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Registered with Registrar of Newspapers under RNI No. MAHENG/2009/34648. Postal Registration No. MH/MR/N/98/MBI/12-14 Published on 7th of every month. Posted at Patrika Channel Sorting Office, Mumbai-400001. Posting date: 8th & 9th of every month Total pages 82 Volume 5|Issue 10|October 2013|`50






>>>Ritu Chawla: Why this

GM will stop at nothing to establish Coutyard by Marriott Pune Chakan as a success story




Roundtable Importance of MarCom






Highlights October

Tourism minister interview

22 COMMENT Rajeev Menon on the Marriott's expansion plans across the country.

Hotel tariffs are very high in India, even in the five-star category, so the next thing on my agenda is to see how we can rationalise room tariff."

26 MARKET DATA With more brands planning to open properties, Gujarat gets into focus as the next destination.

30 PR ROUNDTABLE Hotelier India speaks to MarCom experts to understand the challenges in the current scenario.



The dynamics of running the F&B outlets have changed with the thrust shifting to maximum engagement.

HOTELIER INDIA | October 2013 |



New opening





Double Tree by Hilton opens in Pune; Formule 1 ties up with PAYBACK.

20COMMENT & OPINION Is India ready for the next move of the tourism ministry?; Rajeev Menon on what it takes to grow even in a slow economy; and Sonal Holland on taking wine to a different awareness level.

48PEOPLE 46 RITUCHAWLA,GMCOURTYARD BYMARRIOTTCHAKAN Corrigendum The piece on Patu Keswani wrongly mentioned that Lemon Tree Hotels and Red Fox Hotels merged to form Carnation Hotels. Carnation Hotels is a JV between LTH and Rattan Keswani for managed hotels. The error is regretted.


Strategies and future plans of Pascal Gauvin; Naveen Jain and Babul Ganguly; and Spence Wilson.



64DESIGN We explore how new technologies have helped glass emerge as the most preferred facade material for hotels.

76PICKS OF THE MONTH Hotelier India's round-up of what's new in the market and the must-have products for your hotel.

HOTELIER INDIA | October 2013 |

October 2013 | Volume 5 | Issue 10 ITP Publishing India Pvt Ltd 898 Turner Road, Notan Plaza, 3rd floor, Bandra (West), Mumbai - 400050 T +91 22 6154 6000 Deputy managing director S Saikumar Publishing director Bibhor Srivastava Group editor Shafquat Ali T +91 22 6154 6038 Editorial

The right packaging can make success stories as proved by our Tourism Minister, who has managed to market India to the world quite successfully."

Changing perceptions

Editor Babita Krishnan



hange is always a difficult thing – both to implement and to accept. But that is where in lies the challenge, what one needs to look forward to. I have long been a believer that the best form of improvement is to challenge and then change yourself for the better. And that is what this issue is all about – change! Yes, this is the new-look Hotelier India giving in to the need to rediscover itself with a better and more intense content in an improved presentation – an attempt to create a goodlooking package. Since packaging is such an important part of our industry and the most challenging one at that, it is no surprise that our Tourism Minister K Chiranjeevi, has pulled no stops at selling “Incredible India” to the world as a tourist destination. The Minister reveals and revels as he looks back at his tenure so far and his plans for the future as he ensures that the industry maintains a positive outlook despite the economic downturn. He must be doing something right as I have been getting invites to hotel openings from all over the country – a proof that the industry is upbeat about the market. Every major hotel brand is eyeing a bigger piece of the revenue pie with plans to expand in not just the capitals, but in industrial towns, places of religious significance and wellness destinations. As the year enters the last quarter, the industry seems to be gearing up to embrace the future with open arms … or should I say doors wide open!

T +91 22 6154 6042

INDIA Business head Gurmeet Sachdev T +91 9987 208866 Regional manager - South Sanjay Bhan T +91 9845 722377 MIDDLE EAST Publishing director Diarmuid O’Malley T +971 4 444 3000 Commercial director Sarah Worth T +971 4 444 3000 Studio Head of design Milind Patil Senior designer Vinod Shinde Production Deputy production manager Ramesh Kumar Circulation Distribution manager James D’Souza T +91 22 6154 6032 Disclaimer The publishers regret that they cannot accept liability for error or omissions contained in this publication, however caused. The opinions and views contained in this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers. Readers are advised to seek specialist advice before acting on information contained in this publication, which is provided for general use and may not be appropriate for the readers’ particular circumstances. The ownership of trademarks is acknowledged. No part of this publication or any part of the contents thereof may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without the permission of the publishers in writing. An exemption is hereby granted for extracts used for the purpose of fair review. Printed and Published by Sai Kumar Shanmugam, Flat no. 903, Building 47, NRI Colony, Phase – 2, Part -1, Sector 54, 56, 58, Nerul, Navi Mumbai 400706, on behalf of ITP Publishing India Private Limited, printed at Repro India Limited, Marathe Udyog Bhavan, 2nd Floor, Appasaheb Marathe Marg, Prabhadevi, Mumbai 400 025, India and published at ITP Publishing India, Notan Plaza, 3rd floor, 898,Turner Road, Bandra (West), Mumbai - 400050 Editor: Babita Krishnan

Babita Krishnan

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Editor WRITE TO THE EDITOR Please address your letters to: The Editor, Hotelier India, 898 Notan Plaza, 3rd floor, Turner Road Bandra (West), Mumbai - 400050 or email Please provide your full name and address, stating clearly if you do not wish us to print them. Alternatively, log on to and air your views. The opinions expressed in this section are of particular individuals and are in no way a reflection of the publisher’s views.


Published by and © 2013 ITP Publishing India Pvt Ltd RNI no.MAHENG/2009/34648 MIB no. 10/47/2008

Hotelier India | October 2013 |

| August 2013

ADVISORY BOARD Our distinguished advisory board has been assembled to help guide Hotelier India to become even more representative of its community. Members have been invited from the highest levels of the industry to ensure that the magazine continues on its path of success.

Homi Aibara

Kamlesh Barot

Uttam Davé

Naveen Jain

KB Kachru

Rajiv Kaul

Akshay Kulkarni

Anil Madhok

Rajeev Menon

Dilip Puri

Sanjay Puri

Sanjay Sethi

Vijay Thacker

Manav Thadani

Executive vice-president – South Asia, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

MD, India and regional VP, South Asia, Starwood Asia Pacific Hotels and Resorts

Partner, Mahajan and Aibara Management Consultancy Division

President, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts

Principal architect, Sanjay Puri Associates

Ex-President, FHRAI

Regional director – Hospitality, South & Southeast Asia, Cushman & Wakefield

Managing director and CEO, Berggruen Hotels

President and CEO, Interglobe Hotels

Managing director, Sarovar Hotels and Resorts

Director, Horwath India

HOTELIER INDIA | October 2013 |

President Duet India Hotels

Area vice-president India, Malaysia, Maldives and Australia, Marriott International

Chairman HVS South Asia





Story of the month


Day in the life................................... 12 Openings........................................ 12 Trendsetters.....................................14

Ecole Hoteliere Lavasa 's twin Milestones The school goes live and the first batch celebrates its convocation

DoubleTree by Hilton Pune, Chinchwad

Launching DoubleTree by Hilton in Pune Hilton Worldwide has its property located in the city’s IT and industrial belt aiming to become the preferred choice for travellers to the region


ilton Worldwide announced the launch of DoubleTree by Hilton Pune, the first international hotel brand to open in Pimpri - Chinchwad. Located in the heart of Pune’s information technology and industrial belt, the 115-room property boasts upscale accommodations and amenities, including four F&B venues, an executive lounge, 24-hour business centre, versatile meeting and events spaces, pool, fitness centre and spa. “With its prime location in Pune’s industrial belt, DoubleTree by Hilton Pune - Chinchwad is a perfect fit for our portfolio,” said John Greenleaf, global head — DoubleTree by Hilton. “As the first international hotel brand in this region, we look


forward to introducing guests to the high-quality service for which our brand is known.” The hotel’s trendy guestrooms feature all modern conveniences. “In addition to the hotel’s outstanding amenities, we are delighted to deliver DoubleTree by Hilton’s signature service culture built around the idea of CARE – Creating A Rewarding Experience — for guests, team members and the community,” said Sahdev Mehta, general manager, DoubleTree by Hilton Pune - Chinchwad. “This starts with the warm chocolate chip cookie presented to each guest upon arrival.” Additional signature brand offerings include the Wake Up DoubleTree BreakfastTM, gourmet inroom tea and coffee and a refreshing array of CITRON body care products by Crabtree & Evelyn.

Hotelier India | October 2013 |

celebration The growing demand and the rapid pace of internationalisation of the industry has paved the way for a brand new 67,000 sq. ft state-of-the-art campus of Ecole Hoteliere Lavasa (LEH), the Indian network school of Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL). It was inaugurated by Prof. Michel Rochat, general director, EHL, Switzerland. LEH also celebrated the convocation of the first batch with 21 students receiving their certificates for the four-year undergraduate programme in hospitality management from Prof. Rochat. The awards were presented by Raymond Bickson, managing director & CEO Taj Hotels and Resorts and Palaces, an alumnus of Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne and Jean-Michel Casse, senior VP – Operations, of Accor Hospitality India. Prof. Rochat said, “EHL’s mission is to develop talent for the hospitality industry globally.”

SpringFresh Ad_Hotelier India_Size: 23.5cm(w)x 31cm(h) | Helpline No./Institutional Enquiries: Int-91-(0)-120-4512260 | Toll Free 1800 103 6664 SHEELA FOAM PVT. LTD.: Corporate Office: 37/2, Site-IV, Sahibabad Industrial Area, Ghaziabad-201010 (U.P.), Tel: Int-91-(0)-120-4162200, Fax: Int-91-(0)-120-4162282/3, Email: Zonal Distributors: Agra: 2260568, 9897145678. Ahmedabad: 26574035, 26574052, 26574053, 9898991400. Ambala: 2557873, 9416038232. Angamaly: 2462452, 9447231912. Bangalore: 26570860, 26570250. Berhampur: 2220382, 9861066886. Bhatinda: 2221045, 9876709066. Bhubaneshwar: 9337875544, 9437902439. Ichapur/24 Parganas-North: 25943938, 09830257178. Chandigarh: 2713202, 5039563. Chennai: 42141326, 9003212844, 42083970, 9500044831. Coimbatore: 2482202, 9994506786. Delhi: 22007761, 22091537, 41547723, 9873533613, 28728741, 28728743, 9810518918. Dhanbad: 2380842, 9431376139. Dimapur: 9401622222, 9436609469. Goa: 2413220, 9371096537. Guwahati: 9954042755, 9954043048. Haridwar: 250423, 9837202845. Hyderabad: 24073473, 32505472, 65307190, 9866459896. Howrah/Hoogly/Midnapur: 26407342, 9830070945. Indore: 4226657, 9301115666. Jabalpur: 4065582, 2410396. Jaipur: 2643645, 2641289. Jammu: 2575716, 9419191254. Kanpur: 2549033, 9839035042. Kolkata: 22657885, 9836442423. Karim Nagar: 6500070, 9440070015. Kumbakonam: 2423966, 9443395925. Madurai: 2539710, 8883642192. Meerut: 2660130, 9917360700. Mumbai: 24054037, 24052038, 9320008136. Nagpur: 2725983, 9422109374. Patna: 2342375, 9431821275. Raipur: 9301323971, 9993914815. Rajahmundry: 3299309, 2468789, 7702727777. Ranchi: 3242961, 9334437489. Rohtak: 253654, 9813163401. Rourkela: 2400421, 9937211224. Rudrapur: 9897067700. Srinagar: 2400418, 9419168244. Siliguri: 2526117, 9832061308. Semiliguda: 225569, 9439288326. Tirupati: 2225040, 9848037384. Vijayawada: 2416337, 9849453088, 2579353, 9848654353. Vizag: 2541191, 9848189786. Vellore: 2224741, 9443244741.


Courtyard by Marriott Pune Chakan in the automobile and manufacturing hub of the city.


HOTELIER INDIA | October 2013 |



19:00pm – Exercise and swimming time. 19:45pm – Leave the hotel. 21:00pm – Reach home, have dinner and spend time with my family. 22:30pm – Lights out


re-launched their heritage hotel in Mussoorie, The Claridges Nabha Residence, with the addition of a new Spa.



Hotels & Resorts

13:30pm – Lunch at cafeteria. 14:15pm – Meeting with director of rooms. 14:30pm – I head back to my office to co-ordinate with other departments, checking vendor supplies, uniforms, preventive maintenance follow ups and to check emails. 16:00pm – Check guest rooms with supervisors and managers. 17:00pm – Attend managers and supervisors briefing. 17:15pm – Laundry /flower room rounds. 17:45pm – Rounds of the Lobby, Banquet and Restaurants. 18:30pm – Final look at my e-mails and follow-ups.


The Claridges

5:30am – I wake up and have a cup of tea, spend time with my kids and help them to get ready for school. 7:35am – Leave for hotel. 8:30am – Reach the hotel. 8:35am – Read housekeeping logbook and housekeeping registers, arrival sheet, VIP guests in-house and check e-mails. 9:00am – Morning meeting along with other departments /division heads. 9:30am – Public areas round. 10:30am – Tea at staff cafeteria along with my department colleagues. 11:00am – Round of guest floors and meeting housekeeping attendants and service leaders.


group’s third in Africa.



114-room property will be the

rent quarter Q2FY14 to ebb down to a five-year low of 7 % to 8 % on the back of decline in RevPAR, seasonally weak July-September quarter and inflation in consumable costs.


announced the signing of The Premiere, Nairobi in Kenya. Slated to open in 2015, this

Rohit Vig, MD for StayWell Hospitality in India added, “This is our first property in India and we are all excited with the launch.” He further revealed that the brand is set to open six more properties — Gurgaon, Mumbai, Greater Noida, Raipur, Hyderabad and Goa, within the next nine months and aims to have 25 properties across all key cities in India by 2015”.

Quick facts: ICRA, leading rating agency, expects industry-wide margins for the cur-


Sarovar Hotels

Leisure Inn Grand Chanakya celebrates its location.




10th Courtyard in India, the brand opened the




Marking the opening of

StayWell Hospitality Group forays into India with the launch of Leisure Inn Grand Chanakya Jaipur, Rajasthan. The group, which emphasises on location, value for money offerings and personalised services, has begun operations in a perfect location — an ideal focal point for both the business and leisure traveller. Leisure Inn Grand Chanakya offers extensive facilities for guests with well appointed rooms and international standard services. Speaking on the occasion, Simon Wan, CEO & group managing director of StayWell said, “We are pleased to expand our portfolio in one of the biggest emerging markets in the world. With the launch of Leisure Inn Grand Chanakya in Jaipur our growing reputation and brand presence will place us well for further property developments not only in India but also globally”.


115 rooms

Keys Klub Hotel Parc Estique, Viman Nagar, Pune.

NEW ENTRY Australia-based hotel management group,


first Keys Klub property – the

Leisure Inn Grand Chanakya opens in Jaipur


Berggruen Hotels announced the name of its

StayWell Hospitality's first property




Destination Marrakech Taj opens its third property in the African continent destination Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces announced the opening of Taj Palace, Marrakech, marking the launch of the brand’s third opening in Africa and increasing Taj’s international portfolio to 17 hotels. The property offers unparallelled opulence with panoramic views of the Atlas Mountains and gardens of the lush Palmeraie district. With 161 rooms, guests can stay either in the sumptuous palace, which has 25 suites and a Royal Suite, or in one of the four themed riads. American artist, designer and renowned ‘Orientalist’ Stuart Church oversaw the interiors and architecture with exquisite attention to detail. The style of the rooms draws inspiration from the Berber Kasbahs of Morocco, the splendour of Ottoman architecture and the richness of Indian pageantry. From luscious silks and velvets to gold leaf adorning handpainted frescoed wood ceilings, Church’s expertise covered every aspect of the Palace interior décor. Taj Palace Marrakech features several dining options, serving a range of cuisines from Moroccan specialities with a Mediterranean twist at Rumi, to the finest flavours from Asia at fusion restaurant Mantra. Meanwhile the Bombay Club offers a taste of India along with the finest cognacs and cigars. Currently under completion, the hotel will also house an extensive Taj Spa. Offering a range of treatments, including Moroccan therapies, the spa will feature 14 treatment rooms, two large hammams and a fitness centre, spread across 3,800 square metres.

A strategic hospitality partnership PAYBACK joins hands with Formule1 as its strategic hospitality partner partnership Formule1, the budget hotel by Accor, has joined PAYBACK, reputedly India’s largest multi-brand loyalty programme, as its first partner in the hospitality category. This association will enable Hotel Formule1 guests to avail membership with PAYBACK Formule1 Payback launched by Rahul Rana and Philip Logan. Program and earn points. The partnership will maximise rewards for PAYBACK members spread across India on every stay, across all existing and upcoming Formule1 properties in India. Hotel Formule1 guests, on the other hand, who enrol into the PAYBACK programme, will be eligible to avail all benefits of PAYBACK members and also redeem their PAYBACK points for attractive rewards, with instant redemption at over 50 partner brands existing on PAYBACK’s network, in over 100 locations and 3,000 points of sale across cities in India.


trendsetters Inspiring initiatives from the world’s largest hotel chains Concierge Association of Western Region gives back to society Concierge members from Concierge Association of Western Region spent time with children of the Asha Sadan orphanage at Vasai near Mumbai. Instead of spending time with family members on the day that they were off, they decided to spend time with the children from the orphanage hence making a difference to their own lives. They had arranged for lunch for all 65 children who were served by the Concierge members themselves. After lunch, the members joined in to play some games with the children. One of the activities planned with them was taking handprints of the little ones on a chart paper as memory. Before leaving, chocolates were distributed to all of them and received gifts in return – the smiling faces. The four hours spent with the kids was a time to remember for the members.

