functioning food and beverage operation. It is difficult to generate a number as the hospitality industry functions on one universal concept – teamwork. For example, to operate a restaurant, it is the housekeeping team that looks after the hygiene and presentation details, the kitchen team that prepares the menu and the food and beverage team that executes the show. To an extent, the front office and sales and marketing teams generate guest leads for that meal period. That January 2013 hotelscapes


F&B trends

Naresh Tuteja Executive Chef, Citrus Hotels, Bengaluru

Food sales from restaurant/ in-room dining/ banquets are major contributors to the hotel’s revenue. In periods of recession, room consumption and walk-in dining also gets affected and therefore, affects the food revenue. At present my kitchen generates a little less than a lakh on a daily basis. puts a holistic picture in perspective. Passion, originality and warmth drive our industry. The Marriott group has its own Spirit to Serve Its Guests identity, which is the consistent core of its service standards. To the youngsters who want to make a career out of this hospitality industry, the starting package for a beginner can be as low as Rs 5,000. A chef’s job is as glamorous or as dull as you want it to be. To be a successful chef, have the drive, have the passion, couple it with innovativeness and consistency.

Citrus Hotels, Bengaluru

Naresh Tuteja, Executive Chef I have been working with Citrus Hotels since the last three years. Before this, I have been associated with Taj Group of hotels and have worked for Taj Residency in Bengaluru, New Delhi and Aurangabad. 42

hotelscapes January 2013

Every country in the world has a hospitality industry, you get ample opportunities and there is no dearth of work. My personal experience says it does not take more than a fortnight to shift your job. Last time, when I was switching on from the Taj Group to Citrus Hotels it took me a week’s time. I am sure chefs are in very good demand and they will remain in demand for the coming few years at least. It is not very difficult to switch job provided you have the passion to work. Sky is the limit when it comes to pay packages. But it depends on the weightage given to food quality and diversity by the management. Good chefs do come at a price and will be paid high salary only if they are serious about serving good food. A chef is an asset to the company and the estimate should be at least five to seven percent of the total food sale. There have been very demanding situations as well. The basic requirement in my field is to be a patient listener and understand what the diner wants. Whenever I get a request, the only thing that comes to my mind is how do I delight the customer with his request using the available ingredients. One of the weirdest requests that I have received in my career till date is a customer asking for a Cambodian lobster in Aurangabad. Food sales from restaurant/inroom dining/ banquets are major contributors to the hotel’s revenue. In periods of recession, room consumption and walk-in dining also gets affected and therefore, affects the food revenue. At present my kitchen generates a little less than a lakh on a daily basis. I don’t think the financial crisis has hurt our business much, but yes spending power has definitely gone down. More and more people decide to go for buffet even if the option of a la carte is available. It is said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. The most important factors that will bring a customer back is the quality of food, the range of food being offered, willingness of the chef to adapt a dish

Citrus Hotels, Bengaluru

Best Western Plus Levana, Lucknow

F&B trends to the customer’s taste. Factors like speed of service, hygiene and ambience also makes a lot of difference. I would like to advice the younger generation to get into this field only if they have the passion for cooking. Also, they will have to be patient and not get disheartened if an experiment fails. Always be hopeful and try innovations with new dishes and flavours. That’s the only way they will be able to keep themselves updated and learn new skills. As far as money is concerned, as per the industry standard, the trainee chef should be willing to work at approximately Rs 15,000 a month but I would also like to say that if they develop one’s culinary skills there are many opportunities available.

Best Western Plus Levana, Lucknow

Sanjeeb Ghatak, Executive Chef I have been associated with this brand since September 2011, since its pre - opening. Prior to this I worked with brands like The Hans Plaza, New Delhi, Le Meridien New Delhi, Bristol Gurgaon, Oberoi Flight Services, Radisson Goa, Taj Exotica Goa and Mars Hospitality Mumbai. It is not easy to switch jobs frequently because chefs carry the brand along with them. To make a brand, it takes lot of knowledge, hard work, training, efforts, menu engineering, quality recruitments and proper procurement of raw materials as this industry is very demanding. Due to recession tourism has gone down by 40 percent which has affected the movements, and customers are trying to squeeze the financial aspect, resulting in revenue loss. I think there are lot of international and new brands entering into Indian market, the room inventories has gone up with competition on higher side. So many other industries linked with hotels get automatically affected. To run an organisation, you need professionals with the capacity to handle multiple responsibilities with positive attitude, transparent and

Sanjeeb Ghatak Executive Chef, Best Western Plus Levana, Lucknow

On an average we are generating approximately Rs 130,000 per day at present. Despite the current scenario, the number of customers has gone up by 30 percent. Make a customer feel comfortable with your genuine efforts and smile, they will for sure come back. high ambition. In that way, one can fetch a good package. A chef is a kitchen engineer and needs lots of technical knowledge in terms of menu designing, kitchen layout, airflows, drainages, garbage area, recruiting, hygiene standards set up, training, motivation and power point classroom training, 100 percent worth annually. On an average we are generating approximately Rs 130,000 per day at present. Despite the current scenario, the number of customers has gone up by 30 percent. Make a customer feel comfortable with your genuine efforts and smile, they will for sure come back. On a signing note, I would say that after graduation from hotel management institutes, the starting package of chefs is about Rs 10,000 per month. I would like to reach out to the young generation and say that efforts and hard work shape your career, make the best out of your passion. ■ as told to Lavanya Singhal

January 2013 hotelscapes


marketing Most big hotels are happy spreading the news through word-of-mouth or paid advertisements in print/broadcast. Even then, there are enough brands that seem to have struck the right chord by adopting the blogging society smartly to their advantage, bringing down the marketing expenditure. While they might not be comfortable revealing the extent of benefits that they have reaped from this trend, but they unanimously accept that bloggers cannot be ignored anymore!

