HOTEL Business Review
HOTEL B u s i n e s s
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Security of women guests should attract top priority in any hotel and resort. And now with the increasing numbers of single lady travellers and the increasing numbers of ladies travelling in groups of ladies seen across the Indian hospitality industry, the issue of security of women guests can seriously influence the bottom lines of the Indian hospitality industry, in the long-run. The security of its lady guests is definitely the most important issue before the Indian hospitality industry, especially in the wake of several cases of physical violence on women being reported in the country, during the recent years. Thankfully, many hotels and resorts in the country are gearing up or have already geared up to provide impeccable safety and security for their lady guests. Many hospitality properties in India have undertaken several proactive measures, which can facilitate lady guests, either travelling alone or in groups of ladies, to feel safe and secure. We have covered some of these initiatives in our Cover Story. Probably more widespread application of similar women-friendly initiatives across the entire length and breadth of the Indian hospitality industry, and not limiting these sophisticated initiatives to the five-star and four-star properties of the country, can help India shed off its media created negative perception in the west of being a country which is, by and large, unfriendly towards single women travellers. The role of IT has become widespread across hotels and resorts of India, which in turn has contributed greatly towards guest satisfaction, improved day-to-day operational efficiencies, and has increased the revenue earning potential of the Indian hospitality industry. From check-in to check-out, the role of IT has become omnipresent in the Indian hospitality sector. The role of mobile technology is also gathering momentum in the industry. Smartphones and social media are expected to be among the chief tools for the hotels and resorts operating in India, to attract guest satisfaction in the future. We have discussed this issue in detail in our Business Story. The role of themed hotels and resorts to enhance the revenues of Indian hospitality industry is being explored in our Feature section. The story discusses the idea of themed hospitality in detail by putting forward different themes suited for the Indian hospitality industry. Many of the ideas floated in the feature have been already translated into realities in the Indian hospitality industry but these realities need to be more widespread across the industry. Besides these relevant issues, several other interesting topics for hotel industry in India are being discussed upon through our selection of articles, and the opinions and perspectives of the articles are duly supplemented through our information provided in our News, Appointments, Report and Events section. I hope this editorial package is expected to give our readers much food for thought.
HOTEL B u s i n e s s
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An Exclusive Business Magazine for the Hotel Industry
Today, women are traversing the globe, either on business or leisure, often without males. The hotels in India are taking several steps to facilitate safety of these ladies. From exclusive women’s floor to receiving them at the airport, the hotels have adopted numerous measures to assure them of security and in ensuring that no physical harm comes to them.
Relax and rejuvenate at the Spa at Le Meridien Gurgaon, Delhi-NCR. Set amidst a tranquil and peaceful environment, the Spa at Le Meridien Gurgaon, Delhi NCR offers a wide array of traditional and modern treatments and packages, carefully put together by a team of experts.
Technology can facilitate India’s hospitality sector to improve its customer experience, which, in turn could help to bring in increased return on investment for hospitality properties in the country.
Infusing a distinctive and pleasing ambient scent can add a feel of pleasantness to the social interactions between people, particularly in a MICE setup. Thus the role of ambient fragrance is of importance to the hospitality industry.
Comfort and modern design blend seamlessly at the Park Plaza Kolkata Ballygunge. Ideal for both business and leisure travellers, the hotel has spacious rooms designed with guests’ comfort in mind.
The role of value additions is very important in today’s hospitality industry. In this regard, it can be said that one of the effective ways to enhance the revenues of the Indian hospitality industry is perhaps to opt for themed hospitality.
A hotel’s tableware gives indication of the image of the restaurant and reflects what it offers at a first glance. Furthermore, it creates a visual appeal which Chefs like to call ‘visual synchronisation’ with food.
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16 Appointment 18 Report 42 Housekeeping 46
HOTEL Business Review
PASTRY QUEEN INDIA 2015 25th-26th July 2015, Academy of Pastry Arts, Gurgaon, Haryana
he first PASTRY QUEEN INDIA 2015 was held during 25th-26th July 2015 at Academy of Pastry Arts India, Gurgaon. The two day event was organised by Hammer Publishers Pvt. Ltd., the publishers of Bakery Review magazine, and Elle Vire, Dabon International Pvt. Ltd. The theme of the competition was ‘The Art of Dance’. Over two days, the challengers were required to create a Sugar Showpiece (including ‘Pastillage’, a sculpture made out of sugar), Chocolatebased Cake, Coffee Dessert in a glass, a ‘Petit Gateau’ (a ‘small cake’, usually with a filling) and a Tart. The event was judged by an eminent panel of juries which comprised leading Pastry Chefs and professionals, which included Chef Dinesh Rawat — Director, Academy of Pastry Arts India, Chef Avijit Ghosh — Corporate Pastry Chef, Leelaventure Hotels, and Chef Thomas Lionel — Elle & Vire India, Dabon International. Chef Sanjana Patel, the Executive Chef at LA FoLIE Patisserie and Chocolaterie (Mumbai), made history by being crowned India’s first ‘Pastry Queen’. She will
Chef Sanjana Patel
represent India at Sigep 2016, World Lady Pastry Championship in January 2016, Rimini, Italy for ‘The Pastry Queen’ title. Chef Arpitha Harish of Taj Land Inn
L-R: Sanah Vohra, Bani Nanda, Pallavi Debsinha, Sanjana Patel, Neelam Saini, Arpitha Harish & Trisha Singh
Mumbai was adjudged the First Runner. The competition was visited by eminent professionals from the Chefs’ fraternity. The first day was primarily dedicated for preparation, whereas the second day for applying the finishing touches and presentation & judging. Chef Sanjana Patel won over the tough competition from Chef Sanah Vora (ChocTales, Gurgaon), Chef Neelam Sircar Saini (a freelancer from Kolkata), Chef Pallavi Debsinha (The Oberoi, New Delhi), Chef Trisha Singh (The Leela Palace, New Delhi), Chef Bani Nanda (MIAM, New Delhi) and Chef Arpitha Harish (Taj Lands End, Mumbai). Chef Sanjana Patel will be receiving further training at the Academy of Pastry Arts India, to meet the forthcoming challenge in Italy. Academy will also offer advanced training to first runner up Chef Arpitha Harish. With little tradition of pastry making in India (a lacunae that this Gurgaon school is seeking to fill), it will be the first time that an Indian will take part in the Pastry Queen Championship.
L-R: Contestants with Jury, Chef Dinesh Rawat, Chef Avijit Ghosh, Chef Thomas Lionel & in the Center is Sanjay Tandon — Managing Director, Dabon International
HOTEL Business Review
THAIFEX — World of Food Asia 2015:
A Record Milestone
The 12th edition of THAIFEX — World of Food Asia rounded up on 25th May after five days of intense activity. It proved its mettle as one of Asia’s top food and hospitality exhibitions once again, by welcoming more than 35,000 trade visitors and 1,675 exhibitors across 16 sectors. The exhibition was also graced by Prime Minister of Thailand, Prayut Chanocha. International participation also peaked with a total of 811 international exhibitors. THAIFEX — World of Food Asia welcomed 24 countries and provincial groups this year, including three new country groups — German Pavilion led by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Mexico Pavilion led by Embassy of Mexico - Mexico’s Commission of The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food; and Turkish Pavilion led by Central Anatolian Exporters Union (OAiB). This presented an even more diversified array of products, from hand-crafted tequilas from Mexico, German-style sausages and charcuterie, to Turkish frozen seafood and products.
EVENTS’ CALENDER Asiafruit Logistica 2-4 September 2015 Hongkong Asia World-Expo, Hongkong www.asiafruitlogistica.com HOSFAIR Guangdong 2015 10-12 September 2015 China Imports & Exports Fair complex, Guangzhou www.hosfair.com IBA 2015 12-17 September 2015 Munich Messe München http://www.iba.de Annapoorna World of Foods India- 2015 14-16 September 2015 Bombay Exhibition Center, Mumbai
Angélica Niero, representative of Balas Boavistense said, “I am so pleased with the show and THAIFEX — World of Food Asia is definitely the gateway for my business to venture into the Asian markets.” The supporting shows, World of Seafood, World of Coffee & Tea and World of FoodService recorded individual growth rates of 11 percent, 48 percent and 22 percent respectively. 27,931 local visitors and 7,274 overseas trade buyers visited the trade event, held over five days, during 20th-24th May 2015. Michael Dreyer, Vice President, Asia Pacific, Koelnmesse Pte Ltd., said, “THAIFEX — World of Food Asia celebrated its tenth anniversary last year. This year, we marked a milestone by expanding our fairground, and the continued growth and encouraging response is solid proof that we are growing in the right direction that we started out in. This has been very rewarding for Koelnmesse and our co-organisers, DITP and TCC. We will work in this direction towards a bigger and even better THAIFEX — World of Food Asia next year.” Brian J. Schroeder, Director, Kizable LLC pointed out, “This is our first year at THAIFEX — World of Food Asia and we were very amazed by the show’s quality.” For the first time, THAIFEX — World of Food Asia hosted the Asia selection of the Global Chef Challenges competition. Organised by Worldchefs, the global association of Chefs, the Asia selection was a huge success. Singapore took the podium for both Global Chef Challenge and Hans Bueschkens Young Chef Challenge, while South Korea was champion for the Global Pastry Chef Challenge. “This is one of the most well-organised competitions I have seen, with THAIFEX — World of Food Asia as the most supportive partner. This has definitely set a new benchmark,” averred Rick Stephen, Asia Continental Director for Worldchefs. 6
www.worldoffoodindia.com Horeca India 2015 16-18 September 2015 Brilliant Convention Centre, Indore Email: firstname.lastname@example.org The Hotel Show 2015 28-30 September 2015 Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai www.thehotelshow.com ANUGA 2015 10–14 October 2015 Cologne, Germany www.anuga.com Fi & Hi India 19 – 21 October 2015 Bombay Convention & Exhibition Centre, Mumbai www.fi-india.com
HOTEL Business Review
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Royal Orchid Hotels Expands its Portfolio Royal Orchid Hotels has announced the opening of two hotels under its upscale hospitality arm Regenta, in Haridwar and Kolkata. Regenta Orko’s Haridwar is the first property from the group in this holy and ancient city. The hotel is conveniently located on the Haridwar-Rishikesh highway, and is just 20 minutes drive to the religious sites of Chandi Devi and Har-Ki-Pauri temples. The features of the hotel include an on-site spa, a fitness centre, dining outlets and a well-stocked library. The hotel offers free highspeed Internet connectivity and a combined banquet space of 4,800 sq.ft., which can be used for business meetings and social engagements. Regenta Orko’s Kolkata can attract both business & leisure travellers. It is located in Kasba, popular for its shopping areas, and the hotel is just a walk away from the Acropolis Mall. The property offers choices between standard rooms, club twin rooms, club rooms or the suite. The hotel has a total of over
3500 sq.ft. banquet space, a pool-side lounge on the roof top and an all-day dining restaurant. Chender K. Baljee, the Chairman and MD of the Royal Orchid Hotels said, “We are glad to bring our brand of hotels in these cities. Kolkata has always been an important market for hoteliers in terms of both business and leisure segments. Under Narendra Modi’s Government, pilgrimage tourism is going to witness a boost and we intend to tap this segment with our existing portfolio, along with our newly launched property in Haridwar.”
