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CONTENTS/EDITORIAL Volume 1 Issue 8 SEPTEMBER 2012

EDITOR’S NOTE When an international hotel brand launches in India, it must localise in various elements such as design, F&B services, staff uniforms etc to appeal to the Indian sensibilities. We find out how international brands like Fairmont, Premier Inn, Golden Tulip etc are localising their hotels to suit India. Read our ‘forum of the month’ for complete story. In our ‘design’ section, we introduce our readers to 10 of the most dynamically designed fine dining restaurants of the world. Incorporate these ideas in your hotel restaurants. We present a case study on how to plan and develop a hotel today. This informative feature will help all hoteliers understand the logistics required to get a hotel operational. Turn to our ‘market analysis’ pages to read more. We bring you the FHRAI convention held in Goa in September, the IATO annual convention at Trident, Mumbai, along with our monthly dose of events. We have interviewed prominent people of the hospitality industry like Vella Rawasawmy, GM, Kempinski Ambience Hotel Delhi who is spearheading the hotel launch. Sandeep Gupta shares his plans to launch JW Marriott at Aerocity project at IGI airport in New Delhi. Rattan Keswani is floating Carnation Hotels as a management company for three Lemon Tree brands. We caught up with Tracy Poole, spa director at the launch of the first Six Senses Spa in Greater Noida. We update you on the recently launched ITC Grand Chola in Chennai, hotel Marigold in Hyderabad and Ibis hotel in Navi Mumbai. Besides, we continue to provide you other industry news and updates. Do write to us with your feedback.

New Developments 4 ITC Grand Chola launches in Chennai 6 Hyderabad gets the luxurious hotel Marigold 8 Ibis Navi Mumbai is set to tap the business travellers

One-on-one 10 Carnation Hotels are launched as the management company for three Lemon Tree brands 12 How tourism is impacting the business of hotels 14 The IATO annual convention held at Trident, Mumbai 16 JW Marriott to launch in Delhi by year-end 17 JW Marriott at Aerocity to position for the MICE market 18 India’s first Six Senses Spa opens in Greater Noida

Recent event 20 IHM Pusa celebrates its golden jubilee 22 The FHRAI annual convention held in Goa 24 Challenges before the international hotel fraternity

Forum of the month 26 How international hotel brands localise for India

READERS WRITE IN I was quite impressed with the article on how inbound tourism and leisure travel from overseas are impacting hotel occupancies in the country. It was startling to find out that international tourism is not contributing as much to the hospitality industry as domestic tourism is! Ajay Singh, New Delhi Hotel swimming pools made for an interesting read in the ‘trends’ section. Hotels are indeed experimenting with their pools. I absolutely loved your August cover of the majestic swimming pool of W Hong Kong hotel. Shikha Joseph, Pune

Report 30 Indian business travellers are among the top spenders on hotels

Brand analysis 32 The Royal Plaza is Delhi's new boutique business hotel 34 Kempinski Ambience to open in East Delhi

Design 40 10 most dynamic designs in fine dining world restaurants Editor: Navin S Berry Assistant Editor: Manisha Almadi Midha Business Development: Sudhir Sood Advertising: Saurabh Shukla Design: Ashok Saxena, Neelam Aswani Hotelscapes is published and printed monthly by Navin Berry on behalf of Cross Section Media Pvt. Ltd. and printed at Anupam Art Printers B-52, Naraina, Phase II, New Delhi and published from IIIrd Floor, Rajendra Bhawan, 210, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg, New Delhi - 110002. Tel: 91-11-43784444; Fax: 91-11-41001627, 41001628. E-mail: info@crosssectionmedia.com This issue of Hotelscapes contains 64 pages plus 4 pages cover

Market analysis 48 A case study on planning a hotel today

Guest Column 38 Hoteliers must catch up with the trend for organic food September 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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NEW DEVELOPMENTS

ITC Grand Chola unveiled ITC Grand Chola is open, after some wait, in Chennai. The hotel predictably raises the bar in the hospitality industry with its first time features while continuing with its lead role in creating new benchmarks in enviornmental tourism. Selvi J Jayalalithaa inaugurates the hotel as chairman ITC, YC Deveshwar looks on

ITC Chairman YC Deveshwar with CM, Tamil Nadu, Selvi J Jayalalithaa

The dignitaries addressing the press meet

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he ITC Grand Chola has been unveiled and it has already created a new benchmark in world hospital ity. It is the world’s largest Leed Platinum rated hotel, a true reflection of ITC Hotels’ credo of responsible luxury. An ethos derived from ITC’s commitment to pursue triple bottom line objectives of contributing to building economic, environmental and social capital. This architectural marvel is spread across 1.5 million sq ft and comes at an investment of Rs 1,200 crore. Addressing members from the media at the hotel launch, ITC Chairman YC Deveshwar said, “We have a target to invest around Rs 25,000 crore in the next five years, in total. Whichever segment executes projects faster could get more money and the hospitality

ITC lays new benchmark in world hospitality ●

World’s largest Leed Platinum rated hotel

30,000 sq ft pillar less ballroom ● 23,000 sq ft Kaya Kalp spa ● 10 F&B outlets ● 21,000 sq ft luxury retail space ●

segment is executing projects well.” In what is quite evidently historic, the 600 room ITC Grand Chola has many firsts to its name. It has already altered the MICE landscape in southern region through its 100,000 sq ft banqueting and convention space, with 30,000 sq ft of pillar less ballroom amongst the largest in India. Strongly reputed as the country’s finest f&b chain, the ITC Grand Chola has 10 outlets that include two new brands from ITC; Royal Vega, showcasing the

grand vegetarian cuisine from the royal kitchens of India and Ottimo-Italian kitchen. Another pioneering initiative at the hotel is its cutting edge technology that employs one-of-its-kind iPad controlled technology with features created exclusively by the ITC hotels team. The majestic hotel was inaugurated by Hon’ble CM, Tamil Nadu, Selvi J Jayalalithaa. The super premium integrated luxury hotel complex is sure to alter tourism in the region. One of the attractions at the ITC Grand Chola is the 23,000 sq ft Kaya Kalp spa and 21,000 sq ft of luxury retail space. Going by the response at ITC Grand Chola this may well be true. Inspired by the art and culture splendour of the Chola dynasty, the ITC Grand Chola is an iconic asset for Chennai. ■ special report from Chennai

September 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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NEW DEVELOPMENTS

Hotel Marigold by GreenPark

The new luxury destination in Hyderabad 6

HOTELSCAPES September 2012


NEW DEVELOPMENTS

GreenPark group adds another hotel to its portfolio with the launch of the luxury 5-star hotel Marigold.

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reenPark Hotels & Resorts Ltd., synonymous with customer centricity and quality offerings, announced the launch of Marigold – the first 5-star luxury hotel in their portfolio. Marigold, which has been made with an investment of Rs 100 crore marks the foray of the group into luxury segment. The soothing and contemporarily designed property offers an ambience and facilities suitable for business and leisure alike. Centrally located in Greenlands at Begumpet, Hyderabad, the hotel is at close proximity to all the important destinations of the city. The hospitality industry is expected to grow at a rate of 20 per cent over the next five years. National, international conferences, the biennial air show, growth in the IT, ITES and BPO industry is contributing to the demand in the MICE segment, while weddings, social gatherings and exhibitions among others contribute to the demand in the leisure segment. Speaking on the occasion of the launch, Mohan Krishna, vice president, operations, GreenPark Group of Hotels and Resorts said, “Marigold is uniquely positioned to cater to both the leisure and the MICE segments. There is a tremendous long term potential and need for quality offering in the hospitality sector and Marigold was conceived with the view to cater to that demand. The group's strength has always been its ability to understand and deliver to our guest needs. We would like to use the inherent strengths of

GreenPark to create an upscale experience at Marigold.” Built on three-and-a-half acres of land, the hotel which is located away from the main road, is insulated from the bustle of the traffic and is an ideal location for guests to conduct business meetings, conferences, as well as relish the delectable cuisine, offered by its tastefully done F&B outlets, which include authentic pan Asian cuisine in addition to the classic cuisines from around the world. Saffron Soul is a world cafe which serves authentic dishes from the kitchens of the world, ranging from Indian and Mexican to Continental. Mekong is the fine dining pan Asian restaurant, which is the highlight of the hotel and will be known for its authentic Asian cuisine. The restaurant gets its name from the Mekong River that flows through six countries, thus allowing guests to experience a variety of culinary delights. The guests can savour authentic dishes from China, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. The ambience stands by its name, with blue wall panels and ceiling resembling waves, giving it a true aqua river like feel. Mystique lounge is yet another addition to the signature F&B outlets of the property, leaving a special mark with its out-of-the-box interiors. Mystique, an ideal place to overcome weekday blues, specialises in serving single malt whiskey. The soon to be opened Marhaban is an open barbeque restaurant on the terrace level, offering Mediterranean bar-

MOHAN KRISHNA VICE PRESIDENT, OPERATIONS, GREENPARK GROUP OF HOTELS AND RESORTS

Marigold is uniquely positioned to cater to both the leisure and the MICE segments. We would like to use the inherent strengths of GreenPark to create an upscale experience at Marigold.

beque fare and a mix of cocktails and mocktails for guests to enjoy directly under the sky. The 181 rooms on offer are elegantly designed, integrating functionality and spaciousness with style. They are fitted with all modern facilities to ensure guest comfort, convenience and relaxation. The interiors and colours used enhance guest experience. The five categories of rooms are premium rooms, luxury rooms, studio rooms, royal suite and presidential suite. Marigold's dedicated events and meetings facilities driven by an experienced team enables hassle free, convenient and efficient access to guests to conduct their meetings or events – be it board meetings, formal or informal business meetings, corporate events, or weddings, get-togethers etc. Designed to accommodate large as well as small groups, Marigold has five banquet halls namely Peacock (750), Cyan (100), Azure (70), Amber (70) and Teal (30). Peacock is a large convention ballroom that can seat up to 750 in a theatre arrangement. It is ideal for large gatherings like weddings or conferences with a spacious parking for 300 to 350 cars. ■ September 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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NEW DEVELOPMENTS

Ibis hotel opens in Navi Mumbai The newly launched Ibis hotel is set to tap business travellers of the fastest growing corporate hub after Mumbai.

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HOTELSCAPES September 2012


NEW DEVELOPMENTS

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xpanding its footprint to attract an ever increasing corporate fraternity, Ibis – Accor Group's economy hotel brand announced the formal launch of the largest hotel in Turbhe, Navi Mumbai. With 196 rooms Ibis aims to attract business managers and executives travelling into Navi Mumbai. Accor is the world’s leading hotel operator which operates Sofitel, Novotel, Mercure and most recently the Pullman brand of hotels in India. In recent years Navi Mumbai has seen a spurt of corporates setting up factories, IT / knowledge park and office space due to affordable rentals, availability of large space and proximity to factories in order to reduce travel time. Forecasts from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) predict overall business travel spending in India will rise by 8.8 per cent a year between 2011 and 2021, growing from $26 billion to $72 billion. A large proportion of corporate travelers in India is mid-level executives. As business traveling on a tight budget keeps rising to make it cost efficient, executives are looking for all the trappings of a luxury hotel but at an affordable price. This has created a huge market potential for Ibis in Navi Mumbai. The hotel is set up at a capital investment of between Rs 100-150 crores, located on the Thane-Belapur Road at a major junction, just 10 minutes from business areas of Vashi, Mahape and Belapur. It aims to break even within next two years with 70 per cent occupancy during peak season i.e. MarchJune and September-December. Key features of an Ibis experience include anytime check-in by guests, a three shift buffet breakfast starting from 4am7am, 7am-10 am and 10am-12pm. A unique concept introduced for the first time is 15 minute satisfaction guarantee wherein if a guest faces a service issue and it is not addressed within the stipulated 15 minutes, the stay is complementary for the guest. On the occasion of the announcement, Maverik Mukerji, general manger, Ibis Navi Mumbai stated, “At Ibis, we believe in delivering an experience of a luxury hotel services at an affordable price. We have already started receiving queries and are confident of achieving our target in the stipulated time frame. Owing to the robust commercial activity in Navi Mumbai there is considerable demand as business travelers have become cost and quality conscious. Navi Mumbai is a city with a tremendous potential for growth due to availability of commercial and residential real estate MAVERIK MUKERJI at relatively lower prices as GENERAL MANGER, IBIS NAVI MUMBAI compared to neighbouring Mumbai. Despite the times Owing to the robust we find ourselves in, Navi commercial activity in Mumbai is poised for a meteoric rise in terms of hotel Navi Mumbai there is demand, the proposed SEZs considerable demand as and MIDC areas being the business travellers have chief drivers. Our unique offerbecome cost and quality ings and easy accessibility act conscious. as advantage in this highly competitive market.” ■ September 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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ONE-ON-ONE

Carnation Hotels launched for management of three Lemon Tree brands Rattan Keswani, co-promoter and managing director, Carnation Hotels is floating Carnation Hotels as a management company for Lemon Tree Hotels. He talks exclusively to Hotelscapes about his venture.

Lemon Tree Indore

What is the new venture you are doing with Lemon Tree?

RATTAN KESWANI CO-PROMOTER AND MANAGING DIRECTOR, CARNATION HOTELS

Lemon Tree and I have started a joint venture called Carnation Hotels which will be the management company for Lemon Tree’s three brands – Lemon Tree Premier, Lemon Tree and Red Fox. 10

HOTELSCAPES September 2012

Lemon Tree and I have started a joint venture called Carnation Hotels which will be the management company for Lemon Tree's three brands – Lemon Tree Premier, Lemon Tree and Red Fox. These shall be management contracts with owners who have built or wish to build hotels for the mid-market. In addition we are putting together the brand architecture for two more brands, one for upper upscale and luxury hotels and one for the mid-market in case some hotels do not fit the Lemon Tree brand specification and or they fit upper upscale standards. The luxury venture shall be a separate brand.

Carnation Hotels will utilise the entire value chain of Lemon Tree for sales and marketing, loyalty programme, website platforms, finance, human resource, facilities creation and refurbishment. We shall endeavour to provide owners with the same ROCE (return on capital employed) vision as applied for Lemon Tree owned hotels.

What is the scope of this exercise, and how will it be different from Lemon Tree Hotels? We hope to manage as many as 5,000 rooms by 2016. We shall also consider an acquisition route of existing companies and brands. ■ by NAVIN BERRY


September 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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ONE-ON-ONE

KB Kachru, executive vice president-South Asia, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group discusses how tourism is impacting the business of hotels. How much is tourism contributing to your hotel business? Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group has 59 hotels currently operational in India. Our portfolio of hotels spreads across metro cities, industrial towns, beach destinations and hill stations. Without a doubt tourism is a key contributor to our hotel business. Since our hotels are located in diverse geographies the contribution of tourism varies from hotel to hotel. In our key leisure hotels of traditional tourist interest like Agra, Jaipur, Varanasi, Khajuraho, Goa etc the contribution from tourism plays a dominant role in the hotels business and occupancies. In cities where we have business hotels the contribution from tourism has also seen a marginal growth as medical tourism has seen a growth over the last couple of years. An approximate 30 per cent of our total revenues can be tagged under tourism.

We have been often hearing that India's growing tourism needs more rooms, across the country. Would you agree? Yes, we would surely need more rooms in the hospitality industry in India in the coming years. Going by the double digit growth of the travel industry, India would require over 188,000 additional hotel rooms as per HVS and WTTC (The World Travel & Tourism Council)'s recent white paper. Concurrently the domestic travelers will also grow at 8 per cent annually to 1.74 billion by 2021 and the rooms required will be a staggering 351,540. Budget hotels will be the driving force as they are built faster and cheaper in multiple micromarkets as well in most Tier I, Tier II and Tier III cities. The existing stock of hotel inventory in India is 163,038 rooms which is less than 15 per cent of the average inventory of Asia Pacific and other global cities. A critical component to this growth path will also be the demand for skilled manpower which is expected to grow to 284,386 by 2021.

