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Sept-Oct ’13

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Editorial

HOTEL Business Review

HOTEL B u s i n e s s

R e v i e w

An Exclusive Business Magazine for the Hotel Industry

Publisher cum Editor

Rajneesh Sharma

rajneeshhammer@gmail.com

Associate Editor

Swarnendu Biswas Resident Editor

Sharmila Chand (Delhi) Ashok Malkani (Mumbai) Layout & Design

Hari Kumar V Narender Kumar

Production Assistant

Mamta Sharma

Advertising Sales

Delhi: Debabrata Nath, Sumesh Sharma Mumbai: Rajesh Tupsakhre Subscription Sales

Dattaram Gangurde Director Sales

Sanjay Anand

Director Operations & Finance

Rajat Taneja

Editorial & Advertising Offices: Delhi:

Hammer Publishers Pvt. Ltd. 1202, Pragati Tower, 26, Rajindra Place, New Delhi-110008, India Phone: 91-11-45084903, 25854103 Telefax: 91-11-25854105 Mumbai:

Hammer Publishers Pvt. Ltd. 105, 1st Floor, Aarpee Centre, Gufic Compound, 11th Road, MIDC, Near Tunga Paradise, Andheri (E), Mumbai-400093, India Phone: 91-22-28395833 Telefax: 91-22-28388947

E-mail: hammerpublishers@vsnl.net Website: www.hbrmag.com © 2013 Hammer Publishers Pvt. Ltd. No article can be reproduced in part or as whole without prior permission of the Publisher. Hammer Hotel Business Review is a bi-monthly magazine, printed and published by Rajneesh Sharma on behalf of Hammer Publishers Pvt. Ltd., 1202, Pragati Tower, 26 Rajindra Place, New Delhi. Printed at Print Creations, C-112/3, Basement, Naraina Industrial Area, Phase- 1, New Delhi 110 028. Annual Subscription rate within India is Rs. 450 and overseas US $110, for surface mail. Single issue is available for Rs. 90 in India and US $25 overseas. Cheques are payable to Hammer Publishers Pvt. Ltd. Editorial Policy : Editorial emphasis in Hammer Hotel Business Review

magazine is on educational & informational material specifically designed to assist those responsible for managing instututional Hotel business. Articles are welcome and will be published on the sole discretion of the editor.

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The paucity of quality human resource is one of the major challenges of the Indian hospitality industry. On top of that there is significant attrition level. These human resource problems have the potential to severely impede the growth of the Indian hospitality industry in the near future, if quick corrective steps are not being taken. There is no denying the fact that junior staff across hotels in India(especially hotels which are not five or four-star properties) is being frequently offered modest pay package with long and irregular working hours, which of course lowers these personnel’s motivation levels. And when they get better offers in airlines and cruise industry they are induced to make a change. Better pay package with more regular working hours are of course required, but they should be supplemented with a well-defined and comprehensive recruitment strategy too. The right candidate for selection in the hotel industry should not only be equipped with the right skills, but also some attitude traits like the ability to take quick decisions, listening skills, the willingness to go the extra mile, etc. Therefore, hotels and resorts should also make greater efforts to select candidates with not only the right skills, but also the right attitude necessary for having an enduring career in the hospitality sector. The recruiter must also ensure that the candidate to be selected fits into the culture of the organisation where she/he is to be recruited. These steps can check attrition levels to some extent. Hotels should also make it a habit to conduct exit interviews, which facilitate to ascertain why a candidate is leaving the hotel/company, and thereby help to know the needs of the employees in a scientific manner. At the same time, there is the pressing need for more numbers of quality institutes for training professionals for the hospitality industry, in order to address the shortage of skilled manpower. We have attempted to cover the scarcity of skilled human resource and attrition challenges in the Indian hospitality industry in our Cover Story, which we hope would interest our esteemed readers from the industry. An important trend in the hospitality industry of India is the rise of online hotel bookings. Not only that people are now making informed choices about their travels and hotel stays after scanning the Internet. This makes online reviews of hotels, and the content of hotel websites important business tools in generating revenues. In this scenario, the businesses of online travel agencies are not only likely to thrive in the near future, but it can also be assumed that many of the noted online travel agencies would soon focus their attention to the hotels. Already such a trend is becoming visible. We have covered the emerging online role in the hospitality sector, with focus on online hotel bookings, in our Business Story for this issue. Besides these highly relevant topics, we have endeavoued to cover a gamut of information, opinions and analysis through our news, report and features. We hope our effort would encourage the readers to spend some quality time between the covers (I mean of this issue!) after the festive season.


HOTEL B u s i n e s s

inside

R e v i e w

An Exclusive Business Magazine for the Hotel Industry

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COVER STORY

Perhaps the most effective way of getting highly satisfied customers is by putting employees first. This is because satisfied employees lead to satisfied customers. Perhaps nowhere this truth is more relevant than in the hospitality industry. Unfortunately the Indian hospitality industry suffers from high rate of attrition.

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OPERATIONS

The modern day hospitality industry cannot be conceived without tableware. The right tableware can add to the dining experience in a given restaurant...

BUSINESS

The travel and hotel booking in the country has been experiencing major changes during the last few years. With people becoming net savvy more and more of them are taking decisions on the choice of the hotel after scanning the net. Online travel agents have also entered the picture in a big way.

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PROPERTY

The view from the sparkling glass of the quietly flowing light blue coloured Ganga with a deep green jungle-island in its midst brought in a sense of serenity within us. The backdrop of dark green hills filled the deep recesses of my nature loving mind with the resonance of a rare and long forgotten sound of music…

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F&B

Without making a careful consideration of food costs, perhaps no restaurant (which include restaurants in hotels, of course) can have enduring success in the business. With more precise food cost management, one can eliminate or at least reduce excess inventory and decrease waste, thereby increasing margins and business growth.

SPA

Massage at an airport? It is no more a surprising phenomenon as spas at the airports are recording good business.

DEPARTMENTS 04

Event

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News Scan

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Appointment

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Report

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Product Preview

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Business Opportunity

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Interview

Cover Pix: Fairmont, Jaipur

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Event

HOTEL Business Review

 

A

nnapoorna World of Food India 2013 was organised during 23rd25th September 2013 in Mumbai by Koelnmesse YA Tradefair Pvt. Ltd. and Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FICCI). The venue of the 8th edition of the event was Bombay Exhibition Center, Goregaon(E). The renowned food & beverage trade show attracted 6334 trade visitors

were well attended and appreciated by both visitors and exhibitors. The trade fair also had a European Kitchen Pavilion, which was part of the program titled ‘European Quality Food: Eating with your Five Senses.’ The program has been organised to promote European quality food in India. The 7th edition of Food World India conference was organised concurrently

Director, Kellogg India, Geetu Verma, Executive Director, Foods, Hindustan Unilever Ltd., Chitranjan Dar, CEO, Food Division, ITC Ltd., Venkatesh Kini, Deputy President —India & South West Asia, The Coca-Cola Company, shared their knowledge and expertise during that conference. The next edition of Annapoorna World of Food India is scheduled to be

comprising leading food & beverage retailers and importers from India and neighbouring countries, important government officials and international trade delegations. The trade visitors came from 34 countries. 177 companies from 16 countries presented their exhibits at the event. Annapoorna World of Food India has emerged as one of the most sought after trade fairs for a wide range of food and beverages and as an outstanding platform for the who’s who of the food & beverage industry for acquiring information, placing orders and networking. A series of live cooking sessions by a television channel dedicated to food, named FOODFOOD, was organised on the first two days of the fair. The sessions

with Annapoorna World of Food India 2013, in Mumbai, during 24th -25th September 2013. Eminent speakers like K. Chandarmouli, Chairman, Food Safety & Standards Authority of India, Dr. Samuel Godefroy, Vice Chair — Codex Alimentarius Commission & Director General, Food Directorate, Health Canada, Martijn Weijtens, Chair, Codex Committee on Contaminants in Foods & Acting Deputy Director of the Department of Food Quality, The Netherlands, Dr. Mary Frances Lowe, US Codex Manager, US Department of Agriculture, Siraj Chaudhry, Chairman, FICCI Food Processing Committee & Chairman, Cargill India, Sangeeta Pendurkar, Co-chair, FICCI Food Processing Committee & Managing

organised during 24th-26th September 2014, in Mumbai. The next edition of Annapoorna World of Food India is expected to be still bigger and better as apart from the food & beverage trade, the event will also focus on the food service sector by having International FoodService India as its concurrent fair.

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HOTEL Business Review

Dairy Universe India & Sweet & SnackTec India

T

he 8th edition of Dairy Universe India: International Exhibition on Dairy Processing, Packaging & Distribution Technology, Equipment & Supplies, and Sweet & SnackTec India: International Exhibition on Sweet & Snack Processing and Packaging Technology, Equipment & Supplies will be organised concurrent to each other during 10th- 12th December 2013 at the Gujarat University Convention and Exhibition Centre, Ahmedabad. Over the years, both the exhibitions have become two of the most important platforms for the suppliers to the dairy, sweet, snack & confectionary manufacturing industry to showcase their latest technological offerings to ‘who’s who’ of the respective sectors. As Gujarat is one of the major manufacturing hubs for sweet and snacks manufacturing, and a pioneer in operating dairy cooperatives and as sweet and snacks are a significant part of the food habits of the people of Gujarat, the state becomes the perfect place to host these trade fairs. Over 150 companies will showcase latest technological offerings pertaining to the dairy, sweets, snacks and confectionary industry at the event. There would be exhibitor participation from around 16 countries. Live demonstration of machines and equipments, concurrent seminars on focused topics will be highlights of the event. The concurrent seminars at the event will be a two day seminar during 10th-11th December 2013, with the theme ‘Quality Initiatives in Dairy Value Chain (from Producer to Consumer)’, which will be organised by Indian Dairy Association —Gujarat State Chapter and Mansinhbhai Institute of Dairy & Food Technology, in association with Koelnmesse YA Tradefair Pvt. Ltd. The concurrent seminars will also include a one day seminar on 11th December 2013 with the theme ‘Emerging Global Trends in Ice Cream Industry’. It will be organised jointly by the Indian Ice Cream Manufacturers Association (IICMA) and Koelnmesse YA Tradefair Pvt. Ltd. For further details, please visit: www.dairyuniverseindia.com / www.sweetandsnacktecindia.com

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Event

EVENTS’ CALENDER HBF 2013 15-17 November 2013 HITEX Exhibition Centre, Hyderabad www.hbf.co.in Hotel Expo 2013 20-22 November 2013 The Venetian Macao www.hotel-exhibition.com Sweet and SnackTec India 2013 10-12 December 2013 Gujrat University Convention & Exhibition Centre, Narangpura, Ahmedabad www.sweetandsnacktecindia.com Fine Food India 11-13 December 2013 Pragati Maidan, New Delhi www.finefoodindiaexpo.com Hotel Investment Forum India 14-15 January 2014 The Leela Kempinski Gurgaon www.hifi-india.com Aahar 2014 10-14 March 2014 Pragati Maidan, New Delhi www.aaharinternationalfair.com HOSTECH by Tusid 12-16 March 2014 Istanbul, Turkey www.hostechbytusid.com EDT Expo 27-30 March 2014 Istanbul, Turkey www.cnredtexpo.com Hotelex 2014 31 March - 03 April 2014 Shanghai New International Exhibition Center, Shanghai, China www.hotelex.cn Alimentaria 2014 31 March - 3 April 2014 Fira de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain www.alimentaria-bcn.com


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News Scan

HOTEL Business Review

An Addition to Goa’s Hospitality Options The Pride Hotels has recently unveiled Pride Sun Village Resort & Spa in Goa, which happens to be the 14th addition to its portfolio. Located in the picturesque seaside town of Baga, near the quaint markets of Arpora, North Goa, this hospitality property has been designed to accommodate the needs of both business and leisure travellers. The resort

blends classic, contemporary and local styles to highlight the spirit of Goa in an enchanting manner. Speaking on the occasion, SP Jain, Managing Director, Pride Hotels Limited

said, “We are proud to announce the launch of our all suite property named Pride Sun Village Resort & Spa, in Goa. Being India’s favourite tourist destination, Goa witnesses an annual footfall of more than a million tourists especially during the upcoming festive season. This modern and uniquely designed hotel will provide deluxe facilities and genuine hospitality to all our guests, thereby creating a truly remarkable experience.” The resort comprises 136 elegant air-conditioned suites, which are replete with a gamut of high-end facilities. The sprawling half-acre lawn at the resort serves as an ideal setting for having private parties or events. With state-of-the-art communication systems and presentation facilities, its spacious conference rooms are the ideal choice to organise seminars, business meets or workshops. The resort’s three restaurants — Hibiscus, Sunflower and Tomatium — offer an array of lip

smacking culinary delights. The resort has two swimming pools complemented with a sun-bedded pool area. The exclusive spa facility at the Pride Sun Village Resort & Spa offers a variety of therapies and massages by trained experts while the state-of-the-art gymnasium has comprehensive range of equipment for working out and feeling re-energised. Being strategically located, the resort also offers the service of an hourly shuttle that can whisk guests away to the Baga Beach (1.5 km) in the vicinity, to satiate their desire for sun-kissed beaches and golden sand. A range of evening entertainment programmes are organised within the resort, which the guests can enjoy.