Ginger brings its first hotel to Noida Ginger Hotels, from Roots Corporation announced the launch of its first hotel in Noida. Located at Sector 63, it is easily accessible from the Indira Gandhi International Airport as well as Anand Vihar and New Delhi railway stations. The 83-room property – Ginger Hotel Noida Sector 63 – was inaugurated by Rama Raman — IAS, chairman & CEO, New Okhla Industrial Development Authority in the presence of PK Mohankumar, MD & CEO, Roots Corporation Limited. Based on the unique concept of Smart Basics™, the hotel exemplifies smart and chic services, all at affordable rates. With a presence already established in Delhi and NCR, Ginger Hotel Noida Sector 63 will cater to the industrial and commercial sectors.

Accor Asia Pacific seeks to recruit 30,000+ new employees by 2016 Accor is on the hunt for 30,000 new employees by 2016 as the group continues to rapidly expand its network. With hotels covering the full spectrum from budget to luxury, Accor already employs close to 60,000 people in the region and reputedly offers its staff one of the best places to work in terms of training and development, career progression and mobility. With operations in 16 countries across Asia Pacific, Accor’s main recruitment drives will be in China, Indonesia and India, but the group is seeking a range of positions across all regions including Singapore, Thailand, Japan and Korea. Accor currently has over 550 hotels in the region and with more than 250 in the pipeline for the next three years, the opportunities for growth promise to be immense.

Hotelier India | October 2013 |



Carlsons Hotels, Mayfair London and Hilton Hotels India where Ajmani was a part of several key pre-openings throughout the country. In his new role at The Claridges New Delhi, Ajmani will be responsible for driving superior ‘guest experience’ and managing smooth operations of the rooms division.

AKHIL ARORA AS DIRECTOR OF ROOMS GAURAV AGGARWAL AS DIRECTOR OF SALES Gaurav Aggarwal has been appointed to head the sales function of the soon to be opened Fairfield by Marriott, Bengaluru. Armed with his sevenyear experience in the industry, his current position entails developing and maintaining customer relations to generate avenues for business to successfully launch the property, interfacing with key influencers, driving customer loyalty, ensuring speedy resolution of grievances, leveraging the presence of global sales offices to drive business and providing one-point-service delivery for all clients. Aggarwal holds a bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Hospitality Administration from Chennai.

SHAMSHER AHMED AS CHEF DE CUISINE Chef Shamsher Ahmed has been appointed as chef de cuisine – Kangan at The Westin Mumbai Garden City. Chef Ahmed has completed his Hospitality Management from Lucknow and has over 16 years of experience in the industry. His prior assignments include Indian master chef, Kangan at The Westin Pune Koregaon Park, sous chef at Marriott ICC Convection Centre, Pune and Rang Mahal Restaurant in Singapore.

VARUN AJMANI IS THE FRONT OFFICE MANAGER The Claridges New Delhi has appointed Varun Ajmani as the new front office manager. His vast experience of ten years spans across India as well as Europe with brands like


Akhil Arora is the director of rooms of Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel and oversees all areas of the rooms division. Additionally, he is primarily responsible for the overall guest satisfaction levels at the hotel. Arora brings with him over ten years of experience in the hospitality industry. Prior to joining Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel, he was the pre-opening front office manager at The Leela Palace Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. Arora has also worked at The Imperial, New Delhi and with The Oberoi Hotels and Resorts in cities of Mumbai and Udaipur. He holds a diploma in Hotel Management from IHM, Pusa, New Delhi.

BART BUIRING PROMOTED AS SENIOR VICE-PRESIDENT Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE:MAR) has announced the promotion of Bart Buiring to the position of senior vice-president – lodging services and operations, Marriott International in Asia Pacific. Having previously served as the regional vice-president of operations and continent lodging services for Marriott International in Asia, Buiring’s new position sees him providing leadership to all operations disciplines including rooms, food and beverage, engineering, procurement and guest technology. In this new capacity, he will also oversee hotel operations design development for all Marriott International’s new hotels in Asia.

RAMESH DARYANANI IS THE AREA DIRECTOR SALES & MARKETING Ramesh Daryanani is the newly appointed area director sales and marketing — South Asia at Marriott International Inc. In his new

role, he will look after all sales and marketing efforts for the existing Marriott properties along with developing core strategies for the upcoming properties across South Asia. Prior to this appointment, Daryanani was the regional director, global sales – India since 2010. In the past, he has held leadership positions with Accor Hotels in Australia having started his career with Taj Hotels. He holds a Bachelors in commerce and masters in management from Bangalore.

RAJESH GUPTA AS THE NEW GENERAL MANAGER Rajesh Gupta has joined as the general manager of The Orchid, Mumbai. Earlier he was working as CEO of Oye Hospitality Solutions Pvt Ltd – Jaipur (International advisory, consultancy and management group). Gupta has been associated with the hospitality industry for the last 16 years and has worked in various capacities in some of the best hospitality brands. He started his career with Sofitel Dubai and thereafter worked with brands like Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, IHG and Taj in different capacities. He was associated with The LaLiT Hospitality Group for almost seven years and launched The LaLiT Jaipur as GM.

MARTIN HILTON AS SENIOR DIRECTOR OF SPAS, ASIA PACIFIC Health and fitness have always been top priorities for Martin Hilton, who is senior director of spas, Asia Pacific at Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai. Armed with an Executive Program in Spa Management from Cornell University, Singapore and BTEC National Diploma – Leisure and Recreation Studies from South Trafford College, Manchester, England, Hilton has been with Four Seasons since 2006 when he joined Four Seasons Hotel Alexandria at San Stefano as spa director. His focus is on “people development and the never-ending pursuit of perfection in spa service.”

HOTELIER INDIA | October 2013 |

MANISH KAKKAR AS THE HOTEL MANAGER Manish Kakkar has been associated with Accor India for the last six years. Prior to his new role as hotel manager, ibis Jaipur, Kakkar was the operations manager at ibis Gurgaon and revenue manager in Novotel Hyderabad and Hyderabad International Convention Centre. He comes with over 14 years of experience in front office operation, sales, revenue management and reservation and has had diverse exposure not only in different departments but across hotels with different business models, markets and positioning, from economy to super luxury, branded chain and standalone hotels. Kakkar has also worked with Trident Hilton Gurgaon and Oberoi, New Delhi, Uppal's Orchid (an Ecotel Hotel), New Delhi, Hotel Hindustan International and Le Meridien, New Delhi.

BHAVYA KOHLI IS DIRECTOR BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT & MARKETING In his role as director, business development and marketing for the brands Fobsters Hospitality Pvt Ltd as well as DCPL, Kohli is the driving force behind both companies. In both capacities he is responsible for creating new business strategies and ‘visibility’ for the brands. He brings to the table insights into consumer behaviour, marketing trends, and business strategy and business logistics. His aim is to take Kitchen Central, their first brand, to many more locations in Delhi and NCR and to other cities as well.

JITIN NEOL AS HEAD OF SALES Jitin Neol has been appointed head of sales of ibis Jaipur. His first association with Accor India began in 2008 with the launch of ibis in India. Neol comes with over eight years of experience and hails from IIMT Gurgaon and has earlier worked with Country Inn & Suites by Carlson, Jaypee Hotels and Radisson Edwardian Hampshire.


MOVERS & SHAKERS NEW APPOINTMENTS THIS MONTH RAJAT SETHI JOINS AS GENERAL MANAGER Rajat Sethi joins the Radisson Blu MBD, Noida as the GM and brings a holistic and rich hospitality experience of over one and a half decades. A hospitality management graduate from IHM, Chandigarh, Sethi, has had successful stints with The Oberoi Group, The Taj Group of Hotels and Hilton Worldwide, bringing to each professional experience rich insight and acumen. In his current position at the Radisson Blu MBD, Noida, Sethi looks forward to maintaining the hotel’s premium position in Delhi and NCR region and taking the innovations in services and F&B of the hotel forward.

CHEF BRIJESH SINGH IS APPOINTED EXECUTIVE CHEF Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Alibaug has announced the appointment of Chef Brijesh Singh as executive chef. Chef Singh has a culinary experience of 12 years in premium hospitality brands across the world and brings on board an exceptional set of quality standards and unique perspectives. He is looking forward to incorporate his signature dishes and putting a whole new menu in place. His focus is on classic dishes, new creations and wholesome meals ensuring highest standards are observed in quality and presentation, administrative tasks, supervising service and overseeing the day-to-day running of the kitchen. While keeping a vigilant watch on consistency of high standards of food and hygiene, he also oversees and ensures that excellent quality of food is prepared and served to the valued customers who come to Alibaug for a relaxed time with family.


TANVEER SINGH IS DIRECTOR SALES AND MARKETING Tanveer Singh is the director sales and marketing of SingHotel. He has successfully launched the brand SingHotel by revamping the group's website, social media network, beefed up the marketing team in Port Blair, streamlined national presence in marketing and also tied up with agencies on a pan-India basis. SingHotel Hospitality has currently five properties in the Andamans, serving all categories of tourists and Singh is very determined that the group becomes a name to reckon with in the industry, continue the family traditions and values and make it even more successful.

EMILIANO DI STEFANO AS THE ITALIAN CHEF DE CUISINE The Westin Gurgaon, New Delhi has announced the appointment of Emiliano Di Stefano as the chef at the hotel’s Californian style Italian venue, Prego. Chef Stefano has eight years of experience as an Italian chef and has had an illustrious career so far, working with many a celebrated restaurants and hotels, globally. In his new role, he will be supervising culinary operations at Prego, leading his fine team of professionals and providing them with directional purpose. His strong foundation stems from his distinct association with many renowned hotels such as China’s Venice Hotel, Intercontinental Hotel, Muscat and Hotel Executive, Italy.

PRANAY VERDIA IS THE GENERAL MANAGER Pranay Verdia has been appointed as the general manager of Fairfield by Marriott, Bengaluru. He brings with him a wealth of experience in the hospitality sector. In his new position, Verdia’s mandate would be to facilitate smooth and efficient functioning of the property and guide the teams across departments to meet the set goals. He joins Fairfield

by Marriott, Bengaluru from Jaipur Marriott where he was the director of operations. He has been a part of the Marriott family for more than ten years and began his career in hospitality with Accor and was a part of the pre-opening team at Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai and an Executive Committee member at Park Hyatt Goa Resort & Spa. He holds a Diploma in Hotel Management from the IHM, New Delhi.

PANKAJ WADHWA IS DIRECTOR OF SALES & MARKETING Following a distinguished career in hospitality and with over 14 years of experience, Pankaj Wadhwa has been promoted to director of sales and marketing at Hyatt Regency Mumbai. He will be responsible for the planning and induction of sales and marketing strategies, while tapping into relevant national and international market segments, among others. He will also lead Hyatt Regency Mumbai towards fulfilling the vision of establishing the hotel as the preferred corporate destination in Mumbai. An alumnus of IHM Ahmedabad, Wadhwa began his career at The Trident Udaipur in the food and beverage department.

CAROLINE ZWIERZ AS COMPLEX REVENUE MANAGER The Westin Gurgaon, New Delhi and The Westin Sohna, Resort and Spa, has announced the appointment of Caroline Zwierz as complex revenue manager. She brings with her a strong foundation in revenue management, having worked at many a celebrated hotels and renowned corporations like The Fairmont Hotel Singapore, The Raffles Dubai and Deloitte Madrid, to name a few. Having worked in six countries and two continents, within a short period of only eight years, she also has a firm grasp on a varied range of revenue operations internationally. Her professional understanding of the same makes her more than capable in her new role as complex revenue manager. In her current role, she will be over seeing revenue operations

HOTELIER INDIA | October 2013 |

at both properties and reporting the same to the complex general manager, The Westin Gurgaon, New Delhi and The Westin Sohna, Resort and Spa. Zwierz holds a Masters in Hospitality Administration from Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) in Lausanne, Switzerland.

CHEF OSCAR GONZALEZ IS EXECUTIVE CHEF Executive chef of Four Seasons hotel Mumbai, Chef Gonzalez is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, who joined The Ritz-Carlton hotels and went on to explore various positions in the company across the globe. He spent two years discovering the culinary scope of Bangalore with the Taj Group of Hotels and moved on from there to join ‘Pretty Woman Hotel’ – Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire in Los Angeles as executive sous chef. Having enjoyed his stint, he is thrilled to now work in one of the most vibrant Indian cities – Mumbai. He believes that the youth here are brimming with innovative ideas and even with his experience, he looks forward to learning something new every day. He believes that great food is a harmonious marriage between traditional methods of cookery and quirky innovation.

ASHISH KUMAR RAI APPOINTED GENERAL MANAGER The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts announced the appointment of Ashish Kumar Rai as the general manager of The Leela Mumbai. Prior to this, Rai was the GM of Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur. In his new role, he will oversee the general operations and management of the 392-room property. A graduate from the Institute of Hotel Management, Pusa, New Delhi, Rai also holds a Diploma in the Executive Management Program from SP Jain Institute of Management, Mumbai. Rai is delighted to lead the team and feels that this is an exciting time to be in North Mumbai. An avid traveller, he is a keen sportsman with interests in polo, tennis and cricket.

comment & opinion

COMMENT We reflect on what it takes to run the tourism ministry, expand brand awareness, showcase wine as a revenue generation model and categorise hotels...all in the wake of the slowdown

shafquat ali

Want to enter the debate? If you have any comments to make on this issue, please email:

Ready for some incredible moves? In the face of slowdown, Chiranjeevi will have to deliver more than sugar-coated speeches if he wants to attract international tourists and hotel chains


s the rupee nosedives, the economy crumbles and the GDP takes a solid beating, India – or Incredible India – needs to resurrect its image. Enter: Chiranjeevi. The matinee-idol-turned-politician has to do his toughest role yet and face the global media that is only too eager to tear the Indian success story apart again. Right now, they are revelling in the collapse of the Indian economy. Or so it seems. At such time, the country needs someone with star appeal to go the world and tell it all is well. If truth be told, now more than ever, we need the tourists; we need the dollars. Thus far, the glamorous Union Tourism Minister Chiranjeevi has done a splendid job on the world stage. Whether it is at the last World Travel Market in Britain or the International Tourism Fair in Spain or, for that, the Cannes Festival in France, the film-star-turned-politician has successfully managed to tell the Incredible India story


in his own way wherever he has gone. And the international media has lapped it up. Round two will be more challenging. In the remaining time that he has tourism minister, Chiranjeevi will have to do much more to not only convince tourists to come to India but to attract foreign investments, especially in the hospitality sector. He will have to make the most of his international appearances to tell everyone that we not only have great destinations – well, most of the world already knows that – but that we have good facilities, necessary infrastructure and adequate safety and security. In addition, Chiranjeevi will also have to send out the right signals to international hotel brands operating in India and those like Ritz-Carlton, Dusit and W that are just about to throw open their doors that they will be able to pack in their rooms. In a career spanning three decades, Chiranjeevi has essayed 149 roles with aplomb. His 150th role – as tourism minister – is surely his most challenging yet. And this time, there are going to be no retakes if he slips. When I met the tourism minister, I was impressed with his quiet confidence and his steely resolve. He knew the job before him and drew out an impressive list of what he had achieved in the little time that he has been on the saddle. Chiranjeevi also knew full well that he didn’t have much time to complete his unfinished agenda as the country hurtles towards the next general election. But he is ready for the challenge. He confidently said that unlike most other countries in the world, India had everything anybody could want – from having innumerable locations to geographical wonders to divergent communities – making it well and truly a must-visit destination. Surely, the tourism minister has got his script ready, the cameras have started roll-

Union Tourism Minister K Chiranjeevi shakes a leg at WTM in London but will these incredible moves make a difference

ing and the star is ready to step forward and deliver his best performance yet. Whether he can use his charm to once again woo the world audience will decide whether the dollar start to pouring, the planes start filling and the hotels start packing them in – with foreign tourists. It is good news that 20.27 lakh foreign tourists arrived in India from January to March 2013, marking a 2.3 per cent YoY despite the Delhi gang-rape and cases of sexual assaults on foreign tourists. However, it is somewhat embarrassing that India attracts some 6.5 million tourists a year, accounting for less than 1 per cent of the total number of international tourists. To put it bluntly, India lags way behind most countries around the world, even cities like Bangkok, London, Singapore, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Seoul and Shanghai receive more visitors than what all of India attracts in a year. Chiranjeevi will have to deliver more than sugar-coated speeches with incredible smiles if he has to significantly improve those numbers. HI Shafquat Ali, Group Editor

Hotelier India | October 2013 |

| August 2013

On the move Rajeev Menon on the secret of Marriott’s success and plans for the future


ith a pipeline of 45 properties across India by the end of this year, we are looking at moving north of Chandigarh and also towards the eastern and northeastern parts of the country – with a JW Marriott opening in Kolkata, properties in Bilaspur, Shillong, Guwahati, etc., our distribution across the country is fairly even with quite a few in the secondary and tertiary markets. But we are not ignoring the Capital cities either. The business and leisure travel has just starting to grow but the numbers are a little slow in that part of the country. Marriott sees a long-term opportunity and hence, we have three hotels under construction in Guwahati. It is only about sorting the past challenges in those markets and making it economically viable for developers to build and operators to operate the hotel. Looking at the downturn and falling rupee, one cannot shy away from its effect on the industry. RevPAR overall has been declining in the last four-five years and that’s driven by two factors: considerable increase in supply year-on-year; and economics. I have a strong belief that if the economy was to hold or bounce back (in today’s scenario), you will see most of this pain go away because historically, demand growth in India has consistently been in

As new business comes in, and with the right brand in the right location, you ontinue to do reasonably well. A strong brand and team always work well." 22

double digits over the last many years. Some markets like Ahemdabad for us have been very strong with our hotel Courtyard by Marriott, running at average 85 per cent occupancy when the city is at 55 per cent. And a lot of it is because the state in growing from a GDP perspective and demand growth is stronger. So as new business comes in – and when the right brand is at the right location, you can continue to do reasonably well. But in places where economy has been more severely hit and there has been more supply, it is a challenge. For example, Pune is now showing a 5.7 to 5.8 per cent RevPAR growth after an extremely slow phase, and Marriott is well in double digits – what helps is a strong brand and a strong team to outperform in the market. Today brands need to be a lot savvier and more cost focused, it is time to go back to the basics to continue to deliver sustainable financial results. HI

About the Author:

Rajeev Menon is the area vice-president for South Asia, Marriott International Inc. and leads a team that is responsible for 18 operational Marriott hotels, as well as the soon to open hotels, that are a part of Marriott International’s robust development pipeline for India.