Is tourism, meaning leisure business, really adding to your revenues?

KB KACHRU EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT-SOUTH ASIA, CARLSON REZIDOR HOTEL GROUP

In our key leisure hotels of traditional tourist interest like Agra, Jaipur, Varanasi, Khajuraho, Goa etc the contribution from tourism plays a dominant role in the hotels business and occupancies. 12

HOTELSCAPES September 2012

The leisure segment has been adding to our revenues from the very inception of our company and we are expanding our presence in destinations of tourist interest to keep up with the pace and growth trends. The foreign tourist arrivals to India have been growing steadily by double digits barring a couple of years. The number of foreign tourist arrivals have risen from 5.78 million in 2010 to 6.29 million in 2011 and the January to June 2012 number has already touched 3.24 million. Domestic tourism has also grown from 748 million tourists in 2010 to 851 million in 2011. This is a phenomenal 13.50 per cent year on year increase. This has led to an increase in revenue for our hotels both from international and domestic leisure markets.

How much of your business is business travel related, both Indian and foreign? The portfolio of our hotels is spread across

the length and breadth of the subcontinent and over diverse locations. In certain industrial town we will probably be the only international hotel company to have a presence and we continue to usher this way of expansion. Another pertinent benefit is that our brands cater to different price ranges of the business traveler. In today's age of price sensitivity we have seen a migration of business clients being conservative and opting to use budget and mid scale hotels like ours. An approximate 40 per cent of our revenues get generated from the international and domestic business traveller.


ONE-ON-ONE

Demand to continue for hotels, challenges remain

Do you see any direct co-relation between India's tourism, meaning foreign inbound group travel, and your occupancies? Yes, there is a direct co-relation between foreign inbound group travel and our occupancies. We have hotels in leisure destinations like Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, Varanasi, Khajuraho, Mamallapuram which get directly impacted with a rise or fall in inbound group business. Looking at the previous and current year's economic scenario in the US, Europe, Japan and other countries we have unfortunately seen a drop in the number of

The number of foreign tourist arrivals have risen from 5.78 million in 2010 to 6.29 million in 2011 and the January to June 2012 number has already touched 3.24 million. Domestic tourism has also grown from 748 million tourists in 2010 to 851 million in 2011. This is a phenomenal 13.50 per cent year on year increase. foreign inbound groups which has adversely affected our overall occupancies. Some of these large groups would fall under the nomenclature of incentives which have not operated since the last cou-

ple of years due to the economic recession. Prior to the existing crisis India was a valued incentive destination. We can only hope that this business soon returns. â–  as told to NAVIN BERRY

September 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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ONE-ON-ONE

IATO meets in Trident Mumbai, sets the South as MICE venue Devendra Bharma, senior vice president, Trident hotel talks to Hotelscapes on the recently held IATO annual convention at Trident Mumbai.

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ast month, IATO hosted their annual convention in Mumbai, with Trident Nariman Point as the venue hotel. The inauguration was held at the adjacent NCPA, and the business sessions at Trident. Hotelscapes caught up with the hotel's senior vice president, Devendra Bharma, in candid dialogue, on the sidelines of the IATO meet.

How is the business developing in your town? And more particularly, in South Mumbai? Just to recap. The South remains decongested, clean and sea facing. If you recall, when Inauguration of the IATO Convention at NCPA

DEVENDRA BHARMA SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, TRIDENT HOTEL

Together with The Taj, with 850 rooms with us and 700 with them, we have a formidable inventory of rooms between us. Combine this with the NCPA and we have a great potential going. 14

HOTELSCAPES September 2012

industry needed to expand, and when corporates needed more space to open their offices, there was no room to expand. Historically, more commercial space became available in the North, and around Parel, and beyond, and corporates started shifting. The South started depleting from being a concentrated commercial hub. But what remained of the South was its original Mumbai centric tourist appeal, a must for every tourist coming to the city; the government with all its delegations and corporates who wished to connect with the state; and more recently, the awakening of the MICE sector to the virtues of South Mumbai as a hub centre.

What exactly is this MICE hub? The NCPA has been around for years? Indeed, but the momentum has been around ever since. It is that attention to MICE is of more recent vintage. Together with The Taj, with 850 rooms with us and 700 with them, we have a formidable inventory of rooms between us. Combine this with the NCPA and we have a great potential going. Going by recent successes, I would like to believe

that the South has truly emerged as a great MICE destination.

What elements are you including in this definition? We have the best dining options outside of hotels, in this area for Chinese, the best Indian, in terms of stand alone. Shopping within a small area is some of the best in the city. Sightseeing is not the same anywhere else in the city – the South has it all. If you want a spouse programme, if you want a culturally rich tour of the city, where else would you go? Extended excursions are the best, to Elephanta Caves and also to Alibag, take a motorboat and you are there in 25 minutes.

But then how much is coming at this time, this is the moot question? There has been this massive re-location of offices and corporates, and the South has now a distinctive, selective, but a great appeal. There is also the downturn in the economy, worldwide. I would say we have a flattish performance in this area. The South appears to have been impacted more


ONE-ON-ONE

IATO organised a morning run for charity on the Marine Drive

than the North, or even the central districts. In the larger South area, supply has also increased in the last few years, Four Seasons was first and now there is Sofitel. Let us also not forget, that in times like these, businesses are stretched and prefer to scale down spending. There is also the additional impact on the industry, with more flights corporates have dropped overnight stays as much as possible.

The two hotels have gone through a really rough patch not just the hotels, but also the country, after 26/11 incident. You have gone through a makeover. What has been the response?

The first business session which saw secretary tourism, RN Khwaja address the audience

We have a lot of support from one and all. People have loved the change. I can humbly accept that our staff continues to get huge bouquets, for setting new standards in courtesy and services.

We are here for the annual IATO convention in the city, and your hotels are the host venue. How come, they have Oberoi Hotels as their venue? Does this reflect any new dimension in your selling activity? Not really, how can you suggest this. Tour operators are our traditional selling arm. They are our travel partners.Always, have been. It was important to showcase for them the new look properties, to get them to sample the product. Only then, do they sell the product more effectively. They can have the confidence in selling a hotel, in marketing it to the world, better after they have experienced the hotel.

It is ceremonial time for president Subhash Goyal to escort the distinguished invitees

How do you see the response, after having hosted the convention? We consolidated many relationships, and also built many new ones. Many of these tour operators are also doing domestic packages. The dynamics of our business is changing, and rapidly. The Indian business is growing and the mix of every hotel in the country is going through a radical change. It is not very different for us.

Given the success of this holding hands with the industry, at the IATO convention, do we conclude that you would be open to hosting more such events? Indeed, we would. We will welcome them, and look forward to hosting many more such opportunities. â–  as told to NAVIN BERRY

September 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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ONE-ON-ONE Hyatt Regency Mumbai

Asian Hotels West at work with 3 international brands Sandeep Gupta, director of Asian Hotels (West) shares his plans to open JW Marriott at Aerocity project at IGI airport in New Delhi.

S SANDEEP GUPTA DIRECTOR OF ASIAN HOTELS (WEST)

We have kept a very tight check on spending. Our project is around Rs 750 crore for 430 keys. In every sense of the word, we are going to give luxury, but responsibly. 16

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andeep Gupta is busy working on getting his JW Marriott started with in the next couple of months, expecting the launch towards the end of this year. His is one of the earlier hotels slated to start, the other being Ibis, at the much awaited and heralded Aerocity project at IGI airport in New Delhi. Some dozen hotels have been planned, including Pride, Holiday Inn, Andaz and others. Gupta is the young energetic director of Asian Hotels (West), the company that is now working with three international brands – they are the master franchisee of Clarion, and have a flagship property in Bengaluru, apart from the Qutab in New Delhi; in Mumbai, they run the Hyatt Regency at Sahar; and will soon open JW Marriott in New Delhi.

How does it feel to be a part of a 12 hotels development project, at a time when the economy is not doing as well as it was, and hotels are reporting less than brisk business? The hotels are not opening at the same time. They will open in a phased time frame, so the inventory will be released gradually. I don’t see it as any problem. These hotels are also in different segments – some are 3-

star, some 4-star and some luxury.

How does it feel to bring about a luxury hotel, when spending is getting restricted, and ROI is getting critical? We have been very conscious of costs. We have kept a very tight check on spending. Our project is around Rs 750 crore for 430 keys. We have not splurged unmindfully, and yet we have not compromised. In every sense of the word, we are going to give luxury, but responsibly.

What has been the business trend in the last year or so? Ours are essentially city hotels and cater to business travel. Business has been somewhat slow, but still steady. We do expect things to improve, even though the rates are not likely to touch the dizzying heights again.

What next after you have opened this JW in New Delhi? For the time being, we will consolidate. Yet we remain open to some acquisitions and would be happy to explore more business opportunities. ■ as told to NAVIN BERRY


ONE-ON-ONE

JW Marriott at Aerocity to position for the MICE market JW Marriott New Delhi Aerocity is set to position itself as the new corporate destination, with its strategic location, and other facilities.

T BALAN PARAVANTAVIDA GM, JW MARRIOTT NEW DELHI AEROCITY

The hotel will have state of the art security and emergency measures in place. Safety and security of our guests and associates are our topmost priority.

he JW Marriott New Delhi Aerocity holds over 20,000 sq ft of meeting spaces that includes one of the larg est ballrooms in the market. JW Marriott will have 12,100 sq ft of pillar less ballroom, 7 meter high ceiling, 4,500 sq ft pre-function space and 37 chandeliers. This venue is designed to assist you in executing world-class events, whether they are conventions for 1500 delegates, seminars for 500 or meetings for just 50. “JW Marriott Hotel New Delhi Aerocity is strategically located in the middle of Gurgaon and Delhi and just a kilometer away from the domestic and international airports making it ideal for corporate travellers and convention attendees,” states Sandeep Gupta, executive director, Asian Hotels (West) who owns the hotel. The hotel’s food and beverage options come with a touch of fun to the whole dining experience, with innovative food concepts in preparation, presentation and service. The engaging ‘food theatre’ concept will be one of a kind, hosting multiple, international cuisines under one roof. The whole arrival experience will be enhanced with the great room concept which is an extension of the lobby, the stunningly sculpted great room with a majestic, glass

and crystal, hand-crafted sculpture, created with 37,000, crystal, glass tubes, that adorns the entire length of the ceiling. The rooms are spread over 42 sq metre with a four fixture bathroom. Adding to the grandeur quotient would be the The Marriott International signature Quan Spa. The property will also have a state of the art international, entertainment center that will include a bar, stylised food concepts and a nightclub. The hospitality and service at the JW Marriott New Delhi Aerocity will have a signature electronic guest welcome board at the airports/ portable passport scanner for in-room checkin/in-built state of the art technology in all ballrooms and meeting rooms. “The hotel is positioned as the most sought after MICE and special corporate destination in the city and leverage the Marriott hotels positioning to drive leads from across all segments and industries,” says Balan Paravantavida, GM. The JW Marriott, Marriott Hotels & Resorts and Courtyard by Marriott hotels are a part of the award-winning Marriott Rewards frequent guest travel programme in which more than 35 million members earn hotel points or airline miles at these hotels during each stay. ■ as told to NAVIN BERRY September 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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ONE-ON-ONE

The first Six Senses Spa comes to India TRACEY POOLE DIRECTOR OF SPAS AT SIX SENSES RESORTS & SPAS

We are targeting the global traveller, people who are looking for a wellness destination, and city dwellers who want to get away from the hectic life and avail high quality services. 18

HOTELSCAPES September 2012

The country’s first Six Senses Spa opened at Jaypee Greens Golf & Spa Resort, Greater Noida. At the inauguration ceremony, Hotelscapes caught up with Tracey Poole, director of spas at Six Senses Resorts & Spas for an interview. What does Six Senses Spa as a brand stand for, and what prompted you to open a spa in India? Six Senses is a resort and spa management and development company based in Thailand, which manages resorts under the brand names Six Senses, Evason Hua Hin and Six Senses Spas. I have an experience of over twenty years in the hospitality industry and I

have been associated with Six Senses Resorts & Spas for about five years now. I have worked in Asian countries like China, Sri Lanka, Maldives and India. I love India, its culture and tradition. India is a very important destination for us because we have opened our first Six Senses Spa here. It holds special importance for me because I worked on the concept right from conceptualisation to the final product.


ONE-ON-ONE

The Six Senses Spa has an Ayurvedic spa menu, and an Ayurvedic doctor who determines your constitution and suggests therapies accordingly. How is the market for spas doing in India? India is a growing economy but it has been slow to pick up on spas and the wellness business. As the economy grows and speeds up, so do the tensions associated with it and people look for options to lower their stress levels. This is where the spa comes into play as it is widely realised as promoting health.

What is the USP of Six Senses Spa? Our USP is our training globally; we spend a lot of time and efforts in training our therapists. Another high point is that we source products and ingredients which are indigenous to the region.

Tell us about the spa therapies. We have an Ayurvedic spa menu. We also have an Ayurvedic doctor who determines your constitution and suggests therapies accordingly.

Who is your clientele? We are targeting the global traveller, people who are looking for a wellness destination, and city dwellers who want to get away from the hectic life and avail high quality services. The spa is also an attraction for tourists coming to visit India Expo Centre and Mart, and Buddh International Circuit in the vicinity.

Who are your competitors? We have competition from Ananda in the Himalayas.

What are the key challenges in operating spas? Some of our challenges have been identifying and recruiting therapists. We wanted to recruit therapists from abroad but since we couldn't get their visas we have employed trained local therapists. Our next challenge was sourcing the spa products for India.

What are your expansion plans? We plan to open two spas over the next two years and three more by 2015. â–  by VASUJIT KALIA September 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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RECENT EVENT

Landmark institution, IHM Pusa, celebrates its golden jubilee

L-R: Girish Shankar, additional secretary, ministry of tourism, Government of India; RH Khwaja, secretary, ministry of tourism; Anil Bhandari, alumni 1969 and chairman AB Smart Concepts; SK Sahai, minister for tourism; Alok Shivapuri, principal IHMCN; and Dr Lalit Pawar, vice chairman ITDC.

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he Institute of Hotel Management, Catering & Nutrition, Pusa celebrated its golden jubilee, on September 14, 2012 in New Delhi. The hon’ble minister for tourism, Subodh Kant Sahai, addressing the gathering of academics, alumni and students at the occasion, complimented the faculty and the staff of the institute for having consistently set standards for the industry. Sahai presented rolls of honour to distinguished members of the alumni. These included Anil Bhandari, chairman AB Smart Concepts, KB Kachru of Carlson Hospitality, Arvind Saraswat and DK Beri of the Taj Group of Hotels, Subir Bhowmick of GVK Hotels, chef Sanjeev Kapoor, chef Virender Singh Datta, chef Manjit Singh Gill, chef Nita Nagaraj and Rajesh Bhardwaj, among others. Sahai said that tourism will continue to be 20

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a major source of employment and while the agriculture sector provides jobs to 45 people per 100,000, tourism provides employment to 78 people per 100,000. India had the potential market for tourism and has set a target to achieve 12 per cent growth in the tourism sector by 2016. If this was achieved, the sector would be able to create 25 million additional jobs, he said. The minister said India has tremendous facilities for the development of human resource in the tourism sector which can be utilised by developing countries. “Our target is to attain one per cent share of the world tourism arrivals by the end of 12th five-year plan,” said Sahai. The Institute had organised a number of workshops, seminars and conferences at national and international levels to commemorate the golden jubilee year. ■ STAFF REPORT


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1. KB Kachru, exec VP, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group & Farhat Jamal, country head, Shangri-La Hotels 2. Sudhir Sibal, former VP, ITDC Hotels, KB Kachru & Roopak Seth of Baithak restaurant 3. Cookery book compiled by chef Manjit Gill being released by KB Kachru. Present on the occasion are Krishna Arora, former teacher of cookery department of Pusa, DK Beri, Subir Bhowmik, chef Neeta Nagrath, chef Sanjeev Kapoor, Anil Bhandari and Mandeep Lamba 4. Members of the organising committee – Alok Shivpuri, chef Zackaria, RR Singh, Anil Grover, Roopak Seth, Sanjay Chaddha, Sudhir Sibbal and Tipesh Mahajan raise a toast to the occasion

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RECENT EVENT

Convention provides FHRAI with meaningful debate The hotel industry body, FHRAI, held its 47th Annual Convention at The Leela Kempinski in Goa.

