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Volume 10 | Issue 4 |May 2018 | `50






Katerina Giannouka, president for APAC (left) and Raj Rana , CEO for South Asia (right)


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Vinita Bhatia

Rashmi Naicker

What happens when a company decides to change its name? Well, the change in title is apparently not the most important thing; what truly matters is the value the titular transformation will bring to everyone associated with it. That is what the Radisson Hotel Group now has to prove, after adopting a new name from its erstwhile Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. In our cover story this issue, Katerina Giannouka, president for APAC, and Raj Rana, CEO for South Asia of Radisson Hotel Group discuss the organisation’s five-year plan and how this will help it build on its own value creation capabilities. As the hotel chain rapidly ramps up its presence in APAC, it has created a better-defined brand architecture that includes eight brands encompassing fullservice luxury to economy select-service. The company has once again put owners-first to get on the fast lane of the road to growth, in its bid to claim the top three spot in the hospitality landscape. Our special feature in this issue dwells on how the entire ecosystem involved in hotel design and development are trying to implement innovative building materials in their projects. We unearth the various practices that leading hotels have adopted to keep cost in check while designing properties and how they improve equipment optimisation by working with the right brands. We also find out the criteria that hotel project heads, designers and architects have when it comes to investing in specific solutions and how they evaluate the benefits of investing in these keeping overall project cost and execution in perspective. While on this subject, I am thrilled to inform you that we will be organising Hotel Build 2018 on 17th May at The Westin Gurugram. At this exclusive industry event, top developers, hoteliers and hospitality professionals with deliberate about various pertinent topics including how technology has influenced design and customer experience, how operating teams are now an inclusive part of the design review team, etc. In case you can’t be part of Hotel Build, fret not. We will bring all the action from the event in the June edition of Hotelier India. Until then!

May 2018 | Volume 10 | Issue 04 ITP MEDIA (INDIA) PVT LTD 898 Turner Road, Notan Plaza, 3rd floor, Bandra (West), Mumbai - 400050. Maharashtra, India T +91 22 6154 6000 Managing director S Saikumar Group publishing director Bibhor Srivastava

EDITORIAL Editor Vinita Bhatia T +91 22 6154 6039 Deputy editor Rashmi Naicker T +91 22 6154 6041 ADVERTISING INDIA Director Gurmeet Sachdev T +91 9987 208866 South India Director Sanjay Bhan T +91 9845 722377 Sales manager - North Vipin Yadav T+91 9999 885515 STUDIO Head of design Milind Patil Senior designer Vinod Shinde Contributor Saili Bandre PRODUCTION Deputy production manager Ramesh Kumar CIRCULATION Distribution manager James D’Souza T +91 22 6154 6001 Cover Image: Ashish Ballal 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. Subscription is subject to scrutiny. Subscription is limited to hospitality professionals above 18 years of age. 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 Media (India) Pvt Ltd, printed at Indigo Press India Pvt. Ltd., Plot No. 1C / 716, Off Dadoji Konddeo Cross Road, Between Sussex and Retiwala Ind. Estate, Byculla (East), Mumbai-400 027, India and published at ITP Media (India) Pvt Ltd, Notan Plaza, 3rd floor, 898, Turner Road, Bandra (West), Mumbai - 400050. Maharashtra, India.

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Published by and © 2018 ITP Media (India) Pvt Ltd RNI no.MAHENG/2009/34648 MIB no. 10/47/2008

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.


IHE18 A U G 2 0 1 8


Executive chairman, Sarovar Hotels and Resorts


CEO, Berggruen Hotels


Founder and CEO, Indian School of Hospitality




Chief executive, ITC Hotels




















Senior VP, Operations (West) Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris

Area VP-South Asia, Marriott International

CEO and MD, Intellistay Hotels

Deputy MD, The Lemon Tree Hotel Company and Chairman, Carnation Hotels

Director, Horwath India

COO-India and South Asia, AccorHotels

Director, Brigade Hospitality

CEO, South Asia, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

Senior VP, Operations (North), Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris

MD-South Asia, Golden Tulip Hotels & Resorts/Louvre Hotels Group

Founder-chairman, Hotelivate

CMD, Concept Hospitality

President, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts

CEO, Pride Hotels

Regional VP, South West Asia, InterContinental Hotels Group

Senior VP and Country Head, Hilton India

Senior VP, Operations (South) Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris

President - Hospitality, Panchshil Realty

SOUVAGYA MOHAPATRA Executive director, Mayfair Hotels & Resorts Limited


participating companies


decision makers from the hospitality industry

Exclusive pick & drop for high value purchase decision makers


MD and Founder Cygnett Hotels & Resorts













16 6






Mövenpick Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel Dubai


ccorHotels has signed an agreeSébastien Bazin, chairman and CEO of ment with Mövenpick Holding AccorHotels, said, “With the acquisition and Kingdom Holding to acquire of Mövenpick, we are consolidating our Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, for€¤482 leadership in the European market and million. Founded in 1973 in Switzerland, are further accelerating our growth in Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts operates in emerging markets, in particular in Mid27 countries with 84 hotels (more dle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific. By than 20,000 rooms) and has joining the Group, it will bena particularly strong presefit from AccorHotels’ power, Bulletin ence in Europe and the Midparticularly in terms of distridle East. Mövenpick Hotels bution, loyalty-building and & Resorts also plans to development. This transacopen 42 additional hotels tion illustrates the strategy by 2021, representing almost we intend to pursue with the 11,000 rooms, with significant opening up of AccorInvest’s expansion in Middle East, Afcapital: to seize tactical oprica and Asia-Pacific. The Group, which portunities to strengthen our positions has high-end expertise in the main hoand consolidate our leaderships, as well tel-related services, employs more than as leverage our growth.” 16,000 people worldwide. Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts will bene-

Story of the month


EXCLUSIVE BENEFITS • Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts operates in 27 countries with 84 hotels • It plans to open 42 additional hotels by 2021, representing almost 11,000 rooms • It plans to significantly expand in Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific • The hotel group employs more than 16,000 people worldwide fit from AccorHotels’ loyalty programme, distribution channels and operating systems, which will help optimise their performance. This acquisition further consolidates the current footprint in Europe and in the Middle East and accelerates growth notably in key regions where the Group has been established for many years, such as Africa and Asia.





Ramada Plaza Palm Grove in Mumbai.

WYNDHAM HOTEL GROUP UNITES ITS HOTEL BRANDS UNDER ONE NAME Building on strength of Wyndham Rewards, it adds ‘by Wyndham’ label to nine economy and midscale brands


2 Wyndham Hotel Group brands are adding ‘by Wyndham’ suffix to their names. This decision to unite its signature lodging brands under the Wyndham banner was unveiled in front of thousands of its franchisees at the company’s Global Conference. Brands adding the ‘by Wyndham’ hallmark are Ramada, Super 8, Days Inn, Howard Johnson, Travelodge, AmericInn, Baymont, Ramada Encore, Dolce, Dazzler, Esplendor, and Trademark – representing 7,074 properties across the globe. The move not only unites the company’s diverse hoteliers under a common mission and name, but is also expected to favourably impact guest trial and brand awareness throughout the company’s portfolio. “As the leader in midscale and economy lodging, the Wyndham name has become synonymous with making hotel travel possible for all,” said Barry Goldstein, Wyndham’s executive VP and chief marketing officer. “This new designation for our brands is a celebration of the ac-


complishments we’ve made in our mission to make travel possible for everyone, revolutionising Wyndham Rewards and elevating our brands through a laser focus on quality, technology, and sales and marketing.” Beginning April 16, the updated brand names and logos will appear across Wyndham’s digital placements from brand websites to mobile sites and thirdparty listings. The updates will progress around the world with an expected completion date of December 2022. The ‘by Wyndham’ cross-branding initiative represents a further evolution of the company and its brand portfolio leading up to its spin-off as a pure-play hotel franchising and hotel management company (Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Inc.), which is scheduled to occur later this quarter. Wyndham’s Wingate, Microtel, Hawthorn Suites and Tryp brands already incorporate ‘by Wyndham’, and all 20 of the company’s hotel brands participate in its Wyndham Rewards loyalty program, which has more than 55 million members.

ndia Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. (ITDC), under the aegis of the Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Jamia Millia Islamia to offer a three-year Bachelors of Vocation (B.Voc) in Food Production and One year Diploma in Hospitality through The Ashok Institute of Hospitality and Tourism Management (AIH&TM), a PSU Hospitality Training Institutes of the country under ITDC. The MoU was signed in the presence of Ms. Ravneet Kaur, IAS, CMD of ITDC and Prof Talat Ahmad, Vice Chancellor, Jamia Millia Islamia, by Piyush Tiwari, director (Commercial & Marketing), ITDC and AP Siddiqui, IPS, registrar, Jamia Millia Islamia. The programme will be operated under the Department of Tourism, Hotel, Hospitality, and Heritage Studies (DTHHHS), Faculty of Humanities and Languages of the University. The Department offers professional certificate, diploma and degree programmes at undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral levels in tourism, hospitality and allied areas. ITDC and JMI have resolved to deploy these skills and their network of relationships towards capacity building in tourism, hospitality and allied sectors, as well as knowledge-based initiatives in India and internationally.Both the programmes will be jointly offered on a self-financing basis. Three-year Bachelors of Vocation (B.Voc) in Food Production will have multiple exits and entry points. Whereas, one-year Diploma in Hospitality will be divided into two semesters; the coursework followed with an internship. Programmes will be offered as per the rules and ordinances of the University. ITDC will conduct the in-house teaching and training at its campus situated in Lodi Institutional Area. Initially, admission will be offered for 60 seats each in B.Voc and Diploma in Hospitality Programmes. The intake can be increased or decreased in future on the recommendations of the Coordination Committee. Lateral entry to Level 6 and 7 of the B.Voc programme will also be considered.





ygnett Hotels & Resorts inaugurated the 42-room Cygnett Lite Ramachandra at Visakhapatnam on 3rd April 2018. The chain currently has 15 operating hotels and nine properties are scheduled to open by December 2018. The new business hotel is a 30-minute drive down from the Visakhapatnam International Airport. In addition to the Cygnett Pavilion all-day dining service, it has restaurants, Athidhyam and Utsav. Other amenities include a 24-hour fitness center, special services for the differently abled, as well as banqueting and meeting spaces that can accommodate around 200 people. “Our vision is to reinvent the definition of leisure and business travel, transforming the hotel into a preferred choice for guests. We

Park Hotels launches its first adultsonly property in north Goa The 28-room hotel overlooks the Baga River, surrounded by lush jungle

are committed to creating memorable guest experiences by combining the Cygnetture brand experience and local attractions. Cygnett Hotels is expanding its brand portfolio across Tier I and II cities in India where we foresee great potential in becoming the preferred hospitality brand for travellers," said Sarbendra Sarkar, founder and MD, Cygnett Hotels & Resorts.

JUKASO JOURNEYS ADDS FIVE NEW PROPERTIES TO ITS PORTFOLIO Acquires properties in Udaipur, Corbett, Manali, Bhimtal and Dharamshala


ukaso Journeys has acquired five properties in Udaipur, Corbett, Manali, Bhimtal and Dharamshala over the past three months. The recently acquired properties are Jukaso Sai Palace Udaipur, Jukaso Jim Corbett, Jukaso Seven Heaven Bhimtal, Jukaso Mrikula Cottage Manali, Jukaso Jukaso Sai Palace Udaipur. Palace Dharamshala. Jukaso Journeys plans to expand its footprint in the country by opening 15 properties by the end of 2018. These hotels will offer extensive facilities for guests with well-appointed rooms and international service standards as well as an all-day dining restaurant and lounge. Yajush


THE Park Hotels, a brand known for design and boutique properties in India, has launched its newest boutique hotel in Baga River in northern Goa. With 28-bedrooms, this will be the first of brand’s adults-only hotel (over 18) and is amongst the few boutique adults-only hotels throughout India. The luxurious interiors hint at Portuguese influences with bold accents of yellow, the traditional colour of Goa, and the hotel has a wide selection of local art from Goan artists. The hotel houses a 24-hour restaurant, Saltwater, a poolside bar with alfresco dining, Aqua, and a lounge area. ‘Anything But Ordinary’ experiences have been crafted for guests, where the concierge can arrange visits to the beach and the nearby ‘flower village’, in addition to organising a range of activities, such as photography and cookery workshops, and art classes with renowned Goan artist. Other experiences include yoga, kickboxing, surfing, sailing and romantic river cruises.

Novotel debuts in Kerala

(l-r) Jean-Michel Cass, COO, India and South Asia, AccorHotels with Thomas John Muthoot, CMD, MuthootPappachan Group and Sachin Maheshwary, GM, Novotel Kochi Infopark.

Khanna, CEO of Jukaso Journeys said, “We are excited about expanding our footprints in India and the signing more properties. It is a great opportunity to enter the new market as we are trying to cover and mark our presence in the major tourist destinations."

AccorHotels along with the MuthootPappachan Group, announced the launch of Novotel Kochi Infopark. Situated in Kakkanad Infopark, and Wonderla Kochi, Kerala’s largest amusement park, Novotel Kochi Infopark is amongst the first international midscale brands to debut in this industrial zone. Featuring 128 guest rooms including eight suites and a room designed specifically for the specially-abled with signature in-room amenities and WiFi, the hotel offers a blend of local and international art elements.




IT’S SCIENCE, NOT ART ANYMORE Hospitality was once deemed an art form to be absorbed.With the influx of technology, it is slowly becoming a science that one needs to master BY VINITA BHATIA


ospitality is all about service, subtlety and sometimes, even simplicity. However, with the increasingly dominance of technology, it is becoming more about science. Does this curious alchemy mean that hospitality professionals need to adopt a more scientific approach than a personal one, with their customers, owners and associates? Gaurav Apte, general manager of Courtyard Marriott, Ahmedabad feels that though technology has certainly become an inherent part of hospitality, and there are certain areas that may require more of a technical attitude, the industry still continues to be an art form. “With all the developments in the field of technology and the rise of millennial travellers the need of growing technology was anticipated. The key to success would be keeping oneself updated with all the latest happenings in this technology sector and have a willingness to adapt to these developments,” he suggested. THE ART OF CHANGE A common premise that often runs across most hospitality professionals is how technology has disrupted the business as they know it and is operating more as building blocks than as a brick-and-mortar delivery unit with its intrinsic challenges. While part


Gaurav Apte, general manager, Courtyard Marriott, Ahmedabad of this is a victim of stereotyping, there are some catalysts in the hospitality business that have led to the growing influence of technology. Apte said that there are hotel chains and standalone properties that understand the need to drive technology and the results associated with its implementation. “A need to understand and revert to guest requirements faster and preemptive service is a major catalyst in driving technology to the industry. One may not replicate the art aspect, but technology certainly makes operations easier,” he opined. And the best place to learn about various ways to use innovative tech ideas as sustainable business practices is at hospitality trade shows, events and awards. At these platforms, professionals can exchange ideas with peers and learn ways to use technology to challenge the established order. This is one of the best ways to leverage it and

make a mark in a competitive market like India. After all, there are many evident and not-as-obvious areas in the business where the impact of technology can be felt in a positive manner. Talking about ways in which it has affected a hotel’s bottom line and profitability, Apte said, “Technology has had an overall impact on all areas of operations be it the check in at the desk or ordering for food in the room or restaurant. Engineering, too, has seen a great deal of developments whether it is about energy saving or preventive maintenance. Though it does impact the operational cost for hotels but in the long run one can certainly see the benefits of it on the bottom line and profitability.” THE GREAT BALANCING ACT At a time when technology is becoming omniscient in the business, it is possible for hospitality professionals to bal-



