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HOTEL Business Review
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With the impressive growth in business travel in India during the recent years, the MICE sector has emerged as a sector with huge revenue earning potential in the Indian hospitality industry. This segment needs to be tapped by the industry, more creatively and vigorously. The industry needs to give an impetus to the country’s existing MICE infrastructure by further developing its conferencing and banqueting facilities. The time is ripe for the management of more and more hotels and resorts in India to develop conferencing and banqueting facilities of international standards, within their properties. Offbeat but enchanting destinations, which can be ideal for brainstorming MICE sessions amidst pristine nature and solitude, also needs to be developed in this regard, and in this context the support of the state governments and the union government is the need of the hour. Our Cover Story discusses the various dimensions of the MICE business in the Indian hospitality industry, through interactions with industry experts, which the reader may find interesting. Nowadays room revenues are no longer the main source of income for many hotels in India. F&B and banqueting businesses have emerged as very important revenue earning sources for the Indian hospitality industry. Some hotels have also undertaken innovative exercises to tap more F&B revenues from their in-house restaurants, and more are expected to follow. The Business Story explores this growing trend in detail. The Feature section deals with the ideal attributes for comprehensive health and wellness resorts for post-modern India, which can garner impressive revenues for the Indian hospitality industry. This is largely because India’s medical tourism and wellness tourism markets are expected to increase significantly in the near future. The story also deals with the possibility of Indian hotels and resorts to effectively harness the huge revenue earning potential of Bollywood. The Profile section deals with the achievements, opinions and visions of a savvy hotelier, and the increasing role of revenue management personnel in the Indian hospitality industry is being discussed in the Operations section. The challenges faced by the Housekeeping Managers in hospitality properties across India are briefly covered in our Housekeeping section. The opinions and perspectives aired in these interesting features are as usual, complemented by the rich information base of our News, Report and Event sections. We hope our comprehensive coverage of the trends and happenings in the Indian hospitality industry would keep our readers engrossed between the covers of this issue.
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The general consensus among the Indian hospitality industry experts, till about a decade ago, was that the revenue earned from the hotel rooms was the main income earner for the hotel industry. But this is no longer true. The F&B outlets in hotels, in India, are now major contributors of the hotels’ revenues.
The impressive growth in medical tourism and wellness tourism can lead to good business potential for health and wellness resorts in India. It is also about time our hospitality industry cash in on India’s passion for Bollywood...
These days, the role of Revenue Managers in many hospitality properties across India have become much more complex and challenging than it was a decade or two before. With the maturation of the Indian hospitality industry, now they cannot afford to be room-centric but need to explore all possible ways of profit for their hospitality property.
Predictions are that India would be one of the top five source markets for corporate meetings and events and the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) sector. The time is ripe for the Indian hospitality industry for giving an impetus to the MICE infrastructure in the country and tapping this huge potential for revenues.
WelcomWellness SPA at WelcomHotel Dwarka, New Delhi, promises to be a wonderful retreat from the humdrum and chaos. Set in a contemporary ambience, it offers a tranquil environment to rejuvenate the body, mind and the spirit.
Fighting age-old attitudes and meeting ever changing guest expectations, sometimes with limited budget, while motivating, training and retaining the team members are some of the biggest challenges that Housekeeping Managers in hospitality properties in India face everyday
Sonica Malhotra, the Joint Managing Director of the MBD Group, presents herself as every inch a corporate honcho; a savvy and successful hotelier, fostered by a wise and yet pragmatic vision.
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HOTEL Business Review
Heimtextil and Ambiente India Record Rise in Visitors
he third edition of India‘s leading home fashion business platforms — Heimtextil India and Ambiente India — held at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi from June 22-24, set new visitor records, attracting 8,443 business visitors from across the Indian subcontinent, a 17 per cent increase from last year. Exceeding expectations with a stunning display of the 2016 home fashion collections by 165 companies from seven countries and some of the industry’s most revered brands, the three-day co-located fairs marked the beginning of pre-festive business for trade agents, retailers, architects, interior designers, hospitality purchase managers and design experts. From the 2016 Autumn-Winter collection by Raymonds to a first-of-its-kind memory fibre for soft feel products by Reliance to advanced digital textile printers by Colorjet, Heimtextil India raised the curtains on the very latest in home furnishings and textiles. Renowned home décor brand and the world’s largest producer of upholstery and curtain fabrics, D’Décor for the first time launched their 2016 collection tailored for the Indian market as opposed to its signature European styles. Next door, Ambiente India saw the launch of Brand Triston Home by Zakaria Shahid Industries, Nilkamal’s new outdoor collection and the abstract wall décor collection by Vedas. From the big brands like Ceramic Tableware, Kai Corporation to start-ups like iShippo.com, Living with Elan, Devnow etc., Ambiente India housed the most creative home 4
ware and interior decor segments attracting buyers from across the country. Welcoming the high turnout of serious business visitors at their stalls, exhibitors shared that they expected strong business in the coming months. “Heimtextil India and Ambiente India fairs, being centrally located, not only attract good numbers but also provide quality visitors,” Ambiente India exhibitor Palash Agarwal, Proprietor, Vedas Exports said, Standing true to the repute of its parent brands Heimtextil and Ambiente, the colocated fairs in India provided quality contacts for those looking to tap the domestic market. Hospitality Day Draws Target buyers Differentiating itself from its previous editions to add further value to exhibitors‘ participation, Heimtextil India and Ambiente India joined hands with the Hospitality Purchase Manager’s Forum (HPMF) whose members visited the show over the three days. The exclusive ‘Hospitality Day’ on 23rd June saw a series of business-centric workshops and buyer-seller meets which was widely appreciated by the exhibitors. Sole producer of blackout fabrics in India, Alps Industries Ltd launched its new three pass blackout range at the show and was also happy with the buyer-seller meets with Hospitality influencers. Amitabh Sen, Business Head, Alps Industries Ltd said: “Last year we were at Heimtextil India with a clear goal of entering the domestic market. The contacts at the show really helped us create this standing and
visibility among domestic buyers. This year, the show seems to be even better and we have developed a good contact base for business with the buyer-seller meets. For international players, it is a truly great platform and we want to see it grow further.” Looking to source products for their expansion plans, Amit Aggarwal, Materials Manager, RadissonBlu Hotels, said: “My main interest was to meet new vendors for textile and linen products who can extend their supplies for our upcoming projects. I have carefully chosen a few vendors who I would like to sign up with. I also found an interesting exhibitor for our tassels requirement. Heimtextil India and Ambiente India will certainly benefit our industry, especially in the project planning stage.” Interior Lifestyle Award One of the central attractions at the show, the Interior Lifestyle Award (ILA) Experience Zone attracted more than 500 applications from aspiring designers under the home textiles and home decor categories. The awards were swept away by three talented female designers - Riddhi Jain, Akriti Kumar and Nayanika Bhatla who will represent India at Heimtextil and Ambiente in Frankfurt next year. “The ILA Experience Zone is not just about art. It holds strong commercial value. Seeing the results displayed here, I am confident that these young winners can best represent India’s design potential at the world’s biggest fairs,” said Sunil Sethi, President, Fashion Design Council of India.
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EVENTS’ CALENDER Fi and Hi India 2016 22-24 August 2016 Pragati Maidan, New delhi www.foodingredientsglobal.com/india/home Asia Fruit Logistica, 2016 7-9 September 2016 Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong www.asiafruitlogistica.com
HOTREMAI’S 34th AGM Held
Cakeology 16-18 September 2016 Bombay Exhibition Centre, Goregaon East, Mumbai www.cakeology.in
Annapoorna World of Foods India- 2016 22-24 September 2016 Hall 6 , Bombay Exhibition Center, Mumbai www.worldoffoodindia.com
he 34th Annual General Body Meeting of Hotel & Restaurant Equipment Manufacturers’ Association of India (HOTREMAI) was being held on 22nd July 2016. Ajay Khanna, the President of HOTREMAI, talked about the increasing role of the organisation during the recent years. “We have aligned with the HPMF (Hospitality Purchasing Managers’ Forum) and PPFI (Purchasing Professionals Forum-India) on the way forward. HOTREMAI’s website upgradation is very important, which we are working on,” he said. R Kumar, the Founder & President of Honour of HOTREMAI, narrated the journey of the association over the years. Describing HOTREMAI as “an all India association,” he asserted that “let it not be confined to the north alone.” He urged the EC to extend its activities in other regions of India also. As far as HOTREMAI’s role in exhibitions is concerned, Kumar was very optimistic when he said the association should not be dependent on Aahar alone, and should think on the lines of organising `HOTREMAI Exhibition` in the times to come. Here it deserves a mention that the association proved its strength when it participated in AAHAR 2016 exhibition at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, in a big way, through 133 member companies who occupied 4567 sq.mtr of space. Kumar reiterated that the association should take initiative against the unfriendly taxation policies, which have forced the Indian manufacturers to suffer taxes as high as 35 percent. He further asserted that as an association, “We should route our problems through the apex bodies to the concerned department/ministry and make them realise that this is a great injustice done to the Indian hospitality industry as a whole.” 6
He again advocated the idea of forming sub-committees for every department to discuss issues and developmental plans and ensure their effective implementation. The Secretary assured that the matter would be taken up in the next EC Meeting. The Secretary of the association, Anil Malhotra, presented before members of the General Body the Executive Committee report on the affairs and activities during the period 2015-16. PA Prabhu, VP (South), HOTREMAI, suggested that the association should start the provision of getting membership registration online. This will on one hand make the membership procedure of HOTREMAI easier and, on the other hand, go a long way to increase the number of foreign members. On upgrading the HOTREMAI website, Prabhu suggested that the association should give some space to every member in its website with a username and password, where the members may post their issues, opinions, etc., which can be shared by others. The Secretary informed that the association was working on similar lines and was trying to get the job done in two months. As there is a paucity of trained labour in the industry, Prabhu further suggested that the members of the association should think of having tie-up with ITI to get their workers trained there. During the last financial year ending March 2016, 51 new members have joined HOTREMAI. The membership position of the association as on 31st March, 2016 was 361, comprising of 101 Life Members, 252 Ordinary Members and 8 Associate Members. This includes four foreign members too.
International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) 8-11 October 2016 Las Vegas Convention Centre, Nevada, US www.ibie2016.com SIAL Paris 2016 16-20 October 2016 Paris Nord Villepinte, Paris www.sial.fr HOSTECH by Tusid 2016 2-5 November 2016 Istanbul Turkey www.hostechbytusid.com EquipHotel 2016 6-10 November 2016 Paris Expo Porte de Versailles, Paris, France www.equiphotel.com Bakers Technology Fair 2016 11-13 November 2016 HITEX Exhibition Center, Hyderabad www.bakerstechnologyfair.com Emballage 2016 14-17 Nov 2016 Paris Nord Villepinte, Paris www.emballageweb.com Hotel Investment Forum India 2016 17-18 November 2016 JW Marriot Sahar, Mumbai www.hifi-india.com Hotel Expo 2016 23-25 Nov 2016 The Venetian Macao, Macau www.hotel-exhibition.com
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Lemon Tree Strengthens Presence in Gujarat As part of its expansion drive across India, The Lemon Tree Hotel Company recently opened two new properties in Gujarat – one in Vadodara and the other in Dahej. The company already has an upscale property in Ahmedabad. “We are excited at our fast paced growth in Gujarat. Gujarat being one of the most progressive and investor-friendly states in India, we were keen to spread our wings here,” said Rattan Keswani, Deputy Managing Director, The Lemon Tree Hotel Company and Chairman, Carnation Hotels. Lemon Tree is the 3rd largest hotel chain in India in terms of owned rooms. It operates 3 brands - Lemon Tree Premier (upscale), Lemon Tree Hotels (midscale) & Red Fox Hotels (economy) and currently has 29 hotels in 18 cities with over 3,200 rooms, a company statement said. By 2019, the group has plans to own and operate over 8000 rooms in 60 hotels across 30 major cities of India.
ITDC Surges High on Profit in Quarter-1 India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), the public sector undertaking under the aegis of the Ministry of Tourism, posted a remarkable performance for the first quarter of the current financial year 2016-17. The total turnover in the quarter ending June 2016 increased to Rs.110.5 crore as compared to Rs.105.96 crore in the corresponding quarter of the last year. The company registered Net Profit Before Tax (PBT) of Rs. 13.78 crore as compared to Rs. 2.77 crore in the corresponding quarter of the previous financial year, an increase of a significant 397 percent.
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Treebo Hotels Raises Keys Hotels Unveils Aggressive Expansion 112 Cr Series B Funding Treebo Group of Hotels, the Bengaluru-based technologyenabled chain of budget hotels, has raised Rs. 112 crore in its Plans Series B funding round; led by Bertelsmann India Investments Keys Hotels, a leading brand of business and leisure hotels, has announced its expansion plans for the future growth in the Indian market. The company has already started aggressively in this direction with the three new launches — Keys Hotels in Vishakhapatnam, Keys Hotels Malabar Gate in Calicut and Keys Lite Om Niwas in Jaipur. While the property in Vishakhapatnam is an owned hotel the other two are franchisee hotels. The company also plans to open 8-10 new management contract hotels in the next 12-18 months by adopting asset light strategy. “Keys Hotels is committed to expand its footprint across smart cities and we will adopt asset light strategy to support this growth. We are pleased to launch three new hotels as a part of this expansion plan. Calicut, Vizag and Jaipur are very important markets for us as all three cities are attracting a large volume of leisure tourists and business travellers. Apart from these cities, we are looking to be present in major smart cities and we have aligned our growth plans accordingly,” said Anshu Sarin, CEO, Berggruen Hotels Pvt. Ltd.
(BII), the strategic investment vehicle of the international media company, Bertelsmann. The round also saw participation of existing investors, SAIF Partners and Matrix Partners India. The company said it would use the new funds for expansion, marketing, and technology investments. “Treebo is serving a huge unmet need in the budget travel space - that of reliable and affordable accommodation. We are excited to partner them in a journey towards building the most loved consumer brand in the hospitality space,” said Pankaj Makkar, Managing Director of Bertelsmann India Investments. Founded in 2015 by Sidharth Gupta, Rahul Chaudhary, and Kadam Jeet Jain, Treebo currently has 125 hotels in 25 cities across the country within its network. “Bertelsmann is a highly respected name in the venture capital world. They are known for taking a long-term view of their investments, and for supporting companies that are building sustainable, value-creating businesses. Further, their vast experience in media will prove invaluable in helping build the Treebo brand. We couldn’t have asked for a better partner in this journey,” the Co-founder of Treebo, Rahul Chaudhary said.