Shangri-La Hotel, Bengaluru to Open Soon Shangri-La Hotel, Bengaluru will open on 24th September 2015. Managed by Shangri-La, the 19-storeyed hotel sits between the central business district and the blue-ribbon residential suburbs of Bengaluru with its 397 rooms poised to give its guests views of the city’s low-lying cityscape and Bangalore Palace. Abstract floral patterns alluding to Bengaluru’s beautiful gardens and moniker, the ‘Garden City,’ can be found throughout the property and complement design touches to reflect Shangri-La’s Asian heritage. “Shangri-La Hotel, Bengaluru is a wonderful addition to our group’s portfolio in India and will certainly add to Karnataka’s exciting and eclectic tourism scene,” said Jens Corder, General Manager of Shangri-La Hotel, Bengaluru. The guests’ diverse F&B experiences in the hotel will include all-day and interactive dining at b Cafe, Mediterranean flavours and fresh seafood at Caprese, the best of regional cuisines from the north and south of India at Ssaffron, while Shang Palace will serve up classic Chinese dishes. Those in the mood to explore Japanese tastes can find gastronomic satiety at Yataii, the Japanese restaurant. Guests can culminate their evenings at Hype – an energetic bar set against the backdrop of Bengaluru’s skyline – with handcrafted cocktails and resident DJs to set the mood. The Lobby Lounge provides a place for socialising and business with fine tea and coffee, pastries and after-dinner drinks. For leisure-oriented guests, a dedicated floor to wellness includes an outdoor swimming pool encompassing a steam bath, sauna and a Jacuzzi, as well as a health club with stateof-the-art equipment to help enhance the fitness programmes. CHI, The Spa provides an escape in which to experience a soothing massage or one of the specialised Ayurvedic treatments under the nurturing care of expert therapists. Capable of holding up to 900 guests is the 739-squaremetre Grand Ballroom on level one of the hotel that can be customised for celebrations, exhibitions and weddings. Its spacious foyer, with natural light, can have pre-event gatherings and receptions. Together with seven more function rooms on level two – connected by a grand staircase and glass elevator – the meeting facilities at Shangri-La Hotel, Bengaluru, according to a press release, are the city’s largest.
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HOTEL Business Review
Meluha – The Fern Bags Two Awards Meluha - The Fern - An Ecotel Hotel, received the Best Green Hotel Award and the Best Business Hotel Award at National Awards for Excellence in the Hotel Industry. The awards were presented by Dr. Saugata Mitra, the HR Head and Chief People Officer at Mother Dairy Fruits and Vegetables Pvt. Ltd. at Taj Lands End Hotel, Bandra. Garfield Soares (Director, Sales & Marketing) and Aldrina Fernandes (Environment Officer) received the award. The National Awards for Excellence in the Hotel Industry is a premium recognition forum bringing elite marketers, brand custodians, departmental heads, retailers, advertisers and creative honchos all under one roof. The awards recognise the best industry professionals and organisations who have made outstanding contributions in their field. Within a short duration of time, Meluha -The Fern, has gained immense recognition in both national and international markets with more than 30 awards. The hotel boasts of 141 exquisitely designed guest rooms, which reflect modern Indian sensibility. The hotel’s two restaurants, Tiara — an all day dining
restaurant and Cesky — a modern European fine dining restaurant cater to the property’s F&B options. They are supplemented by well equipped banquet facilities.
Hotel Formule1 Awarded Hotel Formule1, by the world’s leading hotel operator AccorHotels, has won the National Award for Excellence in digital marketing and social media. The brand has been bestowed with these awards for excellence under three categories — Best Use of Social Media Marketing, Best Website, and Best Digital Marketing Manager. The Best Digital Marketing Manager award was awarded to Madhu Joshi — Director, Marketing & Communications, Hotel Formule1, AccorHotels, India. The Best Use of Social Media was awarded for brand’s targeted approach on engagement through Facebook. Owing to the innovative social media campaigns, interactive website, and strategic direction provided by Madhu Joshi, the brand has received recognition under different categories at the coveted platform. Commenting on the occasion, Madhu Joshi said, “It is indeed pleasure receiving recognition for the hard work executed by the team in making the brand standout amongst audiences. Digital is a growing medium in today’s marketing environment and it is very crucial to include it as a key part of customer journey”. Here it deserves a mention that Hotel Formule1 is present in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Gurgaon, Greater Noida, Pune Hinjewadi and Pimpri and opening soon in Hyderabad, Chennai and Nasik.
MBD Group Celebrates 5th Founder’s Day On 10th July, the MBD Group celebrated its 5th Founder’s Day, at Radisson Blu MBD Hotel, Noida. The MBD’s 5th Founder’s Day was celebrated to commemorate the 70th birth anniversary of Ashok Kumar Malhotra, the Founder of the MBD Group. The MBD Group rose to fame as one of the important educational publishing houses of the country. The group has also diversified into different other segments, which include e-learning, hospitality, real estate, mall development and management, ecofriendly notebooks and paper manufacturing. As a part of the 5th Founder’s Day celebrations, the group has taken up multiple CSR initiatives to give back to the society. 10
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Marriott India Awarded ‘Best Companies to Work For’ in India, in the Hospitality Sector Marriott India, the Indian division of the Marriott International hotel chain, has been awarded as the ‘Best Companies to Work For’ in India, in the hospitality sector. The ranking is part of India’s largest annual study of workplace excellence conduct by Great Place to Work; the global human resources management consultancy and research firm. The study had participation from over 700 organisations spanning over 20 industries. Marriott India closely followed RMSI and Google, ranking 3rd overall, for the 2nd consecutive year. Marriott India ranks 1st within the Indian hospitality industry. This award embodies Marriott India’s contribution to India’s dynamic hospitality industry. The selection criteria is based on the Culture Audit and the survey conducted by Great Place to Work. GPTW chooses a certain set of individuals to conduct the survey and it is based on statements that cover credibility, respect, fairness, pride, and camaraderie – the five dimensions that correspond with the Great Place to Work® Model©. The Culture Audit instrument captures data on various aspects of the organisation’s culture and people practices. The Trust Index employee survey scores of the organisation, as well as the Culture Audit scores are plotted against the Top 50 Best
Workplaces in India. Chief Operations Officer (COO) for Marriott International in South-East Asia & Pacific, Rajeev Menon said, “Marriott takes great pride in its work culture - a culture that encourages its employees to maintain a healthy work life balance, one that recognises and rewards talent and hard work. Our employees are our greatest strength. This special recognition reminds us that our associates are the reason we excel in the hospitality industry. We are truly honoured, as this award puts us in such fine company and reinforces our commitment towards the growth and overall well-being of our associates.”
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HOTEL Business Review
Sheraton Hyderabad Hotel Emerges in the Indian Hospitality Space Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) has announced the opening of Sheraton® Hyderabad Hotel, a newly renovated property set to welcome the sizeable numbers of business and leisure travellers visiting Hyderabad. Sheraton Hyderabad Hotel opened its doors with a prolific evening soiree where tennis legends Sania Mirza and Martina Navratilova were part of the distinguished guest list. Owned by SAMHI Hotels (Ahmedabad) Private Limited, an affiliate of SAMHI Hotels Private Limited, Sheraton Hyderabad Hotel marks the 44th Starwood hotel in India. Sheraton Hyderabad Hotel, the second Starwood hotel owned by SAMHI Hotels (Ahmedabad) Private Limited, is strategically located in the heart of the city’s financial district and conveniently adjacent to the area’s key convention centers, such as HITEX Exhibition Centre and the Hyderabad International Convention Centre. Surrounded by multinational corporations, the property is also within walking distance of numerous upscale restaurants, retail shops and business offices. Only a 30-minute drive from the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (HYD), the hotel is easily accessible for business and leisure travellers alike. “We are pleased to bring the Sheraton brand to the city of Hyderabad, which is a fast growing business epicentre,” said
Ashish Jakhanwala, the Founder & CEO of SAMHI Hotels Private Limited. “The hotel is a testament to our successful partnership with Starwood and our commitment to building premium hotels that are successfully run, deliver great guest experiences and create value for our shareholders. We are eager to further strengthen this association with Starwood,” he elaborated further. Having 272 modern and stylishly designed rooms, the property also features a spa for the guests to unwind, a pool and the state-of-the-art Sheraton Fitness® center. Feast, the brand’s signature all-day dining venue, offers an interactive dining experience with live cooking stations and show kitchens. In the coming months, the hotel will also open InAzia, a Pan Asian speciality restaurant, and Chimes, a rooftop bar offering captivating panoramic views. The hotel has more than 950 square metres of ballroom, boardroom, and meeting room space. All these venues are equipped with audio-visual technology and are backed by an outstanding events team. “The Sheraton Hyderabad Hotel is a highly anticipated addition to the Sheraton brand’s global portfolio and marks an increased demand for hotels in emerging markets within India’s bustling metropolitan cities,” said Dilip Puri, Managing Director, India and Regional Vice President, South Asia, Starwood Hotels and Resorts India Private Limited.
DJUBO Receives Funding from ibiboGroup DJUBO, the cloud based 360 degree hotel sales platform, has recently executed a binding agreement to give away a minority stake to ibiboGroup, that owns properties such as Goibibo.com, for an undisclosed amount. Over the next 12 months, DJUBO is slated to add more than 2000 properties to its robust portfolio of budget hotels and resorts from across India and bordering countries. The company also aims at flipping into a B2C model of running an asset light tech-driven hospitality chain for the consumers. Commenting on the recent developments, Tarun Gulati, Co-Founder & CEO of DJUBO, said, “We are excited to have ibiboGroup on board as an investor and are looking forward for the avenues that this association opens up for the brand. We have big plans of expanding our client portfolio and will therefore be ramping up our sales and marketing efforts.” “A substantial portion of the investment will be put into product development to bring even more innovative functionality to DJUBO and develop it into a robust, end-to-end solution for hotel sales management, covering microfunctions as well,” he pointed out. “DJUBO is solving critical pain points of the hotel industry. Ibibo’s aim is to participate in solving problems in the accommodation and transportation industry. This investment is clearly part of our sweet spot wherein DJUBO is delivering great value to the hotel industry. We are very impressed with the DJUBO team and with the execution that they have demonstrated in a short span of time”, commented Ashish Kashyap, Group CEO of ibiboGroup, who will join DJUBO as a board member and mentor.
Trident Hotels has Introduced Trident Mini Trident Hotels, part of the ‘five-star’ Trident brand from The Oberoi Group, has announced the launch of a new transfer service named Trident Mini at Trident hotels at Gurgaon, at Nariman Point, Mumbai, at Bandra Kurla, Mumbai, in Chennai, and in Hyderabad. It entails an exclusive transfer service in a 2015 Mini Cooper D Countryman, available at Trident Hotels in Mumbai, Gurgaon, Hyderabad and Chennai. The hotel chain has added a total of six newly launched, 2015 Mini Cooper D Countryman to introduce this
exclusive experience for its guests. Trident Mini provides drop offs to prominent offices and areas adjoining the hotels, which are located within a 5 kilometre radius. While guests with Trident, Gurgaon, can zip around DLF Cybercity, DLF Cyber Hub, Udyog Vihar, Leisure Valley and the malls on MG Road; Trident, Hyderabad offers guests the luxury to travel across the HITEC City. Trident Hotels in Mumbai provide an opportunity to its guests to explore areas like BandraKurla Complex, Nariman Point and
Colaba in style. The unique service even provides airport drop off for guests in Trident, Chennai. The service is offered to the hotel’s resident guests. The service is offered on a firstcome-first-serve basis. All the guest needs to do is walk-up to the concierge and check for availability at that moment. This association between Trident Hotels and Mini Cooper seems to be a perfect match of traits that both the brands emanate – contemporary and stylish.
HOTEL Business Review
Vikram Singh Chauhan
Courtyard by Marriott Gurgaon has appointed Vikram Singh Chauhan as the new Front Office Manager for the hotel. Vikram will be responsible for daily operations of the front office team and will be closely monitoring room inventory to facilitate maximum profitability. He joins Courtyard by Marriott Gurgaon from Hyderabad Marriott Hotel & Convention Centre and Courtyard by Marriott Hyderabad where he was the Assistant Front Office Manager. During his career in the hospitality industry, Vikram has worked with hotels like Courtyard by Marriott, Hyderabad, Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel & Lakeside Chalet, Mumbai Marriott Executive Apartments, Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, The Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad, The Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur, Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur among others.
Deepak Jad has joined Cygnett Hotels & Resorts Pvt Ltd as Chief Planning Officer – Projects & Technical Services. Deepak was instrumental in setting up the design and technical services department at AccorHotels in India and has provided technical assistance to over 40 hotel projects, ranging from mid level to luxury projects. Deepak’s experience spans across a range of industries and projects including hotels, convention centers, education facilities, serviced apartments, residential & commercial building projects. He is fully conversant with international hotel design standards, and has worked with many leading international architects.
AccorHotels has appointed Jayakrishnan Sudhakaran as the new Director of Sales and Marketing for Grand Mercure Goa Shrem Resort. In his new role, Jayakrishnan will be responsible for leading and further improving all aspects of the sales and marketing communications of the hotel, promoting brand strategies and providing the best of Grand Mercure hospitality experiences to the guests. A seasoned hotelier, Jayakrishnan has been in the hospitality industry for over 12 years. Prior to joining AccorHotels, Jayakrishnan was the Director of Sales at Park Hyatt Goa Resort and SPA in Goa where he was employed for four years. His deep understanding of the Goa market is critical to his role as the Director of Sales and Marketing at Grand Mercure Goa Shrem Resort. Jayakrishnan began his career with the Taj Hotels & Resorts and Palaces and then went on to hold various positions in prominent hotel chains across India.