Blogger Aman Kapoor from Indain Food Freak at the re-launch of Flluid, Mosaic Hotel, Noida


decade ago, bloggers were literally non-existent in the Indian scenario. They were a bunch of people who had access to the Internet and had a command over the language. But now we can safely conclude that blogging has emerged as a marketing tool. Marketing managers browse through online content and the opinion of the bloggers about their brand/products. What brought about this change? Social and online media is slowly taking over our lives as a very strong means of communication. Then why should the hospitality industry stay away from a medium that has the ability to make any piece of information go viral within matters of seconds?


l Bloggers are hired mainly for food re-

views by hotel restaurants l Property review by bloggers is yet to

become popular 44

hotelscapes January 2013

l Forms a substantial part of the market-

ing mix l Brands hope that bloggers slowly emerge as domain experts l Making bloggers post their entries at the right time is still a challenge

Tux Hospitality (handles Mosaic Hotels), Noida Shashank Gupta, Marketing Manager

We strive to create a successful mix of the right product, at the right place, at the right price using the right promotional activities. Firstly, we ensure that the quality of service we provide is exactly what our customers are seeking for. We are a business boutique hotel that provides 5 star facilities at a much lower price. Being a primarily corporate destination, the hotel is fully equipped with facilities and technology to cater to all the business needs of corporate travellers. We provide

Cost-effe emerging conferencing facilities with state of the art audio visual equipment in different seating arrangements. Banqueting facilities meet the varied social events for the neighbourhood. Mosaic also has in offer, excellent specialised food & beverage outlets, namely; Latitude – the impeccably Indian restaurant, Flluid – the lounge bar and M Lounge – the pastry shop. Keeping in mind that more than 60 percent of the guests staying at The Mosaic are foreigners, we have tied up with Preferred Hotel Group to enhance its branding and increase the sales and marketing reach globally. Apart from the downtown location in vicinity of the commercial and shopping district, with metro station at less than 100 meters, we also offer excellent connectivity to New Delhi and a 15 minutes seamless metro journey to Pragati Maidan, the event and exhibition hub of New Delhi. Excellent connectivity from the Indira Gandhi International Airport at 27 kilometres (30-


Shashank Gupta Marketing Manager, Tux Hospitality (handles Mosaic Hotels), Noida

ective blogging g as a marketing trend 45 minutes drive) and New Delhi railway station at 14 kilometres (25 minutes drive) adds to the convenience of the travellers. The nearest metro station, sector 18, Noida, is barely 100 meters from the hotel. Leisure and shopping centre is next door with a mix of known international and domestic brands, Indian handicrafts and branded goods at one side and a complete local street flea market on the other. The Great India Place, one of the biggest malls and amusement centre in NCR, is walking distance from the hotel. Beside the product place and price, we also believe the right kind of promotion is very important. We have done various promotional activities – be it discounts during festive seasons, organising food festivals or various other events, we have always ensured that our services and facilities are talked about. With the advent of technology, Internet and the search engines, people these days resort to the search engine for informa-

tion. People can have access to any kind of information they require just at the click of a mouse which is more convenient and less time consuming. Realising that, online marketing has picked up with a rage from the past couple of years. Opinions from influential bloggers are taken very seriously by the people therefore engaging them for marketing/publicity purposes will be a smart strategy to build a brand name and customer base. We have always welcomed bloggers with open arms. We have invited them during all our events like launches, food festivals etc. We have also invited them to review our hotel and the restaurants and incorporate an honest piece of opinion on their blog base with the experience they had so as to receive feedbacks as well as to promote the brand. Bloggers have been an active part of the launch of our restaurants or during promotional events, mainly during the food festivals.

We have invited bloggers during all our events like launches, food festivals etc. We have also invited them to review our hotel and the restaurants and incorporate an honest piece of opinion on their blog base with the experience they had so as to receive feedbacks as well as to promote the brand. Our country is still adapting to the technological advancements and there are certain groups of people who are not accustomed to technology and still hesitate to use gadgets. The older generation is not very Internet savvy and prefers to resort to reading newspapers and watching news channels over going online. Keeping this in mind, despite the convenience and time saving factors engaged with bloggers, yet we cannot choose them over traditional media so as to ensure that the message reaches people of all age groups. Yes, but we can say that online marketing is at par with press and electronic media and with the passage of time as people grow more Internet friendly, it will definitely be preferred over traditional media. We would not blame the global downturn for the adoption of this trend. It is in fact the result of convenience and advancement in the technology that has pulled more and more people to refer to January 2013 hotelscapes



The Serai Kabini

the Internet for every query or information. People can socialise, shop, work, book tickets, play games, watch movies, get information, research, and do almost everything online. People have access to Internet wherever they are. With Internet connectivity in their cell phones, they are almost carrying the biggest information generator in their pockets all the time. The number of people adapting to the Internet and getting technology friendly is growing which is the most important factor for the marketers engaging in online marketing and bloggers.

Vejay Anand President-Marketing Coffee Day Hotels and Resorts, Bengaluru

The bloggers who visited The Serai Kabini were very focused, enthusiastic and extremely interested in what we had to offer. Being wildlife enthusiasts they were constantly on the go and uploading photographs and comments of their experience in Kabini. 46

hotelscapes January 2013

Coffee Day Hotels and Resorts, Bengaluru

Vejay Anand, President-Marketing

Last year we took a group of travel and wildlife bloggers and photography enthusiasts from Bengaluru to The Serai Kabini for a two-day familiarisation trip. Our experience with bloggers has been very similar to travel writers who have visited our resorts. The bloggers who visited The Serai Kabini were extremely interested in what we had to offer. Being wildlife enthusiasts they were constantly on the go and uploading photographs and comments of their experience in Kabini. The medium of blogs is more real time,

engaging and faster in terms of outreach as compared to traditional media. Blogs are becoming increasingly popular and more and more people are looking at blogs as a medium to gain access to information. Blogs are a relatively new way of reaching out to a wide audience. Due to their growing popularity, outreach and influence, bloggers are becoming increasingly important to us. We have engaged with bloggers in the past and will continue to do so as they form a very important part of our marketing strategy. With the burst of social media and ability of people to access not only news but different forms of social media while on the go (on phones, tablets etc), it has become an integral part of brand strategies. Over the last few years, several brands have been successfully interacting and engaging with bloggers for various campaigns. However, the popularity of bloggers has nothing to do with the slowdown. It is not a very new phenomenon but a medium that is becoming increasingly popular due to the rising use of Internet in India. Today, nearly 50 percent of Internet users may have shifted their loyalties from TV and newspapers to their mobile phone while looking for news or other content. Thus the focus on social media and blogs has also been magnified.


