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 firstname.lastname@example.org Associate Editor Swarnendu Biswas
utsourcing is an important ongoing trend in the Indian hospitality industry, which has its own set of potential benefits and drawbacks. For example, outsourcing can lead to cost saving and can also compromise on the safety and security of the concerned hospitality property. Later tends to be true especially if outsourced agencies or personnel are being employed in sensitive matters like IT and revenue management of hospitality properties. In our Cover Story of this issue, we attempt to discuss the potential benefits and drawbacks of outsourcing in hotels, in the context of the Indian hospitality industry. It is well-known that branding can enhance the intrinsic value of the product/s, and it should reflect the promise of a certain quality. The Business Story explores the crucial role of branding in the Indian hospitality industry, and probes on how to develop brand image for the hospitality properties. The exhaustive feature also examines the strength of the concept of brand loyalty, and branding strategies, in the context of the Indian hospitality industry, through some expert voices from the industry. It doesn’t deserve a mention that cricket and Bollywood are the two important unifying factors in India’s diversified cultural cosmos. There is every likelihood that a Bollywood-themed hotel or resort would have much appeal among its potential guests. The Feature section deals with Bollywood-themed hospitality properties and examines some interesting approaches to develop such a property. The factors to consider in the renovation of restaurants are being covered in our F&B section through inputs by industry experts. The Property section deals with a quaint, unconventional and eco-friendly retreat in Madhya Pradesh; offering rich culture rinsed with erotica and fascinating wildlife in its vicinity. The increasingly important role of non-core tasks and personalised hospitality in the fast evolving field of housekeeping in the Indian hospitality industry is being covered through our Housekeeping section. These and some other industry relevant topics covered in this issue, makes the issue an engrossing read. We hope our readers would enjoy reading the issue as much as we had while making it. I hereby sign off while wishing my readers a forthcoming festive season filled with the aroma of Christmas goodies, and with the fragrance of a brand new promising year for the hospitality industry.
Resident Editor Sharmila Chand (Delhi) Ashok Malkani (Mumbai) Layout & Design Hari Kumar V Abhishek Singh Rathore Production Assistant Mamta Sharma Advertising Sales Delhi: Debabrata Nath, Sumesh Sharma Director Sales Sanjay Anand Mobile: +91 9811136837 Director Operations Rajat Taneja Mobile: +91 9810315463 Editorial & Advertising Offices: Delhi: Hammer Publishers Pvt. Ltd. 206, Samrat Bhawan, Ranjeet Nagar Commercial Complex, New Delhi-110008 Phone: 91-11-25704103, 45093486, 45084903 Mumbai: Hammer Publishers Pvt. Ltd. 105, 1st Floor, Aarpee Centre, Gufic Compound, 11th Road, MIDC, Near Tunga Paradise, Andheri (E), Mumbai-400093, India Phone: 91-22-28395833 Telefax: 91-22-28388947 E-mail: email@example.com © 2017 Hammer Publishers Pvt. Ltd. No part of the publication may be reproduced, stored in retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of the publisher. Hammer Hotel Business Review is a bi-monthly magazine, printed, edited, owned 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. 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. Disclaimer: The editor and publisher believes that all information contained in this publication are correct at the time of publishing. Content published not necessarily are the opinion or view of the editor and publisher. Editor and publisher declines any responsibility for any action taken based on the information contained in this publication, including liability for error or omission. Annual subscription rate within India is Rs. 450 and for overseas it is US $110, for surface mail. Single issue is available for Rs. 90 in India and US $25 for overseas. Cheques are payable to Hammer Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
HOTEL B u s i n e s s
R e v i e w
An Exclusive Business Magazine for the Hotel Industry
Outsourcing has acquired special importance in the Indian hospitality industry. However, before going in for outsourcing, it is necessary for the management to analyse the influence of outsourcing on organisational performance of the property.
It is a common knowledge that hospitality companies can enhance their market share and growth rates by increasing their brand loyality. This, in turn, can be achieved by introducing and continuing with customer-friendly schemes by the hospitality properties.
Housekeeping in the Indian hospitality industry is now being perceived beyond cleaning and the so called non-core tasks that the housekeeping staff performs play an important role in creating the wow factor for the guests and help them develop an attachment to the team and the brand.
Sarai at Toria is situated on a beautiful riverside site, close to Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh. S p re a d a c ro ss n i n e a c res , Sarai at Toria is located amidst agricultural land, in unspoilt countryside.
It is about time our hospitality i n d u s t r y e x p l o re s m o re proactively the not only panIndian but even international a p p e a l of B o l l y w o o d b y coming up with Bollywoodthemed hotels and resorts.
The Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa is an ideal getaway for those looking for an enriching break in the holy city of Pushkar, in Rajasthan.
R e n o v a t i n g re s t a u ra n t s i s essential to spruce up their image and attract more clients, which can benefit both their owner/s and their customers.
departments 04 Event 12 News Scan 16 Report 20 Appointments 22 Focus 41 Design 54 Product Preview 56 Interview
Cover Pic: Grand Mercure Vadodara Surya Palace
Hotel Business Review
HostMilano Wins Over International Operators The five-day hospitality exhibition drew 187,602 professional visitors, a jump of over 24 percent compared with 2015
he 2017 edition of HostMilano, a leading global exhibition for the hospitality industry, in all its different shapes and forms, once again confirmed its status as an international hub for the hospitality world. The event was held during 20th-24th October 2017. The five-day event ending 24th October drew 187,602 professional visitors, a jump of 24.3 percent compared with 2015. About 39 percent of the visitors were from overseas. The crowd in attendance was mostly composed of Purchasing Managers and company decision-makers, notably including over 1,500 hosted buyers with specifically chosen profiles from all over the world. Over 2,000 exhibitors from 52 nations showcased their products at the 40th edition of the event, held in Milan, Italy. “Host is a success story that is almost
unique in the international world of exhibitions and events,” said Fabrizio Curci, CEO and Director General of Fiera Milano S.p.A., which organised the event. “With an increment of 24.3 percent in the number of professional visitors, Host confirms its status as a true world hub of the hospitality macro-sector, the place where its chains meet to mould the trends of tomorrow and to do business and networking,” Curci added. “In particular, the flows of foreign visitors are growing in double figures, reaching an increment of 20.4 percent: decision-makers and buyers are also arriving from countries that are further away,” Curci said. The areas that sent an increased number of visitors include Europe, China, the US, Russian-speaking countries and the Middle East.
Over 500 events were held during the exhibition, notably including the FIPGCWorld Pastry Making Championships, which this year, in front of a stadium-style crowd, saw Italy claiming victory over 20 teams from all over the world, including China (second place) and Japan (third place). The event also saw increased presence of international institutions. Business Beyond Borders, an international project promoted by the European Commission, engaged 240 companies from 53 countries in over 200 meetings, whereas Grupo Consular de América Latina y el Caribe N.I. participated for the very first time, grouping together consular representations from Bolivia, Colombia, El Salvador, Ecuador, Messico, Nicaragua, Panama, Uruguay and Venezuela. For its ability to foster real business, this edition of the event also obtained the prestigious US Commercial Service certification, issued by the US Department of Commerce exclusively to a small number of international fairs. The next edition of HostMilano will be held in at the Fiera Milano exhibition centre from 18th-22nd October 2019.
Hotel Business Review
American Rise Show with Sebahattin Güney, American Cranberry meals with Serkan Çetintas and Indian cuisine with Vinod Kumar Chouhan were on stage while the visitors were experiencing delicious moments during the fair.
FOOD Istanbul Expo Kick-starts with Great Promise The fair hosted professional visitors from 104 different countries from across the world
OOD Istanbul Expo, which brought the food, packaging and out-of-home consumption industries under the same roof together for the first time in Turkey, was held at CNR Expo Yesilkoy, from 20th23rd September. The event organised in an area of 80, 000 square meters hosted nearly 25, 000 visitors. Professionals and representatives from the food & beverage, food processing, storage, cooling technologies, logistics and store equipment industries attended the event. Products exhibited at the event included meat & meat products; fish, molluscs & shell fish products; poultry products; fruit, vegetables & dried fruits products; delicatessen & ready-prepared dishes; milk and milk products; confectionery, biscuits & pastry products; organic products; gourmet products; local and specialised products; non-alcoholic beverages, pet food products; storage & cooling technology products; and stores & market equipment products. Within the scope of the ‘International Hosted Buyer Delegation Programme’, the exhibitors had the opportunity to meet with the buyers from 45 different countries. The exhibitors met with buyers from 45 different countries including India, China, Taiwan, Singapore, the United States, Germany, England, France, Canada, Russia, Poland, Ukraine and Greece, among others. Th ro u g h t h e B 2 B m atc h m a k i n g p ro g ra m m e , ex h i b i t o rs w h i c h w e re categorised based on the product groups, had the opportunity to establish concrete
trade relations with international buyer delegations at the B2B meeting area. Within the Buyers Delegation B2B Matchmaking Programme, more than 500 importers with 4 billion dollars import potential realised over 800 B2B meetings with exhibitors. In addition to international buyer delegations, which were hosted privately, the fair hosted professional visitors from 104 different countries from across the world.
Big Players at FOOD Istanbul Expo Ricardo Renzo Rojas, son of Raul Rojas, known as Sugar King, was one of the important names hosted at CNR Food Istanbul. Wayki en Golosinas SAC, the leading producer of Peru candy market, who opened South American gates for the first time to the Turkish food sector, met with Turkish sugar producers at a B2B programme. Important food buyers such as The Balsharaf Group and Tajero LLC came to purchase to CNR Food Istanbul. The Balsharaf Group have 16,000 chain stores in the Middle-East and provides the supply of Carrefour stores in Saudi Arabia. Tajero LLC distributes the products of companies like Unilever, Ferrero, Ülker, Doğ u ş and Beypiliç.
International Cooking Shows Th e ex h i b i t i o n h o s te d we l l - k n ow n international Chefs for the cooking shows. Peruvian cuisine with Bruno Santa Cruz,
International Chefs voted for the stars of kitchen during the Local Chef, Pastry of Istanbul and Chefs of Future competitions. The winner of Local Chef competition was Four Seasons Bosphorus. The second position went to Fairmont Quasar, while the third to Hyatt Regency. Teams participating in the ‘Pastry of Istanbul’ competition were evaluated in pastry, praline chocolate, sculpture and bakery products. The winner of Pastry of I İ s tanbul was Le Meridien Etiler. The second position went to Movenpick Istanbul, while the third went to The Ritz Carlton. The next edition of CNR FOOD Istanbul will be held from 5th-8th September 2018, at CNR EXPO Ye ş i lkoy.
EVENTS’ CALENDER Shanghai World of Packaging (swop) 7-10 November 2017 Shanghai New Int’l Expo centre Shanghai, China www.swop-online.com
Sigep 2018 20-24 January 2018 Rimini Expo Centre, Italy www.en.sigep.it
Europain 2018 3-6 February 2018 Paris Nord Villepinte, Paris www.europain.com
HOTELEX 2018 26-29 March 2018 Shanghai New International Exhibition Center Shanghai, China www.hotelex.cn
Alimentaria 2018 16-19 April 2018 Gran Via Venue, Barcelona, Spain www.alimentaria-bcn.com
FHA 2018 24-27 April 2018 Singapore Expo, Singapore www.foodnhotelasia.com
Hotel Business Review
An Educative Conference I
ndian Federation of Culinary Associations organised the 7th IFCA International Chefs Conference during 1st-3rd September 2017, at Hotel Pullman New Delhi Aerocity, New Delhi. The last edition of the biennial conference happened in Chennai, in the year 2015. The corridors outside the Peacock Hall of the hotel, where the event was being held, were quite large and had space for the partners to the event to have display stalls set up for them to promote their products. The culinary equipment, cooking ranges, processed and packaged food items and other paraphernalia were presented on the stalls. The event attracted the presence of national and international personalities. Top rung culinary and hospitality professionals from India and abroad were there on the stage during the three-dayconference. 700 Chef-delegates converged at the mega culinary event. The 7th IFCA International Chefs Conference was a wonderful opportunity for Chefs to update their skills from the renowned culinary artists who made presentations and conducted culinary sessions at the event. Especially for young Chefs, the event came as a great learning opportunity. C h ef M a n j i t S i n g h G i l l , President, IFCA delivered his Presidential welcome address which formalised the sessions to follow. Jean-Michel Casse, Chief Operating Officer, India & South Asia, AccorHotels, i n h i s i n a u g u ra l a d d re s s expressed his happiness to be present on the occasion of the international conference. He underscored the importance of the conference and how the Chefs in the country could benefit through the event. Pawan K. Agarwal, CEO, Food Safety & Standards Authority of India, the Chief Guest on the occasion, spoke how the conference could help FSSAI to channelise the initiatives that it was taking up. Agarwal requested the Chefs in the country to take the food safety standards as sacrosanct. He wanted the Chefs to specially note the training programs that the institution was organising countrywide so as to ensure that food safety standards are strictly followed. Dr. Chef Soundararajan, General Secretary, IFCA made a special reference to the Ministry of Tourism and of the support rendered by them. Incredible India, and the Pancha Boothas theme of the 7th IFCA International Chefs Conference, he said, went hand in hand. In his presentation, Chef Thomas Gugler, President, Worldchefs spoke briefly as to how Worldchefs worked for the culinary professionals and the industry. He focused on the Worldchefs Certification and how it helped the Chefs of countries anywhere in the world. He spoke in detail as to how experienced Chefs could
get their skills validated for different levels the WorldChefs have identified for certification. He also spoke about the certification process details. T Kalyan Chakravarthy, Executive Director, Pan IIT Reach for India Foundation, representing Pan IIT Foundation, explained how they initiated ‘Nation Building Partnership for culinary education for underprivileged young women. Jaspal Sabharwal of Tag Taste Foods Pvt. Ltd., titled his presentation ‘Chefs as Entrepreneurs’ and spoke about the challenges and opportunities faced by those aspiring to be entrepreneurs in different time periods. Chef Sabyasachi, the Foodpreneur, and the President of Young Chefs Association of India, narrated the emerging challenges and opportunities for young Chefs in India. He said that training and mentorship, choosing the right path, knowledge of basics are very essential. He touched upon the role of attitude & communication skills in the young Chefs’ development. On the day two of the conference, Chef Thomas Vaccaro, Pastry Dean, The Culinary Institute of America delved through the c h a n g i n g fa c e s of d e s s e r t s , improved presentations, new trends, and the mirror glazed cakes. 3D confections & 3D printing, he said, were the current day delights. Packaging, he pointed out, was now out to enlarge marketing leverage in greater detail. The second day of the event a l s o w i t n e s s e d t h e A w a rd s Ceremony. A dedicated team of judges scrutinized the nominations and selected the award winners, following ascertaining of their achievements. The awards ceremony was followed by a gala dinner, thrown by IFCA to all the delegates. The third day of the event also witnessed various speeches and presentations by experts. On the final day of the event, Ranveer Brar, the celebrity Chef and television host, brought in different perspectives of Indian food, which attracted the attention of the audience. Dr. Ganesh Bagler, Professor and Scientist in IIIT, spoke on ‘The Science of Indian Cuisine.’ He supported our age old systems in cooking and eating with the rationale our ancestors followed. He also touched upon how we could scientifically alter our diet to improve health. With several scientific postulates he explained the food that we ate historically and what we could now and in future do to be healthy. These were only some of the wonderful and illuminating presentations made by experts at the three day conference, which on the whole, was an educative experience for the Indian food service industry at large.
