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Nov-Dec ’12

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Editorial

HOTEL Business Review

HOTEL B u s i n e s s

R e v i e w

An Exclusive Business Magazine for the Hotel Industry

Publisher cum Editor

Rajneesh Sharma

rajneeshhammer@gmail.com

Associate Editor

Swarnendu Biswas Resident Editor

Sharmila Chand (Delhi) Ashok Malkani (Mumbai) Feature Editor

Kanishka Gupta Sub-Editor

Tapapriya Lahiri Layout & Design

Hari Kumar V Narender Kumar

Advertising Sales

Delhi: Debabrath Nath, Sudhir Pandey, Ashish Jha Mumbai: Rajesh Tupsakhre Subscription Sales

Dattaram Gangurde Director Sales

Sanjay Anand

Director Operations & Finance

Rajat Taneja

Editorial & Advertising Offices: Delhi:

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

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E-mail: hammerpublishers@vsnl.net Website: www.hbrmag.com © 2012 Hammer Publishers Pvt. Ltd. No article can be reproduced in part or as whole without prior permission of the Publisher. Hammer Hotel Business Review is a bi-monthly magazine, printed and published by Rajneesh Sharma on behalf of Hammer Publishers Pvt. Ltd., 1202, Pragati Tower, 26 Rajindra Place, New Delhi. Printed at Print Creations, C-112/3, Basement, Naraina Industrial Area, Phase- 1, New Delhi 110 028. Annual Subscription rate within India is Rs. 450 and overseas US $110, for surface mail. Single issue is available for Rs. 90 in India and US $25 overseas. Cheques are payable to Hammer Publishers Pvt. Ltd. Editorial Policy : Editorial emphasis in Hammer Hotel Business Review

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

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Nov-Dec ’12

Meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions or MICE segment has great potential in the Indian tourism and hospitality industry. It is experiencing an impressive growth in the recent years, largely because of the sustained and significant growth of the economy, and due to the maturation of globalisation of Indian economy. For example, due to the impressive economic growth and the spread of globalisation, India now has much greater prominence as a business tourism destination among inbound and domestic business tourists, than it had in the pre-liberalised times. Given the backdrop of the prevailing economic climate, with the Indian hospitality industry experiencing a growth rate of 10-15 percent per annum, and foreign tourist arrivals in India showing a significant increase in two successive years in this post recessionary phase, MICE tourism is only expected to grow further. In fact, niche tourism avenues like MICE can lead the travel and hospitality industry to great heights. However, at the same time, there is no denying the fact that MICE tourism in India is still at a nascent stage, and its enormous revenue earning potential needs to be more creatively and proactively addressed by the state and as well as the hospitality industry. This can be done by not only through construction of a large number of state-of-the-art convention centres and banqueting facilities in hotels across the country, but also through building up of extensive tourism infrastructure in the way of roads, transportation, markets, etc. In the latter aspect governments need to play a crucial role. Moreover, there is no hard and fast rule that MICE tourism should be concentrated in big cities only. For example, developing impeccable MICE tourism facilities in places of scenic beauty like Puri, Jaisalmer, Lahaul and Spiti, Vishakapatnam or even Sunderbans can be clever business options, for there the would be guests for MICE are very likely to get interested in having business meetings and conventions amidst the greatness of nature, with options of exciting pre and/or post MICE tours serving as additional factor of interest among them. We have attempted to explore all these issues and more in our Cover Story on MICE tourism, which I think our valued readers would find to be informative and enriching. Though rooms are still the main source of revenues in most hotels in India, but things are fast changing. The F&B segment in hotels, which is often characterised by exotic and as well as authentic Indian offerings of their restaurants, and affordable banqueting options for their guests, is emerging as another important source of revenues for the Indian hospitality industry. We have discussed this relevant issue in detail in our Business Story. Besides these, our regular sections where we have covered many interesting topics like the trend of Chefs evolving to become Manager-Chefs, and the extensive role of housekeeping in hotels, deserves engrossing reads. They are complemented by our exhaustive news coverage. I hereby sign off while wishing all our readers a very happy New Year. Let us hope that the New Year will make us more informed and knowledgeable to concertedly tackle the pressing problems of the Indian hospitality industry in a more holistic manner.


HOTEL B u s i n e s s

inside

R e v i e w

An Exclusive Business Magazine for the Hotel Industry

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COVER STORY

A fillip to the MICE segment needs upgradation of the existing tourism infrastructure in many business tourism as well as leisure tourism destinations in the form of better roads, transportation and sanitation facilities, etc. and also in the way of setting up of more state-of-the-art convention and exhibition facilities across the country.

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BUSINESS

While majority of the people believe that the main source of revenue for a hotel is from the room rent, what they are unaware is that while the room rents tend to fluctuate, the earnings from F&B — that is from a hotel’s restaurants and banquets —have remained more or less the same over the last several years.

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F&B

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SPA

In the hospitality industry, the role of Executive Chef or rather of Chef is now assuming a new significance, and is no longer restricted to cooking. Often we find that an Executive Chef has become a cook, manager and finance executive — all rolled into one.

The design and interiors of the spa accentuates the tranquil ambience, thereby transporting you to a different world altogether.

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PROPERTY

Perhaps one of the best examples of a successful twin property location of the Neemrana Hotels group can be found at Fort Kochi, which is home to Le Colonial and The Tower House.

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OPERATIONS

Housekeeping is the edifice of the hotel industry. Without a clean restroom, or a spic and span lobby, the best of facilities and amenities of a five-star hotel are likely to unable to attract discerning guests.

DEPARTMENTS 04

Event

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News Scan

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Appointments

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Product Preview

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Business Opportunity

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Interview

Cover Pix: Fairmont Jaipur

Nov-Dec ’12

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HOTEL Business Review

Stewarding Association of India Formed Stewarding Association of India was launched on 15th December 2012, at the Taurus Hotel and Convention, New Delhi. Pardeep Rana, a senior hospitality professional with 12 years of experience in the hospitality industry, is the Founder of this association. Over the course of his illustrious tenure, Rana has had experience of operating stewarding department in different prestigious hotels. Rana was awarded the Stewarding Manager for 2012, for the North region. “I believe in empowering my staff, upholding their integrity and building rapport with people across the hotel,” asserted Rana when asked about his mantra of managing. He lamented that, “Stewarding department, till now has been quite narrowly perceived. Its role is thought to be confined to the cleaning of back-of-house areas. Few realise that a large portion of stewarding operations also consists of administrative works.” Presently, he is the Executive Chief Steward of The Leela Kempinski Gurgaon Hotel and Residences. Aparesh Sinha of ITC Hotels and Resorts was appointed as

Event

E V E N TTSS ’ C A L E N D E R Gulfood 2013 25-28 February 2013 Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre, Dubai www.gulfood.com Aahar 2013 14-18 March 2013 Pragati Maidan, New Delhi www.aaharinternationalfair.com HOTELEX 2013 1-3 April 2013 Shanghai New International Exhibition Center, Shanghai,China www.hotelex.cn SIAL China 2013 7-9 May 2013 Shanghai New International Exhibition Center, Shanghai, China www.sialchina.com

the President of the Stewarding Association of India. Subrata Mukherjee of The Lalit Hospitality is the Vice-President of the association, and Suresh Malhotra is its General Secretary. Through team building and professional cooperation, the members of the association will help each other in the fields of equipment design and development, and R&D, and would foster improved communication through partnering and sharing best practices. It will also address manpower needs and benchmarking for quality on a global scale. The future goal of the association is to expand and poise the association at the global level, by 2015. Then it would be christened as Stewarding International.

Fira and Reed Exhibitions to Strengthen Alimentaria’s Global Exposure Fira de Barcelona has acquired Reed Exhibitions’ 50 percent stake in Alimentaria Exhibitions, the joint venture that both companies created in 2002 to launch and manage Alimentaria among other events. According to the agreement, both Reed Exhibitions and Fira de Barcelona will work together to develop the Alimentaria brand internationally. Therefore, the agreement through which Fira becomes the sole owner of Alimentaria Exhibitions will not end the relationship between this company and Reed Exhibitions but will in fact strengthen the alliance to improve the event’s international exposure, especially in those areas where Reed Exhibitions is present such as Asia, Latin America and Middle-East. Alimentaria Exhibitions will continue to operate as a company specialising in food fairs, such as BTA–Barcelona Tecnologías de la Alimentación – Alimentaria & Horexpo Lisbon and Seafood, together with Alimentaria, a European benchmark event that will continue to support the food industry and the Spanish companies in this field.

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HOFEX 2013 7-10 May 2013 Hongkong Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong www.hofex.com NRA Show 2013 18-21 May 2013 McCormick Place, Chicago, US www.restaurant.org Thaifex- World of Food ASIA 2013 22-26 May 2013 Impact challenger, Thailand www.worldoffoodasia.com FISPAL FOOD SERVICE 25-28 June 2013 Expo Centre, Sao Paulo, Brazil www.fispalfoodservice.com.br TRAFS 2013 25-28 July 2013 Hall 103, Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre (BITEC), Bangkok www.thailandhoreca.com Hong Kong International Tea Fair 15-17 August 2013 Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, Hongkong www.hkteafair.com


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News Scan

Vivanta By Taj — Madikeri to Unveil in Lush Green Coorg Vivanta by Taj — Madikeri is set to afford fascinating glimpses of the virgin forests of Coorg and the lush green Western Ghats of Karnataka, to its guests. Adding to the rapidly expanding Vivanta portfolio, this hotel will be the 25th hotel to open since the brand was introduced in 2010. Situated at an altitude of 3,800 ft. within 180 acres of subtropical rainforests, the hotel will be the ultimate retreat for nature lovers and sybarites. Offering unobtrusive views to the beauty of its location, the hotel has spacious villas offering exquisite design. Coorg’s cool climate and the hotel’s choice of many activities will make this the perfect haven for the energetic traveller. The surrounding rainforest is a hotspot for bio-diversity, making it a must-visit for all nature lovers. Adventure enthusiasts staying at this hotel in future can hike to the highest peak in Coorg, trek through coffee and cardamom plantations, go off road biking and off trail camping. Housing a spanking new Jiva Grande Spa, spread across 30,000 sq.ft., the property will provide an exotic experience of natural therapies and signature treatments. Vivanta by Taj — Madikeri will also offer a special palate of flavours and experiences for its guests.

High-end Airport Terminal to Promote Tourism in St.Kitts Bobby Mukherji & Associates (BMA) has been appointed as the architect and interior design consultants for the development of a private air terminal at the St. Kitts (Caribbean) island’s Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport. The project which is a joint venture between the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis in association with Veling Ltd., one of the largest aircraft leasing companies, is poised to propel highend tourism in St. Kitts. This private air terminal can accommodate 75 VIP passengers at any given time, catering to super high net worth individuals which include royalty from various countries, the Prime Minister of the country, Hollywood stars/ celebrities, commercially important persons, heads of states, owners of aircraft, first class passengers of commercial flights, among others. Speaking on the occasion, Bobby Mukherji, Principal Architect and Founder of Bobby Mukherji & Associates, said, “It is an honour to be associated with the government of St.Kitts and Nevis. We are glad to win this prestigious project based on our expertise and past lineage of work in designing luxury projects across hospitality, real estate and aviation. The terminal has been designed to provide a superior travel experience to the visitors and is also reflective of the Caribbean culture.”

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HOTEL Business Review

News Scan

Another Award for Ananda in The Himalayas Multi award-winning Ananda in the Himalayas was recognised by the discerning readers of Conde Nast India as India’s BEST destination spa. It is being voted the winner in the ‘Favourite Destination Spa’ category at the Conde Nast Traveller India Readers’ Travel Awards 2012. With this award, Ananda in the Himalayas completes a clean sweep of the Conde Nast Traveller awards across the world, in 2012. Ananda was voted as the ‘Number One Spa in the World’ and was the winner in the ‘Best Overseas Spa Retreat’ at the Conde Nast Traveller Readers’ Spa Awards 2012, held in London in February 2012, where it was awarded top marks for its ambience and design, its body treatments and individual approach. Ananda was also voted No. 3 in the world in the ‘Best Destination Spa’ category at the Conde Nast Traveller Reader’s Travel Awards 2012, held in London in September 2012 and the ‘Best Spa in the World’ at the Conde Nast Traveller Reader’s Travel Awards (Russia) 2012. The latter was the first such award event held in Moscow, in November 2012. “This award is very special for the team at Ananda, which range from our spa therapists who through their expertise and intuitive touch are able to create complete tailor-made wellness programmes for each individual guest, to our Chefs who weave magic into their creations of delectable healthy cuisine, to our service team who pride themselves on their warmth and caring hospitality. This award is recognition of their collective skills

and passion and we are delighted in receiving this honour from Conde Nast Traveller India,” said Jaideep Anand, the General Manager of Ananda in the Himalayas. The award was accepted by Mahesh Natarajan, Senior Vice President – Sales, Marketing & Business Development, Ananda in the Himalayas, who said, “While Ananda has been well established on the global health and wellness map and is a favourite among the international spa travellers, we are delighted that Ananda has also become a ‘must-go’ luxury wellness destination among the discerning Indians. This award from Conde Nast Traveller India is due recognition of the transformation that Ananda has been able to bring about to the health and lifestyle of many of our treasured Indian guests. in the last few years.”

ITC Sonar Bestowed With Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Award ITC Sonar, Kolkata embodies ITC Hotels’ ethos of ‘Responsible Luxury���, that ensures delivery of luxury experiences whilst fostering sustainable practices. This recognition is an acknowledgement of ITC Hotels’ journey in sustainable development that began over two decades ago. The Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards also reinforces ITC’s commitment to its triple bottom line objectives that encompass the economic, social and environmental dimensions. Wild Asia began its journey as a website known as Wildborneo.net, in 1998. The website today has gained immense popularity, which eventually led to an expansion to Wildasia.net in 2003. Zubin S. Songadwala, the General Manager, ITC Sonar,Kolkata said, ‘’This recognition is an acknowledgement of ITC Hotels’ journey in sustainable development that began over two decades ago; a journey that is characterised with the challenge of amalgamating luxury with sustainability, thereby giving rise to the ‘Responsible Luxury’ ethos. The Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards also reinforces ITC’s commitment to its triple bottom line objectives that encompass the economic, social and environmental dimensions.We thank Wild Asia for acknowledging ITC Sonar for its commitment and efforts towards Responsible Luxury.”