Punjab Grill, Juhu, Mumbai

Massive Restaurants Pvt. Ltd. and Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra Zorawar Kalra, Founder

We believe that we cannot select one medium of marketing. One can never ignore the paid medium of billboards, magazines, newspapers, television or radio for that matter. There is an outreach that these mediums allow and any business can benefit from. That said social media is here to stay. Today, hotels and the hospitality business are drawn towards the blogging community. For one, they write out of a sense of passion and write honest opinions. Bloggers give you some good food to ponder over and introspect about your brand, your hotel and your service. The best thing is this is one medium where you do not have to shell out a lot of money. We have interacted with every main blogger who writes about food or hospitality. There have been many events and we have received good responses. I believe bloggers can be a part of all kinds of events and they can write about anything under the sun. Yes, there are times when bloggers cannot provide expert opinion, but exceptions are always there. We need

to look at the overall buzz that they create. We encourage the blogging community and believe that they will continue to demand some space in the marketing arena for a long time. We have not measured any return on investment from the bloggers, but you can feel the difference and you know that they have helped popularise your brand. So many hotels today are engaging bloggers for reviewing property and food – there has to be a reason behind this trend. While we cannot ignore the traditional media, the blogging community is just helping us go viral on the web world. Have you seen any restaurant in any hotel report losses? They are all posting an increase in the year on year profit figures. The recession period just coincided with the period when the blogging community was on the rise. And some amount of non-expensive publicity is simply a smarter way of using your available resources.

Shiro (JSM Group), Bengaluru

Sanam Sippy, GM-Marketing

All components of the marketing mix are important for us. With majority of our brands being international franchises,

Zorawar Kalra Founder & MD, Massive Restaurants Pvt. Ltd. and Founder, Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra

Have you seen any restaurant in any hotel report losses? They are all posting an increase in the year on year profit figures. The recession period just coincided with the period when the blogging community was on the rise. January 2013 hotelscapes



Shiro, Bengaluru

Sanam Sippy General Manager-Marketing, Shiro (JSM Group), Bengaluru

The community helps us reach out to a wider base that may or may not be our TG. With magazines and papers, these are read by a select set of customers. With blogger reviews available online, we reach out to a far wider base. We do value their feedback. 48

hotelscapes January 2013

there are strict standards here that we equally adhere to. Blogger engagement is gaining significance especially in the F&B industry as the Internet is the first place customers are logging onto for information. Customer these days do a thorough research before trying out a new restaurant or a cuisine. This is where blogger reviews play an important role in influencing people of all ages. Yes, we do engage with bloggers on a regular basis at all our outlets (Hard Rock Café, Shiro, California Pizza Kitchen, Mai Tai and Trader Vic’s). We invite food bloggers to review our new menu launches and food festivals. In fact, we received fantastic coverage from a bloggers round table we hosted at Trader Vic’s Bengaluru when it was newly launched. We generally invite bloggers to review our food festivals and new menu launches, as their timely feedback helps us improve food quality and our overall service offering to the customers. The community helps us reach out to a wider base that may or may not be our TG. With magazines and papers, these are read by a select set of customers. With blogger reviews available online, we reach out to a far wider base. We do value their feedback. While we do have an ROI measure,

this cannot be stripped out specifically to blogger reviews. We engage in many promotional activities and reviews, not limited to bloggers, but to mainstream journalists as well. However, we have observed an increase in the number of queries and bookings once a good review is up. It is important to maintain a fine balance between the online and offline communities since both play an important role in the F&B industry. At this point of time we are not in a position to share investment details. Social media is one of the most powerful marketing tools today, not because of the global downturn, but rather because of the ease of accessing information and engaging with others online. With youngsters opting for more research and spending more time online, we are also exploring newer ways of enticing our customers. Hence, engaging bloggers is a new trend not because of financial restraints, but because people use it as a medium for information and feedback. Customers these days like to try out new places, enjoy new cuisines and ambience, they also do a thorough research before trying out a new place and blogs do play a major role in this context. ■ as told to Lavanya Singhal

January 2013 hotelscapes


guest column

Food menus must be descriptive The well travelled guest looks for a descriptive food menu that explains the dishes in detail, carries allergy warning etc without being elaborate. KM Chengappa explains the must haves and have not’s for the perfect menu card.


here is a belief in the food service industry that there is a direct correlation between a guest experience and the menu. For the guests, a menu is much more than a list of available foods. It is a window to gastronomic insights that helps to create magical and delightful dining experiences. And, when the label is descriptive, a chain reaction of positive vibrations follow that set the moods just right. A well-designed menu compliments a restaurant’s overall theme, blends in with the interior decor, and communicates with guests. After all, we are designed, by necessity, to be very crafty with the food we could come by, metabolically speaking. So how does this work? Fundamentally, menus come in all shapes, sizes, layouts and creative designs. In an elegant restaurant, an elaborate menu tied with gold cord and printed on expensive paper can help set the tone for the guests dining experience. Every aspect of a menu conveys a message. Further, descriptive labelling allows consumers to concentrate more on the feelings and taste aspects of the products instead of focusing only on the functional or utilitarian properties. It has also been observed that descriptive menu item labels influence customers’ purchases post consumption evaluation, and repurchase intentions. A nicely designed menu often improves customers’ perceptions of the restaurant resulting in repeat patronage. Let us typify what guests usually look for. Mostly the guests these days are evolved. They are well travelled and very knowledgeable about the allergies and dietary nutritional benefits. The nutritional value that a food has to offer often finds an easy way to the palate and is preferred by all age groups. Menu planners should make sure the components of a well-balanced meal are available from the menu items that are on offer. After menu items have been selected, they must be represented in such a manner that attracts a customer’s attention. Detailed at50

hotelscapes January 2013

Menu planners should make sure the components of a well-balanced meal are available from the menu items that are on offer. For most operations, it is best to keep menu item names simple so as to not confuse the guests.

tention must be given while naming the items in the menu. Some operations choose simple descriptive names for their menu items while others opt for the more elaborate names. For most operations, it is best to keep menu item names simple so as to not confuse the guests. In our endeavour to wow the guests, we end up using highly fancy names and flowery language with too many superlatives. These things can turn the guests off. Claims should be believable and made in short, easy-to-read sentences. A few well-chosen words are better than a long-winded paragraph. Some of the parameters that one has to look into are: l Truth-in-menu laws, one of the reasons why descriptive copy should not be over exaggerated is that it leads to disappointment in guests. One also must be careful while including grading. If it is stated on the menu that a steak is USDA prime, then the steak served must be of that grade, or if the copy says sirloin tips, then an inferior cut of meat cannot be substituted. Some foods are graded by size and any size claims must be in line with the official standards. For example, if the menu says jumbo shrimp, then the item served must be jumbo shrimp and not extra-large or large. l Freshness claims, if the menu says an item is fresh then it cannot be canned, frozen, or fresh-frozen. l Geographical origin, you cannot make false claims about the geographical origin of a product, cheese from Wisconsin cannot be sold as imported Swiss cheese. l Preparation, the copy must be accurate in regard to menu item preparation. Of course, the chef can add his/her flavour to the food that satiates the extravagant taste of a food epicurean. All in all as Xavier Marcel Boulestin, the famous French chef quoted, one must remember that cookery is not chemistry. It is an art. It requires instinct and taste rather than exact measurements. ■ The writer is Executive Assistant Manager, Food & Beverage, The Leela Palace, Chennai