Sohaib Kidwai has been appointed as the Director, Sales and Marketing, Hyatt Pune Kalyani Nagar. Sohaib brings with him an experience of 10 years in the field of hospitality. In the role of Director of Sales and Marketing, Sohaib will be taking care of sales, events, conventional marketing, revenue management and digital marketing. Prior to joining Hyatt Pune, he was associated with Park Hyatt Chennai as the Director of Sales. He has had the experience of working in reputed hospitality properties during his tenure.
Keys Hotels has appointed Rajeev Thapa as the General Manager of Keys Resort Ronil, Goa. Rajeev comes to Keys Resort Ronil, Goa with a rich experience of over 18 years in the hospitality industry. He has worked with well known hospitality brands such as Taj, Leela, Le Meridien and Park Hotels. Rajeev will be responsible for ensuring smooth functioning of the hotel and building guest relations.
Shangri-La’s - Eros Hotel, New Delhi has announced the appointment of Neeraj Tyagi as the Executive Chef. With more than a decade of rich experience in various kitchens at hotels and restaurants across the globe, Chef Neeraj Tyagi brings a fresh and innovative culinary flair to his kitchens, inspired by his classic training and world travels. Prior to taking up the role of Executive Chef at Shangri-La’s - Eros Hotel, New Delhi, he worked at Kempinski Hotel Aqaba, Jordan in the same capacity. Before moving to Jordan, he worked more than eight years at The Claridges, New Delhi and launched the city’s most recognised Mediterranean restaurant, Sevilla.
Shangri-La Hotel, Bengaluru has appointed Ramasamy Natarajan as the Director of Sales. In his new role, Ramasamy will head the Sales Department of the property, encompassing corporate sales, MICE and travel trade business. He has more than 11 years of experience in the hospitality industry. He has worked with various five-star hotels. In his last assignment, he was part of the pre-opening team and led the sales team at Fairmont Jaipur.
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HOTEL Business Review
OYO Rooms to Expand its Network in Kolkata and Pune Continuing with its rapid extension drive, OYO Rooms has announced its expansion plans for Kolkata and Pune. OYO Rooms recently stated its year end goal for both the cities. The branded budget hotel chain aims to expand its network in Kolkata to 1,500 rooms and to 2,500 rooms in Pune by the end of 2015. The expansion of OYO Rooms is nothing short of amazing. OYO Rooms started its operations in Kolkata this April and was offering over 200 rooms in 17 hotels, in the City of Joy, by the third week of July of 2015. Similarly in Pune, OYO Rooms started functioning in March 2015 and was having 500 rooms in its inventory till the third week of July 2015. OYO Rooms has partnered with properties spread across the metropolitan cities, at major business and touristfriendly locations. OYO Rooms offers high-quality and standardised rooms at a price point between Rs. 999 and Rs.4,999. All OYO Rooms’ rooms are equipped with standardised amenities, including
comfortable beds, air-conditioning, TV, free and unlimited Wi-Fi, a clean and attached washroom and a complimentary breakfast service. The company has recently raised Rs.150 crore in venture capital funding and plans to use these funds to undertake a massive expansion in other cities of India. Kavikrut, Head of Expansion, OYO Rooms said, “Kolkata and Pune are important markets for us. We anticipate a huge demand for high-quality accommodation among travellers to both the cities as they are business and education hubs. Expansion in the cities is a significant milestone for us as we strive to create a niche in the branded hotel segment, offering convenience through technology; exactly what the tech-savvy travellers today understand
and expect.” OYO Rooms uses technology to deliver a superior and standardised customer experience across all its properties. The ‘OYO Rooms’ mobile app is a big hit amongst OYO Rooms’ guests and has been downloaded more than 3, 00,000 times. The app takes away the need to pre-book a hotel by making bookings lightning fast & easy and it takes just 3 taps to book a room. Furthermore, this app allows guests staying at an OYO to order room service directly from their smart phones. Moreover, all OYO Rooms hotels are also equipped with a tablet, running a proprietary OYO ‘Property Manager’ app that facilitates a superior, hassle-free experience for the guests. Using this app, a hotel manager can track the real time status of bookings and room availability, manage check-ins and checkouts, and can readily view and execute any special guest requests. The app also helps a manager to conveniently track payments as well as incidental expenses like F&B and laundry attributed to a guest.
Three Luxury Hotels Partner with RezNext for Revenue Management Services Three luxury hospitality properties based in northern and western India have selected RezNext’s revenue management service to improve their revenue streams and profitability. Hotel Jaisalkot Jaisalmer, The Heritage Palace, Jaipur and Hotel The Rigel, Agra are the three properties which have signed up for RezNext’s revenue management services, in the recent past. “Luxury properties typically operate in a very dynamic market where the expectations from guests for instant gratification are very high. Hence it is important to have efficient selling strategies in place. This requires a unified view of revenue data across the property and a quick response mechanism powered by real-time data intelligence. With limited resources, such properties cannot man a 18
specialised revenue team, focussing on improving revenues and profitability. This is where RezNext bridges the gap in the market. With seasoned hospitality leaders from the revenue management space, RezNext is able to provide holistic revenue services to suit the unique nature of a hotel’s business,” said Mike Kistner, Chief Executive Officer, RezNextGlobal Solutions. “We are excited to be the preferred revenue strategy partner for these three properties,” Kistner added further. “These properties are based in destinations that are impacted with seasonal fluctuations. Hence the need to optimise revenue during the season is very critical to make up for the expected loss of business during off seasons,” said Dhiraj Trivedi, President, Revenue Management
Services, RezNext Global Solutions. “At RezNext, we conduct a deep audit of the hotel’s business to understand its market strategy, pricing mix, channel mix, and online reputation. We also examine consumer behaviour, analyse competitor activity, demand and supply curve and execute the most profitable revenue strategy for our clients,” he added further. According to Mohammed Shafi, Managing Director, The Heritage Palace, Jaipur, “We are happy to partner with RezNext to manage our revenue strategy. We look forward to working with the RezNext team to know our demand forecasts accurately, and implement recommendations for selling strategies such as open/close rates and room categories, stay controls, and overbooking levels.”
HOTEL Business Review
These days, women are playing crucial roles in the Indian hotel industry. They have, as employees, helped hotels to reach new heights of glory; and, as guests, they have helped the hospitality industry to get higher revenue on investment. In our last issue, the role of women as pillars of the Indian hospitality industry was highlighted. In this issue, attention is drawn to the safety measures undertaken by hotels for single lady travellers and/or groups of lady travellers. Today, women are traversing the globe, either on business or leisure, often without males. The hotels in India are taking several steps to facilitate safety of these ladies. From exclusive womenâ€™s floor to receiving them at the airport, the hotels have adopted numerous measures to assure them of security and in ensuring that no physical harm comes to them. Ashok Malkani takes a look at some of the procedures adopted by leading hotels in India for the security and well-being of their lady guests. 22
he issue of women’s safety in India has been in the news frequently, in the recent years. Mariellen Ward, a Canadian travel writer and longtime advocate for solo female travel who considers India her ‘soul culture’ said, “I feel heartbroken this is happening in India, heartbroken that women had to suffer these experiences and heartbroken over the fact that media has effectively stereotyped India as a dangerous place full of perverts.” The statement that India is an unsafe place for single women travellers is a mere media created perception or a naked truth is a matter of debate. But these days, sometimes black and white perceptions become more potent than truth; which often resides in grey zones. And with several cases of physical violence on women being reported in the country during the recent years, it has become extremely important for hoteliers to take proper precautions to ensure their female guests’ safety. The issue of safety of women travellers should always be a top priority for any civilised society, which includes the hospitality industry, but this issue assumes an even more greater marketing priority for the hospitality industry in the light of the prediction from a January 2012 study by Amadeus, which stated that the number of female business travellers across the Asia-Pacific region was expected to rise greatly over the next two decades. According to the estimates of the survey, in 2011, approximately 4.5 million international business trips were made by women from Singapore, South Korea, Japan, India, China, Indonesia
HOTEL Business Review
and Australia. By 2030, that number was expected to increase by a whooping 400 percent.
The Rising Trend of Women Travellers Thankfully, many hotels in India have undertaken several steps which can facilitate the lady guests either travelling alone, or in groups of ladies, feel safe. One of the major steps that they have taken is to get their staff to empathise with their female guests on their concerns about safety. Women state that they would be more loyal to a hotel chain that addresses their needs. No wonder, many hotels today are adopting innovative steps to look after their safety, among other things. From eva rooms, lady butlers to restricted elevators and only women’s wings, hotels in India are going the extra mile to make their women guests feel safe and secure. There are various reasons for women preferring to travel alone. “Nowadays more women have resources and options than they ever had before. Also, as the percentage of women in business is on the incline, it
makes them as sensitive to the need for travel as men. Women are also confident about taking leisure trips on their own or with their girlfriends, without male presence in the picture. Having lady employees and staff to deal with these women travellers’ needs is just an added comfort for them,” averred Ranju Alex, General Manager, Goa Marriott Resort & Spa. Hemant Tenneti, General Manager, Courtyard Pune Chakan believes, “Single lady travellers are increasing in numbers because more women are now socially independent in our country than ever before.” “Women today are more assertive than ever before. Moreover, organisations are also making commendable efforts in providing a safe & secured environment for them,” opined S. Vidyashanker, Director, Human Resources, Grand Hyatt Goa on the reason behind the increase in the number of single lady travellers in the Indian hospitality industry. Pamela Datta, Assistant Manager – Revenue, Hyatt Pune is of the view that though women these days are independent and travelling all over the world alone, “a presence of lady employees in hotels is reassuring and gives the lady travellers a sense of security.” “We have lady staff serving the lady travellers in rooms,” she added. “Today there are more women in India travelling without a male companion because the Indian hospitality industry has become woman-centric and userfriendly. New hotels in the country have started creating women’s wing / pink rooms, etc. signifying a special space for them and to make women feel safer and assure them of friendliness,” asserted Chander Sarvagyam, COO, TGB Banquets & Hotels.
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Safety Measures “Marriott has extremely stringent and non-negotiable security measures in place to ensure safety and security of every guest. So every guest including lady guests are safe in a Marriott Hotel,” Tenneti averred, as he added, “We have dedicated floors with additional security for lady guests.” “We take strong security measures at all times for our women guests. With us women guests are always kept at ease, and appropriate degree of safety measures are taken to make them feel comfortable,” informed Sarvagyam. “Being a woman who travels alone frequently myself, I know how important the safety and security of a single lady traveller is, in today’s day and age. At the Goa Marriott Resort & Spa, when a single lady guest checks in, we register her profile as such and ensure that special care is taken with her needs into consideration. Besides being attentive to her preferences with regards to food, stay and other amenities, we also ensure that a Loss Prevention Security Associate is stationed on the floor of the room where she is staying in, who constantly patrols the floor for the duration of her stay, especially during night hours. We see our fair share of single lady travellers and we know that such measures go a long way in making them feel at home in a hotel property,” iterated
Ranju. “Our hotel is a fortress when it comes to security threats of any sorts. We have CCTVs installed in the hotel premises. Our security team is particularly active when it comes to any kind of disturbances. In fact, all our associates are trained periodically on how to handle crisis or potential threats,” declared Mohammad Labban, General Manager, Hyatt Regency Pune. “As far as lady guests are concerned, we have a women’s only floor in the hotel and also have round the clock security for our guests. We have our own team of security personnel on a 24 hour surveillance, keeping a close eye and monitoring activities,” he pointed out further. Stephanie D’Silva, Director of Sales and Marketing, JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu stated, “We ensure that we have female security staff for lady guests, female guest relations team to resolve all their queries and escort women travellers to their rooms, lady housekeeping associates to attend to rooms that belong to single women travellers and so on.” “In Hyatt Pune, single lady guests are escorted to their rooms by lady Guest Relation Executives. They are offered rooms near elevator and not at the corner. Furthermore, we ensure that the room is allocated in an area which is well lit. Besides that our staff is always vigilant towards women’s safety. We have security cameras in all possible areas on guest floor to monitor movements and ensure safety of guests, without being intrusive to guest privacy of course,” disclosed Pamella. “Also we take special care to make lady guests feel pampered with special amenities placed in the room,” Pamella averred. “As far as our lady guests are concerned we have a ‘Women Experience’ program in place, which is especially focused towards single lady travellers. Through this program we endeavour
to provide them a secured experience where they can feel at home,” stated Vidyashanker. “To make female guests feel secure and comfortable, we offer a whole lot of things ranging from room selection, amenities, private delivery service, being attended by female associates, rooms being serviced by female associates, etc. All these are part of the Women Experience Program,” he elaborated further.