Most hotels leverage technology to get better insight into guest behaviour, and review the action taken using data analytics to make predictive decisions. ance personalised customer service with technology offerings on a consistent and regular basis? To be able to walk this tightrope, Apte believed that it is first essential to understand where exactly technology will play a role as it cannot replace the art of customer service. “At Courtyard Ahmedabad, we try to make the two go hand in hand. Some classic examples would be review websites and booking platforms, which is an opportunity for us to understand and leverage technology to respond to guest feedback in a timely manner or process a booking. Similarly, the check-in and check-out process is another operation that is entirely technology driven, but at the same time it is important to offer a personalised touch to everything we do,” he emphasised. The only way to ensure that this duality is established as a protocol is by working together with the entire team so that the property is able to provide unique experiences across all divisions. These days, most hotels leverage technology to get an insight into guest behaviour and habits, and review the action taken using data analytics or other methods, to make predictive decisions for their future bookings. Courtyard Ahmedabad, too, does its best to get better customer insight – from


their preference to profiling; it follows it in all areas to deliver unique experiences to all customers. “Some technology driven tools that assist us in our day to day operations are Guest Experiences (GXP), a Marriott’s game-changing customer relationship management ecosystem that activates the power of personalisation, creating a connection with our members instantly. Also, the new Marriott Mobile app breaks the mold of typical hospitality apps by going beyond the transactions and one-size-fits-all content. Other features that are worth mentioning are Marriott rewards membership management, Mobile check in and Mobile key cards, Express check out, Points management, On the go communication with the hotel,” Apte elaborated. Then there is HYPER, a location-based tool that is used to monitor food and beverage based conversations as well as REVINATE, which helps the hotel understand its food and beverage reputation as compared to the competition in the city. REVIEW THE VIEW Having so much information on the systems can be a blessing as well as challenge. For instance, hotels have to constantly review their digital assets – like their website, social media sites and real-

time marketing efforts – to ensure that they are effective and efficient. This can help them find out areas and gaps within this framework that can be better harnessed to tap latent opportunities. Courtyard Ahmedabad’s social media and website are manually handled by the property and audited regularly. It uses a tool called Social Media Management and Analytics software (SYSOMOS), which also provides it a performance based metric of our content. It also helps the hotel understand best practices in the industry while keeping it updated of what actions undertaken by its compset. “As the data grows manifolds, it is important to use technology to analyse to help make decisions. However one should not only depend on technology, inherent analytical skills and market intelligence play a great role in making good decisions,” Apte said. Ultimately, he underlined that it is the guests who always come first. While technology can help hoteliers with data, but what they derive from that it depends on their expertise and experience. There are many who would like to call technology a ‘disruption’, but replace that with the word ‘innovation’ and suddenly, it changes the entire dialogue one has with their guests, owners and associates. HI






NEW, RENEW A new name, increased focus on technology and asset repositioning – these are some changes that Radisson Hotel Group’s brand refresh will entail BY VINITA BHATIA & BIBHOR SRIVASTAVA





hange seems to have become a constant in Katerina Giannouka’s life for the past few months. Last September, the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group appointed her as president, Asia Pacific, and as a member of the company’s Executive Leadership Committee she is working in tandem with the global and Asia Pacific leadership teams to drive its success and growth. Responsible for leading the Asia Pacific executive committee and its corporate offices in Singapore, Shanghai and Delhi, she reports directly to CEO and COO, John Kidd. Interestingly, a year before that, China’s HNA Tourism Group bought US-based Carlson Hotels, and also acquired Carlson’s 51.3% stake in Brussels-based Rezidor Hotel Group. And even more interestingly, in March 2018, there was another reshuffling of the decks – Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group rebranded itself as Radisson Hotel Group. Taking these changes in her stride, Giannouka is now busy working with the executive team to ensure that the changes associated with the brand refresh are implemented throughout APAC. However, the big question on everyone’s mind is how will these changes impact the existing hotels and the upcoming ones? “This is a most exciting period in our company’s long history,” said Giannouka, “With its rebranding and many other initiatives in the pipeline, we are positioning Radisson Hotel Group for a bright future. One of the new giants of the global economy, India has been a key market for us for many years. We look forward to working with hotel investors, owners, developers and other stakeholders across the country as we accelerate the expansion of our portfolio and introduce exciting brand concepts such as Radisson Collection to the country.”

Destination 2022. Giannouka reiterated that this rise to the top won’t be merely rated in terms of market capitalisation, but will also take into consideration brand recognition amongst guests. “Over the last year, we had the opportunity to relook at our business afresh and this five-year strategic plan was developed based on what are our strengths, the ostensible opportunities, what we can do and what we need to stop doing,” she explained. While analysing every area of the business, the company realised that it was under-utilising one of its core strengths – the Radisson brand – which is globally recognised. Industry watchers say that there was need for Radisson to innovate especially as it is up against stiff competition from global heavyweights like Marriott, Hilton, IHG and AccorHotels. Since Radisson was the strongest brand component in its portfolio, clearly there existed a

prospect to build its corporate identity around it. After all, it is easier to change people’s perception about a known entity, than create awareness about an entirely new one. At the same time, it was equally important that each existing brand


Radisson RED Cebu Mandaue, Philippines.

Radisson Hotel Group introduces Radisson Collection 100-room Radisson Blu, Agra is the only hotel from India to be recognised property among 13 others shortlisted globally. Radisson Hotel Group has announced Radisson Collection, a premium collection of hotels in landmark locations, driven by consumer demand for individuality and personalised experiences. Radisson Blu, Agra an upper upscale hotel, has been officially shortlisted to be a one of the Radisson Collection properties as Radisson Collection, Agra. It is the only hotel from India to be recognised as a Radisson Collection property among 13 others shortlisted from all over the globe. The property due its cultural authenticity, design and service will be acquiring this status in a few months showcasing everything that the brand stands for. Over the past one year, the property underwent extensive infrastructure changes with the creation of a fully operational luxury wing. Addressing these new developments at the property, Paritosh Ladhani, executive director, Radisson Collection, Agra said, “We are proud to announce that we are the only property from the country to be part of the Radisson Collection and the conversion to this luxury brand will take place by the forthcoming year end.”


To help it claim a spot amongst the top three hospitality firms globally, Radisson Hotel Group has also come up with a five-year strategic review,

Radisson RED hotels in the Asia Pacific pipeline include those in India’s Mohali, China’s Guangzhou and Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur.

Radisson Blu Agra will become the first Collection brand in India.



in company’s portfolio had it own distinct identity and swim lanes to prevent cannibalisation. To ensure that its own brands do not end up competing with one another, Giannouka explained that a little bit of shifting around took place during the rebranding to ensure that each brand is relevant. Take the case of the new Radisson RED, which is a full service upscale creation. It has been positioned in a way that it will not encroach upon Park Inn by Radisson. Radisson RED hotels in the Asia Pacific pipeline include those in Guangzhou in China, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and Mohali in India. RESTYLING ON THE MENU

Currently, Radisson Hotel Group has six brands in India, with the upcoming Radisson RED taking the number up to seven. In Giannouka’s opinion, when it comes to the country, there are some brands that people already know, so it is more a matter of fine-tuning them to hone their understanding of these products. “We are also launching the Radisson Collection, which is crafted as a affordable luxury brand. We want to cater to the affluent middle-class Indian consumer who is increasingly travelling and holidaying, and offer them something that is a little higher-end in experience, but viable economically,” she said. When it comes to Collection, the idea is not to take existing properties and change the name of the door. Giannouka said that the repositioning exercise gave the company an opportunity to do its portfolio management meticulously, and take a closer look whether there any hotels should not be part of a given brand since it did not fit the overarching identity. “In India, we have an existing hotel undergoing major renovation with a whole new wing of rooms being built. I felt that it fit at the top of its current Radisson Blu status. We asked the owners whether they would like to elevate the brand to Collection and invest the ad-

QUICK FACTS • Radisson Hotel Group aims to have 200 hotels in South Asia by 2022 • With the addition of Radisson Collection, its India’s portfolio will go to seven brands • It has signed Radisson Blu Resort Visakhapatnam, Radisson Panipat City Centre and Country Inn & Suites by Radisson Agra in Q1 2018. • It opened Radisson Gwalior in March 2018. • The group is on track to open another eight more hotels in India this year.


Radisson Hotel Group has 90 operational hotels across India, which is expected to reach 100 hotels by 2018-end. ditional amount. They agreed and that is how Radisson Blu Agra will become the first Collection brand in India,” she elaborated. In short, Collection would not be a relabeling exercise; the brand will be grown through careful conversion or new builds. Does that also mean that while some properties are rebranded or repositioned, contracts with others will be terminated? After all, it is a well-known fact in the industry that only top-performing hotels bring in better profits for the entire company. “Well, it’s like stock trading; you keep reconsidering the under-performing assets and investing in the top-performing ones. Similarly, with us, there will be organic attrition where contracts expire and some properties might not fit the new brand architecture. Also, with the brand refresh, we are coming up with evolved standards, and owners might not want to invest in that,” Giannouka said while talking about the strategy to elevate the quality of the Radisson brand experience for owners too. TECH IS KEY

Recently, Kevin Carl, EVP and CIO of Radisson Hotel Group announced that the company is working on a new and exclusive unified technology platform, called Emma. This will offer on-property access to better data on guest preferences, insights into past stays and purchases to create more personalised experiences for guests, better transparency into meetings bookings as well as inventory details. To reposition the Radisson brand, Giannouka believed that technology has to be at the core of everything that the company does. “This technology is being built from scratch and while this means that we are investing heavily in it, ultimately it will drive cost down for owners as they will have lesser hardware to purchase, operate and maintain. This investment will drive down our per-booking cost and we will be able to compete better



Plugging Away Merrily While jostling for the top three spot in the global hospitality space, for now Raj Rana, CEO, South Asia, Radisson Hotel Group is working round-the-clock to make everyone associated with the company aware of the bright future in store for them. Recently at HICSA 2018, when Manav Thadani, founder-chairman of Hotelivate was asked his opinion about Radisson Hotel Group, he said that it was one of the most well adapted global brands in India. How did your company manage to achieve this status? I am thankful to Thadani for his statements, which speaks about the strength of our core competency and what differentiates us from other companies. This has happened because we have always steered from diluting our brand standards, and because we have adapted to the locale, which is a key word in our five-year strategy. We understand what the local owners, guests and employees want. It has helped us create some great success stories in the past few years. How are you getting all stakeholders, especially owners, in India on the same page about the new brand refresh? Our owners have been well communicated about the owner-value proposition with this brand repositioning, which has many aspects. Firstly, we have explained to them what we are doing to improve their topline, since we have an almost 50% franchise portfolio. Besides, we are informing them in-depth about the various levels we are investing in, like technology enablers because today the hospitality industry is heavily dependent on technology. We are investing in destination platforms, so that we can better compete with OTAs and other disruptors. Additionally, we are investing in property management systems (PMS) so that there is better reporting, analytics and ability to understand how to make good decisions. At the same time, the owner of a managed portfolio is looking for talent and people development, an area that they are often lacking in. We help in that too. These are part of the owner-value proposition. And the last, and probably a crucial, part is the guest. Our guests identify with Radisson Hotel Group and the name change removes the confusion in the loyalty programme; they no longer have to worry about what is Club Carlson or Radisson Rewards. The value proposition that we have

against OTAs,” she emphasised. Radisson is also rebuilding is website – taking down the number of clicks to book a hotel from around nine to three – to ensure that the user experience is also enhanced. This site is being crated around the concept of a mall, where a buyer can get everything at a single destination; something they learned from other disruptors in the industry.


brought to the guests in the newly designed programme, the more redemption options – those are all very strong points working in our favour. Radisson Hotel Group has always been viewed as a pro-owner company. However, with the rebranding and new brand architecture, how will you decide the owners best suited for respective brands? Our owners are on this journey for us and we have always had 100% renewal rates. But I would take this with a grain of salt; I don’t think we always want 100% renewal rates, also. There are some hotels where we need to stand tall and part ways. With this rebranding, there will be some pruning that we will do. For instance, maybe many years, when we were trying to get to critical mass we added hotels that we should not have accepted because they do not fit the brand architecture. Or even if the owner is willing, maybe they do not have the funds or ability. We will be shifting gears to have better integrity so that the guest experience is consistent with what our brand stands for. How are you going to help owners also manage technology, which will be a key differentiator in this business? I also see technology as a threat to the hotel industry at large. There are enough disruptors out there that are firmly standing on the legs of technology, rather than brick-and-mortar, who are threatening to take away business from hotels from the traditional delivery mechanism. Recognising that, investing in technology is front and center in our five-year plan. Secondly, the cost of technology is also a big pain to owners. Imagine if they have to change their PMS every few years. Hence, we are launching a cloud-based platform, because we understand that the physical shelf life of technology is shortening. It is incumbent on us as brand owners to lower technology’s shelf life and make it available to our customers. How is your growth story looking in India? We aim to expand our portfolio to more than 200 operational and underdevelopment hotels by 2022 in South Asia, where we are already a dominant international player. We already signed Radisson Blu Resort Visakhapatnam, Radisson Panipat City Centre and Country Inn & Suites by Radisson Agra in the first quarter of 2018. With the recent opening of Radisson Gwalior, we are on track to open another eight more hotels in India this year. With a robust performance, ahead of industry average and continued investment in technology and revenue-driving platforms, we are optimistic of meeting our five-year goals. I am delighted that India is leading the way in Asia Pacific with a total of seven global brand offerings, which will further strengthen our business in the region

To offer better value to owners, the company is instilling transparency on its tech platforms – they will get a dashboard where they can see how their property is doing. “While adding value to our relationship with owners, this transparency is critical because they want ROI predominantly – they want to know what they are getting for their payments, for the value of the licenses, being

able to track talent, etc. We are creating a platform where they can see it for themselves,” she said. With eight brands that range from full-service luxury to economy selectservice, Radisson Hotel Group has tried to ensure it has one for every customer segment. It has puts owners first to get on the fast lane of the road to growth. Will these steps help it win the battle for the big three league? HI





hen it to comes to design, globally, the hospitality world is going the smart way. Brand custodians, project heads, designers, architects, interior designers â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the entire ecosystem is ensuring that wastefulness in the process is reduced across all levels. Taking cognisance of this, Hotelier India finds out how the hospitality industry is leveraging innovation in building materials. This includes working on various facets like equipment, architecture, design, intelligent building systems and services as a sum of various parts. We unearth various practices that leading hotels have adopted to keep cost in check while designing properties and how they improve equipment optimisation by working with the right brands. We also find out the criteria that hotel project heads, designers and architects have when it comes to investing in specific solutions and how they evaluate the benefits of investing in these keeping overall project cost and execution in perspective.