Club Mahindra Opens Resort Near Saputara Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Limited (MHRIL) has launched a new resort in Maharashtra’s Hatgad, just six kilometres from the hill station of Saputara, Gujarat. Spread over an area consisting of approximately three acres, ‘Club Mahindra Hatgad’ is located on the Nashik – Saputara road with breathtaking views of the Saputara Hills as well as of the famed Hatgad Fort. Situated on a plateau in the Western Ghats at an altitude of about 1,000 metres, Saputara is a hill station in Gujarat. The destination promises city dwellers a relaxing and rejuvenating experience where they can explore the Hatgad Fort, the Vansda National Park, Gira Falls and the Saputara Tribal Museum, amongst other attractions. “Club Mahindra Hatgad, located just 6 kilometers from Saputara, is within driving distance from Nashik, Surat, Ahmedabad, Pune and Mumbai, making it an ideal family getaway destination for our members,” said Kavinder Singh, MD & CEO, Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Limited. 10
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HOTEL Business Review
Keys Hotels Awarded the Best Mid-market Brand
The Ashok Wins Coveted National Tourism Award
Keys Hotels, part of Berggruen group of hotels, bagged the ‘Best Mid-Market Brand Award’ in the West and South region at the recently held India Hospitality Awards & India Travel Awards. India Travel Awards are supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and several trade bodies. “This is a prestigious award and we take immense pride in receiving this honour. Recognition like this provides a boost to our passion to serve the best to our customers,” said Anurag Mishra, Head Marketing, Berggruen Hotels Pvt. Ltd.
The Ashok, New Delhi, a flagship property of India Tourism Development Corporation, was awarded with National Tourism Award 2016, held recently at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. The Ashok won the award under the category of ‘Best Hotel Based Meeting Venue.’ Hailed as one of the highest honours in the tourism industry, National Tourism Awards felicitates the Indian tourism and travel industry and the State Governments
Team The Ashok with ITDC C&MD receiving National Tourism Award
Executive Chef M U Kasture receiving National Tourism Award
and Union Territory Administrations for their outstanding contribution in the field of tourism. The Ashok, New Delhi has 550 rooms, and collection of superbly equipped meeting and banquet venues. Chef M U Kasture, the Executive Chef at The Ashok, New Delhi, also won the coveted National Tourism Award, under the category of ‘Best Chef- 4 to 5 Star Deluxe, Heritage Grand and Classic Hotels.’
Hyatt Regency Chandigarh Awarded The prestigious National Awards for Excellence in Travel & Tourism recognised Hyatt Regency Chandigarh as ‘The Most Preferred Emerging Hotel of the Year’. Puneet Baijal, General Manager of the hotel, received the award at the award ceremony, which was held at Taj Lands’ End, Mumbai recently. Hyatt Regency Chandigarh features 211 well- appointed rooms and suites, more than 36,000 square feet flexible meeting and event space, a range of exceptional dining facilities and a spa & club.
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Award for Kerala’s Awards Galore for JW Vasundhara Marriott Mumbai Sahar JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar was conferred with five awards at the Sarovar Premiere National Awards for Excellence in Vasundhara Sarovar Premiere, Vayalar, added another feather to its cap as it won the first place
under ‘Hotels’ category of Kerala State Pollution Control Board Annual Awards 2016. This is the third time the hotel has received the award and the second time it is has been placed first in the state. The award was accompanied by a Certificate and a cheque of Rs. 1,00,000/-.
Hotel Industry for the year 2016. Saeid Heidari - General Manager, JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar has been adjudged as the Most Admired GM of the Year 2016 and the Most Admired Hospitality Professional of the Year 2016. Shilpi Khanna – Director of Services, JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar, was awarded the Most Admired Executive Housekeeper of the Year 2016. Also, Spa by JW at JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar was recognised as the Most Preferred Spa for the Year 2016. The hotel was also awarded the Most Preferred Luxury Hotel of The Year 2016. “Being awarded at this prestigious platform is a reflection of the hard work and determination put in by the team at the property,” said Saeid Heidari, General Manager at JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar. The National Awards for Excellence in Hotel Industry is a premium forum bringing together the stalwarts of the Indian hospitality world and awarding them for their outstanding contributions to the industry.
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Know the Best Hotels to Work for in India With its overall sixth rank, Marriott Hotels has topped the Hospitality segment in the list of 100 best places to work for, released by Great Place to Work (GPTW)-Economic Times Survey-2016. The Great Place to Work Survey was conducted among nearly 800 organisations across industries to choose the best companies to work for in India, this year. The list was topped by Google India. The Oberoi Group and Lemon Tree Hotels are the only two other companies in Hospitality segment that made it to the top 10 with their overall ranking of eighth and ninth respectively. “The spirit and attitude that every Lemon Tree employee brings to work each day is unique. I thank all of them for making us one amongst the Top 10 best companies to work for in India. These rankings also reinforce our resolve to continue our focus on inclusiveness and equal opportunity,” said Patu Keswani, CMD, Lemon Tree Hotels.
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WelcomHeritage Wins ‘Best Heritage Hotel Chain’ Award WelcomHeritage has been honoured with the ‘Best Heritage Hotel Chain’ award by Today’s Traveller for the fifth consecutive year. This year’s award ceremony celebrated the 10th Annual Today’s Traveller Awards and cover launch of coffee table book named ‘Game Changers’ in New Delhi, on 1st August. Vijay Goel, the Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports was the Chief Guest for the evening. Sunil Gupta, CEO From left, Kamal Gill, Managing Director, Today’s Traveller; Sunil Gupta, CEO, WelcomHeritage; Vijay Goel, Minister WelcomHeritage, of State for Youth Affairs and Sports; Sunil Sikka, Headand Sunil Sikka, Marketing & Business Development, WelcomHeritage and Head — Marketing Kewal Gill, Director, Today’s Traveller. & Business Development, WelcomHeritage received the award.
Nearly 100 Chefs Take Part in AHP Hospitality Challenge A total of 90 young Chefs from 20 prominent hotels participated at the third edition of Hospitality Challenge 2016, organised by Association of Hospitality Professionals (AHP) at Delhi Institute of Hotel Management recently. The three-day long event provided the young professionals an opportunity to display their hospitality skills. One of the challenges was Culinary Challenge, which gave budding Chefs the opportunity to showcase their knowledge and innovations in different types of cuisines. “We are glad to organise the third edition of AHP Hospitality Challenge this year. The chief objective of organising this event every year is to establish, motivate and honour all the Young Hospitality Professionals for their talent. It is a brilliant dais for them to display their individual and combined skills, and creative talent while learning and sharing experiences,” said Sireesh Saxena, Joint Secretary, AHP.
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The Leela Palaces Hotels and The Claridges Celebrates 30 years Resorts Wins Laurels The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts was ranked the world’s fifth best hotel brand and its flagship hotel — The Leela Palace New Delhi – was voted one of the top three city hotels in Asia. The awards were a result of a worldwide Readers Poll conducted by Travel + Leisure USA, in which readers hand-picked and rated the world’s most exceptional hotels on five key parameters — quality, location, service, restaurants, and value. Rated among exclusive luxury hospitality chains worldwide, The Leela, a network of nine properties across India, was voted fifth in the ‘Top 15 Hotel Brands in the World’ category and The Leela Palace New Delhi was ranked third in the ‘Top 10 City Hotels in Asia’ category. “We are delighted to make our debut amongst the ‘Top Five Hotel Brands of the World’ and thank the discerning readers of Travel + Leisure USA for their appreciation. This recognition shall further spur our young talented team to continue to offer the finest hospitality experience and find new ways to delight our guests,” said Rajiv Kaul, President, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts.
Sarovar Hotels Launches New Property at Palmapur Sarovar Hotels recently launched a new property at Palampur, in the Kangra Valley in Himachal Pradesh. Set in the heart of the quaint tea capital of North India, the new hotel — RS Sarovar Portico — has 43 rooms and suites offering magnificent views of the Dhauladhar mountain ranges. Room categories include Superior Rooms, Premium Rooms, Junior Suite, Executive Suite & Presidential Suite. Speaking on the launch of the new property, Rajesh Ranjan, Director — Development, Sarovar Hotels Pvt. Ltd., said, “We are very glad to be launching the first branded hotel of Palampur. Palampur is an important leisure destination that attracts nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. It is the gateway to numerous tourist and pilgrimage destinations in Himachal Pradesh.” “We hope to bring in a new level of comfort and facilities to travellers to this region with our superior accommodation and excellent services,” he added.
HITEC City Gets its First ibis Hotel Under their joint venture in India, AccorHotels and InterGlobe Hotels recently announced the opening of ibis Hyderabad HITEC City, marking the debut of the economy brand in the vibrant city. With 178 well-appointed rooms, the hotel boasts of a contemporary design that offers great comfort and convenience with a range of in-room amenities, at an affordable price. Speaking at the hotel’s launch, J.B. Singh, President & CEO, InterGlobe Hotels, said, “Along with AccorHotels, we are very happy to bring ibis to Hyderabad HITEC City which is the ideal brand and offering for the frequent business travellers as well as the leisure travellers to Hyderabad.” 18
of Dhaba The Claridges New Delhi has completed 30 years of one of its oldest outposts, the iconic Dhaba in Delhi. Dhaba has been satiating its diners and patrons for three decades with its signature North Indian fare in a typical Dhabastyle eatery, in the five-star hotel. Dhaba first opened its doors in 1986 and today,
after 30 years of excellence; its culinary perfection stands undisputed in the Indian hospitality industry. The restaurant stands on a legacy guided by the rich traditions of North Indian roadside eateries and is inspired by the contemporary fine dining experience.
Park Inn Jaipur Opens New Italian Restaurant Park Inn Jaipur, a Carlson brand managed by Sarovar Hotels & Resorts, has introduced a new Italian restaurant named La Italia. The rooftop restaurant offers authentic Italian food and an exciting selection of international wines and beverages, especially from Italy. La Italia’s menu offers an exciting mix of colourful and delicious salads, freshly baked breads, thin crust pizzas prepared in an open wood-fired oven, and handmade pasta. A gorgeous range of desserts including the popular favourites Tiramisu and Panacotta are also on the offer. Park Inn Jaipur has 76 rooms and a suite with business facilities including meeting rooms, conference halls and a 3,000 sq ft banquet hall. The hotel located in Bani Park, about 14 km from Jaipur International Airport, is at a 15-20 minutes’ drive from almost all tourist hotspots of the Pink City such as the Amer Fort, City Palace of Jaipur, Hawa Mahal and Nahargarh Fort.
HOTEL Business Review
Industry stalwart Asghar Ali has been appointed as the President of The Claridges Hotel Group is proud to announce the appointment of their new Group President. He has over three decades of top management experience in major industrial sectors. Ali’s career began with the Thapar Group in 1980, and he worked his way through Eicher International Ltd., Ashok Leyland Ltd., and finally, as President External Affairs to the global conglomerate – Punj Lloyd Group Ali has experience in strategic government relations, public affairs, business development, exports, international collaborations and green field projects.
K.B. Kachru has been appointed Chairman Emeritus and Principal Advisor, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, South Asia. Kachru has been instrumental in building the business in India since 1998. Most recently, he was Chairman the hotel group. Prior to that, Kachru served as Executive Vice President, responsible for the overall strategy, hotel development, management and functional support of key markets within South Asia, overseeing Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s joint venture companies in India. In his new capacity, Kachru will continue to be on the board of the Group’s South Asia business entities.
Novotel Goa Resorts & Spa has appointed of Siddarth Noronha as the new Executive Sous Chef. Chef Siddarth brings with him over 12 years of working with some of India’s most eminent hotels. He began his career as a Trainee with the Taj Group of Hotels, and later moved into the Hyatt family before moving to the Accor Hotels. Novotel is the midscale hotel brand of AccorHotels, a leading hotel operator with presence in 92 countries. In his new role, Chef Noronha will guide the team to churn out the most exquisite spread of delicacies with a firm focus on great taste and value.
Manish Sodhi has been appointed as the General Manager at The Lalit Hotel, Mumbai. In his new capacity, Sodhi will oversee the hotel’s operations. Prior to this appointment, Sodhi had long stints as General Manager of The Hotel Sahara Star in Mumbai and Aamby Valley City in Lonavala. With over 17 years of hospitality experience, Manish’s previous roles span successful terms at The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts and the Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. Sodhi graduated from Southern New Hampshire University and got a Master Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Johnson & Wales University.
Chef Anthony En Yuan Huang
Mohit Sharad has joined us as the General Manager – Sales & Marketing (North & East) of Concept Hospitality Pvt Ltd. In his new role, Sharad will be responsible for leading sales strategies and initiatives for the North and East region, managing all group hotels and business accounts, and maximising all revenue streams. In his career spanning over 14 years, Sharad has worked with several prestigious hospitality groups including ITC WelcomHeriatge,
Sarovar Hotels has appointed Neeraj Mishra as the General Manager of RS Sarovar Portico, Palampur. Mishra brings with him over 15 years of experience in the industry. His areas of expertise include operational management, sales & marketing, project launches, F & B operations and quality control. Prior to joining Sarovar Hotels, Mishra had worked as the General Manager of The Fern Residency Rajkot and The Hype Saiva Continental Dehradun..
Fairmount Jaipur has appointed Srijan Vadhera as the General Manager. Vadhera, brings with him more than 18 years of experience holding executive positions in the hospitality industry in various reputed hotel chains, specialising all aspects of hotel operations, with an avid interest for sales and marketing. Before taking over as GM at Fairmont Jaipur, Vadhera was Resident Manager at Shangri-La Hotel Bengaluru.
