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Hotel Business Review
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Though India is a country with surplus labour force, but attrition is one of the pressing challenges of the Indian hospitality industry. High attrition can negatively impact the productivity of hospitality properties and also can positively influence their cost of operations because a new employee has to be often rigorously trained, and training requires investment in terms of both time and money. The high incidence of attrition in the Indian hospitality industry has several causes. Long and erratic work schedule, low pay and often inadequate induction and orientation programmes are some of the reasons behind this disturbing industry trend, but they do not give the complete picture for employee dissatisfaction in this industry. In the Cover Story of this issue, we have talked with several industry experts regarding this issue, which can help our readers to find solutions to high employee turnover. MICE is a happening segment in the Indian hospitality industry. India badly needs more MICE-focussed properties which are technogically equipped to cater to the requirements of the increasingly techno-savvy MICE guests in the country. Overall, the dominant industry view seems that India is a promising MICE destination and the growing MICE segment has the potential to bring in significant revenues for the hotels and resorts in the country. In the Business Story, we have attempted to gauge the present MICE market in India and also covered the initiatives adopted by some esteemed hospitality properties, to tap the MICE crowd in sizeable numbers. West Bengal is featuring prominently in the tourism map of India, though given its simply awesome tourism potential it can be safely said that the state still has huge untapped potential to significantly enhance its tourism revenues. The present state government of West Bengal is making some noteworthy endeavours to promote tourism and hospitality in the state, which need to be complemented by significant investments by the major hospitality players operating in India. Besides coming up of more hospitality properties, the state also needs to have massive awareness campaigns pertaining to its tourist attractions, and in this regard both the state government and the Indian hospitality industry can play concerted and a more proactive role. In the Feature section, we have attempted to holistically discuss the tourism potential of West Bengal and also glimpsed on the state initiatives taken or to be taken to promote tourism and hospitality in the state. An environmentally-friendly sprawling hospitality property amidst scenic greenery; surrounded by an ambience of deep religiousity, the crucial and diverse roles of uniform in the food service industry, and wellness solutions at a nice spa at Hyatt Pune are some of the other topics covered in this issue. I hope our attempt to present the relevant industry trends would interest our esteemed readers. With this hope I am signing off while wishing our readers in the industry a Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year. May 2017 bring more success to our fast evolving hospitality industry.
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The Indian hospitality industry has been witnessing a high rate of attrition. High employee turnover is an endemic issue of the Indian hotel industry. One finds that the employee retention rate in the Indian hospitality industry leaves a lot to be desired. Several employees in the industry are seen opting for other avenues of employment.
Everybody knows that uniforms of restaurant personnel help customers identify the staff in a crowded bar or a busy restaurant, but that is not the only utility of uniforms in the food services industry.
India can become one of the preferred MICE destinations in the near future due to not only its scenic beauty and heritage sites but also by enhancing its facilities available in terms of hi-tech conference spaces and classy accommodations. In this regard, the Indian hospitality industry could play a crucial role.
A delightful wellness retreat, Hyatt Pune Spa offers the best of traditional Ayurveda and western therapies to those seeking a curative break. The spa is housed in the Hyatt Pune hotel, located adjacent to the Aga Khan Palace, in Kalyani Nagar, Pune.
Setting up an in-house laundry may not be as expensive as it is often made out to be and the benefits of having an on-premise laundry are many including extensive control over the cleaning process.
West Bengal is a state with awesome cultural vibrancy and tourism potential. The state does offer splendid views of the mighty Himalayas, the turbulent Bay of Bengal, dense forests of Sunderbans and Dooars, teeming with rich wildlife...
For those city jaded souls who want to have a holiday amidst sylvan natural surroundings, across spread out greenery, far from the madding crowd, frenzied competition and hectic deadlines, Shri Radha Brij Vasundhara Resort & Spa can be the right retreat.
18 Appointment 22 Report 50 Technology 54 Operations 60
Cover Pix: Efcee Sarovar Portico, Bhavnagar, Gujarat
Hotel Business Review
EquipHotel 2016 For five days in November, the trade show in Paris was the backdrop for innovations, trends and business meetings for the French and international hospitality sector
he 2016 edition of EquipHotel, held in Paris from 6th-10th November, welcomed a total of 105,511 hospitality and catering professionals who, during the five days of the event, explored the very best that the market has to offer in the hotels, restaurants, and catering (HORECA) sector, thanks to the offering of nearly 1,600 exhibitors at the event. This 2016 edition confirmed the status of EquipHotel as the essential Director of Foodservice & Hospitality, Retail, business event, welcoming professional Healthcare, Communication & Culture Division, visitors and more specifically 250 Reed Expositions France. top buyers, with investment plans “Once again this year, hospitality from all over the world, said Boris and food service professionals Provost, Director of EquipHotel. flocked to the show in their “EquipHotel is the show that masses,” Menegaux noted. offers a cross-industry and high With numerous discussions quality offering in one venue, and and competitions at the event, this advantage has increasing EquipHotel also offered hospitality appeal to international visitors, who professionals multiple opportunities this year came from 130 countries,” to showcase their innovations. Corinne Menegaux Provost pointed out. A total of 201 international and 49 French Highlights top buyers – purchasing directors, hotel EquipHotel opened its doors to a new directors, architects, designers, importers visiting experience featuring special events, etc. – came to the show to find solutions for visitor trails and pragmatic insight sessions, their investment plans all around the world. The combining business subjects and trends to show in particular welcomed a delegation of offer accurate responses to visitors. Some of investors from Asian markets. them were: For more than 50 years EquipHotel • STUDIO16: The first-ever ephemeral has been helping international hospitality establishment built over three floors. An and catering professionals decode trends, ambitious and successful project which discover innovations and build their networks, projected visitors into the heart of the hotel of with the firm intention of offering new the future. Each space and floor exhibited and solutions and growth drivers for everyone decoded the major trends in hospitality and operating in the hospitality and catering catering of today. industry. Over the years, the event has • CAPSULES: These sources of inspiration established itself as a source of inspiration and for decoding solutions highlighted for architects, decorators and designers from four themes — accessibility, sustainable all over the globe. development, working conditions and the spa. The event is organised by Reed Expositions They offered business levers for professionals, France under the supervision of Corinne more than ever keeping a close eye on the wellMenegaux. being of a clientele with wide-ranging profiles. “This excellent EH16 edition delivered on all • SIGNATURE: This brand new space of its promises thanks to the continued support dedicated to fabric and furniture brands, of all of our partners, the increasingly extensive hosted a handpicked selection of 30 offering of our exhibitors and a visitor audience prestigious brands aimed at specifiers for with purchasing plans,” said Menegaux, the contract furnishing market.
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Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam www.foodnhotelvietnam.com Tuttofood 2017
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31 May- 4 June 2017 Impact Challenger & Exhibition Center, Thailand www.worldoffoodasia.com
Hotel Business Review
Best Business Hotel Award for ShangriLa’s - Eros Hotel, New Delhi Shangri-La’s - Eros Hotel, New Delhi recently named the Best Business Hotel in India at India’s Best Awards 2016 by Travel + Leisure India and South Asia magazine. India’s Best Awards are given annually to recognise excellence in the travel and tourism industry. This year, ShangriLa’s - Eros Hotel, New Delhi hosted the 10th edition of Travel + Leisure awards on 17th November 2016. “Shangri-La’s - Eros Hotel, New Delhi takes great pride in being chosen as the Best Business Hotel in India. We aim to delight our patrons by creating engaging experiences while offering hospitality from the heart,” General Manager of the hotel Parmeet Singh Nayar said.
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An Award for Altret Altret Industries Pvt. Ltd. has been awarded the ‘Best Commercial Chemical Cleaning Solution’ by SingEx Exhibitions and Franchise India at Clean and Green India 2016 (CGI 2016), hosted at The Pullman, New Delhi. Here it deserves a mention that Altret has earned a unique position in the market due to its focus in many areas of water treatment including environmental management and sustainability. ALTRET is manufacturing cleaning products with brand name Nadeem Siddiqui, CEO, Altret along with Dipti Verma, TRENDSTM for Communation Head, Receiving the Award professional applications. Its comprehensive production facilities are located near the city of Bhuj in Gujarat, India. The above-mentioned award recognised the efforts and significant contributions of Altret Industries Pvt. Ltd. including its work in the field of smart innovations, successful green businesses and cutting-edge technologies. On behalf of the Altret, the award was received by its CEO, Nadeem Siddqui and the company’s Corporate & Branding Lead, Dipti Verma. CEO dedicated the award to Altret management’s vision, to its employees and channel partners’ dedicated efforts and to customers’ faith in Altret and its products and services.
JC Residency at Kodaikanal, Affiliate with RCI JC Residency resorts in Kodaikanal and Madurai in Tamil Nadu recently got affiliated with RCI, the global leader in vacation exchange with approximately 4,300 affiliated resorts in more than 100 countries. RCI pioneered the concept of vacation exchange in 1974, offering members increased flexibility and versatility with their vacation ownership experience. It is part of Wyndham Exchange & Rentals and the Wyndham Worldwide family of brands. “We are delighted to welcome onboard JC Residency Resorts in Kodaikanal and Madurai to our growing RCI family,” said Pali Badwal, Managing Director, RCI India. “This affiliation will enable us to provide an experience of holistic wellness to our members amidst the tranquil hills of the south and help them discover the charm of the temple city,” Badwal added. Located on the lofty mountains of Kodaikanal and in the heart of Madurai, these resorts are ideal for weekend getaways. “Our association with RCI will certainly open the doors to a whole new world of committed travellers, for whom we will continue to provide the best local flavours they can experience,” C. Jayapaul, MD, JC Residency, noted.
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Hotel Business Review
The Fern Opens its New Hotel in Mumbai
Royal Orchid Hotels Adds Two More Hotels to its Portfolio
The Fern Hotels & Resorts recently opened The Fern Goregaon, an upscale business hotel located approximately 0.9 km from Bombay Exhibition & Convention Centre, off western express highway. The hotel is designed on the theme of Mumbai and its culture. The hotel’s proximity to Western Express highway, important business and entertainment hub, and exhibition centre makes it an ideal location for business traveller. The hotel offers 89 well appointed rooms, an all day dining restaurant cum coffee shop, and a range of facilities such as banquet hall, roof top swimming pool, fitness centre and many more.
Royal Orchid Hotels recently announced the opening of two hotels under its brand ‘Regenta Inn’, in Vadodara and Kolkata; expanding its tally to 40 hotels. Regenta Inn Vadodara is located at the newly constructed Ved Transcube Plaza and offers 94 well-appointed rooms. The hotel is part of Ved Transcube Plaza that uniquely hosts various different shopping outlets, a flea market, an Indian heritage lane, an art cafe, PVR cinemas, a thematic food court and kids game zone. Regenta Inn, Kolkata is a budget-friendly hotel consisting of 45 well-appointed rooms making it ideal for business and leisure travellers seeking accommodation next to the airport in new Kolkata city. The property offers choices between Executive rooms and Premium rooms for a luxurious stay. The hotel offers optimum banquet spaces for small occasions, an all-day dining restaurant and a swimming pool. “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, whereas Gujarat Tourism is already witnessing a boost and we intend to tap this segment with our existing portfolio along with our second property in Vadodara,” said Chander K. Baljee, MD of the Royal Orchid Hotels.
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Hotel Business Review
BCIHMCT Awarded Grade ‘A’ by NAAC In recognition of its efforts to impart quality education, the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), an autonomous institution of the University Grants Commission, recently awarded Banarsidas Chandiwala Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology, affiliated to Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi, with Grade “A”. “We have every reason to be gratified of the reaffirmation of accreditation. Accreditation from NAAC reiterates the vision and mission of the Trust Society, which counts education and healthcare amongst its primary functions. This is just a beginning in pursuit for excellence in quality education and we will continue to upgrade ourselves in the years to come,” Bhuwan Mohan, Secretary, Shri Banarsidas Chandiwala Sewa Smarak Trust Society, said on the accreditation.
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The Tamara Coorg to Ring in New Year with Annual Carnival The Tamara Coorg, nestled in the mountains of picturesque Coorg, is all set to ring in the Christmas and New Year festivities with The Tamara Carnival which takes guests on a journey of India’s great social and cultural heritage through music and dance. To be held from 23rd December 2016 to 1st January 2017, the festival will usher in the celebratory season with exhilarating performances that reflect the true essence of India’s tradition and culture. The Tamara Carnival is set to enliven the atmosphere as guests would witness Indian and western performances including Kathak recital, Kodava dance, a fusion of Marathi Lavani and Bengal flute, Margham Kali, saxophone performance, Kerala art forms, Vyali Bamboo act, and many more fascinating and entertaining acts. Apart from the carnival, the guests at the resort would also be able to take advantage of the treks, coffee plantation tour, yoga and pottery making sessions among others to refresh themselves.
Sarovar Hotels Forays into Ethiopia’s Capital Addis Ababa Sarovar Hotels, one of the fastest growing hotel chains in the country, recently forayed into yet another international market as it signed a hotel in Addis Ababa, the sprawling capital of Ethiopia. This is another significant development by the group after it recently took over the management of a hotel in Lusaka, Zambia. The hotel in Ethiopia enhances Sarovar’s presence in Africa. “We are very excited to be expanding to another new destination in the African region,” said Ajay K. Bakaya, Executive Director, Sarovar Hotels. Located at one of the prime areas of the city, the 101 keys hotel will be called Sarovar Premiere Addis Ababa. “With Sarovar Premiere Addis Ababa, we exceed a total of 1000 rooms in Africa,” Bakaya noted. This would be Sarovar Hotels’s seventh hotel in Africa. The group currently manages New Africa Hotel in Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania), The Heron Portico in Nairobi, The Zehneria Portico in Nairobi and Panorama Sarovar Portico in South Sudan. The Lazizi Premiere is set to open in Nairobi in February 2017 and Sarovar Premiere Lusaka is expected to be opened in 2018. 10
Hotel Business Review
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Hotel Deal of the Year Awards Presented at Hotel Investment Forum India The hosts of Hotel Investment Forum India (HIFI) recently announced the winners of the Deal of the Year Awards in the categories of budget & mid-price, first class & upper mid-scale, and luxury & upscale. The awards were presented at Hotel Investment Forum India (HIFI) — one of India’s most important hotel investment conferences — on 17th November 2016, at the JW Marriott Hotel Mumbai Sahar. HIFI is hosted by Burba Hotel Network (BHN) — a leader in developing and organising conferences for the hotel and tourism investment community — and Horwath HTL (Hotels Tourism and Leisure) — one of the world’s pre-eminent consulting specialists in the hotel, tourism and leisure industries. In the category of budget & mid-price, the winner was the ibis Styles Goa, with 197 keys, which was opened in August 2016 near Calangute Beach, North Goa. The hotel was developed at a total cost of Rs. 5 million per key by InterGlobe Hotels Pvt. Ltd. and is managed by AccorHotels. Finalists in this category also included the ibis Hotel, Bengaluru City Centre and the Lemon Tree Hotel, Gachibowli. Commenting on the win, Jean-Michel Cassé, Senior Vice
President, Operations, AccorHotels India, said, “We are pleased to be recognised as the award recipient at HIFI. Winning the award gives us the opportunity to leverage on our continuous commitment in making our guests feel welcome. It’s great to see outstanding performances being recognised for ibis Styles Goa Calangute, which has been the feature since the hotel opened in September.” In the category of first class & upper mid-scale, the winner was the Courtyard and Fairfield by Marriott Bengaluru Outer Ring Road, with 336 keys, opened in December 2015 in Bengaluru. The hotel was developed at a total cost of Rs. 6.6 million per key by SAMHI JV Business Hotels Pvt. Ltd. and managed by Marriott International. Finalists in this category also included the Mercure Hyderabad KCP and the Novotel Imagica Khopoli. In the category of luxury & upscale, the winner is the JW Marriott Hotel Mumbai Sahar, with 585 keys, which was opened in March 2015 in Mumbai. The hotel is owned by Chalet Hotels Private Limited and is managed by Marriott International. Finalists in this category also included the Conrad Pune and the InterContinental Chennai Mahabalipuram Resort.