BUILD TO LAST Innovative building materials are making it simpler to construct hotels and more viable to operate them BY VINITA BHATIA


he landscape of hotel design has changed from merely servicing its guests to creating experiences; and innovative building materials have greatly helped in this transformation. Globally, brand custodians, project heads, project managers, designers, architects, interior managers are employing best practices to optimise building space and material. These range


from designing and building hotels with eco-friendly materials to working closely with material engineering professionals to create â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;smart architectureâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; tools and practices. It is interesting how the entire ecosystem involved in hotel design and development is working cohesively to innovate and evolve across all levels. Talking about this, Bobby Mukherjee, architect at Bobby Mukherjee & Associates pointed out how hotels

have managed to reduce construction time considerably by creating dry wall partition systems across the property. However, in countries like India, the requirement for brick or block work still remains, especially in wet areas like bathrooms, which tends to add to the build time. â&#x20AC;&#x153;However, there is an increasing adoption of smart materials that have a real-time response to stimuli. There are also those considered to



Zaid Sadiq, executive director, liasoning and hospitality, Prestige Group

Shwetank Singh, VP, development and asset management, InterGlobe Hotels

ing shift towards adopting these measures will make it the norm sometime in the future,” he added. STANDARDS MATTER

be ‘smart’ due to smart design: their original structure or the composition of their materials are in nanoscale, providing them with unique properties. Electrochromic glass, phasechanging materials diminishing cooling loads in the building, are just some of the examples,” he noted. Elaborating about these high-tech materials, Mukherjee said that design and development are seeing the usage of super alloys, ultra-durable

textiles, advanced glass technologies, phase-changing materials, etc., in construction. “Since paint, concrete and other cement-based composites comprise one of the largest groups of building materials in the world, there is a great effort made to improve its properties to make it more 'smart’. Smart technology integrated with design and construction is still at its nascent stages, and so it isn’t inexpensive. That said, a grow-

According to Sunita Reddy, founder, chief architect and designer of ACME Designers, a multidisciplinary design firm in India, smart designs are those where operational activities are incorporated into the design. Over the past 10 years, her Bangalore-based company has been offering services in architecture, interior design and landscape design, and has been using materials that save time and reduce the wet works onsite. “We plan and design for maintenance-free materials to be used on the interior as well as the exterior. So, when it comes to a choice of materials between laminate veneers and polished, we choose high-end laminates that are easier to maintain and are washable. The designs are done in such a way that it takes into ac-




The restaurant at ibis Pune Hinjewadi

count pest issues, and have plenty of open ceilings for restaurants and food & beverage areas,” she stated. In the hotel industry, high-tech materials are often used not only to reduce time but also handle other on-site constraints during development, like manpower shortage. Many developers and project heads opt for modular or pre-cast materials like gypsum boards and dry walls instead of wet walls, and even prefer modular toilets that can be precast and delivered to the site. This also results in consistency in addition to faster build time. Globally, the key to faster and optimal hotel design and development is standardisation. This is best achieved by adopting modularisation and industrialisation of the product. According to Shwetank Singh, VP, development and asset management, InterGlobe Hotels it ensures consistency in quality and helps in avoiding bespoke site-specific execution which leads to inconsistency of output. “Factory fabricated solutions assembled at site is the way to go. Steel structures is another way to go. Use of new-age partition system is gaining ground, both internal and exterior façade system like Knauf system/ co-developed with specialised vendors and specialised solutions that are executed/fabricated in the factory and assembled at site


through specialised workforce,” he claimed. “Use of Revit and Building Information Modelling (BIM) along with simulations (solar / wind) for energy optimisation also helps in creating factory development modular elements, which help in reducing the overall building time.”

Ashok Chowdhary, director, technical and projects, Cygnett to believed that standardisation is important as it becomes easier for developers/ architects to construct the hotels faster and at a reasonably lower cost. Sourcing of locally available building material for construction also reduces the cost and construction time. “Use of Critical Path Method (CPM) or Programme Evaluation Review Technique (PERT) in scheduling/ planning helps developers to deliver the projects on time. Environmentfriendly materials like fly ash bricks, drywall construction, engineered marbles also help to reduce the construction time of the building. Similarly, prefabricated construction for cottages of resort hotels also helps to reduce the cost and time.” PRACTICAL CHOICES

The prevalence of standardisation and modularity across the board has helped developers usher in effective and efficient utilisation of material and space. While this the adoption

The lobby of Conrad Bengaluru.


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Ravindran Nair, general manager, Express Inn Nashik.

There was a time when guests would access their rooms with basic keys, which then evolved to the magnetic strip key card. Though these were easy to use, they would often get demagnetised when kept in a pocket along with mobile phones. So, sometime in the late 2000s, most hotel chains introduced the RFID cards, which solved this problem. But then some hotels decided to push the envelope a little further by using BLE technology through Bluetooth communication to allow guests to open their hotel doors. Conrad Bengaluru by the Prestige Group is the first Conrad in India to have this technique. Hilton Honors guests at the hotel can access their digital key on their mobile phone through the Hilton Honor App. “Moreover, this key also allows the guests to access other facilities available in the hotel,” said Zaid Sadiq, executive director, liasoning and hospitality, Prestige Group. Guests do not require a key card as the guest rooms are operated through door sensors and the lights switch to ‘Welcome mode’ whenever they enter the room, thus making it visible to them. The guest rooms are fully automated and have indoor motion detecting sensors, based on microwave and PIR occupancy. This technology is used to detect the presence of a person or people in a room to to automatically control lights, temperature or ventilation systems. A high-end thermostat for various temperature settings, including energy saving mode, is implemented to assess occupied rooms and vacant rooms. LED lights with a dimming system has also been incorporated in Conrad, thus saving on energy cost. The same technology is also used in public areas and washrooms for energy saving. Other sustainable measures have been adopted include providing STP (extensively using recycled water), OWC, rainwater harvesting, solar energy and water efficient cisterns. The hotel has applied for LEED certification.


of best practices reduces the build time, it also brings down the delivery time during execution phase. All this has a direct bearing on finance and ability to helps to build faster means lower capital investment and infusion in the project, explaining why developers and hotel chains are keen to embrace smart and high-tech construction materials. Zaid Sadiq, executive director, liasoning and hospitality, Prestige Group added, “These materials can be installed with minimal alteration. As they are factory finished, it enables quality control, less wastage and makes the process more environmental friendly. This in-turn speeds up the project work reducing the consumption of energy, time and saving significant cost.”

Sunita Reddy, founder, chief architect and designer of ACME Designers.

While aesthetics play an important role in hotel design and development, especially in interior spaces, today architects are making more practical choices. “While earlier, hospitality brands preferred expensive marble flooring, with the considerable development in ceramics, they are opting for large format ceramic/ porcelain tiles that provide opulence in a more cost-effective manner. In addition, they reduce the construction time while looking very similar to high quality marble. Fixing this in the bathrooms, for example, is done very quickly and cost effectively,” Mukherjee noted. Similarly, many hotel chains in the upscale category are replacing high-maintenance real wood and laminate wooden flooring, with ceramic wood-looking tiles as an

Using engineered wood gives a very good look to the hotel’s areas, like this board room at a Cygnett property, at a reasonable cost and results in an enhanced guest experience, said Ashok Chowdhary, director, technical and projects, Cygnett.



alternative as they are quick to install, cost-effective, and easy to maintain. Even practices have become practical. Reddy said that in some projects when concrete is used, her company tries to make it as light as possible on the slabs. “For inaccessible places, like hill stations, where it is difficult to get good quality of labour, we propose more of steel structures so that it pre-fabricated units can be built in the factories and it can directly erected on-site. This may not look economical at first glance, but in the long run it works out better, as there is an option of easy remodelling of the structure if needed,” she pointed out. Ravindran Nair, general manager of Express Inn Nashik agreed with her. “Using the latest materials and technology reduces the time of construction, the construction cost and there is optimum utilisation of manpower.” Ashok Chowdhary, director, technical and projects, Cygnett noted, “Environment-friendly materials like fly ash bricks, drywall construction also helps to reduce the structural cost of the building. Additionally, finishing materials like engineered marble and engineered wood are highly cost-effective and durable.” BETTER ALTERNATIVES

While design plays a huge role in reducing operational and maintenance costs, the right choice of materials have their own part in this scheme of things. For instance, while choosing a grand chandelier for the banquets area, it is important that to ensure the orientation of the coves are downwards so that birds do not make their nests in it. Most of the hospitality projects by Prestige Constructions use building cladding material, which has resulted in reducing the operational cost towards heat light power load. Over a period of time, cladding has helped with decreasing the maintenance cost and provided strong protection, while adding a decorative appeal to the façade. The company also believes in using weather-proof emulsion paints, which benefit its hotels

by reducing the heat of the building, water leakage and also help to withstand extreme weather conditions, keeping design aesthetics in mind. Sadiq said, “The use of mill-work building materials and prefabricated structures and material have resulted in minimal wastage at the site level. There is minimal alterations as these materials are built as per design and hence provide more area to finish work, saving time and ensuring that the work happens in a controlled manner.” “The use of simulation tools to achieve optimal solutions, which in turn leads to low fault products created at optimal capex. This warrants better utilisation of resources ensuring least downtime at optimal running / maintenance costs,” recommended Singh. For the projects she is involved, Reddy designs HVAC systems in a way that when the occupancy is low, only parts of it can be switched off in zones, minimising operational costs. Even the plants do not shed lots of leaves, making them easy to maintain in the long run. “We try to limit the variety of materials used. For each project, the goal is to have one design language that is followed throughout, a theme that is used in all the zones, leading to an optimised usage of materials and minimal waste,” she added. The industry has also seen an increased adoption of vacuum glazed windows, which offers better sound

insulation, leading to an amplified inroom guest experience. These contemporary looking windows are also designed to provide longevity and comfort. Chowdhary added, “The finishing material like engineered wood and engineered marble lend a polished look to the hotel at a reasonable cost, extending a wow guest experience efficiently.” At the same time, Nair of Express Inn Nashik said that thicker walls help in reducing the sound and giving a cleaner finish to the walls. Luckily, as the Indian product market has evolved, hotels in Indian are less dependent on China and other countries for sourcing their hospitality requirements. Mukherjee said, “This means that we today support local artisans and manufacturers, greatly reducing our carbon footprint and offering eco-friendly solutions to guests. Ceramic alternatives have replaced marble and wooden flooring, which supports the fight against destruction of the environment by saving trees and mining of marble in quarries.” The gradual, but constant, shift towards high-tech new materials is welcome, since the hotel industry leads the design trend for other industries. It acts as an inspiration for corporate places, commercial establishments and even homes. So, if hotels use sustainable materials and practices, they will inspire a wider grid of people and create a lot of positive impact. HI




THE GROWTH CODE AccorHotels’ VP, sales for Asia Pacific, Kerry Healy, is upbeat about the company’s growth momentum in India BY VINITA BHATIA


hile most hotel chains like to talk about the number of hotels they have in their portfolio, Kerry Healy, VP, sales of Asia Pacific at AccorHotels prefers to discuss about customised and personalised offerings that the company offers through its various brands in the region. She believes that this has helped AccorHotels to stay ahead of the business curve by anticipating the market changes and responding to them fairly quickly. At a time when the hospitality industry is witnessing disruption from technology, aggregators and even guest expectations, she explains how this European hotel firm is focusing on providing customised solutions for the vast international community of millennial-minded trendsetters who are revolutionising the market. Its millennial-centric brands are designed to break the conventional vertical distribution of spaces and functions and taking a liberated, flexible and rebellious approach to meet the expectations of its guests. Here are excerpts from an exclusive interview with Hotelier India: What is AccorHotels’s current hotel portfolio in APAC and India? How many are under develo pment in APAC and in India, respectively, and are slated to open by 2020? Kerry Healy: AccorHotels is a world-leading

travel and lifestyle group with a presence in 22 countries. We are the number one hotel operator in multiple markets in the region including India, Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, South Korea, etc. Currently, AccorHotels has over 830 hotels in Asia Pacific and the region represents close to 50% of our secured pipeline. In India, we are continuing our growth momentum, expanding our hotel network across international luxury, upscale to midscale and economy brands. This year, we launched four new hotels, i.e., ibis Pune Hinjewadi, Novotel Goa Dona Sylvia Resort, Mercure Chennai Sriperumbudur and Novo-




tel Kochi Infopark. We are looking at touching the 80-hotel mark in India by 2020 with another four new properties. The midscale space is getting extremely crowded in the country. Is there a need for AccorHotels to rejuvenate any of its brands in this space to uphold its brand equity? Kerry Healy: Travellers’ demands and

choices have changed drastically over the past decade. These include the need for customised and personalised offerings, unique and local experiences, just to name a few, and at AccorHotels, we have been able to keep up with these trends while maintaining our brand’s sanctity. For example, at the Novotel hotels, we have included multiple touch points for guests. Whether it is the hotel’s lobby or while walking down the floor corridor, at any given point our team acknowledges our guests ensuring that they always ‘Feel Welcome’ while they are away from home. Coming to brands, which is easier from a business perspective – growing one organically or acquiring one? Kerry Healy: AccorHotels’ strategy is a

combination of organic and inorganic expansion. Today, we have over 26 brands worldwide. As a French company that has been in India for over a decade, we inculcated the ‘Born in France and Made in India’ concept. This allows us to bring over nine international brands into the country without compromising on the brand ethos, while at the same time adapting to the Indian culture. This is a reflection across our brands, whether it is the Fairmont, ibis, Novotel or Pullman.

Last year, AccorHotels launched the AccorLocal app, which allows hoteliers to promote their hospitality services to local residents and non-guests. Has this service been introduced in India yet? Kerry Healy: The AccorLocal app is a

technology solution designed to create social connections and value for small businesses and staff members at our hotels. Globally, AccorHotels is working on developing several partnerships with local businesses and key brands. Currently, the app has more than 3,000 active users and 250 participating hotels in 42 cities across France, and we hope to extend the service around the world by 2019. Many global hotel chains are making a strategic shift to a technology-oriented company, rather than staying just a hospitality organisation. How is AccorHotels’ evolving into a technology player globally and especially in India? Kerry Healy: Over the years, Ac-

corHotels has also expanded its focus from being solely a hospitality brand to a world-leading travel and GLOBALLY, ACCORHOTELS HAS 4,300 HOTELS, RESORTS AND RESIDENCES ACROSS 100 COUNTRIES.

lifestyle group in addition to being a digital innovator. Going beyond traditional hotel offerings, it also offers private homes on rent across the globe. It also provides an innovative end-to-end service across the entire traveller experience, through various acquisitions, including John Paul, the world leader in concierge services. We leverage on technology to improve our services and build on current experiences. For example, we have invested €225 million over five years to enhance the digital experience of our customers, partners and employees. Furthermore, we have also launched an artificial intelligence based chatbot called, Phil Welcome, which enables guests to make hotel bookings, arrivals and look up things to do in the city they’re visiting. How is AccorHotels gearing up to provide luxury hotel experiences to millennials who are more nonchalant in their approach towards lifestyle? How is it using CRS, mobile apps and loyalty programmes to personalise guest experience with targeted offers and information? Kerry Healy: We believe that millen-

nials are disrupting the way hotel operators are viewing experiences. A millennial traveller is seeking the unique and personalised experi-

How do you constantly reinvent your existing brands to keep them relevant? Kerry Healy: AccorHotels believes in

staying ahead of the curve by anticipating the market changes and responding to them fairly quickly. I think that making the right investments is critical. This means investing in technologies that allow us to stay relevant by customising and personalising customer experiences.