Chef Anthony En Yuan Huang recently joined JW Marriott Bengaluru as Executive Chef. With more than 20 years of experience in the culinary sphere, Chef Anthony specialises in Asian cuisine. Before joining JW Marriott, he served as the Executive Chef at Kochi Marriott Hotel. In his earlier stints, Chef Anthony had worked with The Oberoi and Hyatt Hotels.
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Sarovar Hotels has appointed Vaishakh Surendran as the General Manager of Poetree Sarovar Portico, Thekkady in Kerala. Surendran brings with him over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry. Some of his previous assignments include roles as General Manager – Keys Hotel, Thiruvananthapuram; Hotel Manager – Keys, Katti Ma Chennai; Operations Manager – Aquatic Floating Resort, Cochin; Front Office Manager – Alila Diwa.
Shree Ram International Jodhpur has appointed Rakesh Chauhan as the new General Manager. His last assignment was with Hotel GenX Jodhpur as a General Manager. Chauhan is a hotel management graduate from IHM Chandigarh with over 17 years of experience and he specialises in hotel operations, revenue management, performance enhancement, best practices implementation, setting up process and implementation, quality compliance.
Lords Inn, Shirdi – a Lords Hotels and Resorts brand, customised for a pilgrimage tourism experience has appointed Amit Ambre as its Operations Manager. Prior to Lords Hotels and Resorts, he served as the General Manager at the Lily Sarovar Portico, Nashik and was responsible for maintaining and continually improving operational performances In his career spanning over 16 years, Ambre has held various positions at some of the well-known mid-market properties.
Signature Club Resort, the newly launched lifestyle club at Devanahalli, has announced the appointment of Narendra Prabhu as General Manager. This Bengaluru club resort by BCV Developers Pvt. Ltd., a joint venture of Brigade Enterprises with Classic Group and Valmark is managed by Brigade Hospitality. A passionate hotelier with over 18 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, Prabhu joins Signature Club Resort with expertise in national and international hotel operations.
Nagarkar has been appointed Atul as the Learning & Development Manager for Novotel Goa Resorts & Spa and Novotel Goa Shrem Hotel. With over 12 years of extensive experience and domain expertise, Nagarkar will focus to discreetly align the Learning & Development activities with strategic organisational direction at both the Novotel properties in Goa.
N o v o t el Hyd e r a b a d A i r p o r t
Keys Hotels has appointed Nidhi Gupta as Regional Director, Sales and Development. In her new role, Gupta will play a pivotal role in generating new sales leads and contacts, whereby leading to the growth and expansion of the Keys brand into new markets. Nidhi has close to two decades of experience in the hospitality sector.
Rajan Malhotra Shangri-La Hotel, Bengaluru has appointed Rajan Malhotra as the Director of Sales and Marketing. In his new role, Rajan heads the hotel’s sales, events, revenue management, reservations, marketing and corporate communications divisions. His key responsibilities will include overseeing all aspects of the hotel’s sales and marketing strategies, including revenue forecasting and developing business plans, in addition to the recruitment, training and managing of the hotel’s sales team. Rajan brings with him fourteen years of rich experience in the hospitality industry. His last assignment was at Le Meridien Jaipur for over four years, as the Director of Sales and Marketing. He had previously been associated with brands such as Taj, Hyatt and Zuri.
announced the appointment of Ravi Khubchandani as the hotel’s new General Manager. In his new role, Khubchandani will focus on enhancing overall guest experience at Novotel Hyderabad Airport, bringing about stellar growth in revenues, and develop a talented and committed team to manage the hotel operations.
Manveer Kapoor Premier Inn, a leading Britain-based hotel chain, has announced the appointment of Manveer Kapoor as General Manager of Premier Inn Goa Anjuna. Kapoor will oversee Premier Inn’s latest property in India, which is currently in its pre-opening phase, and features 130 bedrooms, a locally themed all-day dining restaurant and bar, swimming pool and banquet hall. The hotel is due to open later this year. Kapoor previously served as General Manager at Country Inn Suites Goa Panjim and has over 16 years of international experience, covering all aspects of hotel management and operations.
Patrons Al Marjan Island LLC Hyatt Hotels and Resorts JW Marriott Hotel Mumbai Sahar
Platinum Partners AccorHotels Best Western Hotels & Resorts Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group Fortune Park Hotels Ltd Hilton Worldwide STR Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces The Oberoi Group Wyndham Hotel Group
Media Partners Asian Hotel & Catering Times DDP Publications – Hospitality Talk Global Destinations GlobalHotelNetwork.com Hammer Publishers Pvt. Ltd. Hospitality Biz, Saffron Synergies Pvt Ltd Hotel Analyst ITP Publishing India Pvt. Ltd. TODAY’S TRAVELLER Traveltechie.com Supporters AHLEI
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Rep or t
HOTEL Business Review
Presenting a Buffet of
Quality Hospitality By Ashok Malkani
n the recent past, JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar celebrated its one year anniversary. “There is already a JW Marriot in the town and so people in Mumbai are aware of the impeccable services provided by the brand. So this property, which is in close proximity to the airport, had no problem in attracting guests. Our hotel, JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar, charges higher rate than any other hotel in the vicinity. Yet we are able to attract guests and, at times, have 100 percent occupancy, as we provide not only immaculate service and the extensive F&B menu, but embody the brand’s unimpeachable reputation,” iterated Saeid Heidari, General Manager of the hotel, on the occasion of the completion of the hotel’s first anniversary. He disclosed that their buffet had an awesomely wide range of foodstuff and it was priced moderately to attract large number of foodies. The buffet comprised of expensive gastronomic delights like Alaskan crabs to satisfy even the most fastidious connoisseurs of food. “I do not believe in price, I believe in value,” he averred. “If the food is not of good quality, even if you offer it at a throw-away price, there would be no takers,” he reasoned. When asked why he lays so much emphasis on food, he disclosed that if a room was empty a visitor would not know about it but when a person steps into a restaurant and finds very few diners it affects the reputation of the outlet. He was quick to add, “We also adhere
to the same high standards of quality in our rooms. There is no compromise . We believe in providing above-reproach service, which is the reason for our high occupancy rate, in spite of us charging about Rs. 3000-4000 more than any other hotel in the area. It is not the price that makes a difference, it is the value that you provide that counts,” he asserted. Speaking about the popularity and the service provided by the hotel, he stated that they had started off well and they had already bagged several awards. When asked what the hotel had achieved for the industry at large, he stated that JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar had “Raised the bar for other brands as well, because they have realised that they would have to raise their standards to meet the competition that we pose.” He further added, “We have created a demand with our brand, not only in the
neighbourhood but all over the city.” He stated that as the hotel progressed, the responsibilities and onus of keeping the guests satisfied increased. “We have to be continuously on our toes because, in the initial stages the guests may accept a few lapses as teething troubles, but now that we have completed one year they would not be willing to accept any slips or failures on our part. With the advent of time they expect the service to be of the highest standard,” Heidari stated. “To be able to serve the guests beyond their expectations we have continuously raised the standard of training. There is also the responsibility of training new recruits as older staff gets promoted. Recently 31 employees were promoted. When you are replacing these employees you have to make sure that the new recruits not only gel well with the rest of the team and maintain the quality of
Re p or t service but also raise it by a couple of pegs,” the hotelier affirmed. While discussing guest satisfaction, he disclosed that with the advanced technologies, they had developed a sophisticated feedback system, which is known as the JW Sahar Guest Voice Group. “When I get up in the morning, I get a list of the rooms that were occupied and any issues that the guests had and the action that had been taken to solve the problems. It also lists the guests’ comments,” Heidari said. He recalled that about 15-20 years back, when he was a Junior Manager, if the guests had any issue, they would write about it when they reached back home, and the response from the hotel would come on receiving the letter. Thus about 10 days used to elapse before the guests’ complaints were addressed. Now the issue can be solved within very little time. “Today when you receive an email and if you don’t respond quickly, they ask why we are ignoring him/her. I think the world is changing and becoming much more fast and sophisticated,” he observed. Talking about the market, he said that it was good and in fact, was much better than they were anticipating. “We have
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come with a large inventory and we are doing over 60 percent after a year which is a testimony to that,” he informed. When reminded about the adverse impact of recession on economy, he said that India was different. “India is able to generate 80 percent of our business. We don’t need to rely too much on overseas business. Our clientele comprises more of Indians, thus even our F&B outlets serve more of an Indian cuisine. I may add that the hotel industry is not affected by recession immediately as the work that has been undertaken has to be completed.
Thus it is only 6-9 months after recession that the hotel industry is adversely impacted. And consequently, it takes an equal time for it to come back after the recession is over,” he elaborated. The question of earning the staff’s loyalty and ensuring that they ensure guest satisfaction came up in the discussion. “When they see that the GM is on his toes and always building up rapport with the guests, it acts as an incentive among the staff. We have camaraderie between the employees and the management. There are no walls built on the basis of designations. Everyone in the hotel calls me by my first name. It is the Marriott culture. Getting the engagement of people, I think, is the most important element in bringing the best performance out of them,” Heidari explained. As a parting shot I queried him on which segment had been the largest revenue earner for the hotel. He stated that in the initial stages of the hotel it had been the F&B. “However,” he added, “The JW Marriott has a hallowed name in the market and I believe that every segment of the hotel is a revenue earner.” “We are now concentrating more on marriages,” he concluded. n
HOTEL Business Review
The MICE Factor in
The global MICE market is estimated to support about 400,000 conferences and exhibitions around the world, making it a 280-300 billion USD market. The Asian MICE market is believed to be only about 60 billion USD. However, this market has been growing at a rate of about 38 percent over the last decade. India, however, merely accounts for 0.5-1 percent of the global MICE market. The target set by the Government of India is to attain a share of 2 percent of the global MICE market by 2025. Ashok Malkani finds that, gauging from current trends, this is not an improbable target as there are encouraging signs of the Indian hospitality industry being cognisant of the demands of the MICE sector and is set to meet them. Notwithstanding the recent recession, this market is contributing heavily to the overall earnings of hotels and resorts in India. 26
redictions are that India would be one of the top five source markets for corporate meetings and events and the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) sector. The demand for meetings is on the rise and though companies are not splurging, luxury venues are not being ruled out either. India happens to be the 10th largest business travel market in the world. Nearly 1.5 million Indians are travelling only for MICE purposes. MICE requirements are growing for different sectors in the country, ranging from industries such as FMCG, telecommunications and insurance to pharmaceuticals, healthcare and energy. Thus the time is ripe for the Indian hospitality industry for giving an impetus to the MICE infrastructure in the country and tapping this huge potential for revenues. However, the opinion whether the recent recession has affected the Indian MICE sector is divided.
The Affects of Recession ? “India’s economy continues to boom and we continue to see growth in business for MICE. Hospitality in Mumbai, and in the country, will continue to boom. Mumbai being the economic hub of the country attracts business travellers from all across the world and within the nation. The market in Mumbai, I believe, still has room for many more hotels. Mumbai being the financial capital has a great influx of movement owing to business,” expressed Saeid Heidari, General Manager — JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar. Megha Ajgaonkar, Director of Sales & Marketing, Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel & Lakeside Chalet, Mumbai — Marriott Executive Apartments, has a slightly different view. “The MICE business in the country has not seen much slowdown considering it is a mix of corporate and association requirements, many of which are annual in nature and are to be executed regardless. The nature of business however is becoming increasingly competitive due to cost pressures on these corporates and associations, resulting in increased expectations on getting the most competitive bids,” she affirmed. “Despite an economic slowdown, tightening of budgets and cost
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sensitivities from the corporate division, our MICE segment has been steady; rather it has improved by 30 percent as compared to the past two years,” Satyajit Kotwal, General Manager, The Resort, Mumbai(Madh Island) averred. Stephanie D’Silva, Director of Sales & Marketing, JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu, however, said, “Travel to other destinations/cities has reduced; most companies prefer to do their off sites in the operating city. Most companies have a travel freeze until further notice. Thus MICE business is definitely not on the upswing.” “As the trend in various corporates is towards saving costs, therefore many MICE events are getting very low response due to the companies utilising their inhouse conference/meeting rooms more frequently. Hence this is one of the major points which, in a macro as well as micro level, is affecting the business of rooms in terms of occupancy and also the hotels’ revenues from food & beverage,” declared Parvez Sheikh, F& B Manager, Hotel Marine Plaza Mumbai. “Jaipur is one of the most sought after incentive destinations, but with the global economic slowdown this segment has taken a major hit. Jaipur has witnessed a decline in the number of incentives coming in from major inbound source markets like the US, the UK, Spain and Australia. Also, as the major corporates have cut down the travel &conference budgets, it has started putting pressure on hotel room rates. Probably the only segment of the Indian hospitality industry which is not affected by recession is wedding,” revealed Lovesh Sharma,
Director of Sales & Marketing, Jaipur Marriott Hotel. Sarosh Khatib, Senior Vice-President — Sales & Marketing, Concept Hospitality, added, “The effect of slow down is majorly seen on rates and not on the business volumes. The business flow is uniform.” “The slowdown has impacted the Indian hotel industry very badly. MICE is probably the worst affected because a significant number of MICE travellers comes from the corporates and the nosediving economy has affected almost all establishments, big and small,” averred Kamlesh Barot, the past President, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) and Director, Vie Hospitality Pvt. Ltd. “The current global economic situation has affected the MICE segment but the impact is largely not seen in India as the domestic market has been robust,” opined Kumar Shubham, Director of Sales, Courtyard by Marriott Gurgaon. “With the changing dynamics in the global economic scenario, emerging economies in Asia and the Middle-East are becoming important business destinations. The Indian economy has been witnessing rapid development and huge investments in infrastructure and manufacturing, on IT services, healthcare, hospitality and many other sectors. As a consequence, increase in business activities has led to a boom in the MICE segment in the country,” declared Rohan Sable, General Manager, Novotel Goa Resort and Spa, and Novotel Goa Shrem Hotel. However, all said and done, for India the domestic MICE market is quite strong and inbound MICE market is gradually
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picking up with the active support from the Ministry of Tourism. MICE has also emerged as a crucial segment for hotels in the country these days with inventories rising day by day. With the corporate segment growing in India there is ample opportunity for the Indian hospitality industry to reap dividends from the MICE segment, but it also depends on making the right policies in this direction. “Driven by inbound and domestic tourism, the MICE business in India has not been unaffected by the worldwide economic slowdown; however, the repercussions here have been relatively moderate as compared to its effects seen internationally,” articulated Radhika Tata, Associate Director of Sales, Novotel Imagica Khopoli. “Today, MICE tourism is one of the most promising markets in the tourism industry and shows a lot of potential for good business in India. The corporate market and percentage of business travellers forming the MICE industry today is at an all-time boom. While our MICE segment is a substantial part of our revenue generation, our property is working towards becoming an unmatched MICE destination,” she pointed out further. “Today, India is seen as one of the fastest growing economies by the world.