Sonal holland

rajeev menon

comment & opinion

Shaken not stirred Sonal Holland on not being a wine snob and her vision for ITC


ine has gained in popularity over the last few years and has almost become a must-have at most dining experiences. Though one cannot put a percentage to it, but I can definitely say

Consumers are beginning to understand and appreciate quality in wines. This puts pressure on Indian producers to raise the bar." that wine is on the upswing and plays a significant part in driving unique experiences in dining at ITC Hotels in particular. It is our constant endeavour to offer guests top quality wines from India and around the world, including old-world classics and premium new world choices. Our wine lists are being aligned to the cuisine/restaurant brands across the chain, keeping in mind the overall positioning and pairing of the wines with the dishes. Our F&B vision is to be recognised as the world's finest Indian cuisine and India's finest global cuisine. The wine list at ITC Hotels is aligned to augment this vision. My ultimate goal is to position ITC Hotels as the preferred wine and beverage destination in the country through building an award-winning wine programme for the Group. Consumers are beginning to understand and appreciate quality in wines. This puts pressure on Indian producers to raise the bar as far as quality is concerned and also on importers to continue discovering the best wine quality and styles from around the world at value for money prices. armed with my qualifications and heading to be the first Indian to be enrolled into the Master of Wine (MW) education programme in the UK, I don't believe that I have any gender advantage – it is a qualification advantage that I enjoy. I believe continuous learning and gaining formal knowledge and qualifications in wines has helped liberate me from the mundane, granting me an enviable advantage and professional credibility throughout my career. My only challenge now is to enjoy wine casually! HI

About the Author:

Sonal Holland is the corporate head for wine & beverages - ITC Hotels, responsible for close to 100 properties across India.

Hotelier India | October 2013 |

| August 2013

comment & opinion



Hotel Positioning: India HVS South Asia's perspective on the positioning of hotel products

As the hotel sector in India works towards maturity, aligning brand standards and developer aspirations to industry benchmarks will become increasingly important."

the other end, developers and builders overspend and over-spec their products to degrees that often deviate significantly from what would be typical of a certain positioning. Ultimately, positioning lies in the eyes of the consumer! As the hotel sector in India works towards maturity, aligning brand standards and developer aspirations to industry benchmarks will become increasingly important. Through the following table our intention is to set the record straight. A hotel’s positioning can be best defined if quantifiable and concrete criteria are employed to measure the product and service offerings. While exceptions will always re-

main, the rule of thumb below can help ascertain the true positioning of a hotel product. It is certain that no one brand will completely agree with all the parameters below and the classifications therein. At HVS, we work across a wide spectrum of assets, locations and positioning. As we present an unbiased view and tend to be ROI focused and any yardstick that can cover hotels across brands is absent, we believe the table below could serve as a useful ready reckoner for hotel developers of tomorrow. HI


oes a three-star hotel provide full service or select service offerings? Is an upscale hotel really four-star or five-star? Are luxury hotels seven-star deluxe and does such a positioning even exist? Between archaic slabs created by the ministry of tourism and colourful sales pitches delivered by hotel brands, the positioning of hotels in India is confusing, to say the least. While on the one end, several hotel brands continue to modify their India entry and/or growth strategies, on



About the Author:

Achin Khanna is the director, consulting & valuation, HVS South Asia HVS South Asia welcomes your comments at








5 Star Deluxe

5 Star

5 Star / First Class

4 Star

3 Star or 4 Star

2 Star or 3 Star

1 Star or 2 Star

Service Offering

Full Service

Full Service

Full Service

Full Service

Full Service

Select Service

Limited Service

Dev. Cost/Key (Without Land) (`)

1.5 Crore onwards

1.2 to 1.5 Crore

90 Lacs to 1.2 Crore

55 Lacs to 75 Lacs

45 Lacs to 55 Lacs

30 Lacs to 45 Lacs

15 Lacs to 25 Lacs

Gross Floor Area/Key (ft2)

1250 onwards

1000 to 1200

850 to 1000

750 to 850

650 to 750

450 to 550

300 to 450

Rooms:Total Area Percentage

45% to 50%

50% to 55%

55% to 60%

60% to 65%

65% to 70%

70% to 75%

70% to 75%

Base Room Size

50 m2 onwards

44 m2 to 48 m2

36 m2 to 42 m2

32 m2 to 34 m2

26 m2 to 30 m2

18 m2 to 24 m2

14 m2 to 18 m2

Ideal Room Count

150 Rooms +

250 Rooms +

250 Rooms +

150 Rooms +

150 Rooms +

125 Rooms +

100 Rooms +

Room Service








Restaurants + Bars




Two or Three

One or Two



Meeting Space








Swimming Pool
























Business Centre








ARR Range (`)

9500 onwards

7500 - 9500

6500 - 7500

5000 - 6500

3000 - 5000

1800 - 3000

1500 - 1800

GOP Margins

30% to 35%

35% to 40%

40% to 45%

40% to 45%

45% to 50%

50% to 55%

55% to 60%

Ideal Staff:Rooms Ratio

2.5 to 3.0

2.0 to 2.5

2.0 to 2.25

upto 1.75

upto 1.25

upto 0.7

upto 0.4

Source: HVS Research


Hotelier India | October 2013 |

| August 2013


Contac us : Corporate sale 00 9112 44 76 86 00

Lecoanet Hemant India(P)Ltd. Gurgaon - 122002




Destination Gujarat With initiatives from the government and identification of tourism avenues, the state is set for new development

market data


B y C u s h m a n & Wa k e f i e l d

ujarat has a blend of significant historic, cultural, and pilgrimage sites along with vast scenic expanses which draw a number of tourists yearly. As of 2012, the number of domestic tourists in Gujarat had increased almost 2.6 times since 2005. During 2011, the total number of domestic tourists was 24.5 million and had seen a year-on-year growth of 16 per cent. Similarly, as of 2011, the number of foreign tourists had grown almost 3.1 times since 2005. During 2012, the total number of foreign tourists was 174,150 and had witnessed a year on year growth of 4.9 per cent.

Number Of Domestic Tourists (in Thousands)


Domestic Tourist Arrivals in Gujarat

25,000 20,000 15,000 10,000 5,000 -

Number Of Foreign Tourists (in Thousands)








Foreign Tourist Arrivals in Gujarat 200 180 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 -

Heritage tourism is a big draw in the state.




Gujarat has a number of scenic destinations; most notable for tourism is the Rann of Kutch, which attracts tourists during December and January due to the Rann Utsav Carnival held during that period. Additionally, the Gir forest is another noteworthy destination








due to the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, home to the endangered Asiatic lion – the sanctuary attracts visitations throughout the year. Under heritage monuments, the Vadodara Circle (a state archaeological body, with jurisdiction within Gujarat and Daman & Diu)

is responsible for undertaking excavations, explorations, maintenance, conservation, preservation and promotion of 213 centrally protected monuments and sites. The most popular site visited in Gujarat is the Sun Temple in Modhera, a UNESCO world heritage site which during 2011 received a total number of 296,783 tourists. The second most popular attraction is the RaniKi-Vav in Patan, a famous step-well which drew a total of 272,890 tour-

Hotelier India | October 2013 |

ists. In third place is the Champanger-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, another UNESCO world heritage site, the park has 114 monuments and sites representing Hindu and Jain temples, mosques, tombs, forts, gates and much more. During 2011, the total tourists drawn by it was 94,869 people. Almost 98.8 per cent of the total visits to the given site in the following table are from domestic tourists, while 1.2 per cent were foreigners.


1/30/2013 3:33:40 PM

300 250 200 150 100 50 -

Sun Temple



Buddhist Caves

Ashokan Rock Edict

Pavagadh Park




Monument Sun Temple, Modhera Rani-Ki-Vav, Patan Champaner, Pavagadh Archaeological Park Buddhist Caves, Junagadh Ashokan Rock Edict, Junagadh GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES The state tourism department is expected to release a new policy on tourism in the state that is expected to have a major focus on infrastructure development for the hospitality sector within the state by attracting more private investments. Gujarat’s Tourism Corporation, the TCGL (Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited) has made some rather active enhancements towards tourism in Gujarat, with the ‘Kushboo Gujarat Ki’ campaign featuring Amitabh Bachchan as the state’s brand ambassador. Looking at Gujarat’s Annual plan for 2013-14, the state government has allocated INR 195 crore for the development of infrastructure, cleanliness and hygiene facilities throughout the state, INR 13 crore for more tourist facilities at Satpura (a hill station located in the Dang district), INR 152 crore for promotional activities through fairs international and domestically held, INR 1 crore to SCOPE (Society For Creation of Opportunity Through Proficiency in English) for the advanced English language training for the youth in Gujarat, INR 100 crore for better infrastructure in pilgrimage places throughout the state, and most noteworthy is


Nearest City Ahmedabad Ahmedabad Vadodara Junagadh Junagadh

Distance 100 km 126 km 45 km 5 km 5 km

INR 100 crore for the development of a 597 ft statue of Sardar Patel, which is to be developed through a Public Private Partnership model, the statue is expected to be the tallest in the world and is to be referred to as the ‘Statue Of Unity’. In an aim to promote coastal tourism, the state government is seeking to create a cruise liner service between the Pamodar (an all-weather port) in Gujarat and Mumbai; the travel period would be approximately three days. The cruise line service is to be operated by a private entity. To attract such investments, the state authorities are to give concessions such as berthing priority and no port fee to be collected for liners that dock at the states port

tallest hotel in the state at a total estimated cost of INR 400 crore. TCGL and IL&FS have tied up to form a joint venture known as GUJTOP (Gujarat Tourism Opportunity), which aims to promote tourism infrastructure across the state. GUJTOP will provide advisory services for private investors intending to invest across the state. GUJTOP currently has identified 39 projects against six major segments; Beach Tourism, Rural Tourism, Business Tourism, Eco Tourism, Way Side and Road Tourism, and Religious Tourism. With respect to hotel development, Ahmedabad is seen to have most significant number of brands present, most notable of which are Courtyard by Marriott with 164 keys, Hyatt (formerly Ista Hotel) with 178 keys, Radisson Blu with a 116 keys, and Country Inns and Suites with 68 keys. Ahmedabad is also expected to see a significant increase in inventory with hotels such as Novotel opening with 180 keys (2014) and Lalit with 250 keys (2014). Additionally, locations such 4,500

Number Arrivals (in Thousands)

Vadodara Circle 350

IMPACT Gujarat has over time become a major beacon for investment, looking at financial indicators such as the GSDP (Gross State Domestic Product), the state had witnessed an annual growth rate of 10.24 per cent from 2002-2012, during the 10th five year plan, the state’s economy grew at an average annual rate of 10.97 per cent. Looking at further developments such as the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City, commercial demand is likely to see significant growth. Developments in tourism are prominent with respect to infrastructure both planned and existing, with the further promotion of Gujarat as a destination, leisure demand is expected to increase. Further, the formation of GUJTOP provides a strong support towards development of tourism within the state. HI

Domestic Air Arrivals At Ahmedabad

3,500 3,000 2,500 2,000 1,500 1,000 500


OTHER DEVELOPMENTS The Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT) is an underconstruction city located approximately 30 kilometers from city centre of Ahmedabad and 20 kilometers from the airport. The proposed city is a special economic zone, spread across 105.4 hectares of land, which is to feature commercial, residential and social facilities (educational institutes, hospitals, and more). GIFT is to feature the

as Vadodara had seen the entrance of Hampton by Hilton with 95 keys in 2010. Vadodara is also proposed to have a Hyatt Place within the next five years with a total of 125 keys.



Number Arrivals (in Thousands)

Number Of Tourists in Thousands







International Air Arrivals At Ahmedabad

800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100



Hotelier India | October 2013 |






The Game Changers From being just an afterthought to an imperative division of a hotel framework, PR and Communication has come a long way

Round table


B y Ma d h u l i k a D a s h

n terms of hierarchy, PR & Communication department was never on the high list. After all, old school says that a hotel, to survive, needs to do the right things — rather than speak the right words. Back in time, this would have worked wonderfully, but not so today. Clearly, good work needs good marketing to be appreciated. But is PR today just about propagating activities? Read on and be surprised, as we get an inside view of how much the once believed ‘leisure division’ actually contributes.

What is the most challenging aspect of PR and Communication in a hotel?

Shruti Dasgupta: One of the biggest

challenges today is giving not just the hotel, but the location too, a destination-like image, and then work on evolving it constantly. Like we did for the new Courtyard By Marriot at Chakan. The place was famous as the hub for auto and manufacturing industry, but with Courtyard there we had to transform it into a luxury destination with the right media co-operation. Sukhdeep Bahra: To receive due recognition in understanding the significance of having a PR and Communications leg in a hotel is extremely challenging today. This is primarily because hospitality is essentially considered to be an operations and revenue driven industry, with little contribution from the communications department, which is a gross misconception. Sujata Gowda: Besides the usual role of maintaining a pristine image of the hotel in public, the PR and/or communications manager today has to also don the hat of a brand guardian — responsible for not only how the brand develops and evolves, but also how to reciprocate the same internally. Understanding how to do this while keeping the ethics high


Fifty Five East at Grand Hyatt Mumbai.

is the new challenge today. Priti Chand: The most challenging aspect of PR in hospitality is that it cannot be directly measured. When I started my career, PR was considered as non-revenue generating department. However, it is

not the scenario today. Challenges are much lesser now as people have begun appreciating the value and importance of PR towards development of a brand, and generating revenue through footfalls. Anjori Kumar: The constant ende-

Hotelier India | October 2013 |

vour to keep the brand ahead without compromising on people’s sensibilities or the brand’s ethics. And to constantly evaluate new ways of introducing freshness, with the support of all the division of the hotel is a constant challenge.

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The China House Lounge at Grand Hyatt.

Tell us some of your successful PR innovations in the recent times?

Dasgupta: As a beneficiary of the 1st mover advantage in Chakan, we wanted people to associate with us in the same way as one would with a baby. Hence, we developed this programme called ‘Media Hard Hat’; wherein we invited local media over at the hotel during the construction phase to give them the ‘Dust to Riches’ story. Since then our relations with the media has been mutually benefitting. Bahra: The Westin’s biggest strength as a hotel and brand has been to remain on-brand throughout and about everything that the brand stands for. Be it the guest introduction to Heavenly Beds, SuperFoodsRX, WestinWorkout® Fitness Stu-


dio, or the new body-tailor-made menus. Our wellness in travel, ‘For A Better You’, is considered our biggest success story. Gowda: Internally, our biggest success has been to turn each member of the hotel into ‘Sofitel Ambassador’. Everyone today is well versed with the hotel and its various components including the brand’s philosophy and ethics. Externally, our achievement has been in establishing Sofitel as a destination. Voting of Tuskers as an award-winning vegetarian restaurant and scotch bar has been the big feather in our cap. Chand: Making of event reports rather than the commonplace dossiers of not only the promotional event but also the HR and CSR

initiates and the new industrial developments has been the most successful innovation in The Zuri. This system has helped us not only stay connected to various divisions of the hotel, across all the chains, but also effectively implement our new strategies. Like our Traffic Light event, where we had human banners reaching out to singles in the city and invite them for a get together on Valentine’s Day. It has also been instrumental in developing a proactive PR and communication system rather than a reactive one. Kumar: Noel Lee, founder of Monster Cable, had once said, “It’s not enough to have a good product: you have to romanticise it.” In my years with Shangri-La Eros, I have used

Hotelier India | October 2013 |

this very principle to present every idea — be it for internal use or the guests. The one success in doing this is the use of social media that has helped convey the message, passionately with a personal touch.

How has the role of a PR and communication manager changed during the recession times?

Dasgupta: PR, I feel, is a very com-

mercially viable route of creating brand awareness and increase recall value. Financially, PR has always been the preferred mode of communication adopted by various organisations. With PR, one is able to create the necessary buzz while being light on the pocket. In lean times, it is only effective PR strategies that help sail the boat for


Courtyard by Marriott Chakan has the first-mover advantage.

most organisations. So while the role remains the same, the importance has increased manifold. Bahra: The need for PR and communications has been better understood over the years, because of which it has become a more coveted function across all industries, especially hospitality. Customers need a reason beyond a room to spend the night in, or visit a hotel today. It is the communications department that ensures that all the right messages reach its prospective customers, to bring traffic to their hotels, which holds more water during economic slowdown and lean period. Gowda: If there is a lean period, PR and communications becomes even more important. Editorial content wins over advertising on the grounds of credibility, and PR ensures that we are constantly in touch with and reaching out to all our influencers and stakeholders. This ensures there is accurate information about the brand in


Sofitel Mumbai is strong on design.

the market place and that we are communicating in a genuine and authentic manner irrespective of lean or good times. Chand: There has been a gradual shift in the recognition of the department as an entity that can affect a wide variety of perception change of the brand. With this change the play area of the division has also evolved. What was

once seen as limited to F&B and rooms, is now an all-encompassing role, where we have to build platforms for revenue generation, and conceive systems that ensure that internally the channels of communications are transparent and effective. In other words, we have become the nerve centre that helps balance the hotel working compass.