Hotel Business Review
Food&HotelAsia Set to Get Bigger Than Ever Beyond the traditional sourcing ground, this important business event for Asia’s food and hospitality industries also offers many experiential networking and learning opportunities through new and improved speciality zones and industry-renowned competitions
argest business event for Asia’s food and hospitality industries will be 23 percent bigger in space, with 25 percent increase in exhibitor participation In its 40th year, Food&HotelAsia, or FHA, a business event for Asia’s food and hospitality industries, is set to host its biggestever industry congregation with 4,000 international exhibitors from more than 70 countries and regions, an increase of over 800 exhibitors, compared to its last edition. The four-day event starting 24th April 2018 will be held at two venues – Singapore Expo and Suntec Singapore. The event’s total floor area spans 119,500 sqm, an increase of 23 percent compared with its previous edition. “FHA’s growth reflects the changing landscapes of the F&B and hospitality industries in Singapore and the region over the decades,” said Rodolphe Lameyse, Project Director, Food &
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Hospitality, UBM SES, the organiser of the event. “FHA’s growth over the years and its development with the inclusion of new elements and features in every edition reflects the evolution of Singapore’s hospitality industry. The Singapore Hotel Association is proud to support FHA to bring the best of Singapore’s food and hospitality standards to the global stage,” said Margaret Heng, Executive Director of Singapore Hotel Association. Beyond the traditional sourcing ground, FHA also offers many experiential networking and learning opportunities through new and improved speciality zones and industry-renowned competitions. Through these activities, visitors will gain insights into the rapid changes impacting the F&B and hospitality industries, and with easy access to the necessary tools, contacts, skills and knowledge, they will be able to stay relevant and maintain their competitive edge. An estimated 78,000 trade attendees from over 100 countries and regions are expected at the 2018 edition of FHA. In 2016, the event attracted 71,800 trade attendees, including exhibiting staff, trade visitors, conference speakers and delegates, judges and competitors, and members of the media. Competition Arena for Region’s Culinary Talent The FHA Culinary Challenge (FCC) adds to the experience at FHA, with intense competitions designed to showcase the best culinary talent from the region. Targetting professionals from specific sectors of the food and hospitality industries, these competitions include the Gourmet Team Challenge, Individual Challenge, National Team Challenge and the Battle for the Lion. Platform for Industry Discourse The FHA2018 International Conference, to be held across two venues from 24th to 26th April 2018, will feature industry experts and business thought-leaders sharing perspectives, tips and strategies across 10 key tracks, from hotel revenue management and bakery at the Singapore Expo, to central kitchen and F&B technology at Suntec Singapore. Co-location of ProWine Asia 2018 Held alongside FHA for the first time in 2016, ProWine Asia which is modelled after an important trade fair for the wines and spirits industry, ProWein in Düsseldorf, Germany, will return with an 18 percent increase in exhibition area. To be presented by 300 leading exhibitors, ProWine Asia will bring the world of wines and spirits to Southeast Asia through its extensive representation of international wine and spirit labels, a broad scope of solutions and concepts for the region’s diverse consumer markets, as well as specialised masterclasses and seminars by industry speakers.
Hotel Business Review
N ews Sca n
Hyatt Regency Opens in Sarovar Hotels Signs Hotels Lucknow in Jhansi, Bengaluru Hyatt Regency on 4th September launched a hotel in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh. Hyatt Regency Lucknow is the 27th Hyatt-branded hotel in India. “The opening of Hyatt Regency Lucknow marks a significant milestone for the Hyatt Regency brand as it continues to expand its footprint throughout India,” said Kurt Straub, Vice President, Operations for India at Hyatt. “Not only is the hotel strategically located for business travellers visiting Lucknow, it is also well positioned for leisure guests who are interested in enjoying a journey through the Uttar Pradesh heritage area of Lucknow, Agra and Varanasi,” Straub added. Conveniently located in the corporate hub of Vibhuti Khand, Hyatt Regency Lucknow is designed to satisfy the needs of business and leisure travellers alike. The hotel is in close proximity to the city’s High Court and multiple public sector head offices, and the Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport is less than 25 kilometers away from the property. The hotel has 206 guest rooms, including 19 suites.
Sarovar Hotels Pvt. Ltd. in September signed agreements to open new properties in Jhansi and Bengaluru. The agreement for the 72-room Nataraj Sarovar Portico Jhansi marks the group’s farther foray into Uttar Pradesh. The hotel in Bengaluru, La Marvella Sarovar Premiere, Bengaluru – Jayanagar, is Sarovar’s fifth hotel in the city after Davanam Sarovar Portico Suites, RBD Sarovar Portico, Park Plaza and Radha Hometel. La Marvella Sarovar Premiere has 102 rooms, a multi-cuisine restaurant and a lounge bar. “We are delighted to be signing a deal for yet another hotel in Bengaluru. La Marvella Sarovar Premiere located at a prime destination in the city is ideal for business as well as lesiure travellers,” said Ajay K. Bakaya, Managing Director, Sarovar Hotels & Resorts. The hotel under development in Jhansi is expected to open in January 2018, the company said in a statement. Jhansi is about 316 kilometres from Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh. “We are happy to open a Sarovar Portico hotel in this historic city of Uttar Pradesh. With its significant development and rich antiquity, Jhansi is an important destination with rising number of visitors from across the country,” said Bakaya. Located in the centre of the city, the hotel under development has 72 keys with all day dining, bar, banquet halls, conference & meeting facilities, swimming pool, gymnasium, salon and rooftop open air banquet space.
Efcee Sarovar Portico Bhavnagar Wins Gujarat Tourism Award Efcee Sarovar Portico Bhavnagar was awarded the ‘Best Debut Hote’ at the recently held Gujarat Tourism Awards 2017. The hotel was also recognised as the ‘Best Four Star Hotel in Other City’ and ‘Best Multi Cuisine Restaurant in Other City’ categories at the Awards.
Hotel Business Review
Chef Arvind Rai of The Ashok Wins National Tourism Award Chef Arvind Rai, Executive Chef, The Ashok, has won a National Tourism Award under the category of ‘Best Chef of India- 4 to 5 Star Deluxe, Heritage Classic and Heritage Grand’ category, for the year 2015-16. C h ef A r v i n d h as ove r t h re e decades of experience in t h e h o s p i t a l i ty i n d u s t ry. H e leads the team which prepares the best of Indian gastronomy, not o n l y fo r w h o ’ s who of the nation, but also for the state banquets hosted by the Vice-President of India and the Prime Minister of India, at the historic Hyderabad House.
N ews Sca n
AccorHotels Opens its First ibis Property in Coimbatore AccorHotels on 12th October announced the opening of the first ibis hotel in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu — ibis Coimbatore City Centre. The business hotel with 129 well-appointed rooms is strategically located in the city’s central business district at Lakshmi Mills Junction, within close proximity to local tourist attractions and shopping hubs, and a short drive from the city’s railway station and airport. “This is our first ibis in the city, third in the state and 16th in the country. The opening of this hotel caters to the growing needs of b u s i n e s s as we l l as leisure travellers in the region,” said Pierre-Etienne de Montgrand, Director of Operation ibis & ibis Styles India, AccorHotels. Here it deserves a mention that ibis is AccorHotels’ economy brand. Speaking at the hotel’s launch, Shwetank Singh, Vice President – Development and Asset Management, InterGlobe Hotels Ltd. said, “We are extremely delighted to mark our entrance into Coimbatore. A travel-friendly city, Coimbatore is not only a business-savvy destination but also a pit-stop vacation destination for those travelling to other parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.” InterGlobe Hotels, a joint venture between InterGlobe Enterprises and Accor Asia Pacific, was established in 2004 to develop a network of ibis hotels throughout India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Poona Hoteliers Association Gets New President Poona Hoteliers Association, a body representing over 64 star hotels of Pune in Maharashtra, has elected Neerav Panchamia as the President for 2017-18. With his election at the annual General Meeting, Panchamia is set to complete his third year as the President of the Association. “I am thankful to the members for having elected me for the year as President. The past year has been an eventful one, with many issues such as demonetisation, service charge, MRP issues, liquor ban, GST, etc. affecting the Indian hotel industry,” Panchamia said after his election. “The Poona Hoteliers Association has been an active voice in Maharashtra in highlighting and working towards these issues along with the regional associations and the government. We also have many activities planned for members such as educational seminars, training programmes and food festivals for the year,” Panchamia added.
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Hotel Business Review
Kerala Launches Three-year-Long Continuous Tourist Survey The survey intends to provide in-depth understanding of the interest of the tourists, their age and demographic details, reasons for visit and nature of tours undertaken and it will cover not only tourist destinations but also hotels, house boats, home stays, Ayurveda centres, restaurants and tour operators, etc.
ith an aim to boost the growth of tourism in the state, Kerala’s tourism department has launched the three-year long Continuous Tourist Survey 2017-20 (CTS). This is a sample survey intended to study in depth the interest of tourists, their age and demographic details, reasons for visit and nature of tours undertaken. “Through the data obtained from the survey, the Tourism Department will evaluate the growth of tourism. The survey will provide us an accurate picture of tourists, their likes and dislikes
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and help us to plan accordingly,” said Kadakampally Surendran, Minister for Tourism, Government of Kerala. Ke ra l a h as b e e n fo l l ow i n g a co m p re h e n s i ve to u r i s m development plan to double by 2021 the number of domestic tourist arrivals and increase foreign tourist arrivals by 50 percent. The survey is being conducted in collaboration with M/s Datamation Consultants. The Government of India will provide financial assistance of Rs. 25 lakhs for the survey, an official statement said. During 2010-13, Kerala Tourism had conducted a similar Continuous Tourist Survey (CTS). One of the key findings of that survey was that a foreign tourist stayed an average of 18 days in Kerala, while spending Rs. 81,000 on average. The Tourism Department is regularly collecting month-wise statistics of foreign as well as domestic tourists visiting Kerala, through the investigators of the Economics and Statistics Department from all accommodation units in the state. In addition to this, the Continuous Tourist Survey (CTS 17-20) is being conducted to gather even more comprehensive data. A mobile application will be used by the enumerators of M/s Datamation Consultants to collect various details. The survey will cover not only tourist destinations but also hotels, house boats, home stays, Ayurveda centers, restaurants, tour operators, etc. Speaking about the growing popularity of Kerala as a tourism destination, Venu.V, Principal Secretary of Kerala’s Tourism Department said, “With over 1 million foreign tourists and 13.1 million domestic tourist arrivals, Kerala has been witnessing tremendous growth in tourist traffic for the last couple of years. Kerala has now become a trendsetter in the Indian tourism industry and we will work to ensure that tourism continues to grow.” “With survey reports generated periodically, Kerala Tourism will plan innovative projects, new policies and marketing strategies. We request the cooperation of stakeholders from the tourism industry, and also the support of foreign and domestic tourists visiting Kerala for the successful completion of the survey,” said P. Bala Kiran, Director, Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala. The fact that for the past five years, tourism has been contributing 7-10 percent of the state’s GDP summarises the importance of tourism sector in the economy of Kerala and in the livelihood of its people.
Hotel Business Review
ITDC’s Multiple Initiatives T
o promote India as a nation of varied cultures, languages and religions, India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) is organising cultural and tourism events at its establishments and hotel properties. These events are being organised as part of the Union Ministry of Tourism’s new initiative ‘Paryatan Parv.’ ITDC, which has completed 51 years of operations in tourism and the hospitality industry, launched ‘Down the Memory Lane’ to showcase the journey of food at its flagship property, The Ashok, from its inception. Other hotels under ITDC are also partaking actively in spreading the word about ‘Paryatan Parv’ by organising unique food festivals. Hotel Jammu Ashok organised the traditional ‘Dogri Food Festival’ from 10th-25th October. The Lalitha Mahal Palace, Mysore held exquisite Karnataka Food Festival from 18th-25th October. In Bhuwaneshwar, Odisha, Hotel Kalinga Ashok held a luxurious coastal food festival from 13th-22th October. To intensify the awareness of the initiative, students of ITDC’s educational body, Ashok Institute of Hospitality and Tourism Management (AIHTM), held painting competition on ‘Dekho Apna Desh’ for students on 16th October. The AIHTM students also performed a street play at New Delhi’s Qutub Minar, on 13th October. On the occasion of completing 51 years, ITDC announced multiple initiatives including exclusive ‘Wheel-O-Fortune’ festival, held at The Ashok, from 1st-15th October. During the festival, a visitor could spin the wheel at the cost of Rs. 499/and try his/her luck. The hospitality and tourism giant also introduced flat 51 percent discount on rooms along with 15 percent on food and beverages, at The Ashok, during 1st-7th October. “It’s a proud moment for all of us at ITDC as we complete 51 years of successful journey in hospitality, tourism and travel industry. It’s also double celebration for us as our flagship property The Ashok is also celebrating 61 years of its completion. We have not just outperformed but have created benchmarks in the industry,” said Rajiv Anand, General Manager, Corporate
Marketing & Sales/Public Relations, ITDC. ITDC in September conducted its 52nd Annual General Meeting at The Ashok, New Delhi and approved dividend of 13.3 percent ,amounting to almost Rs. 11.41 crore. The meeting was chaired by Ravneet Kaur, IAS, Chairperson & Managing Director of India Tourism Development Corporation. The turnover of the corporation during the financial year 2016-17 was Rs. 495.14 crore. The net profit before tax was recorded as Rs. 17.52 crore during the same year.