Booking into Hotels The question of how the women guests book their rooms and whether the hotel provides them safe transport from and to the airport need exploration. If the ladies book on-line or on phone, is there any special effort made by the hotels to organise a pick up? These are questions that are relevant to the safe travel of the ladies. “Guests can book a room at the JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu, through a variety of channels like OTAs, travel agents and our website. We send a female guest relations associate to pick up women travellers from the airport on request,” informed Stephanie. Vidyashankar states that there are various channels through which bookings can be made including the hotel’s website. “At the Grand Hyatt Goa, the ‘Women Experience Program’, referred to earlier, covers various touch points including their
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arrival experience.” Tenneti informs that at Courtyard by Marriot Pune Chakan bookings for lady guests are normally done either through their company or online. “If a request is made, we organise a pick up from the airport.” “No matter how a Mohammad Labban reservation is made by the lady guest, the safety machinery at the TGB Hotels starts operating. As far as pick up from the airport is concerned, if the lady specifically asks for it, we definitely oblige,” asserted Sarvagyam. Pamella claims that lady guests at Hyatt Pune book through all sources – Internet, phone call, emails, etc. “In case a pick up is requested, we send our hotel cars which are GPS enabled and can be tracked at all times,” she informed. Mohammad Labban disclosed that lady travellers could book a room at Hyatt Regency Pune by personally visiting the hotel, or on-line or on the phone. “If a request is made we pick them up from the airport. We have never had a request for a female attendant but if such a request would come in, I am sure we could work it out,” he affirmed.
Cost and Revenues It may be mentioned that while women-only floors create or enhance a sense of security for women guests, it can play Chander Sarvagyam havoc with the inventory costs. However, gender-specific floors can be quite beneficial for discrete periods and groups, including conferences, conventions or tour groups. Be that as it may, there is little doubt that hotels in India are thinking increasingly carefully about simple ways with which they can better cater to their lady guests’ needs. Perhaps incessant supply of negative media reports have created a general perception among global travellers that India is not a safe country for single women travellers. However, many hotels in India have addressed this concern holistically and have upgraded their security pertaining to women guests accordingly. Major players in India’s hospitality industry are now aware that ensuring the safety of their women guests is crucial to their revenues and many of them are either reviewing or upgrading their security measures, particularly related to women’s safety. One can say, without hesitation, that, today ladies play a significant role in the progress and success of the Indian hospitality industry – both as employees and as guests. n Stephanie D’Silva
HOTEL Business Review
Tech-savvy Technology can facilitate India’s hospitality sector to improve its customer experience, which, in turn could help to bring in increased return on investment for hospitality properties in the country. Technology has a catalytic effect towards improving customer experience, day-to-day operations of the hotel and contributing towards several other aspects of the hotel industry. Technology has enabled hospitality industry to attract guests into booking directly online. The result is that Indian hotel industry’s e-commerce revenue has touched Rs 10,000 crore. Ashok Malkani finds that hotels have gone high-tech and IT has helped them improve their ROI.
nformation technology has made inroads in almost all the industries, contributing to their growth and progress. Indian hospitality industry is no exception to this general rule. The use of information technology has been growing by leaps and bounds in the Indian hospitality industry, over the past two decades. IT has become the catalyst for the growth of this sector. Consumer confidence to do online 28
hotel bookings is on the rise in India, with an estimated 8.4 million Indians likely to book hotels online by 2016. This was revealed in a report compiled by Google India, based on a face to face research conducted by TNS; interviewing travellers who had booked a hotel in last one year and are active Internet users across India. The role of technology is now evident across a gamut of hospitality services,
ranging from reservation to checkout. IT has increased the revenue earning potential of hotels and resorts and can greatly contribute towards operational efficiencies for the industry. No wonder, the hospitality industry in India is embracing IT with enthusiasm. The guests are also becoming increasingly tech-savvy and expect the hotels to be so. This has further created a need in the Indian hospitality industry to adopt
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new-age technology tools. The hospitality sector is increasingly considering employing technology for 3C solutions — Consideration, Convergence and Centralisation to streamline day-to-day facility management while meeting guests’ individual needs. Identifying guests by name on their arrival at the hotel, interactive displays with useful information and in-room tablets are set to become widespread realities in the Indian hospitality industry, in the near future. Rajesh Chopra, Senior VP — IT, Oberoi Hotels and Resorts, said, “Digital tools such as social media, analytics and mobile technology are helping the hospitality industry to check into a new world of customer loyalty and growth.” As an example, he cited the case of a foreign tourist who arrived at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, about a year ago. He had lost his baggage owing to his airline’s negligence. “Despite his best efforts, the gentleman could not locate his stuff, and reached our hotel, sans luggage. As soon as the tourist reached the hotel, he tweeted that he had lost his baggage at the airport and was now staying at the Oberoi. The central agency that was tracking Oberoi’s social media activities noticed it and informed the hotel’s Duty Manager at the airport. The Duty Manager traced and collected the baggage from the airline and delivered it to the guest at the hotel — to his pleasant surprise! This not only increased the loyalty of the customer, but also gave us satisfaction as a hospitality player,” he observed.
Technology for Customer Satisfaction “Hotels work hard to provide differentiated service experience to
kitchen on his tablet before ordering it,” observed Chopra.
guests and technology can really enable them to do that with finesse. There are various tools available that are being used worldwide by the hospitality sector and we, in India, need to gradually shift to these tools to improve our services. By getting their own apps created, hotels can really make good use of technology and save their customers from a lot of inconvenience,” pointed out Sukesh Jain, VP, Enterprise Business, Samsung India. “Samsung did a global survey a couple of years ago to evaluate the use of technology in the hospitality sector. Out of the total, 78 percent said that technology had given real ROI (return on investments) to their business. Through devices like smartphones and tablets, which can conveniently run apps, hotels can improve productivity as well as customer service. Samsung’s Integrated Displays enable guests to use self-service functions and our digital signages help in engaging guests,” Jain added. During the recent years, many hotels and resorts in India are using a gamut of sophisticated technologies to improve their services and enhance their revenues. “Technology has contributed a lot to the hospitality sector. Virtualisation enabled the hotels to have speed in operations. Power consumption has reduced significantly with the use of sensors. Centralised applications help in delivering speed, and with a single system integrator, hotels can streamline operations across properties. In the present scenario, technology investment should be such that it enhances customer satisfaction, productivity and return on investment. It would be a great attempt in customer satisfaction if customers could simply see a dish made in the
To prevent falling of revenues and to increase competitiveness, Indian hotels today are leveraging technology to a great extent. According to Douglas Gray, former Chief Solutions Officer, Bluestar Infotech (currently Senior Manager, Optimisation Solutions at Southwest Airlines), technology is playing a key role and is an important differentiator for the Indian hospitality sector. “The industry has undergone significant changes during the past few years. With the emerging markets and more informed and demanding customers, the industry is adopting many technology tools these days. The key areas of technological development for the hospitality industry are online booking, mobile technology, customer relationship management (CRM), social media and analytics,” he averred. Hospitality is all about serving the customers. Therefore, ERP (enterprise resource planning) and CRM (customer relationship management) tools should be the technological base of any hotel these days. CRM can facilitate hospitality properties to retain customers in the long-run by providing better customer services and can generate alternate sources of revenue by selling non-core services. A smart CRM tool also helps in reducing cost of operations. CRM is essentially supported by various disciplines like guest profile management, loyalty management, sales management, marketing and campaign management, and social media management. “Traditionally, CRM solutions have been expensive to implement and difficult to integrate with disparate
Frits van Paasschen
HOTEL Business Review
hotel systems. Only a few large hospitality chains have been able to achieve true integration. However, new-age technologies such as cloud computing and innovative pricing models such as SaaS have enabled product vendors to offer CRM services at a marginal cost. Hence, one will see increased adoption of CRM amongst hotel chains in India,” opined KS Bharath, Business Practice Head – Hospitality, ITC Infotech.
Cloud Computing “Cloud computing is the future of information technology. Many hotel companies talk about the advantages of cloud computing. Such a virtual system platform helps to lower capital expenditure and can increase ROI for its property owners, can create greater property operating efficiency, and can deliver better service to guests. It also helps to implement centralised data security and PCI compliance, thus decreasing risk on property level,” elaborated Yogesh Sawant, Senior Manager, Information Technology, The Westin Mumbai Garden City while speaking about cloud computing. Cloud computing is perhaps the biggest trend in PMS (property management systems). “The introduction of cloud-based PMS has revolutionised the hospitality industry globally as it has opened up a vast array of features, allowing hotels to work in a new environment that is highly efficient, secured and technical, and minimises human errors.
It also allows easy accessibility anywhere across the world and can be customised according to the hotel’s requirements,” proffered Sawant. “Centralised PMS is a potential capital cost saving option for any property owner which will help him to minimise the entire project cost. The saving comes through many aspects like hardware cost, data centre space, electricity, air-conditioning, fire suppression cost in data center, etc,” Sawant added further. Gaurav Apte, Resident Manager, Bengaluru Marriott Hotel Whitefield also believes the same. “Cloud-based PMS has its benefits as it helps manage day-to-day business functions such as property revenue collection, security control, customer transactions, inventory management, maintenance tasks, tax tracking and daily audits, etc,” stated Apte. “It definitely is more viable but less secure as information is literally in an unknown electronic cloud. However, with this technology, access of information has become much easier and larger data can be stored and accessed at any given time,” he pointed out further. Though presently centralised PMS is limited to individual properties, the future seems to be bright. “The emergence of cloud computing has made centralised PMS a reality. Definitely, hotels in the future would opt for a centralised PMS as even today we codepend on each other for information. Making it centralised would mean access to information at any given point for use in any part of the country. A definite time efficient system to opt for,” opined Apte. “There were days when guests would enter the hotel and line up at the counters to get their room and complete the check-in formalities. With our mobile check-in app, guests can now check in a day prior, get their allotted room and even complete basic check-in formalities such as ID or passport scan right from their smartphones,” revealed Apte. Another important technology trend that has been influencing the hospitality sector is mobility. Mobility solutions and mobile applications are changing the way the
hospitality sector operated traditionally. New-age mobile solutions can connect with a guest very effectively. “Interactive mobile PMS application and self check-in kiosks are going to be the future trend. They will help the hospitality industry to eliminate the fixed desk concept in the lobby area,” predicted Sawant.
Using Social Media Another important, and probably the most important and significant development influencing the Indian hospitality industry is the social media. Over the past few years, Indian hospitality sector has adopted social media such as Facebook and Twitter as effective tools for its business communication. Consumers have become tech-savvy and are now taking feedback from fellow travellers before planning a trip. Social media is a big influencer now in shaping and forming consumer’s opinion and can play a bigger role in brand awareness. “A comprehensive strategy for guest engagement these days is to employ social media analytics tools on social media channels. Social media tools can be put into good business use for the
Business hospitality sector. Engagement with guests have increased manifold with the help of social media,” affirmed Chopra. Nowadays many hotels in India are using tools such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, which help them get further prepared to receive guests. “We are able to serve them with personalised services and are able to avoid situations that our guests dislike. We are getting a complete profile of our guests regarding their interests, hobbies, travel patterns, stay at other hotels, etc.,” asserted Chopra. Many hotels in the country monitors social media activities round the clock and negative feeds, if any, are sent to the respective departments immediately for them to take a corrective action. Social media is also being used for promotions and support. Hotels are even using it for sale of last minute inventory through channels such as Twitter. “Social media provides a channel for guests to share information. Hoteliers are using social media tools to analyse guest sentiments and deliver messages in a manner that is effective and communicates the value of the brand. In addition, tools for online reputation management help monitor and respond to social media conversations in a timely and effective manner,” explained Bharath. “Social media and better online presence have a lot of business benefits to offer for the hospitality industry. We have started concentrating and promoting our online presence through own website, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, and through travel agent sites. We also used channel managers to track and identify the online data. And the results have been much rewarding,” stated Sharad Bhargava, Associate Director, Development, Golden Tulip Hotels.