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SNOOZER

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HOTEL Business Review

Marriott Awarded Caterer Global Awards Marriott International has earned a coveted distinction at the annual Caterer Global Awards, held in Dubai recently. As the operator of seven lodging brands in the Middle-East and Africa, Marriott International received the Best Employer in Hospitality in the UAE 2012 Award for the second year running. Gary Dodds, Vice President of Human Resources, Marriott International, Middle East and Africa, commented on the dual recognition, while saying, “Of course we are delighted that Marriott International has been recognised for the second year running by the Caterer Global Awards. Our employees eventually define our success and we work hard to instill pride and build a sense of mission in everything we do. They are a credit to Marriott and we will never shrink from the important work of ensuring that our hotels attract the very best staff in the region, and earn their loyalty. There can be no finer basis for our continued success and expansion within the regional hospitality business than to be recognised as the employer of choice.“

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Nov-Dec ’12

News Scan

Hotel Holiday Regency Becomes a Five-star Deluxe Property Hotel Holiday Regency Moradabad has now been recognised as a Five-star Deluxe property by the Dept. of Tourism, Govt. of India. The property, built in an elegant colonial style with a tetra style portico, presents an international hospitality experience. The hotel with its majestic imperial architecture and rich interiors is located in NH-24, which connects Delhi to the wilderness of

Jim Corbett Wildlife Sanctuary, the scenic beauty of the mountains and lake of Nainital, and the rich cultural heritage and architecture of Lucknow. The property is only 10 km from the Moradabad City Center, 10 km from the Moradabad City bus station, and only 9 km from Moradabad City train station. Hotel Holiday Regency exudes colonial spirit, which is spruced with a range of modern day amenities. There are 40 Deluxe Rooms, 20 Premium Rooms, 11 Suites, and two Royal Suites. Besides, there is one room specially tailored for the physically challenged. All the rooms are tastefully decorated and have a comprehensive range of amenities and facilities. The hospitality property has five F&B options. Emperor is a multi-cuisine restaurant, whereas Golden Palm is regarded as one of the best coffee shop restaurants in the city. The Churchill Bar, which comes across as a perfect setting for a business meeting or a romantic rendezvous, is well-stocked with more than 100 varieties of fine wines, liquors, and spirits. La Boutique Fauchon is the picturesque pastry shop in the lobby where you can satiate your sweet tooth, with its enviable range of gateaux, breads, chocolates, bakeries and patisseries. The banqueting and meeting facilities, as well as the options for relaxation and rejuvenation at the hotel are also nothing short of world class. Here it deserves a mention that Hotel Holiday Regency Moradabad has the distinction of hosting the city’s prominent social gatherings, political get togethers and business meetings. The well-equipped Health Club and the Fitness Centre, a high-tech disco, a serene pool, and verdant gardens encompassing the hotel providing environment-friendly platforms for jogging and nature walks, together give a holistic feel to your business and/or leisure stay at Hotel Holiday Regency.


Nov-Dec ’12

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News Scan

HOTEL Business Review

The HHI Select Launched in Bangalore One of the forerunners of the hospitality industry in Kolkata since 1969, Hotel Hindusthan International (HHI) has recently announced its foray in Karnataka, with the launch of its property in Bengaluru under the brand The HHI Select. The property, originally known as The Emilion, was taken over by the HHI Group and has been re-modeled to be a business hotel with modern amenities and affordable pricing. This is the first hotel under The HHI Select brand. Conceptualised by the MD of the group, DK Jaiswal, The HHI Select, Bengaluru, like any other HHI hotel, reveals a new world unfolding from the old. Located in the posh JP Nagar, the hotel is a 59-room property, spruced with a gym, rest-o-bar, and two banquets. Stylish and boutique in design, the hotel offers a dedicated business center for business travellers. Guests can look forward to HHI’s unique offerings in Bengaluru with this expansion in brand presence. “We have extensively renovated the property and we are very happy to have launched our first property in Karnataka. We have trained the staff of the hotel so that they now are at par with the

personnel in other HHI properties,” said Sanjiv Banerjee, VP, Sales & Marketing, HHI Group of Hotels “The HHI Select, Bengaluru promises leisure, impeccable service and great food. We are thrilled to offer to the residents of Bengaluru and people travelling here this unique hospitality experience,” added the GM, The HHI Select, Bengaluru. Each of the rooms in the Bengaluru property has an elegant look with chic furnishing that can bring within the traveller a feel of ease and serenity. The rooms are well furnished with complimentary wi-fi, comfortable beds, LCD televisions and 24 hour in-room dining. The premium rooms in the property offer web enabled television, which allows the guests to enjoy Internet facilities on a bigger screen, while unwinding in the comfort of their bed. The single multi-cuisine restaurant at the property, named Onyx, serves some of the best cuisines, which are washed by a select variety of classic spirits. The food offerings at the hotel have been created with an eclectic touch to suit all tastes. The interiors, done in lilac, white, steel grey shades of onion pink, create a warm and inviting feel, with distinct music playing in the backdrop. Splashes of colour, trendy furnishings, and artistic food presentations set the tone for the hospitality experience at The HHI Select, Bengaluru. This rest-o-bar offers a lounge environment complete with a DJ Console for the guests who are looking to have a great time in the evening.

Japan Meets India at Indyaki The blend of different cooking styles and cuisines has become the talk of the F&B industry. The trend is reflected at Indyaki — an Indian speciality restaurant at Radisson Blu Pashim Vihar. Indyaki has opted the cooking style of teppanyaki—a style of Japanese style of cooking that uses an iron griddle to cook food. The word teppanyaki is derived from teppan, which means iron plate, and yaki which entails grilled, broiled or pan-fried. In Japan, teppanyaki refers to dishes cooked using an iron plate, including steak, shrimp, okonomiyaki, yakisoba, and monjayaki. Here, at Indyaki, Indian speciality grills are prepared in front of the guests on teppanyaki grill style. All the scrumptious teppanyaki grills are prepared using olive oil. Modern teppanyaki grills are typically propane-heated flat surface grills, and are widely used to cook food in front of guests at restaurants, which Indyaki has truly adapted. At Indyaki, five course teppanyaki menu is being served. The five course menu has some delectable offerings like chicken charga, roti pe boti, karavalli prawn, chicken apricot kebabs, etc. which deserve special mention. A live cooking theatre has given the guests at Indyaki the opportunity to witness the teppanyaki cooking style, which further enhances their enjoyment.

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HOTEL Business Review

News Scan

Ista Hotels to be Rebranded as Hyatt Hotels Hyatt Hotels Corporation has announced that a Hyatt affiliate has signed a management agreement with IHHR Hospitality Private Limited (IHHR) for five Ista hotels in India, to be rebranded by Hyatt. Under this agreement, the fully operational Ista hotels will be known as Hyatt Bangalore, Hyatt Pune, Hyatt Hyderabad, Hyatt Ahmedabad, and Hyatt Amritsar. The branding effort is expected to be completed by March 2013. The agreements were signed by both parties in London. The re-branding of the five Ista hotels as Hyatt Hotels will mark the entry of the fourth brand from Hyatt’s portfolio into India. Currently, India has five Hyatt Regency hotels, which are located in Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata, two

Grand Hyatt hotels, which are located in Mumbai and Goa, and three Park Hyatt hotels, which are located in Goa, Chennai, and Hyderabad. There are currently more than 50 Hyatt-branded hotels under development in India, which are expected to add

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more than 12,000 rooms. The Hyatt Place brand will be the next to enter India, with Hyatt Place Hampi opening later this year, followed by Hyatt Place Pune, Hinjewadi. The next six months will also mark the opening of three other Hyatt hotels in India – Hyatt Regency Gurgaon, Hyatt Regency Ludhiana, and Hyatt Raipur. Each of the five Ista hotels enjoy premium locations within their respective cities and reflect a contemporary and modern design that offers the business travellers a convenient and stylish place to live, dine and meet. In recognition of their standing as one of India’s most successful home-grown brands, Ista Bangalore and Ista Hyderabad were awarded a position on the Condé Nast Traveller’s prestigious Hot List in 2006 and 2007, respectively. They were also ranked among the top business hotels in South Asia by Travel + Leisure magazine. “As a company we see a perfect fit with IHHR’s forwardthinking philosophy and vision,” said Ratnesh Verma, Senior Vice President, Real Estate and Development for Hyatt Hotels & Resorts in Asia-Pacific. “We feel honoured to have been selected as the new brand for their portfolio in India. It is our constant endeavour to create preference for our brand by having hotels in markets where our customers are travelling. This opportunity allows Hyatt to further consolidate its distribution in India and offer its guests a choice in new markets such as Bangalore, Amritsar and Ahmedabad. The re-branding will also enhance our representation with a great collection of high quality hotels that are already recognised as market leaders in guest experience and performance,” he added. Ashok Khanna, the Managing Director of IHHR affirmed, “We are proud of our achievement in establishing the five Ista Hotels since the inception of the brand in 2006. We wanted to tap into the confidence and power of young India, so we listened to what those customers wanted and worked with excellent architects and designers to create Ista. Clearly we got it right, because we won awards from the writers and readers of highly respected publications. The time is now right to step back to our role as owners and hand these Ista hotels to a superb brand in Hyatt, which can take the business to the next level, through its marketing and brand strength. We are delighted with this relationship.” “We want to continue building on our brand’s long presence and relationships in the country and are fortunate to be a major part of the Indian hospitality industry today. We are grateful to all our developers, owners and guests for their belief and trust in Hyatt,” Verma pointed out.


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News Scan

HOTEL Business Review

Ozone Opens a New Door in Jaipur Ozone has inaugurated its first display-cum-training centre in Jaipur. It is located in the New Aatish Market of the Pink City. Conveniently located in the heart of the emerging construction & building materials hub of the city, this display-cum-training centre has the potential to become a haven for architects, builders and anyone related to or is doing any construction or renovation activity. The centre comprises live display and working models of glass fittings, shower enclosures, stainless steel railings, automatic doors, along with hardware for wooden doors & furniture, and even electronic safes. Wide range of stainless steel accessories with modern design are on display. The centre also offers live demo of more than 20 types of glass & wooden doors using different hardware derivatives which work on sliding or swing mechanism, and can be operated manually, automatically or with remote control. The centre also offers solutions for various types of shower cubicles and accessories for achieving the dry bathroom concept. All these can be of great interest to the hospitality industry. Moreover, the displays are presented in such a simplified manner that it becomes easy for the end-user to decide which fitting fits her/his requirements. “The opening of the Ozone Hub — Display-Cum-Training Centre in Jaipur showcases our commitment to offer our customers an unparalleled shopping experience for all their hardware requirements under one roof that truly reflects our core brand values of innovation, progressiveness and customer-oriented approach,” commented Alok Aggarwal, the young driving force

behind Ozone. The centre’s inauguration in Jaipur also marked the launch of the Ozone Plus, Hydraulic Patch — a product which comes across as the next generation glass fitting solution. It omits the requirement of floor spring, thereby making floor cutting redundant. These display-cum-training centres or Ozone Hubs are being created by the company on a pan-India basis and they are not just product display centres but will also impart technical know-how, functionality and usage of each product to its customers, whether she/he be an architect, interior designer, contractor, builder, hotelier, fabricator or end consumer. Here it deserves a mention that founded more than a decade ago with a single-minded vision, that is to be the best in providing architectural hardware solutions, Ozone provides comprehensive architectural hardware solutions through its more than 3000 products, which are intelligently segmented into seven successful product categories such as Glassage, Door Control, Electronic Safe, Ergozone, Ozo Motion, Balustrades and Bathroom Accessories.

Park Hyatt Goa — Asia’s Leading Resort Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa has been awarded ‘Asia’s Leading Resort’ at the recently concluded World Travel Awards 2012, which was hosted in Singapore. The World Travel Awards are hailed as the ‘Oscars of the travel industry,’ and rewards travel brands that have made great contribution to the industry over the past year. Emerging a winner over some of the most premium resorts in

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Asia, the ‘Asia’s Leading Resort’ award makes Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa as one of the finest luxury resorts in the region. Nestled along the pristine Arossim Beach and 15-minutes away from the airport, Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa is conceptualised as a charming IndoPortuguese village, housing 250 Pousada -style guestrooms and suites. Set within 45 acres of landscaped gardens with glimmering waterways and lagoons, the resort is a perfect reflection of the character and vivacious heritage of Goa. Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa offers a selection of prized restaurants and superlative culinary experiences, an award-winning spa, a large swimming pool, picturesque function spaces and ‘Camp Hyatt’ for young guests. Thomas

Abraham, General Manager of Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa said, “It is a great honour for us to have been voted as ‘Asia’s Leading Resort’ at the World Travel Awards 2012. This accolade is a perfect interpretation of our mission to create authentic and unique experiences for our guests, thereby exceeding their expectations. We thank all our guests, employees, owners, business partners and the community for their continued support.” Here it deserves a mention that Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa has been the recipient of a host of prestigious awards and accolades in the past, including ‘Favourite Leisure Hotel in India’ at the Conde Nast Traveller India – Readers’ Travel Awards 2011, and the ‘Best Resort Spa’ at the asiaSpa India Awards 2011.


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HOTEL Business Review

News Scan

Mayfair Palm Beach Resort on Gopalpur-on-Sea

Lemon Tree Awarded for Promoting Employment for Differently Abled

As the Mayfair Palm Beach Resort opened its doors on 9th December, 2012, it endorsed once again the commitment and vision of the group’s Chairman, Dilip Ray to restore ‘ Gopalpur-on-Sea’, to its past glory and make it an ideal destination for international and domestic leisure tourists, business travellers, and corporate houses. An effort which reiterates his CSR commitment of developing sustainable tourism in the less developed areas of Odisha. The group’s eighth boutique resort, ‘ Mayfair Palm Beach Resort’, is nestled on the sun-kissed beach of Gopalpur-on-Sea. Acquired originally by Rai Bahadur MS Oberoi, this heritage property was destined to wither due to the vagaries of nature, till Mayfair stepped in the year 2011. A year after, the property is painstakingly restored and lovingly renovated, and is now ready in a new avatar. More rooms are also being added. The Mayfair Group’s pan-Indian presence has a network of signature hotels and resorts, located in scenic sea sides, misty hills & mountains, and vibrant urban settings. The need for a high-end marriage mandap and venue for the people of Berhampur and nearby areas was long felt. At Mayfair, an exclusive marriage mandap ‘which can cater to about 3000 guests, along with available parking space for upto 200 cars, makes the resort ideal for theme weddings, receptions and other mega events. An array of rooms and suites with private dip pools, each with a breathtaking view of the deep blue sea is the ultimate tribute to one’s senses at the resort. A team of dedicated Chefs have put together a global cuisine and a speciality ‘Sea food’ menu. Complementing it will be a cosy lounge bar with a global wine list and signature beverages. Recreational activities for children, indoor and outdoor games, swimming pool, sun decks, private beach, conferencing and banqueting areas, combine to make the property a perfect getaway for the discerning leisure and business travellers. A spa will also be shortly opening. The throbbing commercial hub of Berhampur and the vibrant port city of Visakhapatnam are all within easy access of the property.