ITDC also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Controller General of Defence Accounts (CGDA) to provide customised e-ticketing solutions to CGDA, on pan-India basis. It is of great relevance that ITDC and CGDA celebrated their foundation day on the same day — 1st October. Under this collaboration, ITDC’s travel wing Ashok Travels and Tours (ATT) will conduct the complete procedure for CGDA to create an e-ticketing platform, to ensure smooth functioning of air travel needs.
ITDC Trains Tihar Jail Inmates ITDC said it was making a collaborative effort with Tihar Jail in New Delhi to train inmates under ‘Hunar se Rozgar’ scheme — a skill development programme sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism — through its Ashok Institute of Hospitality and Tourism Management (AIH&TM). “I appreciate ITDC’s initiative for coming up with such an unusual effort towards creating an ecosystem of knowledge for the detainees, to lead them on a path away from the world of crime. We hope to change their outlook and give the inmates of Tihar a chance to lead a dutiful life as a part of prevailing society,” said Sudhir Yadav, Director General, Prison, Tihar Jail. Starting from 14th September, the first training batch of 30 detainees is pursuing the Front Office Associate Course. The duration of the course is divided into 340 hours of theory and 200 hours of practical application of relevant theories. The classes are being conducted at the Tihar Jail. With the progress of the initiative, skill building classes in food & beverage and housekeeping would also be undertaken, ITDC said. AIH&TM is providing uniform and toolkit free of cost as the part of the course. At the completion of the course, an assessment will be carried out. “Our talented team at AIH&TM has trained more than 15,000 candidates under ‘Hunar Se Rozgar’ scheme through its hotels and industry partners. We are sure that this collaboration is going to impart employable skills to these young inmates of Tihar jail. Our faculty at AIHTM will make sure that they have the best of the training in the best suited atmosphere,” Piyush Tiwari, Director (Commercial and Marketing) ITDC, said.
Hotel Business Review
portfolio includes a powerful set of global brands — Quorvus Co l l e ct i o n , Ra d i ss o n B l u , Radisson, Radisson RED, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson and Country Inns & Suites By Carlson.
Katerina Giannouka Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group has announced the appointment of Kate r i n a G i a n n o u ka as President, Asia Pacific. She will be based in Singapore, at Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s Asia Pacific headquarters, and would join no later than 4th December 2017. Katerina will be a member of Carlson Hotels’ Executive Leadership Committee where she will work in tandem with the global and Asia Pacific l e a d e rs h i p te a m s to d r i ve success and growth for Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. In her role, she will be responsible in leading the Asia Pacific Executive Committee and its corporate offices in Singapore, Shanghai and Delhi, the Carlson group said in a statement. “Asia Pacific is a key growth engine for Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group as we expand our presence and develop our successes,” said John Kidd, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer, Carlson Hotels Inc. B e f o re j o i n i n g C a r l s o n Rezidor Hotel Group, Katerina was the head of development for Asia Pacific and China for Rosewood Hotel Group. Based in Hong Kong, she spearheaded t h e re g i o n ’ s d e v e l o p m e n t activities for Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, New World Hotels & Resorts and Pentahotels. Prior to that, she held roles with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. The Carlson Rezidor
Aditya Shamsher Malla D o u b l e Tre e by H i l to n h as appointed Aditya Shamsher Malla as the General Manager of its hotel in Pune. An industry veteran with more than two decades in the business, Malla has been a part of some of the best global brands such as M a r r i ott ; H yatt ; O b e ro i Hotels and Resorts; Starwood Hotels and Resorts; Shangri La International; and Taj Hotels. In his new role as the General Manager of Double Tree by Hilton Pune-Chinchwad, Malla will be responsible for curating strategic initiatives that will lead the hotel to continue its guest-focused approach and consolidate its leadership position. He will focus his efforts to deliver year-on- year growth, focus on staff engagement a ct i v i t i es a n d s p e a r h e a d corporate social activities.
Alessio Banchero JW Marriott New Delhi Aerocity has appointed Chef Alessio Banchero as the Italian Chef de Cuisine at K3 — the all-day dining restaurant at the hotel. Chef Alessio comes with more than two decades of experience
i n k i tc h e n o p e rat i o n s a n d management. He started at a young age, working as Commis de Cuisine across different restaurants and hotel kitchens in Italy and France while attending the culinary school. Chef Alessio joined Zeffirino, a fine dining Italian cuisine restaurant in Genova in 2000 as a Sous Chef. In 2004, he m ove d to Zeff i r i n o at t h e Venetian, Las Vegas where he managed a team of 25 Chefs and took charge of trainings related to food. In December 2009, he moved to India and joined Hyatt Regency Mumbai as the Italian Chef de Cuisine at the hotel’s Italian restaurant STAX. After working in India for around two years, Chef Alessio
returned to Genova in 2012 to work as a Consulting Chef de Cuisine for new and upcoming restaurants. C h ef A l ess i o ret u r n e d to India in 2014 to join JW Marriott Chandigarh as Italian Chef de Cuisine, at the hotel’s Italian Restaurant Oregano. He worked with the restaurant for more than three years before shifting to New Delhi.
to the company. Prior to joining Cygnett Hotels & Resorts he was associated with ITC Hotels, Fortune Hotels, and Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide.
Himanshu Drawid Novotel Goa Resorts & Spa, part of the AccorHotels Group, has appointed Himanshu Drawid as their Executive Housekeeper. Drawid brings with him over 15 years of experience to the new role. Drawid began his career i n 2 0 0 5 w i t h t h e M a r r i ott International and had also w o r k e d w i t h Fo u r Po i n t s by Sheraton, Europa Hotel, Raddison Blu, Royal Orchid, Sun & Sand, and Lemon Tree H ot e l s d u r i n g h i s c a re e r. He was associated with the Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel as Housekeeping Manager prior to his current appointment. “We are pleased to
Ajay Markan Ajay Markan has been appointed as Corporate Chef, Cygnett H ote l s & Res o rts . W i t h a n enriching experience spanning across 32 years, Chef Ajay brings quality and consistency
h ave H i m a n s h u l e a d o u r housekeeping team. His key ex p e rt i s e l i e s i n e n s u r i n g that guests have a relaxing
Ap p oi n tm en t s ex p e r i e n ce a n d t h e i r requirements are heard a n d a d d re s s e d i n a n effective manner,” said Ro h a n S a b l e , G e n e ra l M a n a g e r, N ovote l G o a Resorts & Spa.
his way to JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu, Arora was the Director of Rooms at Andaz Delhi, as part of the pre-opening management team.
Vikas Arora Vikas Arora has joined JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu as the new Director of Rooms. Arora brings with him over 14 years of experience spanning across the finest international brands. After graduating from Th e I n s t i t u te of H ote l Management, Guwahati, Arora began his career as a b u t l e r at O b e ro i Hotels and Resorts. He later moved to ITC Hotel Maurya Sheraton as Front Office Attendant, followed by stints with brands/ companies like Taj Hotels and Resorts, Park Hyatt Goa and Four Seasons. Owing to his exceptional communication skills, Arora was entrusted with the responsibility of guest services at Four Seasons Hotel, Mumbai. He later m ove d t o Th a i l a n d at the Four Seasons Tented Camp as Assistant Camp Manager and then to the Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai, Thailand as Assistant Director of Ro o m s . B efo re m a k i n g
Sanket Thakur recently joined The Resort, Madh- Marve, Mumbai as Assistant F&B Manager. At t h e Re s o rt , Th a ku r will be responsible for carrying out various d u t i e s t o e n s u re t h at customers receive excellent service. He will p re p a re m a n a g e m e n t , variance, and financial reports on periodic basis Thakur brings with h i m ove r s eve n ye a rs of ex p e r i e n ce i n t h e hospitality industry. He was associated with re n o w n e d b ra n d s l i k e Sofitel, Hilton, The Lalit Hotels & Resorts and The Orchid Mumbai.
Hotels, Hardwar, where he served in the capacity of Front Office Manager. Sharma has over 14 years of experience in the hospitality industry and has worked with Sterling Holiday Resorts (I) Ltd; Hotel Timber Trail Heights – Pa r w a n o o ; C o u n t r y Inn & Suites by Carlson at Vaishno Devi, Katra; Country Inn & Suites by Carlson at Hardwar, and with Babylon Group of Hotels.
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In his current role, Taneja will be spearheading responsibilities of ensuring the newly opened Radisson Blu Atria continues to enhance its reputation as a leading hotel in the city. H e w i l l co nt i n u e to l e a d t h e fo r m u l at i o n and implementation of s t rate g i es to e n h a n ce g u e s t ex p e r i e n ce a n d o p e rat i o n a l ef f i c i e n cy within the hotel. Prior to joining Radisson Blu Atria, he had worked with several leading hospitality brands in the country.
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SERVING THE INDUSTRY FOR OVER 2 DECADES
The Record Attempt
ospitality Purchasing Managers’ Fo r u m o r H P M F ce l e b rate d i ts 7th Anniversary by organising a convention and awards event during 14th to 16th September 2017 at Indana Palace Jodhpur. The topic of the convention was ‘Seven Elements Of The Universe.’ The grandeur of the majestic property exuded regal aura of the past. The convention also amalgamated the spirit of carnival and the entire gathering including guests, delegates, media partners, vendors (read partners) turned into a large family, amidst knowledge sharing, and serious B2B meetings. The convention presented ample opportunities to network and make new friends, and also to meet the old ones. The first day of the event comprised receiving and welcoming delegates to the Blue City of Jodhpur! On that day, delegates were taken around to some of the historical palaces of Jodhpur like Mehrangarh Fort and Umaid Bhawan Palace, which gave them
an overview of Rajasthan’s rich history. A traditional sit down dinner took place at Bijolai Palace which is one of the most beautiful palaces of Jodhpur. The second day was the inauguration day where Rahul Pandit was the Chief Guest. There were a few presentations on the
Some Other Highlights of the Carnival
he erstwhile Maharaja Gaj Singhji of Jodhpur and Rahul Pandit, MD and CEO, Ginger Hotels, were the Chief Guests on 16th and 15th September respectively. The event set the Asia Book of Records for highest number (311) people wearing Safa(traditional Rajasthani head gear) in one event. Honouring some of the distinguished personalities as Indian Achievers in the diversified areas like farming, social engineering, education, charity added a completely new dimension to the event.
latest trends in organic procurement and on the future of hospitality procurement. In the evening, the delegates were taken to the Thar Desert where a traditional ancient Rajasthani village fair was created where people had fun with some scintillating local cocktails and dinner. O n t h e t h i rd d ay, s i n ce m o r n i n g every delegate was anxious to wear Safa (traditional Rajasthani head gear). Thereafter, the erstwhile Maharaja Gaj Singhji of Jodhpur gave a superb speech as the Chief Guest. Aman Nath – CMD of Neemrana Hotels, made a presentation as the guest of honour on prudently converting old forts and palaces into hotels. Apart from the keynote presentation, there was one panel discussion on ‘The Way Forward for the Purchasing Manager.’ Then in the evening there was the HPMF Procurement Excellence Awards and the most deserving HPMF members received the
ness Met Fun awards. HPMF Convention and Procurement Excellence Awards, which has created a new industry benchmark among the hospitality fraternity, was the result of last six months of hard work of the core team, which ranged from conceptualising the event, identifying the location to execution. Here it deserves a mention that on both second and third day of the event the delegates got the opportunity to have B2B meetings in the second half where the 38 top suppliers of India had face to face meetings with them. At the event, distinguished personalities from various walks of life like farming, social engineering, education and charity were honoured as Indian Achievers. Overall, the celebration of Hospitality Purchasing Managers’ Forum’s 7th anniversary involved a fascinating amalgamation of knowledge sharing, business, entertainment, tradition and culture, and of course, fun.
An Overview of HPMF
ere it deserves a mention that Hospitality Purchasing Managers’ Forum (HPMF) is a consortium of like-minded purchasing managers from the hospitality industry representing star hotels, catering companies, stand-alone restaurant chains and airlines. It believes in the power of networking and sharing of work experience with each other. It started in 2010 with three members, and today it is a 1500-member strong organisation. The Indian hospitality industry has been rapidly evolving since the last two decades and has witnessed a spurt in the number of domestic and international players entering the market with ambitious and world class projects. This has resulted in quantitative and qualitative needs which are far more complex than before. Procurement is an integral part of the growth of the hospitality industry and procurement of hospitality products in India too has evolved along with the evolution in the Indian hospitality industry. Moreover, considering the sustained economic development in India, the hospitality procurement needs in the country are expected to grow by leaps and bounds in the coming years. In this regard, the role of HPMF seems to be crucial. HPMF through its online portal, google groups and through Whatsapp groups continually ensures sharing of knowledge, information and facts. For example, HPMF created a list of HSN codes of items specifically required for the Indian hospitality industry and the same was circulated to the members; the association organised several seminars on GST which resulted in easy penetration of the law. HPMF organises seminars, panel discussions, industry get togethers where a lot of Procurement Managers participate; it gives them confidence and teaches them leadership and relationship management tactics. HPMF sees itself playing a crucial role in shaping up hospitality procurement by making it more organised and technically equipped through training initiatives, lectures and seminars on hospitality purchase topics, for its members. HPMF will launch its first international chapter in Dubai, which will be its Middle-East Chapter. Thereafter, HPMF will also launch Africa and China Chapter within three months.
Hotel Business Review
Outsourcing in Hotels
The concept of outsourcing, derived from the American terminology â€˜outside resourcingâ€™, has become popular in almost all industries throughout the globe. Although it is seen, by many, as a happening trend, there are voices that question its effects on different industries. Outsourcing has acquired special importance in the Indian hospitality industry. However, before going in for outsourcing, it is necessary for the management to analyse the influence of outsourcing on organisational performance of the property. Ashok Malkani takes a look at how the Indian hospitality industry views outsourcing and the pros and cons of introducing this element in hotels, in the Indian context.