Sarovar Hotels Expands Footprint in Gujarat Sarovar Hotels in December announced the opening of Efcee Sarovar Portico Bhavnagar, Gujarat. The 99 room premium hotel, located in one of the prime areas of the city, was launched with the aim of catering to Bhavnagar’s business and leisure market. “We are delighted to be opening our fourth hotel in Gujarat. Bhavnagar, being one of the major business destinations in the state, is an important addition to our portfolio,” said Mansoor Adil, Executive Vice President, Sarovar Hotels Pvt. Ltd. “With Efcee Sarovar Portico, we endeavour to offer the best of hospitality to all travellers to this region. Our superior banqueting facilities will make meetings and events easier complemented with our signature Sarovar hospitality, whether it is a business get-together or a social occasion,” Adil added.
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Hotel Business Review
Marriott India Travel Awards 2016 The second edition of the Marriott India Travel Awards (MITA) 2016 was hosted at the JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar, recently. The travel awards provide a platform to appreciate, acknowledge and motivate the leaders of the travel and tourism fraternity.
The year 2016 has been a landmark year for Marriott International, now known as the largest hospitality chain in the world and the awards are a way of acknowledging the loyalty and support of the hospitality chain’s business partners.
The list of winners from each category is given as under: Category of Award
Excellence in Partnership - Highest Room Nights Contributor - Global Market India Excellence in Partnership - Highest Revenue Contributor - Global Market India Excellence in Partnership - Highest ADR Contributor - Global Market India Excellence in Partnership - Highest Contributor Series Program Excellence in Partnership - Top DMC - Special Interest Groups Excellence in Partnership Highest Support for Marriott India Hotels - Domestic Market India Excellence in Partnership - Highest ADR Contributor - Domestic Market India Excellence in Partnership - Highest Revenue Contributor - Domestic Market India Excellence in Partnership - Rising Star(Debutant of the Year) Excellence in Partnership - Highest B2B contributor Excellence in Partnership - Top Online Travel Agent Excellence in Partnership - Highest Support for Marriott India Hotels - Global Market India Excellence in Partnership - Top DMC- Charter Groups Excellence in Partnership - Top DMC - Education Excellence in Partnership - Highest supporter Luxury Brands- Domestic Market India Excellence in Partnership - Highest supporter Luxury Brands- Global Market India Excellence in Partnership - Overall Outstanding Support Excellence in Partnership - Leisure GIT, Global Excellence in Partnership - Global Excellence in Partnership - Highest Growth over last year, Global Excellence in Partnership Award - Emerging partner for global leisure business Excellence in Partnership Award - Outstanding Support - Global
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StayWell Hospitality Group Enters Goa with Park Regis Australian hotel management company StayWell Hospitality Group has officially opened its door for its fifth property in India with Park Regis Goa. This is the largest property under the umbrella of StayWell Group in India. Spread over an area of five acres in Arpora, Park Regis Goa boasts a magnificent location featuring 96 rooms & suites — each spread across 5500 sq.ft. with modern-décor, soothing warm colours, plush duvets, international standard mattresses and high quality bathroom amenities. “With four properties opened and an additional six under development, the growth opportunities for StayWell in India are extremely positive and exciting,” said Simon Wan, CEO & Managing Director of StayWell Hospitality Group, adding that the opening of Park Regis Goa was just the tip of the group’s expansion process in the region. This is the second Park Regis hotel to open in India following the launch of Park Regis Jaipur in July 2015. 14
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Sarovar Hotels & Resorts Signs New Hotel Deal in Dalhousie Sarovar Hotels & Resorts recently signed a new hotel deal in Dalhousie, marking the group’s strengthening presence in the leisure hotels segment. One of the fastest growing hotel chains in India with over 75 operating hotels across 50 destinations in India and Africa, the group has signed an agreement for a 60 room hotel, Presidium Sarovar Portico, in this picturesque town in Himachal Pradesh. Owned by Vikram Seth of Holy Heart Presidency School Amritsar, Presidium Sarovar Portico Dalhousie is Sarovar Groups’s third hotel in the state of Himachal Pradesh. The other two hotels are located in Mashobra and Palampur. “We are happy to open a Sarovar Portico hotel in this charming town of Himachal Pradesh. With its unparalleled scenic beauty, Dalhousie is an important tourism destination with rising number of visitors from across the country,” said Ajay K. Bakaya, Executive Director, Sarovar Hotels. “It is an important location for us and a significant addition to our portfolio.This hotel equipped with all amenities required by a modern day traveller is set to be the finest in the region,” Bakaya added.
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From Left, Rajesh Ranjan, Director - Development, Sarovar Hotels Pvt. Ltd.; Vikram Seth, Hotel’s Promoter, Presidium Sarovar Portico Dalhousie; Ajay Bakaya, Executive Director, Sarovar Hotels Pvt. Ltd.
18 Percent GST for Service Sector to Hamper Tourism The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) on 7th November warned that the government’s proposed 18 percent Goods and Services Tax (GST) for the service sector will cause the tourism sector a major setback. In the recently concluded meet on Goods and Services Tax (GST), the Government declared a four tier structure of 5, 12, 18 and 28 percent in which the service sector would be taxed at 18 percent. Citing a recent study conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on the impact of taxes on competitiveness of tourism, it highlighted that most nations recognise tourism as a critical economic driver and follow a Tourism Rate (TR), which is lower than 50 percent of the Standard Rate (SR) on other sectors. “It is estimated that the lower GST rate of 5 percent will contribute to a decrease in our current account deficit, increase in the GDP, doubling up of both foreign and domestic travel and also doubling up of tourism induced employment, across each state and nationally,” said Dilip Datwani, President, HRAWI. “India’s tourism competitors in South-East Asia (excluding Japan and China) earn among themselves over $150 billion in foreign exchange and attract almost 100 million tourists annually. It is estimated that a GST rating of under 10 percent will enable India to increase its price competitiveness and target an additional 10 percent of this market in the short to mid-term, and up to 20 percent of this market in the medium to long term,” he added. “This implies an increase in our foreign exchange earnings from tourism from the current $20 billion to approximately $35 billion in 3 to 5 years and to approximately $55 billion in 5 to 7 years,” Datwani pointed out. The 18 percent levy on services or room revenues, compared to our neighbouring countries which charge a tourism tax between 4 to 7 per cent, rules out fair competition, pointed out Kamlesh Barot, former President, Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India & HRAWI.
Hotel Business Review
R. Ravi Varma
Inter-Continental Hotels Group veteran Ranjan Banerjee recently took over as the General Manager of Crowne Plaza Today New Delhi Okhla. Prior to the current assignment, he was the General Manager of Crowne Plaza New Delhi Rohini. Banerjee has over 20 years work experience spanning different countries and regions including Oman, Nepal and India, with The IHG. “I am pleased and honoured to be appointed as the General Manager at Crowne Plaza Today New Delhi Okhla,” Banerjee said on his new appointment. “Around the world, Crowne Plaza is known for offering a stellar combination of the best facilities and great service to guests who want to be productive during their business travel. Along with my team members, I am looking forward to ensuring that our guests have a rewarding stay at our hotel,” he added.
R. Ravi Varma is the new General Manager at Poetree Sarovar Portico, Thekkady in Kerala. A focused and analytical hospitality professional, Varma brings with him a wealth of experience spanning almost three decades in the hospitality industry. Prior to joining Sarovar Hotels Pvt. Ltd., Varma had worked as Executive Vice President — Linbur Group of Hotels, UK, and Group General Manager at Barracuda Beach Resort and Pearl Hotel, UAE. His other notable assignments include roles as General Manager at Orbit Park Inn International, Jamnagar; Gokulam Park Inn, Kochi; Madurai Park Inn, Madurai; and The Raviz Hotel, Kollam. He had also earlier worked with Kumarakam Lake Resort as Director of Sales & Marketing and with Silverwoods Resort Wayanad as the Director of Operations.
Novotel Kolkata Hotel and Residences recently appointed Sandeep Johri as the General Manager. In his last assignment, Johri led the team of the very first hotel of AccorHotels in Ahmedabad — Novotel Ahmedabad — for three- and-a-half years. In his career spanning over 23 years in the hospitality industry, Johri has worked as General Manager for 12 years. His proficiency in managing the challenges of opening properties in diverse market situations across the country is widely acknowledged. As the Area Director with Sarovar Hotels earlier, his responsibilities included expanding the company’s base in the region, launching new hotels and operating and managing the existing hotels.
Courtyard by Marriott, Agra recently got an industry veteran to head its operations division. Vinayak Patnekar, who took over as the Director of Operations of the hotel, brings with him vast experience in the field. He has been in the hospitality industry for over 16 years and is known for dynamism and depth. Patnekar has been associated with leading hotels across India and served in different capacities. He has a long and rewarding association with Marriott International and has served as the Director of Operations at Fairfield by Marriott, Lucknow and at Courtyard by Marriott, Raipur. “In his new role as the Director of Operations, Courtyard by Marriott, Agra, Patnekar will be in charge of guest services, rooms division management, F&B operations, administration, project management, events and revenues; and leverage his experience of managing diverse leadership responsibilities to add value to our property,” said Abhishek Sahai, General Manager, Courtyard by Marriott, Agra.
Amit Sharda has taken over as the new Director of Finance at Jaipur Marriott Hotel. A veteran in hospitality and finance industry, Sharda brings with him over 10 years of experience to his new role. His focus in his new position would be on planning, development and implementing the internal control, accounting, financial policies and procedures. Sharda began his career with Gorbandh Palace Jaisalmer as Manager Accounts, in 2006. In his career span, he has also been associated with hotels such as Amanbagh and Fortune Select Metropolitan. Prior to joining Jaipur Marriott Hotel, Sharda served as the Director of Finance at Holiday Inn, Jaipur City Center.
Rajat Kalia is the new Food & Beverage Manager at The Leela Palace, New Delhi. In his new role, Kalia will oversee the F&B operations of the restaurants, bar, banquets and butler operations for The Leela Palace New Delhi’s 254 rooms and suites. Kalia began his career with The Leela Palace Bengaluru in 2006 as Assistant Restaurant Manager of Citrus, where he was involved in the day to day operations of the restaurant along with monthly training of the service team. In a short span of just 10 years of experience under his belt, Rajat has worked across leading hospitality brands in India and Maldives.
Surajit Ghose Anjali Naik Courtyard by Marriott Pune Chakan recently appointed Anjali Naik as the Director of Sales. An industry veteran with more than 14 years of experience, Anjali has been associated with some of the best hotel brands in the country. In her new role, she would be responsible for developing and executing sales strategies through preparation of a strategic sales plan, implementation and by monitoring progress.
Surojit Ghose recently joined The Suryaa, New Delhi as the Director of Sales. He was associated with The Suryaa in the past in the capacity of the Director of Sales Leisure. Ghose, who began his career with ITC Maurya, brings with him a vast and varied experience with a front office and sales background. In the past, he had been associated with brands like IHG, TheSoaltee Crowne Plaza Kathmandu, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and The Pallazioto to mention a few.
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Gunisha Gupta is the new Assistant Front Office Manager at Courtyard by Marriott Pune Chakan. In her career spanning over four years, Gunisha has worked with some of the most reputed hotels in the world. In her new role, her job responsibility includes the overall management of day-to-day operations, and keeping the front office team focused on the critical components of operations.
The Suryaa, New Delhi recently announced the appointment of Yamini Malhotra as the HR Manager. With over nine years of experience in the hospitality industry, Yamini has worked in hotel brands such as JW Marriot, Radisson Blue and Marche Retail, among others. She is heavily into policy administration, industrial relations, salary and benefit programs, safety, employment contracts and records and organisational development.
Jaipur Marriott Hotel recently announced the appointment of Ajeet Pandey as an Executive Housekeeper. He has over nine years of experience in the hospitality industry. Before joining the Jaipur Marriott Hotel he was associated with various renowned hospitality properties such as Novotel Hyderabad Airport, Trident Jaipur, The Gateway Hotel Varanasi, Taj Nadesar Palace, The Oberoi Amar Vilas, and Ibis Navi Mumbai.
Anju Chauhan has been recently appointed as the Spa Manager of the U Sante Spa at U Tropicana, Alibaug Hotel in Maharashtra. Anju brings with her over eight years of experience in the spa & wellness operations. In her role as the Spa Manager of U Tropicana Alibaug, Anju will be responsible for the overall operations of the spa, running wellness programmes with a focus on holistic activity, and increasing business and spa revenues of the spa.
The Umrao Wins ‘Luxury New Hotel’ Award
he Umrao Hotel & Resorts in New Delhi was adjudged the ‘Luxury New Hotel’ in India at the World Luxury Hotel Awards 2016 presentation ceremony, held recently at St. Regis Doha, Qatar. The hotel was selected as an official 2016 winner as per the annual voting process. Votes were cast by hotel guests, international travellers and hospitality experts for the hotel of their choice. Winning a World Luxury Hotel Award does not only inspire the confidence of guests, the respect of industry players and retain a loyal clientele in these highly competitive times, but also stimulates continuous growth and development of a hotel. Here it deserves a mention that the Umrao Hotel & Resorts is a luxury boutique hotel designed to cater to the leisure and discerning business travellers.
Chef Awards 2016
o honour Chefs for their contribution to the hospitality industry, the Indian Culinary Forum (ICF) recently organised 13th Annual Chef Awards 2016 at The Ashok hotel. Chef Rajan Loomba, Chief Executive Chef of The Ashok (A flagship property of ITDC) was awarded with ICF Golden Hat Award. Chef Jitender doubled the celebration for The Ashok by winning ‘The Kitchen Artist Award’ in the Trade Test Category, at the same function. Every year, Chef awards are hosted by Indian Culinary Forum (ICF) in association with the apex bodies — Indian Federation of Culinary Associations and World Association of Chefs’ Societies.