Lemon Tree Hotels, the chain of moderately priced upscale hotels, has been conferred with the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP)-Shell Helen Keller Award, 2012 for its work towards promoting employment opportunities for people with disabilities, in two categories. They are Category C: Role Model Organizations, and Category B: Role Model Non-Disabled Individuals. Here it deserves a mention that NCPEDP-Shell Helen Keller Award was instituted in 1999. It is awarded every year to those individuals or organisations who have been doing exemplary work in helping disabled people find positions of equality and dignity in the workplace. This is the second occasion when the group has been honoured with this award. Lemon Tree Hotels also won this award in 2010. Also, the group won the NCPEDP-mPhasis Award for Universal Design, in 2011. Lemon Tree Hotels have been recognised for its proactive policies towards the differently-abled. LTH currently has over 100 differently-abled employees across its 19 properties in India. In addition, Lemon Tree Hotels has been ranked in the Top 50 Great Places to Work 2012 among large companies (more than1000 employees). Talking about the award, Patu Keswani, Chairman & Managing Director of Lemon Tree Hotels said, “We are happy that we have been able to make a difference with our effort in hiring and training employees with disabilities (EWDs). By creating an environment in the organisation that allows them to deliver their best, we are able to play a part, however small, in social inclusiveness and nation building.”

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Patu Keswani Enters ‘Hall of Fame’ Patu Keswani, Chairman & Managing Director, Lemon Tree Hotels, has been inducted into the ‘Hall of Fame’ at the Hotelier India Awards 2012, at a glittering ceremony held at Westin Gurgaon. As the unanimous choice in this category for this year, Patu Keswani has been recognised for his pioneering role in developing the midmarket hotel segment in the country. Under his leadership, Lemon Tree Hotels is today the fastest growing and largest mid-market and upscale hotel chain across India and has set new benchmarks in the hotel industry. This speedy growth has made the group the 3rd largest in terms of owned rooms, presently. A high-power jury comprising senior industry members like Dilip Puri (MD India and Regional VP, Starwood Asia Pacific), Sanjay Sethi (MD and CEO, Berggruen Hotels), Kapil Chopra (Executive VP, The Oberoi Group), KB Kachru (Executive VP, South Asia, Carlson Rezidor Hotel group), Homi Aibara (Partner, Mahajan & Aibara), Suresh Kumar (CEO, Fortune Hotels), Vijay Thacker (Director, Horwath) and Rajiv Kaul (President, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts) chose Keswani for his rich contribution to the hotel industry and thought leadership in the sector.


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Appointments

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News Scan

Amiable Art of Tea Making Scaling Latitudes of Anjum’s The recently unveiled Fairmont Jaipur — the property the classic royal legacy of Rajputs in terms of Culinary Excellence showcasing hospitality and décor, is exuding royal flavour in every

Mosaic Hotels at Noida has recently unveiled its restaurant named Latitude in a new avatar. After exploring cuisines from around the world, Latitude has come a full circle, and is now being presented as a restaurant specialising in Indian cuisines. Earlier it was a multi-cuisine restaurant, known to offer cuisines from various latitudes across the globe, which explains this innovative name for the restaurant. The much renowned and now renewed restaurant will now serve only authentic Indian delicacies to its loyal and new patrons. After tasting its food, it can be said that the restaurant’s delectable offerings reflect high latitude of culinary excellence, amidst plush ambience spruced with elegant décor. At the re-launch of Latitude, the exotic assortment of sumptuous starters, main course and desserts made for a wonderful gastronomic fare, which indicated that the connoisseurs of Indian cuisines are expected to have a great time here in the days ahead. At Latitude, you can always wash down these sumptuous delicacies with high-end alcoholic beverages to make a hard day coalesce into a heady evening. The Chef ’s interaction with the guests for ordering the food and his recommendations can be described as a personalised touch at the restaurant to ensure perfection to the guests’ expectations. The restaurant will initially remain open during 7 pm–11:30 pm, on all days except Tuesday. A formal dinner for two at the re-launched Latitude costs an affordable Rs.1500 on an average. Sefood Galouti, Murgh Tikka Kali Mirch, Pudina Paneer Tikka, Jhinga Curry@Andhra Ishtyle, Mutton Roganjosh, Home Style Chicken Curry, Dal Latitude are only some of the plethora of delectable offerings of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian varieties from the Starters, Main Course, and Latitude Classic sections at the relaunched Latitude. Kali Mirch Ki Kulfi, Chocolate Paan, Kesari Thooti are some of the wonderful desserts on offer as a culmination to a satisfying dinner at Latitude. Succinctly, today, the impeccably Indian Latitude is an Indian cuisine specialty restaurant; exuding contemporary yet ethnic Indian feel. It comes across as a haven for those who seek a rather special experience with every moment spent on the table.

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corner of the property. Fairmont Jaipur’s lobby lounge Anjum is no exception to this. The aura of royalty at Anjum is also extended through its wonderful selection of teas. All the Fairmont properties across the globe celebrates the fine art of tea drinking with an unrivalled selection of authentic, high quality teas from around the world. With a variety of single origin first flush leaf teas of both black and white varieties, as well as teas infused with herbs such as basil, lemongrass and mint, Anjum is also offering an authentically local twist to the long-standing Fairmont tradition of afternoon teas. Anjum serves the tea with a ‘Sugar Charlie,’ also known as tea timers. Anjum offers a selection of delightful brews. ‘Digestif ’ —a blend of lemon balm, peppermint, anise, chamomile, lemongrass, orange peel and papaya cleanses the digestive system. Similarly, to energise the senses, Anjum serves a robust tea(aptly named as ‘Energy’) blended with yerba mate, spearmint, lemongrass, ginkgo and ginseng. ‘Tea for Tranquility’ has soothing and restful components like chamomile, rooibos, anise, blackberry leaves, stevia and many more in abundance. Given the popularity of tea and coffee to Indian gastronomic culture, elements of Indian fare obviously take centerstage at Anjum. The live Masala Chai’station offering the quintessential Adrak Wali Chai’and the famed ‘Meter Coffee’ — an anecdote related to the distance between the pouring and receiving in cup — can give Indian tea and coffee lovers lots of joyous moments. High ceilings, ornate hand-painted murals and open spaces make Anjum the ideal extension of the hotel’s lobby.

St. Regis Hotels and Resorts Expands Polo Presence St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., continues to celebrate its commitment to the sport of polo, by participating in spirited polo matches and hosting marquee events for the first time in Abu Dhabi and China, while also revisiting Thailand, Singapore and Argentina. Following the brand’s recent debut in the Middle-East, a St. Regis team played an exhilarating match at Pink Polo in Abu Dhabi, held at The Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club on November 10th 2012. Only last month, the St. Regis USA Team played at the Royal Salute Gold Cup 2012 China Open Polo Tournament, marking the brand’s first foray into polo in China. St. Regis returned to the Singapore Polo Club in September this year as the official hotel sponsor for the Singapore Open. Most recent polo programming includes St. Regis’ first polo event in Abu Dhabi which took place between the 8th and 10th of November, where a St. Regis team played in the Pink Polo match at Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club, supporting one of the most important breast cancer awareness campaigns in the Middle East. Team members and guests met world-renowned Argentinean polo player and St. Regis Connoisseur, Ignacio “Nacho” Figueras during the run-up to the match. “St. Regis has become a leader in the world of polo, and it is exciting to see our programming expand to new vibrant destinations such as Abu Dhabi and China, two regions of significant growth for the brand,” says Paul James, Global Brand Leader for St. Regis Hotels & Resorts. “We look forward to furthering St. Regis’ polo legacy and inviting guests to discover remarkable polo experiences around the world.”


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varied exposure with The Taj Group of hotels. His career spanning over 23 years has seen growth and exposure in international and home-grown hotel brands like The Hyatt, Intercontinental and The Grand as the Resident Manager and General Manager.

Srijan Vadhera

Rohit Dar Jaipur Marriott has appointed Rohit Dar as the General Manager of the hotel. A seasoned hotelier, Dar began his career with The Oberoi Group, in 1990. Durinng his career he has worked with several prestigious hotels. He has also held the position of General Manager at the Oakwood Premier Prestige, Bangalore. With his wealth of experience in the industry, it is hoped that Dar will actively strengthen the presence of Jaipur Marriott in the region. Dar holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Hotel Management from the Oberoi School of Hotel Management, and completed his bachelor’s degree in business studies from the Delhi University.

Shrikant Wakharkar Shrikant Wakharkar has been appointed as the General Manager, The Westin Chennai Velachary. The new upcoming wellness brand of the Starwood Hotels & Resorts — The Westin Chennai Velachery — foresees a promise to deliver the best of both service and facility under his diligent leadership. His key responsibility with the hotel entails overseeing hotel operations, strategising and driving the sales & revenue for the hotel from key source markets and local markets, ensuring brand adherence and compliances, grooming his colleagues for career growth, and ensuring guest and associate satisfaction through all touch points. Shrikant’s avid passion for food & beverage took him to the dynamic world of hotels. He started his career as a Management Trainee with the Taj Bengal, Kolkata in 1989. With his core expertise in food & beverage function of the hotel; Shrikant’s eye for detail and his mantra for a ‘wow’ service delivery helped him groom through

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Srijan Vadhera has joined The Westin Chennai Velachery as the Executive Assistant Manager. In his new role, he assists the General Manager of the hotel on sales and marketing along with revenue management, cognitive decision making, and operations. Right from security, sales, marketing, revenue management and talent acquisition, Srijan possesses an in-depth knowledge and practical prowess in various facets of the hospitality industry which makes him an all round professional. He began his career with Grand Hyatt, New Delhi. Thereafter, he moved to various other reputed hotels in the Asia-Pacific region. His career growth led him to the position of Convention Services Manager/ Catering Sales Manager at the Hyatt Regency Kolkata. During his illustrious career, he had launched a new five-star hotel in Bangalore and facilitated in establishing a brand, which is now renowned as the ‘Zuri Hotels & Resorts’. He has been awarded the first runner up for Marketing and PR Person of the Year (2011) by Hotelier India. He has also been awarded for Excellence in Performance by Starwood (2011) – in South-Asia region.

Anuraag Bhatnagar Anuraag Bhatnagar joins The Westin Mumbai Garden City as the General Manager, and as Area General Manager for Westin Hotels, Mumbai and Pune. His new responsibility includes handling the operations of The Westin Mumbai Garden City in addition to overseeing The Westin Pune. Bhatnagar has over 20 years of experience in the hotel industry and is with Starwood for the last 12 years. Prior to joining Starwood, he was with The Oberoi Group. He had also been the General Manager for Le Meridien Jaipur, Le Royal Meridien Pune and The Westin Pune.

Priyanka Jena Priyanka Jena has joined The Westin

Mumbai Garden City as Manager, Marketing & Communication. Priyanka has over five years of experience in marketing and public relations. Her last assignment was as Corporate Communication Manager, Scomi Group. Her previous appointments include Public Relation Manager at Lowe Lintas and Brand Communications Specialist at GAS Jeans.

Matthew Cooper

Bengaluru Marriott Hotel Whitefield has announced the appointment of Matthew Cooper as the General Manager of the slated hospitality property, which is set to be open in January 2013. Cooper will lead the management team towards the opening of Bengaluru Marriott Hotel Whitefield as the very first Marriott branded hotel in Bangalore. In his new role, Cooper will be responsible for the operational set up and steering of the overall management of the hotel. He will also play a vital role in employee training and development, while driving performance across various dimensions including financial success, brand value, guest satisfaction and engagement, as well as quality in service. Prior to this assignment, Cooper was the General Manager of Courtyard by Marriott, Gurgaon, where he was responsible for overseeing the entire operations and business of the hotel, right from its preopening stages. Cooper has been a part of Marriott for the last 14 years and this makes him an ideal selection to handle the operations for the first ever property in the city. With his extensive experience and flair for innovation and styling, the seasoned hospitality professional is sure to raise the standards of hospitality in Bangalore. Here it deserves a mention that Cooper’s career in the hospitality industry extends over two decades and includes stints across properties, both in India and in Australia.


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Cover Story

MICE Means

Nice Business India is sprouting a promising future from the seeds of its rich heritage. This is reflected by the impressive growth of its economy, which is embodied by a GDP growth rate of 6.5 percent during the 2011-12 fiscal. The corporate offshoots of this healthy growth rate are the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) business. MICE segment got an impetus in the Indian hospitality scenario only after the liberalisation of the economy in 1991, but with the evolving of globalisation of the Indian economy, the importance of hosting sophisticated exhibitions and conventions, with the state-of-the-art infrastructure support of a business or luxury hotel or resort, gathered momentum. Along with that the role of meetings and incentives also got a boost. The foreign business travellers also begun to perceive India as an ideal destination to explore their business potential, and this encouraged them to hold meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions in India in more numbers than in the pre-liberalised times. Today, MICE, a niche segment of travel and hospitality, has a great future in India’s tourism and hospitality sector, as both inbound and domestic corporate travel are showing buoyant trend in the country, in the recent years, notwithstanding the still lingering shadow of two successive years of recession. Here Swarnendu Biswas explores the reality and potential of the growth of MICE tourism in the country, and suggests ways on improving the existing potential of MICE in India.