Hotel Business Review
utsourcing has become a hotly debated topic these days and its pros and cons are being studiously ascertained by almost all industries. It has a direct impact on the company or establishment’s top and bottom line. Outsourcing, incidentally, is the process of delegating a company’s business or operations to third parties or external agencies. It can leverage benefits ranging from low cost labour, improved quality to product and service innovation among others. Outsourcing has grown in popularity across the globe, because in many cases it facilitates the establishment to reduce costs, concentrate on core activities, gain access to skilled work force, increase in-house efficiency, provide flexibility in staffing, etc. Business outsourcing has become a common trend but few would be able to explain how and when the concept developed. One can say that the seeds were sown when technological advancements increased their pace, allowing businesses worldwide to have access to the latest technology. This created a level playing field, allowing more and more small & medium sized businesses to compete with their larger counterparts. What, exactly is outsourcing? It can be defined as ‘the strategic use of outside resources to perform activities traditionally handled by internal staff and resources.’ S o m et i m es k n ow n a l s o as fa c i l i t i es management, outsourcing is a strategy by which an organisation contracts out major functions to specialised and efficient service providers, who may eventually become valued business partners.
Outsourcing is a concept that is widely embraced by the hospitality industry. One of the major reasons for this is the belief that it allows reduction in costs and improves quality and efficiency, giving rise to increased customer satisfaction.
The Potential Advantages Ashish Battoo, Director of Rooms, Hyatt Regency Pune, disclosed, “Outsourcing various jobs in hotels is a strategy adopted by the hotel industry as it can offer many benefits in terms of availability of skilled labour which may not be available in-house; can offer cost benefit as the outsourced vendor can perform the job m o re e co n o m i ca l l y ; o u ts o u rc i n g ca n involve minimum supervision from the hotel personnel if the scope of work is detailed; the hotel can concentrate on its core competency and thereby increase on its efficiency through outsourcing.” “The core functions of a hospitality property are acquisition and retention
of guests. To achieve these objectives, hospitality properties have to offer attractive incentives and then, subsequently, work to retain these clients with good service and high levels of satisfaction. Outsourcing certain specialised key functions allows the hospitality property to concentrate on its core competencies. For example, the basic function of a housekeeping department of a hospitality property is to look after cleaning and maintenance of the hospitality property. Outsourcing laundry would allow the department to concentrate on its primary task,” elaborated Meghana Tendulkar, Housekeeping Head, Hotel Marine Plaza, Mumbai. “The main reason for outsourcing in hotels is because it can savecost of purchases and space. Additional manpower cost can be saved too,” added Sarosh Khatib, Senior Vice-President — Sales & Marketing, The Fern Hotels& Resorts, Pune. Jai Chugh, Director of Operations, Jaipur Marriott Hotel, declares that the
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Sanjay Menon “main advantages of outsourcing in hotels are that it can reduce fixed costs,can help in getting the best available talent in a highly specialised area without carrying them on their payroll, and can provide for a competitive advantage when competing with bigger competitors who have the budgets, in-house skills and technology to do it alone.” Kamlesh Barot, Past President, Hotel and Restaurant Association (Western India) or HRAWI stated, “Depending on the size of a hotel, outsourcing can prove to be a value-added proposition in various areas of operations and management. It can make the recruitment process more proficient and bring in fresh talent. The payroll can become efficient and management of human resource can get easier through outsourcing.” “Outsourcing is almost a norm in most hotels overseas. In India, we have now begun realising the advantages of the same. It is definitely a facility which a lot of budget and full service business hotels should adopt to increase their profit margins. It can help in reducing management time and effort, can bring down capital expenditures, and can help in reducing operating costs,” averred Gaurav Wattal, Director of Operations at JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu. “ O u t s o u rc i n g h e l p s i n re d u c i n g manpower and training costs,” stated Sunil Bhatia, Director, Sales & Marketing, The Mirador Hotel, Mumbai. “ O n e of t h e m a j o r re a s o n s fo r outsourcing certain services is to reduce the workload of our employees and to help them concentrate on the things that are directly engaged in hotel operations. Since we believe in offering the best services to our guests, it is only fair to leave some of the work to the experts. Another major advantage of outsourcing is that
a lot of time is saved through it if skilled manpower doesn’t have to be searched for and appointed by the hotel,” opined Kabir Mehra, General Manager — Eastin Residences Vadodara. “Outsourcing in hotels has the potential to be a systematic approach since in that case the HR of hotels have to focus only on employees directly engaged in hotel operations and guest satisfaction. The efficiency of regular employees also increases due to outsourcing,” Kabir elaborated further. “Advantages in outsourcing include reduction in fixed costs as for example having an in-house laundry would have cost us much more with regards to installation & maintenance costs, including the electricity consumption for the same,” explained Sanjay Menon — Front Office Manager, UTropicanaResort Alibaug, Maharashtra.
Other Side of the Coin While there are monetary and other potential advantages in outsourcing in hotels, there are also some potential disadvantages. So one has to weigh the pros and cons diligently before employing an outsourcing agency for hotels. Ashish listed the potential disadvantages, some of which are given here. “Outsourcing workforce tends to have less accountability with hotel as compared to the hotel’s regular employees as the former are not on the hotel’s payroll as employees. Moreover, it is difficult to have control on the outsourced labour. Safety and security concerns are also there in case of outsourced employees. It is also often difficult to train outsourced employees in soft skills for handling guest interactions. Iteration rate for outsourced employees is also high,” he pointed out.
Kabir Mehra “Outsourcing in hotels has to be selectively done and should not be employed in areas where safety and security of the guest is at stake. While cleaning of public areas can be outsourced, the cleaning of rooms should not be ideally outsourced as there the personnel have direct access to the guests’ property,” explained Meghana. “Though the service vendor is expected to verify the credentials of all the employed personnel, but this can be often bypassed, thus making outsourcing a grey area. Hence, the trust and dependability on the outsourced personnel is limited,” she added further. “The main problem with outsourcing is that the quality of service is often beyond our control; on time delivery is also a challenge,” expressed Sarosh. “There needs to be a strong emphasis on training for outsourced employees since the outsourced employees that are brought in may not have the experience necessary for the job. Training also needs to be provided to ensure that all employees deliver services of the same or similar standards, regardless of whether they are in-house or outsourced. Having a training program in place is necessary to assure quality standards are not lost. Clear and constant communication is needed in order to ensure that the third-party employees carry out the mission and goals of the hotel,” Jai averred. “While sourcing a portion of the staff from an outside company there is the possibility that a two-tiered system will be created when dealing with the two staffs. Assimilating both staffs together to create one team rather than two separate groups of personnel allows everyone to work together and focus on the same goal,” Jai explained further. “With outsourced employees, there is
Kamlesh Barot often no continuity as frequently the staff keeps changing and newer, disoriented staff, having no belongingness to the property, keeps coming in, creating problems in the quality of deliverables,” declared Kamlesh. Sanjay puts it in a nutshell by saying “Outsourcing does have the potential to affect safety, security and quality.” “The major disadvantages of outsourcing include lack of control as we cannot have full control over the quality of service that is being provided by the outsourced company. Especially on those services which are directly linked with the guests like laundry services. Also while outsourcing manpower, we tend to give out confidential data to the professionals, which could leak out,” elaborated Sanjay. “The major disadvantages in outsourcing for hotels include lack of control as we cannot closely monitor the quality of service that is being contracted to the outsourced company. This is especially true for services which directly involve
Hotel Business Review
i nte ra ct i o n w i t h t h e g u es ts s u c h as housekeeping, laundry services, concierge, etc. Also, while outsourcing for revenue management, information technology and other sensitive areas, we tend to give out confidential data to the outsourced professionals, which could be misused,” affirmed Kabir. “Disadvantages of outsourcing could also be that a lot of the times, the manpower employed is below the expectations of the management and that the manpower keeps changing since the outsourced agency rotates its employees between organisations and hence a lot of time is consumed in briefing the employees from scratch. Personal hygiene is also an area of concern in outsourcing, and we would not put our reputation at risk because of it,” noted Kabir further.
Services Outsourced Despite the potential disadvantages, many of the hotels in India outsource several services. The biggest push behind outsourcing is, undoubtedly, savings in terms of cost. Outsourcing is believed to get you talented people in a specialised area without carrying them on your payroll. This is highly beneficial, particularly for budget hotels. If as an hotelier owning a small budget hotel, you are installing a new computer system, you might have one IT person and outsource beyond that. It would give your hotel the benefit of maintaining competitive advantage when contending with larger competitors who have the budget, in-house skills and technology to
Sarosh Khatib do it alone. But all services in hotels cannot and shouldn’t be outsourced, for various reasons. So, what are the services normally outsourced by hotels and why? “Some of the commonly outsourced services in hotels are security, housekeeping, banquets, F&B service, maintenance, back of the house, travel desk, laundry and utility,” averred Kamlesh. “Typically services outsourced would be housekeeping services like public area cleaning, horticulture, laundry services, spa and salon services, kitchen stewarding, services pertaining to employee cafeteria, etc. Currently we have outsourced our F&B dining program, sales and marketing setup, outsourced the manpower for our horticulture, public area cleaning and kitchen stewarding. We tell the agencies of our expectations and they hire and train their team as per our requirements. The flip side is that there is sometimes inconsistency in the staff they provide,”
Hotel Business Review
proffered Gaurav. “The services outsourced by us at The Mirador Hotel Mumbai are laundry, spa, and security and also pest control services,” claimed Sunil. “The advantage of outsourcing is that you can leave the job to the specialists. The disadvantage is that one has to continually check on their quality,” he informed further. “Hotels can outsource any kind of services such as night cleaning, stewarding, window and chandelier cleaning, floor care, kitchen cleaning, security, laundry management, valet parking services, pool maintenance services, landscape maintenance services, equipment m a i nte n a n ce s e rv i ce s , m a i nte n a n ce contracts for air-conditioners or boilers, floral arrangements, services pertaining to information technology, loyalty program management, furniture, fixture & equipment p u rc h as i n g s e rv i ces a m o n g ot h e rs , ” expressed Sanjay. “The services that are being outsourced in hotels nowadays involve manpower of highly skilled and trained professionals who would be a great asset to the hotels,” he said. “ S e r v i c e s w h i c h a re g e n e ra l l y outsourced in hotels include cleaning and maintenance of public areas, including marble polishing, pest control, façade cleaning, laundry services, horticulture and floral arrangements,” conveyed Ashish. “At Hyatt Regency Pune, we have outsourced cleaning of public areas, floral arrangements, horticulture, pest controlling and façade cleaning. Outsourcing these services in housekeeping allows the d e p a rt m e nt to g et t h e j o b d o n e by professionally trained employees, thus increasing the quality and efficiency,”pointed out Ashish. “A l l s p e c i a l i s e d l a b o u r - i nte n s i ve functions in hotels where skilled and trained
manpower is essential, can be outsourced. Also, all functions which are not directly related to service operations but necessary for smooth functioning of the hotel, can be outsourced. For example, a hotel would outsource its EDP and IT requirements (non-core function) to a computer firm so that all Internet and Wi-Fi related queries can be directed to professionals. It saves time, energy and training resources,” expressed Meghana. “Our hotel, Marine Plaza Mumbai, outsources many multi-departmental functions like laundry, pest control, marble polishing and florist in housekeeping, car rentals in front office, AC servicing, painting /polishing in engineering, etc. The idea is to allow qualified professionals to perform the above functions thus saving on capital costs. This is essential for functioning in a metro city like Mumbai where space is at a premium and rentals are high, though this logic can be applied to smaller non-metro cities as well. A qualified professional is equipped with resources required to perform tasks. He/ she will also keep in touch with the latest trends and developments in his/her own fields thus allowing more freedom to hotel professionals,” Meghana elaborated.
“Like there are pros and cons to every situation so it is the same with outsourcing. While it allows more time, flexibility and lesser capital resources, it also comes with a greater direct cost as the supplier has to factor in his/her own profit and sustainability margins. It is then, up to the hotel management team to balance the cost versus utility aspect. It has to come up with a solution which works as a win-win situation for itself as well as for the service provider,” she analysed. “The Fern Hotels& Resorts, Pune being a budget hotel outsources laundry, IT services, car services to external vendors,” disclosed Sarosh. “It saves cost on purchase of equipments, employee salary, maintenance; space is also saved and is put to better use. Disadvantages are delay in delivery, at times, which can cause discomfort,” he pointed out. “Hotels normally outsource housekeeping of public spaces, kitchen stewarding, loss prevention & laundry. We, at Jaipur Marriott Hotel, also follow the same concept. These departments are partly outsourced with us as well,” informed Jai. ‘ S e r v i c e s l i k e l a u n d r y, s e c u r i t y, pest control, maintenance of exterior landscaping and kitchen stewarding need to be outsourced, and Eastin Residences also outsources these services,” asserted Kabir. Yes, there are pros and cons for hiring manpower in hotels from outsourcing agencies. While there is potential of cost saving, there is also the question of security and safety as well as quality of service being offered. For outsourcing, the hotel has to pay heed while selecting an appropriate agency to perform duties efficiently and costeffectively. It has also to ensure secrecy as far as outsourcing of revenue management and IT of the hotel is concerned. Read more about it ….in our next issue. n
Hotel Business Review
Hospitality It is a common knowledge that hospitality companies can enhance their market share and growth rates by increasing their brand loyality. This, in turn, can be achieved by introducing and continuing with customer-friendly schemes by the hospitality properties. Brand loyalty of existing guests is crucial for hotels and other hospitality properties because acquiring new customers is expensive than serving current customers. Ashok Malkani takes a look at the current branding scenario and various facets of brand promotion for the hospitality industry, in the Indian context.
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starting a major integration programme after its acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, said it would look at bringing more global brands from the combined entity to India to raise its market share in India’s hospitality sector. It may be recalled that the US-based hotel chain acquired Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide for 13 billion USD, making it the largest hotel chain in the world with over 5,800 properties within its ambit, across more than 110 countries. Following the acquisition, Marriott, with around 18,500 rooms in India, overtook the Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces to become the country’s largest hotel company. International hotel chains like Marriott, Carlson Rezidor and InterContinental Hotel Group are scaling up the number of properties in India by 2020, moving faster than their local rivals.