Hotelier India | October 2013 |

Kumar: We are no more just the communicators but a combination of strategist, effective marketers and drivers who have to come up with new ideas that are different, can be effectively implemented across board and communicated in such a manner that it generates enough curiosity without compromising on the brand’s credibility.



Meet the experts

Shruti Dasgupta

Assistant marketing Communication Manager, Courtyard By Marriot, Pune She has been responsible for creating the first promotional event to popularise the F&B outlet of the hotel – and is integral part to all tie-ups that the hotel will undertake in the coming months. Sukhdeep Bahra

Complex Director Of Marketing Communication, The Westin Gurgoan New Delhi and The Westin Sohna Resort & Spa Her role involves more than just PR and communication – it's also giving the brand a unique perception that’s international with an Indian charm. Sujata Gowda

Associate Director marketing & Communication, Sofitel, Mumbai She plays the role of both a revenue builder and an image creator with aplomb. And has been instrumental are the constant evolutions of the hotel – especially the F&B outlets. Priti Chand

VP, PR & Communication, Zuri Group Global She tackles issues personally and is the only head who lives out of her suitcase, literally, to ensure that all hotels are well portrayed and acknowledged. Anjori kumar

Director of Communications, Shangri-La’s Eros Hotel, New Delhi What sets her apart, and in that sense the hotel too, is the transparent communication channel, and the flexibility to adopt and evolve instantly.


Shangri-La's Eros, New Delhi, has carved a niche for itself.

Which are the new channels of communication that have helped garner results?

Dasgupta: Over the time, there has been a paradigm shift from the traditional PR tools to the new age digital media. PR experts have realised the importance of social media to reach out to their end users. It is no longer primarily focused on media relations, it’s also utilising new technology and tools to provide as much content as possible to people to understand the brand and be a part of building the brand. One such initiative is our association with expat communities in Pune. It gives them visibility amongst their potential clientele and leverage our relationship. Bahra:Other than social networking websites, there are other online avenues that are equally, if not more, significant for the communications industry. Mobile applications, con-

venience in navigation through a product’s website, Search Engine Optimisation, and increasing traffic to the product’s homepage by means of innovation, all make up for a list of essential tools for any communication specialist today. This with addition to an well maintained online presence along with collaboration forms a good PR framework. Gowda: PR today has a much broader palate — there is people relations, relationship building, image management, understanding the larger mission and objectives, being brand centric, understanding social media and its influence, and most importantly, being true to who you stand for in the marketplace. At Sofitel, we also work with our PR agency as a partner, which helps us in adapting to new methods, tools and relationships in the market place. Chand: Hotels now, finally,

Hotelier India | October 2013 |

are giving digital marketing channels precedence over traditional, analog media. Of course an integrated marketing approach remains vital, but digital comes first, both in strategy and in budgets. Digital PR is now the current trend which comes to any organisation at a competitive price. Kumar: A smart media strategy includes good contacts in the media and maintaining great relationships with key journalists. Using social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, which allow you to follow and be followed by journalists, drive web traffic, manage issues by responding quickly to criticism or negative perceptions, and increasing the social media presence of the brand works well too. However, in the end, the tool that really works is one that ensures constant engagement of our goal — our guests!

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High spends noted


Railway and airfare spending record highest rise by Indian businesses globally


By Concur

he annual report of Concur with additional insights on data by IDC, analyses more than $50 billion in corporate travel and entertainment (T&E) spend by leveraging expense data generated by its more than 18,000 corporate clients. The spend data was analysed for nine nations worldwide, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia and India.

The report ranks the ten largest spend categories and highlights key findings such as the most expensive cities for business travel, the average cost per transaction and much more. The report gives a comparison of that spend year-over-year. It will also offer a detailed look at the regional spending trends in some of the most popular hubs for business travel. 9 nations are covered in this study, which includes Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, United Kingdom and the United States. The data offers travel and expense managers insight into global and regional spending trends, helping organisations of all sizes make more informed decisions.

Rail spends increase by 58% and Indian airfares surged by 18% highest by any country Lodging in India at 31% gets the maximum share of spend as compared to other categories such as airfare, rail, dining, etc. Bangalore and Mumbai are among the top 25 international cities visited for business with Bangalore ranking 12th and Mumbai ranking 20th


India-Specific Bengaluru v/s Mumbai (2011) Dining

Entertainment Lodging

Ground Transport



$ 28.28

$ 88.60

$ 116.12

$ 25.70

$ 258.7


$ 27.21

$ 71.15

$ 135.38

$ 21.44

$ 255.18

Bengaluru v/s Mumbai (2012) Dining

Entertainment Lodging

Ground Transport



$ 26.67

$ 79.10

$ 98.52

$ 23.55

$ 227.83


$ 22.69

$ 81.31

$ 116.06

$ 18.31

$ 238.37

Key Indian statistics in the global and regional context The rupee declined 12.4 per cent against the dollar from 2011 to 2012. Accounting for this change in exchange rates, India saw an 18 per cent increase in the average price of airfare. Rail costs also increased nearly 58 per cent. Surprisingly, the average gas transaction declined 4.2 per cent, suggesting that rising fuel costs were not the only factor behind the higher airfare and rail amounts. Bangalore and Mumbai are among the top 25 international cities visited for business with Bangalore ranking 12th and Mumbai ranking 20th ranked by no. of overnight hotel stays. However, in terms of average transaction amount, Bangalore stood last at no. 25 with $227.83 and Mumbai at no. 23 with $238.37

The above average transaction amount for Bangalore stood at $258.7 in 2011 and $227.83 in 2012 and Mumbai stood at $255.18 in 2011 and $238.37 in 2012. It will be fair to note that the rupee declined 12.4% against the dollar so the actual spends may be higher in 2012 than 2011 for both Bangalore and Mumbai Rail costs increases incredibly to 58% which is the highest recorded increase across the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and Australia Average Indian airfares surged by 18%, which again is the highest recorded increase across all the regions surveyed. The average percentage spend on lodging (31%) was the highest in India as compared to other APAC countries like Japan (23%), Hong Kong (25%) and Australia (14%).

Hotelier India | October 2013 |

Key APAC Region Highlights • India is the only APAC country to show a decline in spends on lodging at -0.27%, though percentage spent on lodging remains the highest in India compared to other spend categories • India saw most significant rise in airfare for APAC at 18% but average transaction cost remains the lowest in the region • Dining in India saw a minimal rise whereas all other counties in APAC saw a decline in spends • India and Hong Kong are only 2 countries that saw a rise in entertainment expenses • India saw a significant rise in railway expenses at 58% as compared to other APAC countries. This rise is the highest among all nations in the report - both at the regional and global level. • Telecom grew significantly at 24.45% in Hong Kong as compared to other APAC countries

India ranked the lowest in average entertainment spend at 2.44%, with the highest being 8.14% in Japan



„Squareline“ „Basic“ & „Konkret!“




Cover story

By Shafquat Ali Photography: Getty Images

STAR APPEAL Film-star-turned-politician K Chiranjeevi gets his act together as Union tourism minister and gives the hotel industry a much-needed shot in the arm

But that's not all. To his credit, the 58-year-old minister has proved to be more than just a poster boy of the tourism industry. Chiranjeevi has surprised his detractors, who were ready to dismiss him as yet another star-turned-politician, by working hard and making a significant difference to his new job. Unlike most other film stars who have forayed into politics, Chiranjeevi has never tried to steal the thunder — he kept a low profile, avoided the spotlight wherever possible and often ducked media glare. Instead, understanding both the enormity and complexity of the job at hand, the tourism minister has concentrated on delivering the goods. “I realised that though my ministry is charged with the job of promoting tourism, we actually needed the cooperation of 16 other ministries to deliver the goods,” he admits. “With so many rules and regulations, things are far from easy.” So, for his part, Chiranjeevi has been visiting related ministries, holding discussions with politicians, bureaucrats and senior officials to set things in order. At the same time, he has also been engaging the industry and talking to business leaders and hoteliers to understand their problems and find solutions. As Chiranjeevi is getting ready to complete one year in office this month, the tourism minister tells Hotelier India, he is proud of his achievements. “I am going to convene a big press conference to mark the completion of my first year in office and highlight what I have done in this time,” the normally reticent minister said with a glint in his eyes.


hile handing over the tourism portfolio last year, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told Chiranjeevi that he should take advantage of his star status to promote the country and become a brand ambassador for India. Well, to be honest, few expected him to do much else.


But much to everyone’s surprise, Chiranjeevi does have quite a lot to show for the little time he has spent in office. Of course, he makes no bones about the fact that, at every given opportunity, he uses his star status to get things done quicker than usual. “I have no doubt that my star appeal and huge fan following have helped me roll out a number of initiatives and set in motion a host of others in just one year in office,” said Chiranjeevi. Faced with increasing international criticism about the lack of security for tourists, especially women, Chiranjeevi says one of his top priorities was to ensure the “safety and security of around six million foreign tourists who visit India every year”. And he took several steps in that direction. To stem the alarming increase in incidents of crime against foreign tourists, Chiranjeevi took up the matter both with Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde and all chief ministers and urged them to institute an adequate mechanism for safety of tourists. To his credit, Chiranjeevi played a key role in the decision to set up tourism police, comprising officials on deputation from police, along with ex-servicemen and home guards, in all states and Union territories. “This was a historic decision and I was surprised by the overall support we received from all over the country,” he said. It was decided that, in case of assault on any tourist, states would ensure immediate post-traumatic help to the victim, respecting their privacy. What’s more, Chiranjeevi also approved the setting up of a 24-hour toll-free multi-lingual helpline to provide general information and assistance to tourists and directed the Indian Association of Tour Operators, the apex body of the tourism industry, to make the helpline accessible from everywhere in India.

Hotelier India | October 2013 |

the safety and security of around six million foreign tourists who visit India every year, is top priority for the minister.


hether he is attending political meetings in crisp white kurta-pyjamas or hosting business delegations in smart pinstriped suits or, for that matter, visiting star-studded shows in impeccable tuxedos and bandhgalas, film-star-turned-politician K Chiranjeevi effortlessly switches between his roles. There is no denying that he has not only brought a certain star appeal to his new role as Union tourism minister but Chiranjeevi has also added a much-needed dash of glamour.


Cover story

Tourism Minister Interview

Though my ministry is charged with the job of promoting tourism, we actually needed the cooperation of 16 other ministries to deliver the goods."

HOTELIER INDIA | October 2013 |




mong various other measures to boost India’s image as a tourist-friendly country it was decided to improve overall tourist facilities and establish proper toilet facilities along roads leading to important destinations by utilising the existing infrastructure like petrol pumps, dhaabas and panchayat bhavans. In addition, state tourism departments were asked to rope in local bodies to step up the cleanliness drive and work towards making tourism destinations beggar-free. “Cleanliness, sanitation and hygiene at tourist sites are major concerns,” said Chiranjeevi. “Besides, it is crucial to develop infrastructure for better connectivity to such sites. And we are working in that direction.”

Hotel tariffs are very high in India, even in the five-star category, so the next thing on my agenda is to see how we can rationalise room tariff." To ensure that necessary funds are available to improve, manage and maintain heritage sites, the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation has adopted Taj Mahal, Golconda Fort, Mahabalipuram, the Red Fort, the Elephanta caves and Ajanta and Ellora, informed Chiranjeevi. “The Tourism Ministry has currently initiated 29 mega projects,” he added. “Besides, the government is focusing beyond traditional tourism avenues like medical tourism, wildlife, wellness tourism, and village tourism. This is evident from the fact that, in 2013-’14, Rs13 crore has been sanctioned to develop grapevine tourism and ecotourism.” In addition, the ministry is promoting cultural tourism, sports and adventure tourism, leisure tourism and more. The Centre has also announced a Rs195-crore package for reconstruction of the ‘Char Dham’ pilgrimage circuit, which was badly affected by the Uttarakhand rain disaster earlier this year. Even though the Uttarakhand government is free to utilise the fund according to its requirements, Chiranjeevi said bulk of it would go toward renovating and reconstructing the pilgrimage sites of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, and its surrounding areas and the roads connecting them. There no doubt that all these measures have given a boost to domestic tourism and, to a large extent, restored the confidence of foreign tourists. “I am happy to say that thanks to the efforts of all concerned, 20.27 lakh foreign tourists arrived in India from January to March 2013 compared to 19.81 lakh in the same period in 2012, showing an increase of 2.3 per cent,” informed Chiranjeevi. As a logical corollary, the jump in the number of tourist arrivals


has given a much-needed shot in the arm to the hotel industry. Not surprising then that, despite the economic slowdown, the hotel industry has done reasonably well and most hotels across the country have posted YoY profits.


ven though Chiranjeevi has done his fair bit to support the hotel industry, his biggest gift came in the form of a web-based Public Service Delivery System (PSDS) for hotel approval, classification and related services that he launched earlier this year. While others have only paid lip service to bringing in transparency in granting approvals for hotel projects and classification status to functioning hotels, this minister walked the talk and turned into a reality. “This is my biggest contribution to the hotel industry,” he asserted. “With the help of PSDS, all applicants seeking hotel project approvals, hotel classification and approvals for other related services are now able to track the progress of their cases online on a real time basis. Even though the system has put pressure on ministry officials to deliver on time and increased accountability on their part, all applications are now examined within 15 working days from receipt for completeness. And, thereafter, all hotel inspections are scheduled within next 15 working days.” The hotel industry, tired of running from pillar to post for these approvals, has welcomed the move. Now the recommendations of Hotel and Restaurants Approval & Classification Committee are communicated on the spot to the applicant and these recommendations are put on the web with final decision within 10 days of inspection. Previously, applicants remained unaware of the status of their applications till the final decision was conveyed to them. But thanks to this initiative, that is a thing of the past as hotel promoters and owners can now seek voluntary approval from the ministry for their projects and classification from one- to five-star deluxe by submitting applications. All information relating to such applications, indicating the latest status, are put on the ministry website. And all requests are processed for a final decision within 90 days from the receipt of applications. “This measure has brought in more transparency, made officials more accountable and enabled the applicants to access information and check status of their applications sitting wherever they are,” explained Chiranjeevi. “The response from the industry has been overwhelming.” With the resounding success of this move, the Tourism Ministry is now looking at moving towards an e-regime and accepting e-applications and proposals and working on setting up such systems in other spheres of functioning also. In a bid to make hotels more visitor-friendly and hospitable, the Tourism Ministry has also just approved the revision of guidelines for hotel after taking into consideration suggestions from the tourism and hospitality industries. “The revision of these guidelines is aimed at providing a higher level of services in hotels and making information about customer rights available to them on and before arrival,” said Chiranjeevi. According to the new guidelines, all categories of hotels will have to indicate on their websites the complimentary facilities and amenities provided to guests. Facilities provided only on request must also be included in the same category. Besides, guests must be informed of the same on arrival. Water-based facilities like sprays or bidets or washlets must be made available at all star hotels. CHIRANJEEVI WAS QUICK TO DISMISS REPORTS THAT HE IS KEEN TO FORAY INTO THE HOTEL BUSINESS SAYING HE HAS INTERESTS IN A LOT OF BUSINESS, BUT “HOTEL IS NOT ONE OF THEM”.

To send out all the right signals and inspire confidence among foreign visitors, Chiranjeevi has even been encouraging everyone involved in the tourism sector to wear badges with the slogan ‘I respect women’ — besides Hindi and English, the metal badges are now available in nine international languages, including Chinese, French, Korean, Japanese, Arabic and Russian. In fact, the tourism minister was among the first to proudly sport the badge at a meeting of state tourism ministers meeting in New Delhi.


o, what’s next? “Hotel tariffs are very high in India, even in the five-star category, so the next thing on my agenda is to see

HOTELIER INDIA | October 2013 |

Cover story

national brands coming to India and will do whatever we can to see that they succeed,” said a visibly excited Chiranjeevi. “We encourage partnerships, especially in the budget hotel segment where I see tremendous demand and huge potential for growth. More so as India has over two lakh rooms in hotel and guesthouse category and there is shortage of about one lakh rooms, especially in the budget and mid-market segment. As such, there is a need for more hotels in non-metro cities. What’s more, the tourism industry has been witnessing an upswing and foreign tourist arrivals are expected to register over 8 per cent growth by 2020.”