By virtue of the country’s economic growth and considering the hotel’s strategic location, MICE at Sofitel Mumbai BKC has shown significant growth over the last year and is majorly driven by incentive travel and weekend conferences,” informed Sanjeev Advani, the Director of Sales and Marketing, Sofitel Mumbai BKC. “The MICE industry, after the global economic recovery, is on a rapid move and is adapting to the new trends and methods. The changing trends which are influencing global economies, particularly the technological revolution, are making their presence felt in the way in which events and meetings are being conducted. Assimilating these changes seamlessly and responding to them with strategic initiatives will only make Indian MICE industry stronger than before,” he pointed out further. “From industry predictions we can infer that the MICE sector is on an upward trend. The Indian MICE market is now bouncing back after recession. The demand for meetings is on the rise and though companies are not splurging, luxury venues are not being ruled out either. Infrastructure development and the vision for India over the last ten years is making it an attractive business destination, creating opportunities for hotels in the country to develop their MICE offerings and
match the standards set by their global counterparts,” explained Gorav Arora, the Director of Sales and Marketing, Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre & HICC. “Some of the country’s travel policies and processes have also witnessed improvement and this has encouraged MICE organisers to consider India as an ideal MICE destination. Hence, the current environment in India has been quite conducive towards developing the MICE segment,” Arora added further.
Role of Different Sectors As discussed before, MICE requirements in India are growing from different sectors in the country, ranging from industries such as FMCG, telecommunications and insurance to pharmaceuticals, healthcare and energy. Regarding this the writer discussed with the experts to get their perspectives and valuable information. “While oil & gas industry has reduced its spend on MICE in the counntry, the consulting, IT and automobile segment are continuing with their conferencing requirements. Pharma companies as well as associations continue to drive MICE tourism into India. At the Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel, we are dependent extensively on MICE business, especially over weekends, when the opportunity to get larger conferences
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is higher due to low down in transient movement,” informed Megha. “All major industries in India promote MICE. About 20 percent of Pride Plaza Hotel, Aerocity, New Delhi’s earnings come from the MICE segment,” affirmed Pankaj Mathur, General Manager, Pride Plaza Hotel, Aerocity, New Delhi. “IT, automobile, pharmaceuticals and finance have largely contributed to the expansion of the Indian hospitality sector. JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar is equipped to handle large conventions, meetings and weddings owing to the flexibility of space offerings. We have 56,000 sq.ft of indoor and outdoor convention spaces, which can be utilised as per the needs and demands of the market. MICE forms a big part of revenue generation for us,” informed Heidari. “Major contributors to the MICE business in the country are pharmaceuticals, banks, automobiles, engineering and IT companies. They have year round MICE business to offer. They are followed by aviation, FCMG companies, govt. bodies, etc. At the Resort Mumbai (Madh Island) 45 percent of total revenue is from MICE. I believe that
almost every resort or hotel with adequate conferencing facilities should have 3545 percent of their total revenues from MICE,” declared Kotwal. “IT industry, banking & pharmaceutical companies are the major promoters of MICE tourism. However, industries from infrastructure & PSUs are also sharing a small pie in promoting the MICE tourism. MICE business is the backbone of banquet facility at Hotel Marine Plaza Mumbai. It contributes 50 percent of the banquet revenues of our hotel. Secondly, the more the MICE business, the revenue contributions from occupancies in rooms as well as from banqueting become a major chunk of pie in the hotel’s revenues,” explained Sheikh. Sharma is of the opinion that all major industries can contribute to MICE business. “Jaipur Marriott Hotel has positioned itself as the preferred MICE destination with a large room inventory as well as meeting spaces. MICE is one of the most important segments for the hotel, contributing over 50 percent of the total hotel’s business; we have got an 80:20 mix of domestic to inbound MICE business,” disclosed Sharma. Stephanie too opined
that all major industries were contributors to the growth of MICE segment. “Tourism boards of various countries, regional/ state tourism bodies, pharma associations, industry bodies such as CII are some of the key associations promoting MICE in India. MICE contributes substantially to Fern Hotel & Resorts Pune’s revenue. We have select location for hosting big conferences and we expect the contribution of this sector to keep rising,” disclosed Khatib. Sable too is of the view that all industries can generate MICE revenues. ”However, the periodicity changes,” he said. “While banking and financials top the charts, automobile, pharma and electronics are also catching up fast. Startup companies, which are mushrooming, are the new opportunity for the Indian hospitality industry,” he opined. “MICE and banquets have become an integral part of mid to large sized hotels in India, during the past five years. Both our hotels – Novotel Goa Resorts & Spa and Novotel Goa Shrem Hotel – have a substantial share of MICE. On an average, MICE segment contributes to almost 40 percent revenues of Novotel Goa Resort & Spa and about 35 percent of Novotel Goa Shrem Hotel,” he added further. “Health and pharma, electronics, public sector and fashion are some of the industries amongst others that are known to contribute towards MICE revenues in the country. Approximately thirty percent of the total earnings of Vie Hospitality’s hotels come from MICE,” asserted Barot. “Pharmaceutical companies, medical, finance and banking, automobiles, textile, engineering companies, insurance and IT sectors, etc. are some of the key users of the MICE facilities in India. Novotel ImagicaKhopoli is a destination which is
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perfect for MICE and off-site activities and has hosted a large number of MICE events within just few months of its launch. Having become a place of choice, MICE contributes up to 55-60 percent of our hotel’s revenues,” said Radhika. Sunil Bhatia, Director, Sales & Marketing, The Mirador, Mumbai, was of the opinion that travel agencies, tour operators, hotel chains and certain airlines as well as mid and large scale event organisers and wedding planners promote MICE business.
“Some of the significant contributing industries in our convention facilities at Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre & HICC are information technology sector, healthcare, banking, finance and education sector. A significant percentage of our hotel’s revenues are generated from hosting MICE events,” affirmed Arora.
have risen to this challenge commendably. “Meetings and events are getting more tech-savvy than ever before. Apps downloaded on smart phones and iPads, easily accessible mobile sites, and Facebook pages dedicated to meetings are assisting planners with the registration process and are informing them of programmes. They are also offering an easier method to gather feedback from participants after the events. Taking down notes through iPads, LCD projectors, and the latest audio-visual tools are the most ‘in’ thing now. Some
The New-age Meetings With advancing technology, meetings and conferences often demand the usage of hi-tech equipments. Hotels in the country
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corporates also request our hotel for video conferencing facilities,” elaborated Kotwal. “New technological devices that are demanded from our hotel are high speed wi-fi, video conferencing and hologram,” stated Sheikh. “JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu has the most updated meeting technology applications. From virtual conferencing to hybrid meetings, we have an option to provide for comprehensive MICE requirements for our guests,” stated Stephanie. Sable views that the organisers expect the hotel’s banquet space to be equipped with the latest audio-visual technology. “The Novotel Goa Resorts & Spa and Novotel Goa Shrem Hotel provide the latest hi-tech facilities. Video conferencing/web seminars, live workshops/web casting are now becoming common expectations for conference planners,” he added. “We at JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar believe in offering customers with the best of services and giving them a plethora of options to choose from, right at their finger tips. We have developed a meeting services app that can be used across Marriott properties in the country. Meetings Imagined is an online platform modeled on the user-friendly Pinterest.com and the Chinese Huaban. com online forum. The Meeting Services App is a continuation of our innovation in technology, spaces and services, and builds upon the brand’s existing offerings. The app provides real-time connectivity to Marriott for meeting planners and features a wide range of functions. This includes a chat facility to connect MICE organisers with Marriott’s event team throughout the planning and execution process, and allows Marriott to respond immediately to any issues or requests, and to inform the planner on how the request 32
is being handled,” declared Heidari. “In today’s world, companies have branches around the country and even around the world. Hence, the technological devices they require (specially for webinar) are lapel mic, stick microphone, audio mixer, webcam, projectors, speaker, etc.,” aired Mathur. Megha informed that Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel & Lakeside Chalet, Mumbai — Marriott Executive Apartments had introduced the Marriott’s Meetings Imagined package. ‘With Meetings Imagined, we give the power of curating the meetings from setup to cuisine to the end client.” Sharma disclosed that at Jaipur Marriott Hotel, they offered meeting & conferencing application on smart phones, LED screens, through video conferencing and live transmission, and through 3D interactive presentation and iPads. “New dawn of technology has enabled us at Courtyard by Marriott Gurgaon to deliver services which are more result oriented. Services like seamless video conferencing from two different parts of the world to WATCHOUT multi-screen software for the high impact presentation market are relevant examples in this direction. Managing the event venue from one touch device is currently being used,” averred Shubham. “The transformation in technology can be seen in smaller details like substituting notepads with iPads, to major changes like holding a conference across countries from a single location i.e. Webinars. At Novotel Imagica, all meeting rooms come with the latest audio-visual equipment and wireless Internet access, thereby making them perfect for corporate events,” stated Radhika. “Faster wi-fi devices to connect large
audiences at the venues, smartphone and tablets with in-built written pad, and improved video conferencing devices with best clarity in video and sound (real time) are now in demand,” claimed Khatib. “Latest audio-visual equipment that facilitate conferencing; projectors and screens for presentations; mobile convergence; digital checkout and signage are typically the devices that are in demand by MICE clientele these days,” iterated Barot. “With multinational entities finding their ground in Mumbai, the need of the hour is to be constantly connected with offices from across the globe. Sofitel Mumbai BKC is equipped with a fullservice business centre, the latest audiovisual conferencing technology, as well as high-speed wireless Internet access, allowing seamless connection between different time zones. The floor dedicated to InspiredMeetings™ rooms also flaunts a Loft Kitchen to cater to large-scale meetings,” stated Advani. Bhatia declared that video conferencing was the latest fad among MICE clientele in India. He added that this was one of the reasons why some people did not attend the meeting in person as one is able to conference without being there. Overall, we can conclude that MICE not only has great potential to garner revenues for the Indian hospitality industry, but meetings and conferences across hotels and resorts in the country are also becoming or have become very much technology-intensive. So what exactly is the future of MICE in the country and what are the challenges that are posed to the Indian hospitality industry to garner more business from the MICE segment? Are convention facilities offered in India adequate? These and a number of other topics will be discussed in our next issue.
HOTEL Business Review
F&B’s Impressive Role in
The general consensus among the Indian hospitality industry experts, till about a decade ago, was that the revenue earned from the hotel rooms was the main income earner for the hotel industry. But this is no longer true. The F&B outlets in hotels, in India, are now major contributors of the hotels’ revenues. It is believed that nearly 50 percent of the hotels’ revenues in India come from F&B, banquets and others while only 50 percent is from the room earnings. This share of the room revenues to hotels’ earnings is expected to go further down in the Indian hospitality industry, over the years. Ashok Malkani takes a look at the current scenario and ascertains the causes of the changing developments. 34
he Indian hospitality industry has emerged as one of the important industries which has been fostering the growth of the services sector of the Indian economy. If you picked up the income statement of any random hotel a decade back, it is likely that you would have found that the rooms department was the dominant revenue center in the hotel. By itself, rooms could possibly account for anything between 60 percent to 80 percent of hotels’ revenues. But this is no longer the truth in the Indian hospitality industry. The F&B and banqueting contribute to nearly 50 percent of the hotels’ earnings in the Indian hospitality industry these days. It may also be mentioned here that rooms require investment in fixed assets in a big way. Thus the profitability level from the room earnings tend to decrease over the years. The best way to understand features of the rooms and food & beverage department operations, from a financial perspective, would be to compare them. To begin with, rooms are a much more structured operation than food and beverage. Rooms operation generally has a limited number of products (room types) compared to food & beverage, which can have a plethora of offerings. Hotel room, as a product, is less flexible than food & beverage. This means that once a hotel is up and running, any changes to the room may require demolition and/or reconstruction
and renovation. Of course, you can carry out soft refurbishments but that may turn out to be superficial. The change in food & beverage infrastructure on the other hand, is more flexible and a new restaurant can be developed with very less structural change in the hotel’s architecture. This has implications for the investment and its returns.
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percent in the last few years,” he added. Sahdev Mehta, GM of DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pune - Chinchwad disclosed, “India’s food and beverages industry is expected to expand at an average annual pace of 24 percent to reach Rs.3.8 trillion in sales by the year ending 31st March 2017.” “The eating out trend has been growing exponentially in urban India for many years and has evolved from just an occasion-driven activity when people wanted a change from home-food to a more common occurrence. Today, the Indian food and beverage sector is going through a marked transformation with diners looking not just at a variety of cuisines but also wanting concept-driven innovation. The hospitality industry is thus now trying to create new restaurant concepts, built around specific themes,” Mehta pointed out. Vinesh Gupta, ex-GM of the Mövenpick Hotel & Spa Bangalore, now GM of an upcoming five-star luxury hotel in Bengaluru, concurred with Vinayak and stated, “A decade or two earlier, the average room rates were high and the profitability was as high as 92 percent. Now, the profitability is close to 75 percent, with operating costs, especially labour costs, going up. F&B operations in Indian hospitality industry, on the other hand, are having profits ranging between 50-55 percent on an average, and there is exponential growth potential. The gap between the profitability between hotels’ rooms and their F&B options is bridging. The per36
square-feet yield of F&B has increased in the Indian hospitality industry.” According to a recent HVS-FHRAI report on the Indian hotel industry, the share of revenues from the F&B segment – which includes banquets and restaurants – rose to 42.6 percent in 2014-15 against 36.6 percent in 201011, while the share of revenues from rooms declined to 50.9 percent in 201415 from 57.2 percent in 2010-11. The report reveals that the rooms’ expenses had increased by 10.2 percent on a per available room (PAR) basis, during this period, as compared to 2013-14. “Within the F&B segment, banqueting is showing great potential, which is powered mainly by MICE, and this has positively impacted our F&B revenues; boosting overall revenues at
ITC Hotels,” said Dipak Haksar, Chief Executive Officer, ITC Hotels. For The Oberoi Group, approximately 40 percent of its revenues are accounted by food and beverage. “For us, the ratio has increased from 35 percent to 40 percent on an overall basis. As more and more Indians have begun dining out, we believe that food and beverage will play a very important role for the Indian hotel industry, in the times to come,” said Kapil Chopra, President, The Oberoi Group. Sofitel in Mumbai has witnessed the ratio of room to F&B revenues fluctuate to 51:49 from 70:30, within three years. Hotel sources reveal that a strong F&B element automatically gets good business for the rooms. If you enhance your F&B elements, locals tend to patronise your restaurants and hotel, which eventually
Figure: Revenue Sources for the Indian Hotel Industry
Source: HVS-FHRAI Reports
could facilitate room business too. Moreover, with stand-alone restaurants giving upscale hotels in the country a run for their money, hotels in India are trying to exploit the potential of the F&B segment to the fullest and are coming up with newer ways to offer more than just good food and drinks. “We are gearing up our F&B outlets to compete with freestanding restaurants and so we are constantly doing R&D and new things like flying down international Chefs, food promotions, designing new menus, etc,” said a personnel from Sofitel Mumbai BKC. Most of the hoteliers attribute the increasing revenues from India’s F&B segment to changing demographics, increase in income, urbanisation and growth in organised retail.