The Role of Branding
uilding a brand is an essential role of any reputed industrial house. Brand involves much more than a catchy slogan and/ or a memorable logo. Branding, according to experts, can increase the intrinstic value of the company concerned, can provide its employees with direction and motivation and can facilitate garnerning new customers. Today, it is easy to see why brands are more important than at any other time over the last century. Brands are psychology a n d s c i e n ce co m b i n e d to g et h e r a n d should reflect promise of a certain quality. Succinctly, it entails or rather should entail assured quality for the products coming under the brand. While products have life cycles, brands often outlive products. If brand is here, can branding be far behind? The objectives of branding, to put it
in a nutshell, are to build brand awareness, to create brand recall with a logo and an identity, to create brand loyalty, and to promote sales. These are very applicable for the hospitality industry too. Branding in this post-modern age has evolved into a complex but necessary reality in the highly competitive marketing world. As far as the hospitality industry is concerned, an established brand perhaps b e co m es t h e m o s t ess e nt i a l to o l to communicate its vision, values and mission. In an era when hotel companies are buying each other and the home sharing experience has taken over the online marketplace, the number of brands only seems to be growing. Hospitality properties have begun using brand as a tool to differentiate themselves and make smart business decisions. Marriott International Inc., which is
With increasing number of hotels in the Indian hospitality industry, brand promotion has become the order of the day. Pankaj Wadhwa, Director of Sales & Marketing, Sofitel Mumbai BKC, declared, “In the competitive hospitality industry, setting your company apart is crucial for establishing a firm customer base. Branding is a central component and a powerful tool of an effective marketing strategy.” “The purpose of branding is to help create an identity, which customers are expected to recognise. This identity should encourage them to return again and even recommend your business and services to others. Often hotels promote their brands with products like pillow mints, tea, and travel toiletries,” Pankaj stated. “The thing to remember in branding is that it must be consistent over time and across your entire business operations and marketing activities. Second, it is critical that you are aware of your target customers; and taking care of the smallest details to deliver the best of the product and services. Third, highlight the key differentiators of your brand as it attracts new customers and helps you retain them,” Pankaj observed. “Branding is one of the most essential activities for the hospitality industry. It is the basis on which the entire sales team can lay their foundation on. Branding gives the product an identity; it gives the hospitality property a face!” asserted A l ef i ya Ras h i q , Ass i s ta nt M a n a g e r –
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Marketing and Communications, Marriott Suites Pune. “Branding in hospitality should ensure that the value of a brand is created in the guests’ mind. Whenever a guest thinks of a brand name she/he should know what to expect out of it. For example, when someone thinks of Holiday Inn hotel they know that it will be a family-friendly hotel, their kids will have a great time and that it’s where they can do more of what they love. That is what branding does – it ensures that the guest knows what to expect out of a particular brand and creates a value for the brand,” averred Shipra Sumbly Kaul, General Manager, Holiday Inn Chennai OMR IT Expressway. “The main objective of any branding is to differentiate your product from that of your competitor’s. This in the context of the hospitality industry, should make your guests feel that you stand out,” stated Shipra. The standard of service provided should be the same across a given brand, which helps in building the brand image and to develop a brand personality. “Branding of hotels helps in increasing guests’ loyalty to the hotels when you build a value and come up with benefits for your guests. For example, all the hotels under IHG follow a loyalty program called IHG Rewards Club. This is the first loyalty program introduced in the Indian hospitality industry in 1983, and is running strong even today,” aired Shipra while adding, “We also come up with special packages for our guests.” “ Th e re m a r ka b l e g row t h of h ote l branding rests on the concept that brands
provide added value to both guests and hotel companies, in large part because they foster brand loyalty. Previously brand was identified of the elements that differentiated the goods and or service from the competition. Today brand is a bit more complex, but even more important in today’s world of marketing. Brand not only can create loyal customers, but it can create loyal employees. It helps them understand the purpose of the organisation and its business,” affirmed Sujeet Kumar, General Manager, Sheraton Grand Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway. “Brand awareness can give your business that ‘edge’ in making your customers aware of the extra value your company offers. Brand helps in differentiating a hotel’s product, which makes customers
feel easy to recognise products of genuine producers. It helps in the promotional activities such as advertisement; personal selling, publicity, sales promotion etc. Branding contributes to the increase in prestige, personality and status of producers, distributors, customers, etc.” According to him, paying attention to maintain quality of products with the given brand name is one of the main objectives of branding, the other being “increasing guest loyalty to brand or branded product.” “Value building of products is the other objective of branding. Branding also should promote the value of the products to the guests,” Sujeet stated.
Developing Brand Image While a brand can mean several things to different people, how does one build a successful brand? This question assumes significant relevance in the context of Indian hospitality industry. “These days, to promote a brand, a 360 degree approach has to be adopted, which includes engaging both traditional as well digital media,” stated Alefiya. “A brand is a name, term, sign, symbol, design or a combination of these elements intended to identify the products or services of a seller and differentiate them from the products and services of its competitors. A successful brand strategy uses various marketing principles and follows certain steps in order to achieve its objectives,” aired Pankaj. “Branding by Sofitel Hotels & Resorts across the globe is governed by standards and guidelines issued by the AccorHotels’
Business head office in France. This ensures that the DNA, values and principles of the brand are consistently showcased through all properties,” he aired. “The ethos and spirit of a brand, is a long-term creation that does not fade over time, if pursued rightly. Brands should reside in the mind of the consumer, and most brands compete for that space. It is very important to keep a brand consistent, active and alive to ensure its positioning. At Sofitel Luxury hotels, we are known globally for our sense of the finer things in life, personalised service and our integration of local culture with French attributes. This is what our customers seek and this is what we deliver them,” asserted Pankaj. According to Alefiya, “The basic steps for creating a brand image are identification of the key target audience, market research, defining your key goals and key unique selling points, developing a marketing strategy, and working on the brand voice and message.” “If you want your enterprise to stand
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Shipra Sumbly Kaul out in the business world, distinguishing itself from its competitors and carving out a niche in the industry, you need to have a cohesive plan for branding your business,” declared Sujeet. “It requires careful planning and a lot of introspective thought about what makes your business special and what
separates it from its rivals. Branding is all about fostering an identity for your company. The brand image consists of various associations in consumers’ mind, which include attributes and benefits. Brand attributes are the functional and mental connections with the brand that the customers have. They can be specific or conceptual. Brand attributes are consumers’ overall assessment of a brand. Benefits are the rationale for the purchase decision. There are three types of benefits: Functional benefits, emotional benefits, and rational benefits,” elaborated Sujeet further. “To promote any brand it is important to understand what you are catering to or who your target audience is. It is also important to know what your brand is all about and what do you want to communicate,” disclosed Shipra. “Hotels use various methods to develop and maintain a brand’s image in the industry and research is a vital factor amongst the strategies. Any guest chooses a hotel or any other experiential service for variety of reasons – be it location,
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facilities, offers, loyalty programs and so on. Hotels have to first be sure that they are providing their target guests what they are looking for and this requires extensive research and understanding of guests’ needs,” analysed Shipra. “Hotels also have to ensure that their product and offers are known in the market. If potential guests do not know about a service, they can’t make use of it. We make sure that the information of our hotel is easy to find and updated,” she pointed out further. “Other than research and awareness, good relationship with guests is important to foster brand image. A guest is looking for a place where they feel comfortable. Not only does this create a word-of-mouth branding but also create a good base of loyal guests,” Shipra opined.
One Group, Many Brands There has been a crowding of hospitality brands in the country over the last decade, creating a proliferation of options for the travellers. While the number of brand names in the Indian hospitality industry has increased, the number of holding companies has decreased. The question that arises in an individual’s mind is why does one company has so many brands? Pankaj claims that the reason for one holding company having several brands is to capture the breadth of the market. He stressed that reputed hospitality chains expand in each category to attract target customers for different price points. “The branding process in this case becomes
Sujeet Kumar all the more important as it is critical for customers to receive and understand pivotal insights on a brand and thereafter take a decision to choose their stay,” added Pankaj. “Though several brands maybe part of the same hospitality group, each brand should have its own identity within the larger umbrella company,” observed Sujeet. “Hospitality groups have come to understand that there are different types of guests and every guest has different sets of needs. Hence, they came up with different brands to fulfill the needs of different sections or profiles of guests,” explained Shipra. “For example, IHG has different brands under its roof such as InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, and Holiday Inn Express (amongst the brands present
in India). The guest needs for all these brands are different. InterContinental caters to luxury segment, Crowne Plaza caters to business needs, Holiday Inn caters to family-friendly environment, and Holiday Inn Express is for smart travellers where they get everything they want and nothing they don’t,” she inferred. “In terms of branding of these different brands of the same hospitality group, there are different standards and guidelines to be followed. Also, the messaging is different as the target group differs,” pointed out Shipra. “Several brands belong under one hospitality group for a simple reason. It enables the hospitality group to cater to a wide variety of guests, be it an upscale business traveller, or a family looking for an affordable leisure getaway. It increases the number of options available to a traveller, and he (or she) can make an informed decision as per his/her preferences,” asserted Alefiya. “I may add that the number of hospitality brands in the Indian market will continue to increase; however, it doesn’t mean that the importance of an older brand will diminish. At the end of the day, the brand which understands the needs of its target audience and has cracked the right messaging will survive,” aired Alefiya.
Brand Loyalty With so much attention being paid to brands by the hospitality groups, one wonders whether the traveller goes out of his/her way to find accommodation in a hospitality property of a particular brand? How far is the concept of brand loyalty valid? “Guests prefer a hotel where they feel comfortable and at ease. They repeatedly visit the same hotel only because they have had made a connection with the product and the team. Any hotel’s team is the core reason why any guest prefers to visit the hotel more than once. If a guest is not treated well, he/she is not likely to return,” asserted Shipra. “At Holiday Inn Chennai, we have had many occasions where we made connections with a guest and whenever they travel to Chennai, they prefer staying with us. This is especially true for long stay guests. We have become the preferred hotel in Chennai for many of our guests. They feel at home with us and they want to come back every time they are in Chennai as they appreciate the team’s efforts to
Business make things comfortable for them,” she elaborated further. “Many of today’s travellers are ‘smart travellers’. They know exactly what they want while travelling. They also know their choices better and will ensure that they are met. These smart travellers will thus go out of their way to find accommodation in a brand that they prefer,” claimed Alefiya. “As far as our hotel is concerned, I may mention that Marriott Suites Pune is an all-suite hotel, which offers all the luxuries of a personalised five-star stay experience through furnished and serviced suites. Some of our guests who visit Pune for longer durations only prefer to stay with us owing to the ‘home away from home’ feeling and due to the variety of recreational and dining options that the hotel has to offer,” she disclosed. “While we strive to build brand loyalty by offering various loyalty benefits, it is difficult to say whether a particular guest will or will not choose only our hotel chain,” observed Sujeet pragmatically.
Branding Strategies So, what are the branding strategies that are adopted by hotels to get guest loyalty? “Branding strategies are different from hotel to hotel. It is however, based upon research, awareness and guest loyalty. All hospitality brands should come up with a particular offer or promotion post research and then ensure that awareness is created for the particular offer,” expressed Shipra. “For rooms at Holiday Inn Chennai, our main focus is on corporate houses as the hotel is strategically located on the IT corridor of the city in Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR) and it is easily accessible from most of the offices,” she added. “Even for food and beverage the hotel is conveniently situated for guests from city as well as for those who are headed to the tourist spots like Mahabalipuram and Pondicherry. Hence, we came up with an offer for bikers called ‘Riders Breakfast.’ We have a healthy spread of breakfast for all and the interesting part is that guests can actually choose to weigh what they are eating and check the nutritional facts of each dish on the buffet. The Enfield, Harley Davidson and cycle riders get the buffet at a special price and also a parking spot at our porch for their vehicle,” Shipra informed. “Similarly all hotels should come up with strategies as per their guest profile, location, etc.” aired Shipra.
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“A well-managed brand always makes adjustments. Successful brands don’t cling to the old ways just because they have worked in the past; instead, they try to reinvent themselves by being flexible which frees them to be more savvy and creative. The market is always big enough for new players to improve on what you deliver,” Sujeet surmised.
Hotel Branding has Promise
Pankaj Wadhwa “In a situation where you are selling to multiple personalities, it is best to first connect everyone on a common ground then articulate clearly what is in it for each of them. The goal here is to stimulate an engaging conversation that allows us to change perceptions, diagnose expectations and bring clarity to the dialogue. It is only by defining your brand strategy that allows you to utilise marketing, advertising, public relations and social media to consistently and accurately reinforce your character,” remarked Sujeet. “Sheraton Grand Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway defines its brand with its authenticity, the core purpose, vision, mission, position, values and character. Consistency in your message is the key to differentiate. Another factor is connecting on an emotional level. We need to provide our guests something that satisfies not only their physical needs but also their emotional needs and their need to identify themselves to a brand,” he affirmed.