All the world's a stage


Clockwise from top left: Inaugrating the Indian pavilion at ITB Berlin; At the IIFA Awards, Macau; Felicitation at the Cannes Film Festival; At the WTM, London.

how we can rationalise room tariff,” quipped Chiranjeevi. “Even in places like Las Vegas it is possible to get rooms at below $100 per day but not in India. And this is having a negative impact on the flow of inbound tourists, so we have to see how we can make rooms cheaper.” The tourism minister admitted that the tax component is very high – while most countries charge 5-7 per cent taxes over the hotel tariff, hotels in India charge 20-30 per cent — and informed that he is speaking to the Finance Ministry to look into the matter. “I have already opened a dialogue with the Finance Ministry to rationalise central taxes and have urged state tourism ministers to take up the issue at the state level and rationalise these taxes,” he pointed out. Further, with an eye on increasing inbound tourism and upping hotel occupancies, he has also urged the Union home minister to extend visa on arrival to more countries. “We have proposed Visa-on-Arrival (VoA) facility for 31 more countries including US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Russia, Spain, Italy and Korea,” Chiranjeevi said. “We have had two sets of discussions with the home minister and he has promised

to consider our list. If the current proposal is approved, the number of countries with VoA facilities will increase to 40,” said the tourism minister.


auding the Home ministry’s recent initiative to introduce online visa application system, Chiranjeevi said it would go a long way in boosting tourism in the country. “The progress in standardisation of visa application forms and integrated online application system in 120 Indian Missions abroad is yet another milestone towards making the Indian visa application process tourist-friendly and giving a boost to Indian tourism,” Chiranjeevi explained, adding that easing of visa regime would further improve matters. While on the visa front, the 60-day restriction on tourists returning to India on two consecutive visits has been removed, resulting in an increase in inbound traffic from countries to which this facility has been extended. Seeing the tourism boom in India, a lot of international brands have entered the Indian market and many more like RitzCarlton, W and Dusit are ready to open their doors. “We welcome all these inter-

Hotelier India | October 2013 |

owever, Chiranjeevi was quick to dismiss reports that he is keen to foray into the hotel business saying he has interests in a lot of business, but “hotel is not one of them”. At least not for the time being. Given the dismal performance of most of the India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) hotels, which is under the administrative control of tourism ministry, his apprehension to venture into the hotel business comes as no surprise. While Ashoka in New Delhi is running at a loss of Rs339.97 lakh in 2013-14 up to June, the Hotel Lalitha Mahal Palace in Mysore is running at a loss of Rs7.88 lakh in the current financial year and Jaipur Ashok, Hotel Jammu Ashok and Hotel Kalinga Ashok are running at a loss of Rs93.74 lakh, Rs15.73 lakh and Rs81.79 lakh respectively. If other international brands are raking it in, how does Chiranjeevi explain the sad state of affairs at ITDC-run hotels? The minister is quick to say that he is concerned about how ITDC hotels are being run and is trying to sort things out and work on their drawbacks. “We are reviewing everything one after another,” he explained. “Faced with stiff competition from both international and domestic hotels brands, we are trying to get ITDC-run hotels back on track by investing in human resource development and brand management, establishing customer relationship management system and aggressively marketing in India and abroad through participation in major travel marts and organising food festivals, etc.” While we wait to see if the tourism minister can help ITDC hotels make a cinematic turnaround and prove first-hand what it takes to successfully run hotels, the hotel industry is only too willing to hitch their wagon to the star. They are hopeful the star that he is, Chiranjeevi will continue to do justice to his newest and most challenging role yet. HI



GM interview: Ritu Chawla The second generation hotelier As the first GM from outside the brand, Ritu Chawla has a bagful of ideas to add to the bottom line

You have been a hotelier for how long and where did you get the training from? This is my 17th year. I am a second generation hotelier; both my parents have been hoteliers. After my IHM from the Taj institute in Aurangabad, I joined Taj as a management trainee and left the brand after 16 years. So, this is, in effect, only my second job. So why did you decide to move? Taj was wonderful and I wouldn’t leave a chain like that except that the growth and excitement is happening in international brands, and you want to be a part of it. Share an important lesson learnt from your experiences. That would have to be the first GM role that I took on at Fisherman’s Cove in Chennai as the youngest GM with the brand. It was a rural tourism property and had some serious union issues and I had to deal with some unique challenges, especially since the property had grown with the local community of fishermen who typically were not very educated class and belligerent. I was not sure of what to expect, in fact, I knew that a couple of people had refused this assignment before it came to me. But it has been my greatest learning curve as a leader. In a leadership role you come across different sets of people

As a woman how easy or difficult is it to grow in this industry? I have had a good growth so I can’t think much negative. If you have the right attitude and are willing to give it time with a little hard work, it’s doable. Marriott has a policy to promote women employees, the catch is that this is not a nine-to-five job and in India, a woman has a multi-dimensional role to play. So, when you have to balance work (which is 24x7) and home, one ends up sacrificing career. But it is a personal choice; I don’t think the industry makes it difficult for us. I have always got equal opportunities and never felt lesser because I am a woman. You have to be passionate about it and you can succeed only if you really love the job. Today, no person stays quiet if there is a gender bias in any way this generation of hoteliers is very vocal.


to deal with, it is important how you reach out to them and create a bond. I can proudly say that for a hotel that had IR issues every day, there was not one during my two-year tenure. It was tough, and there were small issues every now and then, but nothing that needed corporate office intervention. I also managed two wage settlements, which is never an easy thing. Chakan is not a location people would look forward to work in, so how do you keep the team motivated and interested? I came in as a hire-and-hold manager, so when Raj Menon mentioned Chakan to me, I could not place it on my mental map, I had never heard of this place and here I am promoting it a year later. We have a gen-Y team that has a totally different expectation and you have to really engage with them. During our pre-opening days, we used to have activities like Terrific Tuesdays and Happy Fridays, etc. and make it fun for them. We also do so a lot of training, as people only want to join a company where they see value addition and growth and Marriott offers both. Revenue generation will be a challenge in this location. How do you plan to handle that? A lot of the city’s business comes from Chakan. Even before I opened, there were guests driving in wanting rooms, have coffee or a meal, so I am very confident that we will get the right corporate traveller who is coming here with a specific purpose. With our presence, he will save that one hour driving into Pune, which is what he is looking for. Though one is not really able to put numbers or the demand but I can tell you that we cover nearly 500 companies (both MNCs and SMEs) on this whole belt. They have always maintained that there is need but wasn’t explored – all it needs is a little mindset change, which is not going to take much

Hotelier India | October 2013 |

Ritu Chawla, GM, Courtyard by Marriott Chakan

You have to grow with the local community – you need to include them but be prepared for everything." time as we have had an aggressive ramp up and I am hoping to match the city average by the end of the year. We have optimistic and not unrealistic goals to achieve. What role do social media play as a revenue generation tool for this property? It is an integral part of our e-commerce campaigns and we are totally on social media. It goes with the Courtyard ethos – we are young, refreshing and this is how everyone is viewing us today. What direction is the industry taking now? I think there is a definite shift towards budget and mid-scale segment. The business segment is getting highlighted. With lower budget segment like the Fairfield by Marriott, the Gateway of the Taj, Fortune form ITC, etc. everyone is moving in that direction. Compare that with the number of luxury hotels opening up and the answer is clear. HI


Pascal’s law Pascal Gauvin, COO, India, Middle East and Africa, explains why, despite the slowdown, he is bullish about India By Shafquat Ali


ith a promising revPAR growth of 3.7 per cent in this quarter, marking a 6.2-percent growth across Asia, Middle East and Africa and a record 400-percent growth in India in the past years, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) seems to be on a roll. In fact, IHG, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, plans to open 37 new hotels in India in the next few years and 150 hotels by 2020, Pascal Gauvin, COO, India, Middle East and Africa, told Hotelier India. With so much happening, it is not surprising that Gauvin finds himself in the thick of things. Behind that relaxed smile and calm demeanour, is a man who has got a lot on his plate but is never bogged down. Gauvin, who has overseen a period of significant growth for IHG since he took on his role as regional head at the beginning of 2012, takes things in his stride as he continues to take IHG to the level, particularly in a market like in India which is faced with a slowdown. While recession has put a lid on initiatives by most global brands in India, IHG remains unfazed and Gauvin goes about his task with a calm but steely resolve to grow the market share. Things changed for IHG in 2008 – a year IHG profits dropped by 28 per cent to $91 million and the global RevPAR witnessed a decline of 4.5 percent (there was a decline of 5.7 per cent in the US alone) – forcing the group to rethink its strategy. A few years later, IHG decided to focus on India, which was operating in India for 50 years but had only a recall value presence in the country. Marking a significant shift in their India strategy, IHG announced its plans to start its own chain of budget hotels, instead of managing local ones, initiating the trend of budget/business hotels in 2010. According to Gauvin, India has been very important in IHG’s scheme of things. In fact, he adds, “they (India and China) have been IHG’s footholds in the emerging market.”

Pascal Gauvin

The rise in the numbers of domestic travellers has opened up a big market, and with it the need for more need-centric brands. Fortunately, in India, we have the right bandwidth in terms of branding and right partners to fill the demand.” the ‘Stay Smart’ concept that IHG introduced with the Holiday Inn Express segment in the US in April and later in India with the launch of our first Chennai property,” added Gauvin. Rated as one of the best initiatives by the JD Power and Associates 2013, the ‘Stay Smart’ concept has played a major part in making Holiday Inn brand the “Highest in Guest Satisfaction Among Mid-Scale Full Service Hotel Chains” for the third year in the row. According to Gauvin, what made ‘Stay Smart’ such a huge hit was the fact that “it was attuned to the everchanging dynamics of the traveller today.” “I feel it’s important for a brand to understand the country as a market. As a company, IHG has never entered a new market without studying the growth oppor-


o, what are IHG plans for India? “Apart from strategic planning that has allowed IHG to enter many areas through joint ventures with companies like Duet Hotels and Brigade Enterprises, the brand has also heavily invested in concepts that are more attuned to modernday travellers,” said Gauvin. “The launch of IHG Reward Club, for instance. The first and the largest programme of its kind worldwide, the Reward Club already has over 74 million members, and offers benefits that are valid across all segments of hotels in its portfolio.” “Another classic innovation is


Crowne Plaza Gurgaon.

Hotelier India | October 2013 |


free internet” concept with Holiday Inn Express has been well received by the smart Indian traveller. In fact, Gauvin pointed out that it is this “different play” that has enabled IHG to have more than 69 million loyal members in India. “Our selling points have been our rooms and the stay experience it can afford. In fact, IHG invested heavily on improving the system to be on par with international standards yet with the flexibility of being personalised to our guests’ needs,” added Gauvin. The 150 hotels IHG plans to opens by 2020 would include both premium and mid-budget segments in various parts of the India. What, however, is proving a deterrent is the issue of building hotels. “In India, opening a new hotel takes a lot of time,” said Gauvin. “The sheer paperwork and administration formalities prove a roadblock in the process.” Despite the challenges, Gauvin maintained that the group’s target of opening at least 100-120 properties, while improving the existing ones, in the next five years is a do-able proposition. After all, he insisted, “India is a top-priority market for us.”

InterContinental Marine Drive, Mumbai.

tunity and accessing the success rate. Once we do, there is a proper board that takes care that all opportunity are utilised effectively,” explained Gauvin. “India is an important market for us. It gives us a lot of standing in the emerging markets in Asia, and we would do everything possible to make a mark here.” What makes Gauvin so optimistic about India that he has announced 20 new hotels in the country over the next three years? “About 740 million people travel annually – a projection, which is likely to see an upward swing in the years to come, with the middle class marking a significant part of this potential guest pie,” he replied. “While the travel still remains predominantly inbound, rise in the numbers of domestic travellers in the past few years has opened up a big market, and with it the need for more need-centric brands. Fortunately, in India, we have the right bandwidth in terms of branding and right partners to fill the demand.” As a matter of fact, IHG has tied up with many new partners – Chandigarh-based developer Oxame being the newest – to be able to have a more pronounced presence in India.


he Holiday Inn Express hotels in particular have been received well by both the leisure domestic traveller and those travelling on business,” said Gauvin, adding that the idea was “to have associations that can help us project the brand in a way that helps us capture the domestic traveller.” For India, IHG’s association with Duet Hotels has proven the most effective. The brand now plans to open most of its Holiday Inn Express brands in the tier-II cities on a 76-24 percent stake basis. “We believe that Holiday Inn Express is absolutely the right brand for the domestic market. And enlarging the presence of the brand is an important step for both our company as well as Duet, our partners,” said Gauvin, who feels that their “great night sleep, free breakfast,

Quick facts  IHG currently has 13 hotels open in nine cities across India.  There are plans to open 37 new hotels in India in the next few years and 150 hotels by 2020.  IHG’s newly built Holiday Inn Chandigarh will be the first hotel to be inside the 1,000 acre township built by Omaxe, called Omaxe New Chandigarh.  IHG’s Holiday Inn hotels and resorts constitute 85 per cent of IHG’s growth


iven the nature of Gauvin’s job, his involvement in growing the brand is not just limited to India. The Middle East, Africa and China are also region he is strongly focusing on. IHG already dominates the international chains when it comes to the number of operating hotels in the Middle East, but it continues to sign new properties at a pace. As of June 2013, IHG has 79 hotels operating in the Middle East across five brands: InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Staybridge Suites – 70 per cent of which are in the GCC. There are an additional 22 properties in the pipeline for the GCC and 26 in total across the Middle East. “IHG has a rich and longstanding history in the Middle East, with brands such as InterContinental Hotels which has been in the region for over 50 years,” said Gauvin. “We will continue to build on our well established legacy as well as meeting the needs of the Middle East’s diversifying tourism market with exciting new brands such as the boutique Hotel Indigo, which will open its first Middle Eastern property in Riyadh.” Next year, IHG will also open InterContinental Lagos, the company’s first InterContinental property in Nigeria and West Africa. Over the next five years, InterContinental Lagos is due to be joined by an additional two InterContinental hotels in Senegal and Uganda. According to Gauvin, leadership, guest experience and brand standards are vital areas of priority for the next year. A strong believer in leading by example, the COO pointed out that he spends half his time in the field making sure that day-to-day operations are in line with IHG’s standards. In the other half, Gauvin has his work cut out for him. More so, as he and IHG have placed their next big bet on India. HI

in India.

HOTELIER INDIA | October 2013 |



Built solutions This new vertical of Duet Hotels promises to be a one-stop solution to the real estate challenges for hotels By Babita Krishnan


midst talks of global slowdown, lack of business, etc. while hotels are looking to new ways for revenue generation; hotel companies are opting for new verticals. One such that comes to light is Duet India Project Development Services (DIPDS), an enterprise of Duet India Hotels that offers project management and advisory services on an end-to-end basis, from concept to commissioning, for development of hotel and real estate projects. “When we started development of Duet India Hotel’s properties, we started building an in-house team that could deliver on our quality expectations and could effectively manage project delivery on time and within budgets. The team now has had the experience of working on multiple projects of international standards, from Brownfield to Greenfield projects, conversions and mixed-use developments, on pan India basis. We have realised that there is a huge potential given the unique expertise we have acquired over the years in development of complex projects,” explains Naveen Jain, president Duet India Hotels. Despite the slowdown, there is still a lot of activity happening in real estate

Lobby of Holiday Inn Express Ahmedabad.

Portico of Four Points by Sheraton, Jaipur.


Naveen Jain.

The team has the experience of working on multiple projects of international standards — Brownfield, Greenfield, conversions or mixed-use." and India has one of the highest GDP growth rates in the world, which reflects in real estate demand. “We believe that quality players will always be able to show good growth even in a slowdown. We are setting up the foundation for a strong organisation with a long term vision of making it a pioneer in the field of project management and related services. Our team and processes are well equipped to handle multiple projects and have the inherent ability to quickly scale up operations. Given the teams experience and credentials, and the equity Duet Group has created in the market, we expect the business to grow rapidly,” adds COO Babul Ganguly of DIPDS. The company offers project management and advisory services on an end-to-end basis, from concept to commissioning, for development of hotel and real estate projects pan India and have developed and are executing projects worth over INR 1,200 crore across multiple geographies pan India. “Having managed multiple complex projects with complete ownership, we have evolved best in class systems and processes to ensure timely delivery of projects with an astute eye on quality and cost, and have an in depth understanding of owner’s imperatives,” Jain explains. Given the team’s immense experi-

Four Points by Sheraton Hotel & Serviced Apartments, Pune.