January 2013 hotelscapes



(L to R): VK Arora, Chef Suman Sharma, R Kumar, Chef Davinder Kumar, Anil Bhandari, Dr Chiranjeevi, Parvez Dewan, Girish Shankar, Lalit Panwar, Usha Sharma and Chef MS Gill at the release of the Souvenir of Chef Awards 2012

ICF hosts 9th Annual Chef Awards 2012 Anil Bhandari recaps 9th Annual Chef Awards 2012 held in New Delhi. He says the culinary institute is to turn into reality and incredible flavours of India will promote tourism.


l it te rat i f rom t he cu l i na r y fraternit y once a ga in ca me together for the 9th Annual Chef Awards 2012, hosted by Indian Culinary Forum (ICF), on the occasion of the silver jubilee celebrations of ICF. The chefs who showcased their culinary art skills at the challenge were bestowed with awards on 19th December 2012 at Hotel Ashok, New Delhi, on the occasion of International Chef’s Day. The awards ceremony was graced by who’s who of the hospitality fraternity and the Chief Guest, Dr K Chiranjeevi, Honourable Union Minister for Tourism. Anil Bhandari, Chairman of the Organising Committee, ICF welcomed Dr Chiranjeevi and other distinguished guests who included Secretary Tourism Parvez Dewan; Chairman ITDC Dr Lalit Pawar; Additional Secretary, Ministry of Tourism Girish Shankar; Chef Davinder Kumar of Le Meridien; Chef MS Gill of ITC Hotels; Chairman & Managing Director LT Foods Ltd. Vijay Arora and R Kumar of Continental Equipment. Bhandari said the Chef Awards was instituted by him and Kumar in 2004 with ICF and Indian Federation of Culinary Associations (IFCA) with the objectives to 52

hotelscapes January 2013


Chef Davinder Kuma

Dr Chiranjeevi at Anil Bhandari and

award excellence, honour chefs and to encourage more people to join the profession. The ICF and IFCA organises International Chefs’ Day, Chef Awards and Chef & Child Charity Dinner, an annual event to recognise and honour chefs and their contribution to the hospitality industry and society at large.

the launch of the

book ‘50 Master


The gala Chefs Child Dinner which is part of the proceedings is a contribution from leading hotels and restaurants and showcases dishes prepared by celebrity chefs, the proceeds of which are contributed to a charity organisation. ICF, as part of its corporate social responsibility, donated part of the proceeds of the Chef Awards every year to various charities. Bhandari said chefs had a role in contributing towards social responsibilities and they should consider

Awards it their duty to ensure that food is consumed and not wasted. He suggested that chefs take a pledge to initiate steps to conserve food. A ‘Save Food’ policy could include proper storage facilities, efficient inventor y ma nagement, avoida nce of over-cooking, and reduced portion size. The ‘Save Food’ policy would increase participation of chefs in the country’s economic and social progress and help promote the sustainable consumption of food. On the occasion, Dr Chiranjeevi said that the intrinsic worth of Indian cuisine was unique in its varieties. The taste of a dish as simple as daal differed after

every 60 kilometres. The Minister said cuisine and culinary trends formed part of the events during social and festive occasions, at religious functions and at cultural gatherings. He said many spices used in the preparation of Indian dishes have medicinal values. In an interview later he said he likes to cook Andhra specialities at home as it relaxes him and he had created a special dosa, the recipe of which he shared with a restaurateur friend who later told him that particular type of dosa was very popular among his clientele. The Ministry of Tourism has been working towards the establishment of a Culinary Institute shortly as a step to-

The winners of the 9th Annual Chef Awards 2012 with Dr Chiranjeevi, Parvez Dewan, Anil Bhandari, Chef MS Gill and Chef Davinder Kumar amongst others

14 categories of awards were given for excellence in cooking to: Kitchen Artist: Chef Mahesh Kumar Srivastav, Hotel Samrat Master Baker: Chef Anand Singh Rathore, Old World Hospitality Pvt. Ltd. Master Chef International Confectionery: Chef Chandan Rati, Country Inn & Suites Master Chef Indian Sweets: Chef Inder Singh, ITC Rajputana Master Chef Kebabs: Chef Mukesh Gautam, Country Inn & Suites Master Chef International Cuisine: Chef Kishan Singh Rawat, Country Inn & Suites Chef of the Year: Chef Vaibhav Bhargava, Olive Bar & Kitchen Food Critic: Dr Pushpesh Pant Lady Chef of the Year: Chef Ishika Konar, Pullman Hotel Master Chef South Indian Cuisine: Chef Shakti Raj, Hotel Radisson Blu Master Chef Oriental Cuisine: Chef Basant Rana, Hotel Park Silver Hat Chef: Chef Tarun Dacha, Sarovar Group Golden Hat Chef: Chef Arun Batra, Tajsats Air Catering Lifetime Achievement: Chef Sudhir Sibal The winners were selected by jury members VS Datta, ex-ITC and owner of Culinary Institute; KB Kachru, Senior Vice President of Carlson Rezidor India & Asia; Chef Arvind Saraswat of the Taj Group; Chef MS Gill; Chef Davinder Kumar; Chef Sudhir Sibal, Former Senior Vice President ITDC; Alok Shivpuri, Principal of Institute of Hotel Management Pusa, and R Kumar. After the awards ceremony Dr Chiranjeevi, who was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2006, felt that chefs, like artistes and film personalities, should also be considered for Padma Shri awards in recognition of their distinguished contribution to Indian cuisine and said he would raise the matter with the concerned authorities.