Oakwood Expands its Presence in the Country Oakwood, part of the Oakwood Worldwide portfolio of brands has come up with the Oakwood Residence Prestige Whitefield Bangalore, which was launched on 5th October 2013. This elegantly appointed property adds to the Oakwood’s existing four properties in India. Here it deserves a mention that Oakwood Worldwide®, based in Los Angeles, is the leading provider of corporate housing and serviced apartment solutions through its two well-known brands, Oakwood® and ExecuStay®. “India being one of the world’s fastest growing economies and favoured destination for global investment continues to be a key market as we look to expand in the region,” said PG Mathew, the Managing Director for Oakwood’s collection of 26 serviced apartments in the Asia-Pacific region. “We are especially excited to see the opening of our fifth property in India, which reinforces our position as an industry

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leader and the largest global serviced apartment operator in the country,” he elaborated. Led by Resident Manager, Varun Sharma, the 143-unit property overlooks the scenic Varthur Lake and is one of the largest serviced residences in Whitefield, Bangalore. Strategically located in the information technology hub of Bangalore and atop the popular Forum Value Mall at Whitefield, the property is in the proximity of the International Tech Park Bangalore, highly regarded international schools, renowned hospitals and a variety of entertainment, dining and shopping options. “With our great location and splendid offerings, we are well poised to cater to the expatriates and business travelers from the growing IT hubs in our vicinity,” said Sharma. A chic blend of modern living and elegance, Oakwood Residence Prestige

Whitefield Bangalore offers the comforts of home with the pampering services of a hotel. Ideal for both long and short stays, guests can choose from a selection of immaculately furnished and well equipped residences, including studio, one and two-bedroom units. Each private residence boasts a state-of-the-art home entertainment system, modern kitchen, fully automated washer and dryer, Wi-Fi, rain shower and many more amenities. The all-day dining Oakleaf Restaurant and Bar at the property serves multicuisine offerings. Residents can rejuvenate in the well-equipped Fitness Center by Oakwood, relax in the stunning outdoor swimming pool and enjoy time with their family at the private children’s play area. Business travellers can also make use of meeting facilities and secretarial services at the Genesis Business Services.


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HOTEL Business Review

News Scan

SAI Celebrates its Third Enhancing the Sense of Annual Bash Slumber It was an evening of fun, music and revelry, as the kitchen stewards from various hotels rejoiced in their third annual bash, which was meant to commemorate the first anniversary of SAI (Stewarding Association of India). Here it deserves a mention that SAI was formed in late 2012, with the coming together of stewards from leading hotels of the country. Earlier, SAI was known as Stewarding Association, and the association has been having its annual bash since 2011. The venue of this year’s party was the Cherish Banquets in New Delhi. As the partying crowd let their hair down, the live singers belted out popular ghazals to match the mood of the gathering. Awards of recognition were announced by the Founder President of SAI, Pardeep Rana, for Shivraj Karki of The Leela, Gurgaon & Tarun Kumar of The Leela, Gurgaon for having gone extra miles in contributing to their respective fields. Rana happens to be the Chief Steward of Crowne Plaza Greater Noida. SAI recognises stewarding personnel in hotels and encourages them to always strive for the best and thus promote their image of being the care-takers of the heart-of-the-house in hotels. As newer hotels come up in Aerocity, SAI membership is destined to grow in the near future.

King Koil, an internationally acclaimed mattress brand, has ushered in its latest range of premium mattress named Posture Sense to the Indian market. Posture Sense is a balanced coiled support system mattress, endowed with a unique dual comfort feature, which can provide a great slumber. This mattress is made of high quality materials, and its high quality and impeccable support are matched by its impressive durability. This uniquely designed & patented technology mattress has been launched for the first time in the Indian mattress market. With the unique high coil count of pocketed spring core, Posture Sense comes with one side as a softer support layer to the body for luxurious and plush feel and on the other side off the mattress an option of comparatively firmer feel to the body. The firm side is created by using heavy density REBOND foam; whereas the soft side comes with two luxury layer options i.e Ultra PLUSH Foam and CELLULAR MEMORY Foam. Archit Gupta, the Managing Director, Real Innerspring Technologies Pvt. Ltd., elicited excitement about the unique addition to the portfolio of King Koil. “As a sole licensee of King Koil for the Indian market, I am sure Posture Sense will help us to redefine the sleeping solutions,” he asserted while pointing out that “We aim to continually present a large range of offerings to the Indian customers and Posture Sense mattress is the new addition to this endeavour.” Here it deserves a mention that Posture Sense mattresses are now available across leading stores of the country. Their prices range between Rs.15000 to Rs. 46000.

Formule1 Bengaluru Whitefield Comes Up Accor has announced the launch of Hotel Formule1 brand in Bangalore, with the opening of the Formule1 Bengaluru Whitefield. Strategically located amidst the business and IT hub of Whitefield, the hotel is aimed at the budget and quality conscious travellers seeking accommodation at affordable prices. With this opening, Hotel Formule1 brand has presence in three cities/satellite townships of India, namely Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Greater Noida Hotel Formule1 Bengaluru Whitefield features modern, soundproof rooms with en suite bathrooms, flat screen TVs with international channels and complimentary bottled water. With 24/7-security access, keycard-operated lifts and door locks, and CCTV cameras, guests can be assured of their safety at the 162-room property. Moreover, Formule1 Bengaluru Whitefield offers guests 24-hour vending machines. Guests can also enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi.

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HOTEL Business Review

MoT to Share Peak Royalty Fees The recently resigned Union Minister of State with Independent Charge for Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, Dr. K Chiranjeevi did launch the ‘777 Days of the Indian Himalayas’ campaign on 27th September, on the occasion of the World Tourism Day. With the objective of promoting adventure tourism in the Himalayas, the Ministry of Tourism will bear 50 percent of the Peak Royalty Fee for the ensuing two years, for the Himalayan mountain expeditions. Here it deserves a mention that Indian Mountaineering Federation (IMF) charges Peak Royalty Fee from the climbers. This move is expected to give a fillip to tourism in general and adventure tourism in particular, in those states of India from where the Himalayas passes through. At present, adventure tourism and its associated hospitality infrastructure is at a nascent stage in the country. The two-yearlong campaign will also give a boost to the traffic across feeder airports around the Himalayan states.

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News Scan

Fairfield Expands to Asia Marriott International, Inc., in association with SAMHI Hotels Pvt. Ltd. has introduced the Fairfield brand to Asia with the opening of Fairfield by Marriott Bengaluru Rajajinagar. It is the first Fairfield by Marriott hotel in Bangalore, India. Considered a growth engine for the company’s expansion in Asia with 12 hotels signed in India and additional properties signed in Nepal and Indonesia, Fairfield represents an excellent opportunity for Marriott International to move into new locations and markets. The Fairfield by Marriott Bengaluru Rajajinager opened on 9th October 2013, offering 148-rooms and Kava, which is a three-meal-a-day restaurant and which will serve authentic Indian cuisine along with western menu options, featuring both buffet and à la carte options. Ample banquet and meeting room space with modern technology, a well-equipped business centre as well as a fitness center and a rooftop pool are some of the other distinctive features of the hotel. Here it deserves a mention that Marriott International offers nearly 20 brands globally with eight in Asia-Pacific. The addition of the Fairfield brand to this area enhances the company’s ability to meet the increasing demands for international moderate tier brands. Talking at the opening, Don Cleary, Marriott International’s COO in Asia, said: “The timing is right and the market is primed for a brand like Fairfield. The brand has a long history in service and offers innovative design at an affordable price, which together gives us a huge strategic advantage in many markets across the region.” “As we see millions more people entering the middle classes across India and Asia, the Fairfield product represents excellent value for transient travellers as the entry price point into the Marriott portfolio,” Cleary explained. Commenting on the occasion, Ashish Jakhanwala, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, SAMHI Hotels Pvt. Ltd. said., “SAMHI is pleased to open the first Fairfield by Marriott in Asia. We are confident that the combination of a winning product, power of the brand and Marriott’s operating capabilities will establish Fairfield by Marriott as a preferred choice for consumers in India. We are excited to grow the Fairfield network in partnership with Marriott.” “We couldn’t be more excited to bring our unique Fairfield experience into Asia. Fairfield sets the standard of delivering a great hotel experience at an affordable price point. Contemporary design and quality service should not have to come with a heavy price tag,” elaborated Shruti Gandhi Buckley, Vice President, Global Brand Management, for Fairfield Inn & Suites at Marriott International. “For over a year, we conducted research in Asia to better understand guests’ preferences around the guest rooms, public spaces and food and beverage offerings. The Fairfield product in Asia is a direct result of the research, ensuring we deliver a product that is truly designed for the value-seeking Asian business traveller and is differentiated from the competition,” she pointed out.


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HOTEL Business Review

FHRAI Elects its New President S M Shervani has been elected as the President of the Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI), for 201314. The election took place after the 57th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the association, in New Delhi. There was also the election of a new Executive Committee. Shervani succeeds Vivek Nair to the position of President, FHRAI. Nair has been appointed as the new Honorary Secretary of the FHRAI, for 2013-14. Shervani has had the distinction of being the President of the Hotel & Restaurant Association of Northern India (2010-12), the Vice-President of FHRAI (2010-11 and 2011-12) and Honorary Treasurer of FHRAI (2012-13). A highly successful hospitality entrepreneur with over 25 years of rich experience, Shervani is the Managing Director of Shervani Hospitalities Ltd., which owns and operates a chain of boutique hotels and the iconic ‘Rodeo’ restaurant. He is an alumni of the Pusa Institute of Hotel Management, New Delhi. He is also a member of the Hotel & Catering International Management Association (HCIMA), UK. He informed Hammer Publishers that convincing the policymakers about the negative fallouts of subjecting a destination to multiple taxation would be among his priorities. Working for complete industry status for the hotel sector is also among his priorities. “The Indian hospitality and tourism sector today faces unprecedented opportunities as well as some equally serious challenges. Successfully mitigating the myriad risks posed by an uncertain economic environment and urgently addressing certain systemic impediments which have often constrained our industry’s quest to achieve its full potential, would require all stakeholders to work in unison. One of FHRAI’s key strategic priorities will be to effectively articulate and reflect the concerns and aspirations of our small & medium entrepreneurs, whose vision and dynamism are truly the future growth engine of our industry,” said Shervani after his election to the august position.

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News Scan

Lemon Tree Smiles for Guests The Lemon Tree Hotels group has re-launched its loyalty rewards program, which is named as Lemon Tree Smiles. According to the company, this rewards program is the fastest free room night earning program amongst Indian hotels where guests can start earning free room nights after clocking in only five nights (subject to availability). The program has been designed to offer quick upgrades to the next tier. Through this program, members can graduate from Silver to Gold to Platinum very quickly and earn greater benefits at each step. The benefits include room upgrades, partner/spouse room stay complimentary, free WiFi(all of these are based on the average price for paid nights), early check-in from 9 am and late check out till 3 pm (subject to availability), two pieces of laundry per stay. Saurabh Nandi, Chief Marketing Officer, the Lemon Tree Hotel Company said, “We developed this new loyalty program — Lemon Tree Smiles — after generating insight through several consumer interactions. Our aim was to cater to the unique needs of Indian guests. Lemon Tree Smiles gives a reward member exciting, industry-leading benefits. Getting a free room night after clocking in just five nights is seen as great value. We want to spoil our guests so that they are motivated to stay at Lemon Tree Hotels repeatedly and prefer Lemon Tree Smiles as their favourite loyalty program.” Here it deserves a mention that Lemon Tree Smiles is applicable across three brands — Lemon Tree Premier, Lemon Tree Hotels and Red Fox Hotels — all total across 24 hotels in 14 cities. What makes the new program even more fun is the new integrated website www.lemontreehotels.com. For facilitating the consumers, the new website offers a virtual one-stop shop to help guests track points, get reminded about free nights, redeeming points and choosing amongst many redemption options as well as book room nights and exclusive deals. Redemption options include vouchers at Lemon Tree Hotels, and shopping vouchers at Croma, Shopper Stop, Flipkart and Yebhi.com.

A Virtual Experience of Oberoi Hotels & Resorts Oberoi Hotels & Resorts becomes the first hotel group in the country to have all of its properties in India photographed using Google’s Street View technology. Google Maps users can now explore images of all Oberoi Hotels & Resorts’ properties in the country. This initiative will offer an innovative and dynamic way for people around the world to experience the grandeur and comfort of Oberoi Hotels and Resorts’ properties in India, through a ‘virtual’ walk through the Indian properties of the esteemed hospitality chain. Kapil Chopra, President, The Oberoi Group, India, said, “We are delighted to be working with Google to showcase our hotels to people across the world. The Street View based images allow people to experience the ambience of our hotels beyond what you can garner from regular photographs alone.” The hotels which have been mapped using Google’s Street View technology are The Oberoi, Gurgaon; The Oberoi, New Delhi; The Oberoi, Mumbai; The Oberoi, Bangalore; The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata; The Oberoi Cecil, Shimla; Wildflower Hall, Shimla in the Himalayas; The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra; The Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur, The Oberoi Vanyavilas, Ranthambhore, and The Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur. This move is a classic example of marketing through technology, and can easily heighten the global reputation of Oberoi Hotels & Resorts, in an enduring manner.


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HOTEL Business Review

The 12h Chandiwala Hospitality Ensemble Held With the objective to provide an appropriate forum to the budding hospitality executives to display their potential and also to provide them with the opportunity to refine & enrich the same, the 12th Chandiwala Hospitality Ensemble was held during 25th -27th September 2013, in New Delhi. It is an important national event in the realm of hospitality education in the country. The venue of the event was the Chandiwala Estate. Banarsidas Chandiwala Institute of Hotel Management & Catering Technology was the organiser of this event. The Chief Guest for the inauguration ceremony of the event was Gopal Rao, Regional Vice President, Sales and Marketing, InterContinental Hotels Group, South West Asia. The Guest of Honour was Jag Pravesh Chand Gupta, Training Manager, Hyatt Regency, New Delhi. The Chief Guest for the Closing Ceremony on September 27, 2013 was Rajan Bahadur, Chief Operating Officer, The Grand, New Delhi. In his speech, Bahadur disseminated the age-old

News Scan

Coveted Awards for Two Taj Properties At the recently held Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Travel Awards 2013, two of the hotels of Taj Hotels, Resorts & Palaces received honours. Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad was ranked second in the Overseas Holiday Hotels for Asia & India category and, for the second consecutive year, the group’s flagship hotel, The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai, was voted the third best Overseas Business Hotel. That is not all. The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai was also voted 32nd in The World’s Top 100 Hotels category at the above-mentioned awards, while Taj Falaknuma Palace ranked 37th. The 16thedition of the Condé Nast Traveller annual Readers’ Travel Awards were announced on 2nd September. For more than a century, The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai has been intrinsically bound with the city’s history, hosting Maharajas, and other dignitaries and eminent personalities from across the globe. With spectacular views of the Arabian Sea, the Gateway of India and the Mumbai Harbour, the 560-room hotel reflects luxury and grandeur whilst offering its guests all the modern conveniences. After opening in 2010 following a ten-year restoration, Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad rests 2000 feet above Hyderabad. Beautifully refurbished and restored rooms enable guests to journey into the former opulent home of the Nizams, the royal family of Hyderabad. A rare blend of Italian and Tudor architecture, the 60-room palace is furnished with a priceless collection of paintings, statues, chandeliers and marble fountains.

