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Feel A Sensation

VENUS INDUSTRIES Mfrs. & exporters of stainless steel cutlery hotelware & lifestyle products WZ-1, Basai Road, Moti Nagar, New Delhi-110015 Tel.: (91-11) 43163300, 45061071 E-mail: v_khurana@venusindustries.in Website: www.venusindustries.in

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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 Abhishek Singh Rathore Production Assistant

Mamta Sharma

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E-mail: info@hammer.co.in © 2016 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., 206, Samrat Bhawan, Ranjeet Nagar Commercial Complex, New Delhi. Printed at Swan Press, B-71, Naraina Industrial Area, Phase-II, 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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According to the latest GBTA BTI™ Outlook – India report of Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Foundation, whose results were announced in July 2016, continued double digit business travel spending growth for India makes it one of today’s fastest growing business travel markets in the world. The impressive growth in business travel indicates an impressive future for MICE business, which our hospitality industry can tap effectively. India already is an attractive MICE destination and its potential to grow is huge, though at the same time it should be stated that the MICE industry in India is at a nascent stage. We badly need to bolster our MICE infrastructure to channelise the potential demand in India’s MICE market into tangible enhancement in our MICE revenues, and in this regard Indian hospitality industry can play a crucial role. In the second part of our exhaustive feature on MICE, we not only explore some market savvy packages floated by some of the renowned hospitality properties in the country, we have also covered the various challenges facing the MICE business in India, and the future of MICE business in the country, through interactions with industry experts. Nowadays the scope of revenue management in the hospitality industry is much wider than it was a decade or two back. It is no longer solely concentrated on changing the room rates to suit the market demand. Revenues from F&B, spa, MICE, etc. also need serious consideration in today’s revenue management practices across the hospitality industry. Furthermore, the Revenue Managers of hospitality properties of today need to be very much conversant with the past, present and the expected market trends than the Revenue Managers of hospitality properties of a decade ago, and they need to very precisely position their properties at the correct price point for the correct market segment so as to avoid unnecessary but frenzied competition. The role of technology in revenue management has also become much more crucial and broad than it was before. We have focused on the complex issue of revenue management in today’s hospitality industry, in this issue’s Business Story. Considering India’s rich legacy in both art and hospitality, art hotels, if done creatively, should have good business potential. However, art hotels remain a rarity in India. So it is about time the hoteliers in India should make proactive efforts to have art hotels and resorts in their portfolio. The Feature section attempts to put forward some ideas which can help the art themed hospitality properties to generate more revenues. The review of a classy property infused with Goan heritage, the profile of an emerging player which will introduce the super-budget hotel category in the Indian hospitality industry, and the coverage of a spa providing nature-inspired healing therapies are some of the other interesting topics of this issue. We hope our comprehensive editorial coverage would interest our valued readers. And we also hope of a joyous and fruitful festive season for the Indian hospitality industry.


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

The science and art of organising meetings is evolving at a fast pace. Adapting the changing needs of MICE industry has become necessary for the hospitality properties in India to attract this segment of business. They are now coming up with innovative and exciting offers in terms of stay, approach, design and more.

SPA

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PROFILE

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HOUSEKEEPING

Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel, Powai has recently launched Quan Spa, which is known for its spacious and calming ambience; exuding an aura of tranquility and well-being.

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BUSINESS

It is not just price-cutting that would ensure a higher RevPAR; nor is it the adoption of latest technology. Astute revenue management is a combination of several factors. The role of Revenue Managers has become even more intricate and essential for the success and progress of a hospitality property, in today’s hospitality industry.

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FEATURE

India has a rich tradition of arts as well as of hospitality. It seems natural for our hospitality industry to merge these two millennia long cultural facets of India to create art hotels and resorts of international standards; properties which can inspire both abundance of admiration and business from both domestic and inbound tourists, on an enduring basis.

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PROPERTY

In the recent past, the first ibis Styles hotel in India was officially launched by AccorHotels and InterGlobe Hotels. The hotel was inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Goa, Laxmikant Parsekar. The name of the three-star property is ibis Styles Goa Calangute and the hospitality property is located within a walking distance from the lesser known but enchanting Tivai beach of Goa.

One can say Chototel is heralding a new era in the Indian hospitality industry, which is the era of super-budget hotels. The vision of Chototel is powered by 24-year-old Rhea Silva, the Founder and MD of Chototel Holdings Ltd.

The state of sanitation in restrooms is often considered a mirror of the hygiene standard that a property maintains. This is largely true for all types of hospitality properties.

departments 04 Event 08

News Scan

20 Appointment 24 Report 56

Product Preview

58

Business Opportunity

60 Interview

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Event

Hotel Business Review

Meet the Winners of INNOV16 W

ith just a few weeks to go for Equip Hotel 2016 trade show to be held in Paris, France from November 6-10, the winners of the INNOV16 competition that recognises the best innovators in the industry have been declared. Exhibitors put forward some 350 innovations this year – 150 more than in 2014. A committee of experts drew up shortlists of nominees and then these innovations were voted on by buyers. The winners of the competition’s eight categories are — 1. Fittings and Renovation XLight Premium Collection by PORCELANOSA These through-body porcelain tiles, available in stone or marble effects, offer two original features: the decorative veining runs through from one tile to another – and this effect works in two directions, making it possible to create the same kind of ‘open book’ design effect produced by placing marble slabs side by side. In addition to its minimal thickness and its large format, what particularly captivated the jury about this set of four tiles is the way the veining runs on from one tile to the next. 2. Tableware Mood by Christofle Mood is a compact, ovoid decorative object that opens to reveal a new and contemporary set of silver-plated flatware cutlery for six people in a simple and elegant design. Designed for impromptu dinners or relaxed brunches, Mood looks perfect at home on any table, setting the scene for happy and convivial occasions. Christofle shakes up the traditional codes of the tableware world with a concept that is both original and thoroughly contemporary, the jury noted. 3. Interior Design, Lighting, Furniture, (Indoor and Outdoor) Electrical conductor Plaster Panels by

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times. It also creates a thermoregulatory effect, keeping the body at an even temperature, the jury said. PIXLUM These are electrical conductor plaster panels to which you can hand-pin a collection of tiny LEDs or LED luminaires so as to make it very easy to create a starry sky effect, a tapestry of light, a logo or an original design using LEDs – or a magnificent custom-designed chandelier. Just pin it on and it lights up! The jury pointed out that previously the panels were made of PU or PS foam. Now these patented panels are produced with a plaster coating, which gives them an excellent European fire classification (Bs1d0), and improved solidity, allowing them to be used on walls without any risk of deterioration. Plus, they are easier to install too. 4. Kitchen Equipment, Hot Drinks and Bar ENODIS E2S High-Speed Oven by ENODIS France This oven can cook up to 20 times faster than conventional ovens as it combines three cooking technologies -- impingement, microwave and convection. The oven is highly energy efficient, and can be used to cook everything from tartines to toasted sandwiches and all types of pastries, fish, shellfish and meat in record time, and to the very highest quality standards. 5. Hygiene and Cleaning, Linen and Professional Textiles Sutran Drilook Technology STD Chef Jacket by Norvil This is the first chef jacket with an intelligent fabric that is able to eliminate perspiration stains, allowing wearers to keep working with confidence and peace of mind, knowing that they won’t suffer from visible perspiration marks. The patented combination of two Sutran fabrics, creating an air pocket between the two layers, allows perspiration to fully evaporate before it becomes visible, keeping both the garment and the skin dry at all

6. Food Products, Drinks Oeuf A La Coque (Traditional Boiled Egg) By d’aucy Food Services d’aucy Food Services won this category because of its presentation of a traditional boiled egg in its shell with the white fully cooked and the yolk soft and runny. It simply needs re-heating, in the cellulose egg-cupstyle holder, specially designed for this purpose. 7. Spa, Bathroom Shower Capsules BY Skinjay Skinjay is revolutionising wellness in the luxury hotel sector by adapting the coffee capsule concept for use in the shower, turning the bathroom into an on-demand spa experience, a unique and refreshing interlude for the senses. Skinjay offers a patented, universal concept that is easily and quickly attached to any type of shower, using capsules containing 100 percent natural formulations to release essential oils, fragrance and preparations for skin or hair directly into the shower flow — turning every shower into a personalised wellness experience — the jury noted. 8. Technologies Moins de Gaspi Au by Betterfly Tourism Moins de Gaspi Au Resto is a customised software solution enabling commercial caterers to measure their food waste and track trends over time. It allows food waste to be identified and tracked by type and by quantity, in kg and in euros, and allows a group of restaurants to be compared via a reporting interface for groups or regions. “This year’s INNOV16 competition (previously called Equip’Innov) showcases a selection of innovations that are smart and attractive in equal measure — in a word, they’re inspiring!” said Corinne Menegaux, the Director of EquipHotel.


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Event

Hotel Business Review

EVENTS’ CALENDER SIAL Paris 2016 16-20 October 2016 Paris Nord Villepinte, Paris www.sial.fr HOSTECH by Tusid 2016 2-5 November 2016 Istanbul Turkey www.hostechbytusid.com

HostMilano and Sic:

Confluence of Coffee Industry The 40th edition of the five-day international event in 2017 will once again bring to one platform all those whose worlds revolve around the coffee seed — from growers to roasters and from coffee machine manufacturers to those in the vending market

T

hanks to the Sic – International Coffee Exhibition – show, HostMilano has for 40 editions now been the ‘home’ of the coffee seed and all of the worlds that revolve around it. A place where the entire industry travels from the four corners of the earth to come together – from growers to roasters and from coffee machine manufacturers to those in the vending market. But HostMilano 2017 — which is to take place from October 20-October 24, 2017 at FieraMilano Rho — also includes the ‘cup and spoon,’ the entire concept of coffee shops and contract interior design as well as coffee-based deserts and recipes from starred chefs and bartenders that use this black powder to make one-of-a-kind creations. In fact, 1,158 companies have already reserved a space for the show, and around 42 percent of them would come from 44 different countries while 58 percent of these exhibitors would bring ‘Made in Italy’ to the trade fair. In fact, there are an increasing number of companies from abroad that bring a different view of and way of drinking coffee, which is also now being offered in Italy as an alternative to the classic espresso. Top players to be present include Oro Caffè, Imperator, Torrefazione Portioli, Caffè Moreno, Hario, Monin, Probat-Werke Von Gimborn Maschinenfabrik, G. Bijdendijk, Rhea Vendors Group, La Spaziale, La Marzocco, Franke Kaffeemaschinen, Vitamix and Thermoplan. However, there will also to be small, talented independent producers, ensuring

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that the show will offer a complete view of the industry’s trends. The presence of 1,500 select buyers (chosen thanks to an international network of local agents) will ensure that supply and demand are truly brought together. The overlap with other industries will ensure exhibitors have business opportunities, thanks to the dominant trend of the moment, which is “cross-pollination” among industries, with coffee corners more frequently offered inside supermarkets and clothing shops, and with coffee being almost a must-have as part of expanded offerings in gelaterias, pastry shops and bakeries.

Coffee Events

Sic has always meant business as well as highlevel training, offering spectacular events with the best international baristas who will take part in competitions and demonstrations. Many innovations are being planned for 2017, with the major industry associations taking part at HostMilano as they traditionally have. HostMilano has always been not just a show but a hub for trends and innovation, and thus it is to once again present the latest solutions. Those seen as being the most avantgarde (so advanced that they are ahead of industry trends or that are innovative in terms of functionality, sustainability and ethical implications) will get the much sought-after Smart Label, the recognition for innovation in professional hospitality.

EquipHotel 2016 6-10 November 2016 Paris Expo Porte de Versailles, Paris, France www.equiphotel.com Bakers Technology Fair 2016 11-13 November 2016 HITEX Exhibition Center, Hyderabad www.bakerstechnologyfair.com Emballage 2016 14-17 November 2016 Paris Nord Villepinte, Paris www.emballageweb.com Hotel Investment Forum India 2016 17-18 November 2016 JW Marriot Mumbai Sahar, Mumbai www.hifi-india.com Hotel Expo 2016 23-25 November 2016 The Venetian Macao, Macau www.hotel-exhibition.com Sigep 2017 21-25 January 2017 Remini Fiera, Italy www.en.sigep.it Sirha 2017 21-25 January 2017 Eurexpo, Lyon, France www.sirha.com Gulfood 2017 26 February - 2 March 2017 Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre www.gulfood.com Aahar 2017 7-11 March 2017 Pragati Maidan, New Delhi www.aaharinternationalfair.com Expo GastroPan 2017 23-25 March 2017 President Expo centre, Targu Mures, Romania www.gastropan.ro/en


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Hotel Business Review

StayWell Hospitality Group to Open its Third Property in India Australia’s Sydney-based hotel management company, StayWell Hospitality Group is set to open its third property in India, the company announced. Build in partnership with Indian infrastructure company Sanpra Group, the 72-room Park Regis Sanpra Beach hotel will be located in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. “We are passionate about expanding our Park Regis and Leisure Inn brands internationally and see the opening of Park Regis Sanpra Beach in Visakhapatnam, a known tier-II city primed for future development, as a great opportunity to enter into the new market of Southern India,” said StayWell Hospitality Group’s CEO, Simon Wan.

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Hyatt Regency Delhi Hosts Dinner for Top CEOs Hyatt Regency Delhi hosted a gala dinner for top CEOs of the country as part of the The CEO Series Indian Edition 2016. Master Chef Australia fame Gary Mehigan, along with Executive Chef of Hyatt Regency Delhi, Ivan Chieregatti designed an exclusive seven course menu on the theme of ‘7 Wonders of the World.’ The grand event at The Mansion of Hyatt Regency, Delhi witnessed the presence of top executives of multinational organisations.

Indian Hotel Industry: Revenue to Grow 7 Percent in 2017 India’s hotel industry is likely to experience a growth of 7 percent in the financial year 2017, estimates research by ICRA. Going by the recent trends in foreign tourist arrivals into the country and forex earnings growth, as well as the improving domestic macro-economic data, ICRA research expects modest ARR (Average Room Rates) growth to return during FY2017, which coupled with the traction in occupancies will drive RevPAR (Revenue Per Available Room) growth of 6 percent-7 percent during FY2017. Foreign tourist arrivals growth picked up strongly to 8.9 percent during the first half of the calendar year 2016, from the muted 3.7 percent growth during first half of the calendar year 2015. ICRA research estimates demand growth of over 10 percent across most cities in India, during FY2017. Based on its city wise analysis, the research estimates pan India occupancy of approximately 60 percent, with marginally higher Average Room Rates (ARRs) of Rs. 5,300 during Q1 FY2017, supported by few key markets. This trend is expected to strengthen during FY2017 across several markets, barring Kolkata. Hotels in Delhi and Gurgaon are expected to face continued competition from the aerocity area hotels, which are mopping up crew and meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions (MICE) traffic coming to the NCR.