Exciting Initiatives One may add that the F&B and banqueting segments of the Indian hospitality industry are being encouraged because by 2017-18 the total room supply across hospitality properties in the country is expected to
grow to 175,980. Nearly 36 percent of these rooms are expected to be in the mid-budget segment and 18 percent in the luxury segment. In the short run, industry experts say that the demand and supply gap in the sector could widen with more supply coming in the market. The hotels have thus started innovations in the F&B departments. Haksar of ITC Hotels says the company has incubated new brands in cuisines like Japanese and Italian to stay relevant and contemporary in its offerings. The company also launched a premium vegetarian dining restaurant named Royal Vega at its luxury property ITC Grand Chola in Chennai. When it comes to the Indian F&B scene, diner-engagement concepts have always played a key role in generating profitability. Some of the concrete examples are the concept of 21 tea and coffee selections at the Emperor Lounge at Taj Man Singh Hotel, New Delhi and at the Sea Lounge in The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai; the Unlimited Wok Buffet at All Stir Fry at Gordon House Colaba (that made interactive buffet a trend); the Sunday Brunch at the Emperor Court at Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel (that popularised the idea of limited menu live buffets). Over the last decade there has been a sea change in the way F&B concepts are being developed and executed in India. Take the case of Varq, the fine dining restaurant of IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), which introduced the concept of experiential dining with their contemporary presentation of Indian food in a thoughtfully crafted ambience that was put together to engage its guests. It became the first restaurant to curate its design around specially commissioned artwork of the famous painter Anjolie Ela Menon. Indian Accent, the dining destination of The Manor, Delhi, became a trendsetter at introducing the culture of fine dining to the scene with its table theatrics. Sofitel Mumbai BKC’s Tuskers made the vegetarian thali in a Scotch bar a winning revenue driver for the hotel. All these have been responsible for the changing scenario of food service business in India, which are becoming significant revenue generator for a hotel. Now dining out isn’t just about the food,
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it is about experiences – that something extra. Nowadays every single thing in the restaurant, including the fragrance used, has to be in sync with the food and should be a conversation starter. One can say that we are witnessing the emergence of the new food conscious culture.
Banqueting Business Incidentally, the F&B segment of the hotels also includes banqueting. This section, which was earlier primarily driven by food and beverage, has now evolved into a full-fledged event management activity. With the MICE sector expanding in India, so has the scope for banqueting. This facility is now being promoted and new hotels are coming up with increased banqueting space. ITC Welcomgroup’s Grand Chola in Chennai has a 100,000-square-feet banquet hall; ready for weddings and red-carpet events. The recently opened Kempinski hotel in New Delhi has a ballroom large enough for 6,000 guests. Grand pavilions are also central to other new hotels like the Taj Vivanta in Gurgaon and the JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar as also to the JW Marriott Hotel New Delhi Aerocity. Krishani Chhatwal, Director of Shrem Resorts, informed that the company invested in importing a German hangar specifically for its banquet in Grand Mercure. “It is important to have banquets because that is what facilitates business in our hotel during the weekdays and summers,” opined Chhatwal. This demand for banqueting space is also applicable to stand-alone hotels.
Small scale weddings usually prefer stand-alone banquet set ups. Here it deserves a mention that from just weddings and conferences, banquets today have moved to cover specialised events such as training, product launches, wine dinners, exhibitions, themed parties, sit down dinners, board meetings, etc., each of which requires experts such as Event Managers to handle them. The needs and demands of the customers have evolved greatly over the years and banquets have moved on to cater to these changing requirements. People today are also looking for innovative ways of celebrating important events in their life and the banqueting business has to ensure that it keeps its customers happy. “Our guests are well travelled, thus exposed to the best of the international offering. We have to keep adapting ourselves to changing expectations to keep up with the latest trends,” affirmed Manav Malhotra, Director, F&B, The Park Kolkata. But making banqueting business a success is not a piece of cake for the
hotels. It requires a fine eye for details such as location, infrastructure, services and marketing. The location of the hotel having the banqueting operations must be appropriate and easily accessible to the target clientele of its banqueting services; the banqueting facility at the hotel should be spruced with facilities for catering, décor, sophisticated audiovisual equipment, and be characterised with speedy service. Right marketing and advertisement is also necessary to ensure that people are aware of the banqueting facilities in the hotel. Since banqueting is becoming an important element in the Indian F&B sector and is playing a crucial role in the profitability of a hotel, the necessity of technology in this sector becomes imperative. The endeavour should be to provide seamless connectivity with the latest technology. Upgraded acoustics which is the key requirement for the success of any event or meeting these days, proper audio/video facilities along with technical support and Wi-Fi facilities are becoming the part of banqueting infrastructure in hotels across the country. However, these facilities shouldn’t be limited to the premium hotels only. Only then the banqueting business in India can reach its true potential. Use of technology helps ensure that the conference and banqueting business runs smoothly; providing a quick response to customer needs and fulfilling all aspects of event and banqueting planning, quickly and efficiently. With online menus, themes and decoration options, it has now become much easier to sell the banquet facilities for hotels. Today there are single software solutions available for managing banquets, which is also a facilitative factor for the industry at large. At the same time, personalised banquets are gaining currency in the Indian hospitality industry. Overall, one can say that these days hospitality properties in India have huge potential to garner impressive revenues from the F&B segment, which also includes its banqueting sub-segment. However, what is required for the hotels to translate this potential into impressive realities is to focus on sophisticated technology and innovation while keeping the personal touch intact. n
Kairali — The Ayurvedic Healing Village
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Exploring Health, Wellness and Entertainment Avenues By Swarnendu Biswas
ndia is an ancient land of amazing and often perplexing dichotomies. Though its edifice of public healthcare may be in a pathetic condition, but its potential for medical tourism, especially for the inbound tourists, is very high. It is common knowledge that medical tourism in India is growing impressively. According to a report by CII-Grant Thornton, India’s medical tourism market is expected to enhance from 3 billion USD at present to around 8 billion USD by 2020. On September 2014, KPMGFICCI released a study titled Medical Value Travel in India. According to the study, India has been placed among the top three medical tourism destinations in Asia. The study views that medical tourism sector in India was estimated at 78.6 billion USD in 2012, and it was poised to grow at an annual rate of 15 percent to attain a figure of 158.2 billion USD by 2017. Besides medical tourism, wellness tourism is another area which has high potential to bring in impressive dividends 40
for the Indian hospitality industry. In fact, wellness is one of the fast growing tourism sectors in the country, projected to cross 18 billion USD by 2020. But to cater to this projected growth in medical and wellness tourism in the long-run , we not only need more numbers of world class hospitals, but also more numbers of world class health and spa resorts which can find solutions to chronic ailments at affordable prices that the western world has been struggling to find.
Comprehensive Health and Wellness Resorts The impressive growth in medical tourism and wellness tourism can lead to good business potential for health and wellness resorts in India. Somatheeram Ayurvedic Health Resort, and Kairali —The Ayurvedic Healing Village, both in Kerala, Ananda in the Himalayas, an award-winning luxury spa resort in the Himalayan foothills in Northern India, Bay Leaf —Ayurveda Spa & Resort in Visakhapatnam are some of the
wonderful resorts in India focused on health and wellness. However, at present, this segment of health and wellness resorts in the hospitality industry of India has huge unexplored potential. Not only India needs more numbers of health and wellness resorts of international quality but the nature of such resorts also needs to be more comprehensive in character. The new-age health and wellness resorts should ideally focus on fitness, sports, health, wellness and adventure at the same time. They can be termed as Mind, Body and Soul Resorts. People would come there not only for enjoying holidays, and not only for getting their ailments addressed, but for both. They can come there to address their latent adventurous spirit too. I am not saying that such comprehensive health and wellness resorts are not already present in India, but I am sure the concept of a onestop mind, body and soul hospitality haven where top-notch health & fitness, sports, wellness and adventure services are provided at one place, rarely gets
Feature translated into reality in our country. Here we have discussed some of the facilities that should be provided at such onestop health and wellness havens, so as to suit the diversified health and wellness needs of the guests of the post-modern Indian hospitality industry at a single platform. These health and wellness resorts in India shouldn’t just focus on Ayurveda or spa but should also have fitness regimens tailored to the health profile and medical history of the guests. It would be better if such fitness regimens are designed by renowned fitness gurus like Leena Mogre, Kiran Sawhney or Deanne Pandey, etc. and the fitness trainers engaged at these resorts would have to adhere to those regimens, while training their guests. Time to time, those nationally renowned fitness expert/s can come to those resorts on invitation and inspect whether the fitness regimens are being followed according to their guidelines or not. Of course, these resorts should have a state-of-the-art spa having a gamut of oriental and western therapies and also comprehensive Ayurvedic wellness options. Not only these health and wellness resorts or retreats should have state-of-the art gyms with the latest equipments, but should also have outdoor exercise options. Of course, the resort should have a team of doctors like I found in Kairali —The Ayurvedic Healing Village, who can advise the appropriate treatment/s or therapy or therapies to the guests to rectify their lifestyle diseases or chronic ailments. “Kairali — The Ayurvedic Healing Village is a resort built around an Ayurvedic Hospital. We have been promoting this concept not just in India but also internationally and have been receiving favourable response from people visiting us,” said Bharathan N, General Manager, Kairali — The Ayurvedic Healing Village. “We have in-house Ayurvedic doctors and have tie ups with visiting fitness/yoga experts and wellness experts in our resort. We also have trained therapists who give Ayurvedic therapeutic massages through herb infused oils. At the resort, the yoga instructors are always available for giving the correct yoga exercises in the morning. At The Ayurvedic Healing Village guests not only come for a rejuvenating holiday but also for addressing their chronic maladies and for rejuvenation,” averred Bharathan N.
Sports and Adventure Options The health and wellness resorts of post-modern India or mind, body and soul resorts should also have an array of adventure options and sports facilities for the intrepid and sports inclined guests. When I visited Kairali — The Ayurvedic Healing Village about one-and-a-half years ago, I found that the resort offered gym, tennis courts, badminton court and a jogging track for guests to address their fitness concerns and their love for sports. Depending upon the geography of the resort, various adventure tourism options like paragliding, bungee jumping, mountaineering, scuba diving, water skiing, dune bashing, jungle safari, etc. should be provided at these resorts at affordable rates. In these resorts, specially tailored packages for women adventure tourist enthusiasts can also attract many upwardly mobile single lady travellers seeking some quality thrill, away from their busy corporate schedules.
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Health Restaurants These resorts or retreats should ideally house ‘health restaurants’ within their ambit. These health restaurants should not only stringently adhere to all FSSAI rules and regulations but should go beyond that. They should ideally serve not only healthy food & beverages, but ‘only’ healthy food & beverages. “It would always give more credence if such health restaurants have a renowned nutritionist or a dietician or both in their panel on a regular basis, who would supervise the health quotient of their food & beverage offerings from time to time,” opined Dr. Ritika Samadaar, Regional Head— Dept of Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, New Delhi. These nutritionists and dieticians on the panel can also work in tandem with the Chef or the team of Chefs of those restaurants to develop the menus in a way so that they can amalgamate the best of taste and health. In fact, there is a popular perception that taste and health don’t go hand in hand, but like most popular perceptions this too has very little scientific validity. According to Ritika, this assumption can be easily countered with the usage of tasty and healthy products like soyabean cutlets, soyabean chops, ragi cakes, ragi rotis, multigrain rotis and multigrain breads, desserts with yoghurt and dahi, grilled fish and chicken and many, many other healthy food options, which can be prepared at the health restaurants of these health and wellness resorts. Ritika believes health restaurants should focus on snacks based on ragi, bajra, and whole grain. She also suggested that pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, and chia seeds should be used as ingredients in such health restaurants, wherever it is feasible. It can be a pragmatic option to have ground flaxseeds into muffin, cookie, or bread recipes. Here it deserves a mention that
introducing this measure they can attract the guests who are susceptible to allergies.
both flax seeds and chia seeds are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. “And of course, the products of such restaurants must be less on salt, should have minimal use of preservatives that is not more than wherever they are absolutely necessary, and should have very less or no added sugar,” Ritika suggested. At the same time, she acknowledged that totally abhorring the use of preservatives in a restaurant is not a practical option. “Maple syrup, molasses, Stevia could be used as alternatives to sugar in health restaurants, wherever possible,” the doctor pointed out. Yes, the conditions for health restaurants are stringent, and for health restaurants housed within such comprehensive health and wellness resorts or retreats should ideally have even more exhaustive parameters. For people with lifestyle diseases, dishes at the health restaurants housed within the health and wellness resorts or retreats could be specially tailored to suit their health requirements. The food served at these health restaurants housed within health and wellness resorts or retreats doesn’t necessarily have to be organic, but should be healthy nevertheless. Sometime back, Ishi Khosla, another nationally renowned nutritionist, had suggested to me that the “allergen status of food items which have potential to cause allergy should be mentioned in the restaurants’ menu.” This would safeguard people vulnerable to allergies to certain types of food. This can be another attribute of health restaurants housed in health and wellness resorts or retreats; by
Of course, it goes without saying that such comprehensive health and well-being resorts or mind, body and soul resorts should have a pristine environment that will help the guests to connect with the nature. Moreover, it is always better if these resorts adhere to various environment conservation measures. During my visit to Kairali — The Ayurvedic Healing Village, one-and-ahalf years ago, I found that the resort was adhering to several eco-friendly measures, which included rainwater harvesting facility, CFL lighting in rooms, and the eco-friendly construction of its 30 cottages among others. The description of the same resort was given in a feature story, in a previous issue of this magazine. As far as eco-friendly measures go, Shri Radha Brij Vasundhara Resort & Spa at Goverdhan, Mathura deserves special mention. “Though we have all the modern facilities in our resort yet we have tried to connect our guests with the nature by following environment conservation measures. Vehicles have restricted entry inside the property; guest transportation is mainly via battery-operated cars. We have cycles in resort for guests to ride. The entire guest stationary is made up of recycled brown paper. All the horticulture waste (dry leaves) is used to produce manure on site. Sewage treatment plant is installed to treat water which is then used for horticulture. Rainwater harvesting is in practice. Organic products are being used in spa for chemical free treatments,” offered Tanya Agrawal, the Director of the resort. The resorts which are positioning themselves as health and well-being resorts in the post-modern India characterised by discerning and welltravelled guests, should adhere to such eco-friendly practices so as to be in sync with their market positioning.