Chiranjeevi has Put Down his Papers values of hard work, ethics, work-life balance & time management, to the students, by using anecdotes from his life. Rediscovering —Indian Cuisine Challenge 2013 was the new attraction of this year’s edition of the event, where students explored dishes from the Indian history. The objective of the competition was to bring conventional and ethnic food to the forefront of the culinary world. It could be easily construed as an irresistible invitation to a gastronomic journey through time. Competitions concerning culinary art, bartendering, flower decoration, etc. were other highlights of the show.

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Dr K Chiranjeevi, who recently held the position of Union Minister of State with Independent Charge for the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, resigned from his post on 3rd October 2013. His action was induced by the Union Cabinet’s formal approval for bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. Being a strong supporter for unified Andhra Pradesh, on many previous occasions, Chiranjeevi had voiced his opposition to the division of the state of Andhra Pradesh. Chiranjeevi happens to be the first Union Minister to tender his resignation from the Cabinet over the Telangana statehood.


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HOTEL Business Review

News Scan

An Award for Radisson STAAH Completes Blu Resort & Spa First Channel Alibaug Manager Integration Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Alibaug has been emerging as a popular with WinHMS in choice for those seeking destination weddings in India. Right from basic wedding rituals, cocktails, sangeets, rehearsal dinners to the India honeymoon planning, the hotel offers comprehensive wedding arrangements under one roof. Recently Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Alibaug was awarded the best Wedding Hotel in Mumbai Suburbs by Today’s Traveller Awards 2013. The announcement was made at the award ceremony held at the Taj Palace Hotel, New Delhi. Oscar Fernandes, the Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Government of India, presented the award to Richard Barooah, Vice President — Operations, RIMC Sahil Hospitality India, and Santanum Guha Roy, General Manager, Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Alibaug.

Left to Right: Kamal Gill (the Executive Editor and Managing Director of Gill India Communications Pvt. Ltd.), Richard Barooah (Vice President, RIMC Sahil Hospitality India Pvt. Ltd.), Santanu Guha Roy (General Manager, Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Alibaug), Blossom Oscar Fernandes, Oscar Fernandes (the Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Government of India) and Kewal Gill (the Founder of Today’s Traveller Award)

Commenting on the achievement, Richard Barooah said, “We are delighted to be chosen as the Best Wedding Hotel in Mumbai Suburbs. I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to Today’s Traveller for having privileged us with such a prestigious award. Destination weddings are an evolving trend and couples are preferring celebrations at a faraway location. Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Alibaug has been a destination for a lot of weddings until now. I would like to thank our guests, dedicated staff and all stakeholders who have inspired us to elevate our property to great heights”. “This award acknowledges the high service delivery levels of our staff, their personalised dedication to meeting the expectations of our guests, and their daily commitment to Radisson Blu’s philosophy and mission. We will continue to provide our customers with the best experience in the future,” explained Santanu Guha Roy, General Manager, Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Alibaug, Instituted in 2007, the Today’s Traveller Awards acknowledge and celebrate excellence across all sectors of tourism, corporate and entertainment industries.

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STAAH’s continuing efforts to provide flawless electronic distribution, revenue management, and operational efficiency to customers through the globe have gained momentum in the recent times, with the company’s integration with WinHMS Gavin Jeddo Property Management System (PMS). WinHMS is the flagship product of Winsar Infosoft, which caters to all the functional areas of the hospitality segment to improve control and operational efficiency. WinHMS is an important player in the integrated hospitality management software system in India. It covers the hospitality industry with powerful features that can effectively meet hoteliers’ need for accurate and timely information, and to facilitate analysis and operational efficiencies. The two-way connectivity between STAAH and WinHMS means room inventory is updated from WinHMS to STAAH. STAAH then updates the channels managed via STAAH including the STAAH Booking Engine. When a booking arrives from any of the channels managed by STAAH or the STAAH booking engine, this information is populated directly into WinHMS and then inventory is updated to the channels once again. This provides a full 360 degree solution, thereby saving time, reducing errors and ensuring inventory is accurate at all times; facilitating the sale of more rooms. “We are delighted to offer hoteliers a real-time WINHMS interface with STAAH to facilitate more booking opportunities though hundreds of online OTA channels,” observed SM Edwards, Managing Director, Winsar Infosoft Pvt. Ltd. “Iinterfacing with WINHMS provides hotels easy management of rates and room inventory, and automates bookings from OTA, directly to the PMS system,” he added. “Both WinHMS and STAAH have a shared philosophy towards seamless electronic distribution that yields maximum results for our hotel partners. This integration means hotels can now update their last room availability to all OTAs, including the hotels’ website booking engine with minimum risk of over booking. This can only mean a winning formula for all concerned,” explained Gavin Jeddo, Founder of STAAH, while commenting on the integration.


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Appointment

HOTEL Business Review

Manish Kakkar

Manish Kakkar has been appointed as the Hotel Manager of Hotel ibis Jaipur. In his distinguished career, Kakkar had also served as the Operations Manager at ibis Gurgaon and as the Revenue Manager at Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre and Hyderabad International Convention Centre. Kakkar also has the distinction of working with Trident Hilton Gurgaon & The Oberoi, New Delhi, Uppal’s Orchid (an Ecotel Hotel), New Delhi, and Le Meridien New Delhi in his reservoir of experience. Kakkar has over 14 years of experience in front office operations, sales, revenue management and reservation. He has had diverse exposure not only in different departments of hotels but also across hotels with different business models, markets and positioning, ranging from economy to super luxury, and from branded chain to stand-alone hotels.

Jitin Neol

Jitin Neol has been appointed as the Head of Sales at Hotel ibis Jaipur. His first association with Accor India began in 2008 when he played a role in the launch of ibis in India. Neol comes with over eight years of experience and hails from Institute for International Management & Technology, Gurgaon (IIMT). Neol has earlier worked with Country Inns & Suites By Carlson, Jaypee Hotels, and Radisson Edwardian Hampshire. An avid sportsperson, he was even chosen to play soccer for Nationals.

Tarun Gupta

The Suryaa, New Delhi has also appointed Tarun Gupta as the Director – Sales & Marketing. He has in the past been responsible for establishing and directing the marketing and sales activities for various organisations along with handling their advertising and public relations. In his new role, Gupta would be responsible for strategy formation and for assuring proper work execution using the resources. According to him, “The leadership team of the hotel has announced aggressive plans to consolidate its position as the best value-for-money hotel in Delhi and I look forward to the challenge of establishing it in the very competitive Delhi market.” Prior to this present position, Gupta had worked with Crowne Plaza Okhla New Delhi, Shangri-La’s - Eros Hotel, New Delhi, Country Inns & Suites By Carlson, and Hyatt Regency Delhi.

Pankaj Mathur

The Suryaa, New Delhi has recently appointed Pankaj Mathur as the General Manager of the property. Mathur comes with a rich experience of over two decades and has the exposure of working with internationally renowned hotel chains like Starwood, Hyatt, Marriott, Oberoi’s, Taj and ITC- Welcomgroup.

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Enthusiastic and upbeat on this new challenge, Mathur confidently said, “The Suryaa, New Delhi has always maintained a unique position in the hospitality industry in Delhi, and I look forward to leveraging my experience for significantly contributing towards accelerating the growth of The Suryaa, New Delhi to newer heights. I am eager to lead the talented team towards setting new standards of lifestyle hospitality and delivering the new brand promise, ‘SERVICE SO MEMORABLE.’

Hem Chander

Hem Chander has been appointed as the Executive Suos Chef at Hotel ibis Jaipur. Chander comes with almost a decade of rich experience in food & beverage operations and team management in the hospitality industry. He is well-versed to handle coffee shops, specialty fine dining and banqueting. Chander’s work experience included tenures with Atlantis, The Palm Jumeriah Dubai, Wildflower Hall, Shimla in the Himalayas, and Comfort Inn & Suites by Choice Hospitality International among others.

Balagurunathan Venkatesan

Balagurunathan Venkatesan has been promoted as the Area Director of Food and Beverage at Asiana Hotels & Resorts, Chennai. He will be responsible for the F&B operations of the hotels, which come under the ambit of the Asiana brand. He brings with him over 30 years of experience in the hotel industry out of which the past six years were with Asiana. Prior to his tenure with Asiana, he has had work exposure with Taj, Oberoi, InterContinental, Rotana, Shangri-La and GRT brands. Venkatesan has the exposure of working in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, United Kingdom and Burmuda. He is also a recipient of Golden Hat Award, awarded by IFCA (2009).

Arun Raj D Arun Raj D has been promoted as the General Manager of Asiana Hotel, OMR. He has a rich experience of 10 years with the hospitality industry. Prior to joining Asiana he has worked with Beach House at Manafaru (Maldives), Aadaran Resorts (Maldives) and Taj Coromandel (Chennai). Besides planning, organising, developing, coordinating and overseeing operational activities, he has also been involved in general administration and corporate office relations.


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HOTEL Business Review

Praveen Kumar

Praveen Kumar has been appointed as the Food & Beverage Manager at The Pride Hotel, Nagpur. He is a dynamic and result-oriented hospitality professional with focused leadership skills, which facilitates him to foster excellence in the realm of food and beverage. He has background in maintaining food and beverage operations in restaurants of reputed hotels. Specialist in positioning bars and restaurants, he is impeccably trained in customer service, beverages and event management. His more than a decade of experience in the hospitality industry includes the exposure of working with major hotel chains like Choice Hotels, Sarovar Hotels & Resorts, Royal Orchid Hotels, and The Pride Hotels.

Vivek Vinod

Vivek Vinod has been appointed as the General Manager – Sales & Operations at The Tamara Coorg. The Tamara Coorg is a 55 key resort that is located in an estate of 170 acres producing coffee, cardamom, pepper, and honey. It is presently one of the few places in the world that is built inside a functional coffee plantation. Vinod’s responsibilities at this idyllic resort located in scenic surroundings include holding the reins of the sales while also overseeing the operations of the resort. Vinod is expected to play a crucial role in revenue generation as well as defining the guest services at the resort. Vinod began his career at the Taj Residency, Bangalore. He has also worked for Metropolitan Palace Hotel in Dubai, Cicada Resorts (now known as The Serai) and Clarks Exotica in Bengaluru. He has 16 years of experience in the hospitality industry and was recognised as the General Manager of the Year at Clarks Inn group of hotels.

Ashish Kumar Rai

The Leela Palaces Hotels and Resorts has announced the appointment of Ashish Kumar Rai as the General Manager of The Leela Mumbai. Prior to joining The Leela, he was the General Manager of Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur. In his new role, Rai is responsible for overseeing the general operations and management of the 392-room property i.e. The Leela Mumbai In this regard, Rajiv Kaul, the President of The Leela Palaces Hotels and Resorts said, “We are delighted to welcome Ashish back to The Leela family and to have someone of his calibre onboard with us. Ashish’s extensive experience and strong record makes him a valuable asset to the hotel and also to The Leela Group.” Rai began his career with The Leela Palaces Hotels and Resorts as a Management Trainee in 1998 and went on to lead the Front Office Department at The Leela Palace Bangalore. Thereafter, he has had tenures with various luxury hotels which include Rambagh Palace, Jaipur, Taj Bengal, Kolkata, Taj Lands End, Mumbai and Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur. While taking charge at The Leela Mumbai, Rai said, “This is a homecoming for me. I am delighted to lead the team at The Leela Mumbai, where I started my journey in the world of luxury hospitality. The Leela Mumbai has been the landmark of North Mumbai and my endeavour would be to maintain and further enhance its image of being the preferred choice of guests visiting the city.”

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Appointment

For Holiday with History V Resorts Fort Auwa will open in November 2013 in a quaint district named Pali. The Fort is situated on the banks of the river Bandi, located just 35 km from Jodhpur. The Fort is famous for the 1857 mutiny in Rajasthan that began from Auwa when various Thakurs of the Pali region confronted the British. Fort Auwa was surrounded by the British army and the conflict lasted many days. However, the history of the V Resorts Fort Auwa dates much beyond the age of Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, and crosses several millennia into the misty realms of past. The

Fort has witnessed a number of wars; its battle scars still visible in its bullet ridden walls. As you enter the courtyard there is a steeple in the middle and it is surrounded by old historical ruins which give you a fleeting glimpse of the times gone by. The sunrises and the sunsets on the old stone walls can infuse romance of history among the minds of guests. The Fort is being renovated while keeping in mind its historical relevance. “Such restored forts are few in India where you get a glimpse of a bygone era and where you can live in an ambience which brings to life an epoch thousands of years old. Untouched nature and a rich cultural heritage are what make Fort Auwa unique and striking,” stated Vaibhav Dayal, CoFounder of V Resorts. The Fort will present 19 rooms for guests as well as a dining area serving authentic Rajasthani cuisine. Bangur Museum, Somnath Mandir, Lakhotia Garden, and Maharana Pratap Smarak are some of the tourist interests in the vicinity to the V Resorts Fort Auwa.