Hotelier India | October 2013 |


Holiday Inn Express Mahindra World City Chennai is work in progress.

ence and deep domain expertise, project development and advisory services for developments of projects apart from hospitality is also part of the work-inprocess list — commercial, retail, IT, Industrial and complex mixed use projects. What lends further weight to the DIPDS is its association with Duet Group, a global alternative asset management firm, which is managing over US$3.2 billion of equity as of 1st July 2013. The team, which has a combined experience of over 150 years in hospitality and real estate, has developed and executed complex mixed use projects including multiple hotels with international brands pan India with complete ownership on an end-to-end basis from project conceptualisation to physical handoServices offered ver of the property. Technology plays a major role in the success of such ÂPROJECT Â PROJECT MANAGEMENT: Com Comventures and DIPDS is supported by plete ownership of project delivery from strong MIS platform and processes, concept to commission designed specifically for real estate ÂPROJECT MONITORING: Onsite suand hotel developments. pervision through structured audits and “With completion of projects in reporting platforms, including ‘Lender’s hand, we would have delivered a total Independent Engineer’ (LIE) services of close to 1,600 rooms with differand Quantity Survey ent international hotel brands across India. The team has already won two ÂTECHNICAL RISK ASSESSMENT: Technical due diligence of land includkey awards from the hospitality ining conceptual fitment plans and analydustry on the global and national levsis of site specific issues el for its hotels reflecting the quality and value we bring to the table. We ÂPROCUREMENT SERVICES: Strabelieve that this experience in hostegic sourcing of capital and operating supplies through strong global network pitality project management is quite

Babul Ganguly.

valuable and unmatched in India,” says Jain. In a country where, there are bottlenecks at almost every development step, to find a one-stop shop for all solutions might just be a godsend, especially if it helps the owner on the two most important counts — the cost and the time — both of which have the maximum impact on the bottom line. HI

HOTELIER INDIA | October 2013 |



The Inn thing Spence Wilson, son of Holiday Inn founder Kemmons Wilson, on lessons hoteliers can learn from his father’s legacy By Shafquat Ali


f dad had been alive today, he would have been very happy to see how well his legacy is being expanded and managed,” Spence Wilson, son of Holiday Inn and Orange Lake founder Kemmons Wilson and chairman of the board of Orange Lake Resorts, told Hotelier India. Spence, who had been a guiding force in bringing his father’s vision to life, is confident that the Holiday Inn Express brand in particular is just the right fit for the growing number of smart, domestic travellers in India. “I feel a huge market growing here, not because India has a huge population, but because an equally large number of people love to travel. And I think Holiday Inn Express will appeal to those travellers who are looking at value for money without compromising on quality,” he added. While travelling on the roads in India – he visited Ahmedabad, New Delhi and Agra – and other parts of the world, Spence is often reminded of the famous Memphis road trip with his father in 1951 that gave Kemmons the idea of founding Holiday Inn. “On that trip, when we could not find a decent accommodation with basic amenities, dad found all his key ideas for the brand,” he said. “And when we finally found a place to stay, dad had to shell out two dollars more for the five of us even though we slept on the sleeping bag on the floor with no facilities.” “In those days,” he added, “budget travellers in the US would drive around looking for hotels that did not have the ‘no vacancy’ sign. And yet, finding a decent room was a challenge. Rooms needed a double check, because you never knew what you were getting. So you took the keys and checked, if you liked it you took it.” Things like that put his dad off, said Spence. So, Kemmons knew from day one he would never have no-vacancy signs. “If someone came in and we could not offer him a room, dad wanted us to find him a room elsewhere,” he said. ‘“Find him a room and make him a friend,’ he would tell us.” Of course, Spence said that this was a lesson he never forgot because his dad also made him remember it the hard way. He said, “One night I was working as a desk clerk in Holiday Inn in Memphis and I had to turn them away because we were full and I could not manage to get rooms elsewhere. They understood and were about to walk out when my father came in and saw that I was send-

Holiday Inn Express, Ahmedabad.


Spence Wilson

ing these people away without finding them a room. He called them back and introduced me to them as his son – making me feel very small – and then pointing to me told them, ‘He will find you a room even if it takes him all night long to do so.’ So, I learned my lesson early.” And this is a lesson every hotelier should learn. After all, the business of hotels is all about building relationships. Your job does end if you can’t offer someone a room; in fact, it begins there. If every hotelier learned basic lessons in hospitality like these, they would have unlocked the key to success. More so in a place like India that thrives on relationships. Even though Kemmons franchised the chain as Holiday Inn of America in 1957, following his original tenet that properties should be standardised, clean, predictable, family-friendly and readily accessible to road travellers, it went on to grow dramatically. “Though dad and I had our differences, we always found a way to compromise and make it work,” Spence said, going on to add, “I remember getting into an argument over the second-hand upholstery he got for a property. He knew cost all right, but not the perception value, which is important for success. In fact, I used to tell him that he knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing and he would turn to me and say, ‘Well, you may know the value of lot of things but you don’t know the cost of many things.’” Though not one to take credit, Spence admitted that his biggest contribution to the Holiday Inn brand was “to kind of keep dad in the right direction.” Kemmons and Spence later went on to set up Orange Lake Resort in 1983 after just one exposure to time sharing. “Time-sharing is a great business but we did not know how complex it was till we got into it. However, over the last 30 years, we sort of found our way in to get very successful,” said Spence. Having expanded the business in the US, Spence is now focused on growing it. So, does India figure in his scheme of things? “I have to be frank with you,” he said. “Not right now, as we have so many opportunities so close to where we are but India is an exciting market and I think there is tremendous scope for time-sharing here so who can tell what we will decide to do tomorrow?” Like father, like son.

Hotelier India | October 2013 |

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New Opening

The griffin has landed

JW Marriott Bengaluru, the newest addition to the Garden City, combines the new and the old; blends the modern with the traditional


aking a distinctive statement, the newly opened JW Marriott Bengaluru stands tall between the old and the new – on one side it overlooks the lush 300-acre Cubbon Park, a reminder of the quiet, Garden City that Bengaluru was, and on the other,it faces the upscale UB City, a symbol of thefast-paced Tech City that it has become today.

Like the legendary griffin, a cross between the king of beasts (lion) and the king of birds (eagle)that JW Marriott brand proudly sports on its logo, the new hotel attempts to mix the best of both worlds. It combines the new and the old; blends the modern with the traditional. But that’s not all. Step further, JW Marriott Bengaluru tries to create a home – or,at the very least, touches of home – out of a hotel. Novel, yes, but does the new property really succeed in doing – and being – so many things at the same time? One week before the official launch of the property, I decided to check out if JW Marriott Bengaluru could indeed live up to its tall claims and offer a unique guest experience in a city packed with hotels and many more waiting to open on their doors – Ritz-Carlton (the uber luxury brand is set makes it debut in India with the Bengaluru property), the Four Seasons Bengaluru and Fairfield by Marriott are getting ready to welcome guests this quarter. Since the Rs750-crore Bengaluru property is owned and built by Advantage Raheja Group, which also owns one of my favourite


properties in Mumbai, the JW Marriott at Juhu, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be disappointed. But the question was how successful would JW Marriott Bengaluru be in striking a balance between the many elements it was playing with and making a distinctive statement. The invitation card, with a shimmering chandelier on the left and the griffin on the right, set against a black backdrop, did not offer too many clues. At the Mumbai airport, I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by a huge poster – announcing the opening of JW Marriott Bengaluru – staring down from the ceiling. But again, it did not show much of the property; in fact, it was a replica of the invitation card sitting on my desk. So, it was with a sense of curiosity that I landed in the Garden City.


he airport manager, who met me on arrival, set the tone. He was polite and courteous but never intruding as he escorted me to the car. I was pleasantly surprised to find the car waiting just as I stepped out of the terminal building – JW Marriott Bengaluru has bought premium car parking space right next to the entrance so that

Suppliers &Partners → Lighting: Triveni Lights → Beds: Serta → Bed linen: Canasin → Engineering: Honeywell, Trane, Mitsubishi, → Technology: Docomo, HP → Kitchenware/Linen: Nikko Patra, Rosenthal, Schott Zweisel, RAK Porcelain, Sambonnet , Arthur Krupp, Feather Touch → Uniforms: Rajee’s and Uniforms Unlimited → Bathroom amenities: Aromatherapy Associates → Kitchen: Paderno, Ambach → Printing: Lalwani → In-room amenities: Tejasvi Exports, Mukul enterprises, Excelsior, JVD

Hotelier India | October 2013 |


n The griffin sits in the reception. o the expansive lobby p the executive suite q (From left to right) Rajeev Menon, area VP, South Asia, Marriott International, Parul Thakur, GM, JW Marriott Bengaluru, Deepak Raheja, chairman, Advantage Raheja and, Aditya and Shiv Raheja, directors, Advantage Raheja at the official launch of the hotel . p

Story in numbers


-minute drive from Bengaluru International Airport


sq. ft pillarless grand ball room with a clear ceiling height of 32 ft

10,441 guests don’t have to walk the distance nor do they have to wait too long for the car to arrive. (The hotel boasts an impressive fleet of cars ranging from Rolls Royce to BMW 7 Series to Toyota Fortuner.) Once settled inside the car, I was thoughtfully handed an iPad, with wi-fi, that kept me busy on the hour-long drive to the property. Impressed with a personalised greeting welcoming me on the iPad screen, I scrolled to check key hotel features and, yes, the menu. The lane just before the hotel was barricaded allowing the chauffeur to zoom past other cars as he swerved into the portico. As I stepped into the hotel, I was greeted by those striking chandeliers in the lobby. I had seen them before – but as they shimmered down from the tall, 45-feet high ceiling, these custom-made chandeliers simply took my breath away. I thought it would be

a tad difficult to match up to the stunning view of the sea that greeted you from the lobby of JW Marriott Mumbai, but the Bengaluru hotel did not fare too badly. Deepak Raheja, chairman of the Advantage Raheja Group, deserves a pat in the back for making a great first impression, despite the limited space he had to play with in the lobby – and, yes, make up for the absence of that todie-for view at his Mumbai property which he has been operating jointly with Marriott International since 2001. The chandelier brightened up the lobby but I was greeted by brighter smiles and a warmer Namaskar – now a staple at Marriott hotels, it goes to show how well the American hotel brand has embraced India and all things Indian. While the check-in experience was smooth and unobtrusive – I sat in the lobby sipping a welcome drink as the formalities were completed at the

HOTELIER INDIA | October 2013 |

square feet of indoor meeting space


rooms and suites Round the clock ‘At Your Service’ facility


feet high ceiling in the lobby



TEAMS' FAVOURITES The core team members of JW Marriott Bungaluru list their favourite areas in the sprawling property — spaces they would love to spend their time in. Parul Thakur, general manager Poolside: It provides the perfect setting to enjoy the city's weather. BBC: The lavish spread of freshly crafted pastries and sandwiches along with the coffees, teas and Oreo milkshakes to die for. Lobby: I love the warm and comfortable vibe with artwork curated by Geetu Hinduja, of ‘The Fine Art Company’ that is inspired by the city and influenced by the traditions of Karnataka. The Spa by JW is a pilot initiative launched world-wide at this property.

Lakshmanan Ramanathan, resident manager Lobby: It is easily one of my favourite spaces. The idea is to create a very dynamic space with plenty of natural daylight. Rooms: The large guestroom balconies which offer panoramic views of Cubbon Park. Wellness Center: This pilot initiative is being launched world-wide at our property and has a relaxing and serene ambience.

Gaurav Wattal, director, F&B Alba: Our exclusive Italian restaurant is my favourite. It elevates the experience the moment you walk in. It's a wow moment! Lobby: The play of height, light and space conveys a sense of luxury without being too loud. Living Room: This pre-function area is warm and cosy, and ideal for meetings and social gatherings.

Arti Raghava, director, HR BBC: I especially enjoy the alfresco seating area that is the perfect space to enjoy Bengaluru's pleasant weather. JW Kitchen: Our 24-hour residential kitchen offers a plethora of world cuisines and local delicacies. SPA BY JW: Spread over 2,000 sq. ft, SPA by JW is poised to be Bengaluru’s health & wellness destination, with six treatment rooms, sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi.


reception. As I was escorted to the room, I was surprised to see the bell-boy waiting right at the door with my luggage. No, this was no Houdini at work; the hotel has a separate lift right behind the reception area through which the luggage is seamlessly transported and there is a good chance that it will reach the doorstep of your room before you do.


ver the next 24 hours, I enjoyed the hotel and extensively toured its facilities.Featuring 297 rooms, including 30 suites and a presidential suite, the 18-floor luxury property has everything you would expectfrom the JW brand. It has six dining options, including Alba, a specialty restaurant with an amphitheatre-like setting offering Italian flavours and cuisine; JW Kitchen, an all-day dining restaurant offering world cuisine in an open and interactive set up;Spice Terrace, a poolside restaurant offering Indian cuisine; and Bengaluru Baking Company (BBC), the hotel’s signature patisserie offering a wide range of baked products. Besides a fully-equipped wellness centre,it boasts a luxurious spa. In fact, the signature Spa by JW makes its worldwide debut with the Bengaluru property. With six treatment rooms, sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi, the Spa by JW is not just positioned as (open itals) the(close itals) health and well-being destination in the city but it is expected to set the standards for JW hotels around the world. Offering a relaxing environment, fitness counsel-

HOTELIER INDIA | October 2013 |

lors are at hand to help guests understand treatments focused on maintaining mental and physical balance. Spa by JW has a range of services and treatments, including Ayurvedic treatments, with separate men’s and women’s lounges as well as a luxurious couple’s room with a bathtub. Besides, guests can also buy signature products used here and continue enjoying the experience long after they have left the spa. In addition, JW Marriott Bengaluru has one of the largest MICE facilities in the city with 10,400 sq. ft of indoor and outdoor event space including a pillarless Grand Ball Room, spanning 5,024 feet, with a 32-feet high ceiling. Overall, what I was most impressed was the attention to detail and the lengths to which the staff went to make you feel at home and creating a homely feel. Marriott’s most elegant and luxurious brand is known for its little touches that heighten guest experience, often without making a fuss or attracting unncessary attention. While every corner of the room has that special touch – the extended pillow menu also includes cervical pillows, the flatscreen TV has additional cables that can also be connected to your laptop, the wardrobe has an iron and ironing board handy just in case, etc. – these attention to detail are most noticeable in the restaurants. Take the JW Kitchen, for example. On one side, the racks are stacked with candies that children can dip into and take by the pockets full, and on the other there are








n Books and artefacts in the upper level of BBC o Perforations in the wall of BBC are home to kitchen utensils p Pickles in a rack at JW Kitchen q Candies in another rack at JW Kitchen r A display of porcelain jars in the open kitchen area of JW Kitchen.

racks with all kinds of pickles that you can savour with your meal. Not to forget the open kitchen area where chefs freely interact with guest and serve them up, close and personal. Here they are not standing behind counters doing their own thing; they are right there rubbing shoulders with guests, listening to requests and suggestions and serving up hot chappatis! Then there is BBC which boasts not only a wide collection of books on art and design but also offers plug-in laptop stations with free wi-fi. The fact that you can quietly slip into BBC from a passage next to the hotel entrance, works well for those who want to dash in and out with a quick bite without meandering through the lobby. And, oddly enough, the baked delicacies and graband-go gourmet products on display are cheaper than a Coffee Cafe Day across the road or Starbucks and Costa. Besides, Gaurav Wattal, director of food and beverage, has taken great care to see that the local flavour and ambience are

retained in every single outlet – after all, he says, breakfast in Bengaluru should be different from lunch in Mumbai which should be different from dinner in Delhi.


y all accounts, a lot of hard work seems to have gone behind the scenes to provide this quiet hospitality, simple elegance and intuitive service. “Despite the fact that our pre-opening time was extremely short – just six months – we managed to put not only put a great team in place but also set the standards that espouses everything the JW Marriott brand stands for,” says General Manager Parul Thakur, who proudly adds that her new assignment is a milestone for her, given that she was also the first Marriott associate in India and, in her last stint, held position as the GM of Courtyard by Marriott, Ahmedabad. Thakur has been ably assisted by Lakshmanan Ramanathan, resident manager, and Arti Raghava, HR director, and Wattal as she went about building, what she calls, “a symphony of service with the associates”.

HOTELIER INDIA | October 2013 |

It helped matters that she hired associates she had worked with before, including Ramanathan and Wattal, and had the luxury to recruit some of the best staff from around the world – from Dubai alone, she hired from the iconic Burj Al-Arab, Grand Hyatt Dubai and Hyatt Regency. It is music to her ears that her dream team has come together so well, striking just the right notes. Always mindful of the fact that they do not cross that fine line between serving and crowing the associates, in keeping with the JW philosophy, everyone at the hotel seem to have mastered the art of assisting guests without getting in the way of the experience they want. For those who want to indulge in the quiet luxury of JW Marriott Bengaluru, the ARR is around Rs13,500 for now. Explaining why it is pretty much at par with the existing competition set – ITC Gardenia, The Leela Palace, The Taj Westend, etc. – Deepak Raheja explains: “A normal JW property would cost around Rs1.5 crore per key, but this property has cost us around Rs2 crore; the main investment is land and it is very expensive in upscale UB City (Vittal Mallya Road). We are sure our hotel will be the new luxury address in this city.” Raheja is confident of breaking even in good time. “By the second or third month, we will be cash positive operationally,” he adds, optimistically. “JW Marriott Bengaluru, situated in the number one location in the city, will become a landmark hotel that will set the hospitality scene in Bengaluru on fire and become the leader in the luxury segment for decades to come,” adds a beaming Rajeev Menon, Marriott area vice-president, South Asia. He goes on to informs that, with the opening of JW Marriott Bengaluru, JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts now has five hotels in India (other locations include Chandigarh, Mumbai and Pune, with JW Marriott New Delhi Aerocity next on the line). Despite the economic slowdown, Marriott is gung-ho about India. They are keen to open new hotels. And if the initial success of JW Marriott Bengaluru is anything to go by, Menon and his team are on to a good thing. Since the magnificent Bengaluru property is built on a three-acre plot where United Breweries distillery once stood, in the true spirit of things I can’t help but borrow a quote from liquor baron Vijay Mallya: Let the good times begin. HI


Ops & Services

INDUSTRY news New dishwashers The new Winterhalter PT Series of dishwashers promise to be fast and efficient Dishwasher specialist Winterhalter is setting the standards with its new PT Series pass-through dishwashers. Innovative functions guarantee top performance for cleaning results, speed and efficiency. The machines of Winterhalter’s new PT Series are available in three different sizes. Customers can choose between PT-M, PT-L and PT-XL, depending on the space available and the size of the wash items. Thanks to the differing dimensions, dishes, pizza dishes and trays as well as GN 2/1 pans or Euronorm standard crates can be washed with ease. For the first time, Winterhalter’s pass-through machines are available with different software features. A choice of special programmes for dishes, bistro, glasses or cutlery facilitates perfect wash results. The PT Series delivers ultra-hygienic results as with variable washing pressure adjustment, VarioPower sets the pressure to suit the items being washed and the degree of soiling. The elliptical wash fields in the machine deliver perfect results whilst carefully handling wash items. Assisted by the tried-and-tested Mediamat, which removes the finest of particles, as well as a clouding sensor, the new PT Series delivers brilliant wash results and ensures perfect washing results in the shortest space of time. Winterhalter is the first manufacturer to supply its new series with a heat recovery system as standard. EnergyLight uses the energy contained in the waste water to heat up the cold inlet water. This reduces heating times and increases the rack capacity up to 77 racks per hour. Energy saving and resource conservation play a significant role in warewashing technology. The waste water heat exchanger installed as standard, EnergyLight, saves valuable energy with each wash, ultimately reducing operating costs. The PT Series has an EnergyPlus model as an option, where the standard waste water heat exchanger is replaced by a larger one. An air heat exchanger is also added to ensure maximum efficiency for commercial washing areas. Standard dishwashers require fresh water to rotate their wash arms. The PT-L and PT-XL are available with a magnetically driven rinse system. The basic Winterhalter pass-though is the PT-500 which delivers maximum reliability and exceptional washing results. There are three different washing programmes that are selected using the LCD control panel. An effective quadruple filtration system combined with a Mediamat guarantees bright results.