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Hotel Business Review

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Bangaram Island Resort Re-opens in Lakshadweep

Delhi Showcases Cultural Heritage at the Tourism Fair

The administration of the Union Territories of Lakshadweep recently announced the re-opening of the Bangaram Island Resort. Spread over thirty acres, the resort, which is a mere 20 minute speed boat ride from Agatti, brings out the verdant ethnic character of the area. Over the years, the Bangaram Island Resort has become a destination for discerning international visitors, who are looking for a complete remote island experience. Bangaram offers spectacular coral reefs amid turquoise blue lagoons, silvery beaches and lush green coconut palms. “The Bangaram Island Resort is an exclusive offering of the destination and the administration is making every effort to reach out to the travel agent community to explore mutually beneficial business opportunities,” said Tariq Tomas, Secretary (Tourism), UT of Lakshadweep.

In its endeavour to showcase the rich cultural heritage of the city and promote Delhi as a favourite tourist destination, Delhi Tourism participated as host city partner in Bharat International Tourism Bazaar (BITB) held at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi during 4th-6th October 2016. Powered by ITB Berlin, the world’s leading tourism fair, the

show featured a marketplace, which brought buyers and sellers on the virtual bazaar, along with six power conclaves, each of which was driven by an industry leader. The show provided a platform for 260 exhibiting companies to meet 780 buyers. Delhi Tourism featured a number of attractions through its 154 square meter-stall at the fair. The beauty of the capital city was highlighted through five key elements — heritage, shopping, food, film shooting, and culture. BITB 2016 was inaugurated by Mahesh Sharma, the Minister of State (IC), Tourism and Culture, Government of India.

Lucrative Weekend Package for Swissotel Kolkata Swissotel Kolkata is a newly opened five-star luxury hotel, located in Rajarhat, Kolkata, in the vicinity of the IT hub of the city. The hotel has come up with its weekend packages. The hotel offers a distinct mix of leisure and business facilities, and is noted for its unique offering of Swiss hospitality and attention to detail. The weekend packages include a buffet dinner for two on Friday, buffet breakfast and lunch for two on Saturday, and a buffet breakfast for two on Sunday. Two free drink coupons per person at Mayaa bar of the hotel, 20 percent discount on food & beverage, 50 percent discount on spa, and 50 percent discount on laundry, and the complimentary usage of swimming pool, provision of sparkling wine in room upon arrival, high speed Internet access are some of the other facilities included in the package. To avail the weekend package one needs to get it fully prepaid at time of booking. Moreover, the package is non refundable, non-cancelable, non-amendable. 10

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Hotel Business Review

First ibis Styles in India Opens in Goa Located just a short walking distance from the popular Tivai Beach and minutes away from North Goa’s famed Calangute and Candolim beaches is the brand new 197 room ibis Styles Goa Calangute. It has been officially launched recently, that was on 20th September. The hotel is the first ibis Styles property in India,

in Goa in partnership with AccorHotels,” said J.B. Singh, President & CEO, InterGlobe Hotels. “The opening of the first ibis Styles in Goa gives us an opportunity to showcase the contemporary design of the hotel that offers guests an experience of the local culture of Goa and feel its conviviality,” Jean-Michel Cassé, Senior Vice President, Operations, AccorHotels India, added. Staying true to its unique brand individuality, the hotel is deeply influenced by its Portuguese heritage and charm that are infused with a contemporary flavour.

offering leisure and corporate guests a wonderful experience. According to a press release, the property is in close proximity to North Goa’s popular entertainment and nightlife destinations. “We are extremely delighted to launch India’s first ibis Styles

Club Mahindra’s Chef Soundararajan Palaniappan Honoured Soundararajan Palaniappan, Corporate Executive Chef, Mahindra Holidays, has been honoured with Honorary Life Membership by the World Association of Chefs’ Societies for his contribution to the hospitality and culinary industry in India. He is one of only 105 Chefs’ to receive this honour. Chef Charles Carroll, President, World Association of Chefs’ Societies, presented him with a citation at a special ceremony held at Thessaloniki, Greece on 24th September 2016. The World Association of Chefs’ Societies or Worldchefs in short, is a global network of Chefs’ associations, first founded in October 1928, at the Sorbonne in Paris. Today, this global body has 100 official Chefs’ associations as members that represent over 10 million professional Chefs worldwide. Chef Soundararajan has 32 years of professional experience. He has also been instrumental in forming the Indian Federation of Culinary Associations, and is a recipient of the Golden Star Chef Award for extensive contribution in this field.

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Hotel Business Review

The Fern Gir Forest Resort Wins ‘Best Resort of Gujarat’ Award The Fern Gir Forest Resort has won the ‘Best Resort in Gujarat 2016’ award, conferred by Gujarat Tourism. “We are honoured to receive this wonderful acknowledgement from Gujarat Tourism. This is an inspiration for our entire team to continue the good work,” said Param Kannampilly, Chairman and Managing Director, Concept Hospitality Pvt. Ltd (CHPL), a management company operating hotels, resorts and serviced apartments across India. The Fern Gir Forest Resort offers 40 well-appointed, airconditioned villas, cottages and tents. With two restaurants, conference facilities and luxury indulgences, The Fern Gir Forest Resort is a popular leisure and off-site destination. The five-star resort is located in Gir, 50 km for Junagadh, and 160 km for Rajkot.

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ITDC Completes 50 Years Marking the successful completion of 50 golden years of excellence in tourism, travel and hospitality industry, India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), the public sector undertaking under the aegis of the Ministry of Tourism announced flat 50 percent discount on rooms across The Ashok Group of Hotels. The hospitality and tourism giant also unveiled flat 25 percent off on food and beverages across ITDC-owned restaurants, room services and cake shops. Beginning 24th September 2016 the offers continued till 8th October 2016. “It is a moment of pride and fulfillment for all of us at ITDC. As ITDC completes its 50 glorious years of operations across tourism and hospitality industry, it brings me immense pleasure to invite everyone to be a part of these revelries at The Ashok Group of Hotels, our stand-alone restaurants and at all our joint venture hotels,” said Piyush Tiwari, Director (Commercial and Marketing), ITDC. ITDC’s hotel division runs under the banner ‘The Ashok Group of Hotels.” The hospitality division (HC division) operates eight ITDC owned hotels, five joint venture hotels, three catering establishments and a stand-alone restaurant across major tourist destinations in India, in addition to managing prestigious Hyderabad House as well Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi.


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Hotel Business Review

Shangri-La Hotel, Bengaluru Turns One Situated in the heart of the central business district, Shangri-La Hotel, Bengaluru opened its doors one year ago, introducing a new kind of luxury to the city. Recently the hospitality property completed one year, which was marked by celebrations. As part of the celebrations, every hotel guest was welcomed with a Dollu Kunitha dance performance, the popular drum dance of Karnataka. A tiered floral cake took centrestage in the lobby and lighting added to the celebratory spirit, making the hotel come alive. The celebrations also included a trunk show by celebrity designer Masaba Gupta, who showcased her Festive Collection. Proceeds from the trunk show were given to Hothur Charitable Trust, which supports acid-attack survivors. “We are very excited to celebrate a year of service and hospitality that we have been able to extend to our beloved guests. Our first

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anniversary marks a significant milestone for our hotel and we couldn’t be more proud of the success that we have achieved. We look forward to many more successful years and hope to continue delighting our guests from around the world,” said Andreas Streiber, General Manager of Shangri-La Hotel, Bengaluru. Guests participated in the celebrations by treating themselves to a gastronomic journey across the hotel’s specialty restaurants, including Ssaffron, Shang Palace, Caprese, Yataii and Lobby Lounge. A candy station in the lobby kept the little guests enthralled. Guests were also seen enjoying their spa treatments, which helped them rejuvenate.

Roseate House: First Roseate Hotels & Resorts in New Delhi Roseate Hotels & Resorts, the luxury hotel brand of Bird Hospitality, recently opened its first property, Roseate House, at Aerocity, New Delhi. This latest addition to the brand’s luxury portfolio is designed to cater to the next generation of savvy business and leisure travellers. “We are excited to open our maiden Roseate Hotels & Resorts branded hotel in Delhi. The launch of Roseate House New Delhi marks a significant milestone of growth in the in the hospitality sector of the country,” said Kush Kapoor, General Manager, Roseate House New Delhi. “Every aspect of this hotel has been carefully designed to ensure our guests enjoy a world-class experience throughout their stay with generously-sized accommodation, a range of dining outlets, extensive recreational facilities and versatile meetings and events space. The hotel is well suited to quickly become the first choice of travellers in the city,” added Kapoor. Roseate House New Delhi is spread across an area of 1.6 acres and is a 30-minute drive to the heart of New Delhi and the corporate hub of Gurgaon, and just ten minutes away from the International Airport. The hotel features 216 spacious well-appointed rooms with 15 suites, including 3 elite private suites that can be combined to a villa.


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Hotel Business Review

Special Drive on World Tourism Day Northern Regional Office of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India celebrated this year’s World Tourism Day in a very unique and noble way by organising sightseeing tour of Delhi for children with special abilities. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Tourism and Culture, flagged off the sightseeing tour on 27th September. A total of 35 students from Deen Dayal Upadhyaya School for Divyang Children, Minto Road, New Delhi, participated in this sightseeing tour of many monuments and heritage places of Delhi. The Tourism Minister also personally welcomed foreign and domestic tourists at Janpath Office and interacted with them. “Accessible tourism for all is about the creation of environments that can cater for the needs of all of us, whether we are travelling or staying at home,” said the Tourism Minister on the

occasion. As part of the celebrations, drawing competition among the school children was also organised and winners were awarded. “This unique Minister of State for Culture and Tourism (Independent Charge), Dr. Mahesh Sharma interacting initiative will with the children, at the flagging off ceremony of the special sightseeing Tour on the occasion of World Tourism Day, in New Delhi on 27th September. provide an opportunity to out. these students World Tourism Day is celebrated with special abilities to take glimpse of on 27th September to foster awareness important heritage monuments such as among the national and international Jantar Mantar, Humayun’s Tomb, India community of the importance of Gate, Rashtrapati Bhawan, etc,” Arun tourism and its social, cultural, political Srivastava, Regional Director (Northern and economic value. India), Ministry of Tourism, pointed

Sarovar Hotels Opens RBD Sarovar Portico In a move aimed at reinforcing its position in the prime market of Bengaluru, Sarovar Hotels recently announced the opening of its fourth hotel in the city -- RBD Sarovar Portico, Bengaluru, a sophisticated and upscale hotel with 86 spacious rooms and suites. Guests can choose from either of the Club Rooms, Premium Rooms or Deluxe Rooms, each of which features sleek and modern designs. Other facilities include a multi-cuisine restaurant named Brunchili with attached bar, that offers unique gastronomic fare. “We are delighted to be opening yet another hotel in Bengaluru. RBD Sarovar Portico, being close to the major tech parks of the city, is ideal for business travellers. With Bengaluru emerging as one of our key markets, we look forward to further growth and increased traffic contribution from our hotels here,” said Ajay K. Bakaya, Executive Director, Sarovar Hotels. 18

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Appoi ntment

Hotel Business Review

Nicholas Dumbell

Priya Singh Thakur

Rajan Malhotra

Smita Rathod

Nicholas Dumbell has been recently appointed as the General Manager of Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel & Lakeside Chalet Marriott Executive Apartments. He joins Renaissance Mumbai from Bengaluru Whitefield Marriott where he served as General Manager since 2014. A seasoned professional, Dumbell brings with him over 16 years of leadership experience with the Marriott brand and has worked with prestigious brands under the Marriott portfolio such as Bengaluru Whitefield Marriott, Renaissance Kiev, Breadsall Priory Marriott Hotel and Country Club. At Renaissance Mumbai, he will be spearheading the management of the hotel -- from operations to guiding the overall management. He will focus on introducing innovative and contemporary ideas to complement the success of Renaissance in its 15 years of operations.

Priya Singh Thakur has recently been appointed as the Director of Human Resources, JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu. In this capacity, she will be responsible for taking care of talent acquisition, succession and workforce planning, performance management, training and development for hotel associates using technology efficiently. With over 10 years of industry experience, Priya has worked with some well-known companies such as Essar Group where she served as the Sr. Manager — International HR and M&A. Coaching and developing talent in the team, serving as a member of the executive committee, constantly encouraging a positive work environment, maximising productivity and upholding the Marriott culture are among the many activities that Priya has been be entrusted with.

Shangri-La Hotel, Bengaluru has announced the appointment of Rajan Malhotra as the Director of Sales and Marketing. In his new role, Malhotra will head the hotel’s sales, events, revenue management, reservations, marketing and corporate communications divisions. His key responsibilities will include overseeing all aspects of hotel sales and marketing strategies, including revenue forecasting and developing business plans, in addition to the recruitment, training and managing of the hotel’s sales team in order to maximise revenue opportunities and property goals. Malhotra brings with him fourteen years of rich experience in the hospitality industry. His last assignment was with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide at Le Meridien, Jaipur where he worked as the Director of Sales and Marketing.

Smita Rathod has joined Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel & Lakeside Chalet Marriott Executive Apartments, as the Director of Services. A seasoned hospitality expert, Smita brings with her 25 years of experience in the field of housekeeping and rooms division in the hotel business. As the Director of Services, Smita is responsible for overseeing all the aspects related to a guest’s experience at the hotel. She is responsible for overlooking the following divisions — housekeeping, front desk and customer complaints. Prior to her current move, Smita was working with Courtyard by Marriott Pune for four years where she was the Rooms Division Manager. There she supervised the housekeeping and front desk operations at the property.

TJ Joulak, New GM for India’s First Ever W Hotel TJ Joulak has been recently appointed as the General Manager for W Goa, a part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts. Located on the Vagator beach, it is India’s first ever W Hotel, with a promise to deliver unconventional experiences to guests. Joulak, popularly known as TJ, began his journey with Starwood Hotels in 2002. Over the years, he has worked with some of the prominent Starwood hotels, namely Sheraton Hotel & Towers Tunis, W Doha in Qatar, W Istanbul in Turkey, W Bali in Indonesia, and W Taipei. He has also worked with the world famous Hotel Grande Bretagne; a luxury collection hotel in Athens, Greece. In TJ’s new role, he will be in charge of overseeing W Goa’s strategy and daily operations.