HOTEL Business Review

Appoi ntments

Sept-Oct ’13

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Report

HOTEL Business Review

Vivanta

Reaches Surajkund

V

ivanta by Taj — Surajkund, which was earlier being operated and managed as The Claridges, Surajkund, is the latest addition to the Vivanta portfolio. Re-christened as Vivanta by Taj — Surajkund, the hotel exudes cool luxury nestled in forested and tranquil environment. In this context, Raymond N Bickson, MD & CEO, Indian Hotels Company Limited said, “We welcome the newest addition to our portfolio. This hotel will be the third Vivanta in the region after the recent launch of Vivanta by Taj – Gurgaon, NCR and our contemporary classic address Vivanta Ambassador. This development is in line with a strategic plan to expand our presence in the National Capital Region.” According to Deepa Misra Harris, Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, Vivanta by Taj — Surajkund will be seen “as the perfect place for both business and leisure.” “With its indulgent and much lauded Jiva Grande Spa, sunkissed courtyards, gurgling aqua bodies, interesting installations, signature

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restaurants, luxurious rooms and generous conferencing and banqueting spaces, Vivanta by Taj —Surajkund promises the next sanctum,” explained Deepa. “With this hotel, the Vivanta portfolio has now 28 hotels and resorts in its ambit. We look forward to welcoming our guests to a whole new Vivanta twist at Surajkund and am sure our guests will find this new experience exhilarating,” pointed out Veer Vijay Singh, Chief Operating Officer, Vivanta by Taj Hotels & Resorts. Vivanta by Taj – Surajkund, is located 45 minutes by road from the international airport, and just a few minutes’ drive from the bustling commercial and residential addresses of South Delhi. It is perched amongst the ancient Aravallis; a short distance from the Tughlaqabad Fort. The property blends the best of an exclusive business hotel and luxury resort. With 287 plush rooms and suites, a Nirvana suite, vast conferencing spaces & banqueting facilities, a 18,500 sq ft. indulgent and much lauded Jiva Grande Spa with a baoli entrance, edge

of the plate provincial cuisine, the hotel promises great hospitality experience. Moreover, the hotel happens to be a ‘green and intelligent’ building that combines minimalistic décor, meticulous refinements, creature comfort technology and installation spaces that breathe rustic chic; appealing to both corporate and leisure travellers and tourists. Oasis, the all day dining outlet at the hotel offers a delightful selection of Italian, Chinese and Indian cuisine with wonderful ambience. Spread over 700 sq. mt., the restaurant overlooks a beautifully landscaped central courtyard with alfresco seating and exciting water bodies showcasing an intricate interplay of water, light & music. Easy — the lounge bar overlooking the central courtyard, offers the perfect concoction of heady beverages, Vivanta fuse cocktails and lounge music. Paranda, the specialty Indian restaurant at the hotel, takes inspiration from a typical North Indian highway eatery. The Art Lounge at Vivanta by Taj — Surajkund comes across as the connoisseur’s corner. Located at the lobby level it exudes a distinctive aesthetic charm. Overlooking water features on one side and the charming blown glass artwork on the other, the Art Lounge is the perfect setting for a conversation over coffee or tea. The Jiva Grande, which is spread across 18,500 sq. ft., spans two floors and consists of nine treatment rooms, a spacious luxury spa suite, beauty stations, wet area facilities, a relaxation area, fitness centre with yoga studio, and a large outdoor pool. The signature spaces include the stunning baoli entrance inspired by the Surajkund Baoli (reservoir), and dedicated steam and sauna facilities with ice fountains. The Jiva Grande is all set to offer some unique wellness experiences for the stressed-out traveller as well as the sleep deprived individual, with its unique signature programs.


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HOTEL Business Review

Cover Story

Attrition Challenges

The first lesson that one learns in the hospitality industry is putting the customer first. However, what one forgets is that probably the most effective way of getting highly satisfied customers is by putting employees first. This is because satisfied employees lead to satisfied customers. Perhaps nowhere this truth is more relevant than in the hospitality industry. Unfortunately the Indian hospitality industry suffers from high rate of attrition. The retention rate of employees in the Indian hospitality industry is extremely low, mainly due to the employee dissatisfaction with low pay and long working hours. However, several hotels are now offering competitive pay packages. But will this alone suffice? Ashok Malkani states that industry stalwarts are of the view that several other steps need to be taken to retain the staff. 28

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Cover Story

HOTEL Business Review

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he year 2012 brought in a sense of uncertainty for the hospitality industry across the globe, which can be attributed to the threat of a fiscal cliff in the US, the political and economic instability across the Europe, and slow growth in Asian economies. The environment of uncertainty in the global hospitality industry also affected the Indian hospitality industry. However, even during this environment of uncertainty there were signs of renewed vigour in India as several new investors and managers of hospitality assets continued to show keen interest. According to HVS’s Hotels in India Trends and Opportunities in 2012-13 report, the Indian tourists are increasingly turning to domestic destinations, due to the depreciating value of the rupee. “Like the economy, hotels too have witnessed a down cycle and they will start experiencing positive momentum in the next 12-18 months,” said Manav Thadani, the Chairman of HVS India. According to the above-mentioned HVS report, a little over 50,000 branded rooms will be developed over the next

five years, taking the total supply to about 144,000 rooms by 2017-18. The report also states that “Budget and mid-market hotels are increasingly forming a larger percentage of the total inventory and now accounting for nearly half of all existing hotel rooms in India and close to 60 percent of the future supply in the country.”

With large hotel companies planning to add about 10,000 rooms during the ensuing five to six years and with international chains envisaging to come with 50 additional hotels during this period, the paucity of skilled manpower in the Indian hospitality industry requires immediate attention.

Shortage of Skilled Manpower These extra hotel rooms calls for extra skilled manpower. So considering the perpetual paucity of skilled manpower in the Indian hospitality industry, coupled with high attrition rate, the industry’s labour problems are expected to aggravate further in the near future, unless and until some urgent and effective steps are being taken. DD Kolte, Assistant Registrar of Padmashree Dr. D.Y.Patil Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology, Nerul, Navi Mumbai, said, “If all the hotel management institutes trained students to their full capacity they would be able to meet the demands of the hospitality industry.” However, he disclosed, the hotel management courses had not yet received sufficient publicity as a career option in the country. “While travel and tourism as well as hospitality are integral part of Indian culture, its professional training has just started gaining significance in the country,” pointed out Kolte.

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HOTEL Business Review

The manpower The Industry and the situation in the Indian Institutes hospitality industry is quite There can be various reasons serious. According to Lalit for this shortage of skilled K. Panwar, the former Vice manpower and high attrition chairman and Managing rate in the Indian hospitality Director of Indian industry, which cannot be Tourism Development explained solely by the low Corporation Limited, the pay package and long working industry requires 150,000 hours. “There seems to be trained persons every a mismatch between what year, whereas the supply the industry wants and the DD Kolte is only of 50,000 persons graduates passing out of the per year. This leads to a shortage of hospitality training institutes seek. After 100,000 people per annum. According three years’ graduation they are ready for to him, the shortage of talent is being management roles. What the industry felt most severely in the food and is seeking, besides the management beverage, housekeeping and the front graduates, is staff like cooks, cleaners, office departments of the hotels. Panwar waiters, etc. About 80 percent of the hotel also maintained that skilled blue-collar staffing requirements comprise of these workers, especially skilled drivers, room categories,” explained Santosh Thapliyal, service personnel, and Course Coordinator of waiters and cooks are also Padmashree DY Patel Institute short in supply. of Hotel Management, Nerul, According to Akshay Navi Mumbai. He believes Kulkarni, the Regional that the institutes should Director of Hospitality for introduce short-term technical South and Southeast Asia, courses to fulfill this need of Cushman & Wakefield, the industry. “If we assume that about To address the shortage of 120,000 keys will be skilled manpower the training introduced in the market imparted to the students over the next few years, by hotel management and it will generate 240,000 other hospitality training Lalit K. Panwar jobs at the minimum.” A institutes is crucial for they Cushman & Wakefield are to prepare the tomorrow’s report titled “Survival to Supremacy, professionals for the industry. “In our Indian Hospitality Story, 2012 & Beyond institute during the first year students states, “One of the main causes of learn the basics related to the hospitality concern for Indian hospitality industry industry. During the second year they go is the lack of adequate manpower given in for hands-on training and in the final that hospitality is one of the most labour- year they learn about finance, business intensive service sectors and depends environment, strategic management, etc. completely on the experiential and repeat They thus come out fully trained to meet value of the business. The current supply all the requirements of the industry,” of skilled/professionally explained Kolte. trained manpower is The hotel management estimated to be a very and other hospitality training dismal 8.92 percent to the institutes should give total requirement as per a students the opportunity to study commissioned by the interact with the industry Ministry of Tourism. The on a regular basis during the study anticipates a rapidly course duration. This would widening gap towards 2016 facilitate them to be aware of (to 2017), taking into the day-to-day challenges of account the attrition rate the hospitality industry and and retirement and supply as well as the trends prevailing from both government and in the industry “Our institute private programs.” Akshay Kulkarni has the distinction of 100

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Cover Story percent placement,” Thapliyal confirmed. The quality hospitality training institutes may provide the human resource with the requisite skills for having a career in the hospitality industry, and in this regard more and more high quality hotel management institutes and other hospitality training institutes are the need of the hour across the country. But these institutes cannot ensure employee retention. In fact, good training by hotel management institutes may equip the students for a career in airlines or cruise liners or in foreign hotels, which may induce them to switch over to these greener pastures.

The Reasons for Change Hiring talented and skilled personnel for the Indian hospitality industry has become a greater challenge than it was a decade ago, as there are more numbers of lucrative career opportunities in the market than a career in the hotel industry. Retention is perhaps an even greater challenge, as the industry is plagued with a high rate of attrition. There is, no doubt, very low retention rate in the Indian hospitality industry. And this is attributed to multiple reasons. Like low salaries, long working hours, opportunity for better options, disturbance of family and social life. The high rate of attrition in the Indian hospitality industry is definitely not beneficial to the employer as it results in increasing costs in way of hiring costs, training costs and loss of productivity, loss of company knowledge which the employee takes away with her/him (like knowledge of the company and its customers, etc.), interruption of customer service and goodwill of the company. “People are willing to hop to another hotel even for a couple of thousands of rupees more monthly package, without taking into account of their career growth prospects and opportunities in the longrun, which they are having with their


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HOTEL Business Review

current employer,” observed lack of teamwork and an expert from the industry. the perception that the Thapliyal stated that a company doesn’t care about hospitality graduate, after employees are consistently serving for some time in the the highest-rated reasons for industry finds that if she/he low job satisfaction.” continues in the same hotel, “A genuine love for the she/he would stagnate. “So business of hospitality, she/he opts for other openings and the desire to excel as a in other hotels,” he added. hotelier are slowly giving E. Balaji According to sources, way to aspirations for better attrition in the industry currently hovers work-life balance, faster career growth and at 25-30 percent — across different levels. the need for better pay. Increasingly, people To check this, hotel companies have are less willing to make compromises on announced considerable salary hikes over the personal front to establish themselves the last few years which have resulted in in this profession, when more attractive employee cost going up. options beckon from outside the industry,” The entry of international hotel chains noted Ambika. and coming up of high-end hotels in the tier-II and tier-III cities of the country The Effective Steps have also been leading to attrition. So what are the steps necessary to Besides these, opportunities in cruise check attrition and increase retention liners can present themselves as huge capabilities of hotels? Many of the attraction for hotel industry professionals industry experts are of the view that a as a result of non-taxable huge pay direct co-relation exists between hiring packages. and retention. Assessing and sourcing While agreeing with these views, the right candidate having the right Thapliyal feels that employees shift not skills/potential and attitude will shorten only because of better pay but also due the learning curve and would facilitate in to several other factors. One of them checking the attrition. can be as a result of having no time for Besides ensuring that the candidate is themselves. “In the UK, hotels not endowed with the right skills/potential only offer better salaries but also give and attitude for the hospitality industry, two weekly offs. And what’s more, they the recruiter/s must also ensure that work for only eight hours a day. Here the the selected candidate will fit into the working hours are much longer,” stated culture of the organisation where she/he Thapliyal. is recruited. According to an expert, There are other intangible reasons persons with good listening skills, for high rate of attrition in the Indian patience, the ability to make quick hospitality industry. Ambika Mehta decisions, and the knack to gel with Gautam, Associate Director of HVS people from different backgrounds can Executive Search in Mumbai stated that: make for successful professionals in the “There are studies that support the fact tourism and hospitality industry. Of that employees leave an organisation course, right pay package, and realistic for many reasons, but two common working hours must also be offered to this right candidate at the same time, so causes are the quality of the selection that she/he continues to feel motivated. system and the quality of leadership. Conventionally, hotels support a culture Succinctly, a well-defined recruitment that fosters dependence strategy should be and relies on the traditional supplemented with attractive chain of command, and pay package. However, that not all supervisors are good is a necessary condition managers and good team and not a sufficient one in leaders. It’s a well-known checking the attrition. Along fact that an overwhelming with this, job satisfaction, majority of people who leave career growth prospects, any hotel do so because of appreciation for good work, the way they are treated every sense of belonging to the day. Lack of appreciation, organisation, and welfare Santosh Thapliyal

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Cover Story measures are also important for retaining the employees in the long-term. One of the effective strategies to check attrition, which most hoteliers cite is train, retrain and retain. In-house training facilitates the employees to keep abreast of the recent developments and trends which will not only benefit the hotel but also the employees. For retention of employees, focused training and development initiatives should be amalgamated with employee counseling and guidance. “It is also necessary to encourage overall development of the employees, by providing them with the opportunity to increase their knowledge through professional programs and courses,” averred E. Balaji, CEO, Ma Foi Management Consultants. Regular training programmes for the employees are needed which can give them greater scope for career development. Transparent policies and procedures can also be a facilitator in reducing attrition as this can remove unnecessary ambiguities and hence misunderstandings between the management of the hotel and its employees. The employees should be educated about the work culture, policies and procedures of the hotel at the induction stage itself. At the same time, infusing a little bit of fun at workplaces through arranging outings and parties from time to time would be helpful in checking attrition and also in fostering enhancement in productivity. Another of the steps to check attrition is to have a clear understanding of what the employee needs. The most effective way to understand what the employees need is to conduct exit interviews. Conducting exit interviews can help to ascertain the reasons for leaving and facilitate employers to know the needs of the employees in a better manner, which can prevent future resignations to a great deal. Overall, greater efforts need to be made by the Indian hospitality industry to track the employee turnover and fathom the reasons on why it is so high. It is not only important for the hotels’ management to better understand their role in retaining employees, but they must also pass on this knowledge to their line supervisors so that they too can better understand on how to motivate and treat their respective team members with due respect and recognition. 