Promising a good sleep Kurlon launches a new premium mattress that promises to elevate the sleep experience India’s leading mattress company – Kurlon brings forth its new premium mattress – Luxurino Eurotop that promises to elevate the experience of good sleep to the next level. The mattress is made with the latest Motion Sensor Index (MSI) technology that allows one to have a peaceful sleep with no disturbance even when the partner changes his/her sleeping posture. This innovation comes hand-in-glove with another international feature – the Visco Elastic Foam also known as Memory Foam which creates a mould to support the body in any sleeping position, thus enhancing one’s comfort. This eight-inch spring mattress could rival any product in its class and ensures uncompromised comfort and support at every point of the mattress.

A grand trade show ET ACETECH is a trade platform looked forward to by the design industry Conceptualised and executed by Asian Business Exhibition & Conferences Ltd, ET ACETECH is an initiative undertaken to propel the building industry by bridging the gap between its components. It is only the third-of-its-kind in the world. By partnering with Mosbuild this year, the largest exhibition in the world for Building & Interiors, Bath & Sanitation, Tiles & Ceramics, Wood, Veener & Floorings, Natural & Engineered Marble & Stones, ET ACETECH has become one of the most ambitious expos in a league of its own. The ET ACETECH and Mosbuild association is all geared up to present a bed of ripe opportunity across 2 Mn sq.ft. gross, for over two months. Spreading its wings across six cities in India, with its newest launch in Kolkota it is slowly becoming an eagerly awaited event, year after year. Mumbai 17-18-19-20 October 2013, Bombay Exhibition Centre Bangalore 08-09-10 November 2013, Bangalore International Exhibition Centre Delhi 05-06-07-08 December 2013, Pragati Maidan Ahmedabad 10-11-12 January 2014, Gujarat university grounds Kolkata 07-08-09 February 2014, Science City Exhibition Grounds, Kolkata Chennai 28 February 01-02 March 2014, Chennai Trade Centre

Hotelier India | October 2013 |

ops & services

Adding FAÇADE value Glass has become a favourite material for façades. Its practical use and chic look is gaining importance in the hospitality industry. Designers and glass companies explain the advantages of using glass over other materials. By Shweta Shridhar


hether on work or pleasure, comfortable hotel interiors provide an environment conducive to relaxation and indulgence – even walls, doors, ceilings and partitions emit positive and negative energy. Hence, it is of paramount importance that the façade of a hotel is carefully chosen and is able to give its occupants the best in comfort, luxury and peace. The materials used to construct the building's façade not only complement its beauty but also its practicality. Due to its fragile nature, the use of glass to bring natural light into buildings was earlier restricted only to windows and other small installations.

Advantages Glass façade lends a very sophisticated look and is considered one of the most preferred options as it gives the property an unobstructed view of the surrounding. However, there is much more to glass than just that. Architect Khozema Chitalwala of Designers Group intervenes, “One of the reasons for architects to opt for glass is because it reduces weight on the foundation, making the building lighter as compared to constructing walls. Besides, glass makes the area look spacious, wider and creates a sense of a 'feel-good' factor with long windows and brightness. It avoids external wastage. Using the right kind of glass also reduces energy consumption.” It is one material that is aesthetically sound, eco-friendly and economically vi-

Photographs courtesy: AIS & Designers Group

But with development of new construction techniques and glass production methods, the inner strength of this material is being revealed, and it is now considered a viable choice for more complex structural requirements. Glass is now being used in hotel projects on an unprecedented scale to create remarkable designs and yield eco-savings. Use of glass in façades gives a dramatic effect to the building and satisfies many a sophisticated customer, many of whom have grown tired of traditional decoration. For style conscious consumers, Glass Panel Façade systems offer versatile, high-performance coverage, with a wide range of stylish design possibilities.

Glass reduces the load on the foundation.

able. It is a smart, adaptable and versatile material, lending itself to endless possibilities both in terms of design and functionality, across exterior and interior applications. “All in all, glass stands in a league of its own. The reason for this is simple to understand – glass enhances the visual appeal of hotel buildings, adds a touch of modernity and elegance, and helps the hotel gain recognition for its stylish and luxurious architecture,” shares Somasundaram Senthilkumar, national sales head-projects, Asahi India Glass Limited (AIS).

Hotelier India | October 2013 |



Glass visually adds to the spaciousness of a property.

Senthilkumar adds, “The cost of building with glass is comparable to the cost of traditional building materials and, in many cases, cheaper because of the ease of installation. However, the economic implications of replacing concrete with glass go beyond just the cost factor. For example, using glass reduces the overall project completion time, so occupancy is quicker.” In the long-term, building with glass can be seen as an investment that delivers non-stop returns by reducing power costs through its energy-efficient nature. As a transparent material, glass allows sunlight into the building minimising the need for artificial lighting – which contributes to around 25 per cent of energy consumed in buildings today. So whether you look at it from the perspective of construction costs, or long-term savings, replacing traditional materials with glass is a sensible and economically viable alternative. DIFFERENT VARIANTS A wide range of new and advanced products is available to lend any hotel façade a brand

It goes beyond the cost factor. Using glass reduces the overall project completion time, hence occupancy is quicker." 60

Hotels prefer solar control glass for façades.

HOTELIER INDIA | October 2013 |

new look yet adhere to the green norms. Tinted glass, tempered glass, laminated glass, acoustic glass, insulated glass units, heat-reflective glass, solar control glass and low-e glass are the few of the popular glass variants preferred for façades. Now a days, hospitality clients prefer high-performance solar control glass for façades. The range of solar-control glass such as Ecosense from AIS, provides the benefit of reducing heat gain in buildings due to its excellent energy saving properties without compromising on the natural light coming inside the building or brilliant aesthetics that add value to the façade. And in winter, they ensure solar gain. So that no matter what the season is, guests inside stay comfortable at all times. Interior designer Tirthankar Laskar from Total Integrated Design (India) Pvt Ltd (TID) says, “Double glass can be opted for sound proofing. There are also colour tints in glass which can be chosen as per the architectural requirement. For instance: In hotels for a hotel guest to have a view, it should not have a colour tint from inside out. He adds, "Glass façade should be designed to minimise the heat and acoustic flow. Glass generates a high level of solar radiation that in turn traps heat and raises the temperature. This creates a green house effect, thus leading to higher air-conditioning and soaring power bills. Hence it is very important to choose the right glass variant for the façade in keeping with these factors."


Various structural systems give architectural aid.

TECH TALK A new façade technology has gradually emerged in recent decades, driven largely by the pursuit of transparency in the building façade among leading building designers. This new technology has evolved in long-span applications, and can be categorised by the various structural systems employed as support. New glazing systems are also a part of this technology, with the various point-fixed systems finding most frequent use. Also, Soft Coat Glass, otherwise known as vacuum-coated or off-line coated glasses, are manufactured by a process called Magnetron Sputtering Vapour Deposition (MSVD) or Cathodic Vapour Deposition Method (CVD). The manufacturing process involves metal particles being deposited on the glass surface inside a vacuum chamber. Enabled by advanced technology, soft coat glasses are now made which can also be used in monolithic form (singleglazed) – a process that ensures a longer life for the coating. MAINTAIN IT WELL Glass by nature is very durable, tough and easy to maintain. Glass panels should be cleaned regularly with water. Sometimes a bit of neutral detergent can also be added.

New technology has evolved in long-span applications, and can be categorised by the various structural systems employed as support. New glazing systems are also a part of this technology."

Ecosense provides the benefit of reducing heat gain in buildings.

The frequency of cleaning depends on the surrounding environmental conditions and pollution levels. Glass façades have more considerations than aesthetics. A successful glass façade system is one that combines both the beauty of the architect's vision and the practicality of being energy efficient. It is a combination that ensures a quality hotel that will endure for years to come. HI

HOTELIER INDIA | October 2013 |


Ops & Services

Course of action The dynamics of running the F&B outlet has changed drastically in the past few years. The thrust is on maximum engagement!


B y Ma d h u l i k a D a s h

one are the times when a food festival or a chef ’s table could be reasons enough for diners flocking their favourite hotel’s restaurant, or even urging others to follow suit. Food festivals, these days, are as commonplace as brunches – and most go without making a sigh. Reason: the sheer numbers. There are just too many of them and too often to make any kind of impression. Result, hotels now are turning into newer options to make their outlet brand seem ‘different’.

Interestingly, that something ‘different’ is not limited to happy hours, huge discounts or privilege member cards that offer the guests a certain discount on all facilities, especially the F&B outlets, throughout the year. They are also in the offerings, reaching down to the menu and its accompaniments. Take for instance Le Meridien Delhi and Pune that introduced a molecular gastronomy based breakfast a while ago. Termed as progressive, the breakfast spread was a rather curious collection of dishes that one would not ordinarily see on a breakfast buffet anywhere. Blatantly put down by many of the food bloggers and critics, the survival of the concept was a proof of the changing palate and ready acceptability of the guests today. So much so, that the breakfast cuisine is a small yet significant part of the breakfast buffet at these properties, and can be made on request of an in-residence guest. A diagonal take off from this came from The Westin Pune recently that hosted its first Farmers’ Market under brand Karen Anand. The idea was simple: Go local and how! The two-day event saw a wide collection of guests reaching out to enjoy the brand’s philosophy of combining global cuisine with local produce. The sheer number of sales and record breaking footfalls for a debuting event turned the Farmers’ Market into an annual event, albeit with a twist. “There will be new elements added to it every year to help gauge what’s catching people’s fancy at that moment,” says one of the organiser.


Jyran Tandoor Dining & Lounge in Sofitel.

A similar crusade has been undertaken by other brands as well. Sofitel for example has started its very own wine tasting and community table in Artisans, which helps people understand the art of enjoying world cuisine and global flavours along with the best in the industry. With a reputation of having the tallest wine cellar in Mumbai city, and probably in the hospitality industry, Sofitel now is leaving no stone unturned to popularise the French style of dining in India. It’s worked so far. The hotel’s recent innovation is turning its coffee and cake shop Artisans into a midnight diner place. Following suit is another Starwood property that also has introduced the top 10 wines of India that will be served with custom-made dishes to guests dining in its respective F&B outlets. These initiative follow the personal touch of the equally popular ‘home meal’ idea of ITC Maratha that saw homemakers cooking home-like food for long staying guests, served in the room. This, incidentally, was an off shoot of an equally thoughtful initiative by Taj group that introduced the tiffin (a set menu concept) in Masala Kraft of all its luxury properties. While most of these were in-work initiatives since early 2000, it was 2010 that changed the way F&B worked to garner foot-

Hotelier India | October 2013 |


range of products

insar Infosoft Pvt. Ltd.


The open kitchen at Pondichery Cafe in Sofitel.

falls. And it all started in June 2010, when a news flash announced the arrival of the first international restaurant chain in India inside a hotel. It was Koh in Intercontinental, designed and conceptualised by world acclaimed Thai Chef Ian Kittichai. It was also the first restaurant in a hotel to introduce menu on the iPad, and is considered today in the league of the Zodiacs of Mumbai. It was setting of a trend as in 2012 JW Marriott opened Mumbai’s second international restaurant called Arola by two-star Michelin Chef Sergi Arola. Though rumours are rife that the restaurant may be shutting doors soon, it hasn’t stopped hotels from being the launchpad to international names in the attempt to garner footfalls. The soon-to-open JW Marriott at Aerocity will play host to yet another world renowned chef and his brand – Chef Akira Back’s famous Yellowtail. But it isn’t only the international chefs that are being roped in to get the F&B cahs registers ringing. Yet another innovation has been trading chef. Case in point, the new Shanghai Club at the ITC WelcomHotel Dwarka. Though the restaurant is part of the chain — and present in all luxury properties — the ‘difference’ is in the presentation. Unlike others, the new Chinese place will have the former chef of Wasabi By Mori-

The sheer number of sales and record breaking footfalls for a debuting event turned the Farmers’ Market into an annual event, albeit with a twist." 64

Nachiket Shetye, director, Restaurant Week

Joy Bhattacharya, executive chef, Oberoi (Western region).

Paul Kinny, executive chef, InterContinental Marine Drive HOTELIER INDIA | October 2013 |

moto prepare the dishes with an additional sushi and sashimi counter. Of course for those who have done it all – like the Taj and Oberoi properties, the game plan now has shifted to more joint ventures and master-classes. Like The Taj Mahal Hotel will now present a seasonal master class to help people hone their culinary skills with the iconic chef Hemant Oberoi. The first of the series is the Masterclass for Brides at Chef Studio. This is in addition to the many tie-ups that the hotel and others like Grand Hyatt have with Embassies that are eager to introduce their traditional recipes with regional ingredients. Now the question remains, has it helped the F&B outlets’ shine in the event of the present economic lean? The recent study shows that the new plans have had a 10-20 per cent increase in revenue, and double that in terms of footfalls. But then all have not been so lucky? Why? What has been the reason? We speak to experts across the board. THE CHALLENGES Interestingly, when it comes to challenges, no two hotels have the same issues in hand. Says Vijayan Gangadharan, director of food and beverage, Grand Hyatt Mumbai, “The biggest challenge today is the number of fine dining outlets around the city that have increased considerably over the past few years, while the exposure in the media and masses about them is limited. This decrease in visibility of brands and outlets coupled with repetitiveness of products and promotions during seasonal avail-



ability are major challenges in promoting F&B these days.” Agrees Rahul Korgaokar, director food & beverage, Goa Marriott Resort & Spa, who feels that the bigger challenge is keeping a tab on the rapidly changing and aware palates. “These days, all our target clientele is well travelled and experienced. Thus executing a promotion means adhering to authenticity in totality. Any kind of corner cutting will be instantly discovered and frowned upon. With no dearth of experiential places, there is little chance of redeeming one wrong move – and have the guest back,” says the seasoned expert, who is currently working on a concept that would make dining “interactive”. Seconds Jaymon Devassy, F&B head, Sofitel, who feels the biggest challenge is keeping guests involved and interested. “We are constantly working on innovating our menus and introducing concepts that are exotic,” says Devassy, who feels that a guest's acceptability in trying out new concepts and cuisines is both a ‘boon and a bane’ as “you never know what would work, and what not, which makes it challenging.” Sherman Almeida, director F&B, Courtyard by Marriott, Mumbai International Airport, feels it’s the price point. “The rise of standalone restaurant has made the competition tougher for the hotels, especially in terms of the lower price point.” Chefs have a different take on this issue. While Joy Bhattacharya, executive chef, Oberoi (Western Region), feels that servicing has become challenging because of the high expectation of guests from a hotel restaurant; for Paul Kinny, executive chef, InterContinental Marine Drive, the issue is rising cost that has put a tab on marketing. “A hotel’s major footfall today comes from corporate guests, luring whom warrants effective marketing strategy, but the rising cost of material and taxes seems to have put a tab on how much F&B can spent. So the real challenge is to do something exceptionally different within the given resources.” Concurs Stephen Dsouza, F&B manager at JW Marriott Mumbai, who feels that the real challenge is to maintain the quality of service and food, and at a price that’s both attractive and loyalty inspiring. Of course, what also is eating to their resource-pie is the rise in taxes, licenses and others that today make running a restaurant inside a hotel a risky proposition. However, in spite of the rising issues and limited re-


The traditional layout at Soma in Grand Hyatt Mumbai.

The Taj Mahal Hotel will now present a seasonal master class to help people hone their culinary skills with the iconic chef Hemant Oberoi. The first of the series is the master class for brides at Chef Studio."