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ndia’s hospitality industry, which is brimming with growth potential, is fast recovering from recession. Revenue per available room (RevPAR) of the Indian hospitality industry did bounce back in 2010-11, showing an estimated 10.7 percent growth rate as compared to the plummeting of nationwide RevPAR of the Indian hospitality industry in 200809 and 2009-10, by 14 percent and 11.6 percent respectively. Though according to the recent report of STR Global, from January to October 2012 Indian hotels, on an average, witnessed a drop of Average Daily Rate (ADR) by 4 percent and a decrease of RevPAR by 5 percent, a buoyant trend in the Indian hospitality industry is expected to continue in the future years to come and thereby can give an impetus to the national and international hotel chains as well as the stand-alone hotels to invest in the Indian hospitality industry.

The Right Climate According to the Ministry of Tourism, 270,000 business travellers visited India during 2007, and by 2010, this figure escalated to more than a million. According to the same ministry, the number of foreign tourist arrivals in India during January-November 2012 has increased to 58.99 lakh as compared to that of 55.72 lakh during the same time period in 2011. 2011 was also not a bad year for Indian tourism. Despite the recessionary upheavals, foreign tourist arrivals to India increased by 8.8 percent in 2011 to reach a figure of 62.9 lakh tourists. The forecasts from the World Travel and Tourism Council show that the overall business travel spending in India will increase by 8.8 percent a year between 2011 and 2021, and reach a figure of 72 billion USD from 26 billion USD. The Indian hospitality industry is

experiencing a growth of 10-15 percent per annum, and in this growth besides the leisure travellers with high disposable incomes, domestic and inbound business travellers also have important role to play. According to World Travel and Tourism Council, India ranks eighteenth in terms of business travel. All these figures indicate a promising scenario for MICE tourism in India. And MICE market is expected to be one of the important propellants of the growth of business travel in India in the near future, a country which is a lucrative market of highly skilled and affordable BPO and IT manpower for the multinationals. This in turn has encouraged many global IT and BPO players to set up their units here. In the backdrop of this favourable business climate, MICE sector is emerging as a lucrative revenue earning source for the India’s tourism and hospitality industry. According to Akshay Kulkarni, the Regional Director, Hospitality, South and South-east Asia for Cushman & Wakefield, besides conventional business or leisure travel, India’s hospitality

sector has been generating interest from a variety of other segments like MICE, wellness tourism, and spiritual and pilgrimage tourism. However, the present stature of MICE tourism is India reflects huge untapped potential, for the business travel is only expected to grow further in a fast-growing increasingly industrialised economy like that of India. No wonder, many ambitious hospitality projects are coming up in the recent times, and many international hotel chains have already made their presence felt in the Indian hospitality business. Leading this trend is the InterContinental Hotels Group, which has an ambitious target of opening 150 hotels across India by 2020. This is the right business climate for the Indian hospitality industry to creatively use the backdrop of India’s diversified natural splendours to garner more revenues for MICE tourism than it is doing now. The government should also proactively support the tourism and hospitality industry to promote MICE tourism in India. It is not that

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government is not promoting the MICE tourism potential of India but what it is doing is not sufficient. More imaginative public-private endeavours to promote MICE tourism is needed. Thankfully, the Union Government has realised the potential of niche tourism segments in India. According to the ‘Report of The Working Group on Tourism’ for the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-2017), as per the 11th Plan document, among the targets for the Indian tourism sector were to develop new forms of tourism like rural tourism, cultural tourism, adventure tourism, cruise tourism, MICE tourism and medical tourism. During the 11th Five Year Plan, MICE was promoted but despite state endeavours it doesn’t deserve a mention that MICE tourism in India is at a nascent stage, though at the same time, in a fast developing stage too.

State of Affairs First of all, we need more institutions promoting India as a preferred MICE destination to the world. India Convention Promotion Bureau is a welcome measure in this regard. India Convention Promotion Bureau (ICPB) is a management oriented organisation that has been promoting India as a preferred MICE destination. Its membership comprises the hospitality industry as well as other private and government organisations involved directly and indirectly in MICE tourism. For the past 25 years, under the direction of the Ministry of Tourism, ICPB has been providing free

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information and infrastructural assistance to its members in organising and hosting many successful international conferences and conventions, and bringing MICE business from around the world to the country. ICPB facilitates and supports event planners and other related organisations during the bidding process for international conferences. Some of the areas in which the assistance of the bureau’s expertise could be sought include detailed budgeting of the event, worldwide promotion and publicity of the event, booking of accommodation and convention venues, organising social and cultural programmes, parties and catering services, sight-seeing / pre & post conference tours, special interest and leisure activities, inaugural and closing ceremonies among others. However, more such praiseworthy institutional initiatives by the government to promote MICE tourism are the needs of the hour. A fillip to the MICE segment needs upgradation of the existing tourism infrastructure in many business tourism as well as leisure tourism destinations (as venues for conventional leisure tourism can also be projected as havens for MICE tourism with some imagination and enterprise) in the form of better roads, transportation and sanitation facilities, etc. and also in the way of setting up of more state-of-the-art convention and exhibition facilities across the country. In both these cases, the government can play a crucial role. The Union and the state governments

should proactively support the Indian hospitality industry to tap its MICE potential by providing comprehensive infrastructural support in the form of good roads, great transportation and affordable real estate. If India has the requisite factors to trap the well-heeled MICE travellers, the country would not lose valuable revenues to foreign destinations. It is about time, we have a good number of convention centres to host international level conventions and exhibitions. One of the biggest impediments towards the growth of MICE tourism is the unfriendly taxation on banquet halls and banquet food. These need to be urgently reduced, as banqueting and MICE are inextricably related to each other. At the same time, greater awareness about the potential of MICE tourism and MICE destinations should be disseminated by the Ministry of Tourism across travel agents and tour operators. The fact that the Ministry of Tourism has expressed that increased funding would be allocated for convention centres under the Large Revenue Generating (LRG) and Product Infrastructure Development for Destination and Circuits (PIDDC) schemes is a welcome development in this direction. Here it deserves a mention that according to the ‘Report of The Working Group on Tourism’ for the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-2017), Product Infrastructure Development for Destination and Circuits is a centrally sponsored scheme focusing on integrated infrastructure development of tourism circuits/ destinations and also on the improvement of existing products as well as development of new tourism products of global standards. Large Revenue Generating Projects Scheme (LRGP) is another of the important schemes that was being implemented by the Ministry of Tourism during the 11th Five Year Plan, for the development of infrastructure. Moreover, more than one convention centre having the capacity of up to 500 persons have been envisaged for every state and Union Territory of India during the 12th Five Year Plan. This is another welcome development on the part of the state to foster MICE tourism.

The Ideal MICE Haven The ideal MICE destination can easily


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be far from the madding crowd, but at the same time it should be accessible enough from the sights and sounds and markets of the destination where the MICE event is being held. The property trying to project its MICE edge should also ensure that it has exhaustive transportation links to railway station or airports. This would be convenient for the MICE guests and thereby increase the MICE marketability of the property concerned. Without good accessibility, even a property with great convention centres and state-of-the-art conference rooms can expect itself to be ignored by the MICE crowd. Excellent tourism infrastructure like top quality roads, great markets with wonderful ethnic collections, topnotch sanitation and hygiene facility, great local cuisines are also facilitative factors towards choosing a resort or hotel for having meetings or incentives or conferences or exhibitions. Good banqueting facilities will also encourage MICE tourism at a property, for a slew of corporate meetings may be interspersed with and/or culminate in a banquet of celebrations. It is an intelligent option to have a hospitality property projecting its MICE potential to be situated in the vicinity of scenic natural beauty like mountains and beaches, theme parks, etc. Presently good MICE opportunities in India are mainly concentrated in New DelhiNCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Agra, Kolkata, Kochi and Goa. This scenario calls for an

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urgent change. The idea of having great MICE focused hospitality properties in places like Puri, Ooty or Jaisalmer, etc. which are not big cities but have excellent natural beauty, must be explored upon with greater seriousness by our hospitality industry at large. A refreshing swim on sun caressed waters of a crimson dawn can make the meeting following it quite interesting, as is the prospect of a jungle safari after a hard day at the conference room. Similarly, discussing company’s future vision in the backdrop of eternally flowing languid backwaters of Kerala, or brain-storming on bottom lines with prospect of having a camel ride on the endless stretches of golden sand can mean much more than business for the guests, and encourage the event planners or companies to host meetings at those places. Succinctly, proximity towards nature can lead to rejuvenation and recharging of the creative batteries of many fatigued souls fed with daily dosage of competition, and thereby facilitate to make a MICE meet a success. Besides these, the hotels and resorts offering world-class MICE facilities in places known for natural beauty can offer exciting pre & post convention tours for its MICE delegates, which can promote the MICE potential of the property in the short-run, and as well as the MICE segment in the country, in the long-run. However, the backdrop of natural beauty should be supplemented by stateof-the-art conferencing, convention and

banqueting facilities at the property or properties concerned, for without work play often becomes meaningless. MICE tourism can also be effectively amalgamated with wellness and spiritual tourism solutions to brew a potent panacea for the domestic and inbound business travellers of India at large. Our hospitality industry only needs to market the age-old ethic of work-life balance to create a better market for MICE. For example, tailoring special spa packages for a group of high profile business travellers coming to attend a brainstorming five-day convention at a five-star resort can help sell the given resort its MICE segment in a better way. The success of this hypothetical package, which is very likely, may spawn many such packages by the resort, thereby facilitating it to emerge as a wonderful MICE haven. Similarly, the potential of MICE can be increased greatly by combining it with golf tourism. What cannot be discussed in the high-profile dispassionate meetings, can be parleyed in an intimate session of golf, which may facilitate in breaking the ice and cracking the deal. Collateral gain can be the greater revenue for the hospitality property concerned. Here it deserves a mention that none of these ideas are radical or innovative, and they are being already practiced. But the writer urges the industry to practice them more frequently and proactively, and across the geography of India. The visa regulations should also be made hassle free wherever possible in order to facilitate MICE tourism, as this would encourage the inflow of foreign tourists. Often unnecessary red-tapism may encourage foreign companies or event planners thinking of organising ambitious MICE events in India at classy business hotels to shift their preferences to other countries.

MICE Destinations One of the ideal MICE venues in India is the Hyderabad International Convention Centre (HICC). Whether be it in terms of infrastructure, services or technology, this convention centre compares with the best in the world. It is spread across 2,91,000 sq. ft. of primary space. This Green Globe certified convention centre has an internal hall


C o v e r Story measuring 6,480 square metres, which can be partitioned into six smaller halls. The pre-function foyer area of the property itself exceeds 6400 square meters. 37 breakout rooms, including specialised meeting rooms, speaker preparatory rooms, boardrooms, and VIP lounge together makes this property a haven for MICE planners. HICC is spruced with service pits after every six metres, with power, water, Internet facility, etc. HICC offers professional audio and visual support for conferences and seminars, which include broadcast quality video equipment. Compatible outfits for multi-media presentations, theatrical light shows and other special effects such as disco and cyber lights are also provided. There is a wide array of teleconferencing and videoconferencing facilities available for the guests. The centre is also equipped with a simultaneous interpretation system. To top it all, the facility has five-star in-house banqueting service. HICC has been conceived, designed and created to handle meetings of six people to 6000

HOTEL Business Review

people. Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre, located adjacent to HICC, is a five-star 287 room hotel, built to suit the requirements of the discerning business travellers. Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre, which was opened in the year 2006, is a flagship hotel for Accor Hotels in India. The hotel is located in Hyderabad’s IT hub and business district and is connected to perhaps South-Asia’s finest convention centre — Hyderabad International Convention Centre. The hotel is 45 minutes drive from Rajiv Gandhi International Airport and is spread over 15 acres. The features at the hotel include hi-speed Internet and wi-fi connectivity in all its rooms and public areas, all day-dining and specialty restaurants, club lounge, spa and 24hours fitness centre. In addition to HICC’s impressive meeting, convention, and exhibition facilities, Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre offers three banquet halls and pool-side lawns which can cater to small luncheon meetings, training sessions and large conferences, ranging from 8

to 350 guests. Besides state-of-the-art equipments and personalised service, the hotel offers interpreters who can facilitate communication in a meeting in this global village. Then there is Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel, situated on the banks of Powai Lake in Mumbai. It is another ideal property for MICE tourism. The property, which is located close to Mumbai’s domestic and international airports, has a convention center with 2,30,000sq.ft.of meeting space and 17 hitech conference rooms. The hotel claims that its convention center is the largest in the country. Among the meeting rooms of the property, the Grand Ballroom with a meeting space of 13,000 sq. ft. and a maximum seating capacity of 1800 happens to be the largest. 1050 guests can sit in this commodious room, in theatre style,. The hotel has a fully equipped business centre, and is endowed with a huge Executive Lounge with scenic views of the lake. Eco-friendly meeting options are also available. The banquet halls of the property also do offer breathtaking

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views of Powai Lake and the city’s skyline. Extensive catering menus are available for customisation. Whether you are planning to host an informal social meeting or a formal business conference, Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel is comprehensively equipped to cater to your needs. The property also has dedicated meeting experts to help you plan and personalise your event. Not only the exhaustive conferencing facilities of the hotel, but the 583 guest rooms of the property with their elegant interior design, and exuding a warm atmosphere also seem to be designed with the high profile business traveller in mind. All the rooms are equipped with high-speed Internet access. Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur

fi facility in the whole palace-hotel including rooms and suites, telephones with international direct dialing facility, are only some of the impeccable services offered at the hotel to make your meetings, conventions, incentives and exhibitions a success story for future memories to cherish. There is also a mini-theatre, which is ideal for screening films or holding lectures, for up to 100 guests. The hotel offers catering facility for breakfast, lunch, dinner, meeting breaks and cocktail parties. The regal Jaypee Palace Hotel and Convention Centre in Agra, which comes across as a glorious structural amalgamation of red sandstone and marble, is sprawled across 25 acres of elegantly landscaped luxuriant greenery.

can be described as another preferred option for corporate houses and event planners to host a meeting, convention or exhibition in India, amidst an unmistakable ambience of opulence, surrounded by the aura of history. Located close to the airport, the palacehotel offers the area’s largest meeting and banqueting facilities. The hospitality property has four meeting rooms and six outdoor venues. One can create memorable receptions or social events in its landscaped gardens as the guests experience Rajasthani cuisine, dance and culture. They can be great follow-ups or culmination to a successful business meeting or exhibition. Garden and lawn areas of the hotel can accommodate up to 3000 guests. Business Centre, multimedia computers, secretarial services, wi-

A majestic blend of Mughal and contemporary architecture, the property boasts of wonderful convention facilities to impress high profile domestic and inbound business tourists. The convention hall with a built-in stage, an exceptionally large pre-function area and a seating capacity of 1500 in theatre style, are some of the nice MICE features of this property. The elegant Business Centre is spruced with board rooms, meeting rooms, and cabins, along with a secretarial centre cum reception desk. Other facilities available at the Business Centre are computers, Internet connectivity, telephone, photocopier, facsimile, telex, paging, PA system and more. The ambience of the Business Centre of the property is expansive and uncluttered, which facilitates a

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professional yet relaxed environment for delegates to conduct serious brainstorming business sessions. The Convention Hall back-ups provided by the hotel include exhibition space, multi-lingual simultaneous interpretation facility, satellite uplinks, hotline terminals, audio-visual recording and editing facilities, external broadcasting room among others.