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HOTEL Business Review

Business

Booking Online

Gains Momentum

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The days of booking a hotel room after walking into the hotel are slowly coming to an end. The travel and hotel booking in the country has been experiencing major changes during the last few years. Moreover, with people becoming net savvy, more and more of them are taking decisions on the choice of the hotel after scanning the net. Online travel agents have also entered the picture in a big way. The hoteliers too are becoming more knowledgeable about online booking and are putting details about their property on the net. Ashok Malkani takes a look at the changing scenario of booking hotel rooms in India.


Business

HOTEL Business Review

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he penetration of Internet in our lives and lifestyles has revolutionised the travel and hospitality industry across the globe. As a result of the influence of Internet, the conventional marketing strategies for hospitality sector are undergoing a change. One can say that Internet has helped and is helping the potential guests to better research on the hotel/s they are going to stay, and has afforded greater ease in booking. It is no wonder that Internet travel booking revenue has escalated by more than 73 percent during the last five years. Across the globe, online channels, including online travel agencies (OTAs) and hotel websites continue to experience significant growth in hotel bookings. Naturally, this trend is getting evident in India too. Overall, there has been a significant growth in the online travel bookings in India. According to Dhruv Shringi, the Co-founder and CEO of Yatra Online, the OTA channel in India has gone from being niche to mainstream,

specially in the top 8-10 cities. He believes there is a still a long way to go in terms of the overall online versus offline share, but OTAs have emerged as a viable option in a short span. According to Sharat Dall, the President at Yatra Online Pvt. Ltd., the customers are shifting their focus from offline to online transactions as far as hotel bookings are concerned. Summing up the situation of the online travel bookings in India, Mike Kistner, the Chief Executive Officer

of RezNext and former Chairman and CEO of Pegasus Solutions Inc. said, “Trends indicate that online hotel room bookings are taking off in a big way.” And this trend is not concentrated to high-end five-star hotels of India only. “Approximately 50 percent of all online hotel bookings in India are for three-star hotels,” informed Kistner.

The Changing Focus Online travel sites like MakeMyTrip. com, goibibo.com and Yatra.com are

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HOTEL Business Review

Mike Kistner

focusing on hotels these days. This is still a relatively unexplored business opportunity for online travel sites, but a business opportunity which has great potential. Indian travellers, whether they be business or leisure travellers, generally preferred to book hotels through phone or upon arrival, but this scenario is showing perceptible change with the growing presence of Internet. The trend is evident in the response of online travel sites. The tagline of MakeMyTrip.com has recently

undergone a change. From Memories Unlimited it has now been changed to Hotels Unlimited. According to Manish Kalra, Marketing Head of MakeMyTrip. com, “There were two reasons for this tagline. The first was to make the brand synonymous with hotels and hotel bookings. Secondly, Indians have limited themselves to the online travel purchase of air, train and bus tickets, but hotels, an important part of one’s travel plans, are not being bought online. We saw that as an opportunity. We are combining our renewed business focus on hotels with the opportunity to tap users who are already online travel buyers.” Kalra informed that hotels and holidays presently comprise almost 20-30 percent of the company’s overall revenues. Recently, Yatra.com has joined hands with RezNext, a technology company which provides real time, direct connect for online distribution of hotels. The partnership will offer the customers of Yatra.com and Travelguru.com access to real-time information on the availability of hotel rooms, and the facility to get

Online Travel Booking Statistics

Data

Number of travel bookings made on the Internet each year Percent of all travel reservations made on the Internet Percent of same day hotel reservations made from a smartphone Internet Source for Hotel Booking

Share of Bookings

Brand Website: Website where distribution is operated and managed by the brand (e.g www.marriott.com) Merchant Website: (e.g. Expedia/Hotels.com, MakeMyTrip.com, etc).

19.5 percent

Annual Online Travel Sales

Online Sales

2012 2011 2010 2009 2008

$162.4 billion $145 billion $128.9 billion $116.1 billion $105.1 billion

Travel Booking Site Statistics Average number of reviews for a hotel Percent of travellers who find user reviews important Percent of travellers who won’t book a hotel without reviews Percent of travel reviews written by women Source: eTrack, eMarketer, Alexa.com

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148.3 million 57 percent 65 percent

Sept-Oct ’13

65.4 percent

Data 238 81 percent 49 percent 53 percent

instantaneous confirmation of bookings directly from the hotels’ Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. Here it deserves a mention that the MakeMyTrip’s revenue from hotels and packages through its Indian and global subsidiaries showed a huge enhancement of 55.2 percent to reach $48.6 million or Rs 262 crore in 2012 from $31.3 million or Rs 169 crore in 2011. PhoCusWright, a global travel market research company, informed that revenue generated through online hotel bookings in India increased by 28 percent between 2011-12, to reach Rs 3,369 crore in 2012. During 2011, according to PhoCusWright, the revenue generated through online travel bookings in the country was Rs. 2,634 crore. For most big hotels in the country, online room bookings are growing almost 100 percent year on year. However, all said and done, online booking of hotels is still at a nascent stage in India, as compared to the global levels. Here are some of the latest worldwide figures pertaining to travel bookings, given in the Table.

Net Facilitates Hospitality The role of Internet in travel bookings will continue to increase in India, in the years to come. Even if the guest doesn’t book online, she/he may still be using the net to get a better understanding of the value that a given hotel can offer as compared to another hotel in the same category. The Internet has made it possible for potential travellers and potential guests of a hotel to easily do research about the property and its competing properties, compare the rates of various hotels and ascertain the availability in a given hotel/ number of hotels, all from the comfort of their home, or from their laptop or mobile phone for that matter. “Travelers now have access to far more information through comparison websites, search


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Business

HOTEL Business Review

engines and online travel agents,” noted the InterContinental Hotels Group in its 2012 year-end annual report while adding that “Sales through these channels typically have high commission rates and are taking an increasing share of bookings across the travel and hospitality sector.” Eventually, the digital wave is likely to make the industry more transparent than it was before. In this scenario, it seems evident that hotels without much online presence may lose out on their business, as a stage will come when a large section of Internet savvy potential guests(whose numbers are increasing in India) would chose a hotel only after an online survey of the website of the hotel or independent reviews of the hotel concerned. At the least, the hotels without adequate online presence may lose out in exploring potential source of revenues in the near future. Moreover, with the usage of electronic devices becoming popular, it has become more important now, than ever before, for independent hotels and hotel chains to stand out online by customising their own proprietary channel to attract and maintain loyal guests.

The Right Content To attract a steady stream of online room reservations, the hotels’ websites must focus on the properties’ USPs, and must offer the potential guests to view the rates and facilities offered in a very detailed and transparent manner. Standalone hotels not having the backing of

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Manish Kalra an established brand behind them must have websites which have the potential to attract the visitors at their first visit. The hotel websites should encourage direct bookings, and in doing away with third party fees, which will of course enhance the hotel’s revenues. While preparing a website hotels must keep in mind certain keywords in order to rank higher on the search engines, as ranking higher on search engines may facilitate online bookings directly through the website. Most of the hotels are aware of these words but one must be careful that these words are not used indiscriminately. Some hotels focus solely on stuffing website content with appropriate keywords (as they ensure precedence over other entries on search engines like Google, etc) without taking into consideration the quality of the content presented before the readers. This can actually be detrimental to the hotel’s online bookings in the long run.

Important keywords as well as readability are essential criterion for website content of hotels, as the hotels need to attract the potential guests towards them through the website/s. In fact, engaging content has edge over appropriate keywords for the content of hotels’ websites. Of course, the content of the hotels’ websites should be lucid, and should be written while keeping the guests/potential guests of the hotels in mind. The guests/potential guests should get information relevant to them through the hotel’s website, which include information about the hotel’s rooms, their price, the amenities and facilities provided at the hotel, special packages being offered at the hotel, the ambience and décor of the hotel, the focus of its dining options, the nearby places of tourist interest, etc. The quality of the content and appropriate visuals should be backed up by honesty in disseminating information for any dishonesty about facts can always be traced through independent travel reviews of the property concerned, which are floating across online.

Beyond Reservations However, to develop a singular online experience with the creation of a custom booking engine, hotels should not only focus on the reservation but should also concentrate on other online facets like e-mail and CRM. A booking engine that manages to communicate with the guests through pre and post stay e-mail messaging and/or reservation confirmations can be helpful in garnering return visitors to the hotel. All growth brings challenges along with it, and online hotel booking too has its set of challenges. The major challenge in online travel and hospitality industry, according to Kistner, is that though a large number of travellers are doing online research before opting for booking, “but many of them don’t actually finalise their booking online.” Kistener feels that one of the reasons for this is that the travellers are “finding it difficult to believe on the information provided in the search engines.” “We believe that many hotels are yet to connect their reservation systems to online travel portals, which impedes consumers from accessing current, competitive rates,” he pointed out. 


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Property

HOTEL Business Review

Presenting

Hospitality with Nature By Swarnendu Biswas

T

he view from the sparkling glass of the quietly flowing light blue coloured Ganga with a deep green jungleisland in its midst brought in a sense of serenity within us. The backdrop of dark green hills filled the deep recesses of my nature loving mind with the resonance of a rare and long forgotten sound of music…I again realised that nature, if left

unspoiled, is generous and beautiful, but the greed of men often compels to wreak the pristine environment, paving in for devastation. “In the summers, you can spot elephants sauntering across these woods,” said Ajay Kumar Das, the Unit Manager of the property, while pointing his finger at the jungle in the river, as we seeped in the view. It seemed to me that we had

reached a different world, though we were hardly 235 km from the madding crowd and competition of Delhi. The environment around also didn’t betray any signs of Uttarakhand tragedy, which is still fresh in our short memories. The address where we reached to explore this state of serenity is EllBee Ganga View in Rishikesh, where we arrived after a four-and-a-half hour long train journey in Shatabdi Express from Delhi to Hardwar, followed by a one-and-a- half hour long car ride from Hardwar to Rishikesh. Our arrival at the classy hotel was greeted with a refreshing welcome drink, which I didn’t mind despite being hardly tired and thirsty. “During the Uttarakhand floods, many journalists from a number of esteemed national and international television channels used to halt at our property,” informed Sunil Gulati, one of the Directors of EllBee Hospitality Worldwide Pvt. Ltd. as he greeted me, my wife Jhuma and our 12-year-old son Ayonendu with a warm smile; which perfectly complemented the cool drink. EllBee Hospitality Worldwide Pvt. Ltd. owns and manages EllBee Ganga View, located in the heart of Rishikesh.

Rooms and the View The property, which has applied for fourstar certification, comprises 32 rooms,

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Property

HOTEL Business Review

takes place, everyday on which are segmented into the descent of dusk. It is Deluxe, Premier, Executive Suite, and Ganga Royale. believed that at Triveni The entire flooring of the ghat the confluence of hotel is done with marble. three holy rivers — the “There are 13 Deluxe Ganga, the Yamuna and rooms, 14 Premier rooms, the Saraswathy — takes one Executive Suite, and place and the ghat is four rooms belonging to the regarded as a sacred category of Ganga Royale,” bathing spot in the town. informed Sahib Gulati, The aarti at Trivemi ghat Sahib Gulati one of the sons of Sunil could be a memorable Gulati. Sahib also happens experience, not only for to be one of the Directors of the abovethe devotees and other lovers of religious mentioned family-owned company. tourism thronging the ghat but also for It doesn’t deserve a mention that each anyone having interest in the cultural of the rooms of EllBee Ganga View is traditions of India, which seem to flow equipped with satellite TV, a facility to continually across millennia, just like the make tea and coffee, intercom facility, Ganga. bathroom featuring bathtubs with quality As the environment gets illuminated fittings, deluxe toiletries and quality by the flames, as the hymns in the praise head showers, and except for the Deluxe of Ganga get permeated through the air, category rooms, all the other rooms of the and as devotees release flower-filled leaf property afford views of the magnificent boats having tiny oil lamps in to the calm and languidly flowing Ganga. waters, even an atheist may feel the joy of spirituality within his being, even if Devotion is so Near temporarily. And I am not an atheist. Of course, the views are best at the We came back from the aarti to the hopeful dawn and also when the pensive hotel, with me all the while introspecting evening is about to merge into the on the perennial cultural legacy of India, twilight. And if you go to the top floor and trying to unsuccessfully fathom the of the eight-storied hotel, you can a get reasons behind India’s remarkable or a panoramic view of the entire town rather magical ability to maintain the of Rishikesh and also of the Ganga’s essential elements of its heritage while entry into and exit from this holy town. at the same time embracing the myriad However, the guest rooms are spread from facets of modernity fostered by rapid first to fourth floor of the hotel only. advances in technology. My reverie Just a short walk from the hotel could was gently broken by a gentle “Good lead you to the Triveni ghat where aarti Evening” from Sahib. I came back to the

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Property

HOTEL Business Review

The Sights and Sounds

T

Sahil Gulati

present, at the hotel, and we met at the hotel’s 24/7 tea café for a chat.