wards the promotion of Indian regional cuisine internationally. Dr Chiranjeevi said that the Culinary Institute would function at two levels. The national-level Institute will be located at the New Okhla Industrial Development Area (Noida) near Delhi and the regional centre will be at Pinjore in Haryana. Headquartered at Noida, the mother institute will have major facilities like Research & Documentation and a worldclass resource centre among others, besides a regular Culinary Institute with a full-time core faculty. The proposed institutes will draw Indian and international recognition through tie-ups with reputed universities and lecturers would be invited from world-renowned hospitality institutes. The Minister outlined strategies for development of tourism education in the 12th Plan. New Institutes of Hotel Management (IHMs) and Food Crafts Institutes (FCIs) would be opened to supplement the capacity of existing IHMs and FCIs besides strengthening and upgrading infrastructure. Besides, skill development would be provided through ‘Hunar Se Rozgar’ programmes. These steps were essential as the total number of jobs in the tourism sector in 2016 was estimated at about 78 million as compared to 53 million in 2010. Therefore creation of additional employment of 24.5 million is anticipated during the 2010-16 Plan period, according to estimates of the Planning Commission. Bhandari suggested that the Department of Tourism promotes Indian cuisine through distribution of cookery books. These books could include ‘50 Master Chefs’ compiled by Chef Davinder Kumar and released by Dr Chiranjeevi during the function, ‘Secrets of Indian Gastronomy’ composed by Chef MS Gill, the books by Chef Sanjeev Kapoor of ‘Khana Khazana’ and ‘Food Food’ channel fame, and a book by himself which was to be released shortly. Chef Davinder Kumar, President ICF, said the book ‘50 Master Chefs’ was launched to provide signature recipes of the master chefs of India. He was happy with his role in the presentation of the awards to chefs who proved their culinary skills thereby establishing a significant position in this industry. ■ The writer is Chairman, AB Smart Concepts January 2013 hotelscapes


events & happenings

(L to R) Divyangana Srivastava, Director of Human Resources; Thomas Guss, General Manager; Hema Hariramani, Director of Sales & Marketing and Gagandeep Singh, Director of Operations at JW Marriott Mumbai

JW Marriott Mumbai re-opens Enigma



Jacqueline Fern Sushmita Sen

Shilpa Shetty, 54


and Krishika Lu

Rohit Roy and

Raj Kundra

hotelscapes January 2013

nigma re-launches with an exclusive party hosted by Thomas Guss, General Manager, JW Marriott Mumbai with Krishika Lulla. The party saw a special performance by Ranjit Barot. Heightening the anticipation among its guests, JW Marriott Mumbai introduces a one-of-a-kind living room concept where the city can host every private function, personal milestone, celebration and achievement in a place that matches their personality. Enigma will continue to entice the nightlife with club nights and a unique combination of cultural elements such as music, un-plugged bands, international DJ’s, fashion, art, comedy, theatre and stand-up acts. Enigma will house the city’s first official world class bar of Diageo, featuring infusions and cocktails from bartenders. Speaking about the idea behind the transformation, Gagandeep Singh, Director of Operations, JW Marriott Mumbai said, “The Enigma idea is developed from transformation which reflects Mumbai city’s ever changing vista. The re-launch of Enigma as a private luxury space that can be transformed to offer different experiences such as breakfast meetings, casual lunch buffets, formal high tea, and into a lounge at night is another facet to the JW Marriott Mumbai offering.” With plush interiors, a swanky bar, eclectic décor and a contemporary setting, Enigma will totally transform the city’s idea of an evening out in town for niche audience. ■

All weather furniture I No Maintenance I Customization

Interblocco, manufacturers of luxury outdoor furniture, introduces its new range of live-in furniture. We are best known, for our innovative and efficient approach, in producing attractive woven furniture, that transforms outdoor areas into sophisticated, relaxing spaces and looks equally spectacular indoors. Sofa Sets I Stackables I Dining Sets I Bar Sets I Coffee Sets I Loungers I Gazebos I Accessories

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news snippets domestic/internationaL

Fairmont Jaipur offers region’s largest conference space

grandeur and style with the best in modern meeting technology and an experienced, attentive staff. The unique culture, traditions and heritage of the surroundings have inspired the design and decor of Fairmont Jaipur’s 255 luxuriously appointed guestrooms and suites and an array of distinctive restaurants and bars.

Corporate functions


growing market, the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) has become a multi-faceted industry, which has seen a move away from the confines of the sprawling metropolis. Amongst the Tier–II cities, Jaipur is emerging as the most preferred destination in India for MICE. Fairmont Jaipur offers a 5,500 sq meter (60,000 sq ft) of pillar-less conference centre, the largest in the area, ideal for accommodating guests for corporate dinners, social receptions, royal weddings and luncheons. Part of the golden triangle (Delhi-AgraJaipur), the city is in the reckoning for more than its cultural and historical value

and to accommodate the increasing meetings and events in the market, Fairmont Jaipur offers a multitude of experiences to leisure and business travellers alike. Its large convention space boasts five well-equipped meeting rooms and a sophisticated screening room. Each meeting room features best in-class audiovisual technology, including video conferencing, web casting and Internet connectivity. The pillar-less ballroom is also versatile enough to be divided into three separate rooms. From business meetings to weddings, Fairmont Jaipur is the ideal venue for a memorable event, blending classic

The comprehensive MICE packages aim at providing seamless and hassle-free event experiences. Starting with the half day package, meetings on the move from Rs 999, all packages can be tailor made and offer a host of benefits, from dedicated break out rooms, executive lunches and team building activities. Fairmont Jaipur also offers a host of excursions and unique services for guests. Ranging from hot air ballooning, mountaineering at the Aravalli hills, elephant rides, picnics and a stroll through the nearby village, guests can indulge in a number of outdoor activities. Enjoy Rajasthani entertainment like, folk dance, music shows and falconry with the only certified falconer in India present at the hotel. A guided tour to the city’s most popular attractions, the hotel has an exhaustive list of activities planned for both leisure and business travellers. ■

Starwood Preferred Guest and MasterCard reward guests with an extra day stay in ‘Your Day’ campaign


tarwood Hotels & Resorts Asia Pacific and MasterCard Worldwide announced ‘Your Day’ – an exciting joint promotional campaign that rewards its Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) members and MasterCard cardholders an extra day to make it their own. From December 1, 2012, to March 31, 2013, SPG members and MasterCard cardholders who book a consecutive three-night stay at over 100 Starwood Hotels & Resorts across Asia Pacific via will receive the third night free. From soaking up the charged atmosphere of the bustling Cotai Strip at the Sheraton Macao Hotel, Cotai 56