Focusing on Convention However, many more such wonderful convention facilities in a plethora of high-end and even budget business hotels is the need of the hour to optimally harness the enormous MICE potential in India. Especially the convention infrastructure needs to be enhanced across the length and breadth of the Indian hospitality industry on a war footing, as convention is the fastest growing sub-category in the purview of MICE tourism. The estimates of the International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA), reveal that the size of the international convention industry is a whooping 280 billion USD, out of which India’s share is a miniscule 4.8 billion USD. But at the same time, the potential to host successful conventions in the backdrop of an impressively growing Indian hospitality industry and a promising Indian economy is huge. The need is to harness this potential. There is a pressing need to develop a slew of state-of-the-art convention centres not only in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad, where business travellers are more likely to visit, but also in small cities or secluded towns with great scenic beauty or historical heritage. By creatively amalgamating business and leisure the Indian hospitality industry can garner more revenues from its MICE business. However, not only more and more hotels should not only comprehensively develop their convention infrastructure at par with international standards across the length and breadth of the country, but they should also creatively use the backdrop of tourism potential of India to market their MICE appeal in general and convention facilities in particular, in a more creative manner, among both domestic and inbound corporate crowd and companies. 


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HOTEL Business Review

Business

Spicing Up the Revenues The popular notion that room rents are the main source of revenue for a hotel is being proved erroneous in many hospitality properties. It is found that F&B segment is reaping up almost half the revenue for many international hotel chains operating in India. The fact that banquets require less number of staff also contributes to its profitability. As far as the F&B outlets in hotels are concerned, it is not only the hotel guests but even outsiders visit them due to the wide variety of global cuisines offered by these outlets. However, Ashok Malkani finds that the F&B Managers need to adhere to certain norms for succeeding in banquet business. They have to be careful not only about the quality of the food but also about the presentation, preparation of the menu (prepared often in consultation with the hosts), etc. 34

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Business

W

hile majority of the people believe that the main source of revenue for a hotel is from the room rent, what they are unaware is that while the room rents tend to fluctuate, the earnings from F&B — that is from a hotel’s restaurants and banquets —have remained more or less the same over the last several years. Banquets, with their high numbers of guests, lower food costs and reduced staffing requirements, can be the most profitable area for hotel operations. While international hotel chains have cashed in on these facilities, Indian hoteliers have only just begun focusing on non-room revenue streams. For Indian hospitality properties, focusing on non-room revenue opportunities such as banquets and F&B emerged when the recession adversely affected ARRs.

Huge Room for Revenues from F&B Contrary to the predominant hospitality trend in India, international hospitality chains like Marriott Hotels and Accor Group are generating significant portion of their revenues from the Indian market through F&B segment. In fact, it would

HOTEL Business Review

surprise us to know that Indian hospitality sector. from India, 50 percent of Nischint Vaid, Director Marriot Group’s revenues of Rooms, Courtyard come from the F&B by Marriott, Mumbai segment, while on an International Airport international scale, this estimates that nonsegment contributes to only room revenues at their about 20 percent of the property constitutes 30group’s overall earnings. 40 percent of their total In India also the focus revenues. of revenue earning in Krishna Rao, F&B hospitality is changing. Manager, Mirador According to the estimates Hotel, Mumbai, also avers that F&B and of Jaideep Anand, General other facilities help in Manager, Ananda in the augmenting revenue Himalayas, while the Jaideep Anand for the hotel. “Excellent contribution of rooms facilities, great food and impeccable service to revenue during the past two years has at banquets greatly help hotels to earn decreased approximately by 10 percent, good revenues,” he pointed out. He states the hotel guests have been increasing that it is surprising that Mumbai does not expenditure on F&B. “Banquet revenues in hotels have witnessed impressive growth have any convention centres with a seating largely due to the MICE segment,” opined capacity of over 1000 guests. This leaves a great untapped potential for Mumbai’s Anand. The revenue earning potential hospitality sector. of the F&B segment in Indian hotels is Sanjay Singh, General Manager, increasing, where both corporate players Radisson Blu Hotel Pune Kharadi also and the growth of eating out culture are states that F&B revenue forms a major responsible. chunk of the total earnings of a hotel. “In The non-room revenue is gaining the case of our hotel, conferencing and importance by the day in the realm of

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HOTEL Business Review

Business

get-togethers and team get-togethers are banqueting revenue is about 17 percent recognised that while the guest is very often held at hotels and mid to senior of the total earnings,” proffered Singh. conscious of the cost of accommodation level corporate staff are regular diners “Radisson Pune boast 15,000 sq. ft. of and could shift preferences for a few at our property. Putting indoor and outdoor function space with hundred rupees, she/he will enough focus on the F&B two banquet halls and three meeting willingly shell out a few component in banqueting is thousands on just one evening rooms. State-of-the-art conferencing and thus a smart business idea.” at a bar, discotheque or banquet space is well equipped to handle restaurant. So once you ensure all sorts of complex requisites of a modern that she/he spends within traveller, ranging from hosting small The Factors to be the property, you can earn meetings to orchestrating large group Considered from her/him. This can be events,” he elaborated. However, packaging F&B achieved by innovative F&B “Banquets and F&B account for creatively to tailor to the arrangements that also work about 40 percent of the revenues of tastes of the global as well as Sanjay Singh as a draw for the local market, our property,” expressed Manoj Verma, the local market is needed which has many restaurants to choose General Manager, Evershine Keys for generating enduring revenue source from,” elaborated Vivek Kumar, CEO, Resort, Mahableshwar. He disclosed for the hotels. Food festivals highlighting a Sahara Star, Mumbai. that the marriage banquets and business specific cuisine each time are also creative Amarinder Sadana, Director of Revenue ways of increasing the demand for varied conferences were held even during the Management at The Westin Hyderabad rainy season. Verma stated that not only F&B options of the hotel among its guests. Mindspace, views there is great potential the resort was popular with Mumbaikars The managing of F&B of a hotel is for high-end social events, a view which is and Pune people but also guests from however, a challenging task. A stand-alone corroborated by Anand too. The pertinent fine dinning restaurant may not have to Bangalore regularly flocked to the resort. examples of high-end social events are the serve three meals a day and neither does it This has been mainly attributed to extravagant weddings, which are becoming have a yardstick to match its quality, but the completion of the Bangalore-Pune a feature of our times, and where food & a restaurant in a hotel must serve at least Expressway. In fact, meetings and conventions have beverage options play a crucial role. Hotels breakfast, lunch and dinner to its guests on a daily basis, and at the same time keep its also now been together recognised as major located in areas with high disposable incomes also witness people using their F&B offerings at par with the standard of revenue earning source for the hotels. “We infrastructure for small get-togethers. the hotel where it is housed. pride ourselves on developing mutually According to a spokesperson of The locality and standard of the hotel rewarding relationships with meeting The Westin Hyderabad should influence its F&B offerings. For planners to deliver a Mindspace, “People have been example, a three-star hotel located in a consistent and satisfying coming into the hotels even middle-class area of Delhi should not experience for our guests. for small parties rather than have an authentic Japanese restaurant Our conference segment is hosting them at their homes. since it is unlikely to have market for that large enough to get most They want to avoid any high-end Japanese restaurant’s offerings in of the dates occupied with hassle, and they can afford the given area, but an authentic Japanese corporates having their it. Corporate dining too has or Lebanese cuisine restaurant housed in meetings and events,” seen an increase, which is asserted Sujith Gopinathan, a five-star hotel, located in an up market garnering a good chunk of Executive Assistant Manager, area of Delhi or Mumbai, can be an corporate business in hotels’ F&B, Radisson Pune. ideal option. The banquets in hotels are Manoj Verma F&B segment. Company “Sahara Star has also challenging operations, and need

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HOTEL Business Review

consideration of several factors for their success.

Service Makes the Difference

Today’s banquets, despite all the trappings of technology, are not much different Banqueting Means Business from the ancient feasts, with their goals “Banquets are the heart remaining the same as it of F&B and are major was in the times of yore, revenue earning sources. that is to celebrate with Banquets contribute to the guests and impress over 50 percent of the them. Banquet Manager total F&B sales in hotels. and other staff involved However, for banquets must know the nuances to be important revenue of banquet serving very earning source, one must well in order to make know how to use the an impression on their available resource wisely. banqueting guests. Here it deserves a mention According to many Vivek Kumar that each and every square F&B Managers and feet of banqueting space is very important Banquets Managers, if the guests are to to optimise the revenue,” explained Rao be served at the table and it is not a buffet while adding, “Hotel Mirador does not dinner, then certain etiquettes need to be offer the typical banquet room, but instead taken into account. A banquet server’s features seven distinctive meeting rooms banqueting etiquette is visible even before and various square feet of banquet space to the arrival of the first guest. A fork placed accommodate company meetings, outings on the wrong side or a knife pointing and events.” towards the spoon can cause much In the hospitality industry’s F&B embarrassment among discerning guests. segment, banqueting is a lucrative revenue Forks should be placed to the right, while earning option due to its lower staffing knives and spoons should be placed to the requirements, as compared to that of the left of the place setting. Glasses should other F&B outlets of the hotels. However, be placed to the right of the place setting venue, food, type of cuisine, service and bread plates to the left of the forks. standard and facilities provided, price and The banquet servers’ appearance and the hidden costs are some of the important uniform should be pleasing and spotless factors, which the Banquet Managers must respectively, while the cutlery on the table give importance to as the guests are quite should be clean and shinning. particular about them. It goes without saying that drinks Rao believes that the Banquet Manager should be served throughout the banquet, needs to think from the guests’ perspective. and the server should serve the drink He states that at his hotel, there is with his right hand, and serve the drink commitment for quality, consistency and from the right hand side of the guests. taste not only for food but also for the The back of the server’s hand shouldn’t service. “Personal and human touch is face the guests. If it is not a buffet, then very important in banqueting. You must all food items, which include appetisers, find out the profile of the invited guests salads, entrees or the main course, and and suggest the menu and the cuisine desserts, should be served from the accordingly,” he averred. Smaller portions with greater variety of dishes have become the trend in food & beverage industry, which is also reflected among the choices of banquet guests. It is therefore better to adhere to this trend while organising banquets. Besides it gives your banqueting service an edge if you can accommodate special culinary preferences of your guests. In order to be able to do so the Banquet Manager must contact the host to know more about her/his guests’ special preferences before organising the banquet.

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guest’s left-hand side. According to Emily Post Institute, an esteemed authority on etiquette, dishes shouldn’t be cleared before everyone at the table has finished the course, but as soon as they have finished the course, dishes should be cleared without delay. Only after the tables are cleared, utensils for the next course should be placed. The Banquet Manager of a hotel should achieve high degree of customer satisfaction from the hotel’s banquet events, so that the hotel gets loyal guests and repeat bookings are facilitated. This entails the right team. Many experts believe that the success of banquets, which are often the most profitable area of a hotel’s F&B segment, largely depend upon staff attentiveness towards guests. The Banquet Managers of hotels should identify what would be the ideal staff requirements for hosting the banquets at their hotels and then hire the staff accordingly. Training of the banqueting staff shouldn’t be compromised, even when the revenues are not increasing or are declining. Cutting down on ongoing training may save some money initially but eventually would cost the hotel more as some of its good staff may leave it in such cases, and its competition may attract its potential and loyal customers to their respective banqueting spaces. Creative use of flowers, innovative table settings, decorations in line with some corresponding festivities or holidays, are all little but important touches to make a hotel’s banquet operations stand out from the crowd. Furthermore, in order to host a successful banquet, excellent two-way communication between kitchen and serving staff is necessary, and an intelligent Banquet Manager should ensure this.


Business Though there may be a plethora of dishes at the banquet, each dish should be special in terms of appearance and taste, and if possible, they should appear and taste so without incurring any extra costs except the cost of training. The Banquet Manager should not only give meticulous attention to quality of food and service, but should place great care on furniture, crockery, glassware, etc. so that the setting of the banquet also becomes as great as its food and service. He should give emphasis to regional fare along with the global cuisines.

A Buffet of Opportunities

HOTEL Business Review

may also turn into huge losses.

Factoring the Cost A successful buffet in a hotel or otherwise must have a galore of cost-effective and tasty items on its menu. Moreover, calculating the cost of every item to be used in the menu of the buffet can give a guideline to the costing of the buffet. However, ascertaining the food cost is a challenging proposition in a buffet as it is very difficult to speculate how much food an average guest at a buffet would consume. Cost control of buffets is not an easy task, as huge wastage and highly costly food can both be detrimental to profits. Maintaining accurate and up-to-date records of day-to-day operations helps a Banquet Manager hosting buffets to decide which dishes to retain and which to reject based on their demand and profitability. However, besides food costs, labour costs for food preparation and service, and equipment costs play important roles in pricing of a buffet. The portion sizes of buffets should also be planned carefully, so as to minimise wastage. Ideally, the portion sizes in buffets should be less than half the size of a la carte portions.