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Deep Preet Bindra Bengaluru Marriott Hotel, Whitefield recently announced the appointment of Deep Preet Bindra as the Director of Sales and Marketing. Bindra brings with him over twelve years of experience in the service industry to the hotel. He will lead the effort to create innovative opportunities for new business and marketing visibility. Bindra has been recognised over the past twelve years for commanding a high success rate of attaining the targeted goals and for his exemplary ability to demonstrate quick and efficient decision making. Before joining Bengaluru Marriott Hotel, Whitefield, he was working at JW Marriott at Aerocity in New Delhi as the Director of Sales, for the past two years. He has also worked for prestigious brands like Westin, Gurgaon and Westin Sohna Resort, The Oberoi Group, Kingfisher Airlines, Thomas Cook India Pvt. Ltd. and American Express, during his remarkable career.


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Appoi ntment

Hotel Business Review

Raju Shreshta

Sudipto Mukherjee

Narendra Prabhu

Vivek Braganza

Raju Shreshta recently joined Crowne Plaza Pune City Centre as the General Manager. In his current role, Shreshta is responsible for managing hotel revenues, budgeting, operations and leading the hotel team to create business and dining landmark. He has been in the hospitality industry for more than three decades and during this tenure he has worked in several countries including Nepal and Thailand, besides India. Prior to joining Crowne Plaza Pune City Centre, Shreshta was leading the team as the General Manager at Crowne Plaza New Delhi Okhla.

Mercure Hyderabad KCP recently announced the appointment of Sudipto Mukherjee as the Director of Sales & Marketing. In his present role, Mukherjee, who has a rich and versatile experience of over 13 years in the hospitality industry, is responsible for strategising and implementing sales and marketing activities for the property. In his career, Mukherjee has worked with Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre, Ellaa Hotels and Lindsay Hotel Kolkata in various leadership roles and has handled various portfolios ranging from marketing, sales, business management, revenue management and operations.

Signature Club Resort, the newly launched lifestyle club at Devanahalli, Bangalore, has announced the appointment of Narendra Prabhu as the General Manager. A passionate hotelier with over 18 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Prabhu joins Signature Club Resort with expertise in national and international hotel operations. Beginning his career with leading hotels like Accor Group and Poppy Group of Hotels, Prabhu brings with him experience in various aspects of hotel management – from restaurant operations and revenue management to corporate human resources and project management.

Shangri La International Management announced the appointment of Vivek Braganza as the Director of Business Development, India. Vivek has over 13 years of hospitality experience in sales & marketing, and revenue management. Prior to joining Shangri La, Vivek has worked with Starwood, Marriott and Taj. In his new role, Vivek is responsible for developing business opportunities from India to Shangri La hotels across the world. His last assignment was as the Director of Sales & Marketing, The Westin Pune Koregaon Park.

New Recruitment in Berggruen’s Keys Hotels Close on the heels of its expansion plans in the country, Keys Hotels, a brand by Berggruen Hotels funded by Berggruen Holdings, a New York-headquartered proprietary fund, has announced the bolstering of its team with new hires -- Zahid Memon as Director – Information Technology; Apoorv Bhatt as Corporate Chef;  Pavan Kumar Manikonda as General Manager, Keys Hotel, Thiruvananthapuram; Neha Chatterjee as General Manager, Keys Hotel Ludhiana; and Kapil Shewale, General Manager, Keys Prima Hotel Temple Tree, Shirdi. Zahid Memon brings with him over two decades of experience in business management, solutions designing, delivery and management of infrastructure and business applications with special focus on the hospitality industry. Memon will be responsible for developing and implementing innovative technologies. A diploma holder in hotel management and catering management from IHM, Chennai, Chef Apoorv Bhatt has over sixteen years of experience and has been part of various international and domestic brands like The LaLiT and the Taj Group of Hotels. Neha Chatterjee brings in over seventeen years of experience and has had stints with brands like The International Hotel-London, The Best Western Hotel -Kenilworth, Sarovar Hotels and Ramada Hotels. An MBA in Marketing from Alagappa University with over a decade’s experience in the hospitality industry, Pavan Kumar Manikonda has worked with leading brands, namely, Taj Group of Hotels, Four Points by Sheraton, and Golden Tulip in the past. Kapil Sharma brings in two decades of experiences and has worked with brands like Chancery Group of Hotels and Starwood Hotels.  “With extensive experience in the hospitality sector and with their agile and competitive mindset, we are confident that Zahid, Apoorv, Neha, Pavan and Kapil will seamlessly integrate into our system and prove to be valuable assets to the Berggruen family. We look forward to their contribution and to work together towards our growth story and strategic vision in the years to come,” said Anshu Sarin, CEO, Berggruen Hotels Pvt. Ltd. Keys Hotels also recently announced the appointment of Nimesh Waghela as the Head – Materials and Procurement. Based in Mumbai, Waghela will oversee all activities related to materials, procurement and annual contracts.  

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Vivek Mahajan Sarovar Hotels recently appointed Vivek Mahajan as the General Manager of Crystal Sarovar Premiere, Agra. Vivek brings with him an extensive experience of 14 years in the hospitality industry. Prior to joining Sarovar Hotels & Resorts, Vivek had worked with reputed brands like Oberoi Group, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces and Wyndham Hotel. His last assignment was with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide as Resident Manager.


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Rep or t

Hotel Business Review

Sterling Holidays’ 31st Resort Opens on the Banks of Siruvani River

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terling Holiday Resorts Limited, a leading holiday lifestyle company, recently opened its latest riverside resort named ‘Anaikatti - By the Siruvani.’ This resort is located near Anaikatti, a unique destination on the Tamil NaduKerala border and blends in luxury and comfort surrounded by dense coconut and palm orchards. With this addition, Sterling Holidays now has a network of 31 resorts across the country. ‘Anaikatti - By the Siruvani’ is a tranquil getaway offering guests unique chalet accommodation, located on the banks of the Siruvani — a river known for its sweet water. Nestled at the foothills of the Western Ghats, Anaikatti is a green haven, largely unspoilt by urbanisation. Located about an hour away from the Silent Valley National Park, the resort is near the UNESCO World Heritage Nilgiri Biosphere. Other places of interest near the resort are Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History and the Siruvani Dam (in Palakkad). The resort is just an hour’s drive from Coimbatore and is easily accessible from prominent towns and cities of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, including Erode, Kochi, Kozhikode,

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Palakkad, Salem, Thrissur and Tiruppur. ‘Anaikatti - By the Siruvani’ has 33 rooms and guests can choose from aesthetically designed classic rooms or the chalets, which give you an experience of living in the wild while at the same time having modern amenities and furnishings. The pool will surely help you relax while the resort’s Subuthi spa

will soothe your senses. This resort is also a great location for MICE with 2 air-conditioned resort style conference halls with capacities of 40 and 80 people each. The multi-cuisine restaurant at the resort has options ranging from authentic local cuisine of the region to Chinese, Continental, Indian and Italian fare as well. The resort facilitates guests to experience cultural activities of the region. A fully equipped holiday activities centre and mini golf within the resort ensure the guests have a fun and memorable holiday. Speaking on the launch, Ramesh Ramanathan — Managing Director, Sterling Holiday Resorts Limited stated, “Anaikatti is yet another destination discovered by Sterling Holidays, giving our guests an offbeat and new riverside holiday option. Add to that, the signature Sterling hospitality and you have the perfect recipe for a tranquil, serene and unforgettable holiday.”


Re p or t

Marriott Completes Acquisition of Starwood Hotels

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arriott International has completed its acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., thereby creating the world’s largest hotel company. With the $13.6 billion merger, Marriott now offers the most comprehensive portfolio of hospitality brands, including leading lifestyle brands, and leadership in the luxury and select-service tiers as well as in the convention and resort segment. “Beginning today, Marriott will match member status across Marriott Rewards — which includes The Ritz-Carlton Rewards — and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), enabling members to transfer points between the programs for travel and exclusive experiences when they link their accounts later today,” the company said in a statement on 23rd September. Members of Marriott’s leading loyalty programs, Marriott Rewards, can also link their accounts at members.marriott. com to enjoy the benefits, recognition and experiences each program has to offer. Members will have their status matched across programmes and be able to transfer and redeem points across programs for travel to more destinations than ever before. Members who link their accounts will be able to transfer points at a three-to-one ratio (three Marriott Rewards points = one SPG Starpoint) between the programmes for redemption stays or on the Marriott Rewards Experiences Marketplace or SPG’s Moments platform. “Throughout our nearly 90-year history we have never stopped searching for innovative ways to serve our guests. With the addition of Starwood’s strong brands, great properties, and talented people, we have dramatically expanded our ability to provide the best experiences to our customers. We also welcome the tremendous responsibility as the world’s largest hotel company to be a good global steward, providing new opportunities for our associates and building the economic strength of the communities we call home,” said J.W. Marriott, Jr., Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board of Marriott International. “We believe that Marriott now has the world’s best portfolio of hotel brands, the most comprehensive global footprint, and the most extensive loyalty programs, providing an unparalleled guest experience. Combining Starwood’s brands with ours better enables Marriott to reach our goal of having the right brand in the right place to serve our loyal guests and welcome new ones,” said Arne Sorenson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Marriott International. “We can now provide a better range of choices for our guests, more opportunities for our associates, and greater financial benefits for our owners, franchisees, and shareholders,” Sorenson said. The new company will operate or franchise more than 5,700 properties and 1.1 million rooms, representing 30 leading brands from the moderate-tier to luxury, in over 110 countries. With the completion of this acquisition, Marriott’s distribution has more than doubled in Asia and the Middle East & Africa combined.

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Cover Story

Hotel Business Review

MICE

Presents a Nice Future MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) is an important revenue earning segment of the hospitality industry. Changing trends indicate that this sector is making a steady progress as the global economy veers back on course. MICE forms a significant slice of the hotel industry’s business and the Indian hospitality sector is leaving no stone unturned to attract this segment. The last issue discussed about some of the initiatives by some of the important hospitality properties in India pertaining to MICE business, and also talked about industries which boost the MICE business in India. Here also Ashok Malkani explores some market savvy packages offered by some renowned hospitality properties of the country, besides taking a look at the challenges facing the MICE business in India, and also the future of MICE business in the country.

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Cover Story

T

he science and art of organising meetings is evolving at a fast pace. Adapting the changing needs of MICE industry has become necessary for the hospitality properties in India to attract this segment of business. They are now coming up with innovative and exciting offers in terms of stay, approach, design and more. Special packages are being developed by different hotels in the country to garner MICE business. Radhika Tata, Associate Director of Sales, Novotel Imagica Khopoli, declared, “Packages are a way of creating a win-win deal for both; the hotel as well as the guest. Planners are keen on such deals due to the high economic value that they offer. MICE groups find these deals beneficial for the companies. While our hotel has been successfully implementing dynamic pricing, the bespoke services offered by us are what appeal the most to our guests. MICE requirements are multifaceted. Everything needs to fit the bill perfectly, from the location of the venue to stateof-the-art meeting facilities, multiple F&B offerings, leisure activity choices

Hotel Business Review

and above all, the venue along with a team that can ensure that the planned activities are executed seamlessly. We have been well received as a MICE destination and have been successful in hosting a wide number of such events.”

Market Savvy Packages Sanjeev Advani, the Director of Sales and Marketing, Sofitel Mumbai BKC, speaking about the deals that his hotel offers to MICE clientele stated, “Sofitel Mumbai BKC’s unique trademarked InspiredMeetings™ opened banquet spaces through the night to cater to international travellers and make it convenient to conduct business calls and meetings at a time suitable for them. Booking any of the hotel’s nine meeting rooms, from 12:00 midnight to 6:00 a.m., will result in saving costs up to 40 percent, thereby ensuring economies of scale. The hotel leaves no stone unturned to look after the comfort of the guests during this period of their stay; ranging from dedicated Chefs to revitalising spa treatments at the hotel’s 24-hour signature So SPA. ” Saeid Heidari, General Manager –

JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar disclosed, “We currently have an extremely attractive package for MICE clients, which includes buffet breakfast at JW Café, Internet access, two ways airport transfers, complimentary pieces of laundry per day, 50 percent discount on dry cleaning services, 20 percent discount on business center facilities, complimentary two hours usage of the boardroom once during the stay (subject to availability) and third person charges at Rs. 1500 plus taxes among others.” “Meeting packages at the Marriott is value-driven and much appreciated by our Meeting Planners and Marriott Rewarding Event Customers. We currently have an Asia-Pacific wide MICE Promotion, which is exciting to the customers as they can enjoy additional benefits of planning their meetings at the Marriott across all our brands,” proffered Megha Ajgaonkar, Director of Sales & Marketing, Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel & Lakeside Chalet, Mumbai — Marriott Executive Apartments. “We have a dedicated sales centre

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Cover Story

Hotel Business Review

Kumar Shubham

Satyajit Kotwal

Megha Ajgaonkar

team which only focuses on selling MICE, and an events team which pays attention to all the fine details while executing the MICE events. Further the introduction of Meetings Imagined with the Meeting Services App, and other technological enhancements help us assure the customers that their meeting requirements are being attended to. Our strong Loyalty Program of Marriott Rewards caters to recognising and appreciating our meeting planners who chose us as their venue for meetings,” elaborated Megha. “MICE customers look for an entire package which takes care of the meetings as well as their food and beverage needs. Many even look for a working lunch meeting package where the food is pre-plated so that not much time is wasted and it can be used on optimum levels. Some planners are requesting for customised packages too,” articulated Satyajit Kotwal, General Manager, The Resort, Mumbai (Madh Island). “The success of meeting packages depends on the size and location of the property. We, being not a very large city-centric hotel, at the most offer all meals, stay and conferencing packages for corporates, and stay and wedding packages as and when required,” offered Sunil Bhatia, Director, Sales &