Fairmont Jaipur




Quality Over Quantity While Jean-Michel Cassé, COO, India and South Asia of AccorHotels is bullish about growing the company’s footprint in the country, he is very selective about the brands that can be introduced. He tells Vinita Bhatia that growth cannot come at the cost of undermining a brand’s unique ethos. looking forward to either introducing or increasing the presence of some of AccorHotels’ iconic and internationally acclaimed brands such as Raffles, Banyan Tree, Fairmont and Sofitel among others. Locations such as Rajasthan, Goa, Kerala and destinations in south India such as Coorg and Chikmangloor along with hill stations in the Northern & Eastern part of the country offer great opportunities for development. Is it true that AccorHotels will be opening a new Raffles hotel in Udaipur? India offers some of the finest luxury hotels in the world and unique destinations and heritage, which appeal to the luxury traveller, both Is AccorHotels planning to bring German-based 25 Hours brand in domestic and international. While we don’t have specific announceIndia? ments to make from a development perspective at the moment, we 25hours is a unique hotel concept that is designed to present contemporary stay solution for an urban, cosmopolitan traveller through are in advanced discussions for a Raffles in Udaipur. service with an upbeat personality and charm. The brand focuses on individuality, authenticity and personality. 25hours is already present If AccorHotels is indeed opening more Fairmont and Sofitel properin Hamburg, Frankfurt, Berlin, Zurich and Vienna and will soon make ties in India, does it mean that it is graduating to the upper-midscale segment significantly in the country and looking at it as a future its arrival in Munich, Cologne, Düsseldorf and Paris. It will be an growth vehicle? interesting fit for any culture. At AccorHotels, we believe in quality over quantity. The next big wave of growth for us is going to come from luxury and emerging markets. What plans does AccorHotels have for the Banyan Tree brand in From an economy, mid-scale and upscale player with the addition of India, which will mark its entry in the luxury resort business? these iconic and internationally acclaimed brands in luxury, we have We are actively seeking opportunities to introduce some of our international brands. Currently, we are engaged in some very active now become a major luxury brand globally as well. discussions to bring the Banyan Tree brand to India. It is true that AccorHotels is in advanced stage of discussion with a real estate developer in Gurugram to launch its first 100-apartment Are you also looking to develop more Fairmont and Sofitel hotels in the country, your luxury properties, since this segment is seeing hotel brand, Novotel Suites, Gurugram within the next few months. Why did the company decide to get into the non-hotel lodging an uptick? space? AccorHotels has a growing network of 48 hotels in India spanning across nine internationally celebrated brands present in 22 cities and According to industry reports, up to 15% of online travellers in India 2018 will continue to see significant growth momentum for us. India’s are using non-hotel accommodations, including home rentals and growth as the number three market globally for domestic air traffic services apartments. The upward trend highlights the growing and fourth in terms of combined international and domestic air travel interest. We believe in growing along with our customers and their demands hence, we are working on some serviced apartment (according to CAPA) is indicative enough of the increasing demand projects. Currently, we are in early stages of discussions and will soon for leisure (and business) stays. We are particularly excited about the opportunities luxury and upscale segments present and we are be able to share more details on the same.

ences. They will probably be uninterested in a spa experiential at a hotel, instead they might instead want to live in a hotel that provides a more localised feel – an experience that our brand Mama Shelter provides. As the second largest operator in the luxury space, we provide customised solutions for the vast international community of millennialminded trendsetters revolutionising


the market. Our millennial centric brands are designed to break the conventional vertical distribution of spaces and functions and taking a liberated, flexible and rebellious approach to meet the expectations of its guests. AccorHotels places digital technology at the core of its services to guests at every stage of their hotel experience – before, during and after

their stay. Personalised guest experience has taken the form of encouraging them to book rooms and manage their stays using our brand website. Do you think that in the dynamic hospitality industry lengthy management contracts are outmoded and need to be replaced with agreements that have shorter tenures? Kerry Healy: We believe that a well-

negotiated management contract should ideally align with the interests of both parties. As an owner, the major goals should be to partner with a management company that will help in maximising profitability and value of asset while ensuring the operator is provided with incentives to work towards maintaining brand ethos. In the hospitality industry we usually find that as a rule, the higher the market positioning of the hotel, the longer the initial term of the contract. According to a recent HVS survey, it was found that operators prefer longer contract terms with renewal options in their favour, whereas flexibility is likely to be more important for owners. Thus, there is a preference for a shorter initial term and renewal options by mutual consent. How is AccorHotels focusing on building a unified culture, which encompasses its associates as franchisees so that they follow a common set of goals? Kerry Healy: Our success as a diverse

group is built on strong values like passion, trust, spirit of conquest, sustainable performance and innovation. At AccorHotels, we live by our values to ensure that guests 'Feel Welcome' when they stay with us while providing them with a 'home away from home' experience. Similarly, ‘Feel Valued’ is our pledge for our employees to enjoy a positive and fulfilling experience. Empowering people, encouraging their talent to blossom and caring about the wellbeing and balance has helped us to spur innovation, grow local roots, step up performance and nurture dedication. Our employees are at the center of everything we do and this empowers us to constantly innovate to serve our guests better. HI





he 45th edition of IHGF-Delhi Fair Spring 2018 ended on a positive note at the India Expo Centre & Mart, Greater Noida, as OP Prahladka, chairman of EPCH claimed that the event generated business enquiries worth INR 2700 crores. He further added that 5300 overseas buyers from 111 countries and domestic volume retail buyers visited the show to source home, lifestyle, fashion and textiles products during the five-day event. During the October edition of the show, 4900 buyers from 102 countries visited the event. Ajay Tamta, Minister of State for Textiles, distributed the Ajay Shankar Memorial Awards for the best stands in six product categories. These included houseware, table, kitchenware and hotelware; furniture, furniture hardware and home accesso-

ries; fashion jewellery and accessories; lamp, lighting and accessories; home, textile, furnishing and floor coverings. Speaking at the event, Minister Tamta said that EPCH has been doing a great job at increasing handicraft exports by organising this fair twice a year. He also lauded the organisation for setting up a good infrastructure at different craft clusters across the country to provide product and design development facilities, use of technology to manufacture products in large quantities and also provide marketing facilities to artisans and craftspeople. Rakesh Kumar, ED of EPCH added that during the five-day event various knowledge seminars were held on topics like ‘Cultural differences between the East and West and its impact on business’, ‘How to export to China with specific reference to gifts, decorative and houseware’, ‘Positioning of J&K handicrafts in domestic and overseas markets’, ‘Understanding GST, Intellectual property rights, Customs Trade Partnership Agreement Terrorism’ as well as ‘Trends and Forecast for spring summer 2019’.



LL India has launched Developer Solutions, horizontal platform geared to service the multiple requirements of the real estate developer community across their lifecycle. Siva Krishnan, who re-joins JLL India as MD, Developer Solutions, will lead the platform. In his previous role, he was the senior executive director at CBRE and part of the India leadership team. Developer Solutions is JLL’s effort to create a comprehensive real estate services unit, providing developers with a multi-specialty pan-India solutions development team, thereby minimising the need to reach out to multiple service providers or separate teams – and seen for the first time within the Indian real estate. The formation of this unified platform includes creation of a new SBU – developer Initiatives, combined with JLL’s land services and strategic consulting practices, all of which will be brought together under a single platform. As part of his new role, Krishnan will spearhead the three portfolios of developer initiatives, Land Services and Strategic Consulting to create solutions across India’s developer eco-system. He will put in place a developer focused framework for both these segments, as well as create a structure of pan-India solutions development and account management under the developer initiatives vertical.



itrA, the Turkey-based bathroom solutions brand, has introduced two experience centres in India. These centres in Delhi and Mumbai dis-


play approximately 2500 square feet of VitrA’s complete range of bathroom solutions available in the country, with representatives present to give a brief about the product lines. VitrA is a premium global bathroom brand and has brought various new offerings of solutions like Memoria Black series designed by Christophe Pillet, Istanbul series designed by Ross Lovegrove, Metropole, T4 and S50 series by the award-winning design group NOA.

Siva Krishnan will spearhead three portfolios of developer initiatives to create solutions across India’s developer eco-system.



NEW LAUNCHES GRAFF UNVEILS ITS TIMELESS ‘BALI’ COLLECTION GRAFF, the manufacturer of faucets and shower systems, introduced its Bali Collection. The collection is based on the concept of Lean Manufacturing Management, which aims to eliminate excess consumption of time, energy and materials, so that each process achieves substantial efficiency standards. Even in the casting process, and in the finishing and galvanic treatments, GRAFF uses a zero-discharge system that recycles 100% of brass and paper. In line with a strong commitment to environmental sustainability, the company is amongst the first globally to have publicly expressed willingness to eliminate its impact on the environment in the near future. The Bali, created by the young designers of the G+Design Studio, reinterprets design trends that come from the past, in a modern way. Its pure form stands out due to the combination of sensuality and sinuous lines that have been created to satisfy any type of design: showers, freestanding elements, wall-mounted solutions. The classic faucet architecture–body-mouth- lever–is redefined in favour of a harmonious cylindrical shape, which recalls an old 1800’s water pump. The collection is available in polished chrome, antique brushed brass, olive bronze, Steelnox and antique copper.

CORSA BATH LAUNCHES PUSH TAPS FAUCETS Corsa Bath, a bath fitting company, has launched its latest push taps, which is suitable for all types of bathrooms since it has a stainless steel finish, which is durable and easy to maintain. It comes in a easy-togrip controls that helps conserve water and delivers no more than 2.5 gallons per minute. According to Naeem Ahmed, MD, Corsa Bath, “Our products are developed using accurate metal compositions and advanced manufacturing techniques, which ensure the quality, durability and credibility of our range and our latest push taps range are the perfect example of it. This push taps are perfect to match the style and elegance to your bath zone.”

ENCRAFT LAUNCHES ITS NEW RANGE Encraft, a flagship company of the DCJ Group, has launched its new range of window and door systems specifically designed for India. The company is a manufacturer of uPVC windows and doors and plans to introduce a 5000 square feet experience, testing and training center in New Delhi. Some of its new product additions include Lift and Slide, Vertical Slider and Parallel Window. The EN 142 Lift & Slide patio doors come in frameless side elements and extra-large sizes and are ideal for balcony and terrace. They can also be used for large apertures covering 6 meter (wide) by 3 meter (tall) and can be moved quickly. It has heavy-duty interlock with double seal, internal fly screen option and dedicated fitting channel. The EN 77 Vertical Slider Window is ideal when there is limited window breadth, as one just has to lift the sash upwards to open and pull downwards to close the window. Apart from easy operation, these windows are meant for better insulation with no possibility of drafts caused by inaccurately shut windows. With 1m (wide) by 1.8 m (tall) size, the windows come with special spiral that balances to suit the individual sash weight. It has alternative sashes, integrated handle bead, multi-point point locking device and optional fixed fly screen.


PURCHASING POINT PROCUREMENT ON SHORT LEAD TIMES IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FOR HARI BACHAN SINGH, PROCUREMENT HEAD, COURTYARD & FAIRFIELD BY MARRIOTT BENGALURU OUTER RING ROAD What kind of products do you seek? As a dual-branded Marriott hotel, it is imperative for us to carefully screen vendors and procure high quality products for every area of the hotel. We are constantly on the lookout for vendors who have products with consistent quality and availability. What is the biggest challenge in purchasing today? Considering the dynamic nature of a hotel’s operations, the biggest challenge is procurement on short lead times. We receive a lot of last minute requests from the F&B team especially that have to be catered to. In this scenario, it is helpful to have reliable vendors who can deliver promptly. Our procurement procedure includes multi-levels of authorisation within the management. The team and I regularise this process to ensure every small purchase is accounted for and approved, resulting in successful audit scores. What vendor compliance systems did you initiate that resulted in cost savings? Marriott has strict and effective compliance systems available for the hotels to incorporate. As per these guidelines, I have ensured we generate and analyse the monthly report for our international and national contracted vendors. We then use this data to compare with the non-contracted vendor items, which result in substantial cost savings. Also, based on volume and frequency of business with regular vendors, I ensure that we build a strong relationship with them in order to receive their support during our internal events. What new processes did you introduce to examine high-risk vendors? We have a standard format in place for auditing high-risk vendors. This covers all parameters like hygiene, premises, food safety, infrastructure, packaging, dispatch and documentation, which determines the risk area for that particular category of the vendor. If the vendor scores below the set standard cut off, then we issue a written warning to improve the standard as per guideline before taking further action. All these documents are discussed periodically to ensure seamless procurement and operations. How do you train your team to follow procedures for smooth coordination in supply chain management? Procurement is a major support center for the departments in the hotel and for smooth coordination in supply chain management, it is critical to manage time effectively and prioritise the tasks accordingly. I share this same directive with my team and ensure they work closely with me to complete all tasks within the stipulated timelines.




Stay cool! - cooling pad

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The wooden flooring matches the dĂŠcor at Chime Bar in Sheraton Grand Bengaluru Whitefield Hotel and Convention Center.

THE WRITING ON THE FLOOR From wood to tile to marble, the right flooring selection can set the precise tone for a hotelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s holistic design theme BY PRADEEP SUVARNA


t is quite ironical that flooring is often the largest continuous visible surface in a hotel, especially at its entrance. And yet, till a few years ago, not much attention was paid to it from the aesthetics perspective. However, that has changed and now, hotels are using it as an opportunity to play a key role in the holistic design theme. In fact, India has a history for some fantastic floor design; one just needs take look at the heritage hotels to see some stunning examples of in-


terwoven floors with multiple stone colours. Inspired by this and the effect it has on guests who love taking and sharing photos on social media platforms, hotels are using flooring as an essential design element. When it comes to flooring, hotels present a unique set of requirements; these should have high-performance features and appealing designs to create the perfect balance of quaintness and commercial durability. In the past, that meant less-appealing commercial flooring alternatives, but

with breakthroughs in manufacturing and maintenance technology, now better options are available. Take the case of The Country Inn & Suites in Gurugram. Amit Krishn Gulati of Incubis Consultants, a multidisciplinary architecture and design firm that worked on the hotel, used diamond polished Grey Wave marble in the reception area with a simple geometric inlay in Thassos white marble. This combination accentuates the contemporary palette and gives a heightened sense of arrival,



while making the spaces feel connected and open. “Specially commissioned handwoven carpets are used in the guest room corridors to keep the noise from trolley bags to a minimum while adding touches of brightness within a tasteful and muted scheme. The rooms have a combination of marble, engineered hardwoods and bespoke place rugs to provide a sense of luxury and all encompassing warmth,” he added. Novotel Goa Dona Sylvia Resort is a Mediterranean-styled resort that features clay tiled roof and massive symmetrical tiles in public areas. Acknowledging that the texture of the flooring, pattern and design leave a lasting impression on the guests visiting the property, Vishal Khosla, GM, Novotel Goa Dona Sylvia Resort said that these tiles were chosen as it complements the Mediterraneanstyled elements in the lobby. “Portuguese Calcada or mosaic is a specific

Amit Krishn Gulati, Incubis Consultants.

pavement, used mostly for finishing the walkways and sidewalks, alleys, squares and other places in Portugal. Most common colours used are black and white. The hotel features fish bone patterned black and white mosaic floor in the lobby and at the activity centre,” he elaborated. The Sheraton Grand Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway has used Sofia Beige marble in its public

area, and Omani marble in its guest rooms. If maintained well, this will retain its glaze giving a crisp and polished look. Le Meridien, Kochi, on the hand, has invested substantially on granites of exquisite quality. “As far as the hotel’s façade is concerned, we have opted for Kota stone flooring and have also used a wide variety of carpets as it provides warmth and opulence,” said Tejus Jose, general manager of Le Meridien Kochi. His peer, Vijayan Gangadharan, general manager of Four Points by Sheraton Visakhapatnam added that flooring could also be used to enhance the size and the brightness of a room. Hence, light-coloured carpet in the hotel’s guest rooms exudes a rich look, while white marble at the room’s entrance make room look bigger. COST ANALYSIS

A hotel is a complex environment with a wide variety of flooring

The asymmetrical flooring design at Bene restaurant at Sheraton Grand Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway.




Amit Khanna, principal design, AKDA.

Tejus Jose, GM, Le Meridien Kochi.

Vijayan Gangadharan, GM, Four Points by Sheraton Visakhapatnam.

needs and, hence, satisfying every aspect of its flooring requirements is not an easy task. While F&B areas like kitchens and restaurants present unique challenges in terms of hygiene and maintenance, areas that witness heavy footfall, like the banquets or lobbies are likely to see faster wear and tear. Jose gave the example of Le Meridien Kochi, which is a coastal state and experiences heavy rainfall. “Wooden flooring has been installed in many guest rooms. Over the months, it develops noticeable amount of spills and scuffs that can comprise the flooring’s look compromised. Soaked-in moisture also causes buckling and requires series of repairs. To avoid such problems, we apply multiple coats of oil-based sealers or water-based mixtures,” he said. Gulati pointed out that floors are exposed to the maximum wear, especially in India where abrasive dust, dirt and moisture enter properties with ease and accelerates damage.