HOTEL Business Review
and creating a company culture that encourages staff to step outside their defined roles,” explained Frits van Paasschen, former President and Chief Executive Officer of Starwood Hotels and Resorts. “For example, the shift that everybody is seeing from a PC-based search engine transaction view of the world to a mobile-based dialogue, app-based way of relating to brands, fundamentally opens up new possibilities for how we can have direct conversations with individual guests, how we can anticipate their needs, how we can make sure their room is ready when they get to our hotels,” he iterated. Nowadays guests are also being checked in without having to collect keys from the reception counter. Now guests arriving at the Aloft and W Hotels are able to bypass the traditional check-in desk and enter their rooms using their smartphone as the room key. Starwood Hotels & Resorts, which owns the two above referred boutique brands, in collaboration with locking and security solutions provider Assa
Exciting Developments “Travellers are crossing more borders more frequently than ever before. Global hotel brands are tasked with responding to these increasing numbers of sophisticated guests no matter where in the world they are or where they are from. Today that means acting as a portal to a destination’s local culture, arming travellers with technology to make smart decisions quickly,
Abloy, has developed keyless check-in technology that allows the guests to check in and out of their rooms using their mobile phones. Like Starwood, other top hotel brands are also looking for ways to shorten queues at the front desk by offering quick check-in, check-out and concierge facility through the smartphones of their guests. Similarly, French hotel group Accor plans to implement mobile-powered check-in and check-out wherein the guests can even make the hotel’s payments through mobile. Mobility solutions and mobile applications are changing the way the hospitality sector operated traditionally. “Most hotel websites allow for apps to be downloaded onto a mobile device. This allows guests to check for availability, create a reservation, update their preferences both for rooms as well as for restaurants,” explained Bharath. Mobile integration does not end with checkin alone. Global hotel chain Hilton Worldwide plans to bring concierge-onmobile to India in its upcoming Conrad property. The concierge app allows guests to manage a range of services including room service, transportation, local attractions, spa appointments, housekeeping requests, wake-up calls and more. No matter what type of new technology is implemented, tending to the needs and wants of guests is vital to the hospitality industry. And, as always, it is critical that while incorporating post-modern technologies, hotels should take care to not lose sight of good old values of customer service. n
HOTEL Business Review
Hospitality with Themes By Swarnendu Biswas
he role of value additions is very important in todayâ€™s hospitality industry. In this regard, it can be said that one of the effective ways to enhance the revenues of the Indian hospitality industry is perhaps to opt for themed hospitality. I think it is one of the ways by which the industry can take advantage of the wind of revival that it is experiencing in 2015 and which is expected to continue further in the future years. It is about time that our hospitality industry thinks of uniquely themed resorts and hotels in a more proactive, innovative and holistic manner. I know there are high-end spa resorts in the country, and heritage hotels/resorts are also there but still the overall variety of themed hotels and resorts in India is quite limited.
Mind, Body and Soul Resorts For example, what about resorts focused on fitness, sports, wellness and adventure together, which can be aptly termed as Mind, Body and Soul resorts? I do not know whether already we have such resorts in India, which can fall in this category or not, but I am sure that we
need many more of such hospitality options to take care of numerous tension filled minds, and numerous bodies afflicted with lifestyle diseases, which are the bane of our times. And I think in these times, there would be a great demand for such resorts, not only among the health and fitness conscious inbound tourists but also among a section of well-heeled domestic tourists, which are fast learning the benefits of health and holistic wellness in our troubled times. Of course, these types of resorts should be located far from the madding crowd, preferably in offbeat but serene locales like Ganapatipule, Ponmudi and Majuli among others. These types of resorts should be guided by the objective to refresh the mind, develop the body, and rejuvenate the soul of the guests in a holistic manner. It is advisable that such Mind, Body and Soul resorts in India should have a very good gym with an array of qualified fitness personnel and a comprehensive range of sophisticated fitness equipments. They should also have a high-end spa with qualified spa personnel and a comprehensive array of healing and
rejuvenative treatments and therapies. Preferably, they should also have a nationally renowned fitness guru or a nationally renowned spa consultant on their rolls, who would come to the resorts to guide the in-house gym team or the in-house spa team of these resorts, from time to time. This exercise would endow more credibility to the holistic wellness image of these resorts, which could position themselves as Mind, Body and Soul resorts. Domestic and inbound tourists coming to these types of resorts should be strongly advised to go through a series of exercises or fitness regimens on a daily basis, which would of course be tailored according to the guestsâ€™ health and fitness levels. It would be better if the exhaustive and diversified fitness regimens or modules of these types of resorts are being developed by some nationally renowned fitness gurus like Leena Mogre, Kiran Sawhney or Deanne Pandey and the army of fitness trainers at these proposed resorts would have to adhere to those regimens, while training their guests. This would enhance the health and fitness quotient of those resorts greatly.
Feature “Resorts focusing on fitness, sports, wellness and adventure together can be a great success module for the Indian hospitality industry,” expressed Kiran Sawhney, the renowned fitness expert. “With growing interest in fitness and adventure, there are now ample number of people in India who are now interested in finding fitness and adventure gateways. It is certainly a commercially viable approach for the Indian hospitality industry,” she added. As discussed before, these fitness, sports, wellness and adventure resorts could not only be targeted at fitness, sports, wellness and adventure enthusiasts but also to people afflicted with lifestyle diseases, which is a threatening reality in urban India. Some fitness tips should also be provided to the people afflicted with lifestyle diseases by the trainers, while keeping in mind the nature and extent of their ailment/s. These kind of resorts should ideally also have their food & beverage options developed by nationally renowned nutritionists and should have in-house doctors to help advise the people with lifestyle diseases like diabetes, hypertension, obesity, etc. in order to improve their lifestyles. Regular health check-ups of people afflicted with lifestyle diseases could also be provided at the
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resorts. At Kairali — Ayurvedic Healing Village, located near Pallakad in Kerala, I met and interacted with in-house doctors of the resort. Established in 1999, the Ayurvedic Healing Village has emerged as a wonderful health resort catering to inbound and well-heeled domestic tourists, where they can get treated of their chronic ailments through holistic character of Ayurvedic medication, amidst scenic surroundings, and can also get their city-jaded nerves refreshed in the process, amidst an environment of greenery and serenity. It is a great health and welllness resort, but the time has come to extend the idea of health and wellness resorts to mind, body and soul resorts. These mind, body and soul resorts should ideally also cater to avid sports lovers, by providing a plethora of outdoor sporting options ranging from cricket to football, to tennis to swimming to wrestling to boxing. There could be the provision of in-house sports coaches at the resort, and cricket and football matches between sports enthusiasts could be arranged at these resorts. Complementary martial arts and kickboxing training of 15-20 days can be provided to women guests by the in-house martial arts instructors at these
resorts. These types of resorts should also provide a comprehensive range of adventure tourism options. However, the type of adventure provided at any of these resorts would largely depend upon the geographical area where the resort is located. Depending upon the geography of the resort, these resorts can have various adventure tourism options like paragliding, bungee jumping, mountaineering, scuba diving, water skiing, dune bashing, jungle safari, etc. Keeping in mind the growing numbers of single women travellers, it would be a market savvy option if these resorts provide specially tailored packages for women adventure tourist enthusiasts. This initiative can garner many upwardly mobile single lady travellers seeking some quality thrill, away from their busy corporate schedules.
Exploring India’s Tribal Heritage The Indian hospitality industry can also explore the idea of heritage resort in more depth by taking the concept of heritage beyond the realms of conventional history. India has an ancient and continuing tradition of rich tribal culture, which can attract tourists going for experiences beyond the realms of
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predictable and ordinary. And thankfully, the numbers of such tourists are increasing in India’s tourism industry. Why not established hotel chains operating in India or thinking of foraying in to India come up with the endeavour to actualise the idea to have tribal-themed resorts on a more proactive basis, than they are doing at present? Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Chhattisgarh, North-east and other places of India, which have a rich presence of tribal life, can be the ideal locations for such tribal themed resorts. In these resorts, the day-to-day lifestyles, festivities and some of the wonderful customs and costumes of the tribes of Chhattisgarh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, North-east and other parts of India can be reflected in the cultural programmes hosted at the resorts or in the ‘role playing’ and attire of the personnel of the resorts. Of course, all these exercise should be done while keeping in mind that no law of our land is being violated or compromised. Of course, it goes without saying that such resorts should be located
in close proximity of the tribal areas, preferably within the tribal villages, and the ambience and décor of those tribal resorts should simulate a tribal village though they can be spruced with comprehensive post-modern amenities and facilities in an unobtrusive and latent manner at the same time.
Floating Hospitality The idea of floating hospitality can also be extended further. One such noteworthy example in this direction is The Oberoi Motor Vessel Vrinda. The two and three night itineraries on the luxurious The Oberoi Motor Vessel Vrinda take guests through the scenic backwater stretch covering Vembanad Lake and the vibrant waterways of Allepey, and the experience includes nightly traditional, cultural performances too. With eight Deluxe Cabins, The Oberoi Motor Vessel Vrinda offers luxurious, private accommodation on the backwaters of Kerala. We have kettuvalms in Kerala, but this idea of ‘cruise resort’ can be extended to
tap the tourism potential and hospitality sector’s revenues in Sunderbans, Goa and many other picturesque sea side towns of India, which are outside the realm of the backwater stretches of Kerala, in a more pronounced manner than it is being done now. We have cruise packages in Sunderbans but more floating hospitality endeavours to explore the fascinating wildlife and natural beauty of Sunderbans — a UNESCO World Heritage Site having the largest mangrove eco-system in the world — is the need of the hour. The hotel chains operating or thinking of opening in India should develop small ships as cruise hotels or cruise resorts, to give tourists wonderful vignettes of the Konkan and Malabar coastline, and the fascinating wildlife of Assam and Sunderbans. And these ship-hotels or ship-resorts could have all the facilities of a five-star or four-star property like gym, spa, nightclub, conference center, etc and their guests can not only have the option of a cruise of 2 nights and 3 days or 3 nights and 4 days, but can stay at those
floating hotels or resorts for as much duration as they prefer to(like in a normal hotel or resort).
Fusing Art with Hospitality The art themed and music themed hotels/resorts can also be innovative options to enhance the potential of Indian hospitality industry. Presently there are very few hotels and resorts in India, which are themed on art. It is about time that the Indian hospitality industry develops the idea of fusing art and hospitality in a more proactive and frequent manner. Le Sutra in Mumbai is an apt example of an art hotel, where art is beautifully amalgamated with ancient Indian philosophy. The three levels of the hotel represent the Gunas which sum up the worldview in Indian philosophy. Gunas are tendencies and attributes that exist within people, nature and things; their thoughts and emotions, which are so essential to the evolution of consciousness. It is a way of qualifying objects or beings. The three Gunas, according to the ancient Indian philosophical traditions, are Tamas, Rajas, and Sattva. The 16 rooms at Le Sutra are based on mythological and historical characters like Ravana, Ashoka, and Buddha or human characteristics like sensuality, love, and purification. The rooms of Le Sutra are adorned with paintings, artifacts, sculptures; showcasing diverse themes and philosophies. EllBee Ganga View in Rishikesh has also renovated itself into an art hotel, about which I had discussed in the last issue of HBR in detail. More art themed hotels and resorts
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where India’s rich history and/or mythology or its spellbinding natural beauty can be showcased through art works adorned across the guest rooms, spas and gyms and conference rooms, is the need of the hour. This exercise could attract many additional discerning guests, especially those who are interested in India, to those hospitality properties.