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he 47th Annual FHRAI Convention held during September 6-8 in Goa was inaugurated by Subodh Kant Sahai, Union Minister of Tourism (MOT) Government of India by lighting the lamp. Thereafter, he brought his thoughts to the floor. “I have come to know that many associations have come to attend this convention and this is an honour for Goa,” said he. According to him, on the tourism front, the ministry never had any target. But the foreign offices have been in existence even before India’s Independence and yet, managing just over six million foreign tourists in a year. He asked how the travel trade fraternity could double the figures and make India a 365-day destination. He highlighted that the coastal regions of Goa, Kerala and Maharashtra can actually attract five million tourists. The theme of the convention was ‘Employ22

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ment Generation: Engine of Inclusive Growth’. Various sessions lined up for the three-day event pointed towards this area of concern. The convention has been able to achieve a strong foothold internationally by reaching out to key global hospitality associations. The international participation at the convention brought about synergy of thoughts which the various associations expect to address in spirit too. The fact that over 825 delegates had registered, including international participation, made this convention quite a historical event. On the opening day, the keynote address by Dr Ghassan Aidi, president, International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IH&RA) opened a plethora of ideas for consideration in order to take the Indian hospitality forward. He evoked a feeling that despite the economic and financial crisis, India managed its economy well. The discussions were further taken in form of four MoUs being signed by FHRAI with IH&RA, AHLA, HFTP and AAHOA. These MoUs brought into focus the synergy and togetherness that these associations will bring to table in order to proliferate hospitality to the next level of excellence. All exuded confidence in each other and brought about a thought provoking change through international cooperation that the convention set out to achieve. ■ September 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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Challenges before the international hotel fraternity UNWTO statement by FrĂŠdĂŠric Pierret, executive director, UNWTO at the recently held 47th annual convention of the FHRAI in Goa.

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t is indeed a pleasure and an honour for rivals in 2010 came to a total of 5.52 billion, me to be here in the so special and marequivalent to 80 per cent of the world popuvelous city of Goa, on the occasion of lation (and 84 per cent in 2012). At this rate, the FHRAI Convention and the IHRA the total number of tourist arrivals will equal board meeting. I am grateful to Kamlesh Barthe world population in 2018 or 2019; in othot, the President of FHRAI and to my dear er words, on average, the entire world friend Dr Ghassan Aidi, President of IHRA for population will be engaging in a tourism stay inviting the World Tourism Organisation to each year. this important conference. Of course, this is merely an average, beIn 2012, for the first time in the history of hind which are hidden deep inequalities: mankind, more than one billion tourists will while some go on holidays three, four, five have crossed a border in a single year. times or more each year, others never have There were 25 million of them in 1950, the possibility or the opportunity to leave 435 million in 1990 and 940 million in 2010. their village or suburb. The fact remains, In other words, the number of international however, that this movement is deep and has tourist arrivals has grown by a factor of 37 in multiple consequences. 60 years and has more than doubled in 20 There are obviously many factors behind years. this phenomenon, among which the overall One might say that it is the most normal rise in living standards, the reduction in transthing for international tourism to be growing port costs and increased leisure time in the because, after all, the world population is main tourist generating countries play a degrowing as well. cisive role. Nevertheless, these figures as impressive But what is more remarkable is that this Beyond the impressive scale of this activity is growing much faster than the as they are, represent but a small part of the movement, what is striking is the constanworld population: in 1950, international tour- tourism phenomenon. Indeed, they refer cy of its development. Indeed, if we look at ist arrivals were equivalent to 1 per cent of only to international tourism, that is to say, just international tourism and even though the world population: humanity was not tourism in which individuals cross a border, it is more sensitive to crises than domestic moving around or tourism we see that hardly so; people over the past thirty According to the best currently available estimates international were beginning to go years, the number places when this raof arrivals has detourism accounts for just 17 per cent of all tourist arrivals. This tio hit 6 per cent in clined just four means that if we add domestic tourism, the number of tourism 1980, reaching 13 times: in 1991 (-0.4 arrivals in 2010 came to a total of 5.52 billion, equivalent to 80 per per cent in 2010. per cent due to the cent of the world population (and 84 per cent in 2012). What's more, if we first gulf war), in take the median pro2001 (-0.6 per cent, jections of the in the wake of the United Nations regarding population and in contrast to the overwhelming majority of September 11 attacks), in 2003 (-1.3 per those of the UNWTO regarding tourism, inter- tourists who choose to spend overnights cent basically owing to the SARS epidemnational arrivals are set to reach the away from their homes while remaining with- ic) and in 2009 (-3.9 per cent due to the equivalent of 18 per cent of the world popu- in their national borders. According to the financial crisis). Above all, we can see in lation in 2020 and 22 per cent in 2030. A best currently available estimates internation- these four cases that growth came back by major development is thus materialising be- al tourism accounts for just 17 per cent of all the following year to more than offset the fore our eyes: humanity has begun to move tourist arrivals. This means that if we add losses during the crisis year, and returned domestic tourism, the number of tourism ar- to the long-term growth trend-line. and this movement is accelerating. 24

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RECENT EVENT Furthermore, in cases of economic crisis, mean one billion opportunities. Hundreds of Europe, China and South America) have rethe tourism sector suffers a much milder re- millions of jobs, higher income possibilities, cently proposed to establish minimum cession than any other economic sector. increased investment in infrastructure and standards of quality and this way can indeed For example, in 2009, while the value of in- countless paths for development. be explored. ternational trade in services shrank by 10 One billion is no doubt an exciting This is a question of organisation and per cent, the decline in international tour- achievement, especially in the context of a close cooperation at a global level beism receipts was limited to 5.6 per cent or challenging global economy. But as we keep tween representatives of the hotel industry almost fifty per cent less. underscoring, we cannot ignore that it also and of governments, namely this is a quesThus, if we imagine a company that oper- poses serious challenges. tion of willpower. ates in the tourism sector and that is The first challenge for the hotel industry In a context of an increasing developsufficiently globalised to operate in all five is no doubt how to accommodate the 360 ment of e-techniques, especially concerning continents (hotels, tour operating etc) it additional international tourists in 2020 of the tourism market, the fourth challenge would be reasonable to think that it would whom 140 belong to in Asia? That is mainly for the hotel industry is probably to establish be almost assured of higher business volume how to channelise investment to the accom- a clear and stable relationship with their each year, and if an exceptional decline in modation industry? This is a question of new sales companies, I mean mainly the e-bookactivity should come during one year, such economic models for the private companies, ing websites. Some representatives of the decline would be less than half of that in oth- of finance and monetary public policy and hotel industry have recently expressed proer economic sectors posals on this and the activity would matter and they recover the following can probably be UNWTO expects 415 million tourists to travel between May and year to a level higher developed. August. Tourism is today a trillion-dollar sector, and generating than that of the pre-criLast but not jobs, income and development for hundreds of millions of people. sis year. least, the last By 2030, UNWTO forecasts 1.8 billion international tourists to In 2011, a record challenge for the 982 million internahotel industry is to travel worldwide. tional tourists join its voice to travelled the world, those who advogenerating over US$ 1 trillion in internation- also of ability to take advantage of new op- cate for facilitating international tourism, al tourism receipts. portunities. and I think specially to the issue of visa deBetween January and April 2012, internaThe second challenge is closely related livery simplification. UNWTO, with several tional tourist arrivals worldwide grew over 5 to the first one: how to adapt the accommo- major global actors of the tourism industry, per cent, despite increasing economic uncer- dation industry to the deep diversification of is now leading a campaign aiming at fostertainties, to reach 285 million: 15 million more tourism destinations and of tourism accom- ing governments to tackle their visa policy than in the same period of 2011. modation types by adapting them both to in order to facilitate international trips. As UNWTO expects 415 million tourists to customers expectations and to sustainable the federal minister of tourism of India said, travel between May and August. development requirements. tourism is now a major issue dealt at the At this rate, we are well on track to reachOver the past years the world has wit- highest level. ing a record one billion international tourists nessed the spectacular rise of the emerging During its last meeting, held in Mexico in a single year by the end of 2012. economies and the shift of power to the East, last June, the G20 heads of states said, "We Tourism is today a trillion-dollar sector, tourism has followed the same trend. recognise the role of travel and tourism as a and generating jobs, income and developIn the late 1980s, emerging economies vehicle for job creation, economic growth ment for hundreds of millions of people. By had a 30 per cent share of international tour- and development, and, while recognising the 2030, UNWTO forecasts 1.8 billion interna- ist arrivals, by 2011 this share had increased sovereign right of states to control the entry tional tourists to travel worldwide. to 47 per cent; and by 2015, emerging econ- of foreign nationals, we will work towards Behind these impressive numbers, of omies will receive more international tourist developing travel facilitation initiatives in course, lies a roaring engine of economic arrivals than advanced economies, and by support of job creation, quality work, povergrowth, job creation and development. 2030 their share is expected to reach 58 per ty reduction and global growth.� Tourism is directly responsible for 5 per cent. To tackle this challenge is mainly a It’s probably now the moment for the hocent (9 per cent indirect) of global GDP, question of imagination and daring from the tel industry to express clearly its needs and accounts for 30 per cent of the world's private sector and of political will from the wishes on the matter. trade in services and employs one out of governments. I am impressed by the professionalism of every twelve people worldwide and The third challenge for an industry your federation and by the enthusiastic ataccording to the International Labour whose globalisation grows so rapidly is, as mosphere ruling this meeting, in a so Organisation (ILO) one job created in every global industry needs it, to build stan- marvelous and incredible country which, as tourism creates one and a half additional dards both to provide confidence to the I'm deeply convinced, will take a prominent jobs in the tourism-related economy. clients and to rationalise investments. Some place in the global tourism industry within It's a simple formula: one billion tourists associations of hoteliers (I think especially in the next year. ■ September 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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Fairmont Jaipur

Importance of localisation in the hospitality industry Hotelscapes talks to some of the leading international hotel brands to understand the need for localisation, how do hotels localise – in which all elements in India, and how does it help draw clientele. 26

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FORUM OF THE MONTH

Fairmont Jaipur Atul Lall, general manager In the hospitality industry localisation is paramount for global brands to effectively position themselves in any new market. In a market such as India, diverse as it is, this takes on a more complex role, as what may essentially work in Mumbai, may not necessarily have the same response in say Chennai or Kolkata. Therefore, understanding and implementing unique and genuine localised approaches, in terms of service and hospitality plays a very important role in attracting the right customers and retaining business, depending on where in India you are located and your target audience. The key to successful localisation does not just lie in just the architecture or design of a hotel, but more importantly in imbibing local cultures and traditions and successfully blending them with the essence of an international brand, thereby giving guests, the best of both the worlds. Our brand philosophy entails offering experiences that are 'authentically local', in Fairmont hotels and resorts around the world. We put great emphasis on ensuring that our guests experience an authentic reflection of each destination's energy, culture

and history ranging from (but not limited to) the solitude of snow-wrapped peaks or white sandy beaches, to up-tempo urban sounds of the world's most dynamic cities or even a majestic and royal destination like Jaipur. Apart from the obvious approach of architecture that is true to the ethos of a city, it is the food and personalised services that need most attention. We offer an array of multi-national cuisines but it is the authentic local flavour that draws mass attraction. Our chefs for example, embarked on an extensive tour of Rajasthan to the vast interiors and major cities scouring for authentic traditional cuisines and cooking methods, not so popularly seen in most major hotels in the city. Also, service has a long lasting impact on the guests that travels back to brand association. Fairmont Jaipur is built like a Mughal fort, drawing inspirations from Rajput and Mughal architecture. With 255 rooms, huge doorways and passageways, large landscaped lawns, eight water bodies, a king's bazaar; the palace has been built to recreate a royal experience from centuries ago. The hotel has used many elements to localise the property experience. The uniforms tailored in Mughal fashion; men dressed in jodh-

ATUL LALL GENERAL MANAGER, FAIRMONT JAIPUR

Apart from the obvious approach of architecture that is true to the ethos of a city, it is the food and personalised services that need most attention. We offer multi-national cuisines but it is the local flavour that draws mass attraction.

SHWETANK SINGH VICE PRESIDENT-OPERATIONS, SOUTH ASIA, PREMIER INN

There is some adaptation around the products based on cities such as the size of the banquet space, number of covers in the restaurant etc. Our room product is consistent for our owned properties and the furniture is not localised. September 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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FORUM OF THE MONTH

VINEET MOHIL DIRECTOR-SALES & MARKETING, SOUTH ASIA, LOUVRE HOTELS GROUP (GOLDEN TULIP, ROYAL TULIP, TULIP INN)

Purely for the sake of a response, hotels need to localise a bit more in the local or regional cuisine, dress styles and items, offerings of handicrafts, channel music options etc.

purs, achkans, angrakhas and women in anarkalis. The names of four restaurants are in Urdu: Zoya, Zarin, Aza and Anjum. The all day restaurant, Zoya, offers a specialised Rajasthani fare, retrieving long lost recipes from Rajasthan households. Since, the Mughals enjoyed magnificently large areas in their palaces; the hotel's convention area is built with the same premise offering 60,000 square feet of pillar-less space. Another interesting element is the way parrots are used in the palace. In the Mughal era when men went to war, parrots were traditionally considered as reliable and trustworthy friends to women from royal families. They were all that the women could confide in. In honour of this legend, Fairmont Jaipur has a parrot (inanimate) in every room, strategically placed to evoke the royal emotions of yore, complementing the charm and opulence of its surroundings. In addition, we have even gone into minute details of every aspect of the stay experience, to ensure guests receive a warm and historical welcome (from the grand gong to announce arrivals to authentic arts and crafts on display at the King’s bazaar), to cherish in the years to come. 28

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With the help of traditional local artisans, Fairmont Jaipur has been carefully adorned with thekri work, jharokhas, paintings and sculptures that reflect the Mughal era's aesthetic and distinctive style blending Persian, Ottoman and Islamic influences, a love of symmetry in design, and opulence. Local artists too have played a very key role in the intricate paintings you will find at many areas of the hotel. Fairmont Jaipur has a variety of cultural experiences organised for their guests. Evenings are busy with Rajasthani folk dance and music shows, traditional storytelling sessions, guided walk through a village and a beautifully lighting ceremony set behind the Aravalli Hills. The palace also offers hot-air balloon rides and falconry (with India's only UNESCO certified falconer) for the guests. Fairmont Jaipur enhances the local experience for both locals and international visitors. Both are looking for an unforgettable local experience. Every tourist, particularly an international traveller, is looking for a different hotel experience to add that extra zing to their travel memoir. These special touches most definitely delight the guest, especially when it is foreign to them. For example, we have emulated a unique welcome ceremony, where arrivals of guests are recognised with tradiDaawat-e-Shiraz Tulip Inn Kolkata

tional fanfare and an accompanying gong, reminiscent of royal announcements of yore, adding to the distinct charm of being transported to a magical era, of dancers, royal attendances and celebrations, Indian royals were famous for. We have covered all sections we deem necessary for localisation to enhance guest satisfaction, increase repeat business and delight customers with an unforgettable Fairmont experience in Jaipur.

Premier Inn Shwetank Singh, vice presidentoperations, South Asia The customer always needs to be at the heart of all decision making in any business. We have adopted this philosophy quite strongly within Whitbread and its part of our vision statement. A brand may be very successful in any other country but it needs to offer what is expected by the customers of the host country. India is a very unique market and localisation of both product and service styles in hospitality are absolutely essential. Keeping the customer at the heart of all decision making is part of our vision which is 'we will grow legendary brands by building a strong customer heartbeat and innovating to stay ahead.'