“Moreover, Indian food also causes stains easily, especially on marbles and untreated carpets. It is challenging for hotel projects to source materials with adequate strength and hardness, stain-resistant characteristics without compromising the superior aesthetic values and controlled maintenance costs,” he noted. Amit Khanna, principal architect, AKDA, therefore, cautioned that flooring is often a crucial decision, and not an afterthought, not only because it is a huge cost, but also because re-laying the floor can be a hugely disruptive process. It needs to be sturdy, remain fresh longer and not be too heavy on maintenance. AN EFFICIENT FLOORING STRATEGY

While various hospitality trends may come and go, there is no denying that every hotel project demands firm flooring that balances functionality and aesthetics. While often regarded as a functional feature, hospitality designers and project heads are realising that it presents them a chance to accentuate their image, while also keeping their long-term cost in check. Ather Raza, EAM, rooms, Sheraton Grand Bengaluru Whitefield Hotel and Convention Center said that if not maintained well, hotel flooring can present a lot of challenges for the operator. “If not looked into at the correct time, the hotel is sure to have to deal with high replacements cost, wear and tear and / or accidental hazards, which are also an additional liability. These would inevitably lead to low guest satisfaction,” he opined.

Vishal Khosla, GM, Novotel Goa Dona Sylvia Resort.

Khanna believed that a wellplanned flooring layout can be a boon from an operations perspective. “A well-laid, medium glossy marble at the reception provides a luxury ambience; hardy double charged fully vitrified tiles in the service areas can take a lot of abuse over a longer time period; noise-absorbing carpet tiles in the guest room corridors can help guests at business hotels get their well-deserved rest; granite flooring in open areas such as porches, swimming pool decks can be a risk-free, non-slippery and maintenance free option for the exteriors; etc.,” he elaborated. Gangadharan suggested putting in place a well charted, planned strategy taking into consideration the annum life span of the flooring. For e.g. the carpet must be shampooed once in a month to refresh the feel and look of it. Adding to this, Rishi Kumar, director of operations, Sheraton Grand Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway said, “Sandstones should not be used in open areas and bathrooms. Wooden flooring may be used; however, in heavy traffic areas it needs to be avoided. Proper waterproofing should be done specially in guest rooms where there are bathtubs.” Khosla, too, agreed with the idea of having a flooring strategy. “Owing to the changing climatic conditions, footfall and aesthetics, a strategic plan is put in place by our internal team. This efficient flooring strategy includes regular checking, operation friendly techniques and results in an easy maintenance from an op-



anticipated wear and tear are vital considerations in making that choice. Innovations are constantly occurring, creating improvements in all aspects of flooring manufacturing and design. Availability of the design and low-cost maintenance, a maintained attic stock during the pre-openings is vital to ensure continuity and reduce capex expenditure,” he stated.

CHOOSING RIGHT Whether it is a guest room or public area, flooring makes a strong style statement from a design perspective. Here are some aspects that hopsitality companies keep in mind while investing in flooring: • Combination of style and functionality • Pricing • Durability and ROI • Maintenance costs • Stock availability • Sustainability • What is the competition using • Health and safety • Traffic of the area where flooring will be used • Type of clientele • Climate in the region.


Rishi Kumar, director of operations, Sheraton Grand Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway.

Ather Raza, EAM,Rooms, Sheraton Grand Bengaluru Whitefield Hotel and Convention Center.

Anirban Sarkar, GM, Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Gurugram.

erational and cost-management perspective as well,” he said. Jose recommended that hotel designers should work closely with the operational team while designing the décor and flooring. While there are many options available for hotel flooring, making the right choice will depend on the use of each particular space. “Measuring the foot traffic and


Tough as flooring may be, whether it is marble, granite, tile or wood, it too needs some care and maintenance. Gulati noted that the biggest culprits that cause maximum damage to flooring are abrasive dust, grime and grease brought in with shoes and trolley bag wheels, moisture, smoldering cigarette butts and food stains. “The effect of these can be mitigated by having more effective dust control measures in the immediate surroundings of hotels, high quality entrance matting solutions, high performance moisture barriers, under-floor protective layers as well as top coat protective sealants, etc.,” he suggested. Khanna noted that public spaces are susceptible to damage by dragging poor quality luggage and movement of furniture. “In restaurants, stains build up over time and can need rigorous deep cleaning occasionally. Rooms are often overlooked as being prone to heavy damage, but in the case of carpet flooring, these can be damaged by dampness or careless use of flammable materials,” he said. Kumar believed that the four big culprits are lack of regular maintenance, dragging of equipment and furniture, excessive exposure of wet mops and use of abrasive chemicals. He said, “To avoid such issues we need to ensure that we understand the flooring and use only the recommended products for maintenance. The team should be trained well to look after the area, along with proper equipment suitable to flooring.” But therein lies another challenge. According to Anirban Sarkar, general manager, Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Gurugram, a key aspect

that is often ignored is how the staff are trained to do the same and also how the behaviour of guests can be influenced so that the risk of damage done by the guests are mitigated. “For example, a busy bar with a wooden flooring is expected have spillage and at time cigarette butts falling on it but by having the right placements of tables, having the right layout and by having a set of observant and alert service professional can definitely ensure that the chances of damage is reduced,” he pointed out. This is why Jose suggested training on chemical usage, daily cleaning, ensuring routinely preventive maintenance, following deep cleaning cycles in a timely fashion, laying of the tiles, selection of underlays are a few ways to avoid the untimely damages. Most hotels do adhere to proper cleaning schedules for different areas depending upon the cleaning needs and kind of traffic in a particular area. Complying to daily, weekly and monthly cleaning schedules will definitely help them in increasing the longevity of the flooring. Flooring in hotels has evolved from carpets to tiles to marble to granite and indigenous materials. Properties are moving away from a cookie-cutter approach to have more individualistic one where flooring can steal the attention, not just for a few years, but several –all with just a little thoughtful maintenance thrown in. HI


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STEP UP TO THE PLATE To keep pace with guests’ need for an elevated dining experience, hospitality companies are using tableware to re-imagine how they present their culinary creations BY PRADEEP SUVARNA


magine yourself enjoying a meal in your favourite restaurant. There are some details that you can recall days later and they bring a smile on your face; and in all probability it is not just the food and beverages. Increasingly, guests are paying closer attention to other elements in a F&B outlet. While the food still remains the star and the start of the experience, other aspects like décor,


lighting, music and tableware play a very important role in the overall dining experience. Like Abhishek Bindal, VP, operations, KA Hospitality explained, dining today is not just about the taste of the food; it is a sensory experience where all the fives senses are involved. Hence, tableware plays a very critical role in keeping pace with guests’ evolving tastes and change preferences when it comes to dining.

“According to us, the colour of the plates should complement the cuisine to add to the visual experience. This colour and shape enhances the food along with the right kind of lighting. The glassware should not be very heavy, should have a thin rim and should not be chipped so the guests can easily hold the glass and while sipping the glass surface should be smooth to the lip,” Bindal added.



Walter Pereira, F&B director, Hyatt Regency Lucknow.

Alok Anand, F&B manager, Four Points by Sheraton, Vashi.

The selection of tableware also defines the restaurant’s concept, and hence becomes a crucial part in concept dining. For instance, a typical all-day dining restaurant is liable to have a clutter free set-up, while a speciality restaurant will opt for premium tableware and glassware based on a specific theme. When it comes to selecting tableware Bindal explained that it also depends on the nature of the restaurant and the type of cuisine served. For instance, since one of KA Hospitality’s brand, Yauatcha is a Chinese

dim sum teahouse, only chopsticks and a small plate are placed on the table. The layout is very minimalistic, allowing the guests to enjoy more of the dim sum and allows the restaurant to use the space to keep the dim sum baskets. The plates are shaped like clouds that are meant to represent the tea patterns since it is a teahouse. “At Hakkasan, the table layout is more elaborate with a plate, bowl, cutlery and chopsticks since it is a fine-dine restaurant and our guests are looking at a wholesome dining

Anup Gupta, executive chef, Taj Aravali Resort & Spa, Udaipur

experience. At Nara, we only place fork and spoon at the table. The fork and spoon are heavier than the ones found at other regular restaurants as they your primary tools – to break open your crab, the fork on the left is used to transfer the food / sauce / curry to the spoon on the right, etc. There is no knife placed at the table. At CinCin, we have a diverse menu of different shapes and textures, hence we place sharing plates along with knife, spoon and fork on the table,” Bindal elaborated.

Earlier, chinaware was commonly used, but restaurants now have started to experiment with stoneware, clay crockery, granite slates and metal ware.




Abhishek Bindal, VP, operations, KA Hospitality TABLEWARE AS CANVAS

Hospitality companies have realised that tableware is key to the design and branding of a venue. And they are using tableware innovatively to give a contemporary twist in elevating the dining experience of their guests. The right choice of tableware not only influences the guest but also inspires the chefs, as it gives them the tools to present food impressively, keeping in mind the design ethos of the F&B outlet and the brand. Hyatt Regency Lucknow picked up organic colourful tableware for its Asian restaurant, which has given the outlet a unique identity. “We locally sourced platters from the vicinity which are used during breakfast to uplift the look and feel of the buffet. Our Bar has a variety of glass selection for different drinks out of which we have procured copper glasses again from one of the copper hubs of Uttar Pradesh that is directly in sync with the bar theme,” said Pereira. Indore Marriott Hotel has chosen a colour blend that reinforces the brand values and also complements the interior design. “We have golden shades in the lobby and we serve tea or coffee in gold coated cup and saucer for our guests,” said Chanda. Taj Aravali Resort & Spa, Udaipur is still in the pre-opening stage, so Saini has the luxury of choosing appropriate tableware that can complement the property’s theme and food philosophy, while also ensuring it is elegant and user friendly. “Banquet crockery is meant to be


The floral tea set used at Lukjin Chinese restaurant at Hyatt Regency Lucknow.

lighter and convenient for all guests to carry when engaging in a buffetdining experience. For instance, our regional cuisine would be served in something, which is very local and relates to the place and people,” he revealed. Talking about the role that a chef plays in this entire process, Anup Gupta, executive chef, Taj Aravali Resort & Spa, Udaipur added that usually a deep dive into the concept is required every time the menu needs a change or upgradation to incorporate the seasonal ingredients. “Normally complete change of tableware is not encouraged. The chef works in a way that the changes are well considered and accommodated in the most smart way to ensure and maintain the welcoming settings,” he added. PICK AND CHOOSE

When it comes to procurement of

tableware, other than the nature of the establishment and the cuisine served, as well as the aesthetics of the tableware, an important aspect that hospitality companies consider is its cost and continual supply in the future. In addition to this, different outlets in the same hotel have different requirements. Elaborating on this, Chanda said, “For banquets, the tableware has to sturdy and noncrystal glassware. This is because at banquet events, its usage is often rough as it ends up in the hands of many people. Also the theme has to be simple to match all types of decorations and functions. This type of crockery should always have round edges for safety and should have composition of alloy.” For restaurants, the tableware can differ based on the outlet’s theme, ambience and clientele. For instance, for a buffet at an Asian restaurant,

EVALUATING THE RIGHT SUPPLIER There are many competent vendors in the country who supply tableware from across the globe. However, while choosing a vendor, it is important to consider their his ability to adhere to delivery timelines, varieties on offer, after-sales service, reliability in terms of providing top-up quantities, and most importantly, see if their pricing is low or at par with other vendors. It is also advisable to opt for vendors who upgrade themselves about the latest trends and keep industry professionals aware about the latest developments in the trade. - Sunil Saini, F&B manager, Taj Aravali Resort & Spa, Udaipur.



The Latti Vanilla sponge soaked in homemade milk sauce, topped with cream and berries at CinCin.

white crockery in light tone is ideal. For in-room dining, the crockery should be of composition material, which controls the food’s temperature so that hot food stays hot and the cold food stays cold. Walter Pereira, F&B director, Hyatt Regency Lucknow agreed with Chanda and said, “For the events spaces, while we want durable and food-grade compliant products, we opt for those that offer better value for money, and are stylish as well. For F&B destinations, we choose trendy, colourful, food grade compliant, durable, and customer friendly products that in some cases evoke a ‘homelike’ feel.” Alok Anand, F&B manager, Four Points by Sheraton, Vashi simplifies


matters by breaking things down to Front of the House and Back of The House. In the former, he said there are three major aspects – mood, experience and presentation. “Tableware assists in setting the mood and can reinforce the restaurant’s theme. Aside from the food, table settings can greatly influence how customers will evaluate their dining experience. And lastly, China acts as a canvas for a chef’s culinary presentation. Attention to detail when plating can make a big difference next to your competition,” he said. Similalry, when it comes to back of the house, factors like sanitation, durability and storage are critical. “A 100% vitrified product prevents cracking, which can accumulate bac-

teria, keeping it clean. Under durability, for your tableware to withstand the rigors of commercial foodservice use, it is important to research the durability of each vendor's products, including the ability to be used in the oven, dishwasher, or microwave. And lastly, it is vital to choose stackable dinnerware, which can be beneficial to saving space in your kitchen. Sunil Saini, F&B manager, Taj Aravali Resort & Spa, Udaipur has seen a steady decline in the age old Electro Plated Nickel Silver (EPNS) cutlery due to maintenance issues. “The mantra now is stainless steel and stoneware,” he added. Anand pointed out that bespoke crockery and tableware seem to be the trendsetters these days since it gives a personalised touch by embossing the logo of the restaurant. The customisation can further be tweaked to help enhance the overall feel and look of the restaurant. “Earlier, Chinaware was commonly used, but restaurants now have started to experiment with stoneware, clay crockery, granite slates and metal ware. The visual appearance of crockery and cutlery used in a restaurant plays a crucial role and helps improve the overall presentation of the food served, which thus leads to customer satisfaction and helps generate more revenue.” While Pereira too picked up artisanal tableware for Hyatt Regency Lucknow from the vicinity, it was evident that this was not a commercially viable proposition, despite the fact that it did enhance the look and feel of the food. There are currently more than 180 million posts on Instagram tagged with ‘food’, which underlines the importance of having appealing tableware. While chefs are innovating with cuisine, they are paying close attention to tableware; sometimes almost as much as the recipe and the taste of a dish. After all, if they can impress their guests with the presentation of the dish as much its flavour, then the snap- and tap-happy digital natives visiting their precincts will act as their default digital marketing agents. HI





he Red Dot Design Awards’ panel of experts awards its internationally recognised seal of quality only to products that win them over with their high design quality. Included in the winner’s list of 2018 is the Tailwater faucet, manufactured by the Jaquar Group’s luxury brand Artize, and designed by the London-based product design consultancy DanelonMeroni Design Studio. Sandeep Shukla, head - Marketing Communications, Jaquar Group, added, “Jaquar Group truly believes in providing bathroom solutions where design, technology and talent combine to deliver a masterpiece. Tailwater is aimed to provide the luxury segment, a synthesis of true craftsmanship. We are glad to receive yet another accolade for our design and innovation and will continue to create exquisite bathroom products for the connoisseurs of fine living.” A unique, one-of-its-kind creation Inspired by nature and the elegant, fluid lines of contemporary architecture, Tailwater is the result of the designers’ deep research of freeform, combining technological know-how with a unique vision for modern bathroom. A beautiful faucet that reminds you of a bird perched at the edge of a pool, the Tailwater faucet’s lever and spout are united in a single, friendly form, which is simple and enjoyable to use. The ‘tail’ acts as a mixer lever, which moves smoothly backwards and to the left and right. The curve of the tap’s body echoes the movement and flow of water, while its reflective surface appears as seamless as liquid metal. Exten-

sively prototyped and finely tuned for ergonomic comfort, function and aesthetics, the curved lever is both intuitive and inviting to the touch. When tilted backwards, the tap’s form is transformed into a graceful silver arc. Manufactured to the highest quality standards, Tailwater is a new design classic that takes inspiration from the natural world and embodies it in a beautifully engineered piece of industrial design. Artize Tailwater is now available in over 40 countries around the world. Claudia Danelon, co-founder, Danelon Meroni, commented, “We are extremely elated to receive the significant Red Dot award for Tailwater. We always wanted to create something unique for Artize, which inspired us to explore the abstract image of a bird, perched on the edge of a pool emerged. Tailwater expresses how technological know-how and inspiration from the natural world can be embodied in a beautifully engineered piece of industrial design.” An evaluation platform for good design The Red Dot Award for product design has roots dating back as far as 1955 and determines the best products created each year. In 2018, designers and manufacturers from 59 countries submitted more than 6,300 objects to the competition. True to the motto “In search of good design and innovation”, a jury comprising of roughly 40 members, assessed the products individually based on the original. The strict judging criteria, which include level of innovation, functionality, formal quality, ergonomics and durability, provide a frame of reference that the

jurors then complement with their own expertise. About Artize Artize, a luxury bath brand from Jaquar Group, has been introduced to cater to customers who aspire for luxury in their bathing spaces. The brand aims at excellence at all levels and seeks to surpass global standards of quality and design. Artize pays a tribute to the fine traditions of exquisite craftsmanship and precision through a wide range of products that are designed to create trends in the bathing industry. A perfect balance of design, quality, production standards, technology and precision combine to produce the masterpiece called Artize. Some of the other awards and recognitions received by Artize for its products include the iF award, Plus X award, and the Good Design, Chicago, and the India Design Mark for Confluence; and the Elle Décor awards for Tiaara that was designed by Bengaluru-based designer Michael Foley. HI