Food for the Soul Hotels and resorts themed on music can also be an intelligent option to explore upon. Music can be regarded as food for the soul. Besides photos/paintings of great singers and musicians and of musical instruments being part of the décor of these kind of hotels and resorts, the added attraction of such hospitality properties can be an auditorium, where singers, dancers and musicians of repute can be invited on a frequent basis(say every fortnight or so) to perform. Many people would like to visit such music themed hotels/resorts just to see the performances of their favourite singers and/or musicians, and thus it would be wise for such hotels and resorts to keep the performances at the auditoriums open for the non- resident walk-in guests too. These types of hotels and resorts can also have music themed restaurants within their premises. Of course, it goes without saying that live musical performances by expert singers and their accompanying musicians would be the soul of the music themed restaurants. Live musical performances are nothing new in the Indian restaurant business, but the music themed restaurants across hotels and resorts should ideally carry forward this reality more extensively. In music themed restaurants across
hotels and resorts, not only the cuisine and décor should gel with the music offered, but live performances with singer and her/his accompanying musicians should ideally be the feature of these restaurants through their entire hours of operations. For example, a music themed restaurant in a five-star hotel, which is opened from 12 pm in the afternoon to 12 am in midnight should ideally have live musical performances during these entire 12 hours. Harjeet Wasan, Vice President, Tux Hospitality Private Limited, which is a venture of Shipra Hotels Limited, sounded enthusiastic about the idea of music themed restaurants.“Nowadays people eat out as a form of entertainment. While they may not be coming to a restaurant for the music but when it is present it can greatly enhance their enjoyment and time spent at the restaurant,” he observed. “Music also becomes a powerful tool to make memories with the near and dear ones, and has the potential to induce people to come back to your bar or restaurant,” he pointed out further. While developing music themed restaurants at hotels and resorts it should be remembered that music covers an amazingly wide ambit, and different profile of restaurant guests may like different kinds of music. Therefore it can be more pragmatic for hotel’s or the resort’s management to tailor the theme of the music themed restaurant on a particular genre or school of music, which will help to define and cater to the target profile in a more precise manner. To increase the guest attractions, focusing on two specific genres or schools of music can also be done at the same time. n
HOTEL Business Review
To Make an Impression on the Table By Sharmila Chand
hotel’s tableware gives indication of the image of the restaurant and reflects what it offers at a first glance. Furthermore, it creates a visual appeal which Chefs like to call ‘visual synchronisation’ with food. As Sharad Dewan, Regional Director — Food Production, The Park Kolkata said, “Food is not just about filling up your stomach. It has always been about the experience. Presentation of the dish is as much important as its taste. The sensory perception of food begins with visual appeal and then moves on to aroma, flavour, taste, etc. If the first
perception of food goes wrong, the rest of the experience also tends to go wrong. So tableware adds character and personality to the dish and thus can make the food more appealing.”
Setting the Mood “Tableware is very important as its sets the mood for the dining experience. A presentable and attractive table enhances a guest’s dining experience, as well as the feel and ambience of the restaurant. For a restaurant in a luxury hotel, the right selection and showcasing of tableware is no less important than having the right
dish on the menu,” opined Chef Neeraj Tyagi, Executive Chef at Shangri-La’s - Eros Hotel, New Delhi. “Customised crockery and tableware seem to be the trendsetters these days since they give a personalised touch by embossing the logo of the restaurant. The customisation can further be tweaked to help enhance the overall look and feel of the restaurant,” affirmed Chef Tyagi. “Earlier, it was only chinaware that was commonly used, but restaurants across India nowadays have started to diversify into stoneware, clay crockery, granite slates and metal ware. The visual appearance of crockery and cutlery used in a restaurant plays a crucial role and helps improve the overall presentation of the food served, which thus can lead to more customer satisfaction and can help generate more revenue,” he continued.
Tableware Tailored to Cuisines Tableware should vary according to the cuisines. “Like in Zen at The Park Kolkata, we serve Japanese, Thai and Chinese cuisines. Our Japanese food is mostly served in black crockery, our Thai food is mostly served in hand-crafted ceramic and our Chinese food is served mostly in bowls,” explained Dewan. “Apart from these, black and brown is the colour scheme of the restaurant and these colours reflect on the service ware too,” he added further. 36
F&B “The selection tableware depends on the kind of restaurant and the overall concept of the restaurant. For example, if a restaurant is more about fun dining then the crockery used should be quirky in design. On the other hand if the restaurant is more about fine dining then the crockery used should showcase luxury,” iterated Chef Tyagi. “Different cuisines require different tableware. However, customisation of crockery helps a restaurant give a cuisine-centric crockery, set a personalised twist or give a surprise element/innovation to different dishes,” Tyagi added further.
Other Factors to Heed “The type and design of tableware are integral to food presentation. Also we should keep in mind the colour of the dish, the texture of the dish, ease to serve the dish on the table, size of the table, how would the plate look on the table, ease of eating off the dish, cost of the tableware, durability of the tableware, its washing ease, its reaction to sharp objects like knives, etc., tableware’s ease of stacking/storage among other factors. When so many things are to be seen in tableware, it automatically becomes important or rather critical to the overall
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Chef Neeraj Tyagi
dining experience across food service outlets,” observed Dewan.
Challenges to Source, Choosing the Right There are several challenges for a hotel’s restaurant to source the right kind of tableware. “Tableware cannot be bought by only seeing its picture. You need to see it in real and feel it. However, getting a variety of samples is a big challenge. Moreover, repeat supply of tableware can be a challenge. Very often we do not buy a given tableware though we like the design, just because we know that if
Tableware Trends Neeraj Tyagi points out the latest trends in tableware for the Indian hospitality industry, which are as follows: Handcrafted Tableware This kind of tableware reflects originality, authenticity and craftsmanship. It is more suitable for the restaurant where the cuisine belongs to any particular region of the country. Raw or Rustic Tableware Many of the branded tableware collections play with a mix of materials like acacia wood, slate, glass and cork. This kind of tableware is more suitable for a bistro/coffee shop where the atmosphere is casual and the footfall tend to be high. Coloured Plate ware The trend of coloured plate ware, which used to be considered as signature pieces years ago, are now getting reproduced in the complete set collection. Making a Match While experimenting with tableware, creativity plays a major role in restaurants. Nowadays traditional items are used to serve new purposes. It no longer needs to be limited to using the empty wine bottles for candle holders. You may even find your canapés served in a bonsai tree. Unexpected serving styles provide the outlet with a way to amaze their customers in terms of presentation. Matte and Glossy Matte and glossy tableware seems to be in fashion these days, across food service outlets. They go beautifully with both fine dining as well as in casual dining. — Chef Neeraj Tyagi, Executive Chef at Shangri-La’s - Eros Hotel, New Delhi.
we reorder them after six months, stocks are not likely to be available. Good tableware is still a luxury in India; it is still very expensive,” offered Dewan. Choosing the right tableware for the restaurant can often be a challenge. “Imagine your tableware to be like a painting. Then ask, whether I will like to look at it almost everyday and never get bored of it?” queried Dewan to the prospective buyers of tableware for food service outlets. “Do not allocate budget for your tableware beforehand. See a few ranges and then decide on your budget,” he advised. “It is very important to ascertain beforehand that whether you require formal tableware or casual tableware and what sort of food are you going to serve in it. The question whether the tableware compliments the food or contradicts it also needs to be addressed satisfactorily before choosing the tableware for food service outlets. For example, it is not pragmatic to serve curry items in a flat platter or a flat dish in a deep bowl,” explained Dewan further. “One needs to be clear about the quantities of tableware one requires and where will one store it. Will you be keeping your tableware in cupboard or will it have some ornamental value as well? Remember what you already have in the cupboard. Do you want your tableware to supplement them or you want your tableware to be totally different from those items? These are a few questions which need to be addressed before deciding upon the tableware for food service outlets,” the Regional Director elaborated further.
Tableware Choices According to Dewan, tableware with simple ergonomic designs, more nature inspired (in shape, colour and texture), chip resistant tableware are very trendy these days in the Indian hospitality industry. “Personally, I believe in keeping a large repertoire of designs for tableware. I like dark coloured plates. I like to use larger plates where I can put small quantities of food. For me the plate is not only my canvas, it is my frame too. My plate should have as much character as my food,” asserted Dewan. n
HOTEL Business Review
Enter the World of
Holistic Wellness By Sharmila Chand
elax and rejuvenate at the Spa at Le Meridien Gurgaon, Delhi-NCR. Set amidst a tranquil and peaceful environment, the Spa at Le Meridien Gurgaon, Delhi NCR offers a wide array of traditional and modern treatments and packages, carefully put together by a team of experts. Here luxury spa treatments range from Shirodhara, Abhyanga, Hot Stone Massage to contemporary Swedish and Balinese all natural full body scrubs and more. The spa also boasts of some all time favourite treatments like an oil-based Sports Massage; created by experts for those with a strenuous lifestyle. Couple’s Massage Special, Tender Touch Package which includes an elaborate ritual of massages, body scrubs and baths are other important wellness solutions at the spa. The spa uses a coveted range of uniquely blended oils that are made from natural extracts. The USP of the spa is the soothing environment accentuated by pleasing and warm décor, rooms made in modern designs and combined with traditional touch, shower and steam cubical in every massage room and well-trained therapists. 38
Conversing on Spa Business While on my tour of the spa, I met the Spa Manager of Le Meridien Gurgaon, Delhi NCR. Yamini Bisht came across as a young, hard working professional who simply loves to pamper her guests at the spa. During the interaction she threw light on the Indian spa industry, her favourite treatment and more… The excerpts from the interview follow:
What is the major reason for visiting spas in India?
For years, spa industry surveys of spa goers have told us that the major reason for guests to visit spas is to reduce stress, to unwind and to feel better. Spas encompass the best antidote to stress with programs of massage, acupuncture, exercise and meditation to name a few; along with quiet places to enjoy solitude. Wellness has gained huge importance in urban India’s lifestyle and with the day to day challenges and pressures of life, an increasing number of people are opting for spa treatments and therapies to relax and revive/maintain their well-being. Discuss some ongoing and future trends in the Indian spa industry
These days, the spas’ menus are getting simplified to reflect the main effect of each category of services with a focus on relaxation, feeling better or looking better. The frivolous treatments are being deleted and in their place fewer and more targeted treatments are coming into place. Guests at the spas are nowadays making articulate decisions on treatments that will be beneficial for their individual needs. Green treatments are also becoming trendy. Nowadays people are paying more attention to living a green, environmentally friendly lifestyle and this is reflected into their spa treatments as well. You will see a rising demand for green treatments and products in the Indian spa industry, made with organic ingredients. In the future, spas’ consumers in the country will also be paying more attention to whether your spa business has implemented environmentally friendly practices such as water conservation, use of
organic ingredients, and proper disposal of chemicals or not. Customers nowadays love the idea of couture treatments. These days, most spa goers in the country love to feel that the treatment they are receiving is unique and special. Time is the most valued commodity today. Nobody seems to have enough of it. Thus mini treatments can mean the difference between getting in some spa time or having to give it up due to lack of scheduling and budget concerns. They can be a great way to fill in small wellness spaces in your busy calendar. Mini treatments provide an opportunity for spas to introduce new treatments, and/ or provide the opportunity for clients to fit more spa time into their busy schedules. Having mini treatments as options on your spa menu can mean big bucks in 2015. Treatments for men are also gaining currency across spas in the country. These days in urban India, spa is increasingly becoming an essential part of men’s grooming. From high-end barber services to facials and massages, the demand for treatments designed for men will continue to grow across spas in the country, in the years to come.
What are the points to be kept in mind while designing a spa menu?
What are the key challenges towards starting a spa business in the country?
With the recent development of myriad new spas within hotels in the country, spa management has become an excellent career choice. While the business aspects of the job can at times be stressful, the relaxing surroundings can often alleviate those stress elements.
One of the biggest challenges for the Indian spa business include the rapid growth of wellness businesses in the country. It results in huge competition, unless you are able to focus on a niche service or market in the spa industry. Thus spas in India should be ideally introduced in the market with focus on niche service/s or market/s. This is a challenge. Also, getting the right staffing can be difficult. Finding high quality therapists is paramount to return business to the spa. License and permits are also required to open a spa which construe as another challenge towards opening a spa in the country.
First there is a need to have a good understanding of your spa’s brand identity. Understanding the spa’s brand identity with insight before embarking on designing a spa menu is needed for ensuring that the spa menu’s message and language are consistent with your spa’s brand identity. Besides, the spa menu of a spa should speak the given spa’s target market’s language. Customising spa services and marketing messages are the best ways to connect with and appeal to your core market. To keep your spa menu competitive, it is good to research the local competition to help you identify trends or new products and treatments. Furthermore, it is wise to involve your team. As your customers initially interact with your team members, members of your staff are likely to be more attuned with spa goers’ requests and demands. By involving your team, you facilitate valuable feedback that could help you develop an irresistible spa menu. In the present scenario, what are the opportunities in the realm of spa management?