The Past and the Future The tea café of the hotel which is functional 24/7 happens to be the right place to meet, irrespective of whether you are having a one-on-one serious business meeting or an interview session, or a romantic rendezvous for that matter. The café has a wide selection of teas which include Darjeeling tea, Assam tea, Earl grey tea, Indian Masala tea, Ginseng tea, Saffron Black tea, Plain Green tea, Lemon Green tea among many other varieties of this timeless brew. Our conversation began to flow with sipping of the Indian Masala tea and munching of delectable cookies. Sahib informed me that EllBee Hospitality Worldwide Pvt. Ltd. has recently launched its brand EllBee Hotels along with the emergence of EllBee Ganga View in Rishikesh, in April 2013. Though the present property has been there since 1986, but it has now emerged before the world of tourists with a new name and in a new avatar. Till 1999, the property was owned by a different company named Mandakini Travel and Tours Pvt. Ltd. Then the property was named as Hotel Mandakini. The family bought the property in 1999 and

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he hotel conducts tours of Rishikesh and its surrounding tourist spots, and also to Hardwar on request. Besides having stroll along the scenic Ganga and seeing the evening aarti, we also visited Lakshman Jhula(the 450 feet long suspension bridge which gives a wonderful view of the crystal clear Ganga flowing below, and of the far away mountains) and the slightly longer Ram Jhula. Jhuma did some shopping of ethnic artifacts after tireless bargaining. There are a multitude of shops in the vicinity of Lakshman Jhula where one can buy memorable mementos reflecting the rich treasure-trove of India’s cultural heritage. There is a 13 storied temple in the vicinity of Lakshman Jhula, which houses idols of several Gods and Goddesses. The temple is worth a devotional exploration The Gita Bhawan near the Lakshman Jhula, situated on the banks of the Ganga, is also worth a visit for tourists, especially for devotees of religious tourism. It consists of a very large complex comprising discourse halls and over 1000 rooms available free of charge for the stay of devotees. Regular discourses are being organised at the Gita Bhawan. The building has myriad captivating paintings and statues of ancient mythological characters. The walls of Gita Bhawan have fascinating illustrations of incidents from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, located 32 km from Rishikesh and at a height of 926m, on top of a hill, can be an important part of the itinerary for the tourists coming to Rishikesh. Vashisht Gufa (here the famous saint Vashisht is believed to have meditated), located on the banks of the river Ganga and 16 km from Rishikesh, is a place for finding one’s long lost solitude. Reaching both this religious sites need journeys through the scenic and silent hills which can be quite appealing to the senses. Though Rishikesh is famous for religious tourism and yoga, but for adventure tourism enthusiasts also there is the river rafting option, which can induce adrenaline rush amidst serene environment. Of course, we also went to Hardwar, which is only one-and-a-half- hour’s drive from Rishikesh by car, and visited some of its famous temples, which included Chandi Devi Temple, Mansa Devi Temple among others. Here it deserves a mention that the distance of Haridwar from Rishikesh is 24 km, and the distance of Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun from Rishikesh is 16 km. The nature of the crowd of devotees around the Har-ki-Pairi ghat and the overall ambience at this famous ghat in Hardwar was the same as it was when I last visited Hardwar, about five years ago. Probably, the montage was similar thousand years ago too…if we ignore the myriad technological manifestations. This continual thread of devotion across millennia is probably the essence of religious tourism of the country. However, the presence of a number of touts mars the holy ambience at the place to some extent.

renamed it as Hotel Ganga View. In April 2013, the largely refurbished hotel was re-branded as EllBee Ganga View. The exhaustive refurbishing process of the re-branded hotel has reached its last

stage, and according to Sahib, it would attain completion by January 2014. “Already Rs.10 crore has been invested in refurbishing operations,” informed Sahib. “Our spa, which will be operational on


Property the 6th floor of the hotel, is on the anvil. It will become functional anytime between December 2013 and January 2014 and two of our conferencing/meeting/partying halls — Nimantran and Aamantran — will become operational in November 2013 itself,” concurred Sahib.

Human Dexterity, Modern Technology I came to know that like India’s culture, EllBee Ganga View too amalgamates the apparently conflicting manifestations of rich heritage and state-of-the-art modernity within its structure. The décor of the hotel that includes intricate marble works, represents time-tested aesthetic dexterity, which is adequately complemented in the employing of postmodern KABA locking systems, in the environmentally-friendly LED televisions and air-conditioners with energy-efficient VRV technology, across the guest rooms of the property. “The marble inlay work in the hotel has been done by experts from Agra whose families are descendants of families that built the Taj Mahal! The

HOTEL Business Review

delicate process involves solar water heating system cutting and engraving with capacity of 4000 litres marble shapes manually per day. in intricate patterns.” informed Sahil Gulati, EllBee Means another Director of EllBee Business Hospitality Worldwide The hotel can come across Pvt. Ltd. and the elder as an ideal hospitality brother of Sahib, who option for leisure and as joined our discussion well as business travellers. some minutes back. “The The presently operational stone work of the entire banqueting and hotel has also been done conferencing facilities at Ajay Kumar Das by the art workers from the hotel include Utsav, an Makrana, in Rajasthan. air-conditioned banquet We feel such distinguishing craftsmanship hall/conferencing room having capacity which we have incorporated in our hotel to host 200-300 persons at a time for endows the property with a singularly banquets. Alternately, it also has the royal luxurious dimension,” he added. capacity to sit 80-100 persons in theatre The décor of the hotel is predominantly style for a business conference. Vichar Indian in character. Vimarsh, a fully equipped air-conditioned Incorporation of the latest technologies conferencing hall can accommodate 20 in the hotel is not only limited to the persons in theatre style for a meeting or a installation of LED televisions of 40 conference. inches in each of the guest rooms, and As discussed before, two of the in superior locking systems. There is conferencing/meeting/partying facilities also the presence of LED-based lighting of the hotel, namely Nimantran and throughout the property, and there is a Aamantran, will soon be operational.

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HOTEL Business Review

The Sitting Elephant

Nimantran can host a meeting/kitty party/a medium sized conference of 5060 persons at a time, whereas Aamantran can host a meeting/kitty party/a small conference of 20 persons at a time. The business travellers at the hotel would also appreciate the small and cosy business center at the ground floor of the hotel, where three persons can be accommodated at a time. The center has Internet connectivity, Wi-fi, and scanning and printing facilities as well.

The Sitting Elephant The hotel’s restaurant on the fifth floor is named as ‘The Sitting Elephant.’ The uncommon name befits the uncommon silhouette of elephant that can emerge from the mountains across the Ganga, through exercise of observation with imagination. “If you look outside our restaurant into the mountains across the Ganga, you would witness an illusion of an elephant sitting in the midst of nature,” explained Sahib, as we entered the 100-cover restaurant with marble flooring of different colours. A 180 degree view of the Ganga can be seen from the restaurant. The theme of elephant extends to the décor of the restaurant too. The entire indoor area of the restaurant is made out of bamboo, which is a favourite food of elephants. Various paintings and artifacts at the restaurant also reinforce the elephant theme. There is seating arrangement for 50 people within the bamboo walls of the restaurant, and there is a seating arrangement for 50 other persons on the outside open-air area of the restaurant. “Apart from providing

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such beautiful illusions, the restaurant also affords sights of actual elephants taking a dip in the Ganga, mostly during the summer season,” elaborated Sahib. The restaurant serves only vegetarian food and neither does it provide any alcoholic beverage. “In keeping with the perennial religious ethos of the holy town of Rishikesh, we have decided to keep the menu strictly vegetarian and free of alcoholic beverages,” affirmed the F&B Manager of The Sitting Elephant, Jitender Negi. However, the food was delicious enough to prevent even a passionate non-vegetarian and a lover of alcoholic beverages like me from cribbing. Jhuma and Ayonendu, who are not that passionate non-vegetarians, loved the diverse culinary offerings at The Sitting Elephant. Being vegetarian hasn’t prevented the restaurant to take the multi-cuisine culinary route. Paneer Pasanda, Keema Soya Mattar, Adraki Gobi, Hyderabadi Dum Biryani, Paneer Tikka Shaslik, Zeera Tadka Rice are some of the many delicacies offered at the outlet. Negi informed that even foreigner guests at the hotel loved the purely vegetarian fare at the restaurant.

Setbacks and Growth Before leaving the hotel, I had a word with Sunil Gulati. “The hotel was attracting almost 80 percent occupancy before the Uttarakhand tragedy,” expressed Sunil, while lamenting the negative sentiments created by the media at large, which unduly affected the tourism inflow even in those parts of the state of Uttaranchal which remained

relatively unaffected by the recent natural calamity. The natural disaster was fostered largely by the ravaging of environment by the unscrupulous sand mafia. “Our occupancy plummeted to almost 20 percent during June-August of this year, for no fault of ours,” asserted Sunil. Thankfully, the occupancy has bounced back in the last two months, and it is now 50 percent with signs of increasing further, pointed out Sunil enthusiastically. Ajay Kumar Das told that he was making some earnest efforts to market EllBee Ganga View in a more proactive manner. “We are having tie-ups with renowned travel agents all over the country, and having online bookings through several platforms like Yatra. com, Goibibo.com, Travelguru.com, etc. Besides, there is a telemarketing team already in place. I am also planning to attend different tourism fairs to promote the property,” he proffered. He is expecting 80 percent occupancy from Feb 2014. As the car drove to Hardwar, I made a secret wish to the nature to spare the tourism and hospitality industry of Uttaranchal from its wrath in future, which has caused untold sufferings to the common people and resulted in huge loss of revenues and livelihood for the state’s hospitality industry, besides erasing many thousands of invaluable lives. I am sure the nature would listen, but are the state government of Uttaranchal and the corporate world listening? It is time we realise that hospitality without considerations to ecology and fragile environment would only result in the increase in the numbers of the hospitalised, time and again. 


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F&B

HOTEL Business Review

Managing Food Costs in

Restaurants By Sharmila Chand

F

ood costs play major role in any restaurant’s success or failure. For example, it is wonderful to have foie gras in the menu, but think twice (or more) if it has a chance of affecting profits. Without making a careful consideration of food costs, perhaps no restaurant (which include restaurants in hotels, of course) can have enduring success in the business. With more precise

food cost management, one can eliminate or at least reduce excess inventory and decrease waste, thereby increasing margins and business growth.

Deciphering Food Cost We talked to F&B professionals across the hotel industry and found what are the steps they take or are taking, in order to keep food costs’ percentage at manageable levels.

According to Sudeep Sharma, Food & Beverage Manager, Jaipur Marriott Hotel, “Food cost surely is one of the high costs in any F&B operations. COGS(Cost of Goods Sold) is a key calculation whenever we fix pricing of dishes on the menu. All the elements like procuring costs, stocking costs and preparing costs are added to reach the final figure, which is called the food cost of any item.” The formula for calculating total food cost of a restaurant is simple — net food purchases divided by net food sales (here net means after the change in inventory).

Pragmatic Steps “Many measures put together help in maintaining the food costs in commercial F&B operations. For example, constantly checking the inventory to ensure minimum wastage, maintaining standardisation of recipes and portion size and consistently delivering on the standards, training our Chefs on a continual basis to manage food storage and process like FIFO (first in first out), and through pricing the menu items based on their production costs,” added Sharma. Many a time, Chefs need to be business savvy too in order to check the food costs.

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F&B

HOTEL Business Review

Controlled production is a must. Do not overproduce. This will serve many purposes; it will save costs, facilitate presenting fresh products to the guests and will entail less wastage/spoilage.

- Sandeep Panwar, Executive Chef, The Metropolitan Hotel & Spa New Delhi

According to Neeraj Balani, Director, Food & Beverage, Radisson Blu Hotel New Delhi Paschim Vihar, “Controlled store requisition, keeping the perishable food items at the right temperature so that their shelf lives are not compromised, ensuring FIFO (First in First out) for all perishable items, controlling the portion size of the dish, establishing yields of the recipes and checking they are being achieved though production, minimising waste in the kitchen and tracking of waste, organising the storage room and keeping inventory to a minimum, and by ensuring stock rotation to avoid spoilage,” are some of the effective ways to manage food costs in restaurants. Sandeep Panwar, Executive Chef, The Metropolitan Hotel & Spa New Delhi, emphasises that right ordering is essential for keeping the food costs in check. “The best way that we can control food costs is by ordering correctly.” He further outlined some more points to keep the food cost under control. He believes in following standard recipes, which includes standard portion and sizes for vegetables, meats, cheese, etc. “Besides, receiving needs to be checked for both quality

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F&B

HOTEL Business Review

Ensure FIFO (First in First out) for all perishable items. - Neeraj Balani,

Director, Food & Beverage, Radisson Blu Hotel New Delhi Paschim Vihar

and quantity, which entails competent person for taking care of receiving. Daily checks of fridges and cold room are also needed as this will facilitate in first in first out process, in maintaining rotation and decreasing waste,” Panwar explained. Balani also stressed on placing food orders as per requirement. “Training and briefing the restaurant employees to care about the food costs and placing food orders as per the requirement, especially for banquet functions are important steps to keep the food costs in restaurants in check,” pointed out Balani. Panwar also recommended controlled production. “Do not overproduce. This will serve many purposes; it will save costs, facilitate presenting fresh products to the guests and will entail less wastage/spoilage,” Panwar pointed out. “Taking advantage of seasonal produce, ordering perishable items in bulk but receiving in small batches, monitoring waste tracking sheet, monthly evaluation of top 50 products in spend value, monitoring receiving and issues from stores on a daily basis, forecasting revenue and ordering accordingly,” are some of the relevant suggestions by Suresh Thampy, Executive Chef, Courtyard by Marriott Mumbai International Airport, for successful management of food costs in commercial eating out establishments. Sharma justifiably gives a lot of emphasis on training for managing food costs. “Training, training and more training to the food handlers

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on processes and cost optimisation is needed to keep the food costs in check. A well aware individual will always make efforts to ensure food quality and costs are as per defined standards,” he asserted. Sharma also opines that “Senior personnel like the Head Chefs should lead by example in driving quality while maintaining food costs.” However, he stresses on never compromising on quality. “Instead manage your resources wisely,” Sharma pointed out. Balani advised that dishes at restaurants should be priced keeping their cost in mind “while at the same time ensuring a high value for money for guests.” He also calls for planning the menus around seasonal availability. “Use more of seasonal fruits & vegetables in the menu as they are cheaply available and are likely to be in their best quality during the given season,” he advised. In fact, almost all industry professionals whom I conversed with stressed on ordering as per the requirement, maximising the use of each ingredient, and cooking while taking into account of the seasonal produce. The industry professionals also suggested

Training, training and more training to the food handlers on processes and cost optimisation is needed to keep the food costs in check. A well aware individual will always make efforts to ensure food quality and costs are as per defined standards.