Entertainment Focused Hospitality Besides medical tourism, entertainment is another area which has great growth potential in India. And Bollywood is undeniably the biggest revenue earning entertainment platform in India. In
Feature fact, Bollywood and cricket are two of the common passions in a country of extremely diverse tastes and social attitudes. It is about time our hospitality industry cash in on India’s passion for Bollywood. This can be done if hotels and resorts in India come up with inbuilt cinema halls inside them, which should ideally predominantly showcase Bollywood movies. I am sure not only the domestic tourists but also inbound tourists would love this experiment. A given day can be allotted to a particular genre, say Mondays for romantic movies, Tuesdays for action movies, etc. It is better to screen old and evergreen movies, which are not easily accessible to today’s moviegoers in cinema halls. They would also invoke the element of nostalgia among the not so young guests, and I am sure the young guests would love to get acquainted with the old Bollywood classics. For those inbound and domestic tourists who do not enjoy Bollywood fare, the hotels and resorts can screen Hollywood movies or European cinema on a given day of the week. Of course,
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this exercise of hotels and resorts with inbuilt cinema halls can be largely relevant for five-star and four-star properties with sufficient real estate and funds at their disposal. It is very easy to realise that full size multiplexes would be difficult to be feasible within the precincts of the hospitality properties but one can place a mini cinema hall with a capacity of 250 persons within a five-star or a four-star hospitality property, where these movies can be screened. It would be ideal if the ambience and décor of such hotels and resorts who would undergo this exercise also reflect the Bollywood theme. Hotels and resorts in India can also explore on the entertainment theme by focusing on large scale musical programmes. They can do so by having a dedicated auditorium where they can host the programmes of celebrity singers like Shreya Ghosal, Sunidhi Chauhan and many others, once every week. This exercise can also fetch great revenues for the hospitality properties in India, in the form of plethora of walk-in guests, who would not mind paying a good price for a
seat in the auditorium. Moreover, some of these guests coming to watch the musical show or movies can also stroll into an F&B outlet of these properties for a bite to eat, and thus can be instrumental for garnering additional revenues for the properties concerned. With judicious planning, these exercises can cover the cost of the celebrity singers and their team, and also the cost of building and maintenance of the mini cinema hall and/or the auditorium, and yield decent profits for the hospitality property concerned. In this post-modern age of frenzied competition accompanied by the threats of recession, the hospitality industry of India cannot afford to depend predominantly on the rooms, F&B, weddings and MICE. In fact, it is about time the hospitality industry of India taps more unconventional sources of revenues more vigorously, and holistic health and well-being, and entertainment could be the two lucrative avenues which the industry can more proactively explore during the present times, to enhance its revenues or profits. n
The Savvy Hotelier By Swarnendu Biswas
espite her extremely friendly and unassuming demeanour, Sonica Malhotra, the Joint Managing Director of the MBD Group, presents herself as every inch a corporate honcho; a savvy and successful hotelier, fostered by a wise and yet pragmatic vision. This impression is induced not by her ravishing looks but because of what she knows and speaks about the fast evolving and often perplexing business of hospitality. Sonica has more than a decade long successful journey in the till now lamentably male dominated Indian hospitality industry. It is a well-known that MBD Group is a publishing giant in the field of educational publishing, and its first foray into the hospitality industry was the Radisson Blu MBD Hotel, Noida, which came into being in November 2003.
Collection rooms are garnering impressive occupancy rates,” stated the lady, while solidly countering my belief that high-end luxury is difficult to market in a pricesensitive economy like India, especially in the aftermath of recession. “I think the best part about India is that of course there has been a huge demand in the budget segment but presently there is a huge propensity to grow in the luxury segment too,” asserted Sonica. “However, in developing luxury hotels you have to get the numbers very accurately and the need for a detailed analysis is huge because the investment in land and building/s are huge. Moreover, the location and capital invested for a luxury hospitality
Banking on Luxury It was then and even today, the only five-star deluxe hotel in Noida, and Sonica’s grit and vision have contributed greatly to the success story of the luxury property. She displays leadership role in planning to pre-opening to day-to-day operations of the hospitality division of the group. Recently, the 127-room hotel introduced the MBD Prive Collection of rooms. The decorative scheme of the rooms of Prive Collection encapsulates centuries, with styles alternating between those from the Victorian to the most contemporary. These 33 rooms of the MBD Prive Collection reflect the epitome of class and opulence, and have markedly higher price than the other rooms of the hotel. “A room of Prive Collection is attracting an ARR of Rs.14000, but still the Prive
property must be chosen very prudently,” she pointed out. According to her, once the variables have been studied in detail one can find that are a lot of locations in India where luxury hotels can actually do very well. “We have realised that in India there is now a section of guests comprising both domestic and inbound travellers whose hospitality preferences have evolved beyond the five-star experiences. And this section has significant numbers to present itself as an independent market force. It is to effectively cater to these crème de la crème among the guests, the Prive Collection was introduced,”
explained Sonica. Already two more floors of the hotel have been earmarked for the Prive Collection and are being renovated to this effect, with the renovation process of these floors expected to be completed by 15th September of this year.
Mixed Use Developments The next hospitality project of the MBD Group is a part of a mixed use real estate development. Radisson Blu Hotel MBD Ludhiana is a five-star property, located adjoining the MBD Neopolis Mall, which can induce the shopaholics among the hotel guests, and can also induce the shoppers at the mall to enter the hotel for a bite to eat or for a drink. Sonica is very much in favour of mixed-use development in the hospitality industry. “Mixed-use development tends to facilitate a much faster return on the overall investment than for a stand-alone hotel project, and this can be helpful for the investor or the hotelier as hotels generally have a very long gestation period before they break-even. Moreover, the risk of the investment can also be diversified through mixed-use projects, and they are expect to bring in enhanced returns, as compared to a standalone hotel project,” she reasoned. Here it deserves a mention that both Radisson Blu MBD Hotel, Noida and Radisson Blu Hotel MBD Ludhiana are owned and managed by the MBD Group.
The Joint Venture In the recent past, MBD Group and Steigenberger Hotel Group announced a joint venture to manage and franchise hotels within the Indian territory under the brand MBD STEIGENBERGER. Sonica is the
Sp a Profile Managing Director of this joint venture too. MBD Group would be looking after the India wide operations of the joint venture. MBD Group’s role in this joint venture will include business development, management and franchising of hotels, pre-opening and post-opening assistance, wherein Steigenberger would be providing international sales and marketing support, and the training and brand standards to be deployed in the Indian region to suit the expectations of luxury travellers. The management of the joint venture company would have dominance of the MBD Group, as the group is having 51 percent share in the joint venture. The joint venture would target to open about 20 hotels in India over the next 15 years. Among these 20 hotels, there would be some owned hotels by the MBD Group too. The maiden venture of MBD STEIGENBERGER will be MBD Zephyr Bangalore, which will be a property owned by the MBD Group. It is expected to be translated from a vision to reality two-anda-half years from now. MBD Zephyr Bangalore would also be a mixed use development; having a luxury hotel and luxury residences within its ambit. There will be184 hotel rooms and 118 luxury residences. The luxury residences would primarily cater to the expats, NRIs and high-end corporates, and these luxury residences’ price would start at Rs.2.25 crore. MBD Zephyr Bangalore would be set up in Whitefield, Bangalore. “The proposed hotel would have four F&B outlets, a patisserie, 20,000 sq.ft Mandara Spa, and 18,000 sq.ft of banqueting space among its attractions,” affirmed Sonica with a smile. Furthermore, MBD Zephyr Bangalore will also have a Prive Club, which would be positioned as a networking club for top officials and corporate honchos.
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travel is increasing in the country and is expected to increase even further. Therefore, I think in the gateway cities of India at least the luxury hotels are going to have a very good prospect,” she elaborated further. However, in the same breath she asserted that presently the Indian hospitality industry had maximum potential of growth in the segment of bread and breakfast hotels. According to her, they are different and much more basic in terms of infrastructure and facilities from the conventional budget hotels that we come across, and she lamented that “this sector is still highly unorganised in India.” Sonica Malhotra
Gateway to Growth Sonica informed me that the joint venture would initially focus on Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Goa, Hyderabad, Chennai and has plans to develop or manage/franchise high-end luxury properties only. It is evident that she is banking on the luxury segment in this age of mushrooming of budget hotels in India, here, there and everywhere, but she has sufficient reasons to cater to this niche segment. “Overall, the income levels in India have increased during the last decade or so and hence the domestic consumption has gone up quite a bit and to couple with this we have an influx of corporate investment and thereby an impetus towards corporate travel,” she inferred. According to her, all these developments have given the luxury segment of the Indian hospitality industry good potential towards impressive revenues and profitability. “Now most of the luxury hotels which are doing well in India are the ones who are banking on corporate travels and that gives you a sustained business as the corporate
Macro Perspectives Our discussion, which she thoroughly dominated, sauntered to macro issues. She showed her irksomeness at the licensing rigmarole, which is impeding the potential of the Indian hospitality industry. “Licensing is a big issue in hotels across the country, and you have 12-15 authorities to take clearances before you can actually kick-start the hotel,” she noted. “If we have a single window clearance, it will really help. A lot of hotel projects get delayed predominantly because of the fact that the requisite licenses are not in place. Sometimes hotel projects in India get delayed by a number of crucial months because of this lacuna. The single window clearance for hotel projects is the need of the hour in the Indian hospitality industry,” she elaborated with conviction. She is equally passionate about improving the sorry state of tourism infrastructure in the country. “If the tourism infrastructure is improved, if the connectivity is improved, even the corporate travels will improve quite a bit, and corporate travel is one of the major revenue generators in most of the gateway luxury hotels,” Sonica analysed. The inadequate MICE infrastructure is another of the many issues which are hampering the growth of the Indian hospitality industry. This requires crucial attention in the context of business travel in India gaining momentum. In this context, Sonica firmly believes that if hospitality properties in the country are provided real estate at comparatively friendly prices than they are getting now, and if they are provided funds at lesser cost of interest than they are getting now, they will be able to put in place very good convention facilities and also manage them much better. I couldn’t help appreciate the razor sharp logic in her intelligent logic. n
HOTEL Business Review
Revenue Management Gets a Holistic Perspective By Sharmila Chand
hese days, the role of Revenue Managers in many hospitality properties across India have become much more complex and challenging than it was a decade or two before. With the maturation of the Indian hospitality industry, now they cannot afford to be room-centric but need to explore all possible ways of profit for their hospitality property. “Revenue management has become a lot more challenging in the Indian hospitality industry, during the last couple of years. We have data on our fingertips, which is a great tool in itself. However, analysing data and aligning business strategies needs a balance of intuition and intelligence. We also have to rely on market intelligence gathered by our sales counterparts to verify the authenticity of the data. Overall, it is a very dynamic scenario today,” affirmed Nanda Kumar, Revenue Manager, Movenpick Hotel & Spa Bangalore.
Rana, Director of Revenue, Pullman & Novotel New Delhi Aerocity. “Revenue management now has become more strategic in nature and it encompasses all revenue streams within the hotels including marketing, finance & operating strategies. There has been a paradigm shift from revenue per available room (RevPAR) to total revenue per available room or per available unit of area. (TRevPAR),” Rana explained further.
The Evolution “For too long Revenue Managers in hospitality properties across India have been room-centric, focussing on optimising rooms’ revenues instead of total guest spend, which includes spend on food & beverage, spa or in other departments. As technology advanced, the scope of revenue management and the role of Revenue Manager in hospitality properties continued to become more strategic and less tactical,” averred Samar 46
Revenue Managers of hotels are now corporate leaders, conceiving crossdepartmental strategies for optimisation of profits.
Ishan Sawant, Revenue Manager, Hyatt Regency Pune
“In a nutshell the focus of revenue management in hotels is moving away from room revenues/inventory management to optimising total hotel assets impacting all revenue streams, which include rooms, banquet, F&B, spa among others,” he added further. “Revenue Managers in hotels have now emerged as corporate leaders, conceiving cross-departmental strategies for optimising profits. This means having knowledge of what other departments in the hotel are doing and interacting with them routinely. That is a significant change from the scenario of a few years back when revenue management in hotels in India operated independently from marketing, sales and finance,” observed Ishan Sawant, Revenue Manager, Hyatt Regency Pune. “The Indian hospitality industry has experienced unprecedented change over the years and the evolution in revenue management is a product of this change, helping it to enhance the growth of the industry,” pointed out Jyoti Prakash Mohanty, Acting Associate Regional Director, Revenue Management, South Asia, Starwood Hotels & Resorts. “The basis of revenue management is to understand and manage the flow of supply and demand. In the context of the hospitality industry, it involves complex tasks of managing the inventory of hotel rooms, monitoring the retail rates online and understanding the flow of business as a whole through various market segments.