The future of branded hotels also seems to be promising in India. Not only there is a plethora of hotel brands floating in the Indian hospitality market, but many standalone independent hospitality properties in the country are coming under the ambit of branding. “Many hotel brands are coming up recently and we expect many more to come. For example, IHG is also focusing on more Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels as those are the preferred brands by most of our guests,” voiced Shipra. “Social media is the way that people let others know how they feel about you. With guest reviews becoming a huge reality, you can also use them to promote your brand, keeping it foremost in the public’s consciousness through a constant presence on Facebook, Twitter, and all of the other popular social media sites. With advanced software comes better communication between managers, employees, and guests. Faster service means greater guest satisfaction. Using the technology intelligently can mean reduced lines at the reception desk, increased associate productivity, the ability to track guest preferences through their reviews, and less human error. However, no matter how efficient the technology, at the end of the day the guests want the human experience. And this experience, when handled wisely, marks the true spirit of hospitality,” Sujeet analysed. “Research data suggests that around 25 percent of the Indian hotel industry falls under the branded category unlike 40 percent in major developed economies. Owing to higher disposable incomes, deeper penetration of technology, greater awareness and reach, there has been a flight of customers from the unbranded hotel segment to the branded hotel segment, globally. Most major hotel chains like AccorHotels and other international hospitality chains have been aiming to capture this branded segment and will continue to do so,” summed up Pankaj. n
The Silvertips Munnar
Hotel Business Review
Exploring Bollywoodthemed Hospitality By Swarnendu Biswas
t d o es n ’ t d es e rve a m e nt i o n t h at Bollywood and cricket are two of the important unifying factors in India’s diversified cultural cosmos. The appeal of many of the Bollywood’s evergreen popular movies, some of its iconic and popular stars, some of its evergreen songs and dialogues is not only limited to India, but is very much evident among the vast swathes of NRIs spread across the globe. So it is about time our hospitality industry explores more proactively the not only pan-Indian but even international appeal of Bollywood by coming up with Bollywood-themed hotels and resorts. At the very outset, I want to affirm that it is not a novel idea in our country; India already has at least one hospitality property built on similar if not exactly on the same lines. The Silvertips Munnar, located at the heart of Munnar, a scenic hill station in Kerala, is a movie-themed resort. It stands on the grounds of the first full-fledged cinema hall in Munnar; built during the British era in the early 1900s. Though a movie-themed resort is much more generic in character and is not exactly
the same as a Bollywood-themed hotel or resort, but the given property can easily act as an inspiration to many enterprising hoteliers thinking of cashing in on the perennial popularity of Bollywood to garner lucrative revenues. According to the The Silvertips Munnar’s website, “When you walk-in, you are transported to a simulated movie-themed atmosphere; the regal lobby celebrates
the historic Hindi movie, Mughal-e-Azam, the decor and props in the coffee shop celebrate, ‘Sound of Music’. When you walk to the restaurant, ‘Mayabazar’, the decor and interiors of the famed mythological movie of the 60s beckons you.” Here it deserves a mention that one of the restaurants of the resort named Mayabazar, is based and themed on a 1957 mythological Telugu film. The film
The Silvertips Munnar
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Vishal Kamat is considered as one of the important classics of Indian cinema. The restaurant’s interiors, the furnishings, furniture, the colour coordinates and the overall effect are a replica of the opulent setting of a palace in the movie. But the need is to have many more Bollywood-themed hotels and resorts, preferably each refreshingly different from the other in terms of décor, ambience and focus. They can emphasise on some special feature/s of Bollywood or on some iconic stars of our favourite Mumbai film industry.
The Two Approaches There are various ways to develop a Bollywood-themed hospitality property. One of them is to have rooms dedicated to iconic Bollywood personalities like Madhuri Dixit, Madhubala, Amitabh Bachchan, Dev Anand, Raj Kapoor, RD Burman, Lata Mangeshkar, etc., who are/were not merely immensely popular in their prime time, but are recognised as legends with their mass appeal transcending across generations. In this approach, every room of the hospitality property can be dedicated to a given iconic Bollywood personality. Each of the room could have life size posters, dialogues, silver screen images, and uncommon facts, statistics and memorabilia associated with a given iconic Bollywood personality. Furthermore, each room should have the provision (not mandatory; only provision) of playing movies/songs associated with the given
iconic Bollywood personality 24/7, through a plasma television. If one takes this route, the number of the rooms of the hotel or the resort (or retreat for that matter) shouldn’t be more than 20-25 for there are not many iconic personalities in Bollywood (this is true for every film industry; the iconic personalities in every sphere of life are extremely few and far between). Another approach can have each of the room of the property dedicated to an immensely famous film of Bollywood. For example, if the property is a fourstoried one, the ground floor can be dedicated to some immensely famous films of the 40s and earlier, the first storey could be dedicated to some immensely famous films of the 50s, the second storey can be dedicated to some immensely famous films of the 60s, the third storey can be dedicated to some immensely famous films of the 70s(the decade when the creative excellence at Bollywood was perhaps at its peak). The fourth storey can be dedicated to the immensely famous films of the 80s to the present day; the era where mediocrity in Bollywood is more prevalent than class. I have chosen the word famous instead of popular, for there are quite a few iconic and world renowned films in Bollywood, which were super flops at the time of their release. Of course, as is evident, this second suggested model can be more suitable for a multistoried leisure hotel comprising more than 100 rooms. Here each room of the hotel can have posters, screen images and dialogues, etc. associated with a given immensely famous film. Furthermore, each room should have a plasma television, with the provision of playing movies/songs of the given film and other famous films and their songs from the same era 24/7. “It would be truly attractive if rooms & suites of hospitality properties could be named after Bollywood actors and actresses and the interiors of the rooms and suites are designed accordingly. We are talking about an expensive project here as everything created will be ideally themed around Bollywood. Hence the pricing of this hospitality property would have to be very sensible,” opined Soraya Rebello, the Vice-President, —Strategic Operations, Jakson Hospitality (P) Ltd. “I personally believe that it has to be
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more of a ‘Bollywood-themed Park Resort’ rather than just a hotel/resort. The park resort should have all sorts of Bollywood themes, and should showcase the journey of the evolution of Bollywood. Weekly or monthly events having celebrity hosts/ guests would be most important,” pointed out Soraya. “In these types of properties, packages should vary depending upon the room type & the F&B inclusions. Celebrity testimonials and their presence will also be a very crucial marketing tool,” she asserted.
Food, Beverage and Bollywood These proposed hospitality properties can also house restaurants themed on B o l l ywo o d , w h e re B o l l ywo o d ca n b e represented through the restaurant’s ambience and décor. Of course, such restaurants should play hit Bollywood numbers during their operational hours. Preferably, in the morning and noon, they can play peppy Bollywood numbers, in the evening and twilight they can play serious, romantic numbers from the Mumbai film industry, and in the night they can play sensual or ‘naughty’ songs from Bollywood. The culinary focus of such restaurants should preferably be Indian cuisine or more specifically, Mumbai street cuisine, which this writer feels would gel with the theme of those restaurants. “Starting a Bollywood-themed restaurant within a hospitality property certainly has its own advantages, as Bollywood celebs come with a huge fan following. Linking any restaurant either to Bollywood or to a Bollywood celebrity certainly helps create a buzz and facilitates to make the restaurant to become the talk of the town,” opined Vishal Kamat, the Director of Kamat Group. “ Th e p o p u l a r i ty of t h e B o l l ywo o d
The Silvertips Munnar
Soraya Rebello celebrities can positively impact the entire image of the restaurant. However, there are not many restaurants/ hotels who have adopted this concept, perhaps owing to constant changes in the Bollywood trends. For a restaurant like this to stay in the market, they need to adapt to constant changes in the Bollywood industry to keep the buzz alive,” observed Kamat. The Bollywood-themed restaurant can also extend the theme to its F&B offerings. For example, what about a cake with edible images of Sholay’s iconic characters, or cutlery showing images of the pivotal characters of 3 Idiots? Kamat however felt that though F&B offerings based on famous Bollywood stars can be fascinating at first but it may not work in the long-term.
The Need for Interaction However, for Bollywood-themed hospitality properties, it would be greatly helpful towards strengthening the theme and thereby garnering more popularity and footfall for those properties, if these
hospitality properties ensure the visit of Bollywood celebrities of present and previous generation/s from time to time(in exchange for a fee of course), say once in a month, at their properties. The Bollywood celebrities should preferably mingle with the guests and spend some hours with them; while sharing their interesting career experiences, some anecdotes, etc It would be profitable if the dates of the arrival of the Bollywood celebrities to the hospitality properties are not announced beforehand, but the guests and potential guests are supplied with the knowledge that on any one day of a given month, a given Bollywood celebrity would come and spend time with the guests. The ‘Celebrity of the Month’ however, should ideally be announced and promoted beforehand to generate more interest among her/his fan following, thus augmenting the potential of more footfalls to those hospitality properties. Without the attraction of personal interaction of Bollywood celebrities with guests, the additional benefit or the USP of the Bollywood-themed hospitality properties may have the possibility of ebbing away in the long-run. The Bollywood-themed hospitality properties may continue to earn impressive revenues if they offer personalised service, comprehensive state-of-the-art facilities (in terms of rooms, MICE infrastructure, spa, etc.) and great food & beverage, but the ‘additional marketing edge’ of cashing in on the popularity of Bollywood, its evergreen films and iconic artists would decline over the course of time if the time to time direct interaction between the stars and the guests are not being maintained by the Bollywoodthemed properties concerned.
In-house Theatre Moreover, ideally Bollywood-themed hotels and resorts should also have an in-house movie theatre, playing renowned Bollywood movies on a regular basis. The viewing of the movies can be included in the guests’ package to attract more guests to these proposed properties. “An in-house movie theatre would also be an added advantage in Bollywood-themed hotels and resorts. The opening shows of new movie launches with the celebrity actor being part of the audience can be a savvy option to explore,” Soraya proffered. But it should be noted that for having an in-house movie theatre, the concerned hotels and resorts would be needed to be built across a significantly big real estate. n
Hotel Business Review
Design By Sharmila Chand
t is well-known that today’s high-end eateries in the Indian food service industry need more than great food and excellent services to make a lasting impression on their customers. This is not only true for fine dining restaurants but also for casual dining restaurants across the Indian food service industry, especially those outlets which are located in metros and other big cities of the country. This of course, also includes restaurants housed within hotels. C l assy res tau ra nts s h o u l d p rov i d e not only pleasant but also wonderful experiences which can remain in the memories of patrons for a long time to come. And in this endeavour, design of the restaurants plays a crucial role. Let us have a look at some top restaurant design trends in the Indian food service industry, which are making huge impacts in contributing to the dining experience.
Designing Excellence “Every aspect of restaurant’s ambience and decor, including walls, ceilings, floors, furniture, lighting, and even the music can contribute towards the dining experience,” stated Rajesh Khanna, F&B Head, The
Metropolitan Hotel & Spa. “Our Japanese restaurant Sakura is decorated in a contemporary Japanese manner, creating a visual effect of serenity and relaxation. The artistic integrity of this world-class Japanese restaurant facilitates the guests to a spiritual and a purifying experience; involving all the senses,” affirmed Khanna. “ O u r ce l e b rat e d w o r l d c u i s i n e restaurant Zing is young and bright, with a poolside view. It serves international cuisine. It is our all-day world cuisine restaurant featuring an international platter, set to tantalise the taste buds,” he pointed out. He informed that Zing had live cooking stations. “At our Banjara, the multi-cuisine re s t a u ra n t , d e co r b l e n d s w e l l w i t h cuisines. It has a 22 ft. high ceiling with a hundred and sixty-degree view to curate a memorable dining experience,” informed
Hotel Business Review
Sanjay Solanki, F&B Manager, Goldfinch Hotel Mumbai.
Prevailing Trends Khanna cited a few trends, which according to him, are some of the top restaurant design trends pervading through the Indian food service industry. “Innovative design concepts not only place restaurants distinctly from the crowd but they give customers a wonderful experience from the moment they step in at the restaurant to the moment they leave with memories,” proffered Khanna who believes that the design of the restaurant should relate to its culinary focus. “A beautiful painting, an intriguing sculpture, a dramatic mural, digital art, graffiti or a famous quote on a wall —these can be some of the eye-catching design elements which tell a story and cause memorable emotional responses which are
Tushar Jain expected to help in engaging customers,” Khanna offered. “Furthermore, ambient lighting such as pendant lamps, recessed mood lighting, and customised lights create a sophisticated and alluring atmosphere that attracts customers and add to their dining experience,” aired Khanna. Khanna also voted for open kitchen. “This trend of open kitchen is several years old and still going strong, in the realm of Indian food service industry. It blurs the lines between the front and the back of the house. An exposed kitchen has nothing to hide & also serves as a source of entertainment for patrons, who get to see how a restaurant kitchen operates and how their food is being made,” he elaborated. Acco rd i n g to S o l a n k i , a m o n g t h e restaurant design trends that are making huge impacts in contributing to the dining experience in the Indian food service industry is concept-based restaurants, where the cuisine served in the restaurant and the interior of the restaurant gel well. “Use of ambient lighting, which is
very important while dining, use of simple technology in designs and at the same time having casual and chic design in restaurants are some of the prevailing restaurant design trends in the Indian restaurant business,” Solanki stated. Tushar Jain, Co-Founder, The Minnions Café, Delhi, also talked about some hot and happening restaurant design trends in the Indian food service industry. “Themed outlets, unique and creative idea of serving, catchy spots at the outlets and unique cutlery and crockery are some of the trends which are making impacts in contributing to the dining experience in the Indian food service industry,” he conveyed. Gautam Chaudhry, Managing Director, Demiurgic Hospitality Pvt. Ltd. also gave his expert observations on restaurant design trends, which are pervading through the Indian food service industry. “Usage of soft colours is an ongoing restaurant design trend in the Indian food service industry. Soft colours are soothing and create a pleasing atmosphere. Another happening trend is ambient lighting. Surroundings in the restaurant can be made more lively with the use of ambient lighting. It helps establish a co-relation between aesthetics and food,” he elaborated. According to Chaudhry, themed or concept furniture is another important restaurant design trend of the Indian food service industry, of the present times. “It provides an opportunity for the restaurant to showcase the theme properly. Furniture is usually planned keeping in mind the comfort
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of the customer,” Chaudhry averred. According to him, appropriate music in sync with the theme of the restaurant, and staff uniform reflecting the theme and image of the restaurant are the other happening trends in the Indian restaurant business that are contributing to the design element of the restaurants.
Pragmatic Tips Khanna gave a few tips to enhance restaurants’ design and décor. “It is crucial to create an atmosphere in your restaurant that is conducive to the type of food that you serve, as well as to the types of customers that you attract. Every detail in your action should contribute to the restaurant’s ambience,” opined Khanna. For example, the design of the restaurant should also be extended to its menu. “Take a look at your menus. Do they reflect the atmosphere of your restaurant or just words written on a paper?” questioned Khanna with relevance. Similarly, cutlery and crockery of the restaurant should be part of its design elements. “The dishes, silverware and
Rajesh Khanna linens, etc. at the restaurant should add to the restaurant’s ambience and decor. Using mundane white plates and polyester napkins will contribute towards dampening the atmosphere. Think about what types of plates and glasses would support your restaurant concept and add something different to the dining experience,” he elaborated further. “A restaurant should understand its
guests’ sitting requirements, for example, whether they are comfortable sitting in open space or private tables. Sitting makes a huge difference while dining,” proffered Solanki. He also rightly emphasised on cleanliness. “No matter whichever design and decor we use until cleanliness is not our priority then nothing could be highlighted through design in the restaurant,” Solanki noted. Chaudhry also gave some tips to enhance restaurants’ design and décor. “There should be a touch of green in the restaurant’s decor; it gives a feeling of freshness and serves as an essential part of the décor. Use of wood should be there in the restaurant design. Wood has the potential to absorb noise and gives a soft feel to the space. And most importantly, the restaurant’s design should do justice to its concept. The restaurateur needs to provide a link between the concept of the restaurant, food, theme and décor,” he elaborated. Jain gave three tips on enhancing the restaurant design. “Focus on simple elegance, have some quirky elements in the design, and make it youth-friendly,” he asserted. n
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Hotel Business Review
Restaurants By Sharmila Chand
enovating restaurants is essential to spruce up their image and attract more clients, which can benefit both their owner/s and their customers. However, the entire process often does cost not so insignificant resources, which is why it is recommended to have a strategy in place to guide successfully throughout the whole renovation process. Even if the restaurants have been doing good business, sometimes it is necessary to give them the right facelift, say experts. This is also true for restaurants housed within hotels and resorts. I talked with some industry experts regarding restaurant renovation. They also gave tips to renovate restaurants successfully and talked about challenges involved towards this endeavour.