FORUM OF THE MONTH The localisation is usually at two separate levels i.e. the product level and the service level. Within the product also we can differentiate between the room product and the F&B offering. We at Premier Inn believe in listening to our guests. Since we have entered India we have repeatedly held guest focus groups. For deciding on the product we conducted 16 focus groups in two phases. The groups were flown in from various parts of the country and were of different socio-economic standing. We had groups of families with kids, families without kids, working men, working women, administrators (bookers), travel agents, expats etc. We had built a mock up room (an exact replica of the UK room) in a portable cabin and these groups were taken through the rooms physically. Along with that feedback was also sought on the other aspects of the business such as how they book, what services did they expect, what did they think of F&B etc. Based on their feedback another room was built next to the UK one. Another set of focus groups were carried out and feedback was taken on both the rooms. This was how the product was finalised. The F&B elements were also based on the key findings that were: (a) Food and beverage is a very personal choice and a subjective one.

(b) Indians love to have a choice and prefer the buffet over the a-la-carte options. (c) Expect room service as inherent part of the offering. (d) Always look for value for money, so portion size is important. (e) Regional influence needs to be respected based on where the hotel is. There is some adaptation around the products based on cities as well, such as the size of the banquet space, number of covers in the restaurant etc. Our room product is very consistent for our owned properties and the furniture, fixtures, fittings or materials are not localised. We follow this for consistency of product but also for being able to drive good prices at a vendor level. Our managed properties however (as and when they come up) are likely to have a greater degree of localisation as the brand does not define the exact furniture, fixture or fitting but just a type of them. Based on the city, we carry out the city influence in our F&B offering through regional dishes as well as food festivals. There is no relation between localisation and sales that can be established. As a brand in India, Premier Inn is very focussed on catering to the domestic guests. Any additional benefits of satisfaction of foreign guests are a plus. For example, all our rooms in New Delhi have a bath tub which is preferred by Japanese guests. It's an added benefit.

Louvre Hotels Group (Golden Tulip, Royal Tulip, Tulip Inn) Vineet Mohil, director-sales & marketing, South Asia The slogan for Golden Tulip is ‘International standards, local flavours.’ Localisation is a differentiator as well as offers unique local touch to the guest experience. Hotels can be localised through décor, uniforms, regional food offerings, interaction phrases etc. The overall look and feel could include building materials or local carving styles in addition to artefacts etc. Jaipur selectively organises puppet shows, other hotels organise regional food festivals with all complementing props and some others offer live vocal performance in the evening. Showcasing our rich heritage, diverse and ancient culture through a simple welcoming gesture or a respectful namaste or an aarti

BOBBY MUKHERJI PRINCIPAL ARCHITECT & FOUNDER, BOBBY MUKHERJI & ASSOCIATES

We try and include local influences in the most subtle manner in our effort to maintain sanctity of the region and its culture through art and accessories. It also provides for a sense of belonging. and tikka only reinforces our centuries-old belief in atithi devo bhava. Purely for the sake of a response, hotels need to localise a bit more in the local or regional cuisine, dress styles and items, offerings of handicrafts, channel music options etc.

Bobby Mukherji, designer Principal architect & founder, Bobby Mukherji & Associates Mukherji has designed brands like Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Marriott International, Carlson hospitality, Sahara hospitality, The Royal Orchid Group, The Lalit group (formerly The Intercontinental), Hyatt Hotels and the Hilton group. He maintains each of his properties exudes a distinct style and has its own identity. We're also sensitive to the location. We try and include local influences in the most subtle manner in our effort to maintain sanctity of the region and its culture through art and accessories. It also provides for a sense of belonging. The shell is always more neutral to allow for artistic freedom unless it's a themed property. ■ as told to MANISHA ALMADI MIDHA

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REPORT

Indian business travellers among the top spenders on hotels: Accor Asia-Pacific Business Traveller Survey 2012 Research highlights modern Indian business travelers are more likely to be owners and C-level executives stay connected with frequent travel updates online and are becoming more eco-conscious.

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ccor, the largest international hotel operator in Asia-Pacific, has revealed the findings of its third annual Accor Asia-Pacific Business Traveler Research, which seeks to better understand the travel and behavioural preferences of business travelers based in the region. The survey interviewed over 2,500 respondents from nine countries in Asia-Pacific, who made business trips in the first half of the year. The survey divulges that Indian travelers have one of the highest hotel budgets in AsiaPacific, spending an average of US $399 per trip. Only Singaporeans spend more, averaging US $468. In terms of nightly spend on accommodation, Indians rank third at US $133, up from US $128 last year. Australians and Singaporeans took the top spots, at US $173 and US $156, respectively, with Mainland Chinese (US $98) and Indonesian (US $81) travelers spending the least. Survey also reveals that, compared to fellow travelers in the region, Indian business travelers are most likely to be entrepreneurs, with 17 per cent of respondents saying they own their own business. Across Asia-Pacific, the average is 10 per cent, with Australia and New Zealand tied for second place at 14 per cent each, Singapore (5 per cent) and Mainland China (4 per cent) rounding out the bottom. Indian travelers were also the most likely to take business trips to visit customers, with 58 per cent of respondents citing customer visits as a reason for travel, followed closely by Mainland China (57 per cent). Regionally, an average of 40 per cent of travelers engaged in customer visits, with Indonesian travelers the least likely to make sales calls, at 26 per cent. While business travelers from India are more likely than elsewhere to be in control 30

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of their own fortunes they are not likely to be women. In fact, India had the lowest femaleto-male ratio among Asia-Pacific business travelers, with women making up a paltry 6 per cent of travelers. The regional average was 26 per cent, with Thailand (40 per cent), Australia (33 per cent) and New Zealand (30 per cent) leading the pack. Even countries with not-so-stellar ratios, like Mainland China (16 per cent) and Indonesia (10 per cent) led India by at least ten percentage points. Another observation is that when it

comes to making reservations, business travelers from India are the most likely in the region to book directly on the hotel's website, with 69 per cent of respondents saying they usually make reservations via the hotel's online booking channel and a further 19 per cent saying they use online travel agents. None of the respondents said they used offline travel agents or call centers. This result is substantiated by the finding that Indian business travelers believe that hotel branded websites provide the most competitive rates, Pullman Gurgaon Central Park


REPORT

Navotel Hyderabad airport

whereas only 12 per cent of them think independent websites offer the cheapest prices. Indian executives are also the most likely to post about their hotel experiences – positive or negative on social media, with 68 per cent saying they do this at least sometimes (including nearly one in five travelers who say they always post on the likes of Facebook or TripAdvisor). Across the region, only one in ten travelers always posts their experiences on social media. As connected as Indian business travelers may be, they are also among the most likely to forget crucial items like power adapters with 61 per cent of respondents saying they’re most likely to accidentally leave these at home. While Indian business travelers tend to be ambivalent about a hotel’s environmental commitment, with 43 per cent saying it influences their hotel choice and 33 per cent saying they would be willing to pay more for sustainability, interestingly there are some hot button eco-issues they do care about. Indian executives identified initiatives save water (69 per cent) and energy (63 per cent) as the sustainable development topics most important for a hotel, the highest responses in the region. Indian travelers agree with their counter-

parts across the region: a comfortable bed is key, with 53 per cent of Indian executives saying they care most about having a comfortable bed when choosing a hotel, ahead of a good quality bathroom (50 per cent) and free internet (46 per cent). Beyond getting a good night's rest, Indian travelers are the most likely to crave the creature comforts of home, with 65 per cent of Indian travelers looking for amenities and products from their home country, well above the 52 per cent regional average. In line with region-wide trends, Indian business travelers took 86 per cent more trips in the first half of the year, with the average Indian executive taking 13 trips between January and June versus seven trips over the same period last year. For the second half of the year, this trend is expected to continue, with Indian business travelers planning the same number of trips they took in the first half. This sharp uptick in business travel appears to be largely attributable to optimism and more business opportunities. Indian executives were the most likely in the region to attribute the year-on-year increase in travel to increased business activity (47 per cent vs. regional average of 35 per cent) and were also the most likely to cite increased sales

and marketing efforts (44 per cent vs. 28 per cent) as a reason for travel. For outbound travel, Indian business travelers identified Singapore (31 per cent), Thailand (26 per cent) and Mainland China (18 per cent) as their top three business destinations in the first half of 2012. For the second half of the year, respondents said they are most likely to travel to Singapore (35 per cent), Mainland China (27 per cent) and Thailand (25 per cent). The Accor Asia-Pacific Business Traveler Survey aims to provide a deeper understanding of business travel habits in the region. Accor commissioned ORC International to conduct the Accor Asia-Pacific Business Traveller Survey 2012, using an online methodology, targeting members of its loyalty rewards programme, Le Club Accorhotels. Asia Pacific-based business travelers were surveyed online about their travel habits in the first half of 2012, and their planned business travel for the remainder of the year. This survey focused on business travelers currently residing in the following countries: Australia, China, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. ■ September 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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BRAND ANALYSIS

The Royal Plaza, New Delhi

Establishing a boutique reputation The Litolier Group forayed into hospitality with the launch of The Royal Plaza Hotel in the capital. We bring you an update.

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BRAND ANALYSIS

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he Litolier Group whose portfolio includes interior lighting, Italian marbles and real estate has ventured into the hospitality industry with its first hotel The Royal Plaza, located in the heart of Delhi. Positioned as a boutique business hotel, its proximity to government offices, ministries, courts and historical monuments makes it an ideal choice for the business and the leisure traveller. Ashok Mittal, founder of The Litolier Group, and chairman and managing director, The Royal Plaza talks about the brand, in an interview with Hotelscapes.

You have interest in interior lighting and real estate. How did you think of entering the hospitality industry? I am passionate about hotels. I believe in destiny and it played a part in bringing me into the hospitality industry.

The Royal Plaza has been positioned as a boutique business hotel. Yes, as far as the business is concerned, we are doing well. The hotel has 445 rooms and suites, out of which 419 are operational. There are two restaurants, one night club, a bar, a club lounge, a business centre and a Roman garden with a swimming pool spread across 10,000 sq ft.

The lobby of the hotel has marble statues and Frescoes. What statement are you trying to make? The hotel has classic interiors. We call it a boutique business hotel and its architecture reflects the elegance and grandeur. The lobby has Frescoes reproduced by Italian artists. Further embellishing the lobby are the antique, bronze Italian statues, classic Italian furniture and Venetian / Austrian chandeliers. The grandiloquence of the lobby is further accentuated by the onyx pillars embellished in 24-carat gold leaf work which creates the atmosphere of bygone 18th century.

ASHOK MITTAL FOUNDER OF THE LITOLIER GROUP, CHAIRMAN AND MANAGING DIRECTOR, THE ROYAL PLAZA

The Royal Plaza is a boutique business hotel. The lobby has Frescoes reproduced by Italian artists. Further embellishing the lobby are the antique, bronze Italian statues, classic Italian furniture and Venetian / Austrian chandeliers.

Can you give us a break up of the 419 rooms and facilities you offer? We have 288 deluxe rooms, 42 club rooms and 89 suites. Some of the facilities provided in these rooms include coffee table, TV, writing desk, Wi-Fi, electronic safe and mini bar. The marbled bathroom includes a lavish vanity, shower area, heated marble floors, towel rack and steam-resistant mirrors.

What does a typical room look like in this property? The rooms have classic interiors. The tables in the rooms have onyx stone top.

Tell us about your F&B services? We have a 24-hours coffee shop, Lutyens which offers a breathtaking view of the pool

and overlooks the Roman garden and our Oriental restaurant, Jasmine. The flooring of the nightclub Nyx is done in Italian marble and it has period furniture, and two private lounges Hera and Zeus. The Onyx bar plays music coupled with heady cocktails. We have Lord Curzon club and lounge for breakfast, hi-tea and evening snacks, and we have a pastry shop.

How are you creating a niche for the hotel? We introduced the brand The Royal Plaza in December 2011. It was earlier known as Ramada Plaza. Paying heed to the guest feedback, we changed the name of the hotel. There has been a 50 per cent increase in the business of the hotel since then. Our new clientele has accepted the name, while we have been able to retain the loyalty of the old ones.

What are you doing as a standalone hotel with Shangri-La standing next to your hotel? We have seven hotels in our vicinity and all have their own clientele. We do not have any competition from Shangri-La which is located next door. The reason for our success is our excellent standard of service.

Who is your clientele? We are targeting the business and the leisure segment.

What is the USP of the hotel? Our USP is our location, pricing, food and service.

What are your future plans? We are coming up with a hotel in Andheri Kurla in Mumbai, in collaboration with SwissĂ´tel Grand Mumbai by the end of 2014. We also plan to open a hotel in Goa. â–  by VASUJIT KALIA

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BRAND ANALYSIS

Kempinski Ambience to open in East Delhi

To be launched in October this year, Kempinski Ambience Hotel Delhi, is being spearheaded by Vella Ramasawmy to make the property a new landmark for European luxury in India. Hotelscapes gets an exclusive interview with Vella Ramasawmy, general manager, Kempinski Ambience Hotel Delhi.

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BRAND ANALYSIS

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ince 1897, Kempinski has been known globally for its refined hoteliering and distinguished properties – from historic buildings to the most avant-garde of modern architecture, including world-famous properties such as the Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul, Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin, Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi and Le Mirador Kempinski Lake Geneva. Over 115 years of its history, exclusivity and distinctive luxury, Kempinski Hotels have hosted international celebrities, witnessed meetings between the world’s leaders and been a part of creating history around the globe. Kempinski Ambience Hotel Delhi will boast of the largest meeting space in the country with an attractive choice of indoor and outdoor meeting venues. The hotel is being positioned as an ideal destination for leisure and MICE travelers, as well as for weddings and social events due to its strategic location and world class services. A veteran in the international hospitality fraternity, Ramasawmy is recognised for his business acumen in managing world class hotels. He has helmed iconic hotels including the Grand Hyatt Muscat and Park Hyatt properties in Goa, Melbourne, Tokyo, Syd-

VELLA RAMASAWMY GENERAL MANAGER, KEMPINSKI AMBIENCE HOTEL DELHI

Kempinski Ambience Delhi will be yet another iconic building so that our guests take back incredible memories. For rooms, we are targeting corporate (40 per cent), MICE (54 per cent), leisure (6 per cent) and social (3 per cent). September 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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BRAND ANALYSIS ney, Sun City in South Africa as well as Le Touessrok Ile aux Cerfs by Sun Resorts and Le Saint Geran, both in Mauritius. He has also successfully launched The Leela Kempinski Gurgaon winning various global accolades for his leadership.

How would you define this new breed of hotels such as yours? We, at Kempinski, believe that life should be lived in style. This philosophy will be practiced in our upcoming five star luxury hotel in India, Kempinski Ambience Delhi. The Kempinski name is proudly borne by a growing collection of distinguished properties

around the world. As Europe’s oldest luxury hotel group, we are committed to providing our guests with memorable journeys inspired by exquisite European flair. Whether in Europe, Africa, Middle East or Asia, every Kempinski Hotel is unique, deeply imbued with the finest European traditions, and designed for guests to experience excellence, and value individuality. These traits distinguish Kempinski from any other hotel anywhere in the world. The upcoming Kempinski Ambience Delhi will be the new landmark of European luxury in India. The hotel will be launched later this year and will have 480 spacious rooms and suites encased within two towers, a 25,000 sq ft pillar-less ballroom – the largest in a five star hotel in India, accommodating up to 6000 guests. It will have two swimming pools, a spa with hammam treatment room, 36

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fitness centre and much more. The Kempinski Ambience Hotel Delhi will be a true lifestyle destination with a European flair and an Indian flavour.