French Ambassador Visits Upcoming Novotel Vijayawada During his recent visit to Andhra Pradesh, Alexandre Ziegler, Ambassador of France to India, went to see the construction site of the 280-room Novotel Hotel & Convention Center Vijayawada. Novotel Vijayawada is a 280-room five-star property set to open in the heart of the city. From left, Shiv Kashyap, Director, Design & Technical Services, AccorHotels India; Francois Developed by Varun Gautier, French Consul General in Bangalore; Alexandre Ziegler, Ambassador of France to Group and operated by India; Prabhu Kishore, CMD of Varun Group; Jean-Michel Cassé, Senior Vice President, AccorHotels, the hotel Operations, AccorHotels India and Madhav Bellamkonda, COO of Varun Group will cater to leisure and corporate guests alike with contemporary design complemented by modern features and amenities. Commenting on the development of Novotel Vijayawada, the French Ambassador said, “It is heartening to see a familiar and large scale hotel being developed by a French hospitality major like AccorHotels in the promising city of Vijayawada. The upcoming Novotel Vijayawada along with AccorHotels’ growing network of hotels in India is emblematic of the enriching partnership between India and France and it represents the finest amalgamation of legendary Indian and French hospitality and culture.” Novotel Vijayawada is set to open its doors to guests in early 2018.
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Taj and Shangri-La form Alliance to Broaden Reach The two iconic Asian hotel companies have decided to join hands to broaden their reach and scale across 200 hotels, 27 countries and 131 destinations
wo of Asia’s most iconic luxury hotel groups — Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts and Mumbai-based Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces — recently announced their intention to form a ground-breaking strategic alliance to broaden their reach and offer more unique experiences to guests across Asia and the world. In the first phase of this strategic alliance, the hospitality giants would integrate their loyalty programmes which have a combined membership of over six million. The alliance will officially launch in March 2017 with the introduction of the ‘Warmer Welcomes’ programme, which will integrate Taj InnerCircle and Shangri-La’s Golden Circle guest loyalty programmes and will provide members reciprocal and seamless benefits under a hospitality alliance. Both Taj and Shangri-La are renowned worldwide for their exceptional service philosophy that is deeply rooted in, and inspired by, the cultures and traditions of the markets they operate in. The ‘Warmer Welcomes’ programme will offer Shangri-La and Taj’s combined six million loyalty programme members the benefits most important to them. They are given below: • Recognition: Members will be able to enjoy the perks of their elite status when they stay at any Shangri-La or Taj hotel with top-tier status matching. • Earn points across 200 hotels, 27 countries and 131 destinations:
Members of either program will now be able to earn award points in their preferred programme while staying with Taj or Shangri-La whether in Mumbai, New Delhi, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris, London, New York and other key destinations in the world. • Seamless redemptions: Members will be able to convert points to redeem awards between both programmes. “This is a strategic step in bringing greater synergies amongst two brands known for their legendary hospitality. Over time, our valued guests and loyalty members had shared their desire for a wider selection of world class hotels in key destinations. This alliance will help drive deeper engagement for our most valuable guests and members as they will now be recognised seamlessly at some of the world’s finest hotels across multiple geographies,” said Rakesh Sarna, Managing Director and CEO, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces. “As hotel owner-operators who share similar values and service philosophies but have minimal overlap of properties,
Taj and Shangri-La are in a unique position to establish a seamless alliance that goes beyond a marketing partnership or multi-hotel distribution platform,” said Shangri-La’s Acting President, Madhu Rao. “Our alliance bridges two iconic Asian brands and opens up a world of new experiences for our loyal guests. We will be able to enhance brand awareness and increase market share by providing Golden Circle and Taj InnerCircle members more value and more reasons to stay with us,” Rao noted. Shangri-La’s Golden Circle recently rolled out an array of new member benefits and partnerships, the most recent being Infinite Journeys with Singapore Airlines. In addition, Golden Circle recently introduced programmes such as Event Planner Rewards and The Table by Golden Circle, Shangri-La’s first global dining loyalty programme. Taj relaunched InnerCircle in 2015 with augmented features and enhancements, applicable globally across all hotels. The revamped programme has no blackout dates, an easy redemption process with myriad opportunities ranging from accommodation, restaurants and spas, and no expiry of points for active members. Most recently, Taj InnerCircle also redesigned its Epicure programme, renewed with offers that extend globally. It now gives its patrons an allencompassing experience of dine, drink, stay, spa and redeem.
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Switzerland Tourism Launches New Campaigns for Winter and Summer 2017
witzerland Tourism has announced the launch of its Winter Campaign for 2016 and ‘Nature wants you back’ campaign for summer 2017. The Winter Campaign will focus on all the action and adventure that can be explored in one of nature’s most artistic canvases – Switzerland, with the tagline ‘You can... but you don’t have to’. The Summer Campaign titled ‘Nature wants you back”, to be led by Brand Ambassador Ranveer Singh, was also launched. With an initial focus on the winter tourist, Switzerland Tourism will showcase the multiple options like skiing, sledging and snowboarding for the active traveller and Christmas markets, and open air hot springs and igloo stays for the more relaxed visitor looking for pure white relaxation in winter. The summer focus for the campaign too, will be packed with an array of activities such as sky-diving, wakeboarding, canyoning, etc. combined with Switzerland’s best tourist and nature
highlights. “In India we see people getting more adventurous these days. They do not only want to take a cable car up a mountain and take pictures but also want that thrill and rush which one gets while doing adventure sports. With a versatile and energetic personality like Ranveer Singh on board, we would like to showcase that Switzerland is not only about scenic beauty but also has many activities and adventures to offer to the more experiential Indian travellers. Winter is coming up and it is an absolutely beautiful time to visit Switzerland. One can enjoy various winter activities and explore one’s hidden passion for adventure with sports such as skiing, snow-shoe trekking, tobogganing,” proffered Claudio Zemp, Director – India,
Switzerland Tourism. “Our new campaign is all about telling people that holidays in Switzerland can be anything that you want – there are lots of options for adventures and activities in Switzerland, both in winter and in summer, but if you would rather have a more relaxing holiday in Switzerland, that is absolutely possible too. Although Indians love to go on a vacation during the summers, we do hope for a change after this campaign. Apart from the picturesque natural beauty, Switzerland is also a complete package for families and honeymooners who are not only looking at a relaxing vacation but also crave some adventure,” affirmed Ritu Sharma, Deputy Director, Switzerland Tourism India.
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The Challenge of
The Indian hospitality industry has been witnessing a high rate of attrition. High employee turnover is an endemic issue of the Indian hotel industry. Being a customer service business it is essential for hospitality properties to have a strong rapport between the employees and the guests. Moreover, being a labour-intensive industry, it is essential for the hospitality industry to utilise human resources not only effectively but very effectively. But one finds that the employee retention rate in the Indian hospitality industry leaves a lot to be desired. Several employees in the industry are seen opting for other avenues of employment. Ashok Malkani examines the causes for the high attrition in the Indian hospitality industry and also how the hotels in the country are tackling this challenging issue. 26
taff retrenchment is common across industries. In fact, the just over economic downturn has forced several companies globally to lay off employees. But the hospitality industry is continuing to have its perennial problem of attrition. According to a study conducted by American Hotel & Motel Association, the average turnover rate among management staff is 25 percent and for the non-management staff it is 50 percent, in the US hotel industry. The situation is no better in India. The high attrition rates in the hotel industry can bring in decrease in productivity, which adversely influences the hotel’s reputation and guest experience. Hotels have to emphasise on how to improve the employee satisfaction levels, which can facilitate their retention. Despite an escalation in payroll costs during the recent years, the Indian hospitality industry is faced with a shortage of quality human resource and this challenge is expected to become more pronounced with the number of hotel rooms in the country expected to increase to double its present number during the next five years. Finding skilled workers willing to work in a given hotel for a long time has become a serious challenge for the hospitality industry of India. “These days it is very difficult to find skilled workers and that too at lower salaries. So we try to source our staff from locations in West Bengal, Uttarakhand, etc. where the demand for manpower is less, since the number of hotels is low, as compared to Mumbai. Also, we recruit freshers and train them,” affirmed Satyajit Kotwal, General Manager of The Resort, Mumbai. Srinivas Srirangam, General Manager, Novotel Imagica Khopoli, feels that “this phenomenon of high attrition is healthy to a certain extent as it induces an organisation to bring in fresh enthusiasm, new talent and diverse skill sets.” “The challenge is when the level of attrition crosses acceptable levels not only in terms of numbers but also when high quality talent walks out of the door, making attrition in hospitality industry highly dysfunctional; impacting organisational business results,” he opined.
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However, Divyangana Srivastava, the Director of Human Resources, JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu, is optimistic about this HR trend. “In the current scenario, demand and supply for skilled workers are evenly balanced. Due to this, attrition doesn’t affect the Indian hospitality industry in a very big way, especially in metropolitan cities. The work force is growing in numbers by leaps and bounds and is accepting mobility as a way of life, which is beneficial to many industries, thereby creating a balance between demand and supply,” expressed Divyangana.
Tackling Attrition in Hospitality “One of the key ways to tackle attrition is to provide employees conducive work environment. At Sofitel Mumbai BKC, we truly believe that the best way to keep guests happy is to keep our ambassadors happy. We call our employees as ‘ambassadors’ as they represent the brand globally. Building relationships with our guests is of primary importance to us and hence, employee retention is important to maintain consistency in product and service offering,” affirmed Salil Desai, the Director of Talent and Culture, Sofitel Mumbai BKC. “The challenge of employee attrition isn’t new to the hospitality industry. The turnover rate in this sector is as high as 35-40 percent. However, at Novotel ImagicaKhopoli we take great care of the induction processes, employee relations and performance recognition, which help in making the work environment a
positive and encouraging one,” declared Srirangam. “We have a range of training programs for our employees, which help them get introduced to the brand and its functioning smoothly. While the market scenario in this regard is difficult, our hotel has seen a fairly low rate of attrition,” he averred. “Every year, we recruit freshers and groom them as per our brand standards. We recruit them from reputed management institutes all across India for our high caliber programs like ‘School of Excellence’ and ‘New Gen Leader.’ Having a strong presence globally, Sofitel as a brand, helps in attracting new talent. We receive a lot of candidates by internal referral programs, in addition to getting skilled resources from various job portals. Our job website is another very effective tool in creating databank of skilled human resources,” informed Desai. “At Sofitel Mumbai BKC, we study the reasons for attrition in depth and analyse them in order to realign our retention strategies from time to time. However, we emphasise more on ‘Employee Engagement Program.’ We believe strongly in developing our internal talent and provide them with opportunities by engaging them in various career development programs. We also identify high potential employees every year and individual development plans are prepared for each one of them. For new joiners, we have the Accor Hotels Emerging Leaders Program (AELP) to help them achieve positions of ‘Team
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Leaders’. We also provide opportunities for our internal talent to grow and apply for senior positions of Hotel Manager/ General Manager for which we have crafted Fast-Track Programs. With AccorHotels being such a huge and powerful group, we provide opportunities to our employees to work with other sister hotels in India as well as abroad,” Desai pointed out. “One way of avoiding a high rate of attrition is to find the reason for the employees’ leaving. For this, the HR department of hospitality properties should have a one-on-one exit interview with the individuals. The reasons could be workload, lack of team support and coordination, lack of communication with the reporting manager, leave plan disapprovals, disappointing increments and growth, salary, etc. Once you are aware of the reasons, you could increase the retention rate,” opined Daljeet Kaur, Assistant Manager HR, The Mirador Hotel, Mumbai. “At the hotel, we have four houses which is a mix of ambassadors from different departments. On a monthly basis, we organise events and games to increase employee engagement and motivate them by handing out awards. At the end of the year, the house that ranks number one, receives awards. This creates a positive energy, team work and camaraderie among ambassadors, which has a significant impact on their efficiency and helps to enrich their overall experience. We also involve our ambassadors in all our CSR activities such as Planet21, visit to Old-Age Homes, etc.,” informed Desai further. “The number of hotels across the country has gone up in the last couple of years, and resulted in demand for
more skilled manpower across the Indian hospitality sector. This has intensified the challenge of attrition in the country’s hospitality industry. The industry is constantly looking for attracting and retaining the best possible talent,” put forward Vikram Sharma, the Director of Human Resources, Jaipur Marriott Hotel. “I feel the Indian hospitality sector has matured over the last decade. The industry has incorporated the best practices from other similar industries like referral programs for new hires. A lot more focus is now on developing people from within the system for taking on additional responsibilities,” informed Sharma. “At Marriott, our core value, ‘Putting people first,’ has helped us to drive the company’s success. The focus at Marriott has always been to develop and nurture talent within; and Jaipur Marriott is no different. There is conscious strategy at all the three levels – acquisition, development and retention — for an associate,” stated Sharma. “The problem of attrition starts from the stage of recruitment itself. Poor selection practices leads to wrong recruitments and then the end result is attrition. I believe that for senior level staff, psychometric test should be conducted to find out the right talent for the right job,” declared Udayan Damodharan, the Director of HR, Novotel Kolkata Hotel and Residences. “In this case, I may state that Accor has very good HR practices to keep talented employees motivated and retained,” he affirmed. “As far as our hotel is concerned, we keep the staff motivated by organising staff activities every month. These activities are in the form of theme
lunches, employee of the month awards, birthday celebrations, cricket matches, outdoor & indoor games, competitions, etc.,” informed Lyndon D’mello, HR Head, Hotel Marine Plaza, Mumbai. “I am happy to say that our attrition remains low at 1-2 percent per month,” he pointed out further. Kamlesh Barot, past President, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) is of the view that attrition is a concern parameter for all industries and the hotel industry is no different. “However, effective HR practices like offering ESOPS, steep growth, appraisals, rewards and recognitions, skill development programmes and opportunities increases employee participation at various levels and strengthen bonds amongst employees and their management; quite a few are practiced by me in our properties, which eventually helps us reduce attrition,” he elaborated while pointing out, “Implementation of some of the above-mentioned HR practices can help our readers to also keep their attrition rates in control.” “We make all efforts to be fair with the remunerations and appraisals that are at par with the industry benchmarks,” Barot maintained.
Causes and Prevention While attrition is common and several hotels adopt different methods to tackle this issue, what exactly are the reasons for employee dissatisfaction? Is it the low salaries and the long working hours or is improper induction and orientation the reason? “Often, work atmosphere and the team create a bigger impact on a person than salaries or even working hours. At the Madh Resort Mumbai, we try to
Hall No. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 12A, 14, 18L, 18U and Hangars 23, 24 and 27.