Factors to Consider “Having a systematic plan is the first step towards renovation of restaurants. Remodeling projects always tend to cost
more than what they are being expected. So having a budget for your restaurant renovation requires special attention. Professional assistance too is required,” explained Simran Dhingra, Co- Founder of Twist at DLF Cyber Hub, Gurgaon. “There is no set pattern as such to renovation of restaurants but it has its limitations to it as it is not a bare shell that you are working upon,” proffered Joy Singh, Co-Founder, Raasta, New Delhi. “The restaurant renovation is an element of basic hygiene. Don’t wait until the place becomes so run down that it is crying for help. Re-evaluate the restaurant’s appearance and ambience every five to seven years and then decide if some light updating or heavy renovations are needed,” advised Saurabh Khanijo, MD, Kylin. “While renovating restaurants, try to avoid changing the kitchen location as it will increase the hassle of changing the gas pipelines. One of the most important things
is to be sure if one wants to change the location of the bar and alcohol storage as changing these in India requires new plans to be made and sent to the concerned government departments,” Joy elaborated. “If you haven’t renovated for many years, you may require a thorough redo rather than adding just a twist. When deciding on a final design, you have to know what type of clientele you want to attract,” Simran added further. “The new interiors play a major role in the renovation. It is very important that the new interiors look different from the old but at the same time it is very important to have a connect so that people notice and realise the transformation,” pointed out Joy. “For the renovation to be successful, lighting needs to be perfect as lighting plays a major role in the visual appeal, especially at night,” Joy observed while adding, “When renovating it is important to give attention to human resource because if they are
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happy the outlet will also do well.” “Restaurant renovation should be done keeping in mind the trends. Moreover, decide on how you want your restaurant to look like. You must be very clear in your mind about the interiors and design of the restaurant beforehand,” Saurabh aired. “Since renovation needs big investment, get your financing in order before you start your restaurant renovation project,” Saurabh aired. “Find an experienced and good contractor for the renovation of your restaurant. Choosing a contractor who has worked on other restaurants will make it likely that the project stays on time and within your budget,” he averred. “Try not to shut the restaurant for re n ovat i o n , fo r yo u wo u l d n ot wa nt your customers to know that your restaurant has been shut for a long time. Also, shutting down the restaurant for renovation can mean a loss of revenue. You can renovate your restaurant/s in part/s/ section/s to avoid this,” conveyed Saurabh. “Bringing change as per guests’ liking is important in restaurant renovation. Smart designing of key elements which add value to the customers’ dining experience need to be incorporated, while keeping in line with the expense incurred to create it and the return on such investment,” expressed Aroop Chatterjee, F&B Manager, Four Points By Sheraton Hotel & Serviced Apartments, Pune. According to him, market trends and competition also have to be taken into account while undertaking restaurant’s renovation.
majority of the clientele of the restaurant may be used to a certain type of ambience and a major change in that in a rush to remodel can often lead to losing the restaurant’s important client base. A major change in restaurant’s ambience and décor through restaurant renovation can lead to a sense of uncertainty, and can lead to a mixed reception among the guests,” affirmed Simran. “Also limited budget allocation can pose to be a snag as it limits the scale at which renovation needs to be done,” she added further. “There are a few challenges when it comes to restaurant renovation. First and foremost is the timeline as most of the real estate owners don’t give a rent free time or compensation for renovation so timelines need to be adhered to and planning needs to be perfect, especially for restaurants on rented space,” explained Joy. “Secondly, the contractor needs to be efficient and ideally all the relevant procurement pertaining to renovation
should happen before the restaurant renovation begins. This will save a lot of time. And the most important are the finances. It is important to keep finances handy so that there is no delay and the quality is not compromised. Even during the renovation process, the business of the restaurant often keeps running, so it is important to keep these challenges in mind and deal with them very carefully,” he elaborated further. “The key challenges towards restaurant renovation include defining the customers’ expectation/s exactly and aligning it/them with the key features of your product to ensure the dining experience is fulfilling,” averred Aroop. “Enhancing the dining experience while keeping in line with the constant change in customer’s behavioural patterns and expectations is another challenge towards restaurant renovation as is prioritising an avenue which involves least investment but entails higher return on investment,” affirmed Aroop. “Sometimes we go overboard with money and time, and are not able to finish the project within the allocated budget and time. This can be one of the pitfalls in a restaurant renovation exercise,” disclosed Saurabh. “Another challenge that the restaurant industry faces while renovating restaurants is that diners want a restaurant’s design to be in line with its cuisine, so restaurant designers and architects are geared to meet diners’ expectations while also satisfying the vision of the restaurant owner. Balancing them at the same time can often be a challenge towards restaurant renovation,” Saurabh pointed out. n
Challenges to Renovate There are challenges involved in restaurant renovation, of course. “Sometimes the
Hotel Business Review
The Age of Personalised Housekeeping
Housekeeping in the Indian hospitality industry is now being perceived beyond cleaning and the so called non-core tasks that the housekeeping staff performs play an important role in creating the wow factor for the guests and help them develop an attachment to the team and the brand By Jyotismita Sharma
here is no denying the fact that a welloiled housekeeping department could facilitate to drive a hotel or any other hospitality property to cross new frontiers of fame and fortune. This is one department that starts taking care of the guests even before their arrival. The engagement of the housekeeping department of hospitality properties – both direct and indirect – with the guests during their stay could be even more crucial. Because of their access to the rooms and routine cleaning services, they often become the guests’ focal point of interaction with the property, and also in some cases, with the destination in which the property is located. For, it is only natural for a guest to ask the housekeeping staff anything about the place or the property when they come to deliver their routine or a specific service. But how exactly does the engagement of the housekeeping staff with the guests starts even before their arrival? With all the advanced communication technology in place, the housekeeping staff of a given hospitality property, just like the front office staff, can have information about the guests even before they step into the property, and work towards offering them a perfect
welcome. In doing so, they can do beyond what is expected of them. For example, if the guest is coming with an infant, the housekeeping staff can make sure that there is a cot in the room with fresh linen. If they are travelling with young children, a small toy on the bed or providing game options can increase the satisfaction of those guests several fold. Even creating fun towel folds and placing
them at the end of their bed can excite the kids. And as for the adults, some fresh flower stems can spread the warmth. Be sure, these simple things can go a long way in tying the guests in the knot of loyalty to the hospitality property.
Keys to Connect It is now widely accepted that the noncore tasks that the housekeeping staff of hospitality properties undertake can provide the key towards making an emotional connect with the guests which helps build brand loyalty. Some of these non-core activities that the housekeeping staff of hospitality properties may do include observing small details about the guests and creating personalised room settings, pointed out Avinash Dev, Executive Housekeeper, Grand Mercure Mysuru. “These personalised services help in creating everlasting memories for the guests during their stay at the property. At Grand Mercure Mysuru we firmly believe that warm hospitality and efficient services make guests feel special and make them come back to the property. Our team’s endeavour is to exceed our guest expectations by creating memorable experiences,” Avinash said,
Subhajit Mitra adding that the housekeeping department in hospitality these days is no longer only a cleaning-based department. “Housekeepers have come a long way in contributing to delightful guest experiences. We encourage our team members to interact with our guests and learn about their likes and dislikes to enhance their experience at the hotel. Housekeeping department is not only an expense department but we also aim to create memories and help in achieving the highest possible customer satisfaction index through it,” he asserted. Subhajit Mitra, Executive Housekeeper, Holiday Inn Mumbai International Airport, said that the hotel staff tries to understand the non-verbal communications and pay close attention to the preferences made by the guests, and endeavours to exceed the guests’ expectations.“We ensure that the housekeeping staff is continually updated and obtain the guest’s preferences,” Subhajit added. “We are committed towards providing the best of the hospitality services to our guests and therefore, it is inevitable that we perform various functions besides our core responsibilities,” he said. In fact, taking ownership of the guests’ problem/s, wherever possible, even if it does not pertain to their respective department, and responsibly offering solutions to support
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and help the guests show that the guests are cared and valued. It offers guests comfort and satisfaction and a faith in the hospitality brand’s commitment to serve with the best of their efforts. “The non-core activities play a vital role in building a long-term relationship with each guest. The proactive spirit of our staff has received appreciation from guests and has ensured customer loyalty, especially from business travellers,” Subhajit conveyed. Abhishek Singh, Housekeeping Manager, Novotel Imagica Khopoli in Maharashtra, said housekeeping in the Indian hospitality industry these days is not limited to just ensuring cleanliness. According to Abhishek, small touch points like recognising the guests by their names, meeting and communicating with guests in their leisure time without intruding their privacy, customising room setting for guests with small flower arrangements, mailing the guests personally for their left-out belongings, and offering special amenities and take away for children can help ensure a delightful experience for the guests. “ Th es e n o n - co re a ct i v i t i es of t h e housekeeping staff play an important role in creating the wow factor for the guest and help her/him develop an attachment to the team and the brand,” Singh said. Recounting how customised service creates delightful experience, Abhishek narrated what went into making a guest, who was 6 feet and 9 inch tall and would not fit the standard size of the bed, happy. “We customised the length of the inhouse bed to accommodate him and make him feel comfortable. When he checked-in he was elated to see the customised bed,” Abhishek recollected. “For long stayers, we add an extra wardrobe to accommodate their luggage, and in-house customised racks have been installed for their toiletries and shoes,” he added.
Daily Challenges While the housekeeping staff at hospitality properties do often go beyond the call of
Avinash Dev their duty to ensure a pleasant stay for their guests, the housekeeping department of hospitality properties, which rely considerably on the passion and performance of each of its employees for meeting the everexpanding expectations of the guests, faces myriad challenges on a daily basis. One of them is the high rate of attrition. And another is cost management as the housekeeping department, despite its stellar contribution to building guest loyalty, is still by and large seen as an expense department in the Indian hospitality industry “As an Executive Housekeeper, I believe maintaining quality of manpower within budget constraint is a key challenge. It needs planning and constructive training for the manpower to be industry-ready and become quality-driven housekeepers,” Subhajit pointed out. The mounting guest expectations may also add to the pressure of performing. “One of the challenges we face in Grand Mercure Mysuru is continual generation of ideas towards development of new concepts to enhance guest delight,” Avinash observed. “For this we continually work towards intra-departmental competitions to explore new ideas that can create wow moments and memories for our guests so that we can connect and create meaningful experiences,” he pointed out. n
Destination for the Soul By Swarnendu Biswas
n India’s fast evolving and diversified hospitality industry, one of the ways to stand out from the crowd is to effectively tap the tourism and hospitality potential of many offbeat but fascinating locales of our country. It is about time, we have more hospitality properties at lesser known but highly tourism worthy regions of the country, which eventually would give an impetus to our hospitality industry by endowing it with more breadth as well as depth, and of course, with more revenue earning potential. Another way to stand out by offering to the guests something different from the mundane opulence and run-of-the-mill hospitality, which one can find easily in many hotels across the concrete jungles of our metros and other big cities. Both these conditions are met at a soul enriching property named Sarai at Toria, situated on a beautiful riverside site, close to Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh. Spread across nine acres, Sarai at Toria is located amidst agricultural land, in unspoilt countryside. The name of the property itself exudes uniqueness; Sarai is an ancient Persian term for an inn, and Toria is a
A Quaint Property The property comprises eight independent spacious cottage rooms, each having attached bathroom, veranda and private courtyard. Four of these cottages with their children-friendly mezzanine bed spaces are especially suitable for the families. The cottages are fabricated in mud and are endowed with thatched roofs, which give a feel towards rural tourism. “Our cottages are spacious and fabricated with thick mud walls; they are designed to remain cool in summer and warm in winter without the need of carbon-heavy electrical appliances,” informed Joanna Van Gruisen, the co-owner of the retreat. The property doesn’t have room service but tea/coffee can be made in rooms. Wifi Internet is available at community area during daytime or on request at other times. The delicious food on offer has Indian as well as continental dishes. Homegrown herbs and salads, and fresh garden vegetables are the highlights of the menu. The best way to enjoy the breakfast at
Dr. Raghu Chundawat & Joanna Van Gruisen Sarai at Toria is to have it on the terrace overlooking the river; lunches can be enjoyed in the shade of a large tree by the vegetable garden. Al fresco dining areas and private swing and hammock sit-outs in nine acres of grassland and forest is a feature of Sarai at Toria. On the one side of the property is the languidly flowing Ken river, and on another side of the retreat is a small patch of woods. Here you can enjoy nature, wildlife and also your own solitude. The retreat is open from 1st October-15th April only. The wildlife that is easily accessible from the property includes varied birds, langur, nilgai, jackal, mongoose and jungle cat among others. You can shoot them, only with a camera of course!
Green Factors The construction of the retreat was undertaken while taking care of the fact that it created minimum possible disturbance to the flourishing wildlife in the vicinity. The 24-hour 10 kW solar power supply with back-up generator gives a green image to the property, which gels perfectly with the greenery around.