How distinct would these be from the existing Leela group affinity? Kempinski has shared a long-standing and mutually successful relationship with The Leela Group, and both now see an opportunity to grow the brand’s individually in India. Kempinski is proud to be a founding member of the Global Hotels Alliance (GHA), the world’s largest alliance of independent hotel brands.

The hotel will be launched later this year and will have 480 rooms and suites encased within two towers. When we partnered with The Leela in the country, we had redefined the hospitality and service standards in the industry here. With the Indian hospitality landscape evolving, and the country becoming increasingly conspicuous on the world tourism map, we now see an opportunity to take luxury to a new, even higher, level. The warmth, the décor, the technology, the experience, the intimate touch – you will see the distinction from any other group in terms of Kempinski's true European heritage and strong culture.

Through highly selective growth, Kempinski is creating one of the world's most desirable and luxurious hotels, where each property is either a trophy hotel or a market leader. We will serve the MICE as well as leisure travelers who have a desire to enjoy the extravagance at our hotel. At our first independent property in India, the Kempinski Ambience Hotel Delhi, you will find an intimate feel despite the big size of the hotel.

What are Kempinski’s plans for India? Globally, some of the most historic meetings between world leaders have taken place at

Kempinski. We've witnessed celebrities taking sanctuary in the world of calm we create for them through a combination of worldclass facilities and prompt guest service, and have created incredible memories for guests on a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ journey. I broadly envision replicating our global success in India as well. We are in no hurry to open up properties or grabbing the most market share - we are here to win hearts of our Indian guests and to live up to our global brand promise for our in-bound guests. Despite the burgeoning rate at which India is developing and becoming a global power, there is still a huge unfulfilled demand for the luxury segment in hospitality that continues to grow increasingly. We are currently looking at launching five to seven Kempinski hotels in the top luxury segment in India by 2015.


BRAND ANALYSIS Is this a good time to float a new property when there’s an economic slowdown and belttightening measures are being pressed into service across the globe? Despite a relatively slow pace of growth across industries, the hospitality sector has been able to maintain equilibrium by providing services tailored to individual needs. Though there are various categories of hotels catering to a wide-ranging set of customers, yet interestingly, the luxury segment has a unique, niche clientele that does not compromise on the quality offered.

India’s hospitality market is getting increasingly cut-throat with the advent of foreign chains. How challenging do you find this market to operate in? Yes, I agree that the influx of international hotel chains in the Indian market has increased over the past couple of years, but I don't see them impacting us much. As I mentioned, we do not operate in the under-cut pricing segment, but in delivering perfection.

What were the bottlenecks in terms of regulatory and bureaucratic hurdles you faced while setting up your outfit as India is notorious for its adverse investment climate? Kempinski Ambience Delhi will be an iconic landmark in the city that will boast of offering

70,000 sq ft of banquet space, the largest in the country. With 480 guest rooms, specialty restaurants and impressive recreational facilities, it surely is a whopping structure. On the contrary, the path for this investment was less bumpy than expected. Despite the land acquisition being the prime challenge, we managed to overcome the other crests on our way.

Who are your competitors in the hospitality space? Since Kempinski Ambience Hotel is the first fully managed property of Kempinski in India, we are currently focused on the pre-opening activities and working towards

this upcoming property? The Kempinski group delights its guests with memorable journeys inspired by exquisite European flair. We do not simply provide a hotel bed and a meal but the comfort and lavishness for which they choose Kempinski. The upcoming property in East Delhi will be the epitome of style and finesse that will blend effortlessly with the rich culture of the city. This flagship luxury property is strategically located in East Delhi, capital’s most developed district by most standards, as released by recent census data on houses, household amenities and assets.

Who is your target group?

We are currently looking at launching five to seven Kempinski hotels in the top luxury segment in India by 2015. the grand opening. India has the potential to become the number one tourist destination in the world according to the WTO (World Tourism Organisation) that predicts that India will receive 25 million tourists by year 2015. At the Kempinski Ambience Hotel, we plan to welcome them with open arms and that is where all our focus is.

The Kempinski group is renowned for its stunning buildings and décor. What will be the USP of

Kempinski Ambience Delhi will be yet another iconic building so that our guests take back incredible memories. For rooms, we are targeting corporate (40 per cent), MICE (54 per cent), leisure (6 per cent) and social (3 per cent). Regarding the banquets, we'll be focusing on corporate (60-65 per cent) and the social segment (30-35 per cent).

How will you meld a global approach with an India appeal in your property? We already have a magnificent culinary experience with an all-day dining, Indian, Italian and an Asian restaurant along with an exotic bar. This European property has an executive chef. We also have modern artworks in the public areas and guest rooms. ■ as told to NEETA LAL September 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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GUEST COLUMN

HOTELIERS NEED TO CATCH UP WITH THE TREND FOR ORGANIC FOOD Customers are looking for organic and locally sourced products on the menus of hotel restaurants, so being able to use and advertise this produce is an important way for hoteliers to differentiate themselves from the competition, says Vineet Wadhera.

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here is really only one rule-of-thumb for a successful kitchen and that is – great food starts with great fresh ingredients. In India, visiting the fresh produce markets is not just a trendy thing to do; it is a way of life. It is amazing how inspired one can get just walking around in the midst of herbs, vegetables and spices. Having said that, I think the trend today inclines toward organic and more organic. While the diverse culinary trends in India as also our traditional eating habits demand fresh ingredients, the West too follows this food practice; shopping in the produce and seafood markets in France and Italy for instance, is a real foodie 'high.' Indeed, traditional eating practices in France demanded that the raw materials be purchased fresh just prior to cooking dinner each day. However, fashions in foods recognised by the avant-garde minority have an influence on the cuisine choices of mainstream consumers in the hotel and hospitality industry, which is why the recent demand for organic food is set to continue. Free from chemicals and a more labour-intensive way to grow food, organic is one of the best ways to make use of the earth’s natural resources without damaging the eco-system. The demand for organic foods means hoteliers need to catch up with this grassroots trend to remain competitive, whilst ensuring that it is available to everyone, not just those that can afford it. Now more widely available then a decade ago, the range of organic foods has advanced immeasurably, so much so that people can now actually book themselves on ‘organic holidays’ where they stay at hotels that only use

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The range of organic foods has advanced so much so that people can now actually book themselves on 'organic holidays' where they stay at hotels that only use local organic food or are located on an organic farm.

local organic food or they are located on an organic farm. A health trend in the past few years has also helped the emergence of organic foods, which has made them more available from retailers, meaning that customers to hotels see this food type more of a conventional menu option rather than a luxury one. Eating for health has made people more aware of things like the government's five-a-day target, super foods, probiotics and organic food. Food industry experts say that the biggest food trend over the past decade has been for 'organic, local, seasonal and sustainable' food. This might well have been born out of people having to produce their own food because of the recession. Sourcing local produce is the buzz phrase for businesses in the hotel industry. Not only is it a way of providing food that your customers demand, it is also an on-going process of supporting the local economy, helping with local employment and establishing stronger inter-business relationships, which can often result in reciprocal custom. Fostering stronger links with local suppliers through face-to-face contact means both parties will quickly have an understanding of what to expect and deliver for one another. Being able to offer locally sourced produce on the menu of a hotel restaurant or bar is a way of attracting repeat business from the local population. However, it also allows the opportunity to highlight the food of a particular area to people who have travelled from other parts of the country and might not get the chance to try it where they live. The author is director – Food & Beverage, The Grand, New Delhi. ■


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DESIGN

10 most dynamically designed fine dining world restaurants Check out some of the world's most innovatively designed fine dining restaurants who offer more than just signature fare. Hotelscapes marks out the striking identity of each gourmet outpost across the world.

At.mosphere lounge and dining-Burj Khalifa, Dubai

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ach of these ten diversely distinct, exceptional gourmet havens located across the continents reflects one common leitmotif. Their encsons are created to uplift the fine dining feel without being overbearing and visually intrusive. If ambience heightens appetites, then each of them succeed with remarkable accuracy.

At.mosphere-Burj Khalifa, Dubai

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here’s just one word to describe this world’s highest fine dining landmark atop the world’s highest tower – spectacular. Wide open, ceiling to carpet windows encapsulate the 360 degree panorama of Dubai’s stunning skyline into richly appointed, curved, mahogany teak veneered interiors with muted mood lighting, simulating an incredible, actual ‘floating-in-space’ experience at level 122. Muted beige and buff upholstered seating and lounge sofas spread out across the lounge bar, restaurant and private dining spaces, the grandeur of minimalistic elements discreetly enhancing the never-ending views all across. The interiors have been planned to create intimacy, warmth in lightly earthy tones and furnishings, all collaborating with Dubai’s incomparable cityscapes by day and night. Sophistication in fine dining and select world vintage wines and spirits add to the lingering silence one is drawn into with appreciative privilege. By day the décor allows interplay of light and expanse to command attention, by night the bejeweled city is captured within mellow interiors and clinking of crystal. Marhaba!

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Candlelight Treetop Dining-Orange County Resort, Coorg, India


DESIGN

Treetop Dining-Orange County Resort, Coorg, India

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t’s a unique, innovative and exciting concept enrapturing couples into a long-drawn romance with the woods. As the aromas of sizzling hot grilled wonders entice the senses, red wine goblets wait patiently for the honours, saluting the seasoned timber and teak dining hideaway, designed with flair. Constructed as a dining verandah along an almost 100-year old tree on tough timber and iron rafters, columns and supports, reached by an equally exciting, candlelit wooden stairway, the treetop romantic restaurant glows only with flickering candles casting alluring moods. The exclusive table just for a couple two floors high looks out to mind-stilling scapes of the resort's lush coffee plantations and a mirrored lake, sunset birdsong enveloping the intimate den. Impeccable service marks an unforgettable evening, as the treetop gourmet abode taking in the massive overhead canopy, the giant tree trunk and branches within its naturally designed fold. As the mauve night cast a romantic veil, the adjoining split level live open kitchen stirs up spicy fare over skewers.

Dining on the Rocks-Six Senses Hideaway Samui, Koh Samui, Thailand

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panning wide angle vistas of the serene Gulf of Siam, perched on massive rocky outcrops on all-teak and timber platforms opening out to the skies and stars, this fabulous fine dining outlet radiates sophisticated simplicity. Covered balconies and seating graced by a lively bar form part of this all-wood, award-winning dining phenomenon serving modern Thai and South Asian cuisine. Slatted floors bordered by low wooden fencing reach out to the ocean’s visual edge, the uninterrupted azure panoramas adding colour to the matt wood furniture and lookouts all customised for weather resistance and endurance. The design credo harps strongly on eco-friendly, environmentally sensitive principles, lighting just apt to enliven the romance of natural elements at vantage points, the darkness and seascapes colouring the dining pleasures.

Il Piccolo-Principe di Piemonte, Tuscany, Italy

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ynamically dazzling. Stylish to the core, ultra-chic on all fronts, very Italian, very bold. Spanning grandstand vistas of the ultramarine Tyrrhenian Sea on the coast at Viareggio, this Michelin Star fine dining haven is home to modern interiors, avant-garde furniture and furnishings, a partly covered, part-alfresco feel, elegance depicted in cheery blue and white tones. The colours of the sea and sky emphasise harmony in design here, the signature dishes and world class wines adding verve and symphony to the dĂŠcor and eclectic ambience. September 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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DESIGN

Sunset on Dining on The Rocks-Six Senses Hideaway Samui, Koh Samui, Thailand

Dinner takes on deeper, seductive colours with soft lighting spots casting enticing glows and moods, the sunset shades lingering onto the window spans like an endless canvas of shifting strokes.

Kaminstube-Hotel Zur Tenne, Kitzbuehel, Austria

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eritage architecture, Tyrolean country accents, Alpine charms and modern flourish juxtapose and synergise into this superlative dining address in the world's most exotic Alpine destination in the Austrian Alps. Alpine teakwood, smartly finished to perfection dominates the character of warmth, earthiness and class. The almost translucent polished understatement reflected in the wall paneling, furniture, bar counter, covers and intimate alcoves is heartily contrasted and complemented by red and blue checked drapes, table cloths, a riot of Alpine window and ledge blooms and hand crafted lampshades that lend sophistication. The garrulous fireplace replete with handmade decoys, wooden collectibles and hand-beaten wrought iron implements transport diners into the high village 42

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Alpine wood excellence, Hotel Zur Tenne, Kitzbuehel, Austria

Michelin Star fine dining-Il Piccolo-Principe di Piemonte-Tuscany, Italy


PHOTO: KISHORE IYENGAR

PHOTO: KISHORE IYENGAR

DESIGN

Private alcove, Europea-Montreal, Canada

homes of Tyrol. This is Alpine fine dining experience without compare.

Europea RestaurantMontreal, Quebec, Canada

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ransporting avant-garde, uber chic Parisien nostalgia into a compact dining space combining a cocktail lounge and private dining cornice and choice seating covers is a matter of style. This trendy, award winning Quebecois-French fine dining address in the heart of Montreal lives up it’s decadence in intricate chandeliers, ballooned lighting installations, muted ceiling spots and textured wall spaces. As pianoforte lilts your mood and fine wines lighten up the dining pleasures, amber and peach tones contrasting bold floral furnishings add zing to the matt textured walls and twinkling candlelight, the diffused bar lighting and overhead casts reveal probing curiosity among diners. Petite artwork in radical impressionism and the odd, irregular outlandish sofa arrangement bring smiles of the sixties. Evocatively designed, the interiors live up the Parisian ‘Rue de St. Germain’ touch. September 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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DESIGN Stella-fine dining restaurant, The Leela Kempinski, Mumbai

Stella-The Leela Kempinski, Mumbai, India

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ontemporary grandeur comes alive in this premium fine dining restaurant’s approach through a floor-to-ceiling glass Enoteca stocking the finest world wine labels. The plush seating covers punctuate the spaces that are graced by buff terra tones of deep maroon, sienna, chrome, gorgeous metallic-shade drapes and artworks radiating spatial expanses and the moon's many moods. Innovative spherical chandeliers emit caressing glows, the walls matted to subtle colours of the sunset. The private dining room with intimate long table seating offers discreet class in dining, partitioned from the restaurant. Suave reflections of burnt umber carpentry uplift the eye-catching dÊcor that reflect upper crust class and style. Furniture is buff toned to underplay space; long vases capture the fragrance and glee of ever changing floral blooms. Easily one of the most exemplary environments in fine dining anywhere, complemented with unusual synergy of light and pleasing shade grades. 44

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Michelin Star fine dining restaurantAtelier-Hotel Bayerischer Hof, Munich


DESIGN Calming Zen Garden, Tetsuya’s, Sydney, Australia

Atelier-Hotel Bayerischer Hof, Munich, Germany

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ew eclectic fine dining restaurants in the world command a reputation honed by it’s gourmet as well as design offerings as a humungous combo of excellence. For the very discerning fine diner, the interiors of this benchmarking address are imploring and fascinating. Good enough reason though, as the raw, basic and simplistic aspects of layout are heightened to near perfection here. Using masculine and linear planning, select, choicest seating covers, a smart dining area and impeccable appointments make it an absolutely evocative place to spend a great evening. Michelin Star excellence radiates in the visual appeal adding to the signature dishes, charcoal swabs and grilled impressions contrast matt burnt browns, beiges, mud and clay tones that lend themselves to character with dynamic art expressions of weathered fabrics and patches that define space and motion. The lighting is specific to the cornices; the rafters elevate the rustic yet classy ambience to the hilt. Appreciation of the design creativity is subtle, classily understated, just like the dÊcor. September 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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DESIGN Cinnamon Club-London, UK

Tetsuya’s RestaurantSydney, Australia

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ffable and erudite international celebrity chef and restaurateur Tetsuya Wakuda’s flagship culinary offering in the heart of Sydney is a place to still the mind and relax over his custom calibrated signature courses. In a rather plainly appointed restaurant with spaces all looking out to his master stroke vistas, a calming and serene Japanese Zen garden, nothing could do better to dimensionalise the simulated exteriors into his dining temple of excellence. The landscaped acres, sprouts of thrilling green, stone installations, graveled pathways and furrowed sand drawings add to the peaceful communion he aspires for through his award winning cuisine with the environment he has created as an eco-synergy. Muted spotlights only lend functionality to the restaurant’s interiors; the few wall art specimens only lead the eye to another space where the Zen garden continues to behold the diner. A haven of tranquility, that takes away the clichéd definitions of design.