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create an atmosphere where the staff is given a free-hand and they, in turn, look at their work as a responsibility. We need to understand the needs of people and then train them accordingly,” expressed Kotwal. “It is true that lack of proper information could create frustration and it is important that proper information about the hotel is provided to the staff on joining. At our end, we conduct induction and orientation programmes for each and every staff member at all levels when they join. We also have someone we refer to as a ‘Buddy’ in each department whose job is to help the new employee during his or her early days in the organisation. The ‘Buddy’ helps new employees to get familiar with the work and the procedure in their respective departments. Because of this system, we have observed that new people do not feel left out in our hotel,” Kotwal elaborated further. “Traditionally, the Indian hospitality sector has not been the best pay master when compared to other sectors. While this certainly contributes towards the high attrition levels in the industry, it is not the only reason. While an attractive pay package is important it also needs to be supported with job satisfaction levels that an associate has at work. At Jaipur Marriott, we focus a lot more on
job satisfaction levels of our associates. Appreciation of work, providing growth opportunities and welfare activities keep our associates happy and engaged. Recently the company has rolled out well-being programs for all the associates worldwide,” explained Sharma. “While salary is an important factor for any employee when considering an offer, poor relations and feeling undervalued can play a greater role in setting in dissatisfaction. To combat this, we at Novotel Imagica focus on not only developing an inclusive work atmosphere but also on creating clearly defined roles, setting realistic work goals and a performance driven culture which is fun at the same time,” Srirangam proffered. “When team members see growth and feel valued, their loyalties are likely to lie with the company they work for. Another factor that comes into play is the demanding nature of the job in this industry. To eliminate attrition because of inability to cope with the work, we have an intensive hiring program which ensures that we bring the right combination of attitude and aptitude into the organisation,” Srirangam maintained further.
industry go beyond just low salaries or long working hours as most of the people who join the Indian hotel industry are aware about the operational requirements in this industry. We, in fact, ensure that our ambassadors avail all their leaves during the year and are released from duty on time, barring a few busy days of operations, so that a proper work-life balance is maintained,” informed Desai. Furthermore, we constantly keep tab on annual packages offered by competition and also hire professional external agencies to conduct salary surveys to make sure we are at par – or above than the market salaries for key positions in the organisation. We also have a robust Annual Appraisal system to assess employee performance and also incentives for ‘Exceeding Expectations’. For senior management, we have Variable Pay Program which is directly linked to their performance. Reasons of attrition are many but in my opinion the most important factor is how we treat our ambassadors and how that treatment is perceived by the ambassadors. The need of the hour is to rely on the positive re-enforcement of various combinations of employee engagement programs. Such programs not only help in attracting the right talent but also in cultivating skills and in retaining talent.” Desai articulated.
Remuneration and Life “The reasons for attrition in our
Training is the Key “Good induction programs also help cut down on the attrition rate since they set out roles and responsibilities clearly and do away with stress and frustration which comes with undefined goals. The objective of such programs is to familiarise new employees with the organisation and give them a straightforward picture of 30
Cover Story targets, expectations as well as rewards. Studies prove that companies who offer quality induction programs tend to retain employees better than those who don’t,” offered Srirangam while asserting, “At Novotel Imagica Khopoli we conduct the training to impart the passion and enthusiasm we feel towards fulfilling our targets, to the new entrants. Making all new employees feel welcome is an important part of our introductory procedures. This involves sending a welcome mail along with a brief note on the hotel, followed by a team greeting by HODs and the GM on their day of joining” The hotel has several rigorous brand training programs that all its employees undergo in the span of three months. A few of these are: • Welcome to Accor Hotels • Novotel ImagicaKhopoli’s Fact Sheet & Showround • Welcome to the Novotel Brand • Grooming and Telephone Standards • Safety & Security • Life Genius
Hotel Business Review
“As far as proper induction and orientation is concerned, we have a structured induction and orientation program which gives sufficient time for a new hire to settle in the new environment. The first week is very critical, as one observes and creates impressions about the workplace which last for a long duration of time. The orientation program familiarises the new recruits with the culture of the company,”
aired Sharma. “At Marriott, we have a dedicated induction programme for three days on joining, followed by discipline specific orientation program for all the new joiners. The program educates the associate about the history, core values and beliefs of the company. The policies are shared in a transparent manner to avoid any confusion or doubt in the mind of an associate. Session on career development is accepted with great interest. Needless to say, it involves a lot of interaction and fun activities with the new joiners. It is the perfect time to create a sense of belonging with the team,” he further elaborated. “I believe that lack of proper induction and orientation can be one of the reasons for attrition. At Sofitel, we have the new recruits Learning Pathway & Leadership Learning Pathway, offering a personalised career plan that covers induction, mandatory training, loyalty recognition and professional as well as individual career follow-up. Such programs not
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only help in attracting the right talent but also establish trusting relationships with our interlocutors and above all, offer our guests an exceptional experience and promote excellence,” affirmed Pradeep Yadav, Training Manager, Sofitel Mumbai BKC. “Our induction program continues for a period of three months and it is divided into three phases: Magnifique Journey Induction (4 days), Departmental Induction (10 days) and Skills Development Program (75 days). Four day induction consists of Brand Trainings, Hotel Product Knowledge, Attitude & Behavioral Training and Mandatory Compliance Training,” explained Yadav. “As far as induction is concerned, at Novotel Kolkata we have three days of orientation and induction which enables the employee to familiarise with the product and people, the mission vision and values of the company,” pointed out
Damodharan. “Our hotel has a proper orientation program, which is carried out for two days of the employee’s joining. Here classes are taken for image projection, grooming standards, telephone handling, fire fighting, first aid, dos & don’ts, house rules and study of SOPs. The new employee is also encouraged to give a feedback and the examination is taken to find out what she/he has learned. The employee is also made comfortable in all respects so that she/he is encouraged to speak on the hotel’s policies,” claimed D’mello. “I firmly believe that training plays a fundamental role in building a strong workforce. At the JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu, training is given immense importance with a comprehensive 90 day on-boarding program that follows a periodic 30-60-90 day review. This intensive induction focuses on creating strong skills set through various training
modules that prepare the associate to implement her/his job successfully. The ‘buddy’ system is also active, which creates strong team relations and fosters a healthy working relationship amongst associates,” conveyed Divyangana. “It is true that new recruits need to be inducted effectively to make them aware of what lies ahead and what is expected and what they can expect and from whom, within the organisation. Every good establishment should take their employees through this, as a mandatory and effective HR practice. Orientation programmes too are an effective exercise that helps refresh and update employees. But alas, many establishments do not implement them for their new entrants,” Barot observed. “Employees need proper induction and training programmes to prepare them for a fruitful career in the hospitality industry. At The Mirador Hotel, Mumbai, we conduct in-house and external training to groom new recruits professionally. It is essential for the new and the old employees to mingle and get to know each other,” expressed Daljeet Kaur. In this day and age, employees can be construed as the ambassadors of a hotel. Often they are the ones who are responsible for the success of the hospitality property. For ensuring their long association with the hospitality property, they have to be provided not only with decent pay package and job satisfaction, but also should be provided with comprehensive training. What type of training is needed for the personnel in the hospitality industry? How do you breed loyalty among the employees in the industry? These, and many more questions, will be answered n in the next issue.
Attrition Preventing Measures Adopted by Novotel Kolkata Senior level Head of Departments can apply for International Hospitality Management Program or Indian Leader Develop Program. These programs are designed for Senior Managers to get exposure to the in depth knowledge of hospitality business and make them seasoned leaders. Future leaders are identified and enrolled in the program. Accor Academy is an university by itself, where middle level Managers can enroll and learn online courses as well as many leadership workshops. Work life balance is more important. Keeping that in mind every employee is entitled for six weekly offs in a month. Happy environment leads to happy employees, who in turn are likely to keep the guests happy. To ensure this, every month an employee engagement activity (like sports, food festivals, celebrations on important dates, etc.) is conducted. Health is wealth. To keep all the employees physically fit, on every quarter medical camp is organised in association with leading hospitals. In-house doctor comes on alternate day for consultation. We also have health conscious diet plan in the staff cafeteria. Novotel, as a brand, believes in making people grow faster. — Udayan Damodharan
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The MICE Edge MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) tourism is booming in India and the Indian hospitality industry is helping in promoting this segment by offering conference spaces that could meet the most stringent demands of the organisers and delegates. According to a new report from the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), the Asia region sees 16 percent of the total meetings held worldwide. India can become one of the preferred MICE destinations in the near future due to not only its scenic beauty and heritage sites but also by enhancing its facilities available in terms of hi-tech conference spaces and classy accommodations. In this regard, the Indian hospitality industry could play a crucial role. Ashok Malkani finds that many important industry players are of the opinion that MICE sector holds lots of promise for the Indian hospitality industry. MICE tourism is becoming a major revenue earner for the Indian tourism industry. It is a new form of business tourism that is also the fastest growing section of the international tourism market. MICE tourism can give a fillip to the industries in more potent ways than normal tourism generally can. For the companies, MICE tourism can promote the brand name of company and its business, open up new investment opportunities and, at the same time, maintain the long-term cooperative
relationships with long-time partners. According to the Ministry of Tourism, MICE has been identified as a major area of promotion under the ‘Incredible India!’ campaign. According to the body, India’s MICE tourism attracts 1 percent of the total international MICE market. The countries are vying with each other to attract this booming business. To attract MICE business effectively, hospitality properties must have enough conferencing and banqueting space of international standards, and an impressive range of sophisticated MICE equipments
and technologies on offer. Of course, good roads, great transportation facilities, and attractive tourist spots in the vicinity of the hospitality properties also facilitate the hospitality properties to garner impressive revenues through MICE business. So how does India compare with other countries? According to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), India stands 27th in the global meetings market. However, the Indian inbound MICE segment is growing at the rate of 15 to 29 percent annually. Though
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the country has everything that a modern conference organiser or delegate may look for, it is still in infancy stage as far as securing business through MICE segment is concerned. This needs an urgent improvement.
Gauging India’s MICE Market The country’s potential to attract MICE guests depend to a large extent on its hospitality industry. Many in the industry whom this writer talked to were of the opinion that India has an impressive potential to garner revenues through the MICE segment. “India is an attractive MICE destination. Besides offering international chains of hotels, its domestic hotels too offer service and quality which compete with these chains. The technology available at these hospitality properties can meet the demands of today’s MICE industry. The country also offers a rich cornucopia of
sightseeing choices – snowy mountain peaks, sunny beaches, rainforests, tiger and lion sanctuaries, deserts dotted with exotic palaces, et al, which can also contribute towards attracting the MICE delegates,” proffered Sahdev Mehta, General Manager of DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pune – Chinchwad. “The melange of fascinating culture, picturesque locations and culinary delights makes India a fast emerging MICE destination which offers stateof-the-art technology to match global standards,” Mehta added further. “Today India has enough event space in hotels. There are also excellent convention and exhibition centers in Hyderabad, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Kochi and Goa that can accommodate larger meetings. We also have world class airports with good accessibility. But these are not enough. To become serious contenders on the world stage we need our government to
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give industry status to the Indian MICE industry and take it outside the ambit of the tourism industry,” declared Rohan Sable, General Manager, Novotel Goa Resort & Spa and Novotel Goa Shrem Hotel. Sable went into specifics and talked at length about the growing MICE market in Goa. “Over the past few years, we have seen Goa emerging as a serious destination for MICE with groups of large sizes aiming at booking venues a year or two in advance. This is very synonymous to MICE focused hotels in metro cities and we are happy to see this trend coming to this small state as well,” Sable disclosed. “Recently Goa was also the host city for the Defense Expo and this year we witnessed the BRICS convention. FMCGs globally also find Goa as a feasible MICE destination option, thanks to the better connectivity and inventory supply. Being a small state, the logistic ease of reaching any corner of Goa in a day facilitates our MICE potential. The fun and work element can go hand in hand in Goa as it also has a lot to offer apart from the beaches. We are seeing clients requesting new entertainment options every year. Earlier Goa was only about meetings, beaches, water sports and a DJ party but today it is so different and the change is fast. Guests now look for personalisation in MICE right from the venue selection stage,” Sable elaborated. Megha Ajgaonkar, Director of Sales & Marketing, Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel & Lakeside Chalet, Mumbai — Marriott Executive Apartments, added, “Most of the new construct hotels in the country today have
in built audio-visual facilities to cater to the needs of the MICE customers. In India cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, and Hyderabad continue to lead the bandwagon to host large conventions. However, not all cities in the country have the mix of large indoor convention spaces and outdoor cocktail reception spaces.” Satyajit Kotwal, General Manager, The Resort Mumbai (Madh Island), however, feels, “India still does not compete with the biggest in the world in the MICE segment because we do not have the size and scale of the convention centres which can attract huge groups.” Kumar Shubham, Director of Sales, Courtyard by Marriott Gurugram Downtown also believes India has a long way to go to become a favoured MICE destination. “India is there as a MICE destination and yet ‘Not There.’ We just have one or two international standard convention centers in India. India is far behind in terms of MICE infrastructure which is not limited to convention space but rather covers transportations,
connectivity, VISA and workforce,” affirmed Shubham. Radhika Tata, Associate Director of Sales, Novotel Imagica Khopoli declared, “India has been seeing a steady rise in the MICE business which wouldn’t have been possible had the facilities been below par. However, there is no denying that there is scope for improvement and to reach our full potential, the sector has been seeking substantial funding from the government as well.” “The MICE industry, after the global economic recovery, is on a rapid move and is adapting to the new trends and methods. The technological revolution is making its presence felt in the way in which events and meetings are being conducted,” affirmed Sanjeev Advani, Director of Sales and Marketing, Sofitel Mumbai BKC. “In India, the convention facilities are comparable to the best of international standards. Hotel Marine Plaza Mumbai has facilities at par with the international hotel chains and is able to meet all demands of the MICE organisers,” stated Parvez Sheikh, F& B Manager, Hotel Marine Plaza Mumbai. “In the last five years, India has witnessed rapid upgradation in the MICE infrastructure and has hosted some major events. At Fern, however, we do not focus much on MICE due to limitations in meeting space,” noted Sarosh Khatib, Senior Vice-President — Sales & Marketing, Concept Hospitality. The Fern Hotels & Resorts is a brand under the ambit of Concept Hospitality.