- Sudeep Sharma, Food & Beverage Manager, Jaipur Marriott Hotel

Ordering perishable items in bulk but receiving in small batches is a wise thing to follow.

- Suresh Thampy, Executive Chef, Courtyard by Marriott Mumbai International Airport

restaurants to have more than one vendor to keep the food costs under control.

Tapping the Technology Tools Using technology to check food costs is the happening trend in the food & beverage business. “We use Prolific as a store requisition software wherein the requisition detail of the day/week/month can be viewed and controlled. Any item which is less in stock can be seen through and ordered,” informed Balani. “We are using WINHMS software to manage food costing. This software keeps the record of all items being imported in the hotel, helps in ordering food products, and in estimating product records. All these attributes help in managing food costing,” concurred Panwar. “We use menu engineering tool to find out the most selling, most popular and profitable items on the menu which helps to eliminate the non-profitable and non-popular items whenever a new menu is launched,” said Thampy. However, employing sophisticated technology to keep the food costs in check is not the option for everybody. “At Marriott Jaipur we do not use any software to manage food costs. A Food and Beverage Controller is employed for carrying out these calculations, who is accountable for food cost control and ensuring minimum food wastage,”  explained Sharma.


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Operations

HOTEL Business Review

Bringing Value to the Table By Swarnendu Biswas

T

he modern day hospitality industry cannot be conceived without tableware. The right tableware can add to the dining experience in a given restaurant. Similarly, low quality cutlery or glassware can lower the experience of a great fine dining outing with family or friends or the success of an otherwise successful banquet. In commercial eating out establishments, the right tableware does not only entail good quality tableware, but tableware which gels with the F&B focus of the restaurant concerned. In fact, cutlery and glassware can greatly facilitate in creating the desired ambience to supplement the décor of the restaurant. The Appropriate Selection For example, you visit a restaurant in a five-star hotel which focuses on oriental delicacies. There the dishes with a cute dragon’s inscription will add to the overall feel. But the same crockery would be out of place in a Mughlai restaurant of the same hotel. However, there crockery having images portraying a kaleidoscope of the day-to-day life of Medieval India will surely facilitate to attract the guests. With some creative imagination, theme of the restaurant can be extended to the colours and designs of cutlery, glassware and table linen too. Similarly, the quality of cutlery, glassware, coffee table trays, chocolate trays, tea set, etc. in a formal fine dining restaurant should be markedly different from that of a casual dining restaurant. Tailored to Please Choosing the right type of tableware for a specific eating out outlet should be accompanied by several other factors to

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influence their purchase by the hoteliers/ restaurateurs. In this age of customisation, the customised tableware can help a restaurant or the F&B department of hotel to stand out from the competition. In fact, with more and more hotels coming up and with increased competition compelling hotels to stand out from the crowd, the custom-made designs are slated to be the major trend for the Indian tableware industry in the times to come. “We have the ability to customise tableware according to the customers’ tastes,” informed Prateek Gupta, Director, Starlite Steel Pvt. Ltd. which specialises in delivering an impressive array of hotelware reflecting great designs and attractive shapes. “With hotels and restaurants wanting to be unique in terms of their décor and dining facility, many a time we also create special custom-made designs for certain clients,’ stated Vicky Khurana, the Director of Venus Industries, a leading manufacturer and exporter of hotelware, restaurant tableware, barware, kitchenware, chafing dishes, laufeen dishes and trolleys in India.

Varun Singla

Along with providing an extensive range of designs and products to choose from, Venus also specialises in providing custommade products and designs as per client specifications. As far as the hospitality industry is concerned, Venus Industries has been catering to leading hotel chains, resorts, and high-end restaurants. The company with a pan-Indian presence is a player in the retail market too through shopping mall stores and shopping websites. The company has also been exporting its products since 1991. Quality, Durability and Exclusivity However, simply custom-made designs wouldn’t do. It is a necessary factor but not a sufficient one in making an impact in the hospitality industry. It should be supplemented by top-line quality to make an impression in a highly competitive market. Specially, in the context of the maturation of hospitality industry in India the need for international quality of tableware is getting prime importance. “The uncompromising focus on impeccable quality has been the USP of Venus Industries since our establishment. All our products are manufactured from 18/8 steel which is the numero uno quality of steel,” asserted Khurana. Besides customisation and quality, variety and exclusivity of products in one’s portfolio can also help keep the tableware business stable amidst market fluctuations. I did a survey of the showroom of Starlite Steel and was impressed by the awesome variety that the company offers. Bowls, risers and platters, display ware, chafing dishes, bain-marie are only some of the hotelware options out of the huge product range that Starlite Steel offers to hotels, caterers, restaurants, banquets and


Operations malls, and also for corporate gifting. It has products in steel, wood and glass. Besides the huge range of tableware, the company also offers staff uniform. It seems that variety is one of the hallmarks of Venus Industries. Venus offers an extensive variety of well over 1200 products in its ambit. Starlite Steel stresses a lot on product quality and exclusivity too. “Our products have an aura of exclusivity, and we cater to a wide gamut of budgets and as well as concepts,” proffered Varun Singla, another Director of Starlite Steel Pvt. Ltd. Singla informed that Starlite Steel, which emerged into the tableware market as recently as February of this year, has been already catering to renowned hospitality brands like Claridges and Taj, which clearly indicates that quality and exclusivity, coupled with attractive designs and durability help to successfully tackle competition, even if one is a new player. “Price, quality, design, durability and after sales service are the five edifices on which we have built our company’s product profile,” explained Singla. Innovation, Affordability and Suitability And quality, attractive design and durability are often dependent upon quality infrastructure, and stringent quality control. “Our production unit includes imported as well as indigenous machinery, and we have three manufacturing lines where production is carried out under a strict quality control system,” Khurana elaborated. And quality with innovation always gives one a market edge, in a market where consumers are becoming not only more discerning by the day, but are always looking for something new, which is inducing the hotels to look for innovative tableware. “In the Indian hospitality sector, our company has created a product range which is highly innovative. Our newly launched Lineo series of chafing dishes and tableware items can match with the best in the world,” voiced Adish Jain, the Managing Director of FnS International Pvt. Ltd., confidently. Jain informed that FnS

Adish Jain

HOTEL Business Review

Vicky Khurana

specialises in cutlery, hollowware and chafing dishes, and in the hotel industry, it is servicing esteemed brands like Hyatt, Taj, and Marriot. “Presently, the company has two brands – FnS and Montavo. FnS is a high-end brand and is present in categories like cutlery, hollowware and chafing dishes, while Montavo is a miidle-end brand and specialises only in cutlery,” explained Jain further. In fact, affordability with quality and variety is the new mantra of success in the Indian hospitality industry and the world of tableware is not immune to this trend. According to Khurana, “Ace quality products at reasonable prices,” defines Venus and its success. Jain also stresses on the affordability factor. “The corporate philosophy of FnS is to give international quality cutlery to customers at affordable Indian prices,” he stated. At the same time, simply producing highend international quality tableware wouldn’t always be a successful solution to create a success story worth emulating in the market; the international quality tableware should also be tailored to suit the Indian tastes. “Our company invests lot of time and energy in understanding customer needs and then developing products which suit Indian consumers’ tastes,” pointed out Jain. Tableware Trends Over the years, the Indian tableware market has gone through considerable growth. “At the time when we began our innings in the tableware segment some fifty years ago, the market for tableware was limited but now it has multiplied manifolds because of the opening of many exotic hotels, classy resorts & high-end restaurants,” expressed Khurana. He described the evolution of the tableware market in India over the last five decades as “phenomenal” “In the 1960s the trend was to make cutlery with the process of casting but 1982 onwards this trend changed and sheet cutlery of thicker gauges came into the picture,” narrated Khurana while explaining the evolution of tableware trends in India.

Keeping aware of the trends is essential to survive and thrive in any market, and tableware market is no exception to this rule. “Earlier hotels & restaurants in India carried limited and fixed designs for tableware but today this trend has changed. Nowadays hotels and restaurants going in for designer tableware is very common. Moreover, they are now seen preferring new designs every season,” maintained Khurana. At the same time, the influence of globalisation has generated demand for many exotic cuisines in urban India, which has also influenced more variety in tableware selections in the fine dining restaurants. As far as other trends go, Khurana informed that “With more emphasis now being given to presentation, display and design; hoteliers and restaurant owners now demand lavish buffet tableware.” Growth Time Almost all the industry players whom I conversed with voiced undiluted optimism about the future of tableware market in India, which of course includes the cutlery market. This optimism outweighed the present sluggishness in the Indian tourism and hospitality industry. “Cutlery market is growing in India in terms of both value and volumes,” stated Jain. “In the hospitality sector high-end hotels and restaurants have traditionally been using good quality cutlery of either imported variety or of top Indian brands, but now we are seeing that even stand-alone restaurants and caterers are also upgrading themselves and going for better quality cutlery,” he elaborated. “The market for tableware in India looks very bright and is set to multiply in the coming years. It is true the current period is slightly sluggish for the tourism and hospitality industry of India but things are sure to pick up and we will see a brighter tomorrow in the times to come,” expressed Khurana optimistically. Singla also believes that with the growing eating out culture, and increase in travel across urban India, the tableware industry has a bright future in India. 

Sept-Oct ’13

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Spa

HOTEL Business Review

 



By Sharmila Chand

M

assage at an airport? It is no more a surprising phenomenon as spas at the airports are recording good business. And why not? It is actually a wise proposition to offer stress-reduction services and amenities in an environment, which though plays a hugely facilitative role to the travel and hospitality industry, generally causes stress. Airport stress levels can vary from high to low. “When you are running against time to check-in before the counter gets shut, it is natural to get high BP,” said a frequent business traveller. “On such occasions, if there is some place to give you quick 15 minutes massage after the taxing check-in formalities, it can be great,” he added, as an afterthought. Airports are not only places where stress levels rise, but also the places where

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ennui frequently creeps in. This occurs when the travellers have good three to four hours to while away as a result of a delayed flight. Here a haven to relax and rejuvenate can bring joy to many of them. This need has been catered to in the recent times. With spa lounges now operating in major airports, you now have the option to relax, rejuvenate, and get pampered.

Experience Wellness by Ishana Ishana Nature Spa at Ishana Experience Centre, which is located at the departure terminal of Terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi, comes across as a perfect example of a space to get healed and rejuvenated. Ishana Experience Centre is an innovative retail destination that presents several facets of Indian culture and heritage at one place. It includes in its

ambit a healing pool, a spa, yoga, cafe, and a retail store. Traditional craft forms find space here alongside explorative expressions from contemporary designers. The space is rich in detail and craft and seeks to enrich, energise & inspire visitors to celebrate life & living. Ishana Experience Centre is an initiative by The Spa Group. Since its inception in 1998, The Spa Group has created its niche in delivering innovative experiences to its clientele. Led by Amar Agarwal, the Managing Director of the group, The Spa Group takes pride in its diversified and varied businesses across specialty retail and luxury, gems & jewellery, entertainment & hospitality, health & wellness, and education. Drawing inspiration from the deep understanding of the healing powers of nature, a session at the Ishana Nature Spa at the Indira Gandhi International


Spa Airport can impart your body and soul with solace.

Healing Pool and Therapies When your flight from Indira Gandhi International Airport is not many hours away in time, and thus you don’t have enough time to go for a massage, you can just sit in the ‘Healing Pool’ and listen to some ‘live’ classical music. You are in bliss with artists performing right there while you are soaking in the energy from the Healing Pool. What more, it doesn’t even cost you anything if you are not taking a therapy! The Healing Pool at the Ishana Experience Centre is a unique creation of powerful yogic alchemy and is an ode to the Vedic philosophy. A few minutes spent with feet in the tranquil water of the pool helps the mind and body get re-energised with positive energy. The Healing Pool can be construed as the single most defining feature of Ishana Experience Centre, that can set the mood for a visit to the spa. The nine-bed Ishana Nature Spa is unique in its offering of express therapies

HOTEL Business Review

that help its customers to relax and rejuvenate in less than 60 minutes. This is particularly useful for travellers who need to board a flight and not having much time in their hands. The specially crafted therapies do not apply oil, but use traditional ‘pressure point massage’ based on the tenets of Ayurveda and yoga. Here you can watch the planes take off and land as you get revived from stress. Rakhi Mahajan, Joint Brand Director – Ishana, said, “The Ishana Nature Spa offers complete relaxation through its range of therapies and massages, inspired by the tenets of Ayurveda and yoga. It offers the perfect destination for travellers’ to relax, unwind and re-energise themselves before boarding a flight.”

The exclusivity of the spa is enhanced by a unique staff-customer interface, which is guided by the principal of Atithi Devo Bhava, that translates to Guest is God. Here the essence of Indian culture is brought alive through various nuances in customer interaction. Whether it is greeting the guests with a light bow and hands folded in a Namaskar or the uniforms, here each little detail is thoughtfully placed and inspired by Indian traditions. 

Sept-Oct ’13

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Spa

HOTEL Business Review

The Hostess of

Wellness By Sharmila Chand

Presently a Joint Brand Director at Ishana Nature Spa, Rakhi’s career has chartered an interesting flight with The Spa Group. An army personnel’s wife, Rakhi’s career began as a teacher in various schools as she travelled along with her husband across India. She settled in Delhi in 2001 and taught at Amity and then at Sanskriti. In 2008, her innings at The Spa Group began as a visual merchandising and conceptualiser for Lladro and Rosenthal. Rakhi consistently developed her skills and capabilities to get into more meaningful and fulfilling roles. As Ishana Experience Centre began to take shape, Rakhi involved herself with the design, interiors, the creation of a standard operating procedure, and training manuals for the products and services provided across all Ishana stores/spas. She has been practicing Vinyasa Yoga for the past nine years and her passion and understanding of Ayurveda has led to her involvement in the development of a range of wellness products. Developed from scratch, the in-house Ayurveda offering of Ishana is labeled as ‘Kalpaveda’. The excerpts of the interview follow:

How long have you been in the spa industry? What are the changes you have witnessed in your field during the past five-six years?