Discuss some customised treatments at your spa
We will continue to see growth in treatments and services that have a customised aspect to them. We have ‘Tender Touch’, ‘Unwind Yourself ’ and ‘Hold the Treasure of Togetherness’ as customised treatments at our spa. My favourite treatment is the Swedish massage and a body scrub as it is a combination of relaxation and detoxification.
HOTEL Business Review
The Scent of Hospitality By Vishesh Vijayvergiya
nfusing a distinctive and pleasing ambient scent can add a feel of pleasantness to the social interactions between people, particularly in a MICE setup. Thus the role of ambient fragrance is of importance to the hospitality industry. The addition of a fragrant scent can be construed as a relatively inexpensive value addition to create a competitive advantage in meetings, conferences or exhibitions. Signature scents can be aptly utilised as a marketing tool to increase the appeal among the potential clientele. Nice scents can induce happiness, relaxed mood, and sensuousness. All of these can contribute towards guest satisfaction in hotels and resorts.
Making a Fragrant Impression Smart Managers in hotels have already begun to embrace and acknowledge the winning influence of aromas on their guests’ psyche. Systematic and thoughtful development of proprietary signature scent is a sure shot way to appeal to the senses and to make the hotel’s services more appealing. The use of signature scent in hotels and restaurants would perhaps lead to increased liking for those hotels and restaurants among the guests. Let us assume a hotel’s regular guest who is familiar with the signature scent of the given hotel. Now even if the guest were to inhale a fragrance that is similar to the signature scent of the hotel at a location away from the hotel, the scent may trigger a recall of the hotel’s name and services. In a study, the sale of biryani was increased in a restaurant after the fragrance of biryani was infused in the area surrounding the restaurant. Whereas in an another experiment, it 40
was observed that the sale of chocolates and cookies were increased when ambient scent was based on chocolate. Imagine infusing Arabic fragrance when organising an Arabic Food Festival in one of your hotel’s restaurants or the role of the fragrance of tomato leaves when organising a Pizza Festival in a hotel’s restaurant.
Merging of Scents In the past, most hotels in India would play safe and adopt generic aromas like lavender, rose, jasmine, and lemongrass, etc. to infuse aroma into the hospitality property. Now, however, the scenario is changing. Now the idea of complex blends like a blend of lemongrass & green tea, or may be clove, jasmine and frangipani, etc. are not that uncommon. Hotels also select different signature scents for various properties. For example, a blend of bergamot and ocean breeze can be suitable for a beach-based property and bergamot and lavender can be suitable for a city center one. The trend of merging colour, scent and sound is also gaining momentum, where all three complement each other and in a way act as line extension.
This is particularly useful in meetings & conferences and in restaurants. Favourable hospitality responses can occur when the scent and music amalgamate with each other.
Selecting the Signature Scent Brand defining and brand identifying signature scents suitable for a hotel should be developed after analysing a lot of factors. Different signature scents are meant for different purposes. Some scents are designed to help the guests relax upon arrival to the hotel, often after a long and hectic travel, while some are designed to energise the guests like the ones used in gyms, etc. Similarly the signature scents for a conference room and a discotheque shouldn’t be similar. In such a case a hotel or a resort having several signature scents catering to various specific areas of the property can be a pragmatic option. Succinctly, the use of the apt fragrance for a particular place of a hotel and resort, or for a particular type of conference being hosted in a hotel and resort, is a creative exercise. One can also creatively use select aromas to trigger nostalgia, such as memories of childhood days or a long lost craving for chocolates, or of a fond vacation. This attribute of fragrances to induce nostalgia can also be used in a personalised way through the Indian hospitality industry. There is a whole new area of research that involves development of scents that very specifically suits a particular situation. For example, releasing the scent reminiscent of a newly constructed building when organising a conference involving real estate or of companies engaged in distribution of building materials can enhance the
Sp a Operations quality of discussion. Similarly, what about emanating a scent associated with a new car, when the conference involves representatives of car companies? The possibilities are indeed endless and in turn the joy of using that apt fragrance for a particular occasion or for a particular area in the hotels and resorts is great.
Role in Revenues Successful scent branding in the hotel industry can not only strengthen brand loyalty and can facilitate the footfalls of repeat guests, but it can also generate additional revenue from the sale of fragrance inducing products like candles, incense sticks, air fresheners and other allied products, which can enable the guests to bring their favourite signature scent to their home. Signature scents can be emanated through numerous products and mediums. Some of them are air fresheners, aroma oils and oil diffusers, reed diffusers, aromatic candles, aromatic incense sticks. Signature scents can also be emanated through floor
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fragrance, water fountain fragrance, fragrance from hot/cold towel, as perfumes in wardrobes, as apparel perfume as part of guest amenities, through guest souvenirs, etc.
Selecting the Right Company It is a common practice these days that the company which provides solutions for interiors or the local company supplying various oils also supply signature scents. However, the hotelier should understand that the development of signature scents involves intricate blending of art, science and commerce. This involves intense research and understanding of the different aromas and their applications, and this project is best undertaken by companies that are dedicated and focused on only the business of fragrances. Sugandhco® is an apt example of such a company. At Sugandhco, we keep our focus only on fragrances and don’t dilute our expertise by venturing into allied fields like interiors, guest amenities, etc. The hotelier must understand that the quality of the fragrance, which
involves both its efficacy and aesthetics, can influence the desired impression among her/his guests. The hoteliers should also keep in mind to not fall prey to scent pollution, which is often caused by the usage of cheap scents or through overuse of the scents. Thus they should select their fragrance supplier with utmost care. About the Author: He is the Perfumer & Scent Branding Consultant with Sugandhco Pvt. Limited, Lucknow, India. He represents the sixth generation in the family business of perfumes at Sugandhco Pvt. Limited, Lucknow. He has an IFEAT Diploma in Perfumery from the University of Plymouth, UK, Certificate in Perfumery from Perfumers World, Thailand and he is a Post Graduate in Naturopathy and Yogic Sciences.
HOTEL Business Review
Evolutions in Housekeeping in Hospitality By Anish Srivastava
ne of the crucial roles of the housekeeping department in the hospitality industry is to consistently maintain the cleanliness and hygiene standards throughout the hospitality property, where the department is being employed. But that is not the only role of the housekeeping department in the hospitality industry in today’s day and age… These days the housekeeping services in the Indian hospitality industry should be in sync with the type of niche experience that a hotel wishes to offer. Adhering to the ‘green’ eco-friendly
norms and integrating latest technologies into the services are emerging as dominant trends in the housekeeping segment across the Indian hospitality industry. The housekeeping department is extremely important in hotels and resorts as it deals directly with the guests’ needs on a daily basis. For example, keeping the guest at the heart of whatever we do and delivering clean and comfortable rooms consistently every time to our guests is the work philosophy at Mosaic Hotels. Without solid support of housekeeping the best of design elements or wonderful F&B options would not enable a hotel to attract discerning guests on a longterm basis. If the washroom is not clean, Wi-Fi connection and sleek workstation would not look so appealing to the guests, similarly if the carpets are dusty, their exquisite craftsmanship is likely to go unappreciated by the majority of guests. Housekeeping is the backbone of hotel operations as the main product of any hotel and resort is room and it is the housekeeping department’s forte to ensure that the hotel and resort rooms are kept in a perfect condition. Here it deserves a mention that with more and more international hotel chains entering India, the competition has intensified and guest expectations of the ‘perfect room’ has increased. Moreover, with globalisation and increasing integration of world economies, hotels in India are today dealing with more numbers of well
travelled guests who are experienced in international standards of hospitality, than they did ever before. It can be mentioned here that nowadays many guests do not want to visit hotels just for getting great lodging and food when they are away from their homes; they want to have a wonderful and holistic hospitality experience, where impeccable professionalism blends perfectly with personalised services. This in turn has enhanced the role and responsibility of housekeeping department across hotels in India. There is now pressure on the housekeeping staff in the Indian hospitality industry to go the extra mile.
Eco-friendly Housekeeping In this context, combining sensory branding and ‘going green’ has emerged as an important need for the housekeeping departments of hospitality properties, in the organised hospitality industry of India. In green cleaning, environment, health and safety systems are incorporated with the housekeeping process. Eco-friendly linens are one among such initiatives. These eco-friendly linens can reduce the laundry operations cost and at the same time linen cost too.
The Role of Technology Integration of new technologies is another emerging trend in the Indian housekeeping sector. Housekeeping has changed over the years from writing
Sp a Housekeeping
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factor, but is also a necessity. For example, the maintenance of carpets, rugs and curtains involves much intricacy and requires appropriate technical knowledge on the part of the person responsible to maintain the same.
Housekeeping Solutions with Mosaic
the status of guest room on a piece of paper to generating reports based on automated scheduling. With the advent of information and communication technologies, all the manual and handwritten list of allocations have given way to computerised solutions for the operations. We at Mosaic Hotels, Noida employ new tools and equipments to improve the productivity of housekeeping staff. We have a property management system where one can automate changes in the housekeeping status of the rooms from dirty to clean or vice versa with the help. We also have software that sends out messages to the housekeeping supervisor on shift, when a guest makes request for certain services such as towels or cleaning of rooms. The increased challenges for housekeeping in the Indian hospitality sector has been compensated to some extent by the advances in technology. For example, the advancement in cleaning equipment technology such as microfibre facilitates the housekeeping job to become more professional and efficient. With development in technology, the work pattern has also changed a lot in the housekeeping department of hotels and resorts, which has resulted in reduction of man hours and time. In fact, nowadays the usage of sophisticated technology in housekeeping across hotels and resorts in India is not only a great facilitating
These days, two important facets of housekeeping in the Indian hospitality industry is providing for an out-of-theworld bathing and sleep experience. In keeping with the latest housekeeping trends, one of the housekeeping endeavours at Mosaic Hotels, Noida is to deliver guests with great bath and bed experience. Our beds have crisp white bedding and pillows with individual tags of â€˜soft and firmâ€™ that offer guests to choose their desired type of pillows. We also have special pillow menu where we provide around 20 options. We provide variety of mattresses like hard/soft/smooth and also mattresses for our guests who have an orthopedic problem. This allows the guests more control over the comfort of their sleep experience. Furthermore, we are in the process of upgrading to Sealy Spring Mattress, based on posturepedic technology, which is of the thickness of around 8 to 10 inches. Sealy Spring Mattress is an emerging trend in guest sleep comfort in most of the high-end hotels and has taken the bedding concepts to another level by providing body support and comfort. It also exhibits genuine care and comfort for each individual guest. We also use eco-friendly linen. This linen has a longer life and greater absorbency. For longer operations, these eco-friendly linens reduce the cost of laundry operations and the linen cost. We rigorously follow water re-use and ozone system in laundry sanitation. Taski machine is the new added equipment to the laundry section of Mosaic Hotels, Noida. The author is the Operations Manager, Mosaic Hotels, Noida
HOTEL Business Review
Park Plaza Kolkata Ballygunge
Where Comfort Marries Convenience By Sharmila Chand
omfort and modern design blend seamlessly at the Park Plaza Kolkata Ballygunge. Presenting as a beautiful home away from home in the upscale Ballygunge area of south Kolkata, the hotel is only 5km from the Sealdah Railway Station, 10 km from the Howrah Railway Station and only 23 km from the Kolkata International Airport. Ideal for both business and leisure travellers, the hotel has spacious rooms designed with guests’ comfort in mind. From valet parking to the well-appointed business centre and complimentary Wi-Fi, here you are expected to get impeccable service.
More Room for Comfort
Chic, sophisticated, comfortable, the 92 guest rooms of the property offer an array of amenities. Choose from 86 Superior Rooms, three Premier Rooms (interconnected with Superior Rooms) and three Executive Suites—all
offering amenities such as free high-speed Internet access, automated lights, 42-inch LCD TVs and laptop safes. The hotel has the option of 24 hour in-room dining and in-room coffee and tea making facilities, and a mini bar for the guests. Both non-smoking and smoking rooms are available. Well-appointed work desk and national/international directdialing telephone with data port can be useful for business travellers.