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“Keeping environmental concerns in mind, we have used minimal concrete and steel and sourced most of our materials locally, which include mud, stone, wood, brick, lime, tile, bamboo and grass. We combined traditional methods and modern architectural design to insulate our rooms from the extremes of the outside climate. But the rustic mud exteriors hide elegant and contemporary interiors,” explained Dr. Raghu Chundawat, a conservation biologist and the co-owner of this quaint property. The other owner of the property is his better half, Joanna Van Gruisen. She is a wildlife photographer, writer and a conservationist. She is from the UK but is living in the Indian sub-continent for the last thirty-five years. The Sarai at Toria can be easily construed as the translation of the vision of a husband and wife partnership with a passion for wildlife and conservation, into an eco-friendly reality.
Sights and Sounds The Sarai at Toria is only half an hour’s drive from the Khajuraho temples, where timeless erotic sculptures celebrate sensuality. The property is also only 2 km from the
entrance to the Panna Tiger Reserve. Here it deserves a mention that the town of Khajuraho, known for its world renowned Khajuraho temples, is well connected to major cities by road, rail and air. “We are just off the Jhansi-Satna national highway; a regular tourist route to and from other destinations such as Agra, Varanasi, Gwalior, Jhansi, Orchha and the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve. Our site is in the heart of the Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh so we are conveniently
placed as a base from which to visit the rarely explored, but exceedingly rich, cultural sites of the Chandela Rajput period,” explained Dr. Raghu Chundawat. Wildlife safaris, night safaris, bird walks, rural walks and a tranquil boat ride on the river Ken are some of the activities that one can explore while staying at the retreat. But more importantly, the property helps the guests to connect with the nature and find serenity within oneself. It can give guests experiences to cherish in memories. n
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Hotel Business Review
Visiting a Heavenly Spa T By Sharmila Chand
he Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa is an ideal getaway for those looking for an enriching break in the holy city of Pushkar, in Rajasthan. Sprawling across 11 acres, nestled amidst nature, away from the city, surrounded by the pre-historic Aravalis, the property promises heavenly stay at its outstanding villas and contemporary guest rooms, 44 of which feature private pools. The décor, manifested in soft hues and well-lit spacious rooms, are just perfect to uplift the spirit. In addition to signature
amenities such as the ‘Westin Heavenly Bed’ and the ‘Westin Heavenly Bath’, the guests are taken through a journey of Westin’s innovative programming, designed to promote well-being and positivity. For holistic well-being and ample dosages of luxury, head to the 10,000-square-feet Heavenly Spa by Westin. With seven beautifully appointed therapy rooms, the spa offers an elaborate menu of local and international therapies including massages, body treatments, facials and bathing rituals, which will leave you spoilt for choice.
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“We believe that much of the value of the spa experience comes not only from the facilities, treatments and products, but from having the time and space for silence, distancing from technology, and from personal reflection and contemplation.” Hetal Aruna Bhanushali, Spa Manager, The Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa
A must-try is ‘The Heavenly Massage’ – specially designed to unknot tense muscles and bring relief to stress points. You can also choose a relaxing back massage, a rejuvenating and exfoliating body polish or a beautifying body wrap among the wellness solutions on offer. Each of the sessions at the Heavenly Spa by Westin promises to pamper all your seven senses — the five physical senses of sight, sound, touch, taste and scent, as well as the psychological senses of emotion and well- being. Succinctly, you are most likely to leave the spa not only feeling physically better, but totally rejuvenated. The team at the
spa makes utmost efforts to make you comfortable and relaxed with invigorating treatments and services. There is more. At the hotel, you can also avail an ultra luxurious spa treatment in your room. If you choose to stay back and get the treatment done; no worries, the spa team will visit you, make all arrangements with soothing fragrances, fresh flowers, scented candles, etc. and give you the therapy which you shall cherish. A perfect finish to the luxurious spa experience could be a splash in the pool of the villa along with wholesome healthy food.
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Meeting the Wellness Expert While sauntering through the hotel and its luxurious spa, I got to meet and interact with Hetal Aruna Bhanushali, the Spa Manager at The Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa. She began her exciting journey in the field of healthcare and spa 12 years ago with L’Oreal Cosmetics. After gaining experience there, she later joined Kaya Skin Clinic as a Skin Therapist. Always being fond of spas, she began her stint with Sohum Spa as a Branch Head. A dedicated wellness enthusiast and trainer, at The Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa she is often seen interacting with guests and guiding them about various therapies and treatments; suggesting what would suit them the best according to their requirements. The excerpts of the interview with the dedicated wellness expert follow: What are the types of changes you have witnessed in the Indian wellness industry during the past five-six years? The positive change that has been duly witnessed in the growing Indian wellness industry is that the guests now are more knowledgeable not just about spa in general, but also about the various wellness treatments and products that are being used across the globe. Secondly, the novel and different types of treatments that have been introduced with the advancement of time has been an eye opener. Moving away from the traditional treatments, new ones like co m p l ete c h o co l ate t re at m e nts a n d beverage treatments have been hit with the regular spa goers. A wider variety of oils and other treatment products are now easily available in the Indian market as compared to a decade or so back.
What are the current prevailing trends in the Indian spa business? In this ever advancing world where time is a luxury, the concept of Express Spa treatments like complete packages that are done within 30 minutes are the more popular ones amongst the guests. There has also been a surge in guests opting for couple packages that combine a variety of things like body treatments & facials amongst others, which span from three to four hours.
What are the key challenges towards opening a spa? The key challenges towards opening any good spa worldwide have to include choosing a location that should enhance your offerings and services. A good location goes a long way in establishing the spa to its clientele. Also identifying the services which have to be provided as per the clientele’s requirement is also a key challenge. Last but not the least is the challenge of choosing the quality and skilled manpower to run the spa.
How do you decide on the spa menu? What factors have to be kept in mind to chalk out a decent spa menu? The spa menu engineering is based on a lot of factors, out of which the location of the spa plays a pivotal role in understanding what treatments would best suit for the clientele. Apart from that, clients’ profiling & spending capacity of them also goes a long way in deciding what will sell and what won’t for the clients. Last but not the least, availability of the correct products too is an important factor to be taken into account for designing a decent spa menu.
Could you tell us the USP of the Heavenly Spa by Westin? What
distinguishes it from others? A m o n g s t o u r v a r i o u s s i g n a t u re treatments, the USP of our spa services has to be the exclusive in-room spa facility that is provided to our clients wherein they can enjoy the same spa facilities in the comfort of the rooms, as they can in our spa. Apart from that, the Heavenly Spa also boasts of a separate steam and sauna facility, a fully functional Westin WORKOUT® fitness studio and a separate yoga terrace under the same roof.
Do you have some customised treatments? We always allow our guests to express their treatment preferences, and then customise the treatments and convert them into packages accordingly. Apart from that, one of the more exclusive treatments at our spa has to be the Three Stone Ritual.
W h at i s y our m os t f av our i te treatment to receive and why it is so? Personally the signature ‘Hot Stone Treatment’ is my most favourite. It helps to relieve all stress and pain from the body.
Any other point you wish to make? I believe that spa treatment/s should be an important aspect of everyone’s dayto-day life as it not only helps to reduce physical pain but also assists in relieving stress from body and mind.
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Adding Value to the Table
To give a magical face lift to the high-end exterior construction and architectural industry, ‘Loom Crafts’ a name synonymous with bespoke high quality, pathbreaking innovations and trendsetting designs in outdoor lifestyle, has innovated the first of its kind exterior surfacing solutions—“Loom Clad”, poised to revolutionize the building construction code. Loom Clad is basically an extruded aluminum weatherboard system offering a choice of different profiles for use in new construction or for recladding. It is suitable for residential or commercial works as exterior cladding for the entire structure or for feature
The quality of raw materials, workmanship and ideas make the difference between an average product and something special. Thakurji Tablwares believes in producing products which are special. The company is a manufacturer, exporter, and supplier of high quality tableware in India and abroad. I t s a s s o r t m e n t of t a b l e w a re comprises kitchenware, ice bucket, brass candle holder, pastry stand, cruet set, and rectangular chafing dish. The company offers va r i ety of s ty l es a n d d es i g n s i n tableware. The company’s products a re b e i n g d e s i g n e d b y m a s t e r craftsmen, keeping in mind the latest market trends. Thakurji Tablwares’ clientele is spread across hotels, restaurants and airlines. Incepted in the year 1971, Thakurji Tablewares is an ISO 9000-9001certified brand. The production unit of the company is spread over a vast area of 2000 sq mt., in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh. Thakurji Tablware is well- equipped with technologically advanced machinery that helps the company to produce the products efficiently. The products of the company are regularly inspected by experts with the help of its in-house R&D and testing facilities. The company has also installed CAD (Computer-Aided Design)/CAM (Computer-Aided Manufacturing) facilities.
areas in combination with other cladding products. Suitable for use in the interior as well as exterior applications, “Loom Clad”, the collection of Aluminum Cladding by Loom Crafts features cladding or integrated into the door, screens, canopies ceilings, counter fronts etc. Ergonomically designed, Loom Clad can be customized and installed as per the distinct demands of clients. Available in a wide variety of textures and colors, Loom Clad can even be installed in a range of profiles and styles to completely change the look and feel of your outdoors. So whether it’s an existing building or a new construction at any given altitude or even in the coastal area, Loom Clad is the sheer ideal option to achieve a timeless luxurious finish and appeal. Loom Clad unlike the traditional cladding, can be easily fixed in the least amount of time, is exceptionally durable, lightweight and maintenance free, weather, moisture, and UV resistant as well as eco-friendly cladding. In addition, Loom Clad also acts as a thermal insulator, reflect noise, and is highly cost effective and can even act as bracing for exteriors. Loom Clad is aluminum cladding available in wide range of wood grain and solid color finishes.The wood grain and solid colors applied to Loom Clad are warranted for up to 15 years assuring superior resistance to weathering in the color and gloss retention. Loom Clad won’t rot, warp, peel or fade and is even impervious to insects. Even after the warranty period Loom Clad can be recycled or recoated while it also, has a resale value which means it’s an investment with return unlike wood and other available cladding options. Loomcrafts Furniture India Pvt. Ltd. firstname.lastname@example.org
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Hospitality Linen 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 eve r - g row i n g demand of the h o m e t ex t i l e s and bed 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Hotel Business Review
People’s Person By Sharmila Chand
With over 25 years of experience, the journey of Rishi Chopra, General Manager, Le Méridien Mahabaleshwar Resort & Spa, has been far reaching in the hospitality industry. As the General Manager of Le Meridien Mahabaleshwar Resort & Spa for the last one year, Rishi Chopra’s key role lies in overseeing the complete operations of the resort. Bringing together his wide-ranging experience and exemplary skills, he is actively involved in the planning, preparing and the execution of the annual business plan for the hotel. The excerpts of the interview follow: What is the USP of your property?
Le Meridien Mahabaleshwar Resort & Spa is surrounded by the densely forested Western Ghats, spread over 27 acres, with 122 rooms. One of the USPs of the resort is its location as it is secluded from the outside world and brings guests in touch with nature. The resort is spread over a sprawling forest area and is located in the eco-sensitive zone. We are a forest and a hill resort with a convenient travel time from major metros. The other USPs of the property include the temperature control infinity pool at the rooftop, which offers magnificent views of the valley, the Plunge Bar overlooking the infinity pool, which is a perfect place to relax and grab a drink and snacks post a swim in the pool, an interactive Family Kids Club offering a plethora of activities, and the multiple award winning Explore Spa featuring Hamman Bath and Vichy Shower.
We have adopted a strategy which has a fair mix of digital media, including social media and other web portals and conventional media, including print media. We have also come up with campaigns which promote the destination through sightseeing options, strawberry picking and savouring local cuisines as we make use of native produce.
What are the tech-friendly features of Le Méridien Mahabaleshwar Resort & Spa? The technology plays an important role in facilitating a perfect luxury experience at the resort. The resort has five major tech hubs with latest eco-friendly equipment; the property uses heat exchangers and pumps for heating system and VRF individual units for cooling. The chillers for our main block are multifunctional.
Please tell us about the green initiatives the hotel has undertaken We are gold rated LEED certified resort; we have organic waste converter for kitchen waste, and STP and ETP for water recycling. The resort also has implemented measures to conserve power and water.
What is the marketing strategy you have adopted to promote the 56
What according to you is the role of F&B in getting business for a hotel? How much importance do you give to this department? The F&B plays a key role in the customer recall value. Le Méridien Mahabaleshwar Resort & Spa has a host of F&B outlets, which stand out with their special designs that enhance the usage of spaces.
Kindly talk a bit about the hotel’s F&B outlets Our all day dining restaurant, Latest Recipe, offers global cuisine and is also accommodative of the preferences of communities like Jains and Agrawals. Chingari, the Indian restaurant, serves the best Awadhi cuisine in Mahabaleshwar. It also has a private dining area; apt for families who want to have some good bonding time over a great meal. The newest addition to our F &B offerings is our forest-themed restaurant – Woods. The restaurant offers a matchless forest dining experience; this restaurant is set up in an actual forest and serves delightful eats to complement the ambience. Another remarkable F&B venue at Le Meridien Mahabaleshwar Resort & Spa is the Fireplace as it offers a unique dining arrangement in an intimate setting with bonfire. It can be booked exclusively for 2 to 10 people, so, it is not just apt for a
romantic dinner but also for a small group get-together.
Could you reflect on the future plans and new initiatives you wish to undertake in the property? Our future plans are to focus on guest services and to offer new & engaging options and to also, enhance the existing services by further add-on features.
What is the most crucial issue to tackle in the Indian hospitality industry these days? The most crucial issue according to me is more about selling a destination than a hotel. Since these days, a guest is not just looking at a hotel stay, but also wishes for a wholesome hospitality experience.
What do you enjoy most about being at the helm of affairs at the hotel? The greatest motivation for me is when my empowered associates take decisions and receive guest appreciation. The success stories of the associates by creating wow moments for the guests makes me happy.
What is your professionally?
Professionally, my greatest strength is the team/ staff who works with me.
How do you de-stress? Being in touch with nature in any form gives me a chance to channelise my thought process and refresh my mind.
What is your working mantra, your guiding philosophy at work? As a GM, I bring in a culture of trust and confidence that ‘we are the best’ and a belief that ‘if we are not the best someone will better us.’
Hammer Food & Beverage Business Review
Here we deal with potential benefits and drawbacks of outsourcing in hotels, in the context of the Indian hospitality industry. The Business...
Published on Nov 2, 2017
Here we deal with potential benefits and drawbacks of outsourcing in hotels, in the context of the Indian hospitality industry. The Business...