MICE Initiatives in Hospitality Sahdev Mehta
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hospitality properties in the country are tapping the MICE segment intelligently to enhance their revenues. “The MICE industry in India is booming and to make the most of this growing trend it is essential to be proactive and offer quality experience. At Novotel Imagica Khopoli we take great care about our customer’s requests and needs and are constantly attempting to enhance our offerings to give our guests a unique stay each time they visit our property,” averred Radhika. “At DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pune – Chinchwad we help you in planning the event so that it becomes a huge success. We make sure that everything runs smoothly by helping to set up your space, and by supplying you with all the necessities not only in the conference rooms but also in the rooms that the delegates may occupy. We also undertake to meet special dietary needs. DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pune – Chinchwad is the perfect venue for family gatherings, weddings, corporate meetings, exhibitions, and conferences,” Mehta
asserted while discussing the hotel’s potential to attract the MICE clientele. “At the Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel, we are serving the growing meetings and conventions business. Looking at the increasing demand from MICE segment for more accommodation & convention space in Mumbai, our hotel has added additional 300 rooms; making it a 600 room hotel. Currently the hotel has a great mix of over 13,000 sq.ft. of indoor spaces with 2 ballrooms and over 7 breakaways rooms for parallel meetings. The hotel is also blessed to have beautiful outdoor spaces, overlooking the serene Powai lake. Connectivity to the airport (7km) is a breeze with less than 30 minutes of travel time. But most importantly, our hotel’s infrastructure suits all kinds of meeting purposes due to its resort like ambience and ideal mix of rooms and convention spaces,” elaborated Megha while talking about the MICE facilities at Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel. “Both of our Novotel properties
together offer a combined inventory of more than 200 rooms and by the end of this year we will have another 60 rooms added to our kitty,” Sable informed while discussing the twin hotels’ potential to attract the MICE clientele. “Our 8000 sq. ft. ball room, The Marquee I, the largest in North Goa, has a capacity to accommodate 600 plus delegates under one roof. Also we have multiple banquet rooms as breakaways which come handy for simple as well as complicated banqueting requirements,” elaborated Sable. “As far as our hotel is concerned, it is adept in taking care of conferences of up to 300 persons. However, space constraints do not allow us to cater beyond that. Open air events can be catered for up to 2,500 persons,” Kotwal observed. “Our hotel is strategically located between two bustling cities – Pune and Mumbai — and adjacent to the AdlabsImagica and Aquamagica, which makes it a perfect location for offsite MICE business. Envisioned to be the place ‘Where Fun Never Ends’, the hotel has some distinguishing features such as the signature Frolic Parade, ample space to conduct events, fitness activities, designated Activities Manager who helps our guests design recreational events, etc. All these to add to the excitement,” Radhika pointed out. “There is a need for large convention spaces in the city. In this connection, I may add that our property is one of the top hotels in terms of MICE offerings. The hotel offers 56,000 sq.ft. of indoor and outdoor convention spaces and has 11 well-appointed meeting rooms. The vast Grand Ballroom (10,350 sq.ft),
Business imagination. At the property, you will find a fascinating amalgam of tradition & culture, beauty & nature, style & splendour, warmth, feelings & courtesies, comfort & convenience… virtually everything the modern conference organiser or delegate could expect. Conferences here bring fresh meaning of the concept of combining work with pleasure,” informed Heidari in detail.
New MICE Trends Gurmeet Singh
pre-function area, Junior Ballroom (3900 sq.ft.) and other public areas of the hotel have natural day light filtering through the glass window; making it a perfect venue for day time events. The venue is transformed with advanced mood lighting, setting tone for an evening occasion. Our corporate guests have varied meeting spaces to choose from; ranging from a hexagon styled meeting set up to flexible meeting spaces,” asserted Saeid Heidari, General Manager – JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar. “Our main focus is the domestic market and MICE is a segment which will increase gradually for us,” offered Khatib. “Sofitel Mumbai BKC has received a positive response from domestic and international travellers. Known for its strategic location in the geographic heart of the city – Bandra-Kurla Complex – the hotel attracts guests from each corner of the city; most of the travellers are business-oriented and enjoy the close proximity to the financial hub of the city,” conveyed Advani. “Among corporate and business guests, the hotel’s meeting rooms and business lounge — Club Millésime — work well. Our dynamic pricing concept also lets companies host meetings and banquets between12: 00 midnight to 6:00 am and save up to 40 percent as compared to meetings during the day, ensuring economies of scale. The offering has worked well for our nine meeting rooms, exclusive business centre and dedicated MICE floor,” he offered. “As far as the banquet spaces at JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar are concerned, they are highly versatile, enabling the planners a free run of their
The venue and style of hosting of meetings are also undergoing shift in the Indian MICE business. “Meeting size and style are changing — meeting size is growing hence larger venues are in demand. The traditional ‘boardroomstyle’ is now getting replaced by huge outdoor meeting spaces. The focus is on creating informal settings and it is no more a surprise to see delegates having a discussion during a barbeque party or at a bar,” informed Gurmeet Singh, General Manager, Celebrations Catering & Events LLP. “Meeting size and style is changing — meeting size is growing hence larger venues are in demand. The traditional ‘boardroom-style’ is replaced by huge outdoor meeting spaces. The focus is on creating informal settings and it is no more a surprise to see delegates having a discussion during a barbeque party or at a bar. Team-building activities are also becoming popular. Venues that offer team-building activities are preferred. Meeting planners are looking for value for money. Venues that offer recreational facilities and learning in relaxed settings, are the most in demand. Some of the venues offer personnel to conduct team building activities, excursions, etc. All of these are being fulfilled or could be fulfilled by the Indian hospitality industry by creating facilities and recruiting the right people. One can truly say that India is bolstering its MICE sector, both as a market as well as a destination. The MICE market in India is growing rapidly. The country’s sustained endeavours to enhance its inbound corporate travel are perhaps getting reflected in the expansion for hotels and convention centres. This trend has every possibility to make India a hub for corporate meetings in the n near future.
Hotel Business Review
The Right Address for Hospitality By Swarnendu Biswas
est Bengal is a state with awesome cultural vibrancy and tourism potential. The state does offer splendid views of the mighty Himalayas, the turbulent Bay of Bengal, dense forests of Sunderbans and Dooars, teeming with rich wildlife. It also has a host of pilgrimage destinations, wonderful architectural relics of rich colonial legacy, a unique academic institution founded by Asia’s first nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, all within 88,752 sq. km area.
Achievement and Potential West Bengal, which is the 14th largest state of India, accounted for 4.9 percent of the domestic tourist visits in India during 2015, according to the Union Ministry of Tourism. The state got eighth ranking among the top 10 states/UTs of India in terms of number of domestic tourist visits during 2015. According to the Union Ministry of Tourism, the state ranked fifth among the top 10 states/UTs of India in terms of number of foreign tourist visits during 2015. The state accounted 6.4 percent of the foreign tourist visits to India during 2015, which was a praiseworthy achievement. Even tourism rich states like Rajasthan, Kerala, Karnataka and Goa were behind West Bengal as far as attracting foreign tourists during 2015 went. 40
However, there is every reason to believe that the huge potential of the tourism and hospitality industry of West Bengal is still highly unexplored. In fact, it can be easily argued that because Bengalis in general are fond of travel, many of the tourist destinations in the state get crowded by Bengali tourists throughout the year, though many of these destinations are not much known among a significant section of non Bengali domestic tourists.
Awesome State for Tourism Here we would discuss about some of the many tourist destinations of West Bengal, which deserve to attract more inbound tourists of both high-end and budget varieties across the globe, than they are doing now. One of the wonderful tourist attractions of West Bengal, which needs greater awareness among domestic tourists outside West Bengal and also among inbound tourists, is the seaside town of Digha. Digha, with its majestic views of the Bay of Bengal, is a favourite weekend retreat among many Bengalis living in West Bengal, but in many Indian states outside West Bengal the fame of Digha is unfortunately quite limited. Originally, Digha was a hamlet known as Beerkul. Beerkul was referred in Warren Hastings’ (the first GovernorGeneral of India) letters, in 1780, where
he referred the hamlet as Brighton of the East. However, Digha earned its share of fame only in the 1920s, when an English businessman named John Frank Snaith came to live at the place, in 1923. He wrote about the place, which gave Digha its much needed exposure. He also later convinced the former Chief Minister of West Bengal, Bidhan Chandra Roy to develop the place as a beach resort. Located 183 km from Kolkata — the bustling cultural capital of India and also the political capital of West Bengal — Digha can be easily accessible from
Kolkata by bus, train or car. The town by the sea is only about 4-5 hours journey from Kolkata. There is frequent bus service to Digha from the Dharamtala bus stand of Kolkata, which is located in central Kolkata. Digha is easily accessible from many other parts of West Bengal too. In the end of December 2015, Mamta Banerjee, the present Chief Minister of West Bengal, flagged of a Digha-Kolkata helicopter service. FebMarch is perhaps the best time to explore this seaside town. One can enjoy ethereal sunrise and sunset on the Old Digha and New Digha beach. Whether you prefer to loll on the beaches and enjoy the vastness of nature amidst the sea of crowd, or whether you want to enjoy a bath or a swim in the waters, Digha is not likely to disappoint you. Sea at Digha can also be ideal for indulging in water sports, which needs to be more vigourously promoted by the West Bengal Tourism. But it is preferable
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to go to the waters at day time only, and also it is prudent to not go too far in the waters. Besides the Digha beaches dotted with beautiful casurina trees, the tourists can also explore the Talsari beach (located just 10 km from Digha), the quiet Shankarpur beach(located 14 km from Digha) nearby, and the more quiet Mandarmani beach(23 km from Digha town) without spending much time. Mandarmani beach is ideal for having a drive while overlooking the foamy waves. The hospitality players can develop classy properties with state-of-the-art MICE facilities overlooking the Mandarmani or Digha beaches, as there the setting for brainstorming sessions is ideal. Besides the calm and also the turbulent sea (depending on the time of the day), Digha and its surroundings also have a number of other tourist attractions too. The Marine Aquarium and Research Centre (MARC) in Digha can help the people to explore the marine biodiversity of the region. MARC has the largest inbuilt aquarium in the country. Amravati Amusement Park is also a worth enjoying tourist spot of Digha. It is just a 5 minutes walk from the New Digha beach. There one can enjoy a scenic boat ride. A ropeway at Amarbati Amusement Park was inaugurated in the early 2016, which added to its tourist attractions. Another wonderful destination of West Bengal is the Sunderbans — the largest delta in the world and the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also not yet a very popular or well-known tourist destination for tourist crowd outside West Bengal. Sunderbans, which is densely clad with mangrove forests and is home to the Royal Bengal Tiger, also has a rich variety of birds and animals, which includes the
giant salt water crocodile. It is an ideal place for exploring wildlife and adventure tourism. A river cruise through the jungles of Sunderbans can be a nature lovers’ and wildlife lovers’ delight. In fact, a river cruise through Sunderbans after a hectic meeting or a conference can be an ideal option to unwind amidst vastness of nature. While visiting Sunderbans, one should include Sunderbans National Park, which besides being a national park is also a tiger reserve and biosphere reserve, in one’s itinerary. Darjeeling is perhaps the only world famous tourist destination of this state, but Kurseong, Kalimpong and Mirik are some other places of West Bengal where one can talk to the somber green mountains in silence, far from the madding crowd… and they do deserve more recognition from India’s tourism and hospitality industry. Waiting quietly in the Himalayan foothills in north part of West Bengal (popularly known as north Bengal), Doors is also endowed with perennial natural beauty. Here the tropical forests rich with wildlife, many hill streams cutting across the green carpet of tea gardens and undulating plains, together make it one of the most picturesque destinations in India; in fact Doors can be represented as a huge painting created by nature for the mankind to exclaim in wonder. A drive through the Dooars plains, which serves as the gateway to Bhutan and the north-east India, can be an experience worth cherishing. Gangasagar or Sagardwip in West Bengal is a very important pilgrimage destination, where every year on the day of Makar Sankranti (a Hindu festival) that is on 14th January, thousands and thousands of Hindu pilgrims congregate
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to take a holy dip at the confluence of the river Ganga and the Bay of Bengal and offer prayers in the Kapil Muni Temple. The place also has a huge fair during January-February, which attracts lots of tourists. In fact, whether one is a devoted religious tourist or a wildlife enthusiast, an aficionado of culture or simply a worshipper of natural beauty, the state of West Bengal can satiate the wanderlust of tourists across diverse interests. It is about time the hospitality industry of India takes the state more seriously than it is doing now. Otherwise, they may continue losing a huge reservoir of untapped tourism revenues. For example, it is a pity that Kolkata with its great colonial heritage, important religious tourism destinations of Kalighat Temple, Belur Math and Dakshineswar Temple and with relics of Bengal Renaissance strewn across its lanes and bylines, still has only 12 five-star properties. This doesn’t reflect well as compared to the number of five-star properties in Delhi-NCR, Mumbai and Bangalore. It is about time the major hospitality players operating in India inject greater investments in the state of West Bengal than they are doing now, and also in more numbers.
State Initiatives The state also deserves to attract more numbers of both domestic and inbound tourists from across the globe than it is doing at present. Much more…With more proactive awareness generating and infrastructure bolstering measures by the state government of West Bengal and the tourism and hospitality industry of India, West Bengal’s share of domestic tourist visits in India and also its share of foreign 42
tourist visits to India can be substantially enhanced in the near future. There is no denying the fact, that the tourism of West Bengal suffered from state neglect during the 37-year-long CPI(M) tenure. At the same time, it must be said that the present Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee is taking some significant initiatives to promote the tourism of this fascinating state of diverse tourist attractions. According to Gautam Deb, the Tourism Minister of West Bengal, the allocation for tourism for the state of West Bengal was less than Rs.12 crore during the last year of the tenure of the Left Alliance, whereas in the last financial year, the allocation for tourism in West Bengal was Rs.259 crore. In this year’s annual budget of the state, tabled in June 2016, Rs.295 crore has been allocated for tourism in West Bengal. One can say the state of West Bengal has seen a 25 fold increase in its tourism budget since 2010. Here it deserves a mention that
Mamata Banerjee became the Chief Minister of West Bengal in 2011, after the All India Trinamool Congress (TMC), the party led by her, along with SUCI and Indian National Congress, won the state’s legislative elections in 2011. Promotion of homestays, promotional films featuring the West Bengal’s brand ambassador and Bollywood hero Shah Rukh Khan, and river cruise along Sunderbans are some of the initiatives where this budget of Rs.295 crore would be invested. Developing the infrastructure of north Bengal and focus on film tourism are agendas of the present state government that may give further impetus to the tourism of the state.
Promising Statistics The tourism figures are also looking promising. During 2015, West Bengal garnered 1.15 lakh more foreign tourists as compared to its 2014 figures of foreign tourist arrivals. West Bengal received 14.9 lakh foreign tourists during 2015, which was a noteworthy increase from 13.75 lakh foreign tourists in the state during 2014. In 2014 also, West Bengal saw around 89 percent growth in tourist footfall as compared to its previous year. 5.04 crore tourists visited West Bengal during 2014, as compared to 2.67 crore during 2013. The number of foreign tourists visiting West Bengal also enhanced in 2014, from 12.45 lakh in 2013.