I have been in the spa industry for the past five years. Since 2008 we have seen a dramatic shift in the spa scenario in the country. Not only has there been a growth but a mushrooming of spas across the country. The wellness industry in India has been experiencing exponential growth during the last two-three years. The fast moving and stressful lifestyle has paved way for booming wellness business. These days, a visit to the spa has become a regular feature in many of our lives. Also, thanks to the changes in

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lifestyles, a visit to the spa is no longer perceived as a luxury but as a necessity. As a consequence of this growth in wellness industry, luxury spas are no longer limited to resorts. There has been a burgeoning of luxury day spas in and around the country. The growing popularity of the spa industry has also led to the growth of training schools, thereby giving spa brands a larger pool of qualified therapists to choose from. Many spas are now offering guests a holistic wellness experience with a fully functional gym, spa clinic and rejuvenation centre. The spa menus are featuring varied and exotic services in a bid to differentiate themselves from the rest. Besides these, there has been an

evolution of spa goers and a clear increase in the number of male spa guests in the recent years, in India. A cumulative effect of all these factors has therefore resulted in making ‘spa’ a household name and a spa therapy an antidote to the stressful life of today, in urban India. With the spas in India evolving and enhancing their offerings each passing day, this wellness trend is here to stay and is only going to strengthen in the future. Can you discuss some prevailing trends in the Indian spa industry?

As far as new spa trends go, there is also an increased interest in green spas and a renewed revival of ancient Ayurveda and other ancient treatment techniques in


Spa the spa industry of India. Few years ago, spas were only meant to be for pampering services. Today, many people visit spas to get better. People are realising that well-being is more than a single treatment. The idea of fast beauty, fast fitness and shorter workouts is a global trend and this will remain so for quite some time. This trend is helping the growth of the Indian spa industry. People today get drawn by the word ‘organic’, and following this trend, many spas are now offering organic treatments and are using organic products for skincare services. Even though the most popular request is for massages, the request for facials is not that behind. The rapid growth in the Indian wellness has made spas more affordable to the huge upper middle class segment, thereby creating a large captive market. The fight for market share has also led to competitive pricing, thereby giving the customer quality service at the best possible prices. What would you like to say on the trend of spas at airports?

The trend of spas at airports is interesting. The clientele that you meet here are generally tired and thus tend to be extremely keen on a spa treatment, but at the same time might not have time for long, traditional therapies. Therefore quick facials, manicures and pedicures do really well, as do quick full body massages. For example, at our spa at T3, we use gel based therapies so that you are not left feeling oily on your onward journey. Cuts, colouring, blow drying, showers and waxing are also getting popular, and there is also an interesting trend of oxygen shots at the airport spas. What are the important traits or skills every Spa Director or Spa Head must have to manage the spa successfully?

There is definitely a lot that happens behind the calm and serene environment that you see at a spa. As a Spa Head, it is very important that you are emotionally mature and level-headed. You also need to be a good multi-tasker by default with a strong grasp of organisation and of handling priorities. The Spa Head must also have organisational skills, which include

HOTEL Business Review

comprehension of financials, operating budgets, etc. She/he should be good at personnel recruitment, training, and performance management too. Succinctly, I feel someone with a solid background in customer service, as well as having excellent skills in conflict resolution, communication and team motivation, would make for a good Spa Head. Could you tell us the USP of your spa and the Ishana Experience Centre? What distinguishes it from others?

The single most defining feature of the Ishana Experience Centre remains the Healing Pool, which is perhaps the only such structure at any airport. Its water is energised to remove pranic energy blocks from the human system. A mercury lingam energises the water, created through a process of yogic alchemy. The spa is singular in its offering of express therapies, which facilitate its guests to relax and rejuvenate in less than 60 minutes. The specially crafted therapies do not use oil, but employ traditional ‘pressure point massage’ based on the tenets enshrined in Ayurveda and yoga. These therapies employ yogic postures and stretching movements that relax the joints and release hidden fatigue, making the customers travel-ready. Furthermore, the ambience and environs of this spa make it unique.

There are different kinds of spas. How would you define and classify your spa?

Created to offer an ‘authentic’ and elegant Indian wellness experience, Ishana Nature Spa is a tribute to the glorious era that epitomised healthy living, keeping in tune with nature. Drawing from insightful and holistic understanding of the healing powers of nature and its unmatched ability to restore and rejuvenate, the Ishana Nature Spa therapies are tailored to provide optimum well-being to the guests. Do you have some customised treatments?

Ishana Nature Spa’s customised treatment is aptly named ‘Pure Love’, which is crafted with the purest, handpicked ingredients. The treatment includes a fresh body scrub prepared right before the treatment by blending almonds, rice, red lentil, honey and milk. Natural exfoliation and moisturisation restore a radiant glow to the skin, leaving it soft and supple. Paired with a steam and body massage, this treatment is deeply relaxing and rejuvenating. The treatment harnesses the age-old secret of beautiful, radiant skin and offers it as a holistic treatment that does not include any chemicals or parabens. Pure Love is the essence of care that only nature can bestow upon you. 

Sept-Oct ’13

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Product Preview

HOTEL Business Review

CRAFTING IMPECCABLE F&B EQUIPMENTS

Kumar Equipment (India) Pvt. Ltd. is one of the largest manufacturers of commercial kitchen, refrigeration and bakery equipments in India. Its product range includes hot and cold equipments, bakery equipments, bar equipments, beverage equipments, dish washing equipments, cake pastry and ice-cream displays, salad display, racks, storage equipments among others. Kumar Equipment (India) is a certified ISO 9001: 2008 and a ‘Trust Passed’ accredited company. KEI specialises in providing consultancy, designing, layout plans with complete technical details of F&B equipments for commercial

kitchens, canteens, bakeries & messes, etc. on turnkey basis as well as on individual product basis. The company’s services also extend to designing, layout and installation of exhaust and fresh air systems as well as LPG pipeline, for facilitating the safety and economy of the projects. KEI has been associated with kitchen equipment industry for well over two decades, and has been successfully providing its expertise to hospitality industry, residential schools, learning institutes, hospitals, messes of Armed Forces, industrial canteens, clubs, cafeterias, etc. Its operations not only spans across India but is also extended abroad. KEI has two manufacturing units in Bhiwadi, Rajasthan; well equipped with the latest state-of-the-art plant and machinery. Robust infrastructure, highly skilled and dedicated workforce, and sound R&D are the company’s strengths. Kumar Equipment (India) Pvt. Ltd. kumar_equipments@yahoo.co.in

FIRE PROOF AND SAFE

Fire Proof Safes from Ozone are built with special fire proof stuffing material, cellulose concrete, thereby making them able to withstand extreme fire conditions. This enables protecting important documents, cash, jewellery & electronic records (CD, DVD, etc.) kept inside this safe against damage from fire. Stylish and spacious, these safes are extremely robust and are constructed with single moulded case and unique spray coating, which facilitate to keep these safes rust-free. Fire Proof Safes from Ozone support two-way locking mechanism, viz. digital codes and mechanical key, and are also embedded with internal deadbolts on the hinge side that further secures these safes against burglary attempt. Furthermore, Ozone’s Fire Proof Safes conform to UL test standards and come with three years warranty, along with 24-hour service response. Ozone Overseas Pvt. Ltd. sayami.d@ozone-india.com

CLEARING THE SMOKE

Smoke Point smoking cabins by Smoke Solution converts the tobacco smoke into clean air and stops the spreading of harmful nicotine and annoying foul odour. They clean 99.99 percent of air impurities from cigarette smoke. These cabins are 100 percent effective in airconditioned areas. With Smoke Point smoking cabins, the guests can smoke in an air-conditioned area without having to go out for smoke in unpleasant weather. This facility can increase the beverage sales considerably. Furthermore, the cabins are equipped with a stainless steel fireproof ashtray that can take up to 3500 cigarette butts thereby reducing the load on the housekeeping staff. They are sensor based and are operational only when occupied, which helps in saving power. The cabin automatically switches off when empty. These Smoke Point cabins are endowed with a beautiful Danish design that is completely hassle-free, and they require no ducting and can be shifted easily. They are available in different models with a capacity of 6 to 14 people. Smoke Solution India has recently launched a model specially designed for existing smoking rooms to remove the foul smell from them. Smoke Point cabins are ideal for hotels, bars, pubs and restaurants, shopping malls, multiplexes, offices, airports and other public places. They make socialising for non-smokers enjoyable with smokers without the risk of passive smoking. These cabins are already been installed at premium hotels and bars. S.N. Global shashi.sngm@gmail.com

ROLL IN TO A BLISSFUL SLUMBER

SpringFit’s Roll Away Bed stands apart from other run-of-the-mill beds. Its robust design featuring a sturdy folding frame, heavy duty metal legs, cross support and smooth rolling wheels makes it very stable, secure and durable. This is a foldable bed with wheels which enables the bed to be easily rolled away into bedroom along with mattress. The leg extends automatically when the bed is lowered. Moreover, these beds greatly save on space. This unique bed can be stored in less space at day time, thereby affording ample walking space required in the room. At night, you can open it out for your guests. It can be completely made up with blankets, sheets and pillows. When the guest arrives, all she/he has to do is pull the bed down, extend it on wheels and set it up on the floor. Now this bed is completely ready for the weary traveler, to facilitate her/him to a great night’s blissful slumber. No wonder, the product is sure to please the most discerning hotel guests. SpringFit Marketing Inc. nitin@springfitmattress.com

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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Interview

HOTEL Business Review

Uncompromising on Guest Satisfaction By Sharmila Chand

A veteran in the Indian hospitality industry with more than two decades experience, Vishal Jamuar, GM of Radisson Blu Hotel Indore, doesn’t believe in compromise when it comes to guest satisfaction. He has a degree in commerce from the Pune University and did his post-graduation in Marketing Management from Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Pune. His first job was with ITC Welcomgroup Sea Rock Sheraton Hotel, Mumbai in the front office department and from there he moved on to Vivanta by Taj Blue Diamond, Pune. Over the course of his career that spanned through several esteemed hospitality brands, he has had acquired experience in sales and marketing, and as well as in operations. “My experience in metros and tier-II towns has helped me to understand the business dynamics and customer expectations well. Having an experience in sales and marketing and as well as in operations gave me great insight into people management, relationship building as well as endowed me with a business acumen in terms of top line growth while keeping the focus on bottom lines, so as to enable me to run business profitably,” said Jamuar. He told that in his present tenure, soon after joining, he was entrusted to open two new restaurants, in March and April 2013. The restaurants are Ni Hao, an oriental restaurant and Indiya Oye, an Indian specialty restaurant. The excerpts of the interview follow: What is the USP of Radisson Blu Hotel Indore? It is a global brand in Indore embodying the hallmark service philosophy of ‘Yes I Can!’. With 200 rooms and suites, 8000 sq. ft. of banquet and meeting spaces and absolutely free high speed Internet, 3 hours express laundry, ‘Super Breakfast’, express check-in and check-out facility, along with a host of customised services for business and leisure travellers, together makes it the only upper upscale hotel in the city. Varied dining options further make the hotel standout. For example, The Creative Kitchen (TCK) offers global cuisines, while Indiya Oye has the most popular cuisines from various regions of India. Ni Hao is outstanding for oriental cuisine and Lobby Bar offers international wines and spirits where one can unwind in the evenings with international live band playing the popular numbers. Moreover, our loyalty program Club Carlson gives its members recognition across the globe in 1319 hotels that carry the brands of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. It helps our guests to be rewarded & recognised wherever they go. What is the marketing strategy you have adopted to promote the property? We have been successful in doing segment specific marketing. Our service concepts cater to the specific needs of business travellers. Jyotirlinga Darshan and other end-to-end leisure packages, special wedding package to facilitate the hosts to focus on their guests while we take care of the rest, are some of our marketing initiatives. We have introduced

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numerous events and offers also and engaged guests with them. We collaborate with the hosts from the planning stage and assist them to achieve successful events. PR is an integral part of our every campaign. We engage our clients through social media. What according to you is the role of F&B in getting business for a hotel? It is rightly said that the route to one’s heart is through the stomach. Our varied offerings from global to regional Indian cuisine to oriental delicacies reflect on the value we give to F&B. We have recognised that F&B is very critical for our success and a great deal of planning and customisation take place to ensure that we are able to present the right cuisine for the right occasion. What would you say is the differentiating factor for your F&B outlets? It is adhering to authentic taste, clubbed with a Yes I Can! service philosophy, and customised offerings to the banquet guests whether it is active lunch to keep them engaged during meetings and conferences, or lavish dinners to celebrate on special occasions. Could you reflect on the future plans and new initiatives you wish to undertake in your property? Some of our key agendas in the near future include making our food festivals to continue giving something new to our guests, marketing Indore as the choice for MICE events at the national level due to its central location and competitive offerings, and continuing

with energy conservation and sustainable development practices. What is the most crucial issue to tackle in the Indian hospitality industry today? The paucity of skilled and trained manpower and rising input costs are major challenges. What do you enjoy most about being at the helm of affairs at the hotel? Leading a team of motivated personnel, involving all team members in decision making, meeting and interacting with guests from various parts of the globe, and developing myself professionally are the things which I enjoy the most in my job. What is/are your strength/s professionally? They are measuring success through results, and adhering to the right process and an uncompromising attitude towards quality. They are my working mantra or my guiding philosophy in work. And what do you consider your weakness? It is getting upset at times when I am not able to deliver up to the expectations of my guests and employees. How do you de-stress? For a hospitality professional like me nothing is more de-stressing than seeing a guest happy. I must admit that I also indulge in food. I love exploring food at different restaurants and love travelling across the country on a holiday with my family.


Hotel Business Review ( Sep-Oct 2013)  

In this issue we have tried to tackle the attrition challenges of the Indian hospitality industry, which can jeopardise the growth of the in...

Hotel Business Review ( Sep-Oct 2013)  

In this issue we have tried to tackle the attrition challenges of the Indian hospitality industry, which can jeopardise the growth of the in...

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