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There has been an exponential growth for inbound reservations in the industry through Internet penetration and even the numbers for domestic travel have grown to double digits in short span of time. Managing these changes in the market to achieve the desired outcome indeed becomes a challenge,” aired Mohanty.
The Role of Social Media
Revenue management of hotels in the Indian hospitality industry now has become more strategic in nature and it encompasses all revenue streams within the hotel including marketing, finance & operating strategies.
Samar Rana, Director of Revenue, Pullman & Novotel New Delhi Aerocity
Over the times, revenue management in hospitality has started utilising advanced software in order to implement unique techniques and strategies for achieving a better top line,” Mohanty elaborated further.
Challenges in Revenue Management Of course, one of the most basic conditions for revenue management is revenue generation. According to Rana, the shortage of qualified Revenue Managers, changes in the global economy, increased competition and pressure from hotel owners to cut costs are some of the challenges which hotels in India face towards revenue generation. “The biggest challenge faced by Revenue Managers across hotels in the country is in maintaining the ratio between supply & demand. Market conditions are immensely dynamic where trends change every year; here hoteliers need to adapt and derive innovative ideas to stand out as a distinct product offering to the guest,” opined Sawant. “The challenge revenue management personnel currently face with respect to the Indian hospitality industry involves managing the recent heavy inflow of demand through inbound bookings.
The ever increasing role of social media in the post-modern Indian hospitality industry cannot be over emphasised and Revenue Managers in hospitality properties in India cannot afford to ignore the increasing reach of social media. “Social media has a significant impact on the revenue management in the Indian hospitality industry. Revenue management in hotels can no longer depend solely on traditional media to drive sales and influence customers. Nowadays Revenue Managers also closely work with OTAs (online travel agents) to drive revenue and sales for the hotel,” proffered Kumar. “Social media is transforming not just how people connect and stay in touch but also how they collaborate, plan, share information and make decisions. In today’s digital ecosystem, guests have more buying power than ever before. The online world boasts various websites and social media channels that offer consumers an array of informed and
Revenue management of hotels can no longer solely depend on the traditional media to drive sales and influence customers.
Nanda Kumar, Revenue Manager, Movenpick Hotel & Spa Bangalore
The challenge revenue management currently faces with respect to the Indian hospitality industry involves managing the recent heavy inflow of demand through inbound bookings.
Jyoti Prakash Mohanty, Acting Associate Regional Director, Revenue Management, South Asia, Starwood Hotels & Resorts
candid opinions and options,” opined Rana. “Nowadays guests have powerful social media platforms where they can communicate almost instantaneously to wide groups of potential customers about their experiences — whether they be good, bad or the ugly,” Rana asserted. Nowadays, how the Revenue Manager of a hospitality property handles the social media can influence the revenue of the property concerned. Social media can directly influence the hotel’s approach to revenue management. “Posts in social media present hoteliers with the opportunity to discern what customers are voicing about different aspects of their business. This feedback can pertain to the service, product/s or even the perceived value for money of a hotel,” pointed out Sawant. “Gauging the perceived value of a hospitality property is a crucial factor in marketing and pricing of the property, as guests’ and potential guests’ value perception of a given hospitality property directly impacts the property’s ability to garner demand,” he analysed. “Social media gives revenue management of hotels a platform in presenting the latest offers to a specific and as well as to a wide range of target groups. With the advancement and progress social media has undergone as well as with the tools currently available, an establishment is able to specifically and efficiently choose its target market and disperse the relevant information to them. Nowadays social media and revenue management are integrating and forming a powerful combination, which facilitates in generating the desired revenues for the hotels,” summed up Mohanty. n
HOTEL Business Review
Welcome to Wellness By Sharmila Chand
elcomWellness SPA at WelcomHotel Dwarka, New Delhi, promises to be a wonderful retreat from the humdrum and chaos. Set in a contemporary ambience, it offers a tranquil environment to rejuvenate the body, mind and the spirit. Here serene surroundings embrace modern designs; set in warm, earthy and calming tones. WelcomWellness SPA has various kinds of western and oriental body massages, scrubs, body polishes and beauty treatments. There are special treatments for back problems, skin, hair, ageing and so on. The spa is equipped with state-ofthe-art facilities, and is serviced by the guidance and care of qualified trainers, beauty therapists and practitioners. WelcomWellness SPA comprises four treatment rooms which includes rooms for couples. Succinctly, whatever your mood might 48
be, there is always a delightful way to rejuvenate yourself at WelcomWellness SPA. It is a place to get pampered and styled as the skilled staff strives to create wellness magic on you.
While sauntering through the spa I got to interact with Mohammad Saddik, the Spa Manager at the WelcomWellness SPA. The interaction proved to be an interesting and learning experience for me.
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HOTEL Business Review
Meeting with the Manager Mohammad Saddik holds an experience of almost 10 years in the spa and wellness industry and has worked with well-known spa brands during his career. His experience in the industry boasts of an exemplary record of exceeding guest expectations while driving profitability and returns through guest retention and satisfaction. His expertise lies in providing holistic spa experience to the guests. He also emphasises on staff training and education and he strongly believes that better and consistent delivery of the existing spa experience is more important than designing a wide array of new treatments. He believes in providing in-depth knowledge about treatments and various techniques to his staff members and acts like a true mentor to them. The excerpts of the interview with the seasoned wellness personnel follow: What are the kinds of changes you have witnessed in the Indian spa industry during the past fivesix years?
The Indian spa industry, over the lastÂ six years, has shown tremendous growth, not only in the number of spas, but also in the diversity of spas and spa therapies available. This growth has resulted in the necessity to define and unite the spa industry, and in ensuring a consistent quality spa experience for the spa visitors. What are the prevalent trends in the Indian spa industry?
New and innovative routes to unwind and delivering services to foster business are on the increase in the Indian spa industry. Yoga, meditation and relaxation massages are more prevalent than ever before and these wellness options are expected to remain popular well into the future. What are the key challenges towards running a spa in India?
One of the important challenges in running a spa in India is the rapid growth of wellness business, which makes the competition stiff, unless you manage focus on a niche service or market. Also, staffing can be difficult. Finding high quality therapists is paramount to
garnering return business, and finding high quality therapists is a challenge in the Indian spa business. How do you decide on the spa menu? What factors have to be kept in mind to chalk out a decent spa menu?
We are in the planning stage of launching a detailed spa menu which will be tailored on the basis of the needs and desires of highly aware consumers. More and more emphasis will be placed on the staff training and education as I strongly believe that better and consistent delivery of the existing spa experience is more important than designing a wide array of new treatments. What is your take on the training of spa personnel?
I believe that more time and attention should be invested to better train the spa personnel so that they could deliver the experience that the spa consumers are now demanding. This becomes particularly true in a competitive market with so many alternatives. What are the challenges about being a Spa Manager?
Being a part of this industry, every leader has to face challenges. I believe
in fighting what comes my way and rectifying them by going to the root of it. Could you tell us the USP of your spa? What distinguishes it from others?
We have a dedicated team of trained and skilled staff which has in-depth knowledge about health treatments and specialises in offering a vast range of holistic well-being and health services. Can you talk about some of the special treatments offered at this spa?
Our menu offers Fitness Massage which helps fight stress caused by high pressure environment at the workplace. Frequent burnouts have become realities for many working professionals, which lead to stress and lifestyle induced disorders. Fitness Massage has been crafted to fight the root cause of this phenomena and it relaxes and rejuvenates the body, mind and soul. What is your favourite treatment to receive and why it is so?
My most preferred spa therapy is the WelcomSignature Massage. It helps increase circulation, maintains flexibility and re-energises the body-mind connection.
HOTEL Business Review
Hygiene in Restaurants By Jyotismita Sharma but also a compulsion to be in the business in the very first place.
How to Build a Hygienic Restaurant
s pleasant eating out is for a diner, maintaining hygiene in the restaurant could be as complex a task for the restaurant’s staff. This pertains to restaurants housed in hotels too. A small gaffe in following the scheduled routine can result in food contamination and loss of loyal customers. Thankfully, emphasis on hygiene in restaurants and in other eating joints is now growing. “The total food services market today stands at Rs. 3,09,110 crores and has grown at 7.7 percent since our last report in 2013. This is projected to grow to Rs. 4,98,130 crores at a CAGR of 10 percent by 2021,” Riyaaz Amlani, President, NRAI, said at the recent launch of the India Food Services Report (IFSR) 2016. But will the growth in the food service market be accompanied by a rise in restaurant’s hygiene standards as well? This is quite likely in the Indian context because the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is reportedly now in the process of making hygiene enforcing norms stricter. 50
A sub-group consisting of industry bodies like the NRAI, the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) and the FSSAI have already been formed to amend rules that govern safety standards at eating out establishments in the country, according to the report. While confirming the development to Business Standard, a prominent business daily, FSSAI’s Chief Executive Officer Pawan Kumar Agarwal recently said enforcing food safety standards at eating places was a must. “Hotels, restaurants and eating joints need an FSSAI licence to operate but food safety standards are not necessarily met. We wanted to get a sense of what the industry’s view was on the subject and whether they were open to the idea of stringent enforcement,” Agarwal was quoted as saying. So maintaining high hygiene standards is set to become not just a requirement for the restaurants in the country to attract new customers and retain them
Experts feel that keeping in mind a few factors can help those who are planning to open a new restaurant or running a restraurant score high on the hygiene quotient. The following of stringent hygiene conditions is also very much relevant for restaurants located inside hotels & resorts or rather within any hospitality property. According to Chef Jerson Fernandes, the former Corporate Chef, Berggruen Hotels, an ideal restaurant should be in compliance with all HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) best practices which mainly include proper hygiene and sanitation best practices such as ensuring having an error-free ventilation system for flow of fresh air and exit of used air and having an errorfree drainage system for smoother waste and water disposal. The location of the restaurant too plays an important role, he said. The restaurant should not be located close to a dumping ground or a factory emitting harmful carbons, Fernandes pointed out. “The restaurant should have easy access to fresh air and ample space for garbage storage. One of the important factors here is that the restaurant should also have a strong hygiene and sanitation training plan, both before and after opening,” he noted. Shamima Sinha, Food & Beverage Manager, Davanam Sarovar Portico Suites, Bangalore, agreed that a restaurant should be ideally built as per the climatic conditions of the area. “If the area is too dusty there should be screens to cut out the dust. It should not have too many nooks and corners,
Sp a Hygiene as they accumulate too much dust,” she explained. “The restaurant should be built in a way where the flooring is not glossy and slippery. If the flooring is carpeted one should ensure that there are enough plug points for regular shampooing/ vacuuming. Ensure that the drainage and plumbing systems are properly done,” Shamima said. Building a restaurant, that can meet high standards of hygiene and can also ease the daily maintenance process, demands paying attention to very small details, as was evident from Shamima’s suggestions. “Direct lighting should have screens and if indirect lighting is used, one should ensure that the lamp shades are not collectors of dust. No crevices on walls and ceilings and edges and corners to be curved,” she noted. Shamima further noted that crockery and cutlery should be non-porous. Paying attention to small details is very important because, as Fernandes pointed out, the price you pay for not taking care of hygiene and sanitation in your hospitality facility can be very expensive. Few critical items on the checklist for an F&B Manager, whether he/she is employed in a stand-alone restaurant or in a restaurant located inside of a given hotel, according to Fernandes, should include: • Regular trainings on hygiene and sanitation best practices to familiarise and train staff on the same. • Ensuring all cleaning schedules and deadlines are met on daily, weekly and monthly basis. The policy of zero tolerance on any cleaning or sanitation issues should be strictly followed. • Ensure all pest control practices are strictly followed and a checklist is maintained for the same. • Ensure you have a separate zone for smokers to not disturb the environment of non-smokers. • Ensure all temperature logs are followed strictly for both hot and cold food items being served to guests to facilitate the food quality is maintained and cross- contamination risks are eliminated. • No staff should report on duty without a clean uniform. • Most importantly, regular audits and checks of the same to ensure guest
HOTEL Business Review
Chef Jerson Fernandes
expectations are met. Shamima added that grooming standards of staff should adhere to cuisine, décor and climatic conditions of the place. “Toilet and washrooms, if attached, should have a separate entity and should not be part of the restaurant,” she noted. Upholstery in restaurants should be such that it does not accumulate dust, and clearance table should be separate from side station, she opined.