DASH FOR THE ROOM In-room automation is evolving into a dynamic, ever-changing concept. Can hotels keep up? BY PRADEEP SUVARNA


uests are constantly seeking bespoke services, whether it is with culinary adventures or in-room experiences. Hoteliers are gathering as much information about their guests to better customise their in-room services through various amenities and services. They are also finding out different ways to use technology to operate room temperature, lighting, drapery and manage in-room entertainment – all in a bid to attract and retain customers. But the larger question now is how successful will they be at reshaping and re-imagining the guestroom, at a time when customer expectations seems to be moving north all the time? Throw your mind back a few decades ago, when a big colour TV and air conditioning were big selling points for hoteliers. But once these amenities became commod-


itised, they quickly lost their lustre. A decade ago, WiFi burst into the scene but connectivity was slow and unreliable. Nitin Pathak, general manager, Novotel Pune Nagar Road recalled how the back-ofhouse areas were de facto dead zones. “Today, guests at even budget motels expect high-speed WiFi to be available everywhere on the property. With time, WiFi has gone from being a competitive differentiator to being a mere utility, no more compelling or unexpected than running water and electricity,” he pointed out. These instances have taught hoteliers that the novelty of any techbased amenity lasts only as long as the next new novelty comes around. Hence, in a highly competitive industry, to stay ahead of their challengers, hoteliers have to create differentiated products and services. Pathak added that since tech-

nology has become critical to attracting and retaining hotel guests, it that means investing in a wide range of solutions that create immediate and personal engagement. “More recent examples include mobile keyless room entry and in-room tablets loaded with apps for controlling, among other things, Smart TV and air conditioning. With rising expectation, surprise and delight has been replaced by expected and assumed. Reservations must be easily made via any smart device, guestrooms must facilitate any type of content, networks need to be rock solid, and data is now your most valuable asset. Consequently the need of the hour is to create new modes and approaches for the experiential development of guest segments,” he inferred. Sagar Gaonkar, director of rooms, DoubleTree by Hilton Pune Chinchwad pointed out that rooms are now



Stephen D’Souza, hotel manager, Courtyard by Marriott Chennai.

Nitin Pathak, general manager, Novotel Pune Nagar Road.

Sagar Gaonkar, director of rooms, DoubleTree by Hilton Pune Chinchwad.

bring designed with advanced features like a one-touch console for controlling the lights and the AC, streaming devices to the television or mp3 docking stations. The most recent introduction by Hilton is the key-less entry allowing the guest to enter their room without a key-card. These smart guest rooms allow the younger travellers, who are more digitally savvy, to have better control

over the personalised experience they seek. Through various technologies like mobile check-in, smartphone guest room keys, one touch button panels and live chat for realtime feedback, these rooms have everything a click away. The guestroom is the most important aspect of a guest’s travel and every hotel company is trying to make it more comfortable for a guest, especially from a technology perspective. This includes providing good sleep, mood lighting controls, easy access to all functionality in the room like curtains, master switch, DND, etc. Subhankar Bose, resident manager, JW Marriott Bengaluru, explained that the television could also be used as a monitor or an interactive screen for all his office work as well as watching a movie or screening his favorite soccer match. “All this technology has ensured that guest rooms are updated for guests, whether they are visiting for business or leisure. Moreover, multiple device connectivity on same the WiFi access has made life super easy specially when spending a lot of time in the room or in the hotel. Seamless access to a high speed internet network is a more basic necessity in a traveller's life than anything else hence daily progress in this field is seen now than it was in the past,” he pointed out. According to Sreenivasan Mohan,

chief engineer, Conrad Pune, over the past few years, due to the presence of hotel apps, guests do not require to visit the reception to select or check-in for the rooms, they can simply check-in with the app using the mobile integrated key cards. “Guests can also personalise their basic room amenities such as choice of pillows, WiFi services by using the app. Hotels these days, also have sensor control panels throughout the room which helps customise lights and air conditioning functions. These sensors maintain the temperature and lighting according to the time and electronic remotes to adjust curtain functions and interactive televisions,” he added. THE PERSONAL TOUCH

When it comes to technology spending amongst hotel companies, many are investing in payment security, guest room technology, bandwidth and mobile engagement. Pathak said that in India, some of the innovations that are accepted widely include hassle-free check-in via a lobby ambassador holding a special iPad or an iConcierge app or handing iPads to the guests preloaded with specific software in different languages to help guest access a variety of services. Stephen D’Souza, hotel manager, Courtyard by Marriott Chennai, added, “Mobile check-in, wireless charg-




Shyam Bhethana, chief technology and strategy advisor, Cygnett Hotels.

Subhankar Bose, resident manager, JW Marriott Bengaluru.

ing, keyless entry through smartphones, single-touch digital panels and tablets for room controls as well as personalised mood lighting have also become popular globally, all of which have made inroads in India. I think the major factor determining the popularity of these technologies is personalisation and adding that much needed wow factor to guest experience.” According to Gaonkar, the Hilton digital check-in is a pioneering initiative allowing a guest to select a room from a digital floor plan or list directly from a mobile device, tablet or computer. Once the room is ready, the guest receives a notification about the room status and can access the room with a smart phone. Cygnett Hotels has also incorporated some changes in tech framework. Shyam Bhethana, the hotel’s chief technology and strategy advisor explained, “We are integrating our property management systems with room sensors for optimal tem-


A virtual concierge at Novotel Pune Nagar Road.

perature and a room occupied sign upon guest check in. By using data analytics, we also match guests to the available rooms, based on their past data, for instance, a balcony, higher floor, a particular type of soap. Additionally, we offer personalised wakeup messages instead of buzzers and alarms.” However, while globally hotel chains are embracing technology at full tilt in guest rooms, in India the adoption is still quite embryonic. Accepting this lag in technology adaptation, Pathak surmised that the reason Indian hotels haven’t kept pace with their western counterparts is probably the culture here still believes in emotions, human touches and artistry in any service, product or activity.

Gaonkar agreed with this conjecture. “In India, hotels are still very focused on a personal approach with guests, although there are many brands including Hilton which are now introducing digital options for customers. This is primarily being targeting to a more tech-savvy audience. We believe this trend will pick up over the years with many more guests opting for a quicker digitalised approach,” he explained. This change will be driven by millennials who actively seek an elevated technology experience in hotel rooms as compared to the older generation. Since they travel with numerous gadgets and devices, they expect the hotel to allow these gadgets to work seamlessly, in every possible way including Wi-Fi access,



plug points, working tables, etc. The next demography that will propel this change are business travellers who are well-versed with technology and are constantly on the go. Many of these guests opt for mobile check-in as they don't have the time to pick up the phone and go through the process over a call. PLANNING AHEAD

In the hospitality business there is one lesson that hoteliers have learnt over the years – always give the users as many choices as you can; chances are one of them will hook them in. That is the premise various brands are working on in India when it comes to accommodating technology comprehensively in guestrooms so that it is available if needed, but the guest is not entirely dependent on it. D’Souza explained that Courtyard by Marriott Chennai provides options for seamless connectivity through high speed Internet, facilities for working remotely and 24/7 IT assistance. “We ensure that our guests’ can use their own devices and content and connect their personal devices to the guest rooms entertainment system instantly,” he added. Pathak noted that once a technology playground of on-demand content and flat screen TVs, the guestroom has become a challenging area for hotel technology. “We keep on upgrading technology in our guest areas like boosting bandwidth in order to support the content and devices that guests are carrying with them. We are also looking at the opportunities to invest in delivery platforms to elevate the in-room experience and catch up to what guest have at home. This means bigger, better TVs that interface easily with guest mobiles devices for a great viewing experience,” he said. According to Ajit Singh Garcha, general manager of The Park Bengaluru guests across the board want technology for an elevated user experience in their rooms, while for millennials it is a necessity. An example of this would be that while a conventional guest likes to watch content

on TV, a millennial wants to watch their own content from their devices on Netflix or Amazon Prime etc. “So, we have now placed intelligent TVs all across The Park Hotel properties, which allow guest to watch their own content from the mobile device on TV by mirroring it using WiFi. In fact, intelligent TV’s, RIFD door locks for better security, Hi-speed internet and WiFi are available in our guest rooms. While it is difficult to assess and evaluate its bearing on increase in business, it is 100% true that not having these technologies will reduce the business substantively,” Garcha added. According to Bhethana, what is ideal is a simple OneTouch app that can accomplish what most guests need in just a few clicks. In addition to this, the hotel should provide a 3D tour of the neighbourhood and attractions on the any of the interactive devices like the TV. At the same time, booking a suitable guide based on guest preferences retains the human touch. So the big questions that emerges is this, is the application of technology in guestroom more for augmenting guest experience through personalisation, or can it also help in streamlining operational processes for the hotel, thereby reducing costs? Bhethana stated, “It definitely reduces costs. For example, sensors to enable and disable devices greatly reduces power consumption.” Gaonkar, too, felt that the use of technology helps hoteliers enhance the guest’s experience through personalisation, but it also helps them reduce the paper work and streamline the processes internally and make them more effective. D’Souza gave the example of an example of the live chat through the hotel's app, where Courtyard by Marriott Chennai started giving guests a simple and easy option to personalise their stay experience and get immediate assistance. “This does help in streamlining the operational process by saving time and reducing additional expenses by eliminating a long process of transferring communication,” he opined. Pathak quote the example of Ho-

Sreenivasan Mohan, chief engineer, Conrad Pune.

Ajit Singh Garcha, general manager, The Park Bengaluru

tel Lowes 1000 in Seattle, which has introduced hotspot rooms with heat detecting body sensors that act as occupancy detectors. “These sensors can definitely replace lot of paper work and human intervention with better accuracy. Virtual concierge is another example which can help guest with multiple help options without running an actual concierge desk with extra manning and systems,” he elucidated. Every time hoteliers consider investing in new technologies, they need to think several years ahead so that the technology does not become obsolete. After all, technology has an increasingly short shelf like, and reinvesting in it will have a negative effect on its RoI. The ideal way to do this is by staying on top of evolving tech trends across business and consumer platforms. Then, based on current consumer demand, hotels can develop pioneering initiatives to gain first-mover advantage and offer guests a variety of new options as part of their stay experience. HI




THE GREAT TECH SWEEPSTAKE Leading IT veterans share their insights about technologies that are likely to shape the hospitality industry’s future BY VINITA BHATIA


t a time when the hospitality industry is in the midst of a digital transformation, they are the people tasked with ring-fencing their company’s IT network to secure it from external and internal threats. They are also responsible for helping brands better understand customer behaviour so that they can further improve the guest experience. Meet the new-age technocrats. You can call them chief technology officers or chief information managers; these titles have ceased to matter. What matters is that they


are no longer just in charge of the IT framework, but instead don the hat of business managers; often interacting with guests to understand their requirements, so that they can create proactive technology solutions. As innovation officers for their brands, they also work closely with all departments to offer competitive digital offerings for their respective hotels. We speak to four tech veterans in the industry – Nilesh Patel, director of IT at Accor Hotels India and South Asia, Harish Chandra, director, IT at Sarovar Hotels and Resorts, Dr Vijay Choudhary, CTO of HRH Hotel

Group and Shree Bhandari, CTO of Panchshil Realty – to understand about the silos that still exist in the digital framework, limiting the adoption of the latest technological processes and how they are working on overcoming it. What are the top strategic tech goals for hospitality companies? Nilesh Patel: Improving and exploring the digital customer engagement and loyalty is the key strategic goal for many hospitality operators currently. ImpAct is the global transformation strategy for AccorHotels. It is technological and cultural, as it



aims to create more value for our hotels and our guests, so that they choose us for the long term. Shree Bhandari: Enabling and improving digital customer engagement, driving more direct reservations, improving guest analytics and continual focus on payment and data security are few important tech strategies for hotel operators. Cloud is computing and computing is cloud, therefore, moving to cloud will be critical for every operator. Centralised IT infrastructure means better manageability, improved energy/ man power/cost savings, operational synergies and centralised policy enforcement as well as easy growth by enabling systems to be agile. Harish Chandra: Data is everywhere but making use of data will define the winners for tomorrow. Also loyalty comes from giving the customer what they need. For example, we recently revamped our website with Simplotel and they have been funnelling us with reports of what customers are looking for on the website. We have used the data to open up higher occupancy rates on several hotels where we could to meet the customer’s needs. Dr Vijay Choudhary: Some of the important technology strategies for hotel operators will include adopting agile platforms like cloud, utilising data analytics tools and leveraging social media to strengthen and align with their traditional marketing strategies.

As guests demand more customised experiences, how are hotels evolving their digital strategy to provide seamless and consistent experiences? Harish Chandra: It starts with understanding the customer. As a business hotel chain, we have understood four promises that mean a lot to our customers – a) great breakfast, which is available to-go even if they are checking out early, b) awesome WiFi, c) early check-in, which is important for business customers and d) breakfast my way. We offer these customisations and they are a key part of our digital marketing and operational strategies. Dr Vijay Choudhary: We have integrated processes for all guest services on a common platform. We are also creating more awareness about various digital platforms among the entire operation team and keep a watch for updates on these social media networks to respond to it quicker. Shree Bhandari: To create a seamless omni-channel experience means that irrespective if a guest is online or offline, they see the same branding, structure, values, and tone. Hence, it is important to adopt some strategy pointers. The customer comes first; they become your sales force, touting the benefits of your company to individuals they come in contact with. So, deliver right and every time. It is important to understand your target customer and buyer journey

Guests expect a smoother and simpler experience at every stage of the booking channel, whether it is on website, mobile app, or through a call center.

Nilesh Patel, director of IT, AccorHotels India and South Asia.

Harish Chandra, director, IT, Sarovar Hotels and Resorts.