The Time is Now It seems it is the opportune time for the
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hospitality industry of India to better explore the stupendous tourism potential of West Bengal. In fact, already the perception of the hospitality industry is changing for the better as far as West Bengal’s hospitality market is concerned. It is good news that already some big players operating in the Indian hospitality industry are expected to invest or enhance their investment in West Bengal, in the near future. In Oct 2016, a JW Marriott hotel was launched in Kolkata. It is Marriott’s first luxury and lifestyle hotel in the City of Joy. On the occasion of the launch of this 281-room property, Mamata Banerjee said that the hospitality business was picking up in West Bengal. According to Hotel & Restaurant Association of Eastern India (HRAEI), Kolkata, which had 5500 keys between five-star and two-star hospitality properties till June 2016, was expected to enhance this figure to 7500 keys by the end of 2016-17. ITC would also open its second hospitality property in Kolkata. Along with investments in properties, the hospitality players can also initiate
massive awareness building exercise about the tourism attractions of West Bengal among both domestic tourists outside West Bengal, and among inbound tourists across the globe. In this regard, important hospitality players operating in India can tie up with the state of West Bengal to host food festivals of West Bengal in major cities of India and outside India. It would be
a wise exercise to have a counter in such food festivals where relevant information about the tourism potential of the state can be disseminated through attractive brochures and CDs, to the interested guests. Of course, this exercise can be supplemented through advertising support in print, audio-visual and digital media by the state government, on a massive scale. n
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A Resort for the Soul F
or those city jaded souls who want to have a holiday amidst sylvan natural surroundings, across spread out greenery, far from the madding crowd, frenzied competition and hectic deadlines, Shri Radha Brij Vasundhara Resort & Spa can be the right retreat. Spread across an area of 26 acres, the retreat which is located at the feet of the Goverdhan Parvat in Goverdhan, can help spread a sense of serenity within the senses. Here it deserves a mention that Goverdhan Parvat is a hill with huge mythological connotations; it is believed to be lifted by Lord Krishna to offer shelter to villagers from heavy rain. The property is located in Goverdhan, where the religious destinations of Vrindaban, Barsana(known as the birthplace of Radha, who is believed in Hindu mythology to be the consort of Krishna), Mathura and Nandgaon are all within 30 minutes of driving distance. The property is only 19 km from the bustling Mathura city, which is teeming with tourist attractions for religious tourists. It is also only 75 km from the great Taj Mahal. A car ride of about three hour from Delhi-NCR can take you to the property.
By Swarnendu Biswas
The Religious Resonance The property’s location is also very appropriate for conducting Govardhan Parikrama, and this writer saw a plethora of religious tourists being devotedly engaged in doing so, on the road passing through the retreat. The Govardhan Parikrama (circumambulation of Goverdhan hill) route covers 21km. It is a worshipful walk around the holy hill, which some devotees also do on naked feet. No wonder, the property is frequented by a galore of religious tourists, but they are by no means the only segment of tourists that the property attracts. Here it deserves a mention that there are all total 248 cottages within the 26 acre area, but of them 198 are used as residential cottages and 50 are clubbed under resort. The guests can rent the cottages clubbed under resort for a price. “Many foreigners and Indians have bought cottages from us, which they are
using as their second home. They are coming here to spend their long holidays amidst an environment of pristine nature and devotion, and often their sojourns extend to few weeks. The traffic of these home owners is especially brisk during the weekends and during the festive season,” stated Tanya Agarwal, the Director, Shri Radha Brij Vasundhara Resort and Spa, while discussing the residential character of the property, where many Indians and foreigners are having their second homes. Tanya belongs to one of the renowned real estate companies of India (SHRI Group). She informed that on the eve of Holi celebrations or rather quite a few days before the commencement of the wonderfully joyous and extended Holi celebrations in Mathura and Vrindavan, the resort and as well as the residential cottages start getting lots of long haul inbound tourists.
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Facilities with Nature These cottages can be demarcated into three categories. There are 24 one bedroom cottages, 24 duplex cottages and the rest 200 of them are two bedroom cottages. Though the retreat became operational in 2007, but only in 2012 50 cottages of the property were labelled under resort, and were made open for guests on rent. The rooms of the resort are either one bedroom or two bedroom facilities. Each of the two bedroom cottages of the resort opens into its mini private tastefully landscaped green space, while the glass façade of the fourth wall ensures a unique blend of nature and grandeur. The one bedroom cottages of the resort don’t have a glass facade but they do open into greenery, which can be particularly soothing to the senses in the dawn. Air-conditioning, LCD television, direct dial telephones, tea/ coffee maker, exclusive writing desk, Wi-fi connectivity and 24 hour room service are some of the important facilities available for the guests at the resort. Tanya is in charge of the management of the entire sprawling property, which includes both the residential cottages and as well as the resort. The property engages 100 regular staff on its rolls. While sauntering through the abundance of greenery across the property, which incidentally comprises 80 percent of the area of the mixed use development, I came to know that the property is laid out in
Sights and Sounds
hile staying at the resort, the guests can easily explore the option of visiting a plethora of religious tourist destinations nearby. However, even if one is short of time, one should make it a point to include Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi Temple Complex, Dwarkadhish Temple, Radha Kund, Krishna
Balaram Mandir in Mathura; Bankey Bihari Mandir, Prem Mandir —Shyama Shyam Dham, and ISKCON Temple in Vrindavan; Shri Radha Rani Mandir, Maan Mandir, and Sankari Khor in Barsana in one’s itinerary.
the shape of a tree. This imaginary ‘tree’ comprises 11 sections, and each section has been conceived as a branch of the tree. Each of these clusters is named after a river. It seems nature is ingrained in to the corporate philosophy of this unique property. One can avail golf cars to travel through the huge place but it is better to walk around and seep in the beauty of the surroundings in your senses.
For MICE and Wedding The hospitality property, with its banquet hall, its club lawn adjacent to its restaurant named Matki, and with Gathbandhan — a huge banquet lawn — has comprehensive infrastructure for MICE and wedding crowd. The property has a banquet hall named Baithak, which can accommodate 80-100 persons at a given period of time, whereas the club lawn connected to the restaurant can accommodate 200 people at a time. Gatbhandhan can have a gathering of 1000-1500 people at a time. “The Gatbhandhan is very much appropriate for hosting grand weddings,” proffered Tanya. “With an enormous amount of artistically landscaped open space and huge cottages, Brij Vasundhra has emerged as a new haven for destination weddings,” elaborated the unassuming but business-savvy lady with a perpetual smile dangling from her lips.
Enjoying Matki with Anubhuti As was expected, the multi-cuisine restaurant of the property named Matki serves only vegetarian food, but its impressive array of offerings can taste delicious even to a passionate non-vegetarian like me. Aloo ki
Jalebi, Doobki Aloo ki Kachudi, and Peda Lassi are some of the many local delicacies which Tanya has intelligently introduced in the menu of Matki. She has also introduced continental cuisines in the menu of the restaurant, which presently serves Indian, Chinese and Continental cuisine options to its guests. The restaurant can accommodate 60 persons at a time. For meeting the wellness requirements of guests and residents there is the spa, which is aptly named as Anubhuti. “At the spa, we have signature candle massage where the massage and scrub are done using wax from a melting candle. We have a mix of traditional and international massages at the spa, which uses only organic products,” affirmed Tanya. The facilities of the mixed use development also include a gym to cater to the fitness requirements of the guests and residents, and there is also a temple within the property for the exercise of the soul.
Innovative and Environment-friendly Tanya informed that only in 2015, the SHRI Group, which owns the huge 26 acre property, also took over the reins of operations of the property. Since then, under Tanya’s expert guidance, the mixed use property has seen some important upgradation. The organic stationery used at the resort is implementation of another creative idea of Tanya. She has also been responsible for renovating some of the rooms of the property and introducing spa facility at the property. Tanya, who joined the family business of real estate following her degree in hotel management from the internationally renowned Les Roches in Switzerland, sounded quite enthusiastic about the ecofriendly initiatives of the place. “Though we have a comprehensive range of modern facilities here yet we have tried to connect our guests with the nature by following environment conservation measures. Vehicles have restricted entry inside the property; guest transportation is mainly via battery-operated club cars. We have cycles on hire for guests to ride. The entire guest stationary is made up of recycled brown paper. All the horticulture waste that is dry leaves are used to produce manure on site and there is no procurement of manure from outside. Furthermore, the sewage treatment plant is installed to treat water which is then used for horticulture. Rainwater harvesting is in practice here, and we use organic products in our spa for chemical free treatments,” she elaborated. n
Uniform Roles By Jyotismita Sharma
verybody knows that uniforms of restaurant personnel help customers identify the staff in a crowded bar or a busy restaurant, but that is not the only utility of uniforms in the food services industry. The uniforms can help an eatery stand out in the highly competitive food service market by seamlessly blending with the restaurant brand or adding aesthetic value to it. This role of uniform is very much relevant to the restaurants housed within the hotels and resorts, and other hospitality properties too. It may appear far-fetched to many, but the uniform of the staff can play an important role in promoting a restaurant brand or the values that the restaurant
stands for. It is especially true in the context of the increasing popularity of the theme restaurants, which strive to provide customers a holistic theme-based experience alongside dining. The same can be said of the restaurants housed in the heritage hospitality properties. And even for other fine dining or casual dining restaurants, uniforms can help make a statement on their own. So choosing the uniform of the restaurants’ staff is not simply a matter of convenience, comfort and cost as those not associated with the F&B business tend to assume. “Mark Twain once wrote that ‘clothes make the man’, but it could also be argued that they make the restaurant and the dining experience,” believes Ramesh Kumar, Food & Beverage Manager, Mercure Hyderabad KCP. “Besides helping the staff stand out and making them easily recognisable, employee uniforms are also a great representation of the hotel’s and restaurant’s brand,” Kumar added.
Dhananjay Kumar, General Manager, The Suryaa New Delhi, the uniform also represents a united front of working towards the comfort and service of customers. “Impressive appearance tends to instill confidence among customers towards the kind of services to expect,” he added.
For Ambience and Hygiene Uniform can also add to the overall ambience and the dining experience of the restaurants. Uniforms of restaurant staff can also reflect on the professional standards and the level of service offered at the restaurant concerned. “It is advisable for hotels to have a different uniform for each of their restaurants, depending on the theme, décor and overall image that the hotel wishes to project. For example, it may not be a good idea to have the staff wear a tuxedo while working in a casual dining restaurant. Similarly, it may also not be aesthetically appealing to have the staff dressed in western attire in a primarily
Facilitating Consumer Confidence Uniforms come handy for restaurants in myriad ways. They can be as much useful for the customers as for the staff themselves, as well as for the management concerned. If it helps the customer to spot the right guy he/she is looking for to place an order, it also helps the staff appear more united and motivated to serve the customers. When the employees are wearing a smart yet aesthetically pleasing uniform, the customers tend to approach them more confidently. According to
Sp a F&B Indian cuisine restaurant,” Kumar explained. “Whether we talk about waiter or Chef, the functionality and style of uniform are of great importance. The uniform must match the restaurant’s theme and its concept,” said Sarath Gali, Executive Chef at Smaaash Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. that recently launched Mighty Small — a carnival themed café & bar in Hyderabad. That is not all. Uniforms could go a long way towards facilitating not only hygiene but also safety for the restaurant staff. “The uniform can also be helpful for the restaurant staff’s protection from liquid spills, grease, hot oil, cooking steam, etc.,” Sarath Gali added. Succinctly, we can see that uniform in restaurants can not only greatly facilitate the guests to identify the staff, but it can also be a reflection of the themes, brand and service standards of the restaurants concerned. It can also contribute towards the aesthetic appeal of the restaurants concerned, and can play a crucial role in the overall ambience of the restaurants. Uniform can also facilitate hygiene and safety of the restaurant personnel.
Making the Right Choice Selecting the right uniform for restaurants can be a huge challenge at times. It involves an array of details to be taken care of. While designing uniform for restaurants, one needs to find the right look which is practical, easily identifiable and yet helps endorsing or strengthening or facilitating the restaurant brand. Of course, this can be a daunting task. However, while taking care of the lofty marketing objectives, the basic requirements from uniform should also be adhered to at the same time. “The uniform of restaurant personnel should be comfortable and easy to maintain,”
Sarath Gali added. Once the look of the uniform has been decided upon, other factors to be considered can range from the ease of finding the right materials, longevity of the fabric of the uniform, colour fastness of the uniform and its upkeep. So what are the factors that F&B Managers need to consider while selecting uniforms for the restaurant staff? “Colour, fabric, style, safety, function & comfort, cost, job profile of the staff and most importantly, how the uniform aesthetically adds value to the overall theme and ambience of the restaurant are some of the factors one should keep in mind while selecting the right uniform for restaurants. The uniform should look sharp while being practical for busy service,” Ramesh Kumar said. “Wearability and comfort are important factors which we need to get just right to ensure that the restaurant staff feels confident and offers services expected of our hotel. At The Suryaa, the uniforms represent the proud heritage the hotel stands for,” affirmed Dhananjay Kumar. Sarath Gali suggests that ideally, “the colour of the uniform should match with the interior and logo of your restaurant.” “Clean white uniforms are an indicator of good hygiene and cleanliness in your restaurant,” Sarath Gali added further. Of course, having the uniforms presentable to the eye is always a marketing advantage. “We at Smaaash pay extra attention to the uniforms and dressing of the staff and ensure they are nice and presentable,” Sarath n Gali said.
Hotel Business Review
Effective Wellness Solutions at Hyatt Pune By Sharmila Chand
delightful wellness retreat, Hyatt Pune Spa offers the best of traditional Ayurveda and western therapies to those seeking a curative break. The spa is housed in the Hyatt Pune hotel, located adjacent to the Aga Khan Palace, in Kalyani Nagar, Pune. With soothing interiors, five beautifully appointed treatment rooms – two dedicated to Ayurveda, two for international therapies — the spa promises a refreshing experience. A couple’s Suite is exclusive for those wishing for a romantic retreat, which presents a complete package of de-stress, detox and unwind. Here you can also laze around in an outstanding outdoor sun-deck, enjoy the 24 hr Fitness Centre and have a splash in the pool. There is a dedicated therapist for consultation who will guide you the best possible therapy as per your body requirements. 48
A session worth mentioning at the spa is ‘Hyatt Signature’ experience. Special mention must be given to a therapy named Kativasti in which a small circle of paste is made from black gram or wheat flour,
and placed strategically on the lower back of the guest. Warm oil is then poured into the depression created by the ring of paste. This soothes muscular tissue, alleviates pain and lubricates the discs and nerves.