Cinnamon Club-London, UK

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ot that all the distinguished guests settled here in comfortable chairs are scholars or academicians, but chef-innovator-restaurateur Vivek Singh had chosen the erstwhile Westminster Library as the perfect protagonist for his gastronomic stories. Within the shelves lined with priceless volumes and gilded leather hard covers of this unusual setting, he conducts what is most decidedly the world's numero uno Indian fine dining restaurant, complete with measured and cleverly crafted signature fare. Diners come here to admire the high ceiling-graced library décor, the interiors designed with geometric flourish at places where deftly soft-lit chandeliers blend harmoniously with the graceful arches. In the Library Bar, the Glenlivet 18YO Single Malt begins a spirited journey into remarkable Indian fine cuisine, culminating into a signing off at the same venue amidst George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde and WB Yeats. Somewhere on the neat shelves displaying a 1952 Armagnac and a crisp Bowmore 25YO Single Malt, you find moments of repose. Reclining in seasoned leather sofas and petite round settees, you take in the glory of distinction seriously as design and conviction blend here forever! ■ by KISHORE AND SMITA IYENGAR

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MARKET ANALYSIS Hilton Mayur Vihar New Delhi

A case study on how to start a hotel today T

The growth in the tourism sector has led to an increase in the demand for hotels and tourist accommodations. There are many factors that need to be taken into account to develop a hotel. This feature will help the industry understand the logistics required to get a property operational. 48

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ourism is a socio-economic phenomenon, which has become one of the world’s largest and fastest growing industries, next only to the oil industry. It is becoming a way of life with more and more people in the world. Never before in the history of mankind have so many traveled at home or abroad. Two decades back tourism was a luxury product available only to those who had time and money to spare. It is, today, available to practically all citizens in the developed countries and to increasingly larger segments of population in developing countries. Major developing countries are now liberalising their rules to let their people travel overseas. India is one of them. Development of hotels and other tourist accommodation is subject to many influences. In the first place, it depends on demand for differ-

ent types of accommodation, demands which may stem from tourism, recreation, business or other activities which are very much influenced by local attractions and political attitudes. Also it would be interesting to know what really motivates an individual to travel. It is an interesting study and in the course of history, a “motivation” for most. Travel plays a major role and it can be classified into six categories: ● Recreation ● Culture ● Sports / adventure ● Health ● Convention tourism ● Incentive tourism In most countries, a hotel is defined as a public establishment offering travellers accommodation against payment, for two basic services i.e. accommodation and food. Over the years the hospitality industry has become


MARKET ANALYSIS one of the largest and is growing rapidly. Hotels ranged in size from those with only few rooms to establishments with more than 1000 rooms or more. Official registration and grading requirements provide valuable guidelines in planning hotels, giving the standards of space and facilities needed to satisfy particular marketing criteria. Let’s take an example of a particular location, Baroda. While commissioning the services of the hotel, broadly the following aspects are to be covered in the study. ● Assessment of nature of tourist traffic ● Assessment of existing facilities ● Assessment of demand for facilities in the next decade ● Tax structure on hotel industry ● Suggestion for optimum hotel facilities ● Location ● Cost estimates ● Organisation and manpower ● Schedule of project implementation ● Cost benefit and analysis ● Pattern of ownership and management

Room requirement For estimating the room requirement at Baroda, the following parameters need to be kept in mind. ● Total traffic to and from Baroda ● Traffic requiring quality accommodation in three, four and five star categories ● Average duration of stay in quality hotels at Baroda ● Ideal occupancy factor ● Double occupancy factor The methodology adopted for the purpose of estimating the room requirement at Baroda is in conformity with the guidelines laid down by the Department of Tourism.

For the resort accommodation, the relationship with the recreational activities i.e. beach, lake, sea, ski, slopes etc will clearly affect the market demand and pricing structure. In the case of Baroda, we have to first consider the state – it’s in Gujarat, situated on the west coast of India.

Physical characteristics

CHANNI PANTAL Hilton Hotels are best located as location is of prime importance. Even when hotel selection is made in advance, sight unseen, is usually based on suitability of location in terms of travel distance and time of arrival and the proximity to the business centre if the person is on business. or area and the needs for further provision. Alternatively, a detailed market survey may also be required to be carried out to ascertain the type of hotel to be developed which would provide the most feasible proposition for investment. While carrying out such a survey, you should keep the following points in mind:

Market analysis As a preliminary consideration, while planning a hotel, it is necessary to establish the market demand for the proposed facility and whether such a product is economically viable. Market service and feasibility studies reduce the element of risk in investment, real estate and services. They indicate the main potential resources of business and the number of customers likely to be attracted, their needs, preferences and type of facilities, which would best satisfy the market. Market studies may be of local, regional, national or international level, depending on the pattern of tourism and business or convention visitors to the area and on the scale of development involved. For example, if one were to put up a hotel in New Delhi, a market study of the international scene is necessary. For Baroda we need to study only the local market. A study may therefore be carried out on different points. The initial intention may be to determine the changing demands for accommodation and catering services in region, town

Location Hilton Hotels are best located as location is of prime importance. The location of a hotel must be appropriate to survey the needs of a particular market. A traveler's decision to the choice of transit accommodation, in particular, is often made impulsively and the careful positioning and prominence of the hotel, its convenience of access and general appearance are therefore very critical. Even when hotel selection is made in advance, sight unseen, is usually based on suitability of location in terms of travel distance and time of arrival and the proximity to the business centre if the person is on business. Location decisions must take into account site costs and their effects on pricing structure in relation to the market served. An expensive, high tariff may need to be cited in prime location area like Janpath and Windsor Place. At the other extreme, a hotel catering for hotel economy can be cited almost anywhere served by public transport, price sensitivity may be more crucial than the immediate surroundings.

The state broadly covers the region of Kutch, Saurashtra and the territories between the rivers Banas in the north and the Daman Ganga in the south. The city of Baroda is situated in the central region of Gujarat and lies between 21 degrees and 23 degrees north latitude and 73 degrees and 74.1 degrees east longitudes. The city of Baroda stands on level plains and the soil, which is very fertile in the north and western part. The city creates an image of 'Twin City,' with a central built of institutional growth flanked on one side by the railway line and on the other side by river Vishwamitri. I am mentioning all of this because for the feasibility study, it is necessary to know a little bit about the place where one is going to put up a hotel.

People Gujarat with its language, literature, and its composite social order is a happy synthesis of varied culture.

History From ancient times Gujarat has been the getaway for commerce and culture.

Cultural tradition Gujarat has distinct traditions of song and dance as well as drama. The best known among these are the garba and the rasa.

Major tourist attractions Lion, the king of the jungle, can be seen at Gir forest in Junagadh district in Gujarat. Facilities are available for tourists to make a two-day trip from Mumbai by air to the Gir forest to see lions in their natural habitat. The trip also gives them an added opportunity to see a number of other wild animals.

Temperature Baroda is found rather hot in summer but experiences comparatively less rigorous climate in the winter season.

Rainfall The rainfall in the area usually breaks in midJune and the maximum rainy days occur in the months of July and August.

Population There has been a rapid rate of increase in population in the last decade in Baroda. From 1951-1981 it increased by 30 per cent and in September 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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MARKET ANALYSIS 1981 it was 733,656. In 2000 it increased by another 30-35 per cent.

Flame restaurant, Double Tree by Hilton Goa

Transport and communication Baroda is linked by all modes of transport via air, rail and road.

Industrial development Gujarat is considered as one of the most potential states for the development of industries. There has been a virtual industrial explosion of small, medium, and large-scale industries in the last two decades. Baroda has taken a lion's share in the industrial development. The establishment of huge petro-chemical complex, Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Ltd. in the public sector, has stimulated the commercial activity of Baroda region considerably and has also activated a chain of industries in the allied areas, both in small and medium sector. The extensive oil and natural gas finds, by the pioneering efforts of ONGC have held out tremendous prospects for a variety of petroleum-based industries in this region.

Traffic potential (Baroda) The past trend indicates that the rate of growth of commercial activities in the coming decade is bound to go up further, the commercial and business traffic also naturally grows with the growth of economic activities, calling for a proper tourism infrastructure by the way of accommodation and transport to cater to the requirement of increased traffic.

Site There are no set rules for determining the area of land required for a hotel. The size of site will clearly depend on the accommodation capacity required and this may include not only the guest rooms or apartments, but in the case of a hotel, restaurants, bars, convention rooms and other facilities. It will also depend on the cost of the site and the number of floors, which can be concentrated on the area. These are the aspects which will affect the feasibility of the project but which are often outside the control of the developer. Car parking and amenity space are often important requirements, which may be external to the building or incorporated within the building if the higher cost is justified. Typical land requirements for a 100-room resort or motel: hotels are maximum about 1.5 to 2 acres. For a larger 200-room urban hotel the site would be about 2.5 to 3.0 acres whilst the site for a normal 200-room hotel in a city centre would be reduced to about 1.5 acres or less, depending on the plot ratio permitted. However the following may be kept in mind while making a selection of a site: ● Weather freehold ● Leased / rental ● Accessibility 50

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● Environment (surroundings, view, neighbourhood) ● Market (local, domestic, foreign)

Competition It is important to keep this aspect in mind before going in for any investment in a hotel. The presence of other hotels in similar grade and the quality to the one you plan to put up would reduce the value of all your proposed investment for the simple reason that the market may not be adequate to support any further developments in that region. You also have to assess as to what your competitors have to offer in terms of facilities in existing hotels. If you want your hotel or project to be assessed, you have to offer better or exceptional facilities, which would ultimately, make your project viable.

Economic feasibility Determination of economic feasibility is a vital step in the planning of a project. It must be based on the data provided by the market surveys and takes into account both current and projected cost of building and operations. The range of factors, which should be considered are as follows: ● Policy – market data ● Operational policy – type of operation, range of services, provision of restaurants, bars, facilities. ● Pricing policy – the level of prices, range of variation, minimum profit. ● Sales forecasts – volume of business separated into the revenue from rooms, food, beverages, and other sources. ● Operating costs – based on the project taking into account policy, operation and volume.

Cost analysis Cost of land and site works including demolition, preparation, landscaping, external works, estate fees and charges. ● Cost of construction - building shell, furnishing, equipment engineering services, and plant plus professional fees and insurance. ● Cost of furnishing - interior décor, loose furniture, furnishings. ● Cost of operating equipment – linen, china glassware, silverware, utensils, uniforms etc. ● Cost of ancillary facilities – recreational units and equipments, swimming pool, squash, sports etc.

Supporting finance – capital costs at prevailing rates of interest ● Finance during construction – interim payment during construction at rates of interest. ● Pre-opening expenses - payroll costs, advertising and promotion. ● Working capital – financing of goods received (raw materials), expenses, insurances, taxes, licenses, charges for public utilities like heating, lighting, and operating costs during initial period. ● On having worked and identified the economic feasibility, it is then required to identify the resources from where you can raise the capital.

Size of hotels The optimum size of a planned hotel depends on the result of the market analysis, on the available sites, on company policy and consideration of management. Although there are many exceptions, the following size qualifications are common.


MARKET ANALYSIS Caffeine Bar, Double Tree by Hilton Goa

Number Details of Rooms 10-20 Family operated guesthouses, boarding houses and budget motels are usually in this size group. 50-70 Large enough to support a separate manager and to be of interest to the large chain companies. 100-150 Allows better site utilisation. A separate restaurant and coffee shop are usually feasible. Increase in the number of rooms is possible with relatively small increase in staff. 150-300 Typical size range of hotels and the resort hotels, constructed for the packaged tour markets. Sufficiently large to warrant generous provision of dining areas, lounges, bars and recreation facilities such as heated swimming pool and spa. Several resort hotels may be grouped on the same site, or one hotel combined with apartment units, to provide for greater numbers. 200-300 Site range for many luxury hotels and resorts. Hotels of this size can maintain a personal atmosphere yet provide a wide range of exclusive facilities, i.e. beach, golf course, specialty restaurant, remedial treatments. 400+ City centre hotels offering multiple facilities including convention, function and banquet rooms, a specialty restaurant in addition to other restaurants or coffee shop areas and additional services. 700+ Main convention and exhibition centers, large multiple complexes which include stores, restaurants and other facilities.

Facilities and services to be provided In order to determine the star category, the facilities and services to be provided in the proposed hotel project at Baroda and to make it competitive and secure, its market share of traffic, the facilities and services presently available in the existing quality hotels at Baroda has to be studied. Keeping in mind the capital costs involved and the tariff, the market can bear the demand during the decade it is felt that the hotel can be planned in the four or five star category. The facilities recommended for the proposed hotel taking into account the demand as well as the facilities presently available in the quality hotels at Baroda are as follows: ● 150 double or twin bedded rooms with public area and facilities to cater to 200 rooms ultimately. ● Central air-conditioning of all the rooms and public areas. ● 75 seats specialty restaurant serving continental, Indian and Chinese cuisines. ● 125 seats vegetarian- cum-coffee shop serving snacks and Gujarati vegetarian cuisine, to be divided into two, keeping in view the technical and functional requirement. ● 30 seats bar or permit room. ● Modern and well equipped kitchen, pantries and cold storage. ● Wall to wall carpeting, marble or wooden flooring in all the rooms, restaurants and bar. ● 600 seats multi-purpose hall divisible into three. Provision should be to expand the same to 750-1000 seats at a later stage depending upon the demand. ● Swimming pool ● Beauty parlour ● Shops, travel counter and one bank counter ● Adequate parking space for cars

● Channel music, television, telephone and Internet facilities in all the rooms ● Attached baths running hot and cold water ● Health club and spa ● It should be ensured that none of the rooms and bathrooms fall short of minimum carpet area standards prescribed by the Department of Tourism. ● In gauging the carpet area, wall and other areas such as entry passages etc should be excluded and the rooms and bathrooms should be designed so that the lengths and breadth are in reasonable proportion. ● The façade, architectural features, and general construction of the building should be distinctive to enable the hotel to secure the star rating. ● All public areas and rooms should be well furnished with carpets or marble or wooden flooring, curtains, furniture, fittings etc in good taste. ● There should be a well-appointed lobby, with ladies and gentlemen cloakrooms equipped with fittings of a standard. ● Professionally trained and experienced personnel should attend reception, cash and information counters. ● Restaurant, coffee shop and bar should be elegant, well equipped, well furnished and well maintained. ● Kitchen, pantry, storage and cold rooms should be professionally designed to ensure the efficiency of operation and should be well equipped. ● The hotel should offer international and Indian cuisine. Food and beverage service should be of the highest standards. ● There should be 24-hours service for reception, information and telephone. ● There should be provision for reliable laundry and dry cleaning services. ● Housekeeping should be of the highest possible standard with plentiful supply of linen, blankets, towels etc of best quality. ● Crockery, cutlery, glassware should be of the best quality. ● The staff should be professionally qualified, highly trained, experienced, efficient, courteous and smart, with clean and impressive uniforms.

Factors governing efficient hotel operations Basic factors to be considered for formulating a hotel project in order to ensure satisfactory operations are: ● Location ● Accessibility ● Availability of raw materials ● Manpower ● Utility services like power and fuel, water, garbage and sewage disposal systems and equipment.

Licenses and permissions There are certain licenses and permissions, which have to be procured before the hotel September 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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MARKET ANALYSIS comes into operation. Here are some of the licenses, which have to be applied for, and the list though exhaustive may not be complete as it varies from state to state. (See box)

Project cost As mentioned earlier, a 150-room hotel of four star standards may be constructed in the first phase with a provision for expansion up to 200 rooms at a later date. Keeping in view the scope of the hotel and assuming one acre out of the two acres of the land should be purchased outright and the balance one acre should be available on lease or outright buy.