Central to sipping signature cocktails and listening to the crash of the waves by the beach at the unencumbered Sheraton Fiji Resort, ‘Your Day’ opens up a world of possibility across Star wood’s eight out of nine compelling and distinctive brands in Asia Pacific, including Sheraton, Westin, Le Méridien, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W Hotels, Aloft, and Four Points by Sheraton in the region’s most popular destinations. Other hotels that are part of the campaign include the newly opened Twelve at Hengshan, a luxury collection hotel Shanghai; W Retreat & Spa Bali – Seminyak; Le Méridien Koh Samui Resort & Spa; The

hotelscapes January 2013

Sheraton Macao Hotel, Cotai Central

St. Regis Sanya Yalong Bay Resort; Four Points by Sheraton, Darling Harbour, Sydney; Aloft Bangkok – Sukhumvit 11; and The Westin Gurgaon, among over 110 other properties. To enjoy ‘Your Day’, guests must book their stays for at

least three consecutive nights at participating hotels and resorts in Asia Pacific, and pay for their stay using a MasterCard card. MasterCard cardholders who are not SPG members can sign up for the SPG membership online for free. ■

news snippets internationaL

W Hotels Worldwide debuts W Bangkok S tarwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide announced the highly anticipated opening of W Bangkok, located in the Thai Capital’s vibrant commercial district. Owned by an affiliate of Golden Land Plc. Ltd., Thailand’s leading property development firm, and Istithmar World, an investment arm of Dubai World, W Bangkok is set in prestigious Embassy Row at the intersection of Sathorn and Narathiwas Roads with easy access to the city’s elevated rail system (skytrain). A hidden gem amongst the city’s modern skyscrapers, ancient temples and neon lights, W Bangkok’s unique and distinctive design melds the city’s deep-rooted Thai heritage with its modern Western influences. “W Bangkok, with its iconic design, buzzing bars and restaurants and Whatever/Whenever service, will bring a new style of modern luxury to this vibrant capital city,” said Paul James, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels, St. Regis, and The Luxury Collection.   W Bangkok combines a 31-floor contemporary glass tower with a century-old, European-inspired building that formerly

housed the Russian Embassy and will reopen in the spring of 2013. The hotel houses 407 guestrooms and suites in the two distinct buildings, including ten suites, four duplex suites, a wow suite and the W brand’s signature extreme wow suite. Guestrooms have been designed in gold, blue or magenta jewel tones by floor, with a high contrast of ambient and direct lighting, coloured glass panels and accessories to create mystique and illumination. Each guestroom has been fitted with custom designed chrome furniture, padded platform beds, and state-of-the-art in-room technology, including high-speed wired and wireless Internet access; flat-screen 40-inch LED televisions and jack pack stations with a sound bar system and docking station for audio and video players. W Bangkok offers more than 1,000 square meters of meeting and event

Premier Inn celebrates 50,000 hotel rooms milestone


remier Inn, UK’s largest budget hotel chain, and a part of Whitbread Plc, announced that it has reached the 50,000 rooms landmark with the opening of the 640th property at Gatwick Airport,

London, UK. This milestone represents the company’s healthy growth and expansion. Encouraged by the robust development of the chain, the company also has ag-

space, featuring seven meeting rooms and a stunning outdoor space outfitted with adaptable conference furniture and state-of-the-art audio/visual equipment. The hotel also features a fitness center, AWAY Spa, WIRED Business Center and W Hotels the Store. This hotel marks the 44th W Hotel globally and the eighth W Hotel in the Asia Pacific region. ■ gressive expansion plans for international markets like South Asia, South East Asia and the Arabian Gulf regions. In India, Premier Inn currently has two operational properties in New Delhi and Bengaluru with three more openings in Pune, Chennai and Goa scheduled for 2013. Besides a 6th property is currently planned to open in Chennai OMR in 2014. With the opening of the 50,000th room at the newly launched Premier Inn, Gatwick Airport, the company has added another feather to its cap. The said property (630 keys – the largest Premier Inn to date) is just a few miles away from Gatwick Airport, making it perfect for both leisure and business guests. All the rooms feature an ensuite bathroom, comfortable double bed with duvet, remote control TV, tea and coffee making facilities and a spacious desk area. Hotels in the pipeline include Pune, Kharadi – 109 keys (opening July 2013), Chennai, Porur – 64 keys (opening July 2013), Goa, Anjuna – 131 keys (opening March 2014) and Chennai, OMR – 108 keys (opening September 2014). ■ January 2013 hotelscapes


Products... Pergo launches Living Expression Collection of laminate floors


ergo has launched its latest international range – Living Expression. Pergo Living Expression has been built to meet the requirements of high traffic domestic areas. The collection has been graded class 23/32 which reconfirms the durability and quality of the laminate flooring. The flooring is cut out for heavy duty performance and enhances the aura of every setting, even the most demanding domestic areas. Pergo offers a 25 years residential triple guarantee towards surface wear off, colour fading and there will be no stains on floor, if this flooring is placed in a residential area. As part of technological advancement Pergo has introduced Perfect Fold Locking System which makes installation easy and speedy.  

The Living Expression Collection is made out of Pergo’s patent technology Titan X that makes the flooring more durable and wear resistant. Pergo has also used technologies like compact SoundBloc, Perfect Fold and a few more that make this collection the right choice for moderate public areas and high domestic

Go al fresco with Zolijns Z

wear areas. The planks are available in four international variants of plank sizes which are approximately 1200 mm x 200 mm, 1200 mm x 140 mm, 600 x 300 and 2000 x 250. The collection is priced at Rs 210 per sq ft. For more information visit

olijns, the furniture boutique offering contemporary European furniture, showcases an exquisite collection of outdoor furniture from their European partners that adds panache and style to your al fresco settings. The recent collection features products from Zolijns partners like Arflex and Frigerio Carlo that shall transform the look of your patio or garden, creating a stylish and comfortable place to unwind after a tiring day. Bringing out the work of globally renowned Italian designers, every piece is sourced from Italy and is a lasting tribute to minimalism – sleek, straight and classy; each a work of art. Emphasis is laid not only on the functional value of these masterpieces but also on their aesthetic quality. The furniture products are created using a wide range of natural and synthetic materials such as rattan core, loonty raw and polished manau canes, and polyethylene fiber to create all-weather furniture ranges. Price is on request. For more information visit


hotelscapes January 2013

Products... OSIM unveils uDivine 3D massage chair O

SIM, the leader in healthy lifestyle products, has unveiled the 3D massage chair – uDivine. Dedicated to your wellbeing, uDivine has the most innovative massage technology that provides an intelligent and precise massage based on the human body contours. The 3D massage chair combines with a strategically-positioned system of airbags, kneading discs and automatic

body detection. Combining advanced features and technology, together with 11 professionally crafted massage programmes by Japanese expert, Sato Tsuyoshi, the OSIM uDivine redefines performance and quality in full-body massage. A digital timer display with 15 minutes auto timer makes it user-friendly, making the operation of the advanced OSIM uDivine easy for just about anyone. Priced at Rs 3.65 Lakhs the product is available across India in exclusive outlets of OSIM. For more information visit