Marketing, The Mirador, Mumbai. “We offer different packages keeping in mind the best price position which attracts industries like banking, IT, PSU, and in return the hotel benefits in terms of increase in occupancy level of rooms as well as banqueting. Our various packages are Weekend Packages, Family Harmony Package, and Celebration Package,” disclosed Parvez Sheikh, F& B Manager, Hotel Marine Plaza Mumbai. “We have special meeting packages which we promote from time to time. The conference package starts at Rs. 3000 per person on twin sharing basis, all inclusive for minimum 10 room booking at Fern Hotels. These packages are quite effective in lead generation and business,” stated Sarosh Khatib, Senior Vice-President — Sales & Marketing, Concept Hospitality. “We have conference package with thematic AM tea breaks, buffet lunch and PM tea breaks. Lunch for up to 60 people is served at the Café Pride where guests can sit and eat comfortably,” informed Pankaj Mathur, General Manager, Pride Plaza Hotel Aerocity, New Delhi. “At Novotel Imagica Khopoli we have ample space and an added advantage of having India’s only theme park at the location. These factors helped us gain a

stronghold in the market far more easily and in becoming one of the sought after MICE destinations. To support the high demand for MICE that we have been receiving at our property, we will be opening the second phase of the hotel, which will help accommodate a much larger group of guests and business representatives,” informed Radhika. Lovesh Sharma, Director of Sales & Marketing, Jaipur Marriott Hotel stated, “Meeting packages and bundled offers witness large traction from major corporate groups. Jaipur Marriott also offers meeting packages every year. One of the offers is ‘4 Perks For Free’ that has been initiated by the Marriott Hotels on a pan-India basis and have been successfully attracting customers to choose from a wide array of value added services bundled in one package.” “At Novotel Goa Resorts & Spa, we have some unique offerings that are crafted to make meetings an occasion. We have an array of meeting packages, customised to suit all groups. We have a trained team which ensures corporates have a memorable experience. The team works together to provide guests with a flawless experience. We have also introduced interactive theme breaks during the conference, where our clients can socialise with one another or have

Pankaj Mathur

Parvez Sheikh

Saeid Heidari

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Cover Story

Hotel Business Review

Rohan Sable

Sanjeev Advani

Sarosh Khatib

a quick shoulder massage by our expert masseurs from the Warren Tricomi Spa,” affirmed Rohan Sable, General Manager, Novotel Goa Resort & Spa and Novotel Goa Shrem Hotel. “We had recently done a Punjabi bhangra theme conference where the staff danced to the tunes of live music and walked into the conference room to serve the guests their high tea. These innovative tweaks create the value addition for the guest and act as the greatest advertising for us for many such events. We also have a strong feedback retrieval system, enabling us to come up with newer ideas every time to make us a highly efficient MICE hotel,” Sable added further. “We at Vie Hospitality have floated packages meant for this purpose. We offer a room free against a ten rooms booking; we also offer CP-MAP plans, free extra beds and free laundry for MICE group check-ins,” revealed Kamlesh Barot, past President, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western

India (HRAWI) and Director of Vie Hospitality. “The joint-properties of HICC and Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre gives us the advantage of being able to offer stay-dine and hall usage packages for meetings; allowing for a seamless experience for our delegates,” declared Gorav Arora, Director of Sales and Marketing, Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre & HICC. “We have a package for small meetings as well, at Hyderabad International Convention Centre, involving less than 100 people. HICC offers flexible halls for such meetings; packaged with various value add-ons like AV provisions, refreshments, etc. These are popular with local companies seeking a well-equipped venue for conducting board and team meetings or training sessions,” added Arora. “Meeting packages are very vital during the lean period. Marriott group currently has Asia Pacific Mice promotion ‘4 Perks for Free,’ which

is directed toward the MICE groups, enabling them to feast on the brilliant benefits across various brands of Marriott in the Asia-Pacific region,” informed Kumar Shubham, the Director of Sales, Courtyard by Marriott Gurgaon.

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Challenges and the Future However, to continue to secure MICE business, attractive packages are not the sole criteria. There are several other challenges. “The biggest challenge in the MICE business for the Indian hospitality industry in the coming future is ensuring that the logistics and infrastructure enhancement are at pace with the need of MICE in India. In the absence of a large number of strong networked and ease of access locations, India does face stiff competition from other nations including China where the connectivity supports international conventions into the country. Of course, concepts like creating SMART Cities in India shall help as requirements like Internet are a must for today,’ Megha affirmed. Heidari, who concurs with Megha’s views regarding infrastructure and convention center, states, “The biggest challenge in the MICE business for the Indian hospitality industry is of demand versus supply. In the coming years, we will see an influx of MICE business but the challenge is going to be that of supply in terms of infrastructure to support such large demands. Even now India doesn’t have huge convention centres if you leave aside the Hyderabad International Convention Centre, which can support huge gatherings for meetings, exhibitions, conventions, etc.,” he observed. Sheikh believes that “The challenges in the coming future in


Cover Story the Indian MICE business are only the apprehensions of slowdown of the economy and the paucity of quality manpower.” “The main challenges facing the MICE business in India are the paucity of skilled manpower, lack of convention bureaus, lack of coordination between various government departments, high air fares and dearth of incentives for bringing in MICE business from destinations like Macau, Singapore and Hong Kong,” Sharma opined. “Dearth of innovation is the biggest challenge that is seen in the Indian MICE industry where the parties involved are so busy in chasing the business; they have hardly any time for innovating for the future,” asserted Shubham. Khatib declares that as far as future is concerned, “MICE has tremendous potential in India, and due to depreciating rupee India now looks a more attractive and cost-effective destination for hosting big events. The only challenge is dearth of proper infrastructure. This is a big challenge

Hotel Business Review

Sunil Bhatia

Gorav Arora

in India, which needs to be addressed.” “Introduction of new MICE destinations will definitely impact repeat business of the already existing MICE destinations in India. Also, corporates may use alternate modes of conferencing instead of physically being present under one roof. Our logistics and infrastructure also needs constant up gradation to ensure that we are able to compliment the demand from the MICE sector in the future,” opined Sable, while talking about the challenges towards

MICE business in the country. “Speaking about the future, I can say that MICE business in India is definitely here to thrive. It is the only segment in the Indian hospitality industry that has witnessed a continuous increase in RevPAR over the last five years, exhibiting a healthy 6.9 percent growth approximately, year-on-year. Many factors, such as strong growth in charter movements, an upswing in domestic consumption patterns, increased

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Cover Story

Hotel Business Review

Radhika Tata

connectivity to tier-II and tier-III cities of the country have contributed to the rise of MICE in Goa,” Sable explained. “Emergence of heightened expertise in logistics across the country and mushrooming of convention centers and large inventory hotels have facilitated the growth of the MICE industry in the country,” Sable asserted further. Barot is of the view that “As far as the future is concerned, with India emerging as a tourism destination along with its economic growth potential and conducive business environment, the future of MICE in India appears very bright.” “As far as the MICE industry in the country is concerned, there is need for a larger hotel inventory,” stated Radhika while pointing out, “The future business for the Indian hospitality industry from this segment is assured.” “To supplement the efforts made by the Indian hospitality industry to make India a preferred MICE destination, government has been supporting our work by investing in projects such as expansion in the network of airlines operating on the domestic routes, enhanced tourist surface transport systems including the Indian Railways, new centres of information technology, and the opening of numerous new convention centres, etc.,” Radhika acknowledged. However, of course much more needs to be done to facilitate the growth of MICE business in the country, and Radhika is very much aware of it. “What is needed here is to recognise the changing way in which the world is conducting business; the changing trends which are influencing global economies; the technological revolution which is making its presence felt in which the events and meetings are being 34

Sept-Oct ’16

Kamlesh Barot

conducted. Assimilating these changes seamlessly and responding to them with strategic initiatives would make the MICE industry in India stronger than before,” she aired. Advani stated that “The major factors that can change the structure of MICE in India soon are issues like green initiatives. As far as his hotel goes, Advani informed that “The MICE business will remain important to us at Sofitel Mumbai BKC, as it contributes a significant volume to the hotel’s revenue and profit growth.” Bhatia believes that the MICE industry in India needs “better infrastructure for the domestic and inbound tourists.” He also stated that “Help by the state and central governments in facilitating the tourism and other businesses to grow with the right support and financial backing, tax benefits, etc. are also needed.” However, in the same breath Bhatia maintained that the future of MICE business in India was very bright. “Prospects for the MICE industry in India are looking bright in the coming years. The changing trends are clearly indicating that this sector is making a steady comeback as the world economy has started picking up. With improvement in infrastructure and upgrade of airports, cities like Hyderabad, Vishakhapatnam, Mumbai, Jaipur, Delhi-NCR, Ahmedabad and Bangalore seem to have the potential to be developed as world-class MICE venues,” affirmed Arora optimistically. “MICE is one of the strongest growing sectors within the hospitality and tourism industry, earning substantial revenues across the globe over the last five years. With the growth in the Indian and Asian market, we have seen a healthy

Lovesh Sharma

upward trend for hotels in India catering to the MICE segment. In fact, in the recent quarter we have seen over 60,000 registered delegates attending various events at the AccorHotels’ managed Hyderabad International Convention Centre, resulting in over 2 lakh footfalls within the same period,” elaborated Arora while talking about the present and future of MICE business in the country. Arora also acknowledged the paucity of skilled manpower is one of the challenges towards the growth of the MICE business in India. “The challenges facing the hospitality properties in India towards becoming successful MICE venues are meeting the evolving global standards of safety and security, meeting the ever increasing customer expectations, integrating change and merging latest technologies, overcoming the paucity of trained / skilled labour and the challenge of keeping the operating costs under control,” summed up Gurmeet Singh, General Manager, Celebrations Catering & Events LLP.

Need for More Technology Besides looking into the challenges and requirements outlined by the professionals, the Indian hospitality industry also needs to pay attention to today’s evolving business environment, which calls for harnessing the power of technology to extend the reach of any meeting to audiences who cannot physically attend the event. Usage of systems like cloud computing and wi-fi have now become common. Their usage should be increased even more by the Indian hospitality industry to tap the demand from the new-age MICE guests across the world, who are becoming more and more tech-savvy. n


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Business

Hotel Business Review

Challenges for Hotels’ Revenue Managers The stiff competition and the not-too-distant economic slowdown have affected the Indian hotel industry as far as occupancy is concerned. It has thus become imperative for the Indian hospitality sector to adhere to new, innovative and strict revenue management measures to facilitate profitability. Ashok Malkani finds that it is not just price-cutting that would ensure a higher RevPAR; nor is it the adoption of latest technology. Astute revenue management is a combination of several factors. The role of Revenue Managers has become even more intricate and essential for the success and progress of a hospitality property, in today’s hospitality industry. This is indeed a global phenomenon.

T

he average attention span of a human being is just 8 seconds. But for the hospitality industry it has become imperative to grab the attention of the would-be guests within this period. There is a lot of competition out there and you have a very limited amount of time to catch the attention of your prospects through your marketing efforts. Therefore your message better stands up and dance. In this regard, the revenue management plays a crucial role in giving the right message to the right person. Getting the attention of the prospective guests and keeping them satisfied during the period of their stay is 36

Sept-Oct ’16

one way of attracting revenues. Keeping the expenses in check is another aspect for successful revenue management. Room rates are one way of attracting guests. According to Rajat Gupta, Associate Director, Marketing and Sales for Country Inn & Suites by Carlson Hotels, “Hoteliers these days are very aggressive and respond promptly to fast changing market dynamics—the situation is far removed from the practices that induced pricing decisions even a decade ago.” “Today the hospitality market in India has become very ad hoc with respect to pricing. It is constantly changing. There is no one rate. Earlier the rates

were consistent but not now. It is like a share market where, every day, the prices change,” he affirmed. However, today, successful room revenue management of hotels is much more than just reducing the rates of the hotel rooms. In fact, it never was… Beyond a certain point, cutting the room rates can severely harm the reputation of the hospitality property of a certain stature. But now the role of revenue management in the hospitality sector has become much more broad-based. Revenue Management is a concept that not only endeavours to maximise revenues in high period demand, it helps stimulating demand in low periods as


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well, while avoiding pricing cannibalism. Revenue management is a long-term strategy which takes all revenues with their profitability into consideration. A general and widely accepted definition of hotel’s room revenue management is: Selling the Right Room to the Right Client at the Right Moment at the Right Price on the Right Distribution Channel with the best commission efficiency. However, doing that well doesn’t sound easy, and it is much more difficult than it sounds. Experienced Revenue Managers will attest to this! It should also be borne in mind that it is not just the Revenue Managers who can bring good revenue management to the hotel. Every member of the hotel has a role to play in the property’s revenue management.

Evolution of Revenue Management Today, revenue management, in the hotel industry, has been taking diversified dimensions, and Revenue Managers are now required to look beyond forecasting and pricing, in order to attain success.

The new challenges have made it imperative for the Revenue Managers in the Indian hospitality industry to think outside the box. First of all, it should be emphasised that in today’s hospitality industry the room is no longer the major source of revenue earning for a great many hospitality properties. In fact, this trend is visible beyond India too. At a Revenue Management Summit, held sometime back in Manhattan, USA, a suggestion was made that the hoteliers should look at their guests as customers of the space who may spend more on retail or food and beverage than room rates. They must think about everything a hotel has beyond the rooms, such as the retail. During the last few years, revenue management in the hospitality industry in India has become of paramount importance. The Indian Institute of Management discloses that studies by a leading consulting company have shown that for the average S&P 1500 company (The S&P 1500 is a stock market index of US stocks made by Standard & Poor’s), a price increase of 1 percent would generate an increase in profits of 8-12 percent, i.e., an impact 50 percent greater than a 1 percent cut in variable costs and 300 percent greater than a 1 percent increase in volumes. Marriott International, which has been using revenue management for the last 20 years, has developed a Group Pricing Optimiser (GPO) and, it discloses that it had increased its revenue by 46 million USD in 2008 due to this. GPO is now being used by over 1500 Sales Managers to sell nearly 200 hotels across North America. 