The option of buffets is gaining currency in hotels’ banquets. One of the reasons for its popularity is that it is cost-effective for the guests, and also because buffet provides the guests with a galore of F&B options. Buffet is normally the trend at banquets in hotels. The appeal of the buffet is fairly apparent. Through buffet, guests get the opportunity to taste a wide variety of food items and can also have an item tailored to their palates from a wide variety of choices. Many guests enjoy the adventure of experimenting with their palates, which buffet affordably offers. “At one of or our F&B outlets, Tangerine, we have buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Rao added. Creative salads and appetisers, a wide variety of main course and tempting desserts are all part of the holistic buffet experience. Buffet is an attractive option for the hoteliers too. Food Safety and Food As all dishes for the buffet Stations are prepared in bulk, the Food safety is an important labour costs of organising consideration in buffets and a buffet is less than that must be adhered to stringently, of running a fine dining as it should be done in restaurant. Moreover, restaurants and plated banquets generally a given service too. However, since buffets period at a buffet can deals more with bulk food items be managed with fewer than the other two options, the Krishna Rao employees than a given service potential loss in terms of quantity period in an a la carte restaurant or in through spoilage is more in buffets than in a plated banquet scenario, which also restaurants and plated banquets. Moreover, makes buffets cost-effective for the food safety has greater chance of being hoteliers. Moreover, in a buffet, on an compromised in buffet as it involves huge average, more guests can be served in number of people at a given point of time. a given period than could be done in a The food items should be kept out regular fine-dining restaurant. of the temperature danger zone that But at the same time, if a buffet doesn’t varies between 41 degree Fahrenheit to sell well, and there are huge leftovers, then 141 degree Fahrenheit. This precaution the potential profit can greatly diminish, or is essential in order to prevent the

spoilage of food items, especially which are high in moisture and low in acidity. As hot food for buffets are often kept hot for long periods; their temperature should be checked and kept note off by a staff member on a regular basis. Glass shields should be installed above the food items in buffets in order to keep the food safe from accidental sneezing, sweat drops, etc. Moreover, when the list of guests in a buffet is long, the line in the buffet is expected to be long and slow moving too. This may generate boredom and increase hunger among the guests standing in the queue, thereby putting them at discomfort. The intelligent alternative is to set up live stations where food is prepared before the guests. This can be an engaging experience for the guests at the buffet, and contributes to their enjoyment of the food.

Despite Challenges But despite the various challenges in their operations, restaurants in hotels, and plated banquets and buffet banquets in hospitality properties are wonderful avenues to enhance the revenue of the hospitality industry without any great fear of seasonal fluctuations, which room rates of hotels in many tourist places are being subjected to. Therefore, it is about time our hotels give adequate focus to their restaurants and banqueting facilities and position their restaurants and banquets as their main revenue earning sources, at par with their rooms, and strive to spruce the infrastructure, offerings and marketing of these facilities so that their revenue earning potential is optimised. Already many hospitality players in the country have realised this enormity of business potential from their F&B offerings, and are making creative efforts to optimise this potential… 

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Property

HOTEL Business Review

Where Past Comes as Present By Kavitha Srinivasa

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otelier Francis Wacziarg has a pulse on the market. The co-chairman of Neemrana Hotels is strategically expanding the group’s presence in various parts of the country. He has just launched Deo Bagh in Gwalior, and Divan’s Bungalow in Ahmadabad. This winter, a large section of the much awaited Tijara Fort-Palace in Alwar, Rajasthan with its seven hanging gardens and its tall ramparts, has been launched. At Tijara Fort-Palace, twenty suites and rooms are named after India’s leading lady painters. What really makes the Neemrana properties worth many visits is their ability to offer an old-world charm without intimidating the travellers. The properties are positioned as destination

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heritage hotels, whose USP lies in their architecture and historic importance.

Twin Power of Hospitality The hotelier has earned a name for breathing life into historic ruins and old relics and resurrecting them as tangible assets. At the same time, Wacziarg is also in the process of launching second properties in many locations. A case in the point is the recently launched La Maison Tamoule, a 10 room heritage property in Pondicherry. “This property is in the Tamil quarter of Pondicherry, while Hotel de l’Orient, the group’s flagship brand in South India, is in the French quarter,” said Wacziarg. Wacziarg’s brand building exercise is to create a two-property operation in

potential markets. They complement each other in size and décor and hospitality experience. The second property is usually comparatively more affordable. Besides that the second property at a given location is a smaller one and becomes relatively even more affordable during off season or through promotional activities. The second hotel piggybacks on the vantage points of the first property. Usually the second property in a given location is located in the vicinity of the first property and hence offers similar tourist attractions as that of the first property. Usually both properties score for their locations. By and large, twin Neemrana properties are strategically located within heritage zones, which affords tourists to easily explore the


Property

HOTEL Business Review

different flavours of the place on their own. This twin property marketing approach enables the group to cater to those guests who are without deep pockets. By doing so, Wacziarg has created a mixed clientele that range from middle class families to hi-end expats. So far, this intelligent marketing approach of creating twin properties in a given location has worked in his favour.

The House and the Tower Perhaps one of the best examples of a successful twin property location of the Neemrana Hotels group can be found at Fort Kochi, a region of the city of Kochi in Kerala, which is home to Le Colonial and The Tower House. Here it deserves a mention that Fort Kochi is part of a handful of water-bound regions toward the south-west of the mainland Kochi. Le Colonial, a Neemrana property at Fort Kochi, dates back to 1506 and is probably Asia’s oldest colonial house. It is not snob value, but history which is its selling

Francis Wacziarg (Left) & Aman Nath

point. Guests are treated to the fivecentury history as the original sales deed of the house is framed along the entrance of a wooden stairway, which leads to the first floor. Both Le Colonial, and the St Francis Church located next door were built in 1506. St. Francis Xavier is said to have lived in the ‘oldest colonial house’ as was the Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama. No wonder, the place resonates with the music of times long gone by, which is complemented by the music of the waves of the Arabian Sea flowing nearby, from one eternity to another. Trivia has it that Le Colonial was the Portuguese Governors’ private residence. “This can be probably traced to the fact that the Raja of Cochin had given the land of Fort Kochi to the Portuguese to install a trading post in 1500. At that time, Fort Kochi was a thriving spice market and home to the Jewish trading community,” informed Wacziarg, offering an insight into the past. After 150 years of Portuguese occupation, Fort Kochi came under the Dutch and British rule during which

Le Colonial changed hands. To cut the long story short, Le Colonial came to be known as J Thomas Bungalow, named after a British tea trader who acquired it in the 20th century. In 1947, the last Viceroy of India, Lord Louis Mountbatten and his wife Edwina were supposed to have visited this home; embodying a five-century-old history.

Nature, Art and Heritage Wacziarg had chanced upon what is projected as Asia’s oldest colonial house way back in 1969. That was when the bag packer came to India as a young 20something. The Frenchman was bowled over by the property in his maiden trip to India. Decades later, a friend connected him with the then owners of the property. What then followed is history. Once Le Colonial came under the Neemrana portfolio, The Tower House also caught the restorer’s attention. The Tower House gets its name from the fact that it was a 17th century light house. During various maritime wars, cannon balls were fired out from its bastion-walls. From The Tower House, guests can

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HOTEL Business Review

soak in the beauty of the fishing activities that happen at sunrise. Fishing nets on crimson waters; merging of day-to-day business of livelihood of human beings amidst tranquil vastness of nature makes for a view worth taking back home. Moving beyond the maritime flavour, The Tower House’s architectural highlights can be seen in terms of stately colonial pillars, high wooden ceilings and arched doors. Both Le Colonial and The Tower House were restored over a two-year period. An approximate sum of Rs 3.5 crore went towards the restoration of The Tower House. As for Le Colonial, which Wacziarg describes as a real jewel full of art, the cost of restoration was much higher. Though he wasn’t too keen to put a figure on the amount, it is not difficult to imagine that a great deal of money was pumped in, which was complemented by great effort, in order to materialise the renovation. At Le Colonial, a well appointed drawing room leads you to the interiors. Stately furniture, gleaming silver artifacts and sepia prints are its highlights. Beautiful paintings also adorn the walls of the interiors and as well as the drawing room. “Paintings were bought in England and brought here at great cost, with a heavy custom fee. Some of the works of art and antique furniture reflect the tumultuous periods of history,” explained Wacziarg, who also doubles up as an art connoisseur. He has a keen eye for some of the finest artworks. Probably that was what prompted him to bring home a portrait of Pt. Nehru, which greets visitors at the entrance of Le Colonial. At the property, the 19th century images of shikar (hunting) share space with that of Dutch Viceroys. These

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Kaleidoscope of Fort Kochi K

ochi and Ernakulam are the twin cities of Kerala. History has it that Kochi was an erstwhile fishing village in pre-colonial Kerala, before various settlers discovered it. It is said that Portuguese rulers constructed a fort near the waterfront for protection from invaders. The fort was called Fort Emmanuel. The fort was later destroyed by the Dutch colonialists. Since Kochi was a flourishing port, it attracted the Jewish, Portuguese, British and Dutch colonial invaders, who ruled it from time to time and erected monuments, which are now packaged as heritage tourism attractions at Fort Kochi. Fort Kochi is dotted with buildings of historic importance. One of the most important of them is the St. Francis Church, which was the first church built by the Europeans in India. Its façade with multi-curved sides was a model emulated by most Christian churches in India. Vasco da Gama was buried here, though the body was eventually moved to Portugal. The Jewish Town is Fort Kochi’s highlight. This must-visit place sells some beautiful antiques. At the Jewish Town, it is worthwhile to visit the Jewish synagogue, which was built in 1568. Once you enter this place, you will be mesmerised by the 17th century Chinese tiled flooring and Belgian chandeliers. It also houses scrolls of the Old Testament. Another attraction at the Jewish Town is the Dutch Palace, which houses an eclectic collection of mural paintings. Fort Kochi’s quaint charm lies in the European heritage buildings, many of which line the harbour. The best way to soak in this old world ambience is by foot. As you walk along the harbour, you can also rejuvenate yourself with an Ayurvedic massage at some of the places close by. Overall ferrying is a way of life at Fort Kochi. The sea, lagoons, lakes and rivers together make Fort Kochi a scenic experience. Country boats traversing through a labyrinth of canals, and offering a panoramic view of paddy fields and coconut lagoons can be a memorable experience for a vacation. Here fishermen bait to get their prized catch for the day as the cargo glides in huge boats, as the school children ferry across the canals. The fascinating montages stay on your memory. The kaleidoscope of life at Fort Kochi calls for exploring its tourism and hospitality potential further. images from the past are juxtaposed with a richly carved wooden stairway, ornate doors and floors. Thanks to this winning combination, guests like Judith and Bill Kay from Victoria BC Canada go back to their homes as informed travellers. “We are greatly impressed by the astonishingly beautiful woodwork of this fabulously restored property and are still open mouthed at the flooring,” they say.

Making Luxury Affordable While guests take back a slice of history at both the properties, these twin Neemrana properties which are a few yards apart, cater to two different markets. The Tower House is a comparatively affordable Neemrana property with rooms that range from Rs.2,500 to Rs.8,000, depending on season. On the other hand, Le Colonial’s rates range from Rs.7,000 to Rs. 24,000. However, both reflect the ambience of the Cochin of yore and neither is lacking in comfort, charm or style. “The Tower House is a great option for budget travellers looking for spacious accommodation options with facilities like a swimming pool and Internet. The Le Colonial is a great choice for discerning travellers who are looking at an up market luxury experience in Cochin,” Wacziarg reasoned. The target guests at the properties are both inbound and domestic leisure


Property travellers. They can be further subdivided into honeymooners, families on vacation, artists and budding photographers. Given the common historic backdrop, the properties can also make for great venues for film directors looking at portraying period history. Both properties are leisure properties and their occupancies are bound to be different from typical big city hotels. The Tower House has 40 percent occupancy throughout the year. Le Colonial clocks a lower occupancy as it is an up-market and exclusive property and its room rates cannot be afforded by everyone. The Tower House has 11 rooms and three suites and a large swimming pool. Le Colonial has two Grand Rooms, and five rooms and a cosy swimming pool by the garden. At Le Colonial, an in-house massage can be arranged at prior notice. Since both the properties are located at Fort Kochi, there was no need to plan a spa and a gymnasium here as these facilities are available in the vicinity.

The Marketing Strategy The twin properties at Fort Kochi

HOTEL Business Review

are being marketed just as the other Neemrana hospitality properties across the country. They include websites with information and photographs of the hotel, search engine optimisation, and social media marketing through Facebook and Twitter. There are also special summer and winter packages, brochures, travel fairs, and the loyalty program titled ‘Friends of Neemrana.’ “But nothing matches the self-propelling word-ofmouth recommendations which grow by geometrical progression,” highlighted Wacziarg, who co-founded Neemrana Hotels with historian Aman Nath. The duo set out to co-author a book on the havelis of Shekhavati, in 1977. As the project progressed, they noticed the dilapidated condition of one haveli in Haryana. There was a deep felt-need among them to restore the haveli to its erstwhile glory and the restoration process paved the establishment of the Neemrana brand of ‘non-hotel’ hotels. Soon they morphed into hospitality entrepreneurs. The philosophy of these no-frills properties is simple. They rely on natural lighting, without unnecessarily decorating

it with tall imported chandeliers. Rather than importing materials, these Neemrana properties use natural and basic fabrics. In fact, every Neemrana property which has been restored has created employment for the local people, instead of inviting hotel management professionals to run the show. Even the food at Neemrana properties makes use of local produce, avoids heavy garnishes and is always a healthy fare. In fact, the dining at Le Colonial and as well as in the The Tower House is an informal and exciting experience as the Chef is open to customising a culinary spread, depending on the demand. At a time when most hotel chains in India compete with each other on grounds of being technologically superior, Neemrana properties shy away from the hi-tech tag. Amenities remain basic as room service and concepts like welcoming guests with a garland are not followed here. The reception desk at Le Colonial and The Tower House are also quite informal and lack the structured look of a concierge desk that an average five star hotel sports. 