Spice up your garden with planters by Serenity Blissful Living S

erenity Blissful Living introduces a funky, vibrant and trendy collection of garden planters that are break free. The ceramic pots come in a huge variety of patterns, colours, sizes and styles. Plant holders are made from wrought iron. The store houses watering cans, flower pots and plant holders in varied prints and exciting hues. Apart from the indoor planting accessories, Serenity is also home to an eclectic collection of furniture and accessories which comprises wine racks, book shelves, bowls, trays, coasters, cushion covers, vintage cabinets and much more. For more information visit January 2013 hotelscapes


People Hong Kong Tourism Board

Kenneth Wong has been appointed as General Manager of MICE and Cruise with effect from 1st December 2012. Prior to his appointment, Wong was Head of Product Marketing at the HKTB. In his new role, he will oversee the formulation and implementation of business strategies of the Meetings & Exhibitions Hong Kong (MEHK) office, and develop strategic plans to grow the cruise business in Hong Kong.

DoubleTree by Hilton Gurgaon

Monisha Dewan has been ap pointed as General Manager. Dewan brings with her over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry. She joined Hilton Worldwide in January 2008 and was responsible for the successful launch of Asia Pacific’s first Hilton Garden Inn brand hotel in Saket, New Delhi.

The Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa, Gulmarg

Alex Koshy has been appointed a s Genera l Ma na ger. He ha s over 15 years of experience in hospitality in the UK, Ireland and India, and brings with him knowledge in Hotel Operations, Finance Management, Revenue Management, Human Resources and Sales and Marketing. Ko shy graduated in 1997 from IHM, Chennai, and later earned a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Studies from the Dublin Business School, Ireland. During his tenure, he also opened a 155 room luxury hotel in Dublin, which was part of the Carlson Hotel Division. Later, he was appointed Deputy General Manager at the five star Fitzwilliam Hotel in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Prior to joining The Khyber, he opened the luxurious villa resort, Carnoustie Beach Resort & Ayurveda Spa in Mararikulam, Kerala.  60

hotelscapes January 2013

The Westin Chennai Velachery

Animesh Barat has been appointed as Director of Food & Beverage for the soon-to-open hotel. He comes with an experience of 13 years. Barat started his career as a management trainee in 1999 with Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Goa. In his long association with Marriott, Barat has worked with hotels like Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel, Hyderabad Marriott Hotel & Convention Centre and his last assignment was as Director of Food & Beverage at the Jaipur Marriott Hotel. Deepak Dodani has been appointed as Director of Sales & Marketing. He comes with an experience of 11 years. Dodani’s association with Starwood Hotels & Resorts started in June 2009 as the Director of Sales for The Westin Mumbai Garden City. His current role entails him to establish Sales & Marketing pre-opening team to cater to various industrial segments of Chennai and other markets. A Hotel Management post-graduate, Dodani started his avocation with hotels in 2001 as a sales executive with The Grand, New Delhi, and went on to work with brands like InterContinental, Hyatt Hotels, Leela Palace and Starwood Hotels & Resorts. Anoop Mullath has been appointed as Finance Manager. Mullath has 10 years of experience in Hotel Finance. He started his metier with hotels in 2002 with Le Meridien, Cochin (Starwood Hotels & Resorts). In 2008, he undertook international assignment by joining Emirates Group, UAE where he was in charge of New Builds and Transition of new line of Hotels being opened by Premier Inn Hotels LLC. He joined the Starwood Hotels again in 2010 when Starwood was opening the flagship 313-room property of The Westin Gurgaon. Mullath joined the pre-opening team as Assistant Financial Controller. He has now been given charge of Finance Department of another new opening by Starwood Hotels and Resorts, The Westin Chennai, Vellachery.

People Concept Hospitality Pvt. Ltd.

Sarosh Khatib has been appointed as Senior Vice President-Sales & Marketing. Prior to this assignment, he was the General Ma nager, Corporate Sa les at The Leela Palaces, Hotels & Resorts. CHPL has one of the fastest growing portfolios of hotels and resorts with The Fern Brand of 3-5 star properties, and as a key member of the team his aim is to implement the latest distribution technology and to realise the full revenue potential of the group through a dynamic sales approach. His career spans over 22 years at senior positions with leading hospitality brands. He has been the Director of Sales, Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai and also launched the Grand Hyatt, Mumbai as Director of Marketing.

The Westin Mumbai Garden City

Stephanie D’Silva has been appointed as Director of Sales and Marketing. D’Silva completed her Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management from Xavier Institute of Management. She has over 12 years of experience in the hospitality industry. She has worked with Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces in the past.

Courtyard by Marriott, Bhopal

Alan D’Mello has been appointed as Brand Director. Prior to this assignment, he was the Associate Director, Marketing & Communication at Delta Corp, with a focus on the group’s hospitality and gaming verticals. He has a hospitality operations background combined with journalism and global marketing and sales experience. A committed practitioner of environment sustainability, he is a key member of the team working towards strengthening The Fern’s unique brand promise and leading the group into the next generation of hospitality marketing.

Elton Hurtis has been appointed as General Manager. Hurtis brings with him over 15 years of experience. He possesses notable expertise in revenue, costing, management control and hotel operations. Prior to this, Hurtis was the Director of Operations at Courtyard by Marriott, Mumbai International Airport. His foray into the hospitality industry began with the Oberoi Centre for Learning and Development in 1997. From there on, he moved to the Oberoi Hotels Mumbai where he spent five years. In 2002, he became a part of the Marriott family when he joined the JW Marriott, Mumbai as Chef de Cuisine. He then moved on to being their Executive Sous Chef and eventually, Food & Beverage Manager. In 2008, he took on his next role as the Director of Food & Beverage at Goa Marriott Resort and Spa. Hurtis holds a Bachelors degree in Hotel Management. He is certified by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health London.

Mrunalini Wills has been appointed as General Manager-Sales & Marketing. She is charged with driving group sales from Mumbai. She was the Associate Director, Sales for the Royal Orchid Hotels, based at the Mumbai office in her earlier assignment. Her career in hospitality spans 12 years starting with Sarovar Hotels & Resorts. A highlight of her tenure at Royal Orchid was winning the Hotel Excellence Award (2011-12) as the salesperson of the year from HDFC Bank.