(Discovery) – the why, what and how? Next, comes analysing the trend of buying online and offline – when and where it is happening? This is where CRM become the main source of data collection. Nilesh Patel: Our guests expect a smoother and simpler experience at every stage, whatever the booking channel — website, mobile app, or call center. We are, therefore, going to focus on improving every dimension of the user experience, starting with the online experience. Notably, we have an initiative called ‘Reborn’ that is already being rolled out and aims to make our booking experiences simpler and more appealing. We will also focus on personalising the in-hotel experience, which is key to creating knowledge, acknowledgement and attachment. The worldwide deployment of Accor Customer Digital Card (ACDC), a database that allows us to share our guests' preferences with our hotels, will be one of the key advances of 2018. This qualitative leap will boost




employee satisfaction, since our employees will be pleased to share data that allows them to offer a better service thanks to the digital technology. With the same objective in mind, we will reorganise our Le Club AccorHotels loyalty program benefits with an ImpAct initiative called ‘Revamp Loyalty’. What are some best practices for hotels to use business intelligence (BI) to better understand their guests that will ultimately engender loyalty? Dr Vijay Choudhary: BI should become part of the entire operations team’s daily check as a collaborative tool as it brings critical insights for taking quick decisions as far as the guest expectation is concerned. It can be used effectively to deliver values and bridge this gap for continuous improvements. Analytical tools can help in extracting meaningful information from a guest loyalty’s depositories. Nilesh Patel: We are focusing on capturing customer preferences through our platform which would feed information to our chatbot (named Phil), who in the future would recommend hotels, services like restaurant, spa and many other travel related features to our customers based on what they like or prefer. This AI-based platform will help redefine personalisation and drive loyalty to another level, which is getting richer every day from the thousands of preferences captured as shared by our guests during their stay. How can hotels leverage predictive analytics and big data to incentivise regular guests with promotions and other offers? Nilesh Patel: AccorHotels recently revamped its entire pricing architecture based on historical trends on booking lead time, average length of stay and price elasticity combined with predictive analysis to offer the exact product offerings and price attractiveness that our guests and members seek while booking online. A guest booking on Accorhotels.


com now will be able to easily view his exact requirements whether he is booking for business or any packages/offers for leisure. He is even rewarded more if he books earlier and longer. It reduces the journey from ‘look to book’ while reducing dropouts. Harish Chandra: We look at data very closely from every aspect. It gives us information on which cities and locations are becoming popular and what are guests looking for. We use this data to customise offers and packages for our customers. What are some new technologies driving customer engagement online and directly? Shree Bhandari: The digital space is getting increasingly crowded with new competitors and disruptive technologies driving customer engagement online and offline. Therefore, it is easy to get lost and confused on what is right and wrong for customers. Operators need to make sure they do not overdo, and at the same time do not miss on the right engagement tools. The first thing to do is understand the potential of smart devices. Smartphone penetra-

tion means that a service interaction will be transacted on smart devices, so it’s essential that service providers ensure their customer journeys feature clear links to live service via an effective contact centre interface. It is important to harness social media networks, which have their own messaging platforms open to commercial brands who recognise the potential and seek to leverage its power. Additionally, embed service within web browsers. Increasingly, customers go online before engaging with a contact centre, so it makes sense to embed friendly and intuitive service options within web pages. Leverage AI and Virtual Assistants like Alexa, Siri and Google assistant. Rather than typing, clicking, and scrolling, customers will increasingly have conversations with the hotel’s website to get what they want. At the same time, merging digital islands to reduce the gap between digital and contact centre strategies. Harish Chandra: We believe in mobile first. We also believe that the answer to mobile may not necessarily lie in apps. Apps are like desktop clients that we used to have about a



Smartphone penetration means that a service interaction will be transacted on smart devices, so itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s essential that service providers ensure their customer journeys feature clear links to live service via an effective contact centre interface.

decade ago. Today on the desktop we hardly download any software; it is all on the browser. We believe that mobile browsers are now just as good to deliver an app like experience to our customers. Therefore, we have implemented a solution from Simplotel to create an app like experience for our customers on the mobile phone without requiring an app download. We also are looking out for the voice channel. With the popularity of Amazon Echo and Google Home, we are constantly evaluating what these mean for our customers. What are some of the biggest barriers to success in delivering best-inclass mobile experiences? Harish Chandra: It is understanding the customers. The way people use mobile is and the capabilities of a mobile phone are fundamentally different than a desktop. To give an example, while it makes sense to show the location of a property on the desktop on Google Maps, on mobile you are better off integrating with Google Maps App so that guests can get directions to the hotel directly. This is what we have implemented

on our mobile site. We are similarly evaluating servicing our customer using Whats App. Once we are clear about what the customer wants, implementation is usually simple. Dr Vijay Choudhary: The biggest hurdle is lack of robust infrastructure and its continuity. Shree Bhandari: Government regulations on identifying, authenticating and maintain user records, for e.g. In India a guest can checking online through a mobile app but once he reaches the hotel he still has to go to front desk and give his ID and physical credit card to get his key. This is because there is no digital system for ID authentication and also offline payment on credit card is not allowed. In this case it is a half done solution and does not delivery a complete mobile experience. Additionally, the other barriers include ROI, which is a never-ending debate between cost of upgradation and the resultant returns. Also, most customers who are not digital native feels that they will get better service in person or on call. Hence, a welldefined digital strategy is needed to reach out to customer. Nilesh Patel: Some barriers include bad user design of mobile apps where there is always a gap in terms of what a guest would like to see on the app and the services that are finally delivered. Moreover, lack of proper communication channels like Wi-Fi/Service provider signals or speed of internet and security issues â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the fear about personal information or payment transactions or data leaks. Will integration of CRM and mobile apps help IT heads to better personalise and customised guest experiences? Dr Vijay Choudhary: Yes, it will help as they will be able to get a common, single view of all the guest data on one screen. Shree Bhandari: Actually this is the need of the hour. The only thing that can connect guest with the business 24x7 is a mobile phone and if we provide CRM on their mobile it will encourage them to use it and also

Dr Vijay Choudhary, CTO, HRH Hotel Group.

Shree Bhandari, CTO, Panchshil Realty.

ease the communication. By providing CRM on the mobile, a guest is connected to us all the time. Nilesh Patel: Certainly, we aim to extend an extremely personalised experience while giving only relevant information to our guests throughout the engagement journey. Our guests today, can experience multiple services through our mobile app, thereby, saving valuable time and effort while booking our hotels. Harish Chandra: Even before we think of mobile apps and CRM, there is a ton of data that can be used even with current technology that we have. For example, at Sarovar, we remember a repeat guest on the website; we remember his preferences and greet him back. This is not through a CRM or mobile app, but through a simpler technology that Simplotel helped us build. This way, we can personalise the experience for each guest on the website and it is showing great results in terms of bookings and room nights. We will continue to invest in the customer experience, including CRM. HI




MIXED BAG OF RESULTS Amid supply growth and the GST, India hotel performance remained stable during Q1 BY TEAM STR Global


ndiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hotel occupancy dipped 0.1% during Q1 2018, but a 1.2% increase in average daily rate (ADR) allowed hoteliers to grow revenue per available room (RevPAR) 1.1% compared with the first quarter of


last year. STR analysts cite supply growth (+3.4%) as an underlying reason behind a nearly flat Q1 occupancy level of 68.7%. That is evident as demand (room nights sold) grew at a healthy

pace (+3.3%) in year-over-year comparisons. While the influx of new supply in the market influenced occupancy levels, it was not enough to pull ADR comparisons into negative territory. India recorded an absolute



Luxury hotels posted a 1.8% increase in ADR to INR 11,349.64, while Upper Upscale properties grew ADR 2.8% to INR 7,104.73. Among the segments, Luxury hotels actually recorded the highest occupancy increase for the quarter (+2.8% to 72.4%) thanks to demand growth (+4.5%) boosted by domestic demand and economic conditions in the country. Overall for India, the e-visa program introduced in 2017 ought to boost travel to India as it is easier for business and leisure travellers to now enter the country. GOA

ADR of INR 6,278.48 for the quarter as the country continues to build on ADR momentum developed in 2016 and 2017. Any potential impact from the Goods & Services Tax is yet to be seen, but STR expects the GST to slow ADR growth in the future. Luxury and Upper Upscale class hotels seem to be the most affected as room rates above INR 7,500 will be charged a GST of 28%. Similar to the national performance, STR did not see such an impact during Q1 2018.

At the market-level, Goa continued to lead performance as the country’s top leisure destination. Thanks to a 3.8% increase in demand, the state registered a 2.2% lift in occupancy that drove a 2.1% rise in RevPAR to INR 7,111.95. According to Goa’s Department of Tourism, the market welcomed nearly 8 million tourists in 2017, which was a 23% increase from 2016. With its natural scenery, unique beaches and cultural diversity, Goa sees most of its business from domestic tourism, as international tourist made up just 11.4% of the aforementioned 8 million tourists last year. Domestic tourism is booming in the country due to the rise of India’s economy and the growth of spending in the middle class. From a hotel supply standpoint in Goa, STR expects 2,000 rooms to be added to the market in the next five years—a majority of supply growth will occur in the upper tier classes with properties like Banyan Tree Goa, Delta Hotels by Marriott Goa and Jumeirah Goa. In 2018 specifically, Hilton will open a pair of flagship hotels in the market—Hilton Goa Resort and DoubleTree by Hilton Goa Panaji. With strong tourism and market resiliency, Goa should be ready to absorb this new supply and continue positive performance trends. MUMBAI

India’s largest city continued to be the busiest as a financial hub of the

INDIA HOTEL PERFORMANCE OCCUPANCY & ADR GROWTH Occupancy ADR Q1 2013 -1.3% -4.3% Q1 2014 0.9% -4.2% Q1 2015 2.4% -1.0% Q1 2016 4.7% 1.2% Q1 2017 2.2% 0.7% Q1 2018 -0.1% 1.2% GOA HOTEL PERFORMANCE OCCUPANCY & ADR GROWTH Occupancy ADR Q1 2013 6.2% 4.4% Q1 2014 2.7% 4.6% Q1 2015 -9.7% -1.3% Q1 2016 1.9% 10.3% Q1 2017 0.7% -0.5% Q1 2018 2.2% 0.0% MUMBAI HOTEL PERFORMANCE - OCCUPANCY & ADR GROWTH Occupancy ADR Q1 2013 2.0% -6.2% Q1 2014 4.6% -5.7% Q1 2015 5.0% 3.7% Q1 2016 -0.3% 4.8% Q1 2017 3.3% 4.3% Q1 2018 1.2% 1.5% country. Steady year-over-year occupancy performance (+1.2% to 80.9%) allowed growth in RevPAR (+2.7% to INR6,951.37) to continue. Mumbai has benefited from being the commercial capital of one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. From a leisure perspective, Mumbai is a transit hub for various destinations in India. STR expects more than 1,600 new rooms to come online in Mumbai over the remaining months of 2018, including rooms from global brands such as Ritz-Carlton and Hilton Garden Inn. The opening of the BandraKurla Complex Convention Centre is expected to significantly boost performance in the city and its peripheral areas. HI

For more details contact: Vidhi Godiawala, business development manager, Central and South Asia, STR :




Marriott International’s area VP, South Asia, Neeraj Govil (extreme left) and CEO, Arne Sorenson (center) flank Manav Thadani, founder-chairman, Hotelivate and Deep Kalra, founder and CEO of MakeMyTrip (right) during the award presentation.


Hotelivate successfully concluded the 14th edition of the Hotel Investment Conference South Asia (HICSA), the first under its banner


otelivate, a new-age hospitality consulting firm in the Asia Pacific region, hosted the 14th edition of the Hotel Investment Conference – South Asia (HICSA). While the banner under which the event was managed might have changed, the quality of sessions and eminence of attendees remained the same. The two-day conference was held at Grand Hyatt Mumbai on 4th April, 2018 saw the participation of some of the key hoteliers from across the world. Over the course of the two days, HICSA, in its new avatar, held numerous interviews, keynote addresses and more than ever before TED-styled masterclasses. A day prior to the event, Manav Thadani, founder-chairman of Hotelivate announced the opening of the firm’s first overseas office in Singapore as well as its strategic alliance with LW Hospitality Advisors to market, promote and collaborate in the North America and Asia Pacific regions.



On the first day, Thadani spoke positively of the investment climate in India during a candid interview with Kapil Chopra, chairman of the Board, EazyDiner, forecasting 2018 to be a promising year for the hospitality sector. Keeping up the same tone, Deepak Bagla, MD and CEO, Invest India, the official Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency of the Government of India shared his optimistic views on the country’s prospects

and lent a voice to the government’s perspective on the tourism industry. His speech touched some key points that included government initiatives on Startup India, Tech India and GST; geographically emerging small markets in the Indian Ecosystem; and how the current demographics of the nation are going to affect the future of businesses in the country. He represented a strong voice on behalf of the Indian government and infused a sense of positivity among all present

Hotelivate’s chairman-founder, Manav Thadani, spoke positively of India’s investment climate during a chat with Kapil Chopra, chairman of the Board, EazyDiner.




From the trailblazers to the rule breakers sharing their two cents, HICSA had a content-rich agenda with something for everyone.

Deepak Bagla, MD and CEO, Invest India lent an optimistic voice to the government’s perspective on the tourism industry.

at the conference. Another keynote address on Day 1, which was very well received, was by Roshan Abbas, MD, Geometry Global Encompass. He has clearly established himself as the one to speak his mind, and this event was no different. Daringly titled as ‘Clean up your MESS!’, his keynote focused on four main aspects – M for Millennials, E for Events and Experience, S for Service and S for Social Media. He urged hotels to provide experiences rather than buffet options for events and hire experienced managers to cater to a changing and more discerning clientele. Having said that, the interviews of Arne M Sorenson, president and CEO, Marriott International and Mark Hop-

Roshan Abbas, MD, Geometry Global Encompass urged hotels to provide experiences rather than buffet options for events and hire experienced managers to cater to a discerning clientele.

lamazian, president and CEO, Hyatt Hotels Corporation clearly stole the show on the first day of the event. Interviewed by Manav Thadani and Vir Sanghvi, respectively, both Sorenson and Hoplamazian spoke highly about India and South East Asia and what sets the region apart from the rest of the world in terms of its culture and people. Sorenson also spoke at some length on the Marriott-Starwood merger, stating, ‘‘With each passing day, we are more convinced that the deal made sense.” Hoplamazian spoke candidly on the future plans of Hyatt Hotels in India and threw some light on the prospect of newer and more innovative projects such as Andaz in the coming years.