Sources of finance Along with some prospective parties either individuals or well-established hotel chain, necessary equity could be raised and if required certain portion of the equity could also be raised through public subscription.

Pricing strategy For determining the hotel room tariff in the approved sector, a cost oriented pricing formula has been prescribed by the Central Department of Tourism. Income from other sources such as rentals, food and beverage are to be included in computing the tariff.

Marketing strategy for Baroda Hotel industry is in the service sector and calls for a specified marketing strategy. In order to formulate and for an effective marketing plan, certain important parameters should be kept in mind. I will briefly discuss these parameters with a specific reference to the proposed hotel at Baroda, keeping in mind the general environment at Baroda and the nature of competition. Description Occupation certificate Boiler Furnace oil / HSD / LDO (storage) / boarding (entertainment license) / swimming pool / eating house license (restaurants and staff cafeteria) Furnace oil / HSD / LDO (usage) / gas diesel generator / power / lift operating license Cold storage license Sewage connection approval/swimming pool/ eating house license (restaurants)/barber shop/laundry NOC from fire dept. Telegraphic address Weights and measures Laundry Liquor license (L-3/L-5) Import license (liquor) PFA nomination Money changers license Shops and establishment Sales tax registration 52

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Market environment As discussed earlier, traffic to Baroda requiring quality hotel accommodation is primarily commercial in nature. Business executives of private as well as public sector organisations frequently visit Baroda from Mumbai and other important commercial centers of the country.

Product strategy The most important element of any marketing mix is the product itself, the remaining marketing inputs are secondary to the fact that the product should be of distinctive quality to enable it to have a definite edge over its competitors. The following exclusive facilities are suggested to make the product unique: ● Swimming pool ● A well planned shopping arcade ● A conference and convention hall Authority Local development authority Chief inspector of boilers Licensing (police)

Ministry of petroleum, chemical and fertilisers, electrical inspector, local administration Directorate of marketing and inspection (central excise) Municipal corporation Chief fire officer Post and telegraph Inspector of weights Shops and establishment act Excise dept. Department of Tourism PFA dept. Reserve Bank of India Chief inspector, shops and establishment Sales tax officer

● Health club ● Beauty parlour ● Information or service

desk providing services like air and rail bookings, bookings for local entertainment etc ● Hotel booking and other important places ● Needless to mention that the most crucial factor for success in hotel industry is the personalised service

Promotion, publicity and sales strategy Inflow of traffic to Baroda would be mainly from the three metropolitan cities namely Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata and to a certain extent from Chennai. There would also be some inflow from other major commercial centers of the country. Therefore, the publicity and promotion strategy calls for a systematic image building though periodic advertisement insertions in the mainline commercial dailies and important business magazines. The campaign should start about two months prior to the formal commissioning of the hotel and the advertisements should appear periodically in media. The frequency of the insertions can be reduced after the hotel rooms come into operation. To reinforce the advertising effort, directmail shots could be sent to potential commercial organisations and a proper mailing list should be developed. Moreover, personal visits, to back up these direct mail shots, are also recommended. In order to make the selling effective, reservation facilities should be provided at all potential centers, by setting up offices, or by associating with leading travel agents. The cost of the project will vary from place to place, location to location, star category etc. But for the up market hotel, the cost of the room in the present context would be about a crore with all the modern amenities of international standards. ■ by CHANNI PANTAL


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EVENTS & HAPPENINGS

An in-house culinary competition for chefs at The Gateway Hotels & Resorts

T

he Gateway Hotels & Resorts presented Red Hot Chef – an in-house culinary competition, inspired by MasterChef Australia. It is the brainchild of Rustom Vesavevala, vice president learning & development at Indian Hotels Co.

Ltd. The competition aimed at building skills beyond the area of the chef's expertise and expanding their knowledge. Through the weeks, the chefs across The Gateway Hotels & Resorts put their heart and soul into the cooking competition, exploring different dishes and ingredients they have never seen or heard of. Some of them not only left the judges impressed, but have even surprised themselves with their ability to craft out delicacy after delicacy. Experts across different gastronomic spaces like bakery, pastry and desserts, Italian, Chinese, molecular gastronomy, making house wines, and plating skills divulged secrets with the partic-

ipants, opening up and sharing with them the different areas of the kitchen. The results of the grand finale of Red Hot Chef were held at IHM Aurangabad on 15th August. The participants went through six challenging days; whereby they were judged upon both knowledge and skill. They were put under tremendous pressure to check their creative ability, target to complete the dish and their comfort recipes but they all worked with zeal and spirit facing all the ten tough culinary challenges specially designed for them. As PK Mohankumar, COO of The Gateway Hotels & Resorts puts it, “it's not only about wining but participating.” ■

Chefs at a demo class

Chefs in action

The winning team

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EVENTS & HAPPENINGS

The Imperial, New Delhi’s annual Thanksgiving party for the travel & trade fraternity

urs and perial Travels & To ient Express president & GM, The Im Or m fro ar e dd vic Po ive ish ut an ec M oo, senior ex Vijay Wanch

Wanchoo wi th Sheema Vohra from Sartha Mar keting

T e to India Dayal from Le Passag UTAS with Sandeep m fro al Raw Mr Ms and

director, sales Gaurav Sindhwani, s International and vice Ser m fro gla Sin Pramod ng at The Imperial and strategic planni

wini Kumar, ja, Pravin Kumar, Ash Sudan, Chander Ahu dhu Ma l, Kau tam Gau Pradeep Bhatnagar Pradeep Kumar and

he Imperial, New Delhi organised its annual Thanksgiving party for the travel and trade fra ternity. The elite gathering relished the elaborate buffet prepared by Willi Haueter, executive chef, The Imperial. There were live food stations at the Pan Indian restaurant – Daniell’s Tavern and delicacies to be savoured at the European restaurant Nostalgia. Vijay Wanchoo, senior executive vice president & general manager, The Imperial, New Delhi spoke at length about the reason behind organising this extravaganza. “The annual Thanksgiving evening is organised to pay tribute to our travel and trade associates for their immense support throughout the year and it is an initiative to build stronger relationship with them. We were glad to host an evening for our honourable tour operators and trade fraternity along with media who have supported us over these years. We will host similar events in the future too.” The crème de la crème from the industry were seen enjoying the evening. Amongst those spotted were Shonali Dutta from Peirce and Leslie Travel Pvt. Ltd., Rajesh Khanna from Abercrombie & Kent India, Surinder Singh Sodhi from Thomas Cook India, Manish Poddar from Orient Express Travels & Tours, Rohit Kohli from Creative Travel, Krishna Wattal from Cox & Kings amongst other eminent personalities. ■ by VASUJIT KALIA

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PEOPLE

Young faces of the hospitality industry Hotelscapes introduces young entrepreneurs who have successfully launched restaurants and are in the process of expanding their restaurant chains.

W

ith the industry setting its roots deeper and looking at a high rise growth pattern, the hospitality industry is seeing new faces everyday. These young entrepreneurs, aged between 26-32 years are all set to make some noise in the industry with their wit, charm and sharp business acumen.

Shagun Somani, director, Legion Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. & owner, Hinglish The Colonial Café, Pacific Mall, West Delhi Hinglish The Colonial Café was opened eight months ago, and aims at closing at a

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crore per month, within one year of its operation. It’s a 70-odd seater café with an outdoor area and air-conditioned private gazebos. Somani is self-funded and has a corporate approach and team, as constituted by Legion Entertainment. Continuing with the corporate ethos, Somani has hired hospitality consultants to guide and set up his restaurants, as well as to carry out relevant operational and management training. He also outsourced design, branding and interiors to consultants capable of creating and executing the final product. The 32 year-old plans to open five stand-

alone restaurants in the course of the year is in the loop. A plan for separate hotels and resorts vertically is also being worked out. Starting his career with top notch MNCs, Somani has been a part of the corporate world for the past decade. His specialisation in sales and marketing techniques, and out of the box ideas to take the various brands to the next level have endeared him to the various MNCs from Nokia to Coke. The shift from the corporate world to hospitality is what Somani calls a planned decision. “I have been observing the growth patterns of restaurants, malls, cafes, cabanas and more during my tenure with the two


PEOPLE

Shagun Somani

Abhimanyu Maheshwari

Anubhav Swami

Yatin Kashyap

companies, especially during the stretch when I was in Goa. I thought now was the time to hop over the fence and use the expertise to create my own,” says he. Sir Terence Conran once said, “Restaurants are like a cockroach in my bloodstream” and Shagun has certainly caught that bug.

Abhimanyu Maheshwari, director, Zing Restaurants Pvt. Ltd & owner, Rang De Basanti Dhaba, New Delhi & Azad Hind Dhaba chain, Kolkata Abhimanyu Maheshwari has been running Kolkata’s most popular dhaba chain since eon. He has just opened the Indi-concept Rang De Basanti Dhaba in South Extension II, New Delhi. The concept restaurant is called Dhaba because the food and experience is akin to a dhaba, in a finish and with finesse that puts it right up there among South Delhiites. Rather than being a niche model that is exclusively designed for a certain segment, Maheshwari has ensured that RDBD has a class factor that welcomes all across segments, and pricing that doesn't put off anyone at the door. He plans to open three more outlets of Dhaba in Delhi, before taking the brand to his hometown Kolkata, in the next six months. A graduate in finance and accounts from USA, this 27 year-old made the switch to hospitality because of his love for food and travel. His drive for restaurants is borne in passion, not reason. The support and patronage to his concept and restaurant has come from Rocky and Mayur, anchors of the food show Highway on My Plate on NDTV Good Times, and former Olympian Milkha Singh. Interestingly, Maheshwari's wife is a trained chef from Le Cordon Bleu in London.

Rang De Basanti Dhaba

Anubhav Swami, proprietor, IDreamz of Web Anubhav Swami owns and runs a creative agency that is a specialist in the hospitality industry, creates designs and carries out brand building for hotels, restaurants, pubs and FMCG companies like Catch brand of the DS Group. The company also assists in advertising strategy and creative execution for hospitality and corporate. As part of his work, the 32 year-old works on the place, and food and beverage concept brief to come up with a name and corresponding logo, brand building and brand values attached to the same, all other graphic requirements which include in-restaurant collaterals, art and menus along with advertising and other creative, post-opening. His company has worked for over 500 restaurants in 39 cities of India, the prominent ones being Turquoise Cottage, Route 04, The Second Sin, Tabula Rasa, Spice Water Trail,

Mapple Hotels, Catch Salt and Spices-DS Group, Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza in USA, and restaurants in Middle East (Dubai). The company has been in existence for seven years now, but remains a small yet strong team.

Yatin Kashyap, owner, Beluga With a graduation and post-graduation in business and finance, Yatin Kashyap’s number crunching expertise comes straight from London, where he completed his masters. However, it’s not the numbers game that has got this 26 year-old interested in hospitality, but simply the passion behind being an entrepreneur in an industry that gets people to drool and enjoy great food and drinks. His brand new project Beluga is all set to open soon in the heart of South Delhi. Kashyap is on the look out for more concepts and places to take the stand-alone hospitality industry by storm. ■ September 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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People Kempinski Ambience Hotel Delhi Vella Ramasawmy has been appointed as the general manager of the upcoming Kempinski Ambience Hotel Delhi scheduled to open later this year in East Delhi. Ramasawmy also serves as the President of the Ambience Group. He is spearheading the hotel team to make it a new landmark for European luxury in India. He comes with three decades of experience in managing hotel operations for business and resort properties. He has helmed some of the world's most iconic hotels including the Grand Hyatt Muscat and Park Hyatt properties in Goa, Melbourne, Tokyo and Sydney, Sun City in South Africa and Le Touessrok Ile aux Cerfs by Sun Resorts and Le Saint Geran, both in Mauritius. He also launched The Leela Kempinski, Gurgaon.

The Metropolitan Hotel & Spa Delhi Sanzeev Bhatia has been elevated as the general manager of The Metropolitan Hotel & Spa. He is a science graduate with a diploma in hotel management. He has an experience of more than 28 years. He joined the brand in 2005 as operations head front office and was later promoted to operations head-rooms and assistant general manager. In his current role, he is responsible for the overall operations, profitability, growth and creation of unique guest experiences for the hotel along with the development of the hotel team.

Oakwood Premier Prestige Bangalore Raj Kakarla has been appointed as the general manager, Oakwood Premier Prestige Bangalore. He has close to 22 years of experience at properties in India, Nepal, New Zealand and Australia. Kakarla is responsible for all operations of the hotel located in the UB City. He will oversee the Oakwood property in Bangalore and open the group's second property there. An IHM graduate, Kakarla arrived on his new role in the garden 58

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city following twelve years of senior management positions with Stamford Hotels in Australia and Heritage Hotels in New Zealand. Vignesh Mani has been appointed as the director of sales and marketing for Oakwood Premier Prestige Bangalore. In his new role, he will be responsible for directing all sales and marketing efforts towards achieving operational goals of Oakwood. He would also be responsible for opening the second property of Oakwood in Bangalore. Prior to Oakwood, Mani has worked with Marriott in Chennai and has a rich experience in hospitality and service industry.

Carlson Trudy Rautio has been named the new president and CEO of international hotel and travel company Carlson. She is the fifth chief executive in the 74 year history of the family owned company whose brands include Radisson hotels, T.G.I. Friday's restaurants and Carlson Wagonlit Travel. Rautio has been a senior executive at Minnetonka based Carlson for 15 years. For the past eight years, she's been executive vice president and chief financial and administrative officer. Rautio is a graduate of Bemidji State University with an MBA from the University of St. Thomas in the Twin Cities. Her father, Curtis L Carlson, founded the company as the Gold Bond trading stamp company and grew it into a global conglomerate.

Formule 1 Ahmedabad Ketan Parmar has been appointed as the general manager at the Formule 1 Hotel, Ahmedabad. Parmar is responsible for overseeing the pre-opening hotel operations of the first Accor property in Gujarat. In his new role, he is managing the project responsibilities, along with supervising the hotel construction support management. He has over 15 years of experience. Prior to his current role, Parmar has worked with The Pride Hotel Ahmedabad, Country Inn & Suites, Carlson Ahmedabad, and Holiday Inn, Jaipur. He holds a diploma in hotel management from IHM, Ahmedabad.


People InterContinental Hotels Group Douglas Martell has commenced his role as vice president, operations, South West Asia for InterContinental Hotels Group. Martell will spearhead IHG's operations across India, Bangladesh and Nepal. He will also lead the team to grow IHG’s portfolio of brands, including InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn, as well as Holiday Inn Express, which will be making its debut in India later this year. Douglas joined IHG in 2001, and has since held various operational roles across Australia, Japan and Greater China. He last held the role of VP, food and beverage and operations for IHG.

Hyatt Regency Mumbai Sulabh Suri has been appointed as the director of human resource for Hyatt Regency Mumbai. Suri will be responsible for maintaining conducive work environment for the employees. Suri started his career with Hyatt Hotels Corporation in 2007 with Hyatt Regency Delhi. During his tenure he made contributions in the field of administration, marketing, operations, personnel training and development. He then worked with the pre-opening team at Grand Hyatt Goa as the director of human resources for over two years before moving to Mumbai. An alumnus from Welingkar Institute of Management, Suri is an IHM, Mumbai pass out.

Mövenpick Hotel & Spa Bangalore Thomas Joseph has been appointed the executive chef of the property. His key responsibilities will include overseeing the hotel's restaurants, designing signature breakfast and lunch menus, devising global cuisines, and bringing world class gourmet experiences to Bangalore culinary canvas. Prior to joining Mövenpick, Joseph was the executive chef at The Lalit Golf & Spa Resort in Goa. He comes with 15 years of experience, and has worked with JW Marriott Mumbai, The Leela Kempinski Mumbai and Trident, Mumbai.