Personal Hygiene a Priority “Cleanliness begins at home. You might serve the best food and drink in your restaurant but if your staff is not well groomed or lack personal hygiene, that’s of little use. Nobody wants to dine in a place which has staff who lack personal hygiene,” Fernandes said. “Staff needs to be trained on this right from day one of their joining. The importance of personal hygiene has to be explained to them right at the start,” he
said. Some important and basic aspects of personal hygiene for restaurants’ personnel, which is also relevant for the personnel of restaurants located inside hotels, according to Fernandes, are: • To wash hands after using the washrooms or smoking; • To change uniforms after a complete single shift; • To sanitise hands once every three hours while on duty/after shaking hands with guests; • To wear a proper head gear/hand gloves while handling food. Employees are the most important link in preventing food-borne illness. Good personal hygiene, including proper and frequent hand-washing, is the best way to prevent food-borne illness, Shamima pointed out. According to her, restaurant employees should adhere to the following practices to maintain proper personal hygiene: Hand-washing: Always make sure that hands are washed and thoroughly dried before starting work, between tasks, and before working with food products, equipment, utensils, and linens. Cuts, Wounds, and Sores: Any cuts, wounds, or open sores on the hands and arms of restaurant’s personnel must be completely covered by a waterproof bandage. Wear single-use gloves or finger cots over any bandages on the hands and fingers. Hair Restraints: Employees are required to wear hair restraints such as hair nets, hats or scarves that are effective in keeping their hair in control. Proper Work Clothing: Restaurant’s employees who prepare or serve food products or wash and sanitise equipment or utensils must wear clean outer garments. It is recommended that aprons, Chef jackets, or smocks are worn. Employers must provide adequate storage areas for employee’s personal belongings. If employees routinely change clothing at the establishment, a room or area must be designated and used for that purpose. Such changing areas must be separate from food, clean equipment and linen. Jewellery: The wearing of jewelry of restaurant’s personnel should be limited to plain banded rings only. Necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and other jewellery should not be worn when preparing or serving food. n
Challenges for the Housekeeping Managers Fighting age-old attitudes and meeting ever changing guest expectations, sometimes with limited budget, while motivating, training and retaining the team members are some of the biggest challenges that Housekeeping Managers in hospitality properties in India face everyday By Jyotismita Sharma
hese days, a hotel cannot be imagined without the housekeeping staff cleaning the lobby or attending to the needs of the guests. For what you will have without the housekeeping staff – whether they be in-house or outsourced -- is a mess that no guest will be willing to experience, perhaps even for free. It is for these reasons that this department is today recognised by experts as the backbone of the hotel industry. And what housekeeping personnel of hospitality industry do every day goes a long way in building relationships with guests and ensuring their repeat visits, thereby facilitating profitability. “Traditionally, the responsibility of the housekeeping department was to prepare clean guestrooms on a timely basis but now enormous changes have been made in hotel’s housekeeping. The growth in the hotel industry and the increase in the usage of technology have fuelled this change, and now there is a lot more expectation and demand from the housekeeping department of the hotels as a whole,” explained Yuvraj Shinde, Executive Housekeeper, Novotel Goa Shrem Hotel. But what one often forgets to appreciate is that carrying out the housekeeping job is seldom a cakewalk, 52
although the housekeeping personnel often manage to make their job look easy to the outsiders. The first challenge may emanate from the top management of hotels if they still consider housekeeping as just an additional expense and refuse to increase the budget for it to meet the changing demands of both the employees and the guests. Secondly, the nature of the job may itself be a challenge. For example, doing the job of a room attendant may be highly physically challenging and can also be boringly repetitive. So keeping the employees engaged and keeping them
motivated to meet guest expectations could be a huge challenge for a Housekeeping Manager of a hotel. “A requirement for the housekeeping department of a hotel to flourish is the ongoing training of its housekeeping personnel, which in today’s world needs to be abreast with the changing requirements of guests. Every guest has certain requirements, and we need to know her/his preferences and try to meet her/his expectations through our housekeeping services,” Shinde noted. Sonia Banerjee, the Director of Services at JW Marriott Hotel Bengaluru agreed. “One of the major challenges before the Housekeeping Manager of a hotel is perhaps retaining the existing workforce of housekeeping personnel as well as developing new talents in housekeeping,” she observed. While providing training at regular intervals to meet guest expectations and retaining the talent pool could stress any manager, many Executive Housekeepers across the Indian hospitality industry appear to be on the same page on the issue of the paucity of skilled manpower for housekeeping departments of hotels, in the very first place. “Very few people are inclined towards housekeeping these days. They fail to understand that the growth level in this
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HOTEL Business Review
division is faster as compared to any other department in the hospitality industry,” Sonia pointed out. “In the realm of housekeeping in hotels, finding the right person for the right job is a challenge in India as many people have their own reservations about joining this industry and many of them also tend to leave the housekeeping industry very frequently,” Shinde said. Moreover, the foot soldiers in the housekeeping department in hotels in India often come from distant places and from poor economic background, and making them gel with the sophisticated urbane environment and improving their soft skills so that they can communicate with well travelled guests when the need arises could also be a huge challenge. “Recruiting, training, and managing housekeeping labour force can be a daily struggle without a great team. It takes time and effort to build that team and keep it going,” Shinde proffered. One can say that people management could easily be the most difficult part of a Housekeeping Manager’s job, in the context of the Indian hospitality industry.
Another challenge that the housekeeping department of the Indian hospitality industry as a whole faces is the problem of attitude of people that refuses to change fast despite the rapid changes in terms of responsibilities and modes of operations in the housekeeping department, primarily due to incorporation of new technologies. However, this ‘attitude problem’ in the Indian society is not unique to the housekeeping department of hotels or
for that matter, to the housekeeping in general. In India, there seems to be a general perception that people who carry out all the physical labour that we do not want to do, somehow do not deserve respect. Many Indians also view most of the jobs which demand physical labour with a sniggering contempt, which is perhaps a reflection of our deep-rooted feudalistic perceptions. Changing the attitude problem of the Indian society in general towards the housekeeping personnel in hotels, therefore, may require much longer and systemic change at the societal level. However, the challenge of shortage of skilled manpower and giving the best possible service to the guests within a stringent budget can yield comparatively quicker (though not quick) solutions. For addressing the shortage of skilled manpower more training institutes for the housekeeping personnel of the future is the need of the hour, and elaborate strategic planning is needed to derive optimum guest satisfaction from housekeeping measures in hospitality properties, even within a limited budget. n
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HOTEL Business Review
P ro d uct Previ ew
Air Purifiers from Philips
The Online Platform of Toshi
Philips Air Purifier Series 3000, and Philips Air Purifier Series 6000 come with Philips’ Aerasense technology that offers real time numerical PM 2.5 LED display. Aerasense is a cutting-edge technology exclusive to Philips. It senses and delivers superior purification against the PM2.5 and common allergens like pet dander and dust mite. While the Air Purifier Series 3000 is designed for domestic use, the Air Purifier Series 6000 is designed for set ups such as hospitals and large living rooms or offices that have a higher concentration of pollutants and need more intense cleaning. The new Philips Air Purifier Series 3000 offers world-class Aerasense technology, respiratory particle feedback, a special allergen mode, improved airflow and an aerodynamic design. The Philips Air Purifier Series 3000 provides most accurate real-time PM 2.5 feedback, which helps you to monitor the air quality. The Philips Air Purifier 6000 with its Vitashield IPS, TwinForce aerodynamics design and cutting-edge Aerasense technology with real time numerical feedback, delivers superior purification against pollution and common allergens. Its TwinForce aerodynamics design effectively doubles its capacity to clean air, making it suitable for larger spaces. Philips Air Purifier 6000 with its upgraded VitaShield technology effectively removes particles as small as 20 Nanometers (more than 100 times smaller than upper limit of PM2.5), including common allergens, bacteria and some viruses. The intuitive auto activation mode and the healthy air protect alert makes for easier usage. Overall, the equipment is a powerful and highly effective solution for commercial spaces which have a high inflow of pathogens and allergens and are most susceptible to damage due to indoor air pollution. Philips Air Purifier 6000 has four settings to give you ample choice in fan speed and has three options for lights on/off setting to meet your needs. Philips India Nirjhara.Rastogi@philips.com
Toshi Automatic Systems Private Limited has come up with its own website. The www.shop.toshiautomatic. com is here to serve its clients with ideal entrance & hygiene automation products. Toshi has some of the most reliable, durable and resistant products in the realm of automatism to offer. The website primarily deals in all types of entrance & hygiene automation products. Toshi sells numerous entrance & hygiene automation products to various sectors, which includes the hospitality industry too. Toshi markets products which are absolutely authentic, genuine and dependable. They are extremely tough, durable and are perhaps the best for performing heavy duty. All of these products are of supreme quality; most of them are imported from the best European brands. Toshi has an abundance of stock available and products offered by the company are available at the most affordable and reasonable prices. Toshi’s website can be construed as a one-stop solution for entrance & hygiene automation products. The products showcased at the Toshi’s website can be purchased by any regular consumer as well as by any business reseller. The customers can purchase these products through the online payment mode. What is more, the purchased products shall be delivered at the given address within a short span of time. Toshi Automatic Systems Private Limited firstname.lastname@example.org
moha’s Classy Personal Care Products moha is a premium range of personal care products, inspired by Ayurveda. These products are effective, gentle and safe. The moha range covers almost every facet of personal care, using pure herbal actives. Renowned for their aesthetic appeal and stylish packaging, moha products reflect international standards. moha’s herbal shampoo cleanses, nourishes and strengthens the hair and scalp; and eliminates dust and pollution from hair. It has amla, aloe, brahmi and bhringaraj, all renowned for their nurturing properties. moha’s herbal hair conditioner makes hair silky soft, smooth and tangle-free. It does so thanks to the combined action of aloe and jojoba oil. moha’s soap is enriched with basil, which facilitates to give flawless complexion. Wheat germ, aloe and neem add to the cleansing experience of moha’s soap. The product helps giving exquisite skin too. moha’s herbal shower gel redefines the bathing experience, by helping to make your skin glow with health. Tea Tree, neem and orange are some of the wonder ingredients in this shower gel. moha’s moisturizing lotion has almond oil and sunflower oil, which helps to give soft and wonderfully supple skin. Not only does the product moisturize skin, it actually stimulates the skin’s ability to produce vital natural moisture. Charak Pharma email@example.com
Premium Door Controller Matrix has launched its cutting edge multi-spectral, biometric fingerprint based premium door controller named COSEC DOOR FMX.The product outperforms other sensors in the market through improved accuracy, speed and security. This advanced technology of Lumidigm made sensor reads two layers of a user’s finger – the surface and subsurface. Hence, even if a worker is aged with wrinkled fingers or a worker has dirty, oily, wet, dry or sticky fingers, he or she would still be granted access without any complications. It offers effective biometric solution, combating the issue of finger identification, which tends the HR to reenroll a user’s finger. One can say COSEC DOOR FMX can benefit an organisation through fast and intuitive user identification, by its ability to work for users in extreme and tough conditions, by providing enhanced security and authentication of users, and by being an effective biometric device with reduced finger rejection issue. Moreover, the device’s multiple connectivity options of PoE, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and Mobile Broadband (3G/4G) make it more flexible in use, even in remote locations. It provides a scalable solution with the in-built features of 100,000 template storage and 50,000 user capacity. MATRIX COMSEC More@MatrixComSec.com
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HOTEL Business Review
The Manager with Vision By Sharmila Chand Vishal Singh, the General Manager of Hyatt Regency Pune, entered the hospitality industry in 1996 and has crossed several milestones during the past twenty years. He is an MBA in Marketing and graduate of IHM, Pusa, New Delhi. He began his career with the Hyatt as Conferencing & Banqueting Manager at Hyatt Regency Delhi, in 2002, and moved up to Assistant Director of Food & Beverage at the same property. During his career, he has acquired the experience of working with important hotels like Grand Hyatt Mumbai, Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa, Hilton Chennai, and DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Gurgaon – New Delhi NCR among others. Singh took over as the General Manager, Hyatt Regency Pune, from 15th June 2016. He has a definite vision for the hotel and is committed to taking it forward by adding and enhancing facilities and experiences at the property. The excerpts of the interview follow: What is the USP of Hyatt Regency Pune? Be it the hotel’s rooms, service apartments, conference rooms, spa or restaurants, our property can be a one-stop destination for guests or events. Most importantly, the hotel gives the feeling of being connected and at home even when away from home. Hyatt Regency Pune makes an excellent venue for weddings and other personal events. We have the capacity to handle operations of large scale events. We also have one and two bedroom apartments with fully equipped state-of-the-art kitchenette, catering to families and extended stay guests. This is further enhanced by the impeccable service. The property ’s close proximity to the airport and the city is also an added advantage. What are the hotel’s tech-friendly features? From digitally accessible room cards that assure absolute security to the facility of prebooking of your food menu, Hyatt Regency Pune has some of the most tech-savvy features. Moreover, Hyatt Regency Pune features a temperature controlled indoor swimming pool. The conference room is always updated to offer the most convenient technology features. There is a tech- companion at every stage with you. What is the marketing strategy you have adopted to promote your property? The focus is to promote Hyatt Regency Pune as a perfect destination for events and weddings. At the same time we are looking towards promoting our restaurants which are serving some of the finest delicacies, and in making the hotel a one-stop destination in Pune.
What according to you is the role of F&B in getting business for a hotel? The role of F&B for hotels has never been more important in the Indian hospitality industry, than in today’s times. With so many new forms of rental and service apartment concepts coming in, F&B is one of the unique factors that can differentiate one hospitality property from the other. In fact, F&B is one of the strongest reasons why some of our clients keep choosing us over any other property in Pune. Could you reflect on the future plans and new initiatives you wish to undertake in Hyatt Regency Pune? Some of the new initiatives include expanding the F&B offerings and offering a wider range of palates for our clients. We also plan to initiate concepts that will help save energy and expand the recreational department. Apart from this, the focus will also be on operations and offering the smoothest and efficient service. What is the most crucial issue in the Indian hospitality industry these days? Guest loyalty is perhaps the most crucial issue in the Indian hospitality industry these days. What do you enjoy the most about being at the helm of the affairs at the hotel? Hospitality industry gives you the opportunity to meet so many different people from different cultures. It gives me immense happiness that they choose us to serve them. Most importantly, I enjoy the smiles on our guests’ and on my colleagues’ face. What qualities make for a good GM of a hotel? She/he should be someone who is able
to communicate effectively and implement innovative ways to resolve the smallest issues. Being a good listener and able to absorb information would be an asset for a hotel’s GM. Also being a good role model is part of the deal and a balanced temperament and positive outlook surely helps. But most importantly, she/ he should not be afraid of empowering the team and ‘letting go.’ What is/are your strength/s, professionally? I do believe that I have a reasonably logical as well as intuitive side and I think that helps me take better decisions, which enhance the overall efficiency of the hotel. I also believe in a balanced temperament and it has helped me build a healthy working environment. What challenges have you faced and how did you successfully manage a challenging situation? As hoteliers we face numerous challenges on a day-to-day basis. Most of them are avoidable or can be handled if we have planned and prepared well. However, some need a very different level of thinking. For example, during the unfortunate Mumbai attack, I was at Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa and having a full house. In the next 24 hrs of the attack the hotel occupancy was reduced to 10 percent as there was a threat that there would be attack on Goa as well, via sea. We literally fortified the hotel and made extensive evacuation and contingency plans in case of any untoward incident. What is your working mantra, your guiding philosophy at work? I feel with the right and harmonious team one can achieve a lot. I always believe teamwork makes a dream work!
Hammer Food & Beverage Business Review
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