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Operations

HOTEL Business Review

Hotels and Housekeeping By Swarnendu Biswas

H

ousekeeping is the edifice of the hotel industry. Without a clean restroom, or a spic and span lobby, the best of facilities and amenities of a five-star hotel are likely to unable to attract discerning guests. It is because without sanitation luxury loses its significance. Similarly, the aesthetic décor of the room wouldn’t appeal to the guest if she/he comes to the room after the meeting and see that her/his bed sheets are still as dishevelled as it was before she/he left in the morning, and the depleted toiletries in the bathroom are not yet replenished. Yes, the major chunk of the revenue of hotels still comes from rooms (though F&B segment is fast catching up), but without good housekeeping standards, the best of hotel rooms will fail to attract repeat visitors. However, it doesn’t mean that housekeeping is important only for five-star hotels, which are normally characterised by high-end amenities and decor. It is essential for all hotels, but for five-star properties, the housekeeping standards should be nothing short of impeccable, as here you are catering to guests who are likely to have experienced high standards of hospitality across the globe and naturally they have become habituated to not settle for anything ordinary.

within the purview of housekeeping in many hotels. The laundry service does not only include cleaning the guests’ linens and garments, but also the linens of rooms and also linens of the F&B outlets of the hotels, and maintenance of staff uniforms. At the same time, the now extended role of housekeeping also involves reporting of any untoward elements or about any suspicious person/luggage/activity in order to facilitate the security concerns of the hotels. At the same time, the housekeeping department needs to ensure that the guests’ privacy is not in any way compromised because of rigmarole of security. Of course, the guest is also unlikely to wonder why the facility is pest free, when the city is full of pests. Yes, pest control of the property is also a housekeeping exercise. Similarly, if the guests get impressed by the wonderful horticulture of the housekeeping property, many of the hoteliers should thank her/his housekeeping staff for that. And if hotel is an environmentally friendly property, the challenges of waste disposal and waste recycling can assume very crucial role in the purview of housekeeping. Housekeeping plays an important role in forming the overall reputation of a hotel among its guests and potential guests.

Much More Than Cleaning

Facilitating Guest Satisfaction

Housekeeping in hotels today is a complex and elaborate task and is not at all confined to cleaning and changing the bedding of the guest rooms, and cleaning of rest rooms and replenishing their toiletries as is being commonly perceived by people outside the hospitality industry. But that does not mean that the guests would not appreciate the wonderful laundry service, or for that matter the impeccable security of the hotel where she/he is staying, perhaps not realising that both of these facilities now fall

Succinctly, on a broader scale, the role of modern housekeeping in hotels is to facilitate guest satisfaction through quality professionalism along with special personalised touches, thereby contributing to the guest’s repeat visits to the property despite the attractions of competition. Besides continual attention and stringent adherence to cleanliness and hygiene, aesthetics and security, great housekeeping should also focus on individual guests’ preferences,

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Operations likes and dislikes and endeavour with the objective to not only meet her/his expectations from housekeeping services, but also to exceed them. The housekeeping teams at hotels shouldn’t miss opportunity to interact with their guests without getting intrusive and facilitate in every way to ensure that their guests are having not only a comfortable but also a wonderful stay. For example, while chatting with the Executive Housekeeper the guest reveals that it is her birthday today. And then she would be pleasantly surprised if she gets a bouquet of flowers in the evening, along with a box of chocolates and warm wishes. Next time when she visits the city for business, she is likely to choose this hotel only, assuming all other factors remaining the same. Ideally, great housekeeping should in most cases (not in the above-mentioned case), be apparently invisible to the guest, but should add up to the overall guest experience. At the same time, it should help in making the first impression among the guests, which in these times of frenzied competition is extremely crucial for the growth. The absence of good housekeeping, however, makes it apparent to the guests about the crucial role of housekeeping.

Cost-effectiveness and Coordination And of course, the Executive Housekeeper would ensure that this challenging endeavour must be attained in a cost-effective manner too, whether through in-house manpower or through judiciously or for that matter optimally combining the efforts of in-house staff and outsourcing operations. It is because cost saved can also be profit earned. The housekeeping department of a hotel should also have excellent co-ordination with all the departments of the hotel, in order to minimise disruption and optimising comfort, convenience and security for the guests. Among all the departments, its coordination with the security department of the hotel is most important.

Training is Crucial Housekeeping is not only a 24/7 exercise for the hospitality industry, but is a continually evolving field. Therefore the success of housekeeping services in hotels require training of the in-house and as well as the outsourcing staff (wherever applicable) not only at the time of induction but also from time to time, both in terms of soft skills and technical expertise, so that they are abreast with the latest trends and demands in housekeeping operations pertaining to the hospitality industry. This can help the hotels to compete with their competition, and no wonder many five-star hotels across the country are adhering to this principle. Training should not only be at the level of rank and file housekeeping personnel, but also include the Managers and supervisors. However, the nature of training should ideally vary from senior and junior level personnel. For example, the junior level housekeeping personnel can be trained on handling some new-age equipment about which he is not familiar, or about tackling the day-to-day maintenance challenges, while the training for senior level personnel should focus on cost control, or people handling skills. These performance development training programmes from time to time can not only give an edge to the housekeeping of the hotel concerned, but can also help the housekeeping personnel in their career growth, thereby

HOTEL Business Review

preventing employee dissatisfaction and arresting the attrition rate to some extent. Already many five-star properties are laying great emphasis on frequent training, but the emphasis towards frequent and updated training in the realm of housekeeping should percolate towards many three-star and two-star budget hotels also, spread across the country. Only then our hospitality industry can become more professional at par with international standards, in holistic terms. The training process should ideally be based on feedback of guest satisfaction. As far as housekeeping in hospitality industry is concerned, guest feedback should be ascertained and acted upon on a continual basis(ideally one hour before the guests’ check-out) , because only through guest feedback the Executive Housekeeper can decide for sure in which areas her/his idea and execution of housekeeping for the given hotel has been right or wrong.

A Challenging Profession The challenges of housekeeping are many. For example, the maintenance of cleanliness in rest rooms and lobbies of the hotels, which attract heavy footfalls, is a perpetual challenge. If the lobby has marble flooring, the task of its maintenance becomes all the more daunting. Removal of food stains and grease stains from marble flooring is a time consuming task. Granite flooring also needs great care. It is advisable to periodically clean granite surfaces with a natural stone or granite cleaner to maintain their shine. However, using harsh cleaners on granite flooring can damage the sealant and dull the finish. The Executive Housekeeper should also ensure that cleaning products and supplies are always adequate and appropriate floor cleaning measures are being employed for different types of floors of the hotels. Doing the cleaning up operations after a huge conference or banquet is over is no less challenging. And maintaining housekeeping standards amidst renovation is an arduous task indeed. The Executive Housekeeper should ensure that the efficiency and the motivational levels of her/his team are kept high, so that both bottom lines and attrition rates are not unduly affected. The paucity of skilled and qualified manpower in hotel housekeeping is always a challenge, which perhaps can be addressed through better pay packages, better social security and less erratic working hours. 

Nov-Dec ’12

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F&B

HOTEL Business Review

A Chef and a Manager By Sharmila Chand

I

n the hospitality industry, the role of Executive Chef or rather of Chef is now assuming a new significance, and is no longer restricted to cooking. Often we find that an Executive Chef has become a cook, manager and finance executive — all rolled into one. In today’s highly competitive and complex hospitality industry, often an Executive Chef needs to be able to shoulder many responsibilities. The most important of these is to ensure that good quality culinary offerings are served on schedule and to see that any hiccups or impediments which may arise in the

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flow of kitchen operations are promptly addressed. The Executive Chef is also responsible for approving all prepared food items that leave his or her kitchen. And besides these now there are a gamut of managerial roles which the Executive Chefs are expected to perform.

Planning, Managing and Cooking Besides the day-to-day operations, he/she is often entrusted with planning a new menu, maintaining a decent supply of products needed in the

kitchen, and delegating many kitchen tasks simultaneously. He/she is also often responsible for maximising the productivity of the kitchen staff, and maintaining impeccable personal hygiene as well as high work and safety standards in the kitchen. It is true that Chefs do get into the business of cooking because they are supposed to be artists at cooking. But if cooking is all that they do, they are not likely to get ahead in their career. A Head Chef in today’s hospitality industry must be endowed with the skills of a businessman, a diplomat, a personnel


F&B manager, and much more. Above all, he/she is expected to set an example for the Chefs below him or her by keeping a level head even in pressure situations. In this feature, some of the celebrity Chefs talk about their roles in these changing professional work environment pertaining to the hospitality industry. “With the emergence of Business Manager cum Chefs the two roles are getting fused into one. In the process, the Food and Beverage Manager’s role is getting minimised and of course the Executive Chef’s responsibilities are going up, since he/she is the one who is now ultimately responsible for the profitability of the F&B operations,” elaborated Subroto Goswami, the Executive Chef, Radisson Blu Hotel New Delhi Paschim Vihar. “Today an Executive Chef needs to constantly make a balance of his/her culinary skills with managerial expertise to get the maximum output from the team,” aired Neeraj Tyagi, the Executive Chef, The Claridges, New Delhi.

Facilitating Costing in Serving “Chefs have to be up to date on the

HOTEL Business Review

I do costing of each and every dish and plate. The purpose of the F&B operations, after all, is not only about pleasing the palate of the guests, but is also to generate profitable business.

— Chef Willi Haueter — Executive Chef, The Imperial New Delhi.

market situations for food produce, which include meat, poultry, fish, seafood, various crucial ingredients, etc. Daily checks and good communication with suppliers are an essential tool in this,” said Willi Haueter — the Executive Chef, The Imperial New Delhi. Ensuring cost savings without compromising on the service standards is a big challenge for the Executive Chefs. “For ensuring cost savings, a very good knowledge of the ingredients available in the market is necessary. Once I know what are the different varieties of ingredients that I can choose from, then by manipulating the various ingredients I can bring about a balance on the cost front without compromising on the experience of the guest,” asserted Goswami. In fact, calculated pricing has been an important yardstick for cost savings in F&B operations across various hotels. “Right portion size with calculated pricing is my mantra to ensure cost savings without compromising on quality,” explained Tyagi.

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F&B Spa

HOTEL Business Review

Balancing Cost and Profit Ensuring stability between cost and profit is also one of the operations of the Executive Chefs these days. “One has to learn to balance the seasonal, local and imported produce to tailor the menus. Also seasonal menu changes are necessary to make these crucial adjustments between cost and profit,” explained Willi Haueter, while adding, “The trick is to come up with something that works, among what are available and are cost wise not too challenging.”

In his/her new-found role, the Chef can add greater value to the hotel or restaurant business.

— Chef Neeraj Tyagi, Executive Chef, The Claridges, New Delhi.

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“Nowadays, with the opening up of the global market, procuring ingredients from across the world is no longer a challenge. By planning dishes in which new ingredients are used, as a Chef I can create exciting dishes in the menu, which would attract the fancy of my guests. At the same time, I can keep the cost well under control,” affirmed Goswami. However, Goswami maintains that the ingredients which are procured from across the world do not come cheap though he ascertains that he ensures that their prices do not become exorbitantly high also. “But if the dishes with these exotic ingredients match up to the guests’ expectations then I can charge a premium, which in turn can offset my costs,” reasoned Goswami. “Minimal wastages while preparing the fancy dishes and putting a control on high value ingredients, calculated pricing of the finished products, getting the best possible rates from the vendor, usage of best possible locally available ingredients, better storage to avoid spoilage are some of the pragmatic methods to bring a balance between costs and profit,” proffered Tyagi.

Vote for New Role Many seasoned Executive Chefs are also enjoying this challenging role of Chef cum Manager, which is increasingly

Very soon the distinction of The Chef as ’only a culinary master restricted to the kitchen’ is going to go out of the window. The Chef will soon be looked upon as the master of the culinary business. Which means a Chef can run his/her business and also can cook up amazing dishes to please the palate of his/her guests. It is not going to be easy…but that is how we love it!

— Chef Subroto Goswami, Executive Chef, Radisson Blu Hotel New Delhi Paschim Vihar becoming the demand for this new age in the F&B and hospitality industry. “I am very much in favour of this. It is relatively easy to create a real good menu in itself, without taking into account of other considerations. But to create a real good menu that is also potentially profitable is more difficult. I always develop a dish while keeping the factors of cost and profit in mind. I will not place anything on a menu, which does not show profitability,” asserted Willi Haueter. “The new role is definitely challenging. I see it as the future for every Chef. Nowadays, the Chefs are well polished with business sense and managerial acumen and are no more dependent on the F&B Manager who used to do all the financial and managerial work for the Chef. Nowadays the Chef is not only in-charge of his/her kitchen but also of the business that he/she is the ‘Star’ of,” viewed Goswami. 


C

M

Y

CM

MY

CY

CMY

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Nov-Dec ’12

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Spa

HOTEL Business Review

The Aura Glows By Sharmila Chand

N

estled in the heart of Delhi, Aura, a luxurious spa-cum-gym with the opulent invironment of The Park, New Delhi, affording magnificent views of Jantar Mantar and the green Lutyens’ Delhi, is the perfect haven for those who are looking for rejuvenating their spirits. The design and interiors of the spa accentuates the tranquil ambience, thereby transporting you to a different world altogether. The luxurious spa has been inspired by the architecture of the Mughal era and uses shells, pearls, slate and mosaics as part of its ambience and

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decor. The therapy rooms are in shades of pale watery green with intimate interiors in rough natural state, teak, and circular ceramic wall mosaics. Pearls signify calmness and the use of green colour with water bodies represent purity. The soothing green colour facilitates calmness and helps you strike the right balance between the external world and the inner space to foster holistic wellbeing. The treatment philosophy at Aura is holistic. The ingredients used in the treatments are a careful selection of naturally grown products, best known for their scientific properties and ancient healing legacies, and are completely devoid of chemicals. You can choose from four exotic blends of massage oils exclusively developed by Aura, with a base of cold pressed sesame or gingelly oil, to best compliment your mood. Here the spa therapists have extensive training in a variety of massages, which can be customised to suit your requirements. The treatments at Aura are created using the panch-mahabhuta concept, which harness the power of the five elements of nature, to facilitate your holistic well-being. Some of the wonderful wellness therapies across the world are presented at Aura, by specially trained therapists. The relaxing treatments include traditional Ayurvedic therapies, a wide range of specialised massages including deep tissue, acupressure, Swedish, and reflexology techniques, signature beauty treatments

using rare combinations of natural herbs, flowers and spices, and fruit-based body wraps and scrubs using, milk, honey, lavender, sweet basil, etc. Aura also has a state-of-the-art gymnasium for daily exercise needs, a beauty salon, a relaxing sauna chamber, and yoga classes for those in search of complete healing. Yoga is held daily on The Aura Terrace overlooking the poolside.