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According to Professor Peter Bell, Richard C. Ivey School of Business, Canada, “Revenue management concepts will be applied to almost everything that will be sold and will prove to be such a powerful competitive weapon that major firms will be living, and in many cases dying, according to revenue management algorithms.”The Indian hospitality industry should take a note of this. Having the right price for a given market segment or product is one of the cornerstones of revenue management. Anish Bhatia, currently the Regional Director, Front Office Operations — APAC at Hilton Worldwide, believes that ‘Hiltonizing’ the team has enabled the hotel chain to grow at a rapid rate in India. “We have several intrinsic tools in place to assess the market conditions and apply intelligence to our forecasting and pricing. We rely on the STR (Global) report for trends, Rubicon for future pricing by (competitive) set and rate parity and inputs from the sales team who provide live updates on customer-buying preferences. All these come together to help us in positioning ourselves at the correct price point for the correct market segment,” averred Bhatia. “We find the STR (Global) trend reports useful for future forecasting as well, as the trends are a good indicator of how the market would behave in the short-term. In today’s world, in spite of so much data/stats available, the human interface is invaluable in being

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Business organisational structure, it able to decipher the data becomes evident that revenue meaningfully,” he pointed management roles within out. hotels’ ranks have evolved Gupta employs similar significantly over the years. data feeds to establish From departmental role pricing guidelines at Carlson, reversals to critical new job in India. “In the beginning functions to how technology of each financial year, our can supplement hotels budgets and earnings are with limited head counts, drawn up. There is an ARR, there has been no shortage or average room rate, which of organisational changes is decided in advance for within the realms of revenue each of the properties across Mark Lynn management in hotels. the country. This is the rate While many hotel groups are wellwhich we have to achieve. At times our equipped with employing the necessary prices—especially during the off-season head counts to maximise their revenue period—are much lower than this, but then we make it up during the season. On management organisational structure, what about the independent hotels or an average, it works out well. The highhotels without the capacity or portfolio demand season periods are vital where the earnings for the entire year have to be of properties to command a variety of revenue management positions, let alone earned in the short spell of five months,” data scientists? How can hotels with a he elaborated. single Revenue Manager compete with larger chains that employ a more expansive Uses of Technology and sophisticated revenue team? The benefits of revenue management Today’s advanced revenue technology practices and its sophisticated helps hotels fill organisational gaps and technology have been far-reaching in streamline the tasks that, in an ideal the hospitality industry, leaving virtually situation, may have otherwise been no potential revenue generating source delegated to an alternative position. unturned. The advanced technology While technology cannot possibly has been contributing far more towards replace each revenue management this industry’s evolution than high role in and of itself, it can help hotels consumption of complex data and the ease the burden of manual processes bolstering of on-the-job productivity. and increase their strategic focus. For Today if one looks closely at the example, Revenue Managers operating revenue management industry’s past without a traditional revenue analyst role can look to their technology solution to automate and generate various reports that help reduce manual and tactical administrative duties, thereby allowing them to be more strategic in their revenue, promotional and marketing initiatives. According to an article titled ‘HVS Guide to Hotel Revenue Management’, written by Breanna Smith, Associate at HVS Portland , and Justin Kaminski, Project Manager at HVS Chicago, “Optimised, time-sensitive, and customer-targeted pricing strategies for hotel rooms are typically arrived at in one of the following two ways (or a combination of both). The first simply relies on experienced managers or management teams, who price rooms based on their knowledge of competitive products and pricing, as well as their


Business Overview of Hotels’ Performance in India Year Occ% ADR RevPAR 2010 60.5 6,563 3,971 2011 58.3 6,426 3,744 2012 57.1 6,121 3,495 2013 57.2 5,832 3,338 2014 58.7 5,668 3,328 2015 62.0 5,637 3,496

satisfaction injected into the rate-setting process,” he added further.

Competition from Rental Apartments

Today the hotels have not only to compete among themselves but also with rental apartments. The emergence of Airbnb and other peer-to-peer Source: India Hotel Review Report 2015 hotel alternatives has stirred the global hospitality industry. These new-age short-term rental providers are giving property’s historical and forwardstiff competition to traditional hotels, looking trends. These managers now with their inventory and pricing showing have access to competitor rates through quick responsiveness to demand. several sources that allow them to ‘shop’ When Airbnb was launched in competitor rates by searching published 2008, its purpose was to fill demand online travel agency (OTA) rates for alternative lodgings during major automatically.” events that cause hotel inventory in a According to the same article, “A particular market to sell out. Since then, strategy coming more into wide-scale its portfolio has grown from air mattresses use is to set pricing with the help of in shared spaces to a 2.3 million global sophisticated software and revenueinventory, encompassing a wide range management systems developed by hotel of lodging types, including private brands, management companies, and apartments and homes that directly outside consultants. Today’s top hotel compete with traditional hotel offerings. companies invest heavily in software While Airbnb remains the largest and that facilitates revenue-management best known among the rental apartment decisions. Examples include HiltonGro players, its huge success has paved the (Hilton), One Yield (Marriott), rise of an array of short-term rental and IDeaS and Duetto, which are providers; others include Home Away and independent systems used by many hotel One Fine Stay, to name a few. franchises and independent hotels.” With McKinsey & However, technology is Company projecting not the be all and end all of twelvefold growth for today’s revenue management Airbnb during 2014 to practices in the hospitality 2020, the global hotel sector, and perhaps it can industry should seriously never be. Mark Lynn, take into account of the the Head of HVS’s Asset competition from peer-toManagement & Advisory peer lodging model, which Group in San Francisco, seems here to stay. Revenue notes that, despite the vital Managers of hotels of today data it produces, “the use of and tomorrow seem to have technology alone is a shortno option but to tackle the sighted approach. There are Rajat Gupta competition from rental always unique circumstances apartments effectively. One of the ways occurring in a hotel’s competitive to tackle such a challenge is by providing environment that may not show up in the their guests much more personalised numbers.” facilities than an average rental apartment “Hotels must provide ‘price value’ to would offer, without increasing the prices guests, something that can be sabotaged of hotel rooms substantially higher than by strict reliance on technology. We have that of the rental apartments. seen situations where the technology Overall, one can now infer that the dictates the setting of outrageous rates role of hotel’s Revenue Managers has based on high demand,” Lynn pointed not only become essential for a hotel’s out.  “While guests may be forced to progress and prosperity in today’s times, book one time, he says, they leave feeling but it is also becoming more complex, coerced, and are unlikely to return. There n holistic and difficult. has to be a balance of logic and guest

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Feature

Pix: Ravana Room, Le Sutra, Mumbai

Hotel Business Review

Hospitality Infused With Art By Swarnendu Biswas

I

ndia has a rich tradition of arts as well as of hospitality. It seems natural for our hospitality industry to merge these two millennia long cultural facets of India to create art hotels and resorts of international standards; properties which can inspire both abundance of admiration and business from both domestic and inbound tourists, on an enduring basis. However, sadly India doesn’t have a great many art hotels and resorts, though many five-star properties in the country do house paintings. Housing a few paintings or artifacts shouldn’t give the hospitality property the distinction of an art hotel. The Leela Palace New Delhi, Grand Hyatt Mumbai, Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad, Le Sutra in Mumbai are only some of the few and far between expressions in hospitality in the Indian hospitality industry, where art plays a dominant role as the part of décor.

Some Aesthetic Expressions Presenting an aesthetical juxtaposition of traditional and contemporary arts, The Leela Palace New Delhi features the work of a number of artists, which

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includes Satish Gujral, Paresh Maity, Sanjay Bhattacharya, Satish Gupta, Laxman Goud, among others. These art works accentuate the aesthetic appeal of the grand hospitality property. The spread of the artwork at the hotel ranges from corridor to wall; restaurant to guest rooms, and from spa to lobby of the property. The intriguing elephant motifs on the wall and royal murals add a regal ambience and charm. The hotel has helped in the revival of miniature painting as an art form by master craftsmen from Rajasthan, and Bidri work from Uttar Pradesh.  Taj Falaknuma Palace with its regal Belgian chandeliers, marble fountain, antique furniture and curios, frescoed ceilings, also makes a grandiose aesthetic statement. Here you feel like you have been transported to the opulent era of Nizams. Grand Hyatt Mumbai houses an impressive art collection that showcases over 100 commissioned pieces of art by established and upcoming artists, dedicated to Lord Shiva and inspired by the three great archaeological sites of Mumbai — the isle of Elephanta, located two nautical miles offshore, the cave

temple of Jogeshwar, nestled in a teeming slum, and Mandapeshwar, embedded in a crag between burgeoning high-rises. The five-star property’s public areas, lobbies and restaurants house specially commissioned installations by artists such as Laxman Shreshtha, Jitesh Kallat, Hema Upadhyay, Chintan Upadhyay, Nalini Malani, Atul & Anju Dodiya, Tanuja Rane, Krishnamachari Bose, Sudershan Shetty, Prabhakar & Jyotee Kolte, Yogesh Rawal, Jaideep Merhrotra, Sunil Gawde, Daroz, Bhupinder and Mohan Malviya amongst others.

Presenting Indian Cultural Ethos However, Le Sutra is perhaps the most renowned art hotel of India, where fascinating montages of ancient Indian culture are narrated through contemporary Indian art. The each of the three floors of the hotel is themed on a different guna; the gunas, according to ancient Indian philosophy, represents inherent characteristic traits of human beings. According to the hotel’s website, “Gunas are tendencies and attributes that exist within people, nature and things; their thoughts and emotions, so essential


Feature to the evolution of consciousness. It is a way of qualifying objects — an artifact or a being.” There are three gunas; Tamas, Rajas and Sattva. The three levels of the hotel represent the gunas which together presents the worldview in Indian philosophy. We would not go into the description of the three gunas discussed in the ancient Indian philosophy, but what is interesting that one of the floors of Le Sutra is Tamas Floor, another is Rajas Floor, and the third is Sattva Floor. The 16 rooms of Le Sutra are themed on mythological and historical characters (like Ravana, Karna, Ashoka) of ancient India, or on various cultural motifs of ancient India (like Prakirti, Nirvan, Shringar) and the ambience and décor of these rooms are tailored according to these unusual themes. For example, in the Ravana room in the Tamas Floor, a painting depicts Ravana in his avatars as demon king and sage, holding a veena, surrounded by the nine planets at Mount Kailash; the painting is showcasing his mastery of music and control over planetary effects. Mount Kailash is regarded in Indian mythology as the holy peak in the

Hotel Business Review

Pix: Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad

Himalayas. The horns and scepter in the chair of the room are a representation of Ravana as the king of demons. The headboard is the artist’s imaginative approach of presenting the lost and found diary of Ravana. It is an illustration of Ravana’s thoughts, strategies and his

impressions of self, adversary and tact. Similarly, in the Ashoka Room in the Rajas Floor, a painting depicts the change in Ashoka’s personality, which eventually gave an impetus to Buddhism. Ashoka’s transformation from a violent king to a spiritual one is perhaps the most

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Hotel Business Review

significant aspect of his life. The colours in the painting represent both violence and tranquility. On one side is his army and on the other is Lord Buddha. The painting captures both the aspects of his life and his transformation from violence towards serenity, portraying the essence of his life. Then the pillars on the side of the bed in the room are inspired by the many stupas, which Ashoka had constructed. These suggest a sense of peace and highlight his life as a Buddhist king. They are very rich in texture and have Buddhist teachings engraved on them. The chair in this room is inspired by the Ashoka Chakra. The 24 spokes of the chakra each represent a spiritual virtue like love, courage, honesty, etc. Chakra in Sanskrit means ‘cycle of time’. It signifies that although time always changes, these perennial virtues remain the most important aspects of living in the world.

The Business Potential There are other hotels and resorts in the country too where art plays a major role, but the number of such hospitality properties are few and far between. It is about time the Indian hospitality industry explores the concept of art themed hospitality more extensively, as this concept may have impressive revenue earning potential. It is not at all necessary that only art lovers would be interested to stay in art hotels and resorts. “Many people travel to get away from the monotony of routine life and explore the unusual. In this sense,

Sushil Joshi art hotels & resorts can serve the purpose of creating a distinct experience for many guests, who like a different holidaying experience from the routine,” aired Tanya Agrawal, Director, Shri Radha Brij Vasundhara Resort & Spa. “Art can also be a savvy investment, which can give you manifold returns over a period of time and it would be pragmatic on hoteliers to explore on the art themed hospitality,” asserted Sushil Joshi, Deputy General Manager, Clarks Inn Group of Hotels. In my view, art hotels and resorts should not only have profusion of art works by painters and sculptors as part of their décor, they can also house an art gallery, where both renowned and lesser known or unknown but talented artists can showcase their works from time to time.

The guests coming to the art gallery housed in hotels or resorts can view the art works free of cost, but if they buy the painting/s or sculpture/s, the art themed hospitality properties can garner a share of the revenue accruing from such sales. Especially the high-end hospitality properties, which get footfall from domestic and inbound tourists with considerable disposable incomes (many of whom can be art lovers too) can earn a tidy sum from their in-house art galleries. Moreover, many of the walk-in guests coming to enjoy and appreciate the art works in the art galleries in these hospitality properties but who are not staying at these properties, can avail the F&B outlets of these hospitality properties for a bite to eat and thereby paving in for more revenue earning potential for these properties. They can also be induced to visit the spa for a wellness induced relaxation or rejuvenation, after a day-long exploration of art. At the same time, art hotels and resorts in India shouldn’t confine the definition of art to paintings, drawings and sculptures. They can invite world renowned classical dancers like Mallika Sarabhai or Sonal Mansingh, or folk dancers from time to time to perform in their properties. Of course, for this endeavour, the art themed hospitality properties should house a huge auditorium within its complex, where such classical and folk art performances can be showcased to the guests. The invitation to these shows can not only be extended to the guests residing at the property but also to others, and a modest fee can be charged from them in lieu of viewing such spellbinding offerings of high art. Similarly, these properties can host intellectual discourses or seminars on varied art forms, which can boost their MICE revenues. The Dune Eco Village & Spa in Puducherry has an ‘Artists In Residence’ programme providing work studios for artists from all around the world. The art hotels and resorts can explore this option too. There they can also introduce their guests to the opportunity of interacting with the artists and learn from them, in lieu of a fee.

Highlighting Local Cultures Pix: The Leela Palace New Delhi

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It would be more attractive for the guests if art hotels and resorts give preference to


Feature the art forms or holistic cultural mosaic of the specific geographical area on where they are situated, or of the nearby geographical area from where they are situated. For example, an art hotel located in West Bengal should ideally have a rich tapestry of rural West Bengal’s rich artistic heritage as part of its ambience and décor, which must include Patachitra paintings. Similarly an art resort located in Bihar’s Buddhist circuit can showcase a rich collection of Madhubani paintings or an art hotel located in a sylvan Goan town should ideally showcase Goa’s rich cultural heritage (like Carnival, etc.) through its various art showcases. “The art hotels can have their design and décor done in a way so that it reflects the local culture thus providing a unique experience to the visiting guests,” articulated Tanya. “Art hotels & resorts can be platforms to showcase our variegated, rich and ancient cultural inheritance. The art themed hospitality properties can help us in reflecting on the deep history and amazing cultural diversity of our country,” proffered Joshi, while

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Tanya Agrawal pointing out, “These types of hospitality properties can also help in presenting the local ethos where the said resort or hotel is located.”