Overview of Pondichery Cafe in Sofitel

sources available, F&B heads are doing their best to bring out initiatives that are tailormade to suit the modern-day palate. Restaurant Week has been one such innovation. Though barely four years old, the concept does a fair bit at allowing people to get a taste of hotel food at a price that is value for money. Says director Nachiket Shetye, “The issue that most F&B outlets face today is a lack of platform that will allow guests to experience the changing menus of a hotel’s restaurant without incurring the cost – this is what Restaurant Week does.” A proof of their popularity is the rising number of participating restaurants from the hotels that has seen a five per cent rise in the last one year. Agrees chef Bhattacharya, who has this time reworked the menu of India Jones, which is taking part in the concept for the second time. Explaining his reasons, the chef says, “Restaurant

HOTELIER INDIA | October 2013 |


Week works for us the same way once food festivals used to. It gives us an opportunity to evaluate our new menu in real time with potential diners, and that feedback actually helps us fine tune the menu and our service.” CHANGING COURSES But Restaurant Week isn’t the only thing that the F&B is working on to garner footfalls and increase their revenue. For Grand Hyatt for example, says Ganghadharan, "Thanks to our worldwide presence, we have partnered with many Embassies to introduce their cuisine and condiments to the Indian subcontinent. Some of our successful innovations are the fixed menu and chef table we have done with organisations such as Tourism Australia, Tourism Victoria, ANZBAI and the German Consulate in the past. As part of these, we had chefs cooking for the media, and resident guests, to experience what is ‘authentic’ fare of the country.” Korgaokar, who has been helming similar ‘like-minded’ tie-ups with local cuisine experts in Goa, considers The Great Room as one of the most successful concept of the brand. “Designed for the gen X and Y travellers (Master Blenders) who do not like to separate work from play, The Great Room is a space in the hotel that combines a lobby, a lounge, a wi-fi internet work area, a bar, concierge services, bell desk, a snack bar, a deli and entertainment (such as televisions, play stations, etc.).” The concept, in fact, has worked wonderfully in bringing people back to the other F&B outlets of the property. For Almeida, the initiatives that have worked are mostly online ventures. Convenience, says the seasoned F&B professional, “Has always been the key to garner loyalty. And the fact that Courtyard allows the liberty of booking tables, menus and even tweaking the ambience to suit an occasion is a big draw for guests who want experience and are short on time.” This trend has found support among chefs too. Says Chef Kinny, “Technology makes it possible to maximise the reach of your marketing efforts and personalise the messages to your target clientele.” In fact like Courtyard By Marriot, Intercontinental too has tied up with online portals like Groupon and GourmetItUp to reach to a wider audience, including those visiting town. This has helped them receive better turnovers in their F&B outlet. “Tie-ups with certain network clubs


Vijayan Gangadharan, director F&B, Grand Hyatt, Mumbai

Rahul Korgaokar, director F&B, Goa Marriott Resort & Spa

The open Peking Duck kitchen at China House.

Jaymon Devassy, F&B head, Sofitel

Sherman Almeida, director F&B, Courtyard by Marriott, Mumbai

The soon-to-open JW Marriott at Aerocity will play host to yet another world renowned chef and his brand – Chef Akira Back’s famous Yellowtail."

have been driving desired revenues for us. We have also been part of certain companies which promote our restaurants on their websites by offering fixed menus at an attractive price. We have typically seen a 20 per cent rise in revenue,” says chef Kinny, In fact, chef Bhatacharya adds, “Such online tie-ups have also been effective mouthpieces of F&B outlets’ initiatives, and helped create the right amount of noise with the kind of people we target – across the world.” For Dsouza, the Bombay Baking Company (BBC) has been the success story. “The feedback has been so good that now other properties are also installing an equivalent outlet with the respective city name in their hotels. BBC has contributed to about 20-21 per cent to F&B sales as per our recent figures.” In addition to this, JW Marriott is also working on making their website, more guest engaging with facilities that allow guests to do F&B bookings across all properties in India. For Sofitel, however, success has come in form of establishing the unheard of. “Our big F&B success story is Tuskers, Mumbai’s first vegetarian bar, where Indian business community food is paired with international standard alcohol and scotch. This was never done before in India, and has given us the first-movers advantage,” says Devassy. Clearly, while the concept and its presentation is still the key to great F&B outlets, technology – specially social media – seems to be the indisputable ace that is slowly yet surely turning the fortunes of these outlets. As Gangdharan puts it, “Promoting on facebook, twitter, instagram, etc., is showing incredible domino effect, and that is what we are cashing on.” At least for now. HI

HOTELIER INDIA | October 2013 |

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PUTTING TOGETHER A PURE ROOM The conversion process of a room begins with the installation of the 7-step PURE process to clean and sanitise the room, beginning with removing 94 – 99 per cent of irritants from the air. This is in addition to With four hotels adopting the American patented allergy-free room eliminating viruses, bacteria, mould, odours concepts, Pure Room seems to be more than just another trend and pollutants. The in room air conditioning units are cleaned and sanitised and a tea By Madhulika Dash tree oil cartridge is placed to prevent future microbial growth. The process also includes a fine combing of all surfaces includes carpet cleaning, a one time only ozone shock hen CNN named PURE ROOMS as one of the hottest trends emergteatment to remove stubborn odours and ing in the hospitality industry, it wasn’t merely hailing a new, thoughtful kill any remaining irritants on hard surfaces. concept, it was also pointing towards the prevalent, and rising, awareness This step is followed by the application of among hotels to improve the in-room guest experience, with a bit help the bacteriostatic barrier PURE Shield, and from technology. the use of a 9-level filtration air purifier that is listed by FDA as a class II medical device. What is a PURE Room? According to the US website and technology imHypo-allergenic encasements for mattress plement company CAERE Pvt Ltd, “PURE Rooms are essentially rooms that have gone and pillows ensure the room is truly PURE. through a patented 7-step purification process that treats every surface, including the air, Once the above installation steps are to make the room extremely allergy friendly.” Evolved by PURE, the award winning concept completed, a specially trained team is utilises special purification techniques whereby each room is treated comprehensively to appointed for the upkeep as per PURE remove allergens and irritants from all surfaces, fabrics and air flow. The conversion process standards. Of course, says Ratra, “adapting designed by the Central New York based PURE Solutions ensures that in room air condia technology like this also means a strict tioning units are deeply cleaned and sanitised, then equipped with the company's specially double check of the room, as each PURE made tea tree oil cartridge, which is a natural disinfecting and deodorising gel that mainroom is recertified bi-annually, ensuring tains the sanitary conditions created during the initial conversion process. the highest standards in surface and air puMuch against popular apprehension, the implementation of PURE Rooms concept does rification.” not involve any structural changes. In fact, says Romil Ratra, GM, InterContinental, MaPURE Rooms may add a small cost to the rine Drive, “Just about any room can be converted into a PURE Room, without structural significant maintenance bill that most hochanges – or for that matter the interiors or upholstery.” tels already generate, however, experts say This played a determining factor in InterContinental becoming one of the first adapters that in the long run it actually balances out of this new patented technology. The other reason was, of course, affording their guests a the odds against as guest do not mind to pay far better in-room experience, especially with the rise of airborne diseases. Says Ratra, “We extra. While most of the data are applicable realised the importance of providing superior quality indoor air and an allergen-friendly to hotels abroad, Ratra feels that India isn’t ambience to all guests, especially those that suffer from allergies and health conditions.” far behind. “Yes we are still in the nascent Christopher Blessing, managing director, CAERE Pvt Ltd, though has a different explastage, but the response so nation for the adaptability of PURE Rooms in India. He oversaw the far from guests has been conversion of guest rooms into PURE Rooms in InterContinental encouraging. Guests come and Meluha, The Fern Ecotel, and credited its adaptability to the with an enquiry of the “extra edge that PURE Rooms provide to hoteliers.” Research sshows rooms, and after experienc“For hoteliers, who invest in this technology the benefits are a ing the marked difference significant competitive advantage by providing an upscale amenity → 83 per cent of travellers prefer an allergy between the two have no that addresses the health needs of travellers suffering from respirafriendly room qualms about paying the tory allergies and asthma while creating an opportunity for increpremium.” mental revenue.” However neither blessing nor Ratra deny that → 59 per cent said they would choose one Given that PURE Room the one huge benefit of this technology is how PURE Rooms sighotel over another based on the availability technology maintains the nificantly improve the guest experience. It improves the sleep qualof these rooms same standard globally, the ity and in room working experience. The patented PURE allergy extra cost, says Blessing, is friendly rooms programme is endorsed by world renowned sleep → 58 per cent are willing to pay a premium but an investment. After all, experts and asthma doctors. The patented installation process, acfor an allergy friendly room, regardless of when the market for healthcording to Blessing, takes nearly about six to seven hours per standwhether they have allergies ier rooms is so big, there is ard room. What also works in favour of PURE Rooms for the hotels little to sneeze about. HI is the simplicity of conversion and maintenance, which gives the Source: Cornell University’s Survey Research Institute



HOTELIER INDIA | October 2013 |

Ops&Services Cover story

PURE ROOMS IN The InterContinental, Marine Drive


eing the first Mumbai-based hotel to adopt this new room category was in the beginning a little bit of a challenge. But what made sense was the location. Situated on Marine Drive, The InterContinental, though has an unobstructed ocean view, it also faces the challenge of keeping moisture, humidity and other allergydrivers at bay. So the PURE Room concept made a lot of sense. In fact, general manager Romil Ratra says, “The minute I was exposed to the concept of PURE Allergy Friendly Rooms, I knew that it belonged in my hotel, for my guests to further be pampered during their stay with us." It was sometime last year that the hotel decided to turn some of its premium and highly popular rooms and suites into PURE Rooms. These selected rooms were treated according to the patented PURE Room programme that converts a regular guest room into an "allergy friendly" one. The seven-step-cleaning process turns the room into a space with high quality air with no scope of potential irritants,

including dust mites, mould, viruses, yeast or bacteria; leaving one feeling at ease, relaxed and completely fresh. However, The InterContinental decided to initiate guests into the new concept, and sold it at a small premium. And yet, the response has been more than encouraging. HI

Hotelier India | October 2013 |





o one was surprised when the award-winning ecotel brand The Fern started a new chapter by introducing PURE Rooms at the start of this year. Among the first to adopt, test, launch and popularise this technology, the PURE Rooms are inspected every six months and recertified every 24 months. The PURE offering is presently available both as a straight booking and as an upgrade as well. The 7-step conversion of a room in to a ‘PURE Allergy Friendly Room’ was in itself a learning experience for the team at Meluha. Speaking more about the initiative, Punish B Sharma, general manager of Meluha The Fern said, "The hotel maintains indoor air quality to the highest ecotel standards; PURE takes this a step ahead. We have


received excellent reviews in our trials, especially from American and European guests for whom Mumbai's humidity and harsh air quality do have an adverse effect. " HI

Hotelier India | October 2013 |

product guide

Picks of the month Innovative ideas from VitrA

Intelligent, innovative and timeless, the new VitrA Metropole series is designed to add value to the architecture. Created by NOA Design Group, Metropole is a consummate bathroom series for projects designed with the urban future in mind - from hotels and malls to office or residential buildings. The innovative ideas developed for Metropole provide professionals with wide range of new smart solutions. Among them is the Integra space saving syphon with hidden overflow channel, and WC pans with a liquid cleaner tank or special channel-free bowl design. The special bowl of the WC pan of VitrAflush features a chanel-free design that rules out germ reproduction and provides superior hygiene. The water distribution tool can easily be removed for cleaning. The WC bowl is not only visually attractive, but also much easier to clean, thanks to its special design that eliminates rims or hidden channels where germs could collect. VitrA Web:

New flooring species

Wall Décor Collection

NITCO has launched its Wall Décor Collection for this festive season to help create more elegant and cheerful spaces. This collection personifies the quintessential NITCO’s forte trendsetter in the world of surfaces. New elegant designed HD Digital Wall Tiles just elevate the charm of the spaces. The new Paradise Cream HD Digital Wall Tiles Collection helps in doing up the spaces with natural stone. NITCO brings admirable alternative for marble lovers to give a graceful touch without any budget worries. The design of this collection fuses the beauty of veins and detailing that one comes across the natural stone. NITCO Tiles is also a leading player in the flooring solution segment and has a wide and well established network of 800 dealers and 5000 sub dealers spread over India. The company owns 16 exclusive showrooms under the brand name ‘Le Studio’. NITCO Group Web:


Dalhoff Larsen & Horneman A/S (DLH), leading timber brand, takes a step ahead in bringing the exclusive new species Acacia Roasted Pecan, Acacia Spice and Mahogany Nyatoh in engineered wood floors to help create exquisite flooring solutions. They have launched these species that will add grace to any space with its stunning fine finishing and colours, matching everyone's budget and taste. Flooring is the highlight of the latest trend in interior designing today and the latest species from DLH will provide a specially designed and most versatile flooring solution that will stand up to consistent daily foot traffic. The floors will create an atmosphere of rich contrast with a captivating and tantalising effect. The smooth and comforting sensation of wood will take everyone by surprise as the range dances effortlessly between the conventional and modern patterns capturing the varied moods of nature. Dalhoff Larsen & Horneman A/S (DLH) Web:

Hotelier India | October 2013 |

14-15 January 2014 The Leela Kempinski Gurgaon Delhi (N.C.R.), India

Patrons Hyatt Hotels and Resorts The Leela Palaces, Hotels & Resorts Platinum Partners Accor Best Western International Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group Centara International Management Co., Ltd. Duet India Hotels Fortune Park Hotels Ltd GOCO Hospitality Hilton Worldwide InterContinental Hotels Group InterGlobe Hotels Pvt. Ltd MGM Hospitality Purchasing Management India Pvt Ltd. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Pte. Ltd. STR Global Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces The Oberoi Group

Media Partners Asian Hotel + Catering Times DDP Publications Pvt. Ltd. - TravTalk Global Destinations Hospitality Biz, Saffron Media Pvt. Ltd. Hotel Analyst Hotel Business Review Hotel News Now India Hospitality ITP Publishing India Pvt.Ltd TravelBiz Monitor, Saffron Media Pvt. Ltd. TTG India



An Official International Publication of BHN HOTELS’ Investment Outlook Patrons, Partners, & Supporters as of 19 September 2013

A proud partner of Youth Career Initiative India

Hosted by H.I.indd 1

9/24/2013 11:38:34 AM

product guide

Black & White flooring launched

Taking the design trends to the next level, Square Foot has launched its latest range of Black and White flooring. The products can be bought singularly and also be combined together in most cases. The fancy black and the white effect are created with the combination of Smoked Oak Black & Oak Plank White. This type of pattern not only gives a fresh appeal but also adds a sense of fashion to the interiors. The flooring gives a look, which mellows with age yet matches up to the latest trend. The combination of white bands against the dark wood with black streaks gives a very attractive appearance and is a great way to spice up the flooring with retro style. The planks can be used individually also for minimalist interiors. It works incredibly well in all sizes of hallway, from narrow rooms to large entrance halls. Black and white work well with any wall colour, and apart from looking crisp it also looks clean. This type of flooring when laid diagonally across the room tends to trick the eye. Square Foot Web:

Maintenance-Free carpets

Obsession, the brand that has been providing world-class handmade as well as machine made carpets and accessories for over 15 years, has reputedly the biggest collection of carpets under one roof. Furnitex by Obsessions imports high-quality carpets from countries like Belgium, China, Egypt, Turkey and Taiwan. The brand has introduced a range of carpets called Outdoor Shaggy. These carpets are made with 100 per cent Polypropylene can be used for pool sides, gardens, and restaurants, etc. The carpets are moth -free and dirt- free and easy to clean. With prices starting from Rs6,000 upto Rs19,500 depending upon various sizes, they are available at stores like Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle and other leading retail stores. Also, online on and Obsessions Web:

The linen option Professional time-attendance solution

Many small organisations find it difficult to control timings and the movement of people. This invariably leads to productivity loss and discipline issues. On the other hand, people need flexibility to move for official and personal reasons. Manual registers are just not effective. MatrixCOSEC SAMAY manages the diverse requirements of systematic yet flexible timings with user-wise attendance, shifts and leave policies. Its human-like intelligence calculates attendance and leaves and integrates seamlessly with payroll systems with the help of employee database; flexible attendance policies; shift and leave management; live dashboard; data management; payroll integration; and reports and charts. Matrix Comsec Web:


The Delhi-based N Kumar & Co. is a leading linen manufacturer and supplier for the hospitality industry. With an experience of over 50 years in the hospitality industry and 100 years in the textile industry, the company enjoys a wide and satisfied esteem customer base. With the aim of achieving great heights, N Kumar & Co. is now progressing towards becoming the leader of linen supplies in hospitality industry. The company that specialises in towels, bedsheets, bathmats, and pillow covers, etc., is now going beyond and offering a whole range of other hotel linen requirements which includes duvet and duvet covers, bathrobes, swimming pool towels, shower curtains, spa towels, mattress protectors, etc. We continually strive to maintain our prestige and position in the market to become leader in good quality, fast service and low cost. N Kumar & Co Web:

Hotelier India | October 2013 |


Hotel Trivia

10 Things you didn’t know about...

16 27 38 49 510

Shangri-La's - Eros Hotel, New Delhi Nestled in the historic Lutyens Delhi, ShangriLa’s – Eros Hotel, opened its doors on

14th Sept. 2005

Rodolphe Wilfrid Hequet -

French hairstylist - is now a

the renowned

part of the Shangri-La family at the Spa and Salon.

The rooms on the

higher floors

offer a breath-taking view of the parliamentary district.

Hong Kong-based

LRF Designers Limited have done the interiors of the hotel.

10 graduates from the

Noida Deaf Society are

working in various areas, from operations to administration within the hotel.


products for treatments and signature therapies.

Complimentary Wi-Fi service in

limousines ensures that guests can access Internet even from the hotels chauffeured cars.

The hotel has a team of four

expatriate chefs headed by

the executive chef Darren Conole from Australia.


The Spa at Shangri-La uses

HOTELIER INDIA | October 2013 |

It was the first hotel in the city to offer a chauffeur driven

Rolls Royce Phantom

to the guests.

This was the first hotel in the city to use

enomatic machines for

wine dispensing and has an elaborate selection of wine by the glass.

Using Pure patented processes, your hotel room provides an environment where every surface and even the air in the room is treated to become 100 % sanitized. Pure rooms adds a new dimension to your current service offerings to help you target 41 % of travellers who suffer from asthma and allergies and to revitalize your revenues. The proven 7 steps Pure process offered by Caere in India kills 98 – 100 % of viruses and bacteria, making the room virtually allergen free.

Our clients in India : ITC Maurya, Inter Continental Marine Drive, Meluha - The Fern, Mumbai, The Park Plaza, Bengaluru to name a few...


03-02-2012 14:58:26

October 2013  
October 2013  

Chiranjeevi on how his star appeal helps him open doors for the ministry and how he has taken the onus to be the face of 'Incredible India'...