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The Manager of Wellness While sauntering through the spa, I got to meet Shul Ambwani, the Director of Rooms at Hyatt Pune. With a rich experience of over a decade, Shul Ambwani’s forte has always been maintaining excellent guest relations in some of the best hotels in India. He began his career in 2005 with Taj Banjara, Hyderabad and this was followed by his association with hospitality brands including Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa, and Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre. He came back to the Hyatt family as a Front Office Manager and joined Hyatt Pune in August 2014, and is now the Director of Rooms at the property. In his present capacity, he also looks after the spa operations of the hotel. An interaction with him proved to be a fruitful and enriching experience. The excerpts of the interview follow: What are the kind of changes you have witnessed in the Indian spa industry during the past five-six years? Wellness has now become an integral part of modern lifestyle. People now understand its benefits and importance. The usage of spa is no more there only among a specific class of people but has extended to various age groups as the spending power in the country has gone up. What are the top spa trends in the wellness industry of the country? Spa trends in the country are focusing on food elements in treatments. For example, chocolate, strawberry, red wine are now being used in spa treatments. Today’s spa therapies now present a fusion of traditional and modern concepts. People in the country are now more open to trying new wellness concepts. What are the key challenges towards opening a spa in the country? Ambience building, sourcing therapists with the correct skill sets, tackling attrition and getting the spa’s concept right before opening of the spa are the challenges faced
by the most before opening a spa. Concept helps to maintain a long lasting foothold in the spa market and must be done right the first time. How do you decide on the spa menu? What factors have to be kept in mind to chalk out a decent spa menu? Location and city where the spa is placed play a major role in developing the spa menu. Additionally, the profile of people to the hospitality property where the spa is housed and local climatic conditions also matter towards developing the spa menu. A spa menu should be specific to needs of guests – ranging from de-stressing to detox, ideally it should cover a comprehensive range of wellness solutions. What do you enjoy the most in your spa operations? Being able to assist guests towards achieving their goal of wellness is my greatest professional satisfaction. Also watching your team members able to recommend the correct treatment to guests gives a great feeling.
Could you tell us the USP of your spa? What distinguishes it from others? Spiritual healing and Ayurvedic treatments are the USPs of the spa. The products we use are the same as being used in the Ananda In the Himalayas. Do you have some customised treatments? Yes we have. They are Hyatt Signature, Invigorator, and Monsoon Rituals. What is your favourite treatment to receive and why it is so? It is difficult to choose a favourite as the wellness treatment you receive depends on what phase your body is going through and what stage of wellness you are at. Any other point you wish to make? Wellness industry is the next big thing. People are now striving to strike a balance in their lifestyle through effective wellness solutions. With more and more working professionals in the country, the spending power has gone up for both men and women, which can also give an impetus to the Indian wellness industry.
Hotel Business Review
Elements for a Designer Guestroom
oneywell has recently introduced its new INNCOM Elements line of guestroom controls and wired devices for hospitality customers. They include beautifully styled thermostats, switches, sockets and modular products and their designerinspired colours, materials and finishes can complement a wide range of possible guestroom designs. The switches, sockets and thermostats share a common design language across product lines, thereby paving in for a completely accessorized guestroom. By making the systems work together seamlessly can facilitate hoteliers to deliver memorable guest experiences while running their property efficiently. Here it deserves a mention that Honeywell is a Fortune 100 diversified technology and manufacturing leader, serving customers worldwide with aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings, homes and industry; turbochargers; and performance materials. All of Honeywell’s global businesses have a strong legacy in India, built over the last eight decades. Honeywell employs close to 15,000 people in India across 50 locations, including Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Madurai, Pune and Vadodara. Honeywell offers integration 50
capabilities with multiple electronic lock manufacturers, dozens of HVAC equipment manufacturers, in-room guest services providers, hallway signage and wall plate designers, drape and shade controllers, and much more. According to a press release, Honeywell’s INNCOM Elements system is part of the most collaborative room automation platform in the world. The distinctive Elements collection is inspired by materials such as wood, leather, and stone. Each Elements switch may be tailored to specific design requirements with 16 high-quality finish materials and a range of guestroom functions with intuitive icons. The Elements line of touch controls delivers an attractive harmonised appearance for Honeywell’s INNCOM guestroom controls, and forPEHA and MK Electric units based on regional requirements. The Elements Thermostat is easy to use for guests and staff. It can have wide usage in the hospitality industry. Its large backlit display gently glows when not in use, but instantly illuminates upon being touched to show room temperature, set temperature, fan speeds and other information. The display is equipped with simple-to-use icons that are easy to understand. With its ancillary sensor
capability, this intelligent device is capable of serving as an information gateway to multiple systems. When coupled with the X47 HVAC controller, a euro module or ceiling mounted motion sensor or other devices like the Elements Key Card Reader, the Elements Thermostat becomes part of an intelligent room automation system, capable of providing energy management and reducing utility expenses. Elements Switches are beautifully designed with easy to use interfaces that control lighting, drapes, and other amenities. They are available with an up to six button keypads or with two or more dimmers in combination plates that provide AC power, USB charging, and audio/video connectivity with guestroom controls. Elements Switches are a stylish, easy to use and flexible interface to a guestroom’s integrated functionality. The Elements system may also be connected to INNcontrol3 energy management via INNCOM’s Deep Mesh Network (DMN) as part of a centrally controlled energy management system (EMS). Elements enables property managers to view real-time room status information, room and property energy trend data, alarm reports for malfunctioning equipment, instant control of temperature setback parameters, and other online diagnostic and preventative maintenance functions. The Elements system can communicate with other hotel server-based systems, such as property management systems, building automation systems, central electronic locking systems and many others through the DMN. “Honeywell understands that guestroom automation is more than just being able to turn lights on and off and open or close a drape,” said Rohit Bansal, Regional General Manager of Environmental & Energy Solutions, Honeywell, India. “Elements’ lighting, drape control and thermostats encompass everything from basic energy savings to creating a memorable guest experience with elegant predesigned room scenes at the touch of a button,” he pointed out. n
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MICE for Hospitality By Sharmila Chand MICE happens to be one of the fastest growing segments within the tourism industry. I discussed about MICE trends in India, the requirements of the MICE delegates from the Indian hospitality sector in this age of sophisticated technologies, and also about the challenges in the Indian MICE industry, with some hospitality professionals to understand their take on these industry relevant issues.
Emerging MICE Trends One of the pronounced trends pervading through the Indian MICE industry is the increasing use of new-age technologies. “The use of new-age technologies such as QR codes that offer guests and event planners increased convenience, and events apps whereby attendees can download presentations, view speakers’ bio, connect with other attendees, store data and information, has gained currency. Now Facebook pages are assisting planners with the registration process, informing them of programmes and providing a simpler method to gather feedback from participants after the event,” explained Rohan Sable, General Manager, Novotel Goa Resort & Spa and Novotel Goa Shrem Hotel. “The growing importance of meeting 54
destinations has gained a new significance in the Indian MICE industry. Planners are looking for destinations which offer great value and relaxed ambience. Along with facilities for meetings, destinations which offer recreational opportunities and providing stress-free settings are becoming popular. Moreover, the lead time for booking meetings and events is gradually reducing as organisations are focusing more on business performance,” he explained further. “The MICE segment in India is fast growing. It is indeed one of the fast growing segments within the Indian tourism industry. There is a huge market for the same with various international corporate houses coming to India,” observed Gaurav Agarwal, Director of Catering Sales, Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel & Lakeside Chalet, Mumbai — Marriott Executive Apartments. “Nowadays there are a lot of hotels in India which provide large convention spaces and advanced MICE facilities, catering to the increasing demand of their customers,” stated Agarwal. “MICE travellers in India have a short checklist while deciding on a destination. This includes the overall cost incurred from travelling to and
fro the destination and the hotel charges. Accessibility of the destination, sightseeing options around the place, infrastructure support of the place and scope of categorisation of the destination depending upon the MICE requirement, whether business or leisure, are other factors which influence the clientele to choose a MICE destination in India,” affirmed Tristan Beau De Lomenie, General Manager Delegate, Pullman & Novotel New Delhi Aerocity. “MICE segment is one of the major revenue generating segments at Pullman & Novotel New Delhi Aerocity. Our hotels have been smartly designed to be MICE destinations. They offer one of Delhi-NCR’s largest convention spaces, spread over a vast expanse of more than 40,000 sq. ft. With a pillarless ballroom measuring 12,719 sq. ft., here guests have the option of hiring out the entire ballroom or in parts as it can be partitioned into three separate halls. Pullman & Novotel New Delhi Aerocity comprise 670 rooms and the largest ballroom in Aerocity, with 16 meeting rooms and six food & beverage outlets. The hospitality properties are well equipped to handle the present and future requirement of guests from the MICE segment,” elaborated Tristan Beau De
Sp a Operations Lomenie. “The hotels offer unparalleled access to the Delhi airport, while also being centrally located between the business hubs of Delhi and Gurgaon,” he stated further. “With increasing incidence of virtual and hybrid meetings, and the increased application of social media and custom mobile apps, the Indian MICE industry is ever changing and has accustomed itself to the demands of an increasingly techsavvy world; it is not uncommon now to see delegates attending events virtually. This helps companies reduce costs and also allows increased participation of busy executives,” observed Sable. “Demands of the Indian MICE industry are growing towards innovative setups, and for large convention cities catering volume demands of 10000+ delegates, and to in-built technology savvy venues,” proffered Agarwal while pointing out that “New constructs are incorporating these elements in their design plans while ace hospitality partners are upping their ante with increased investments and by getting specialists in event planning.” “Customised packages and competitive deals are also gaining currency in the Indian MICE industry. With growing competition, venues and MICE destinations are offering select, tailormade packages and great value deals for MICE guests,” averred Sable. “A move to less traditional meeting spaces is another trend in the Indian MICE industry. Due to the lowering demand of conventional conference rooms, the Indian hospitality sector is providing more inspiring spaces to business groups, in order to put forward a more extensive, uplifting, serene and comfortable surrounding coupled with personalised services and value-adds,” he explained. “Marriott has announced the ‘Meetings Imagined’ initiative which meets the increasing innovative needs of the MICE travellers and ties their event planning and cuisine requirements with the purpose of their meetings,” Agarwal added further. I talked with Agarwal about the MICE initiatives at Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel. “As Renaissance Mumbai is one of the biggest convention centre hotel under
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MICE Getting Tech-savvy While gathering inputs for the feature on MICE in the context of the Indian hospitality industry, I also had an interaction with Tristan Beau De Lomenie, General Manager Delegate, Pullman & Novotel New Delhi Aerocity. The excerpts of the interview follow: What are the current trends in India’s MICE industry? India is quickly emerging as the next global business destination, attracting the most sophisticated and discerning clients from across the globe. It has a key focus on the MICE segment. In this scenario, hotels with adequate MICE infrastructure with quick access to airport, and having strategic business locations have a huge opportunity to capture a large portion of MICE crowd. Hospitality properties going the extra mile in customising exclusive menus for each MICE event is a happening trend in India’s MICE business. The use of mobile wine dispensers to serve wine to the guests within the event is another trend in this domain. Technology is the biggest trend setter in the Indian MICE industry these days. We are witnessing state-of-the-art A/V technology with lights installed on trusses that drop down from the ceiling. Plug & play from laptop and tablet devices onto high resolution ceiling projectors and many more such improvements make MICE in India truly tech savvy. The latest innovation to enter the Indian MICE market is the MICE App. This helps the guests at pre-event, during the event and also in post-event. Kindly talk about five requirements for the hospitality properties in India for becoming a successful MICE venue MICE segment is one of the major revenue generating segments for the Indian hotel industry. Many hospitality properties in the country have realised the importance of this segment. A hospitality property should do certain things to be on top as a MICE hospitality partner. It should remain fresh in the minds of people by constantly doing something new and reinventing periodically in terms of the products and services offered. The property should also keep a lookout for city-wide events (e.g. Auto Expo, Def Expo, etc.) for hosting such events to get better visibility in the market and also to tap in revenues from these events. The hospitality property should also give guests access to a range of sophisticated facilities and services for meetings and events including state-ofthe-art A/V technology, maximum utilisation of floor space, high-speed Wi-Fi Internet access, etc. The hotels and resorts should also have an adequate pre-function area adjacent to the meeting space so as to have versatility of space. Added space of the pre-function area can facilitate the organisers to put up kiosks, product displays, etc. or the property concerned can put up a great buffet outside rather than in the meeting hall itself, thereby saving space for the event organiser. Lastly, customise offerings by providing themed coffee break, lunch, dinner and cocktail options.
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the Marriott Group in India, ‘Meetings Imagined’ applies very aptly to us. While others are focused on tables and chairs, we start with people and the purpose of their meeting. Intuitively we know that people that are gathered for a training session have different needs than those gathered for a networking event. This is the philosophy behind Meetings Imagined,” he elaborated. He informed that “MeetingsImagined. com is the digital platform that houses our visual inspiration and expertise and is used for ideation, planning and collaborating. In an endeavour to create more engaging experiences to support desired outcome — whether it is a successful product launch, an enriching training session, or a decisive board meeting, our experts have gathered thousands of our best ideas, trends, and images to help deliver more impactful and inspired meetings.” Agarwal also talked in length about the Meeting Service App that is being made available to its guests. “To make the meetings of our delegates more hassle free, Renaissance Mumbai events team has come up with this unique and interesting application. Easily downloadable and easy to operate, this application will allow guests to have all departments related to any event – be it a meeting or a conference or wedding — accessible. With all relevant departments
on the same platform, it helps us to monitor and manage any event better,” he elaborated.
Challenges and Requirements Exploring attractive revenues from the MICE segment is not without its share of challenges for the Indian hospitality industry. According to Sable, one of the biggest challenges for the Indian hospitality industry towards effectively tapping the potential of the MICE segment is the growing shortage of qualified and skilled employees who play a considerable role in rightly catering to the requirements of discerning MICE groups. “The challenge of maintaining a delicate balance between increasing expenses and the need to increase rates and thus attain profits for hotels needs to be addressed more effectively in the Indian hospitality industry,” he articulated. “India now has an array of hotels with good MICE infrastructure. Despite that hotels in India are not able to tap the inbound MICE business effectively. One of the key issues is the lack of MICE focused marketing. Hospitality properties operating in the country should strongly initiate novel innovations and amenities and emphasise on strategic promotional activities concentrated towards business groups,” Sable conveyed further.
According to Sable, experimenting with business models and revenue streams is also needed by the Indian hospitality industry to enhance revenues from the MICE segment. “Think of events as launch pads for continual revenue generation,” he affirmed. According to Anand Ganeshan, GM, Fairfield by Marriott Lucknow, in this age when guests are flooded with choices, differentiating a product from others has become an important challenge for the Indian hospitality industry towards effectively tapping the business potential of the MICE segment. He also emphasised on the human touch, which goes beyond sophisticated equipments, and stated that the Indian hospitality industry should provide value for money to its MICE clientele. Ganeshan views that the Indian hospitality industry should present meetings as vital part of the solutions that the corporate sectors are looking for. Agarwal believes that a hospitality property can become a top MICE venue if it provides a good combination of banqueting and accommodation spaces. According to him, a hospitality property should ideally have “Quality banqueting and AV offerings, quality cuisine, efficient and effective event planning and execution team, and technology enhanced service offerings,” to attract MICE clientele in a big way. n
* The statistics have been audited based on the evaluation at HOTELEX Shanghai 2016
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The Case for In-house Laundry Setting up an in-house laundry may not be as expensive as it is often made out to be and the benefits of having an on-premise laundry are many including extensive control over the cleaning process By Jyotismita Sharma they get their work done at stand-alone laundry or a collective laundry.