Sustainability Factor Besides earning revenues, art hotels and resorts can contribute to sustainability factor, by encouraging local artists where the property is located. For example, a resort nestled in Kangra valley can

commission a series of Kangra paintings by local artists, which can give them employment opportunities. Local artists can also give live music and dance performances at such properties from time to time. In this regard, art hotels and resorts can play a crucial role in the rehabilitation process of our composite cultural heritage, as many of our indigenous artworks are getting lost due to lack of patronage. “Nowadays our corporates are looking for a worthy cause to spend on CSR activity and this can be one such activity,” observed Joshi. According to him, such initiatives of promoting local art and culture would be appreciated by today’s well aware and well travelled guests. Overall, one can say that art themed expressions in hospitality have not only impressive business potential from the discerning tourists who are looking to have an enriching and unusual experience from their holidays, but they can also contribute towards providing platforms for many of our traditional art forms, some of which unfortunately are suffering from dwindling popularity. n

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Hotel Business Review

Presenting Comfort with Class By Swarnendu Biswas

I

n the recent past, the first ibis Styles hotel in India was officially launched by AccorHotels and InterGlobe Hotels. The hotel was inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Goa, Laxmikant Parsekar. The name of the three-star property is ibis Styles Goa Calangute and the hospitality property is located within a walking distance from the lesser known but enchanting Tivai beach of Goa. Only minutes of car drive from the hotel can take you to the famed Calangute and Candolim beaches of North Goa. According to a press release, the hotel is also in close proximity to North Goa’s popular entertainment and nightlife destinations. “This opening is a part of a longstanding joint venture established between AccorHotels and InterGlobe Hotels. InterGlobe Hotels and AccorHotels’ partnership formed over a decade ago, is built on a razor sharp focus to tap the economy hospitality segment in India. This is the 13th hotel to open as part of the IGH portfolio in India,” informed Jean-Michel Cassé, Senior Vice President, Operations, AccorHotels, India.

guests’ stay and travelling easier. With over 1,800 hotels worldwide (including ibis budget hotels), the ibis family is positioned to meet all our guests’ needs, whether they are travelling for business or leisure,” explained Jean-Michel Cassé, Senior Vice President, Operations, AccorHotels, India, while discussing with me the branding of ibis Styles. From interaction with Jean-Michel Cassé, I came to realise that ibis is positioned as a standardised hotel chain, with consistent look and feel, with each ibis hotel offering similar designs and supposed to offer similar experiences, whereas ibis Styles is a non-standardised brand with no two ibis Styles properties looking alike. “The ibis Styles brand guarantees unique comfort, while encapsulating myriad designs and distinct experiences,” asserted Jean-Michel Cassé.

The Brand Positioning “ibis and ibis Styles brand are part of the ibis family and are united by the underlying spirit of simplicity, modernity, and life’s enjoyment, all at an affordable price. They comprise pocket-friendly, dynamic, and modern hotels that make 44

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Jean-Michel Cassé

For Friends and Family We arrived at the newly launched hotel after a scenic two-hour-long road trip, amidst glimpses of greenery and placid azure blue sea, which was preceded by a flight. The well spread out hotel has a history of four years of construction process behind it. Our arrival was greeted with welcome drinks and peppy Goan music. The property is spread across 2.5 acres with large landscaping areas. “Owing to its sheer size, the property is indeed a challenging project in terms of maintenance and upkeep. That said, we are all geared up for the challenge and to ensure a delightful guest experience, we have taken a lot of measures to look after the upkeep of the property. We use the best quality products and cutting-edge equipments for maintaining and even enhancing our guest areas,” offered Jinu Issac, Housekeeping Manager, ibis Styles Goa Calangute. The 197-room property, which is located in the heart of the quaint town of Calangute, is demarcated into two wings – the Casa wing and the Saal wing. There are 60 rooms in the Casa wing and the Saal wing comprises the remaining 137 rooms of the hotel. “The rooms in both the wings are identical in terms of infrastructure offered, however, the respective locations of these wings help in making them more suitable to distinct client profiles and in catering to their needs better,” informed Nikheel


Sp a Property Shirodkar, General Manager, ibis Styles Goa Calangute. According to him, the Casa wing is more suited to single travellers or a group of travellers who are travelling without their family, whereas Saal wing is more suited to the families with kids. The kids’ playing area and the kids’ pool is in the vicinity of the Saal wing. One can say that Saal wing is a dedicated block for family crowd. This demarcation of the hotel into two separate wings is geared to meet the distinct needs of families and single travellers. Both the wings have a separate set of amenities, including separate swimming pools. “This way, at our hotel the families can be easily segregated from single travellers, whom we refer to as ‘clubbers’, thereby giving each of these section of travellers their own space and privacy, and helping us to offer unique service touches that can meet their unique needs,” observed Shirodkar.

Rooms with a View One distinctive feature of the hotel is that all the 197 rooms of the property are pool facing, and each of them has a private balcony. This can give a refreshing feel, needed to begin a day of excursions or a series of meetings. LED TV, Wi-Fi access and the ibis signature Sweet Bed™ — an innovative bedding concept to ensure guests have a good night’s sleep — digital air conditioning control, a work desk, are among the other guest-friendly features of

Hotel Business Review

tennis, punching bags, foosball, golf carpet, etc. “Guests can also snap their underwater adventures in the swimming pool using the GoPro cameras provided by the hotel or enjoy bicycle rides through the sylvan Goan wilderness for an unforgettably serene experience,” added Shirodkar. What is more, according to him, “The hotel’s complimentary high speed Wi-Fi ensures that guests can capture and share their fun moments with their family and friends in a jiffy.”

Décor Reflecting Culture Nikheel Shirodkar

this hospitality property. Overall, one can say that the property does present comfort with class. Moreover, here the guests get complimentary breakfast and complimentary Wi-Fi as part of the package.

For Kids and the Sport Enthusiasts Another of the distinctive characteristics of the hotel, which can particularly interest the family crowd, is the playing zone for the kids. The hotel offers an array of recreational options for the kids of varying ages like indoor toddler games, trampoline, bicycles, sliders, etc. It also has a dedicated kids’ pool. “On arrival, we offer welcome gifts to kids to get them excited,” affirmed Shirodkar. For the adults too there are lots of indoor sporting activities available within the hotel’s precincts, which include table

Here it deserves a mention that each ibis Styles property has its own distinctive character built around a central theme, which manifests through the property. Examples are Olympic Games at the ibis Styles Paris Massena, wines at the ibis Styles Madrid Prado, textiles at the ibis Styles Lille Centre Grand Place, aviation at the ibis Styles Sao Paulo Anhembi. The newly launched ibis Styles Goa Calangute is also no exception to this praiseworthy convention. Here the distinctive characteristic is the hotel’s Portuguese architecture, which is unmistakable to the discerning eye. Of course, the theme of the architecture is extended in the hotel’s décor too, which simulates lots of cultural motifs of Goa’s Portuguese influenced traditions. The hotel seemed to be deeply influenced by Portuguese heritage and charm, which are infused in its décor with a contemporary twist. Its surroundings reverberate Goa’s relaxed beach vibe with inspiring local art and design that are embellished across the walls of the property. The unique sea design theme is highlighted throughout the hotel lobby. “The simulation of the traditional canoe in the lobby has in fact become a favourite selfie point for our guests,” pointed out Shirodkar with a mild laughter.

For Your MICE Only At a first glance it appeared that the hotel is primarily a leisure hotel, which was corroborated by Shirodkar but in the same breath he asserted that besides effectively catering to the conventional leisure tourists of both single and family varieties, “The hotel can easily accommodate big corporate groups and wedding entourages, making it a convenient destination for MICE and social gatherings too.” A cursory survey of the hotel revealed

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Hotel Business Review

its modern and stylish conference and banqueting facilities. “Goa is a famous destination for corporate outings and MICE activities, and bearing this in mind, ibis Styles Goa Calangute offers state-of-the-art meeting and banqueting facilities with top-notch services. The property features a 2,200 square feet hall which can accommodate a group of 120 people in a cluster set up and 180 in theatre style,” noted the GM. According to him, “The MICE facilities in our hotel feature cutting-edge technology and top of the line equipments, thereby meeting all digital conferencing needs of our valued guests. The property also has a banquet kitchen, which can cater to the food and beverage requirements of banqueting guests.”

Time to Spice It The dining at the hotel’s multi-cuisine restaurant named ‘Spice It,’ was a pleasant experience for me. The F&B outlet was characterised by vibrant interiors and an interactive kitchen. The restaurant has 106 covers with an alfresco seating facility of additional 55 covers in the outside sit out area. “Spice It is an all-day dining casual multi-cuisine restaurant, offering a mix of international and Indian cuisines, while also specialising in local Goan delicacies at the same time. Our focus is to cater to comprehensive culinary requirements of the guests while also allowing them to experience the best of local cuisine,” proffered Rahul Bhale, Executive Sous Chef, ibis Styles Goa Calangute. The restaurant has a choice of buffet and a la carte menu options. A distinguishing feature of Spice It is its signature ‘The Great Indian Breakfast.’ The breakfast time at the restaurant is stretched 46

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to five hours, ranging from 7 am to 12 pm. “The unique breakfast concept ensures that none of our guests miss out on the most important meal of the day, whether they are an early bird or a late riser,” explained Bhale. This flexibility in breakfast timings can be really helpful for a late riser like me. It can also appeal to the partying crowd coming to Goa, who are sometimes compelled by their biological clock to be late risers. I asked Bhale about two of the most popular dishes at the restaurant. “Our Chefs specialise in various cuisines but two of their preparations which are already garnering huge guest feedback are the traditional Goan Prawn Curry and Rice, which indeed has become one of our signature dishes, and the classic Mutton Rogan Josh. Among healthier options, Tilwali (sesame filled) Broccoli is hugely popular among guests,” elaborated Bhale. Having no personal preferences for health food, I promptly ordered the Goan Prawn Curry with Rice, which did exceed my expectations. A dining session at the Spice It can

be complemented by a visit to The Hub, the bar at the hotel, which provides a wide selection of refreshing beverages and snacks. There one can unwind with drinks after a hectic day, to spend a quality evening merging into the twilight. As far as fitness and unwinding options go, the hotel has a well-equipped gym, but doesn’t have a spa.

The Green Initiatives The newly launched hospitality property offers leisure and luxury in environmentfriendly package. “ibis Styles Goa Calangute believes in conducting its business responsibly; focusing on sustainable and eco-friendly initiatives. These tie back to AccorHotels’ global sustainability program named PLANET 21,” informed Shirodkar. Here it deserves a mention that 97 percent of Accor Hotels use eco-labeled products. LED lighting, rainwater harvesting system, sewage water treatment plant, and solar water heating system are among the environment-friendly characteristics of the hospitality property. “We are also converting wet waste generated in the property into manure,” said the seasoned hotelier.

The Reason Behind

Rahul Bhale

All the while during his stay at the hotel, this writer was intrigued on why did the joint venture opened a three-star property in a highly overexposed destination like Goa, whose tourism market is most likely to be saturated in the near future. “Owing to the opportunity the state offers both from the leisure as well as business travel perspective, coupled with rapidly growing MICE activities in the state, we felt a pressing need to open one of our globally celebrated in-demand


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Sights and Sounds

T

Jinu Issac

economy brand hotel chain to capitalise on the burgeoning middle-class and domestic travel segments. We also wanted to build a well-rounded portfolio of brands in the country’s most important holiday destination, thereby helping us cater to the needs of all tourists,” JeanMichel Cassé observed. He opined that Goa was one of the most popular all season holiday and MICE destinations for domestic and international travellers, in India. However, during the mid September when I visited, three of

he hotel doesn’t offer a sea view. But besides being very near to secluded Tivai beach and being near to the more famous Candolim, Calangute, Baga and Anjuna beaches, the hotel is also not far from the Fort Aguada; the 17th century fort built by the erstwhile Portuguese colonisers. It took only an half-an-hour drive from the hotel to reach the fort. The majestic fort and its lighthouse are located on the Sinquerim Beach. From the fort, one can get soul uplifting views of the Arabian Sea. The construction of the fort dates back to 1612, and it was built for safeguarding the Portuguese invaders from their competing Dutch invaders, and from the Marathas. Even after five hundred years of its construction, the fort manages to resonate romance of history from its mighty ramparts. While staying at the hotel, one can also opt for a river cruise on the Mandovi river, which can be a wonderful experience, affording a kaleidoscopic view of mountains, jungles and slices of life of the common but extraordinary Goan people. The Goa State Museum and Chapora Fort are some of the other wonderful tourist attractions, which are not far from the hotel.

the beaches which I went to were sparsely crowded. But that didn’t in any way compromise on their beauty. “It holds the distinction of being the only destination in the country that has witnessed a continuous increase in RevPAR over the last five years, exhibiting a healthy year-on-year growth. Many factors, such as strong growth in charter movements, an upswing in domestic consumption patterns and the promising growth in the

MICE segment have favourably impacted India’s most preferred leisure destination and therefore, made it imperative for us to be positioned strongly in this market. Furthermore, our strategy for the market involves strong presence across all segments, catering to leisure and business guests alike. With the opening of ibis Styles Goa Calangute, we are well represented across most of our hospitality segments in Goa,” he explained further. n

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Sept-Oct ’16

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Spa

Hotel Business Review

A Naturally Rejuvenating Experience By Sharmila Chand

R

enaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel, Powai has recently launched Quan Spa, which is known for its spacious and calming ambience; exuding an aura of tranquility and well-being. Adopting its name from the Mandarin language, the word ‘Quan’ translates into a source of pure water. Keeping in tune with the name, the spa is inspired from the natural elixir of life which we know as water, to provide healing therapies

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Sept-Oct ’16

and treatments which are pure, natural and which facilitate to restore the natural balance of the body. The interiors of Quan Spa have been greatly inspired from the aqua theme, and hence the décor of the spa entrance, the treatment rooms and the suite reflect an innate tranquility. Here the specially designed spa menu consists of treatments and therapies that use the most natural and pure ingredients such as marine algae wrap, as well as

naturally calming ingredients such as rose, sandalwood, orange, walnut shells, green tea and organic mud. The various therapies offered at the spa include the signature Quan Therapy, Algae Body Wrap, Deep Tissue Massage, foot reflexology among others. The spa uses high quality aroma oils and essences for all their therapies. Other than the regular spa treatments and massages, the Quan Spa also offers specialised beauty treatments for patrons.


Sp a Spa

Hotel Business Review

Guests Demanding Holistic Wellness While going through the spa, I met Mahima Sharma, the Director of the spa at the hotel. She has an experience of 15 years behind her. She has CIDESCO (Diploma) and CIBTAC certifications. Mahima is a member of the Asia Pacific Spa Advisory Board (APSAB) for Marriott International since November 2012 till date. The interaction with her provided me with interesting insights about the Indian spa industry. The excerpts of the interview follow: What are the prevailing top trends in spa business, in India?