Courtyard by Marriott, Mumbai International Airport Phongthorn Hinracha has been appointed the executive sous chef at Red Zen, Courtyard by Marriott, Mumbai International Airport. A master in Chinese, Mediterranean and Thai cuisine, chef Hinracha has over 15 years of experience. Having worked across hotels in Malaysia and Thailand, the chef will bring his Asian culinary expertise to this Pan-Asian restaurant. Prior to joining Courtyard by Marriott, chef Hinracha worked with Paresa Resort Phuket in Thailand. He has worked with Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort in Malaysia, Koyao Island Resort and Phang Nga in Thailand and Palm Garden Hotel IOI Resort in Kuala Lumpur. He began his career with the Koh Chang Grand Lagoona Resort in Thailand. He is the owner of Maha Sarakham restaurant, 300 km from Bangkok.

Sahara Star Mumbai Kroongtana Nimnu has been appointed the new chef de cuisine of the Pan-Asian restaurant Ocean at Sahara Star hotel. He has over 12 years of experience, and has worked with Royal Angkor Hotel Cambodia, Le Meridien and Westin. He has experimented with spa cuisine. Having travelled the world, he came to India two years back. After a short stint with Starwood hotels in India, chef Nimnu is excited about his new journey at Sahara Star where he will play a pivotal role in extending his culinary skills to the chefs and developing their culinary competencies.

The Leela Kempinski Gurgaon Emmanuel Guemon has been appointed the executive chef of The Leela Kempinski Gurgaon. In his new role, chef Guemon will be responsible for the culinary operations of the restaurants Spectra, Diya, Zanotta and the bar. He will also oversee in-room dining. With over a decade of experience, the chef’s gastronomic experience has journeyed him across Europe, the Caribbean and Asia. September 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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Products… Antica Ceramica launches Roma collection of wall tiles Ever wondered if the walls of your living room and facade could have the same artistic blend as your kitchen and bathroom? Antica Ceramica has hence introduced the Roma collection of wall tiles to transform any regular painted wall and adorn it with the extraordinarily resplendent look that it craved for. Increasingly in vogue, these tiles are available in endless designs including Fontana, Nettuno B, Nettuno T, Porta B, Dolce W, Dolce N and Dolce T with spectacular finishes and better combinations to give life to the walls of your living room.

These tiles radiate sensations of modularity and chic with their various neo classical architectural designs and pave way for a romantic story telling with the generous volumes of boisseries using marbles like crema marfil, emperador, statuario and marquina. Also available in options like boisseries, classic and modern decors, mosaics allows one to customise their walls according to their lifestyles. These white-bodied porcelain tiles are priced almost same as the base tile at an economical range of Rs 200 per square feet. For more details call 011-25116195

Notion introduces ‘engineered flooring’ Giving the most exquisite grandeur to the any living area, the wooden flooring gives an elegant yet trendy touch to add to your style conscious sensibilities. What would be better than having wooden flooring which is engineered to suit your household? Notion-Luxury Flooring Concepts has launched ‘Engineered Flooring’ to suit the most handsome habitats. Same in resemblance as solid hardwoods, these flooring tell a different tale as we dig beyond their surface. Three layers stacked across, glued and compressed under high pressure create heat and a flooring material that becomes impervious to humidity. These engineered floors hence suit almost every room in the house, even kitchens and dry basements. The engineered floor helps you make a stark impression on your guests, right from the floor, with your excellent choice of technology and art. Available in select timbers with various plank formats and installation patterns, different ranges and surface treatments open up a unique spectrum for exclusive floor design for both residential and commercial use. This high end flooring technology costs Rs 375 per square feet. For more details call 0120-4000500 or visit www.notion.net.in

IDUS brings fantastic plastic chairs Keeping up with their signature motto of 'home and refuge', IDUS has introduced a latest range of plastic chairs by the brands, Papatya & Pedrali. Designed and sourced for pure indulgence these plastic chairs are targeted at the connoisseurs, who appreciate the finer things in life and are unabashed about enjoying them. This beautiful and rich collection has a wide range in various materials including plastic, metal and wood. These chairs come in trendy colour options to suit the taste and requirements of today's customers with high-quality, ergonomic, aesthetic designs for home and offices. The range is light weight and can be easily moved around without any effort. It requires low or rather practically no maintenance. These chairs can be purchased at the IDUS store, New Delhi and are priced on request. For more details call 011-45888000 60

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Products‌ Inspiro, the intelligent oven by Electrolux After the premium kitchen range for the Indian consumers, Electrolux has been selling an innovative new oven: Inspiro. It is the first oven that uses heat management technology and a database of professional cooking techniques to automatically determine the right way to cook a dish and achieve the desired result. Just select the type of cooking, dial in the specific dish and press start. With hundreds of pre-programmed recipes, a heat

probe, weighing scale and simple ok button, perfectly cooked dishes are now just a touch away. It even determines what the correct final temperature of the dish should be and chooses the cooking mode (roasting, baking, grilling, and convection) or combination of modes needed to get there. A pyrolytic cleaning system cleans the entire inside of the oven - top, sides, door, light and oven base. The oven is heated to 500°C,

which reduces food residue to ash that can simply be wiped off without the need for chemical agents. The temperature probe allows you to measure whether the food is ready without even opening the oven door. Highly recommended for the ever busy consumers, who value to make better use of quality time, Inspiro is priced at Rs 90,800. For more details visit www.electrolux.com

Living bathrooms by Duravit Green In response to the global water scarcity affecting worldwide, Duravit Green has done their bit to initiate the concept of sustainable products for the bathroom. Making use of innovative technology Duravit aims at reducing the water consumption in bathrooms by introducing water-efficient toilets, innovative urinal technology and other low energy consumption, innovative materials. The dual-flush technology, with its unique technology button can help a household of four save about 17,000 litres of water per year. The McDry urinal, Architec Dry urinal and Utronic urinals operate without any water whatsoever. The plant based, biodegradable liquid in Mc Dry effectively prevents unpleasant odours while the Architec and Utronic urinals with individual flushing and service programmes guarantee high hygiene and a controlled, low water consumption of just one litre per flush. Also to relish a guilt free bath, the Paiova bathtub offers maximum bathing comfort with minimum water consumption.

Loom Crafts introduces Loom Clad

Going beyond water consumption, Duravit has been using LED lighting that generates power savings of up to 80 per cent compared with halogen lights, in all their state of the art bathroom furniture. Other innovative and eco friendly products would be the DuraCeram special ceramic and the WonderGliss ceramic coating. For more details contact pradeep.nair@in.duravit.com or call 079-66112338

For the first time in India Loom Crafts introduces the timeless luxury of permanent exterior wall surfacing solution with the introduction of high performance aluminium cladding. Designed for long-lasting weather proof walls, this surfacing solution is poised to revolutionise the building construction code in India. Forget annual maintenance and re-painting to give way to superior durability, seamless installation and ultra luxurious finishes. Loom Clad derives its high-end performance with the superior grade of aluminium and raw materials, multifunctional components, pure polyester powder coating to provide an extremely durable and fine finish. This UV resistant wall coating, impervious to weather and dampness, is available in a wide variety of colours and textures to suit all kinds of aesthetics. For more details call 9999968865 September 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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NEWS SNIPPETS INTERNATIONAL

EXPERIENCE LUXURY AT AVARI DUBAI HOTEL Offering a fascinating blend of customs and traditions of the Middle East with international facilities of a cosmopolitan lifestyle, the Avari Dubai Hotel, redefines the leisure and business hotel category by offering a lifestyle destination beyond comparison. The four star deluxe seven storey building with 178 newly renovated rooms, fully WI-FI hotel boasts of prestige and opulence while pampering its customers with an array of fitness, leisure and business facilities. A delectable range of leisure and dining options are available like the Wanasa, an Arabic night club, Chingari, the Indian night club, Olive Tree Restaurant offering international cuisine, Cinnamon Café to relax over a cappuccino, Rasputin Bar and O2 Karaoke, to provide you with the best karaoke experience.

ACCOR SURPASSES 100,000 ROOMS IN ASIA-PACIFIC With the opening of Ibis Hong Kong Central & Sheung Wan, Accor, the largest international hotel operator in Asia-Pacific, now operates over 100,000 rooms in the region. Given the region’s dynamic economic development and rapidly growing middle class, many more people are travelling today than ever before. Hence comes the growing demand for international standard, value-for-money economy hotels. The Ibis hotel offer is characterised by service and the best level of comfort in the economy segment, providing well-being at the best price. The Ibis Hong Kong Central & Sheung Wan is a 550-room hotel giving a vibrant, new direction for the brand. It is designed to appeal to the growing number of independent leisure travellers in the region. Located in the heart of one of Hong Kong's most bustling commercial and nightlife districts, the hotel is just a short walk from Sheung Wan MTR station and Macau Ferry terminal, and boasts convenient links to Hong Kong International Airport. A young and energetic team serves you with amenities like eight hours of breakfast service, a 24-hour bar and complimentary Wi-Fi Internet throughout the property.

LARGEST SHERATON OPENS IN MACAO The world’s largest Sheraton made its grand opening in September. Continuing the grand legacy of Sheraton Hotels, the Sheraton Macao, is located on the Sands Cotai Central. This milestone not only consigns another feather in the cap of the Sheraton Hotel chain, but also commemorates the 75th anniversary of the Sheraton Hotels and Resorts. Located in Macau's newest integrated resort, Sands Cotai Central, Sheraton Macao Hotel, is just minutes from world class shopping, dining and entertainment. For more details about the hotel please visit www.sheraton.com/ macao and www.sheratonmacao.com 62

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NEWS SNIPPETS DOMESTIC

HILTON WORLDWIDE LAUNCHES R THE SPA: THE FIRSTGROUP HOTEL SPA INNEW INDIA INTO TO ONYX HOSPITALITY TO EXPAND MICEMIDDLE CAMPAIGN INSRI ASIA PACIFIC THE EAST, LANKA AND INDIA RECEIVE NATIONAL ACCREDITATION R The Spa of Radisson Blu Plaza, Delhi has become the first hotel spa to be accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH), which is part of the Quality Council of India, an autonomous, non-profit organisation that runs national accreditation programmes. Dr Ramesh Kapur, chairman and MD of Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi, was presented with the certificate by Subodh Kant Sahai, India's Tourism Minister. “R The Spa earned this prestigious NABH recognition because of its adherence to global quality standards,” said Dr Kapur. R The Spa is a three-level, 20,000 sq ft complex offering wellness experience that blends Asian traditions with European therapies. Guests can enjoy lavish suites with aqua beds, Vichy showers and hammam tables, as well as a range of salon treatments.

GOA MARRIOTT RESORTS & SPA INTRODUCES THE FITNESS TRANSFORMATION PROGRAMME Goa Marriott Resort & Spa introduces its signature Fitness Transformation Programme, a wellness regime designed to transform one’s fitness levels. The components of the programme are structured exercise, relaxation therapy and a balanced sport nutrition meal plan, all customised to a client’s requirements and potential for an overall improvement in one's lifestyle patterns. The programme can be tailored to suit one's requirements for any duration between five to 30 days or even more. The Fitness Transformation Programme package includes accommodation in a bay view room, customised training programme supervised by Asif Khan, customised sports nutrition meals, spa therapies at the world renowned Quan spa, Internet along with Wi-Fi and airport transfers.

AMAZING OFFERS AND PRIVILEGES AT MARRIOTT HOTELS Free breakfast plus dinner for two at Lotus Café in Mumbai Book any time at JW Marriott Hotel Mumbai between now and September 30, 2012, and you can enjoy complimentary breakfast as well as dinner for two at Lotus Café. The hotel is located along the majestic gold sands of Juhu beach, and overlooks the Arabian Sea.

Enjoy 1,500 points per night in Gurgaon Stay at Courtyard by Marriott Gurgaon between August 22 and October 28, 2012, and you can enjoy 1,500 Marriott Rewards bonus points per night when you book the deluxe room or executive room. And you will enjoy more privileges when you book a room on the executive floor. The hotel is located in NCR, and is a short drive away from the airport. You can easily plan day trips to some of the city's tourist attractions.

Your third night in Chennai is on us From now until October 24, 2012 enjoy a complimentary night's stay with us when you book a room for two consecutive nights at Courtyard by Marriott Chennai. Located in the heart of the city, the hotel is ideal for business and leisure travellers. As a Marriott rewards platinum elite member, you can enjoy a complimentary suite upgrade in Asia Pacific. September 2012 HOTELSCAPES

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ourneyMart.com, a comprehensive online travel information platform, released statistics on the travel habits and research preferences of travelers. These insights have been gathered via their proprietary Destination Explorer property, a tool which utilises avant-garde technology, exclusive content and individual preferences to recommend the most suited holiday experiences to a user. In doing so, this tool captures quantitative data on search preferences of every unique user, thus presenting insights into consumer demands and behaviour. This year, ‘adventure’ has been the most popular reason for both domestic and international leisure travel with one in every four users searching for such an experience. While destinations such as Auckland and Bali were among the favourites for international holidays in this segment, interestingly some of the most commonly researched domestic adventure destinations were Lansdowne, Auli, Aizawl and Naukuchiatal. There are various adventure options offered at these destinations including trekking, kayaking, skiing and other mountain activities. Interestingly, the trends in domestic adventure travel appear to reflect a greater level of experimentation and maturity of today's traveler, as they seek a diversity of adventure activities across various regions of the country. 'Family holiday' was the second most important reason for leisure travel with 17.5 per cent users searching for the ideal family destination. While a large number of domestic travelers favoured the hills, those seeking international family holidays preferred destinations offering spa and

Adventure top reason for leisure travel: JourneyMart.com wellness opportunities followed closely by luxury experiences. Destinations such as Bhimtal and Lavasa interestingly ranked amongst the top few domestic family holiday spots while internationally the favourites were Bangkok, Hong Kong, Langkawi and Barcelona. For those seeking international holiday options, 'beach' holidays emerged as the third most preferred reason to travel, with 18.3 per cent of users selecting such an experience. Some of the most popular international beach destinations are Bali, Phuket, Cape Town and Bora Bora. On the other hand for those looking at domestic travel options, only 9.7 per cent opted for beach vacations, whilst 10.3 per cent chose ‘honeymoon’ making it the third most common reason for leisure travel within the country. Kodaikanal, Kasauli, Shimla and Srinagar emerged as the hottest honeymoon destinations in India while Goa, Kovalam and Alibag appear to be the favourite beach spots in the country. Some of the other primary reasons for travel included hills, backwaters, heritage, wildlife, pilgrimage, luxury, culture, spa and wellness and chilling. Apart from the above mentioned categories, this year has witnessed an increased interest in 'music and culture' related travel while the ever popular city getaways has retained its importance as a primary source for weekend getaway ideas from the metro cities across India. Speaking about the Destination Explorer technology, Varun Chadha, COO, JourneyMart.com, said, “With this search, we have 64

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innovatively responded to a travelers need for a comprehensive and credible source of information in the research and travel planning stages.” Substantiating this trend is a recent report published by PhoCusWright, which highlights that a considerable portion of travelers, especially in emerging markets, may not necessarily have a destination in mind when they begin their travel planning process and thus require appropriate destination selection tools. He further added, “With fundamental travel criteria’s integrated within the search such as one’s ‘reason to travel’, ‘season to travel’, preferred travel time and duration, we ensure that users have all they need to find their ideal holiday destination.” This intuitive holiday search displays relevant and comprehensive results on the basis of various established properties and proprietary information of JourneyMart.com, including its information bank of over 1000 domestic and global destination guides as well as concepts such as ‘city getaways’, covering over 200 getaways from major Indian cities and ‘holiday ideas’, offering a choice of destinations across 17 unique types of holidays. Seamlessly integrating information and technology via a property such as Destination Explorer, JourneyMart.com ensures that the user has all that is required to discover, plan and book their next holiday. ● Sample size – 100,000 unique users ● Profile of visitors – urban, contemporary travelers with an average age group of 25 to 45 years. ■


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HotelScapes September 2012