Praveen Sharma has been ap pointed as Director of Sales. In this role, he will be responsible for establishing the first Marriott branded hotel in the central state of India, Madhya Pradesh. Prior to this, Sharma worked with Marriott International’s Global Sales Organisation based in Delhi. In his cumulative experience of 13 years in travel and hospitality, he has handled multiple segments – Corporate, Travel Management Companies and Associations. Sharma has a PhD in Tourism. January 2013 hotelscapes


People Amol More has been appointed as Director of Food & Beverage. More gives Courtyard by Marriott, Bhopal his 14 years of passion for cuisine and spirit to serve in the hospitality sector. Prior to this More was the Director of Events at JW Marriott Mumbai. He started his career in 1998, with Accor Hotels as a Kitchen Executive Trainee. He worked his way up and graduated as a Junior Sous Chef. In 2001, he joined Orchid Hotels. Towards the end of 2003, he joined the pre-opening team of Velvet Lounge at Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel. He then moved on to banquets as the Sous Chef. In 2004, More opened his own restaurant Zest, an Oriental Food Culture outlet, for a year. Following this, in 2005, he moved to JW Marriott, Mumbai to open their South-East Asian restaurant Spices. He became the Banquet Chef for two years, moving forward as the Executive Sous Chef of the hotel. He moved back to the operations side as the Director of Events. Mangilal Kurly has been appointed as Executive Chef. In his most recent assignment, he was at the Marriott Beijing where he was part of the pre-opening team to open the first Indian restaurant outside India for the Marriott. Chef Kurly comes with 19 years of experience. He started his career with Kempinski Hotels in Mumbai in 1994. After eight years with the company, he joined the Marriott family through the doors of JW Marriott, Mumbai. His expertise lies mainly in Indian Cuisine. Chef Kurly is extremely popular among the Bollywood circles of Mumbai.

Courtyard by Marriott Gurgaon

Kanika Hasrat has been appointed as General Manager. She will head the responsibility of leading the team to drive growth. Hasrat has worked in diverse areas of operation within the industry including Housekeeping, Rooms and Front office. She loves the diversity of dealing with customers, being a support person for the front office, meeting individually with department heads, to monitor 62

hotelscapes January 2013

concerns. She has held different positions with Marriott Hotels like JW Marriott Mumbai, Marriott Amsterdam. Most recently she served as GM, Trident Jaipur. She has been associated with the industry for more than one and half decades. Ashis Rout has been appointed as Executive Chef. He has a rich experience of more than a decade. Chef Rout loves to rehash regional cuisines and styling manifests by creating ‘out of the box’ dishes. Prior to joining Courtyard by Ma r riott Gurgaon, Chef Rout served as the Executive Chef at Ananda in the Himalayas and has worked as Sr. Sous Chef for Ista Bengaluru. He has completed his graduation from IHM.

The Lalit Ashok Bengaluru

Subodh Goyal has been promoted as Executive Chef. In a career spanning 14 years, Chef Goyal brings in a rich culinary experience in Indian cuisine. Before his new assignment, Goyal was associated as an Executive Sous Chef with The Lalit Ashok for over five years. An alumnus of Maurya Institute of Hotel Management, Bengaluru, Goyal has held several leadership positions with Holiday Inn Group and Taj Group of Hotels. In his new role, his key responsibilities will include the overall management of kitchen, planning menu and designing concepts for the hotel’s three restaurants.

Courtyard by Marriott, Mumbai International Airport

Amit Dash has been appointed as Executive Sous Chef. He has an impressive career spanning eight years. Chef Dash has honed his expertise at The Taj, ITC and with the Chennai Super Kings as a head chef prior to joining the Marriott. Having studied International Hospitality Management from Queen Margaret College in Edinburgh, Chef Dash also holds a diploma in Hotel and Catering Management from IIHM, Kolkata. 

January 2013 hotelscapes


Tech news


IDS NEXT launches Guest Dynamix – Loyalty & Feedback Management solution for hotels

DS NEXT, providing ERP and total technology solutions for the hospitality and leisure industries, has a nnounced the launch of Gue st D y namix – a Loyalty a nd Feedback Management solution developed for the special needs of hotels, resorts, restaurants, spas, clubs and others. Guest Dynamix is built on the Salesforce Platform, the world’s leading cloud platform for social and mobile business apps. Guest Dynamix offers browser-based access to users 24/7, streamlines and simplifies loyalty and feedback pro cesses, and helps guest relationship personnel in the hotel industry to improve customer acquisition. “25 years of domain expertise in the hospitality technology industry enables

us to create a solution like Guest Dynamix from the ground up. This application has been designed to empower our customers with a Loyalty and Feedback Management solution that helps them stay in constant touch with their guests, personalise the guest experience and serve them better,” says Binu Mathews, President and COO, IDS NEXT. “The future of enterprise apps is social, mobile and connected,” says Ron Huddleston, Senior Vice President, ISV & Channel, “Partners such as IDS NEXT are leveraging the power of the Salesforce Platform to give customers the tools they need to accelerate customer success in the social era.” IDS NEXT’s clients in India include Sarovar Hotels & Resorts, ITC Fortune

Group, Royal Orchid Hotels, Pride Hotels, Ramada Hotels and others.

Product key features Guest Dynamix is power-packed with features that allow hotels – be it standalone properties or independent chains to serve guests better. Being a cloud based solution; Guest Dynamix does not require a hospitality property to additionally invest in hardware or software, and works on a subscription model. The Loyalty Management module of Guest Dynamix allows users to easily create loyalty programmes, set loyalty point conversion and point redemption slabs, define point redemption methods, and more. The Feedback Management module provides a variety of email templates and guest satisfaction reports, and can be easily integrated with SMS and social media to allow for paperless feedback. The central guest information feature of Guest Dynamix is excellent for chain hotels to track guests across their properties. This module helps with the analysis of guest spend, point accumulation, and reward redemption. The application’s guest portal allows guests to create their own log in for anytime portal access to view accrued points and redeem them for free nights and suite upgrades.

About the Salesforce Platform and the AppExchange The Salesforce Platform is the comprehensive cloud platform for building social and mobile cloud apps. It powers Salesforce CRM, more than 2.3 million custom apps built by customers and more than 1,700 apps developed by partners in its eco system. Social apps for business built on the Salesforce Platform can be easily distributed and marketed through’s AppExchange. For more information visit ■ 64

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January 2013 hotelscapes


Date of Publication: 21/1/2013


hotelscapes January 2013

Reg. No. DL(C) 01/1353/12-14 Posting Dt. 22-27/1/2013 RNI No. DELENG/2012/47318

Hotel Scapes  

Hotel Scapes January Issue

Hotel Scapes  

Hotel Scapes January Issue