Some Ingredients for Therapies at Aura Happiness It is the fragrant oil with floral notes and extracts of rose, ylang-ylang and jasmine. This oil has sedative properties, is a good emollient for the skin and inspires positive thoughts. Freedom It is an invigorating blend of lemongrass, rosemary and peppermint, which facilitates in combating fatigue and relieves muscular pain. Spirituality This is a refreshing blend of clove, thyme and spearmint, which detoxifies while dispelling negative emotions and calms the senses. Innocence A sweet, fulfilling mélange of sweet basil, chamomile and patchouli, which reduces cellulite, improves blood and vascular circulation while working against anxiety and depression.


Spa

HOTEL Business Review

The Lady Behind the Aura Seema Nanda, the Spa Manager at Aura, joined the state-of-the-art spa at The Park, New Delhi, on May 2012. With over five years of experience in the industry, Seema is now responsible for delivering each guest at Aura a wonderful wellness experience. Seema holds a certification from Sohum Wellness Academy — a Core Wellness Ltd. initiative — in ‘Spa Management’ and has undertaken spa consultancy assignments in the past as well. Prior to joining Aura, Seema was the Assistant Spa Manager at The Radisson Blu Hotel Noida. She was the first Spa Consultant with Carnoustie Beach Resort & Ayurveda Spa at Allappuzha, Kerala and was instrumental in conceptualising the USP, processes and manpower resourcing at the resort. Besides her passion towards holistic wellness, she loves listening to music, reading, and travelling. The excerpts of the interview follow:

What are the types of changes you have witnessed in your field during the past 5-6 years? There is now a lot of awareness in the wellness arena. Also new technological gadgets have facilitated the industry to explore new techniques. Above all, there is an approach of ‘think out of the box’ as far as spas go, which is yielding very positive results. Today spa is an integral part of hospitality. A good spa in a hotel has as important role to play as a fine dining restaurant. Spas are now perceived as great places to meet and network, and of course they enhance the

wellness factor of the properties. What are the current top trends in spa, in terms of treatments? Ice therapy and snow showers are some trends to look forward to. What are some of the latest trends in spa operations and spa design? In terms of spa design, the concept of space, proper lighting and the affinity to nature are gaining momentum. In terms of spa operations, latest spa softwares have enhanced the efficiency of wellness solutions as now it is possible to

track guests’ medical conditions, likes and dislikes, important dates in her/his life, etc. Furthermore, spas are getting bigger and fancier. Medi spa business is booming as well. What are the top traits or skills every Spa Head must have to manage the spa successfully? She/he should have good recruiting and hiring skills, should be a good crisis manager, and should be a good sales person rolled into one. She/he must also be an expert in expense management, and must possess leadership qualities and an uncommon vision.

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Spa

HOTEL Business Review

What do you enjoy most about being a Spa Manager? I enjoy the constant variety and diversity in the job, which never gives me a dull moment. The opportunity for creativity, growth and new concepts which this designation affords are other things which I love about managing the spa. The joy of bringing guest satisfaction, interaction with clients, seeing the staff grow and develop multiple skills, are other forms of professional satisfaction that my job entails. What do you dislike the most about the job? Constant staff counseling, disciplinary actions, dealing with difficult guests and long hours are some of the irritants that comes with this designation. Is your job challenging? Can you point out five important challenges pertaining to your present job? Yes, definitely my present job is very challenging. The challenge of hiring and maintaining trained and skilled manpower, the challenge of maintaining equilibrium between costs and services provided to give a wonderful experience to the guests,, maintaining fortitude to balance out the temperaments of staff, marketing the spa,

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and spa maintenance are some of the important challenges involved in my job.

pool, swimming pool deck, and The Aura Terrace.

If you could change one thing about your job, what would it be? It is the operational hours.

Do you offer a signature treatment? Yes, we do offer it. It is named as Aura Massage. The signature massage of Aura is a well balanced treatment between ancient Indian and contemporary massage techniques, where gingelly oil or sesame oil is used to soften the skin. Here the therapist uses the entire palm in vigorous strokes to release toxins from the body.

What is your expectation for the future from the people visiting spas? It is my hope that people start looking at spa treatments as a necessity and not luxury. Describe the wellness ambience at Aura Aura implies the individual glow; an effect, a feeling that comes from within. It also signifies a spiritual journey into the inner self. True to its name and spirit, the space at Aura and the wellness experiences it exude, are geared to ensure a calmness that helps to nurture inner vitality and a glow of well-being. Ambience at Aura encourages you towards luxurious surrender to relaxed tranquility. How many treatment rooms do you have, and how big is the Spa? We have four treatment rooms within a 7317 sq. ft. of area, which includes not only the Aura Spa, but also swimming

Tell us something about your customised treatments? We at Aura believe that sometimes life calls for something customised. Our customised treatments are tailored to the guest requirement/s based on an in depth consultation before the session, where the therapist determines the mental and elemental state of the guest, thereby enabling her/him to customise essential oils and techniques meant to restore equilibrium between body and mind. What is your favourite treatment to receive? It is the Mughal Experience — a package with a customised choice of massage and a body scrub — which is my personal favourite at Aura.


Product Preview

HOTEL Business Review

Sky has the Depth of Quality

Beer Tube

The journey of Sky Enterprises did begin in the pre-independence era. The company has come a long way from the days of Raj to the cyber age. However, over the years, its endeavour to provide quality products has not changed. It has never compromised on is the quality of cloth and dress materials used. The product range of Sky Enterprises is valued for its high quality products and fine stitching. The company uses high grade raw materials, which are sourced from its trusted vendors. Today Sky Enterprises is regarded as a pioneer in the field of manufacturing and supply of uniforms and uniform related accessories, and hand-made zari embroidery in India. The company’s product range include waiter uniforms, Chef uniforms, uniforms for Indian Air Force and Indian Navy, school uniforms, reception uniforms, uniforms for air hostesses, security uniforms, housekeeping uniforms, and all other types of corporate uniforms. The company’s prestigious clientele list includes Indian Air Force and Indian Navy among others. Besides institutional uniform tailoring, the company also executes complete job of drapery and stitching on order. Sky Enterprises skyenterprisesindia@gmail.com

A Beer Tube is a 3 liters self-serve beverage dispenser that allows customers to fill their own glasses at the table. Tubes are filled at the bar with Draft beer system, then taken to the table and placed in a customized base where a group of customers can enjoy an ice cold beverage. All Beer Tubes consist of a simple Four -part design of a tube, tap , Ice chamber and base The interchangeable parts allow for efficiency in serving, cleaning and cost-effectively replacing parts to protect your investment. For bars and restaurants, Beer Tubes are the next generation of the traditional pitcher, with the added benefit of a “wow factor” that will enhance your customers’ experience and drive draft sales. Aim Tech care@kromedispense.com

Blynk Blynk is a revolutionary guest experience app for hotels. It works on Mobile, Tablet and TV. With Blynk hoteliers can create presence on mobile platform, Revolutionize Guest Experience, Improve Marketing, Branding, Advertising, Cross-Selling, Impulse Buying, Guest Loyalty and above all Increase RevPAR. Blynk aims to revolutionize the way Hotels interact/engage with their guests. Hotels can expose their amenities and services in high quality multimedia formats, which results in an increased exposure and usage. Guest can access details of all offered services, make service requests, and can also place orders directly from the mobile device. Hotels can change the content, menu, images, videos, etc. on the fly. Any special events or new offers can easily be added to the app. And the features list goes on and on. The implementation, business model and pricing is highly lucrative that Hotels can implement this without any hesitation or risk. Blynk hyadav@blynk.it

Life Enhancing Anti-Bacterial Mattress It feels great when your guests wake up feeling more dynamic, more active and more lively. That’s why Corfom mattresses have been designed and perfected to give your guests a more rejuvenating sleep. CORFOM mattresses keep sleep environment more hygienic because of the collaboration with Amicor. AMICOR is an innovative layer of latest intelligent fibre, which prevents allergens and provides the most hygienic sleep environment. It is not a coating but a permanent layer which works through the entire life of the mattress. Not only it increases the life of the mattress, but also provides healthier sleep environment for guests, especially for kids, senior citizens, for people with known allergy to bacteria & dust mites. After falling asleep, we shed skin flakes into the bed and pillow. The warmth and humidity inside our beds encourage a micro fungus to turn these flakes into a food source for mites. By preventing the fungus, the mites cannot eat our skin and have to go elsewhere to find food. Amicor layer works as a preventive barrier. It is gentle and does not kill, but mites simply cannot thrive inside Amicor Pure bedding. Top names such as The Leela, Taj, Radisson, Neemrana Hotels in the luxury hospitality industry choose CORFOM for the long and proven experience we have in producing customised mattress. Coirfoam India P. Ltd. directors@coirfoam.org

Vertical Reach-in Cabinet The vertical reach in cabinet by cold food, is made from the high quality 304 grade stainless steel sheets. The product has the efficient design with forced air cooling technology for homogenous cooling. It also has the environment friendly refrigerant gas. The product is also featured with inbuilt evaporation system requires no plumbing solution. The easy temperature controlling also helps to maintain the freshness of the cold foods with digital display meters. The fast recovery and temperature retention is sustained because of the P.U.F insulation. Cold Food Sales @coldfood.in

The information published in this section is as per the details furnished by the respective manufacturer/distributor. In any case, it does not represent the views of Hammer Publishers Pvt. Ltd.

Nov-Dec ’12

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Advertiser’s Index

HOTEL Business Review

A D V E R T I S E R ’S INDEX COMPANY

PAGE NO.

AIM TECH

47

COMPANY

PAGE NO.

PUSHKAL TEXTILES

08

AKSAI

FIC

ARCHII

37

RATIONAL INDIA

06

COIRFOAM INDIA PVT. LTD.

01

REMINGTON STEEL ARTS

54

COMBII ORGANOCHEM PVT. LTD.

01

SAMRAT FURNISHERS

10

DEXTROUS INFOSOLUTIONS PVT. LTD.

14

SIAL CHINA

49

ECLIPSE INTERNATIONAL (SLEEP OPTIONS)

33

SNOOZER BEDDING LTD.

09

FCML PROJECTS

21

SPRING AIR BEDDING CO. (INDIA) LTD.

25

HOTREMAI

17

SPRING FRESH WATER TREATMENTS LIMITED

43

IFB INDUSTRIES LTD.

15

SPRINGFIT MARKETING INC.

19

KESRI TRANSCONTINENTAL

31

SPRINGWEL MATTRESSES PVT. LTD.

13

SUPERSHINE LAUNDRY SYSTEMS PVT. LTD.

29

LOOM CRAFTS FURNITURE (INDIA) PVT. LTD.

22, 23

RANS TECHNOCRATS (INDIA) PVT. LTD.

BIC

MITORA MACHINEX PVT. LTD.

12

TERMINIX SIS INDIA

11

MITZVAH ENGG. INC.

54

VENUS INDUSTRIES

05

OZONE OVERSEAS PVT. LTD.

07

BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY

54

* BC - BACK COVER

* FIC - FRONT INSIDE COVER

* GF - GATE FOLD

* BIC - BACK INSIDE COVER

Nov-Dec ’12

55


w

Interview

HOTEL Business Review

Creating Memorable Hospitality Solutions By Sharmila Chand

Sunjae Sharma is the General Manager of Hyatt Regency Chennai. An industry veteran with over two decades of experience in the hotel industry, he has worked with Hyatt International for over 10 years. Though known for his operations expertise, he began his career in food & beverage. He has been instrumental in opening some of Hyatt’s most iconic properties in India. After completing his hotel management degree, Sunjae went on to complete his General Management Programme with IIM Bangalore, in 1999. Sunjae is also an avid golfer. The excerpts of the interview follow: Kindly provide an overview of the property

Hyatt Regency Chennai reflects the first foray of the Hyatt International brand in the southern part of India. Located on the iconic Anna Salai, in the heart of Chennai, it is easily accessible from the airport and suburban business districts. The state-ofthe-art property has 327 rooms and suites. The 20,000 sq.ft. well-appointed banquet space with a dedicated event management team complements the strategic location of the hotel. Hyatt Regency Chennai is not just a hotel; for the people of Chennai it is an escape in to the world of art and authentic hospitality. The property can also double up as an art museum owing to the spectacular display of theme-based art installations. The other factors that we celebrate here at Hyatt Regency Chennai are the distinctive Hyatt service and guest oriented touches, signature F&B outlets offering authentic cuisines by native Chefs from across the globe, our recently launched Siddh spa and fitness centre, and the magnificent sunlit atrium lobby which represents the signature Hyatt architecture style. What are the marketing strategies you have adopted to promote this property?

Our marketing mantra has always

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been to create memorable experiences with humility and innovation, so as to become a preferred destination recognised for its genuine hospitality. To attain this we embrace local culture, are community friendly and strive towards sustainable profitability. Our endeavour has been to create connect with the people and their psyche so as to be able to understand and cater to their needs even better. This has also helped us get the love and acceptance and loyalty of our patrons. Our integrated marketing approach involves a synergy of media channels from print, online, electronic and outdoor; word of mouth publicity, social networking, e-commerce and in-house channels. Furthermore, our employees and guests are our greatest brand ambassadors. The joint efforts by Hyatt International hotels in India and the world over also facilitate us to create a lasting marketing impact. What distinguishes your property from others in the same bracket?

At Hyatt Regency Chennai, the magnificent art installations by reputed artists, the signature food and beverage offerings, state-of-the-art meeting spaces, well-appointed guest rooms, rejuvenating Siddh spa and fitness centre, a team of engaged and

committed people, and the wonderful location of the hotel have together been able to create a niche place for the hotel in the city and the region, that shall differentiate us from others in the times to come. What drives your customer preference and loyalty among guests?

Our engaged, committed and passionate people — the team that has made Hyatt Regency Chennai what it is today is the forerunner for driving customer preference and loyalty. Our guest focussed team that believes in exceeding expectations of the guests at each point and making them feel more than welcome is our distinct attribute. What is the most crucial issue to tackle in the Indian hospitality industry today?

The most crucial issue is the shortage of passionate, motivated and skilled manpower resources. How do you de-stress?

Golf and gym are my ways of destressing. What is your work mantra; your guiding philosophy at work?

Empowering people, and getting the basics right is my work philosophy.


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Hotel Business Review