Edge of In-house Laundry
ny establishment has the choice of availing the services of commercial laundry, setting up an in-house laundry or resorting to linen hire. While the third option is yet to catch up in India, the first two are pretty common. However, whether to go for an external service provider or to set up an on-premise laundry may depend on analysis of various factors that can range from space and manpower issues to concerns of control over the cleaning process. Generally, hotels and especially the ones in the five-star category prefer in-house laundries driven by the belief that they help maintain high standards of quality, cleanliness and keep the par stocks low. On the other hand, most small and medium sized hospitality properties have some other arrangement. The cost of equipment and space required to house the system are some of the reasons why
However, no matter how good the external laundry may be, most housekeepers prefer to have their own inhouse laundries for many reasons, some of which are given below. In-house laundries can easily reduce dependence on others and self-sufficiency leads to increased flexibility. With in-house laundries housekeepers are facilitated to set their own standards and make sure the textiles are cared for the way they should be. Moreover, it is a common complaint in the hospitality industry that on many occasions, linen is being returned without undergoing the entire cleaning process. There is a frequent allegation that linen out of a hotel room is only visually clean and is returned after rinsing and pressing. This can be addressed through in-house laundries, effectively. Moreover, by having an in-house laundry, the requirement of storage space in the linen room would be reduced, as would the overall requirement for the linen inventory, which would come down by nearly 30-40 percent, thereby contributing to the economy of the laundry. One is unsure of the type of treatment given to clothes by outside laundries for they use stronger chemicals and acids. These chemicals in turn weaken fabrics and the quantity of discard increases. In the in-house laundry one can choose the
right chemicals for facilitating higher production and longer life of the clothes. Besides these, with external laundries, often it would be difficult to get the kind of output required by hotel operations, like in case of back-to-back check-in during a conference of a large group. Since most of the commercial laundries cater to many commercial establishments like hotels, hospitals etc. the chances of the linen getting mixed up are also quite high. Any housekeeper will tell that it is almost impossible to supervise the abovementioned aspects, in case of an external laundry which may not even be costeffective, for they charge on ‘per piece’ basis.
Cost of Care To say that an ‘in-house laundry’ is an expensive investment may be an overstatement. In fact, it can at best be a modest investment, if the design and requirements are kept simple. For instance, to process the room linen, it only requires a washer-cum-extractor with a flat-work ironing machine. For processing bathroom linen, a drying tumbler needs to be added. A few hand
Sp a Housekeeping ironing boards enable the pressing of uniforms and the guest laundry. In most large hotels, the in-house laundry department runs as either self-sufficient or even as profit-making centre. But lack of planning may make the process of setting up on-premise laundry appear much more complicated and expensive than it actually is, leading to many hotels avoiding the process all together. The fact of the matter is in-house laundry investment has the potential to quickly recover its cost, regardless of its size and scope. Over the years, a growing number of establishments have realised the benefits of running their own laundries that offer an essential service and require minimal labour and minimal inventory, and hardly any special skills.
Buying Equipment While purchasing or sourcing laundry equipment for your in-house laundry, one should have satisfactory answers to the following questions. • What would be the quality of the processed linen, uniforms and guest
Hotel Business Review
laundry? • How compact and bulky is the equipment, as the extent of space required will depend on this? • What will be the efficiency and optimum production of the machine/s? • What will be the consumption of various utilities, as there are machines available which could save a lot of energy in contrast with others? • What will be the servicing and maintenance requirement and the frequency of breakdowns? How expensive would be the spare parts? • Whether the machine is automated or not? • What would be the extent of staff training to be imparted for optimum utilisation of equipment? Once these questions are answered satisfactorily towards establishing an on-premise laundry one would find the enhanced standards of accommodation with meager cost on the management aspect, on long-term. But despite the advantages of having an on-premise laundry, many establishments need to depend on an external laundry to meet their laundry
Laundry Rules A good laundry can be of great importance to an establishment, which includes hospitality properties of course, provided: • The material is handled carefully. • Tensile strength of the material is not impaired. • White material is kept white. • Stains are removed. • Materials are not ruined by excessive use of bleach. • The work is carried out as speedily as possible. • Vigilance is maintained regarding damage and losses and their prevention. demand. In such cases, it becomes necessary to visit such an external laundry periodically, to check the process, range of chemicals and detergents used, and the quality of finish and folding. Checking the source and quality of water being used in an external laundry can also help safeguard clothes from discolouring or damaging. n
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Hotel Business Review
New Range of Microfibre Mopping Systems
Vista Hospitality Solutions Pvt. Ltd. is one of the premium solution providers, serving the Indian hospitality industry. The company provides solutions covering small to big properties in the Indian hospitality industry. Its clientele includes hotels, resorts, restaurants, catering companies and entertainment outlets throughout India. The company works as a trader, importer and supplier to source and offer fine electronic locks, electronic safes, touch panels, mini bars, mirror TVs and room amenities to the customers. They provide most effective and timely services to their clients. Vista Hospitality Solutions is one of the leading organisations engaged in providing excellent quality Miwa Electronic Locks in North India. MIWA Lock Company Ltd. has grown to become Japan’s foremost provider of high-performance locks and security systems. The lock making company claims to have the expertise to manufacture and control quality for every aspect of every lock, from start to finish. MIWA’s line of legacy Magnetic Stripe locks has served the hospitality industry for many years. Tried and trusted, they are still largely in use today. Vista Hospitality Solutions Pvt. Ltd. Info@vistahospitality.co.in
Major industrial cleaning tools supplier Charnock Equipments recently entered into a joint venture with Spain’s leading manufacturer of microfibre mopping systems, Mopatex, to introduce in India a new and exciting range of mopping systems made from a blend of the finest microfibre. The products will be available in different colour codes which would enable them to be used for various applications. To start with, Charnock would be introducing an all-new concept of polishing mops with a dual pattern. This would enable the mop to be used for dry mopping of the floors and the same could also be used for polishing of wooden and hard floors (granite, marble, etc). Charnock would also introduce new Microfibre Kentucky Mops aimed at raising the standards of cleaning by capturing the dirt on the floor instead of displacing it from one point to another like in conventional mopping. In addition to the above, Charnock would be also be introducing a new range of flat mops. These would include the conventional collapsible micro fibre mop which would be compatible to be used with all mop press wringers of mop wringer trolleys. The second option would be that of a butterfly mop. A butterfly mop essentially is a flat mop with slip-on insert. Lastly, there would be microfibre flat mops with velcro for easy attachment and removal of mop inserts. All of the above mops would come with universal mop handles. These handles would be telescopic in nature and would be made of fibre glass thus making them unbreakable. Charnock would also be launching different grades of micro fibre cloths and rolls, bar mats and chamois cloths, which would be available in different colour options. Charnock Equipments Pvt. Ltd. firstname.lastname@example.org
The Online Platform of Toshi Toshi Automatic Systems Private Limited has come up with its own website. The www.shop.toshiautomatic.com is here to serve its clients with ideal entrance & hygiene automation products. Toshi has some of the most reliable, durable and resistant products in the realm of automatism to offer. The website primarily deals in all types of entrance & hygiene automation products. Toshi sells numerous entrance & hygiene automation products to various sectors, which includes the hospitality industry too. Toshi markets products which are absolutely authentic, genuine and dependable. They are extremely tough, durable and are perhaps the best for performing heavy duty. All of these products are of supreme quality; most of them are imported from the best European brands. Toshi has an abundance of stock available and products offered by the company are available at the most affordable and reasonable prices. Toshi’s website can be construed as a one-stop solution for entrance & hygiene automation products. The products showcased at the Toshi’s website can be purchased by any regular consumer as well as by any business reseller. The customers can purchase these products through the online payment mode. What is more, the purchased products shall be delivered at the given address within a short span of time. Toshi Automatic Systems Private Limited email@example.com
Luxurious Bed & Bath Linen Quality and sophistication are the hallmarks of Home Zone’s bed & bath linen range, which is used in the star category hotels in India. The company makes exquisite bed linen for hotel rooms with different infill materials like down & feather, soft microfibre & hollow fibre. The company provides a comprehensive range of pillows, cushions, duvets, comforters, mattress toppers and mattress protectors. In the bath linen category, the company provides an awesome range of towels & robes. Succinctly, Home Zone’s superb quality linen can enhance the guests’ comfort while adding a fashionable touch to the hotel’s bedroom too. Home Zone India, based in Panipat, Haryana, has marketing offices in New Delhi (Central Office), Punjab, Srinagar, Hyderabad, Kathmandu & Kolkata. Home Zone India firstname.lastname@example.org
The information published in this section is as per the details furnished by the respective manufacturer/distributor. In any case, it does not represent the views of Hammer Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
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Hotel Business Review
Adding Value to the Table
Pipeline to Success
The quality of raw materials, workmanship and ideas make the difference between an average product and something special. Thakurji Tablwares believes in producing products which are special. The company is a manufacturer, exporter, and supplier of high quality tableware in India and abroad. Its assortment of tableware comprises kitchenware, ice bucket, brass candle holder, pastry stand, cruet set, and rectangular chafing dish. The company offers variety of styles and designs in tableware. The company’s products are being designed by master craftsmen, keeping in mind the latest market trends. Thakurji Tablwares’ clientele is spread across hotels, restaurants and airlines. Incepted in the year 1971, Thakurji Tablewares is an ISO 9000-9001certified brand. The production unit of the company is spread over a vast area of 2000 sq mt., in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh. Thakurji Tablware is well- equipped with technologically advanced machinery that helps the company to produce the products efficiently. The products of the company are regularly inspected by experts with the help of its in-house R&D and testing facilities. The company has also installed CAD (Computer-Aided Design)/CAM (Computer-Aided Manufacturing) facilities. Thakurji Tablwares email@example.com
Established in 1995, Delhi-based R R Sales Corporation has positioned itself as an eminent service provider of LPG pipeline installation services. The company deals in LPG/CNG pipeline installations and kitchen ventilation (fresh air unit & exhaust). This sole proprietor firm has a huge number of clients. The services of the company are tailored to meet the requirements of the company’s clientele and are stringently based upon industrial norms and ethics. The product range of the company includes blower, scrubber, exhaust hood, fresh air system, fresh air washer, exhaust blower, axial fan among others. The impressive product range of R R Sales Corporation is complimented by its skilled workforce. The company places considerable emphasis on research and development and regarding this, has recruited a special panel for research and development. The ethical business policies and customer-centric approaches are the cornerstones of the company and have facilitated it to develop a huge client base on a nationwide basis. R.R. Sales Corporation firstname.lastname@example.org
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Hotel Business Review
Managing Hospitality with Elan By Sharmila Chand
An astute & result-oriented professional with two decades of experience in the hospitality industry, Pankaj Saxena is currently the General Manager of Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Mysore. Graduated with a degree in hotel management from Mangalore University, Saxena has worked with ITC, Sarovar Hotels & Resorts and with Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. He has been recognised for his exceptional services by Sarovar Group and rewarded as the General Manager of the Year — a national recognition in the overall group. Saxena has had also served as the Vice-President in the Executive Committee of Hotels and Restaurants Association of Andhra Pradesh (HRAAP), affiliated with FHRAI, during 2011-12. The GM has proficiency in developing & streamlining systems with proven ability to enhance operational/ administrative effectiveness and meet goals within the cost, time & quality parameters along with brand promise. Strategy planning, projects and start-up operations, finance and capital budgeting, cost control and revenue expansion, personnel management, profit centre operations, team management are some of the areas where his professional strengths lie. The excerpts of the interview follow: What is the USP of the hospitality property which you manage?
The size of the hotel, ample parking space and location give us a distinguished position. Our hospitality property is the largest in Mysore, and we can effectively cater to both business and leisure tourists. Our rooftop swimming pool and Pool Bar & Grill restaurant is the talk of the town. We also have huge banqueting space. Above all, I can proudly say our comfortable rooms and warm service are unmatched among the competition. Our Executive Chef personally interacts with every guest and loves to offer her/him a surprise at every meal. Moreover, we have a special team called ‘Team Connect’ which selects couple of our guests and do something special for them in order to bring smile to their faces. We have a selfie spot too. We allow our elderly guests to come and bake for us. Such small but significant gestures facilitate goodwill and guest satisfaction. Please tell us about two of the CSR initiatives that the hotel has taken
This year, the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Mysore has taken the responsibility of educating children who are deprived of education due to poverty. The hotel has taken the initiative of distributing 3000 exercise books. It has the objective of distributing 2.16 lakh pages towards its’ Learning & Literacy’ drive as part of community development. The Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Mysore has already covered different schools, NGOs, and charitable trusts
for distributing the books. The hotel also donated 500 sheets of Braille paper to the Govt. Blind School in Sayyaji Rao Road, in Mysore. The hotel has also subscribed daily newspaper to Sri Lakshmikanth Temple Trust towards hotel’s ‘Learning & Literacy’ drive. We have also organised free health and eye check up camp for old and abandoned people. We have also organised fun and entertainment activities with mentally challenged students. Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Mysore has also adopted a girl child name Bhumika through an NGO named Kaliyuva Mane and all the expenses pertaining to the upbringing needs of Bhumika are borne by the hotel. What is the marketing strategy you have adopted to promote your property?
We have an integrated marketing and promotional strategy and a synergised campaign in association with the travel trade. The specific elements of promotional efforts undertaken overseas include participation in fairs & exhibitions, organising seminars, workshops, and road-shows.
industry is the increase in fixed costs along with varying revenue streams. Managers in the hotel industry need to come up with strategies that can reduce the fixed costs without negatively affecting the quality of service on offer. This is often a huge challenge. The hotel players also have to increase the accommodation charges so as to keep up with the high operation costs. The customers on the other hand aim at getting affordable accommodation charges and this creates a divergence of interest between the industry and the customers. Here it deserves a mention that large, multiunit hotel chains dealing with multiple brands are able to withstand to a large extent the rise in operational costs and this challenge is mainly felt by small hotel operators. The hotel industry is also characterised by seasonal fluctuations in business, which makes it often challenging for the hotel industry to maintain revenues and profits during the offseason period. What do you enjoy the most about being at the helm of affairs at the hotel?
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 enjoy interacting with my guests. I am passionate about this industry and love to guide my team.
As a General Manager of this hotel, I am giving extraordinary significance to food & beverages, which is generating 45 percent of the overall hotel’s revenues.
What is your work mantra that is your guiding philosophy in work?
What is the most crucial issue to tackle in the Indian hospitality industry these days?
One of the major issues in the hospitality
My work mantra entails adaptability, learning from mistakes, maintaining balancing and teamwork. I also believe in listening to my heart and allowing my heart to guide me, and in moving beyond…to where my heart leads me.
Hammer Food & Beverage Business Review
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