A Wonderful Galore of F&B Options
Park Plaza Kolkata Ballygunge is known for its fine dining options. The restaurants of the hotel boast of a wide range of cuisines from local fare to international. Brewin Located in the lobby, Brewin, the cake shop is popular for its range of freshly baked breads, handcrafted pastries, imported cheeses, strudel, doughnuts, cookies, sandwiches, puffs, tarts, Danishes, gateaux, sparkling juices and
chocolates. You can also catch up with friends here over freshly brewed coffee or a nice cup of tea or simply order your take-away confectionary and bakery products. Bartini’s Then there is Bartini’s lounge bar where one can unwind with an exotic cocktail. Here classic black and grey interiors provide for the setting of a perfect rendezvous. Nyonyang Nyonyang happens to be the first restaurant in the City of Joy to introduce Peranakan cuisine. When at Nyonyang you shouldn’t miss the signature Nyonya dishes, with popular entrees including Laksa, Otak-Otak and Nasigoreng. Stunning contemporary décor; incorporating red silks and gold, creates the perfect setting to have a special evening. K-19 K-19 is a multi-cuisine restaurant offering global cuisine throughout 24
Sp a Property
hours. Designed in a contemporary style with elegant cluster seating, the restaurant exudes pleasant vibes. The menu is extensive, ranging from the very popular Dal Makhani to Chingri Malai Curry to Garetti di Agnello. Sunday brunch buffet with special kids’ menu of K-19 is talk of the town. Nirvana Situated on the second floor, Nirvana redefines the lounge experience with its stunning décor and great music. The interiors are enhanced by the 25-foot-tall ancient Vedic-postured sculpture. The menu at the bar includes classical and contemporary favourites from the far east. Smoke Shack Spread over an area of 8,000 square feet, with space for 114 guests, Smoke Shack is an award-winning rooftop restaurant at Park Plaza Kolkata Ballygunge. It presents a happening openair dining venue, offering some of the most delicious and sizzling barbecues in Kolkata.
“Our lounge bars, restaurants like Nyonyang, and Smoke Shack on the rooftop are very popular for their food, service and overall atmosphere.” — Jayanta Banerjee, Executive Chef, Park Plaza Kolkata Ballygunge
HOTEL Business Review
The restaurant presents a rustic yet elegant ambience with the traditional ‘shack’ concept from Goa, alongside an island bar unique to the city of Kolkata and a dance floor for party enthusiasts. Besides delicious food, Smoke Shack is noted for its fiery cocktails. A giant screen offers live entertainment to set the mood for a perfect evening. Smoke Shack recently introduced the concept of churrascaria, a distinctly South American style of rotisserie, which owes its origins to the fireside roasts of the gauchos of southern Brazil; traditionally from the Pampa region. The outlet provides an enviable setting with awesome private event opportunities – the open space and gorgeous sleek surfaces can uplift the partying spirits. KLINK KLINK, the enigmatic party zone of south Kolkata, is designed for celebrations. It features stylish décor, the best of spirits and high-energy western music by a well-known DJ. With facilities for private events, KLINK offers a wonderful ambience to let your hair down.
Unwind with Wellness The stunning roof-top Infinity Pool and Panache Spa are the perfect venues to relax after a busy day. Panache Spa offers some signature therapies like Lava Shell
Facial Massage and has a well-trained team of therapists. For fitness enthusiasts, state-of-the art gym at the hotel is the place to be.
“Our hotel’s location, comfortable rooms and suites with all modern amenities and the complete range of services including spa, salon, gym and rooftop Infinity Pool we offer, make it an ideal venue for both leisure and corporate travellers.” Avneesh Mathur, GM, Park Plaza Kolkata Ballygunge
HOTEL Business Review
WORLD-CLASS ONE-STOP LAUNDRY SERVICE PROVIDER
‘Dhobighat’ is a fabric care center that offers world-class expertise with cutting-edge technology and superior services to ensure clothes retain their freshness and remain like new ones. The company perfected their laundry processes to provide outstanding cleaning while extending textile life. ‘Dhobighat’ is committed to providing a laundry service to all institutions intent on providing quality, while focusing on cost containment and the optimum use of linen. Dhobighat is a world-class one-stop service provider for the finest in garment washing, dyeing and finishing needs. The company uses 100 percent R.O. water for cleaning process and helps maintain finish of garments. The company’s goal is to always serve its family of customers effectively and efficiently. It operates a flexible operations, which has been designed with the needs of its customers to give them peace of mind. Dhobighat firstname.lastname@example.org
VETRA SPELLS STYLE
Trends change every season and Vetra lives up to the changing demands and trends by adding new styles and designs. Vetra has been a part of the outdoor furniture market for many years. The brand introduced its synthetic wicker line in 2008, and now recently Vetra has introduced Sunbrella strap furniture and teak line. The strap and teak collection can comfortably be used indoors as well. Vetra has supplied furniture to numerous hotels, restaurants, cafes and other public places around the world, over the years. Vetra’s craftsmanship can match a wide range of decors. The raw materials used are environmentfriendly and recyclable. The USP of Vetra’s furniture is that it is maintenance free — just basic cleaning will keep it looking sharp for a lifetime. Vetra’s range is the epitome of quality, design and durability. To add quality and glamour to your furniture, Vetra has tied up with a leading US-based company called SUNBRELLA, which manufacturers fabric made of acrylic fibre that is excellent for the outdoors, requiring minimum care and maintenance. The company offers years of carefree warranty for its product against fading. Vetra promises to provide prompt and efficient after sales service. If one has a complaint, Vetra is there to resolve it. Vetra’s whole and soul mission is to add value to the place where one can unwind and relax. Modi Woodspace Pvt. Ltd. email@example.com
P ro d uct Previ ew
SUN’N’ JOY & TEMPOTEST ITALY— OUTDOOR & INDOOR PERFORMANCE FABRICS
Sun’N’Joy is a range of speciality performance fabrics for furnishings launched by Systems, the well-known brand in the country for outdoor weather protection shades & fabrics. A company that pioneered the launch of Retractable Awnings in India in 1986, is today the largest and the most well-known brand in the country with authorised converters across the country. The Sun’N’Joy range of Performance Fabrics were launched in India about five years ago and are the preferred fabrics for outdoor seating & performance used by hospitality, outdoor furniture manufacturers and furnishing stores. Sun’N’Joy partners the leaders in outdoor & performance fabrics Para, Italy with its Tempotest Home range. The Tempotest Home range offers infinite possibilities, manufactured with Italian quality & Italian design. The company carries an ex-stock Indian collection under the Tiara & Grace Collections and more than a thousand styles are available on special imports. Sun’N’Joy range of fabrics are designed & manufactured for world renowned designers like Gucci, Valentino, Missoni, Laura Ashley & Ken Scott. The company is capable of producing tailor-made Jacquards as per the designers’ design, in very low minimums. It has one of the largest & most advanced printing machine for custom printed fabrics called the Tempotest Star Range. The 100 percent solution dyed acrylic fabrics from the Sun’N’Joy Tempotest Range carry a colour fading warranty of six years, have excellent stain, oil & water repellance using a revolutionary treatment developed by Dupont called Extreme Teflon, and certified Oekotex for safety from usage of any harmful chemicals. The company also manufactures high quality fully upholstered sofas, cushions and stainless steel multi-tiered umbrellas, using the Sun’N’Joy range of performance fabrics. Systems India Pvt. Ltd. firstname.lastname@example.org
MODERN SHAVING PREPARATION
Trinity home products is a leading manufacturer of shaving cream and shaving gel under the brand name of ‘Protector‘. This ‘Protector‘ shaving cream softens and moistens the skin and the hair, thus making shaving more comfortable and contributing to smoother skin. The advantages of using this cream, rather than soap, oil, or just water, are many. The skilled workforce of the company, under the watchful guidance of the management of the company, are constantly working hard to maintain the quality of the product to be supplied to their suppliers across the country, for the hospitality industry. Trinity Home Products
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HOTEL Business Review
Leading by Design By Sharmila Chand
Rishu Roshan, General Manager, Marasa Sarovar Premiere, Tirupati, has a total of 16 years of international hospitality experience in various roles. Having worked in the UK for the last 14 years with renowned brands like Marriott and IHG, he joined as GM with Marasa Sarovar Premiere, Tirupati, in July 2014. His overall experience in hotel operations and people management skills has been the key to his success. The excerpts of the interview follow: What is/are the USP of your property? We wanted to create a unique hospitality concept for the pilgrims. The architecture of the hotel was done by SJK Architects of Mumbai who wanted to design and conceptualise the hotel around the avtars of Lord Vishnu, and make this a themed hotel. Its design sets the hotel apart from all others in the market and is our biggest USP. The Marasa Sarovar Premiere at Tirupati is India’s first theme hotel inspired by the 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Uniquely conceptualised and designed around the Dasavataras of Lord Vishnu, the hotel offers a perfect combination of divinity inspired aesthetics that can instantly connect with the soul. Our location is also one of our strong points. Located at the foothills of Tirumala Hills, we are the closest five-star hotel from the famous Lord Venkateswara Temple. Each room of the hotel offers spectacular views of either the Tirumala Hills or the serene water bodies of the hotel. What is the marketing strategy you have adopted to promote your property? Tirupati is one of the most visited pilgrimage destinations in India. We identified a gap in the luxury segment in tourism to Tirupati. We wanted to offer a superior product to the pilgrims who not only want to come for darshan but want to make this a wonderful holiday experience as well. We are targeting domestic individual travellers, families travelling for darshan, wedding groups, and corporates for their retreats and meetings. We have raised awareness about our hotel by organising FAM trips. We have also raised the local awareness of the hotel by use of hoardings, digital signage and organised events and promotions at our restaurants to increase footfall.
We have benefitted tremendously by using social media like Facebook, Twitter and TripAdvisor, which demonstrates the thinking of the modern travellers. What according to you is the role of F&B in getting business for a hotel? How much importance do you give to this department? I believe that F&B plays an extremely critical role in any hotel’s business since food leaves a lasting memory in the guests’ minds. In a place like Tirupati it is very important that we cater to the taste buds of all the pilgrims who travel to this holy place. Hence we have to create a perfect balance between the international and local cuisines. At Marasa Sarovar Premiere, Tirupati we have two restaurants — Lotus Cafe, our all day dining restaurant and Krishna, which is our exclusive vegetarian thali restaurant. W ha t would y ou s a y is the differentiating factor of your F&B outlets? The Lotus Cafe, which is our all day dining restaurant, offers a variety of cuisines including Indian and continental. The USP of the Lotus Cafe is not only its finger licking good food but also the concept and the decor. The cafe is located amidst our water body representing the Narsimha avatar of Lord Vishnu. The Krishna is our exclusive vegetarian thali restaurant. Thus we are able to satisfy a lot of our guests with the variety of F&B options which we have. Could you reflect on the future plans and new initiatives you wish to undertake at your property? We are looking at organising food festivals on a regular basis at our restaurants. We are also working with local charities to support the good cause they do. Grooming and developing of internal talents are some of
our initiatives. How do you gauge the present and near future of the Indian hospitality industry? I believe that 2014 was a challenging year for the Indian hospitality sector with a prolonged supply problem, with projects being abandoned or delayed. I feel 2015 will be a recovery year for the Indian hospitality industry. A strong economic growth is expected to spur more demand for hotels in India, which will ensure that supply and demand are better balanced this year. With the government planning smart cities, I believe this presents unique opportunity for hotels in the country, in the mid-market segments. What do you enjoy the most about being at the helm of affairs at the hotel? The day-to-day interaction with guests and staff is the aspect that I most enjoy in my present capacity. Here every day is a new challenge and a new learning opportunity for me, and it gives me immense satisfaction when the guests leave the hotel with a 10/10 experience. What do you think make for a good GM in a hotel? She/he should have a clear and strong strategy for the business and the staff. The ability to maintain and develop a healthy working relationship with the owner/s is also necessary. She/he should ensure that the staff is happy and understand its role and importance in the big picture. What is your strength, professionally? I think it is my international hospitality experience; the exposure of working with different cultures and people from different walks of life.
Hammer Food & Beverage Business Review
In this issue, we have covered the praiseworthy initiatives by various hotels towards safety and security of their single lady guests or of...
Published on Sep 7, 2015
In this issue, we have covered the praiseworthy initiatives by various hotels towards safety and security of their single lady guests or of...