Currently, wellness related spa treatments are extremely popular. Nowadays visiting a spa is not just about getting a massage, but about getting a holistic spa experience. Spa Journey is a current trend, where right from the time you enter the spa, different elements are included to enhance the spa journey like welcome drinks which are herbal decoctions, teas, spa meals with calorie counts, etc. Spa Repeat packages are also now offered which can encourage frequent use of spas and can build spa loyalty in the long-run. Middle-aged guests going to spas across high-end hotels is also a trend.

What are the key challenges towards opening a spa?

One of the major challenges towards opening a spa is the recruitment of welltrained therapists. It is an extremely crucial factor in not just opening or running a spa but in also adding value to the entire spa journey and experience for the guests. Apart from that, there are logistical challenges like making available high quality ceramics and linen, which are specially made for spas.

What do you enjoy the most about being a Spa Director?

The best part of my job is definitely creating new spa menus to meet the requirements of guests. I also enjoy meeting people and interacting with them. Spa guests usually visit with time in hand as they are mostly leisure guests and this gives me an opportunity to interact with them, understand their feedback,

requirements, etc. Apart from this, team motivation and management, driving sales and targets, are also certain challenges attached to my job profile, which keep me busy and going! I enjoy them. My job keeps me really motivated in different ways!

improve the circulation and ease muscle aches; for attaining complete relaxation. Guests can choose from an array of essential oil blends to experience this signature treatment.

Could you tell us the USP of the spa, where you are presently engaged in? What distinguishes it from others?

Yes, the Quan Spa specialises in creating customised treatments according to guest’s requirements or needs. Whenever a guest makes a booking for a spa treatment here, she/he is given an option to personalise it through altering or tweaking the treatment slightly in terms of ingredients used, usage of special oils, the kind of package like scrubs, facials, any specific therapy concentrating on a specific area of the body, etc. With regard to spa packages the Quan Spa menu includes packages which include treatments like a facial, body scrubs, massages, wraps etc.

This is a newly launched Quan Spa and it is the first time that a Quan Spa has been launched in a Renaissance property. This Quan Spa is known for its spacious and calming ambience, which exudes an aura of tranquility and well-being. Since it is a hotel spa, it adheres to certain brand standards which make it a notch higher than many other stand-alone spas. The Quan Spa has a specially designed spa menu that consists of treatments and therapies which use the most natural and pure ingredients such as marine algae wrap, as well as naturally calming ingredients such as rose, sandalwood, orange, walnut shells, green tea and organic mud. The various therapies offered at the spa include the signature Quan Therapy, Algae Body Wrap, Deep Tissue Massage, Aromatherapy Hot Stone Massage, and foot reflexology among others. The spa also uses the best quality aroma oils and essences for all their therapies. The USP of this spa is ‘Quan Signature Massage’. In this treatment, the healing powers of pure essential oils and their properties have an invigorating & soothing effect on the mind. Using the classical techniques, light pressure is applied to

Do you have some customised treatment/s on offer?

What is your favourite treatment to receive and why it is so?

A well done Thai massage and Jet Lag Massage are my favourites. Both of them have time duration of 90 minutes each. As the hotel is near to both the domestic and international airports, it attracts and has a lot of guests who are frequent travellers. Keeping this in mind, the spa has also included a unique Jet Lag Body Massage, which is a holistic body massage to calm one’s frayed nerves, which often results from long distance travel. In this massage, the therapists focus on relieving the nerves and increasing blood circulation, which is slowed down due to travel, with special attention to the legs.

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Profile

Pix: Chototel’s Pilot Project, Nagothane

Hotel Business Review

Creating Hospitality for the Masses By Swarnendu Biswas

W

e all know that staying in decent hotels with comprehensive amenities and impeccable hygiene is beyond the reach of majority of our populace. The conventional budget hotels also cannot holistically answer to the need for affordable lodging solutions for the teeming numbers of domestic tourists in India, as rarely a good budget hotel in the country is seen charging anything less than Rs.1500-2000 for a night. Of course, there are exceptions. At OYO Rooms, the room rates start at Rs.999. Moreover, there is no doubt that players like OYO Rooms and Vista Rooms have brought in the much needed standarisation in the budget hospitality segment in India, but that still leaves a huge number of people at the lower end of the pyramid, who because of sheer paucity of quality accommodation within their limited budgets, have to often opt for damp and untidy guesthouses or lodges, which of course mars the enjoyment of travel to a not so insignificant extent.

Each of the rooms at the maiden property of Chototel hotel, which is soon to become operational and is located at the industrial town of Nagothane, located just 75 km from Mumbai on the new Mumbai-Goa Expressway, could house four people at a time. The rooms would have an unimaginable rent of 2USD. The hotel, whose launching is scheduled in the near future, would offer services like crèche and community kitchen, and utilities like solar panel and water plant. These services and utilities would of course be charged

extra, but their costs would also be very much affordable. The building will use renewable and sustainable forms of energy, such as solar power. Automating various hotel services through bots and a smartphone app. will lead to further cost savings in the forthcoming hotel’s operations. One can say Chototel is heralding a new era in the Indian hospitality industry, which is the era of super-budget hotels. The vision of Chototel is powered by 24-year-old Rhea Silva, the Founder and MD of Chototel Holdings Ltd.

The Emerging Super-Budget Hotel The answer to their unmet demand can be found in the emergence of the brand Chototel, which is endeavouring to offer decent hotel accommodation starting at 2USD! Yes, you are reading correctly. 50

Sept-Oct ’16

Pix: Chototel’s Pilot Project, Nagothane


Sp a Profile

Rhea Silva

The Chototel brand was founded in December 2015, and Chototel Holdings Ltd. is the name of the company.

The Vision and the Mission Rhea’s inspiration behind Chototel (the word is derived from the combination of the word ‘Chotu,’ meaning small in Hindi, and hotel), is not just of developing superbudget hotels, but of something even more basic. Chototel was conceived out of the need to provide quality and dignified housing solutions in a global market that even now fails to cater to those at the bottom of the pyramid. “Growing up in Mumbai, I witnessed the devastating effects that inadequate housing can have on the lives of many. Having begun my career in the hotel and affordable housing sectors, I became acutely aware of the paucity of housing suppliers, from both the public and private sectors, who are catering to those at the bottom of the pyramid. I resolved myself to find a market-driven solution to this shortage and founded Chototel to provide a dignified housing solution to an underserved target market,” asserted Rhea, who is based in London.

A Techno-savvy Model Though Rhea’s vision of super-budget hotels is nothing short of revolutionary, but its business model, though extremely lofty, seems not that unrealistic. She educated me when I was at a loss to understand how such an egalitarian business model in the hospitality sector could become commercially viable.

“Chototel hotels will have two sources of income. They are the rent – which, in India for example, will start at 2 USD a night and can surge to a maximum of 5 USD a night – and also the income generated from utilities such as the solar panels and water plants, and services, such as the crèche and community kitchens. The income generated from the rent will be directly cascaded to investors, while the income generated from the utilities and services will be reserved to pay for the hotel’s maintenance, contingency and employees’ wages,” the new-age entrepreneur explained. And of course, she is planning to use technology creatively to address her vision and mission. “Additionally, technology has been the key to ensuring that we can supply accommodation at a super-budget price point. Firstly, we are using an innovative construction method – dry steel-frame construction — to build inexpensively and keep working capital cycles short. Besides, we are incorporating IoT (Internet of things) technology into our hotel operations to automate many tasks that conventionally are being relied upon staff,” Rhea elaborated further. That is not all. “Our innovative of-grid closed-loop utility system will ensure that electricity, gas and water are generated on site from natural resources and from recycled waste. Technology therefore will enable us to minimise costs and in some cases even eliminate costs across construction, management and maintenance,” Rhea explained with a ravishing smile. According to her, “Due to technology innovations, the cost of construction at our pilot project is 6000 USD per room, or 20 USD per square foot.” One can infer that the savvy usage of new-age technology would reduce the cost of production and operations of Chototel’s hotels drastically than the prevailing market trend, which will make such consumer-friendly room rates realistic.

The Potential for Disruption She rightly believes that Chototel brand has the potential of disrupting the hospitality industry. “We are positioned as a super-budget hotel

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Profile

Hotel Business Review

welfare. Here the guests will also benefit from a primary health centre onsite, a landscaped garden and walking trail, a children’s crèche and play area, a community kitchen and a festival plaza,” Rhea pointed out.

The Expansion Plans

Pix: Chototel’s Pilot Project, Nagothane

brand. Unlike existing budget hotels, with a nightly rate on average of 30-50 USD, Chototel’s rates will start at just 2 USD a night. Secondly, the way we will be achieving this low room rate is different to the existing budget hotels. The traditional budget hospitality sector is priced more as a function of its investment cost, which means that these hotels are, by and large, built in subprime areas with moderate real estate costs. In comparison, Chototel is using technology at every level to improve efficiency so as to ensure that we can provide clean, affordable accommodation at an unparalleled price point,” Rhea asserted with confidence.

For the Workers and Others Coming back to her first hotel project, Rhea, who hails from a business family that is credited with initiatives to facilitate affordable housing in the country, informed that Chototel’s forthcoming hotel at Nagothane, located 75km outside of Mumbai, which is to become operational soon, “is ideally located to supply the demand for housing from the 50,000 informal industrial workers who work within a 5 km radius of the future hotel’s site.” “These workers work within the Raigad industrial belt, where many giant companies such as Posco, Jindal and Reliance Petro are located. These workers typically earn less than 5 USD a day, and consequently struggle to afford a clean, safe place to live. Consequently, there is a high demand for temporary, affordable accommodation in the area,” she added further. However, the expected guest profile of Chototel’s first hotel project comprises 52

Sept-Oct ’16

not only the industrial workers working in the vicinity of the future hospitality property, though they are expected to be the future hotel’s primary target market. “Generally, our hotels, which are coming in the future, are expected to appeal to a wide demographic of individuals and families who are currently affected by housing shortages and are in need of affordable accommodation but would prefer to rent as they cannot afford or have the necessary documents to buy one,” averred the charming lady. “Our prime location on the MumbaiGoa Expressway will attract a range of guests in search of temporary, affordable accommodation. Moreover, this location will enable us to tap the passing tourist traffic and garner revenues from providing secondary amenities, such as food and beverages,” she affirmed.

Facilities on Offer “After completion, our first Chototel hotel in Nagothane will be a 240-room hotel with each unit providing 280 sq. ft. of accommodation, containing a furnished multi-purpose room, a kitchenette, a mezzanine bedroom and a shared balcony. Additionally, each unit will be Wi-Fi enabled, fitted with a television set, and two sofa beds, a dining table, standard electrical bathroom fittings and with access to uninterrupted utilities,” stated the egalitarian businesswoman. The pilot project of Chototel is also committed to facilitating holistic welfare of its would be guests. “In addition to providing our guests with a comfortable and convenient place to stay, the first Chototel hotel will present their holistic

There is no wonder that Rhea has ambitious expansion plans for Chototel. “In India specifically, our strategy is to focus around urban centres that have a blend of IT, manufacturing and retail industries presently. As such, we are initially targeting locations around Mumbai, Ankleshwar, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune. Our second project is targeted near Pune,” elaborated Rhea while talking about the growth plans of Chototel in India. Rhea’s mighty but humane business vision has a global scale. She told that besides India, Chototel is envisaging to expand into the UK and UAE, and Nigeria in the future. “Our growth strategy is to have presence in fast-growing urban centres where the demand for affordable accommodation is predicted to rise within the next decade. Consequently, we are looking at sites in Bristol & London in the United Kingdom, as well as sites in the UAE and Nigeria. Ours is an asset-heavy business and has limitation in scaling, but with the right capitalisation strategies that is an achievable goal,” Rhea observed pragmatically.

Looking Forward However, all these power-packed ideas of Rhea are yet to be reflected on the ground in terms of any operational hospitality project. Therefore along with a growing sense of optimism at the emerging highly affordable hospitality solutions for the majority, one also has to keep one’s fingers crossed. But when we hear her say that “I have always been passionate about market-driven solutions to poverty, and I am driven by a mission to tackle homelessness on a global scale,” one can’t help feeling getting inspired by her potent vision that can stir any sensitive mind. Our hospitality industry needs more pioneering idea creators like her and I am eager to believe her. It is because many a time, imagination of the future is more powerful than the present reality. n


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Housekeeping

Hotel Business Review

Role of the Restroom By Jyotismita Sharma

T

he state of sanitation in restrooms is often considered a mirror of the hygiene standard that a property maintains. This is largely true for all types of hospitality properties. After all, who would like to visit a hotel or a resort again if its washroom is not well maintained? In fact, if washrooms of a hospitality property reek of stench, all other measures to attract guests or visitors are likely to fail. On the other hand, a spacious, dry and clean washroom equipped with high-quality personal care products, and with an ambience exuding a mild aroma of freshness can immediately make a lasting statement about superior hygiene standards for a hospitality property. It can create a favourable first impression among the guests at the hospitality property.

Creating an Impression No, the hotel or a resort is not likely to be visited again because of its impeccable washroom hygiene, but it would certainly be avoided by many discerning guests if the hospitality property in question maintains shabby hygiene 54

Sept-Oct ’16

in its washrooms. Washroom hygiene is extremely necessary for hospitality properties to attract repeat guests, especially repeat walk-in guests, who may be coming for a bite at its F&B outlets or for a well-being experience at its spas. The increasing importance that people are attaching to washroom sanitation is not without reason. In the absence of proper cleaning, washrooms can be a source of deadly pathogens that can make us ill. Now cleaning the washroom is one thing and maintaining hygiene in the washroom could be quite another. For example, even a clean washroom may not be able to maintain hygiene if it does not provide appropriate bins at the right places to dispose the tissue papers used by the guests. And what would happen if someone finds the soap dispenser empty while washing hands after using the toilet is anyone’s guess! Similarly, if washrooms are not equipped with toilet seat sanitisers, chances are high that one would have to compromise with hygiene. So providing quality personal care products on a sustained basis and

ensuring their availability all the time in the restrooms is an important aspect of maintaining their hygiene in hospitality properties, besides, of course, cleaning the restrooms spic and span regularly.

Environment-friendly Developments While improvements in design and aesthetics of washrooms to offer an impressive relaxing experience to the guests have been the focus of housekeepers for long, most of the innovations with regard to the washroom in recent years have been centered on minimising the use of resources such as water and energy. Thus faucets in modern washrooms are sensor based which can drastically cut down water wastage. The use of recycled water in toilets has also gained currency. Waterless urinals are becoming increasingly common. More and more hotels (not only highend luxury properties) in India should extensively use these new-age equipments in their washrooms. Even in terms of using personal care products or those required to keep


Sp a Housekeeping

Hotel Business Review

the washroom clean, the focus in the hospitality properties should be on providing eco-friendly products that minimise the adverse affects of these products on the environment.

replace evaporated water from the drain trap; a necessary measure that prevents raw sewage gas from backing up into the restroom.

Other Pressing Issues

Both men and women workers engaged in sanitation of commercial properties have the possibility of handling decomposed garbage in its worst forms. The sanitation workers in hotels in India are no exception to this rule. The garbage often contains used sanitary napkins loosely thrown in, fecal matter, etc. They have to handle all these. In India, such handling is often without any proper implements, and often with their bare hands. This also leads to unhygienic conditions for the sanitation workers. Ensuring comprehensive hygiene for sanitation workers is essential for their well-being, which management of hospitality properties must look into. Ensuring meticulous hygiene for sanitation workers can eventually lead to their increased productivity, through reducing of the prospects of absenteeism.

Proper ventilation to improve the indoor air quality is also a must for all restrooms. Modern restrooms should also be so designed so that even people with certain disability can easily use them without any difficulty. Disabled-friendly restrooms in the hospitality industry are the need of the hour. In this context, it can be mentioned that small steps such as putting up posters of interesting toilet etiquette or good washroom practices can also go a long way in facilitating housekeepers in maintaining restroom hygiene.

The Chemicals Chemicals used in the washrooms should be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions. At a minimum, all cleaners should wear safety gloves. Never take short cuts — follow all usage and safety directions. Clearly posted signs at all entries and exits are necessary when floors are wet. Workers should use the least caustic or abrasive chemicals feasible for a given cleaning process and should never mix them together because this can result in

Right Steps for Restroom • Restrooms in the hospitality sector should be visible yet they should be hidden from the view with the help of doors and screens. At the same time, they should be easy to locate. Proper signage for restrooms is a must. • Restrooms in hospitality properties should also be situated away from the dining area. • Spacious and opulent bathrooms have a relaxing effect on guests, and hotels and resorts should always aspire to have them, in case they do not have them already. • Toilet doors should be kept closed and the lid should cover the pot at all times. • The restroom should ideally be designed in a manner so that the possibility of water wastage is minimised.

Sanitary Disposal

the release of potentially deadly gases. Chemicals should also complement rather than counteract each other. For instance, a strawberry scented freshener, a lime scented bowl cleaner and a grape scented disinfectant could create more unpleasant smells than regular restroom odours. The purpose of cleaners is to eliminate dirt, bacteria and germs that cause infections and stench. A properly cleaned restroom may not even need air fresheners or odour maskers all the time. Here we take a look at some of the cleaners being used for restrooms. Acid Bowl Cleaners: These are very harsh bowl cleaners that remove heavy bowl and urinal bowl-buildup. They should never be used outside the toilet bowls because they can damage the lighter exterior finishes of restrooms. In most cases, these chemicals should only be used once or twice a week. Non-Acid Bowl Cleaners: These chemicals are less harsh and provide an acceptable level of hygiene with minimum possibility of hazard. They can be used several times a week with good result. Some non-acid bowl cleaners come with disinfectant capability as well. Hard Surface Cleaners: These cleaners are meant for hard tile surfaces, walls, partition and mirrors. They may also help minimise the chemicals used in a restroom. Disinfectants: Disinfectants are used to mop floors and in most cases are also acceptable for cleaning toilets and urinals. A good disinfectant can also kill both bacteria and the germs that cause odours. Disinfectants can act as a cleaner for floor drains and more importantly, can

Beyond the Need Restrooms are a need, but there is no reason that they cannot be places for recreation too. The high-end luxury hospitality properties in India could play soothing music or songs in their restrooms. Their washrooms can also have a small book case having news papers, magazines, and diverse literary choices for the guests, which should include comics too. It would be even better if restrooms in five-star or four-star hospitality properties have television installed in them, airing news and entertainment programmes, which can be especially useful for the guests if they need to wait. And a huge coach in such restrooms would not adversely affect their appeal among the discerning guests. Some of these developments may have already been initiated in the high-end spectrum of the Indian hospitality industry, but the trend of using restrooms along with dollops of relaxation and recreation should become more pronounced in the Indian hospitality industry, in the times to come. For today’s hospitality is all about personalisation and value addition, without overlooking the basics. With inputs from Swarnendu Biswas

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Hotel Business Review

P ro d uct Previ ew

Hospitality Linen

The Online Platform of Toshi

Home Comfort Texo Fab is a leading manufacturer and supplier of bed and bath linen to the hospitality industry of India. The company has made its presence felt in this market with its quality furnishing items. In sequence to constant expanding wings, the company entered into the manufacturing and marketing of quality bed and bath linen under its brand name Home Linen. The company has been catering to the ever-growing demand of the home textiles and bed

Toshi Automatic Systems Private Limited has come up with its own website. The www. shop.toshiautomatic.com is here to serve its clients with ideal entrance & hygiene automation products. Toshi has some of the most reliable, durable and resistant products in the realm of automatism to offer. The website primarily deals in all types of entrance & hygiene automation products. Toshi sells numerous entrance & hygiene automation products to various sectors, which includes the hospitality industry too. Toshi markets products which are absolutely authentic, genuine and dependable. They are extremely tough, durable and are perhaps the best for performing heavy duty. All of these products are of supreme quality; most of them are imported from the best European brands. Toshi has an abundance of stock available and products offered by the company are available at the most affordable and reasonable prices. Toshi’s website can be construed as a onestop solution for entrance & hygiene automation products. The products showcased at the Toshi’s website can be purchased by any regular consumer as well as by any business reseller. The customers can purchase these products through the online payment mode. What is more, the purchased products shall be delivered at the given address within a short span of time. Toshi Automatic Systems Private Limited ecom@toshiautomatic.com

linen, in the domestic markets (retail & institutional segments). The skilled and semi-skilled workforce, under the watchful guidance of management with experience of well over 20 years, are constantly working hard to maintain the quality of products to be supplied to their esteemed clients across the country. The company’s range of products includes quilted duvet, pillows, cushions, duvet and pillow covers, mattress protectors to name a few. Home Comfort Texo Fab sandeep@homelinen.co.in

Wizard for Cleaning Wizard is an international quality floor cleaner from Quartz Home Care (India) P Ltd., New Delhi. It extremely quickly cleans and cuts dirt & grease effectively, leaving the surface germ-free and fresh. It presents a superlative & powerful formulation to remove dirt, grime and oily built up. Wizard is a versatile disinfectant cleaner with non-rinse formula, and saves precious water. This non-toxic and non acidic cleaner deodorizes & leaves behind a pleasant fragrance. What is more, Wizard is economical as a small quantity of it cleans more. It leaves behind no powder residue or cleaning marks. Wizard can be used for all kinds of floors, tiles, washrooms, kitchens & work stations, etc. The floor cleaner comes in two fragrances — Lemon Fresh and Special Mint. Wizard is available in pack sizes of 1 litre, 5 litres, 10 litres, 35 litres and 50 litres. Quartz Home Care (I) P. Ltd. qhcindia@gmail.com

Facilitating Quality in Hospitality Kalka Metal Udyog is a niche brand in the field of kitchen crockery, cutlery, chafing dish, bar equipments and uniforms. It has earned considerable recognition a s a m a n u f a c t u r e r, supplier and importer in this segment. The clientele of the company in the hospitality industry includes renowned hotels, resorts, restaurants, and caterers, etc. Precision and quality are the company’s hallmarks. The company’s range of crockery is a product of fine quality of materials sourced from certified vendors, and the application of hi-tech machines and advanced technology. Their packaging also involves utmost care. Kalka Metal Udyog kalkametaludyog@gmail.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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Sept-Oct ’16


Spodu Pr a c t Prev i ew

Hotel Business Review

Facilitating Quality in commercial Kitchen Operations

Steel of Substance

Techmate Industries is among the top manufacturers, exporters, importers, wholesalers, retailers and suppliers of a wide assortment of premium quality pantry and baking equipments. The comprehensive range of products on offer under the ambit of Techmate Industries includes softy making machine, deck ovens, and food display counter among others. The products on offer by Techmate Industries involve the usage of high quality raw materials and top-notch technology. Here it deserves a mention that Techmate Industries is presently importing high quality fully automatic coffee machines, which can be helpful for the coffee shops. The products on offer by Techmate Industries are also well-known for their excellent performance, compact design, high mechanical strength, easy operations and minimal maintenance. The company has a sophisticated and sound infrastructure unit that has the capability to fulfill bulk orders. Techmate Industries techmateindustries@gmail.com

Metinox India was established in the year 2015. The company is one of the principal exporters of kitchen utensils that are designed with precision by the experts. These kitchen utensils are popular for their attractive look and flawless sheen, which can leave the onlookers impressed at the very first glance. Premium quality stainless steel is used in the manufacturing of these utensils to make them long lasting. Since the kitchen utensils from Metanox India are 100 percent rust-proof, they are hygienic to use. Metinox India sales@metinoxindia.com

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Sept-Oct ’16

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Sp a Advertiser’s Index

Hotel Business Review

A d v e r t is e r ’ s I n d e x Company

Page No.

akasa international

16

altreat Industries pvt. ltd.

25

ambiente india

23

charnock equipments pvt. ltd.

13

combii organochem pvt. ltd.

11

equiphotel 2016

21

GRALIT INDIA BIOTECH P. LTD.

18

home comfort texo fab

14

home zone india

33

heimtex india

35

ifb industries ltd.

m

Dish guard

09, 17

indolite devices

59

infinity hygiene care

10

mehta furnishers

19

mitzvah engg. inc.

57

navin polycon

37

pee aar industries

14

pushkal textiles

12

quartz homecare

41

RANS TECHNOCRATS (iNDIA) PVT. LTD. bc remington steel arts

57

SAMRAT FURNISHERS

39

SIO VASSUNDHARA INTERNATIONAL PVT. LTD.

05

s.k international

47

sky enterprises

15

Some other solutions

sony india pvt. ltd. GF stackwell 43 Supershine Laundry Systems Pvt. Ltd. bic techmate industries The Leela Ambience Gurgaon Hotel & Residence toshi automatic System Pvt. Ltd. trend N Design

58 26, 27 08 fic

Venus Industries

01

VHT Hospitality Solutions pvt. ltd.

51

winterhalter india pvt. ltd.

07

Business opportunity

58

sales@indolite.com

* G F - G AT E F O L D * F I C - F R O N T I N S I D E C O V E R * BIC - BACK INSIDE COVER * BC - BACK COVER

Sept-Oct ’16

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Intervi ew

Hotel Business Review

Thriving on Challenges By Sharmila Chand

In his 30 years with the hospitality industry, seasoned hotelier Avneesh K. Mathur, General Manager, Park Plaza Gurgaon, has held leadership positions in leading hotel chains. Mathur has recently joined Park Plaza Gurgaon as the General Manager. He is known for his strategic planning and expertise in driving revenues. This valuable skill has helped him play a pivotal role in opening and renovating hotels. With a strong background in F&B, he is passionate about handling operations with a keen eye on detailing and delivering profitable business growth. No wonder, facing new challenges everyday & having something new to learn each day is what he enjoys the most about being at the helm of affairs at the hotel. The excerpts of the interview follow: What is the USP of your property? This is a boutique hotel, ideally located a stone’s throw from Huda City Center, the commercial hub of Sector 45, Gurgaon, at just walking distance from NH 8, and hospitals of international repute. Well balanced space allocation makes the hotel a favourite place for corporate guests with value for money. Very warm and personalised services of the hotel makes the guests feel at home after hectic travel and office schedule. Any unusual requests you have come across as an hotelier? All unusual requests are ‘usual’ for an hotelier. What is the marketing strategy you have adopted to promote your property? We are focusing on corporate companies, located within a radius of 5 kilometers from the hotel. We are offering very personalised services to make a guest feel at home. Customised packages, and balance between Rev Par and ARR are other strategies of ours to promote the hospitality property. What distinguishes your property from others in the same bracket? Warm hospitality, key location, spacious rooms, terrace pool and lounge are highlighting features of our property. Natural light in all guest rooms and corridors gives a very positive vibe. The Great Kabab Factory adds on to the culinary delight of all our resident guests and walk-in guests. What according to you is the role of F&B in getting business for a hotel? F&B is considered to be the backbone of any

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hotel. Repeat guests will come to the hotel only if the quality of the food is good, coupled with variety and vibrancy. In many cases, F&B outlets of hotels become the landmark of the hotels. After all we are dealing with human beings and food & beverage is an integral part of her/his hospitality experience. What would you say is/are the differentiating factor/s of your F&B outlets? The differentiating factors of our F&B outlets are their concept and the warmth in service. I personally check the quality and conduct surprise checks on raw materials being received. We strive for continuous improvement, which is the key towards success. What are the most crucial issues to tackle in the Indian hospitality industry these days? They are issues of undercutting, and of decreasing GOPs and increasing payroll. How has your journey been so far in the hospitality industry? My journey in the hospitality industry has seen all the patches, including both good and bad! One has to understand that there are many external factors which impact our business. I have seen the time when there was absolute scarcity of rooms in Mumbai and Delhi and hotels were commanding unbelievable room tariffs, and looking into the current scenario I now feel that even the middle class families in India these days can afford a stay or a meal in a five-star hotel. What is your strength, professionally? Exposure of working in different cities has given me the flexibility of accommodating myself in different work cultures and of celebrating diversity.

Besides, patience and deep understanding of any situation helps me in taking the correct decision. Moreover, the experience of handling the hotels from project stage and launching them successfully has given me enormous exposure. Handling the renovation of running hotels has made me understand the pain it takes and the detailing it requires for renovation. Kindly talk about a challenging situation in your career, and also how did you overcome it I would narrate one incident which happened in 2013, when I was the GM of Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Jaipur. During monsoon time suddenly one day the hotel basement got flooded with water due to heavy downpour in the night, since the hotel is located in low lying area. Then the hotel was on 100 percent occupancy. It was only due to great team effort and patience we managed to keep all the services of the hotel uninterrupted. The complete engineering team coupled with security and finance teams were engaged in organising pumps and taking help from the fire department to extricate the water. Nearly seven days of efforts, day and night, in shorts and t-shirt, brought back the normalcy, and proved the strength of team work. How do you de-stress? Yoga at 4am in the morning and long drives help me de-stress myself. What is your working mantra that is your guiding philosophy at work? Keep on coaching, guiding, and training your team since they are never ending processes and are always required.


Mar-Apr ’15

19


74

Hammer Food & Beverage Business Review

Oct-Nov ’15

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