From the trailblazers to the rule breakers sharing their two cents, the second day of HICSA had a fastpaced, content-rich agenda with an aim to offer something for everyone. From special owner-oriented segments like ‘Milking the Asset’ and ‘The Rise of the Secondary Markets in India’ to having dedicated hourlong sessions on technology in hospitality and select-service hotels, the event increased the knowledge quotient more than before. Leading aspects of hospitality, ranging from vacation ownership, mixed-use projects, room aggregation, consumer engagement, legal issues to architecture and design were presented by the respective experts in the form of master classes. Additionally, the outstanding new hotels in South Asia were honoured with the HICSA ‘Hotels of the Year’ awards. The finalists were shortlisted by an independent panel of judges and included all hotels that commenced operations in the past one-year. These winners were Andaz Delhi, New Delhi in the Luxury and Upper Upscale Segment; Le Méridien Goa, Calangute, Goa in the Upscale Segment; Hyatt Place Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu in the Upper Mid-Market Segment; Hotel Mercure Dwarka, Gujarat in the Mid-Market Segment and Ginger Mumbai (Andheri East), Maharashtra, in the Budget and Economy Segment. HICSA 2018 delegates determined the winners in each of the categories via an online voting process. HICSA continues to impress as it brings together the crème de la crème of the hospitality industry who aptly sum up the latest trends, while predicting the upcoming ones unerringly. It also champions the entrepreneurial spirit in the business and lauds those who have shown enthusiasm for embracing technology. Given the synergies that we share in our forward-thinking outlooks, Hotelier India has always been a proud partner of HICSA as its media partner. This year, it was a natural step for us to crank the collaboration a notch higher by curating the Show Daily for the event, which was well received. HI





Hyatt Regency Pune juxtaposed the fun elements of a sports lounge to add a dramatic essence to EQ:IQ, its newly launched events space BY VINITA BHATIA


yatt Regency Pune’s newly opened EQ:IQ has a foosball and a pool table in addition to all the bells and whistles that are expected of an events space. After all, who decided that conferences and meetings ought to be formal affairs! The hotel had a large ballroom and seven meeting rooms, before it decided to introduce EQ:IQ. The idea was to create a flexible space with a unique personality that combined both work and play under one roof, complemented by gourmet cuisine. “We wanted to break the monotony of how events were organised, especially corporate events, as there was a big need for it in Pune. The idea of presenting EQ:IQ was to give our guests a range to choose from when hosting their events,” said Vishal Singh, GM, Hyatt Regency Pune. EQ:IQ, short for Emotional


Quotient:Intelligence Quotient, is a flexible space that can host different events for a dynamic clientele. It recently conducted sit-down dinners, corporate cook-offs, themed dinners, standup comedy acts, and car launches. To create surprises for every event, it is important that the space enhance its offerings with intrinsic charm and utility. A TOUCH OF DIFFERENT

Hyatt Regency Pune’s event space crosses 40,000 sq-ft with multiple options, including smaller and larger spaces to offer guests options and accommodate planned as well as short-notice events. Most hotels focus their attention on the rooms or public spaces when it comes to design elements to capture the guest’s attention. This hotel, instead, gave a directive to its design company, Studio IV, to combine fun elements with

modern energy, contrasting materiality with functionality. According to Vandana Saxena, architect, Studio IV, the concept for EQ:IQ was developed after dialogue and collaborative effort with the owners (SAMHI) and Hyatt. “These meeting spaces, besides the event halls, have their own dedicated bar, an open kitchen, a cafe, a lounge, huddle corners, a pool table, a foosball table and other private zones, to encourage people to collaborate and relax even while attending an event. The overall vibe is relaxed and a lot of natural light illuminates the space, allowing view of the green lawns outside,” she adds. The space offers a variation in the available sub-venues, with the bar allowing drama when a launch event is hosted, while the main event space has lots of relaxed huddle corners perfect for corporate off sites, a neutral palette that allows customisa-



tion for social events, she added. This is a jigsaw that can be put together in any way a customer would want. “The layout of large social spaces with an exclusive entrance and reception with attached dining restaurant and aesthetically designed pre-function spaces give a feeling of luxury. However, the elements have kept functionality in mind whether it is the kind of furniture used or buffet and bar set ups or collapsible partitions to flexible event spaces,” Saxena said. NEUTRAL SPACES

EQ:IQ consists of neutral spaces as well as spaces that has the ability to surprise guests. The arrival lobby is a three-dimensional vocabulary in stone and veneer with art and installations that create a dramatic sense of arrival. Butterflies in metal form the circle of life, while vitrines showcase books and objects; seating styles range from casual to semi-formal; walls vary from monochromatic to veneered while a repeating fret work pattern casts shadows at some places and gets illuminated at others. All these elements are a product of Hyatt’s Design Thinking where the brand took guest feedback on the kind of modern event and meeting space customers require. “Its collapsible walls, combinations of breakout zones attached to individual event spaces makes it suitable for hosting any event starting from 20 and going up to 1500 guests. The innovative furniture does away with traditional chair and table covers, chafing dishes, buffet counters. It also reduces the turnaround time between events so we are easily able to book events in two slots i.e. 9am to 6pm and then 7pm to 11pm,” said Singh. A dedicated ‘Meeting Concierge’ is a single point of contact that can be reached out to for any assistance. The entire team has undergone several training programmes in the preopening stage to equip them with all the product knowledge of the space and situation handling skills. SPECIAL TREATMENT

Each room in EQ:IQ is equipped with drop down screens, in-built projec-

Large spacious food counters and displays provide spaces for unique food settings as per the requirements of the event.

tors, speakers, and automated blinds at the glazed partition. High speed internet, individual control panels for audio visual and dimmers are integrated. Writable surfaces built into sliding shutters help with corporate meetings. When not required these shutters slide to reveal eclectic art concealed behind them. Large wooden acoustic ceiling panels lend an element of sophistication to the space. EQ:IQ has an attached private restaurant and bar called Edison with large interactive open kitchens, hot and cold stations with in built hot stones and inductions and a dessert section, complete with a cold freeze top to dish out ice cream made ‘teppanyaki’ style. When the meeting spaces open up to reveal this zone, the chefs and mixologists are can whip up their creations. On one side of the bar of the sitting lounge, a large screen projection helps guests catch up on any live sporting events and a pool table to unwind. To the other side is a dining zone, with furniture settings that vary from relaxed sofa seating’s with tables to dining table arrangements and standing cocktail tables. Large spacious food counters and displays provide spaces for unique food settings as per the requirements of the event. Predominantly the design theme revolves around flexibility, combining

QUICK FACTS • 19,000 square feet of engaging events space • 4 distinct zones for events recreation, dining and social spaces, named after luminaries like Da Vinci, Newton, Einstein and Galileo • Edison is the exclusive restaurant and bar for EQ:IQ • Recreational facilities include pool table, foosball, library and TV lounge elements of work and play and userfriendly breakout zones. Hyatt Regency Pune has used these contrasting fundamentals and interesting juxtapositions to create theatrics when it comes to events. With all the elements coordinated well, it has managed to design a framework that is likely to draw corporate and local guests alike. Theatrics often end up making a property ostentatious, but EQ:IQ has managed to smartly steer clear of this. It has managed to do this by anchoring to the design components; by creating a moment of surprise and marrying with it with consistent product and programming experience, so the guests know that they are at Hyatt property and know just what to expect. It is a big bubble of expectation that it has built based on the fabric of the brand’s ethos. But Singh is confident he can unfurl it proudly. HI





2014 The two-day Hotel Build 2013 went beyond discussing the challenges faced by hoteliers and proved to be an ideal platform for exchange of ideas

As the industry is set for an expansion explosion, Hotel Build 2014 discussed ways of making it both sustainable and successful

2018 The upcoming edition of Hotel Build 2018 delves on various topics and ideates on several solutions by from experts in the field Inc Talks: A discourse with the leaders in the hotel industry

The Think Tanks: Leveraging the dynamics of the structure and its design

IT & IoT: Exploring the building tech blocks of a hotel

The panel provides a platform for hotel executives, from both corporate and property level, to discuss and debate on key development and operational issues

This panel is about the effective inter-working with architects, designers, consultants, chief engineers and project and development heads to navigate the ever-changing design landscape of the hospitality industry

Hotel CIOs and CTOs discuss how existing and emerging technologies can support and help enhance customer satisfaction, improve operational efficiency and also shed light on the procurement parameters in the industry

• Changes in the way hotels are built - methods, timeline, etc. - in the last few decades • Transition in hotel design in the Indian context • Which hotels have done things differently and succeeded? • Are operating teams included as a part of the design review team? • With changing profiles of guests, how is hotel design changing in the evolving industry? • How is technology influencing design and customer experience? Are we still scared to take the leap in technology influenced design in India?

• Working around speedy hotel construction and building techniques that will ensure reduction in delays • Articulating on how ‘going green’ alone is not enough anymore; strategically integrating technology and automation has become one of the key criteria • Leveraging critical learnings from domestic and international experts on ways to effectively minimise per key development cost and working out a healthy ROI. • Delving on the importance of branding and signages in the industry • Weighing out the option of using pre-fabricated elements and the innovations taking place in the engineering segment • How technology has changed development techniques and methodologies

• How to implement technology at the early stages of a project? • How to better understand the where and when of future demand and optimise pricing to bridge gaps and capture opportunity? • How to align revenue management and marketing from people, process and technology perspectives to turn data into action and results? • Leveraging Augmented Reality,Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence for increased development efficiency • Technology Showcase: How to use mobile technology to increase RevPAR and improve guest satisfaction





At the third annual Hotel Build conference, leaders discussed the way forward for the industry


The fourth edition of Hotel Build brought together members from various verticals within the hotel-build industry to discuss solutions that can be adapted for prevailing

2017 The fifth edition of Hotel Build India Forum witnessed experts decoding the latest trends and practices that drive the hospitality business today




AJAY BAKAYA MD Sarovar Hotels

AMITABH TYAGI VP And Head - Technical Services, The Indian Hotels Company

ALOK VERMA CEO Cygnett Hotels & Resorts

ABHAY KULKARNI President - Architectural Division Makers Development Services

CYRUS MADAN COO Carnation Hotels

DHRUV HOON Senior Director, Hotel Development, South Asia & Indonesia, Marriott Hotels

HARISH CHANDRA Director IT Sarovar Hotels & Resorts

KHOZEMA CHITALWALA Principal Architect Designers Group

MANDEEP S. LAMBA MD Hotels & Hospitality Group India, JLL

PRASHANTH AROOR MD & CEO Intellistay Hotels

PREM THAKUR Director Design & Project Management, Marriott Hotels

RAHUL PABALKAR MD ASPA Watermelon Hospitality

RAJ RANA CEO - South Asia, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

ROHIT JAIN Partner Total Integrated Design India

RAJESH CHOPRA Senior Vice President - Information Technology - Oberoi Hotels &


SANJAY SETHI MD & CEO, Chalet Hotels (Raheja Hospitality)

SANJAY DHINGRA CEO & Director Albergo Project Services


SOUVAGYA KUMAR MOHAPATRA Executive Director, Mayfair Hotels & Resorts



For sponsorship opportunities: Bibhor Srivastava: Mob: +91 9820439239 Email: Gurmeet Sachdev; Mob: +91 9987208866 Email:

VIBHAV TOMAR VP and Chief Program Manager â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Hospitality, Prestige Group


VIKRAM CHOUBAL VP - Project Management, Global Design Asia Pacific Marriott International

VIPIN KHANDELWAL Hotel Opening & Implementation Manager - Global Technology, South West Asia, IHG


For Pr, Marketing & Speaking Enquiries: Rashmi Naicker: +91 9820021957 Rahul Mishra: +91 9768979261 For attending: Rahul Talerja: +91 9664687264


Associate Partner

On:17th May, 2018 At: The Westin Gurgaon


The winners pose proudly with their trophies.

LAUDING HOSPITALITY’S RISING STARS 28 top hospitality brands felicitated their best employees during the 3rd International Hospitality Day organised by the International Institute of Hotel Management


8 promising employees of some of the leading hospitality brands of Northern India were felicitated with the ‘Best Hospitality Personality 2018 Award’ at the 3rd International Hospitality Day. The awards ceremony was organised by the International Institute of Hotel Management (IIHM), in association with the London-headquartered International Hospitality Council (IHC), at The Roseate House in Delhi, which was the hospitality partner for the event. During the event, hospitality brands like The Leela Palace New Delhi, ITC Hotels, Roseate Hotels and Resorts, The Lalit Group, Accor Group of Hotels, IHG Hotels, The Park New Delhi and Radisson Hotels, identified one hardworking and dedicated associate who has con-


tributed outstandingly to the hotel and to the industry in keeping with principle of ‘Service with a Smile’. A DAY OF CELEBRATION

On 24th April 2016, Dr Suborno Bose, the chief mentor of IIHM, in association with IHC, instituted the International Hospitality Day as a unique initiative to recognise, celebrate, promote and educate the best talent in the hospitality industry. Today this Day is celebrated in over 50 countries and the world’s premier hospitality institutions recognise their team members, whose untiring efforts over the years have created memories for millions. In India, this day is celebrated by IIHM at its seven campuses in Delhi, Kolkata, Pune, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Bengaluru, in partnership with the hospitality

stalwarts of the respective city. “International Hospitality Day brings together all the professionals who work in this industry throughout the world under one umbrella of the International Hospitality Council (IHC) and celebrate the success of this industry. This year, over 50 countries around the world are celebrating this amazing day,” said Dr Suborno Bose on the occasion. IHC’s chairman, Prof David Foskett, said, “We have much to learn from one another, from each country – traditions, culture and understanding - irrespective of religion,




class or colour. To be hospitable is to be human. Let us link arms across the world and show people through all sorts of activities the greatness and the humanity of hospitality.” KEEPING PACE WITH CHANGES

A major highlight of the event was the announcement of Mr Ritesh Agarwal, Founder and CEO of OYO Rooms, as the recipient of the Best Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2018, a prestigious award that is given every year to a distinguished hospitality business leader. Agarwal today has a network of over 2200 hotels in 154 cities in India and is widely recognised as the man who is changing the hotel business paradigm of India. Moreover, a panel discussion on the topic ‘Gen X and Gen Y… Are we ready for the business and the future of hospitality’ was also held as part of the event. Abdullah Ahmed, director, IIHM Delhi, moderated this session, where the panelists included Zubin Songadwala, GM of ITC Maurya, Maulina Gupta, GM of Hyatt Place, Gurugram and Vikas Kapoor, VP, operations, Radisson Hotels Shimla and Khajuraho. They highlighted the need for the hospitality brands to keep pace with the constant change in technology and preferences of the youth in order to stay relevant in future. Concurrently, IIHM also flagged off a Hospitality Goodwill tour from Pune to London whereby three cars will carry the message of hospitality by road. This convoy will move from India to the United Kingdom, crossing 13 countries en route in around two months. It will cover countries like Nepal, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France and UK. Representatives of various nations congratulated IHC and IIHM on this unique initiative. Damiano Francovigh, the Italian Consul-General, said, “I wish all success to this initiative launched by IIHM and the IHC. It is great to have 50 countries come together to celebrate this initiative across the world.”

Panel discussion with caption (l-r) Vikas Kapoor, VP, operations, Radisson Hotels Shimla and Khajuraho, Zubin Songadwala, GM of ITC Maurya, Maulina Gupta, GM, Hyatt Place Gurugram and Abdullah Ahmed, director, IIHM Delhi participated in a panel discussion.

Best Hospitality Personality 2018 Award Winners S.No 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Name Khajaram Bhaduri Ashwani Sharma Sumit Kumar Chef Ganesh Dhoni Aditya Bidani Mohit Basu Akhil Pant

Designation Training manager Deputy Housekeeping manager Captain, F&B service CDP Assistant FOM Manager housekeeping Sr. restaurant manager

8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Guest relations manager Hygiene manager Sous chef Concierge manager F&B executive Pastry chef Asst. restaurant manager, F&B Lead Host, Housekeeping Asst. Manager, F&B Executive chef Head Housekeeper Senior manager, HR F&B executive Jr. sous chef

Radisson Radisson Radisson Radisson

22 23 24 25 26 27

Priyanka Tyagi Charu Khurana Chef Pankaj Deshwal Abhishek Jhamb Rajeev Kumar Singh Chef Zaheer Ahmed Narendra Singh Bablu Rahul Krishan Chef Shailendra Singh Nitu Kapoor Vijaya Dutta Jai Kuwar Chef Rameshwar Singh Manoj Pandey Anurag Sharma Chef Ashish Joshi Shyamal Ghosh Chef Kapil Saini Maneka Goklani

Hotel The Leela Palace, New Delhi Roseate House Radisson Blu Marina Crowne Plaza Today, Okhla Crowne Plaza Today, Okhla Radisson Blu MBD Hotel, Noida Radisson Blu Hotel MBD, Ludhiana The Park, New Delhi The Suryaa, New Delhi Crowne Plaza, Gurgaon The Lalit, New Delhi Jayeee Vasant Continental Jayeee Vasant Continental Crowne Plaza, Mayur Vihar Hyatt Place, Gurgaon Hyatt Place, Gurgaon Pride Plaza Hotel Aerocity

Front office associate Duty manager Executive chef Senior Admin manager Jr. sous chef Assistant manager-training


Gaurav Sinha

Director of rooms

Pullman, New Delhi Aerocity Crowne Plaza, Rohini Jaypee Siddharth IIHM, New Delhi The Grand, New Delhi The Leela Ambience Convention Hotel, Delhi JW Marriott, Aerocity

18 19 20 21

Bruce Bucknell, the Hon’ble British Deputy High Commissioner, added, “I am delighted to see that this initiative by IHC and IIHM take place.” The Ambassador of Thailand to India, Chutintorn Sam Gongsakdi

Shimla Khajuraho Blu Faridabad Blu Faridabad

took the opportunity to remind everyone of the core Indian value of ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’. “It means ‘Guest is God’ and International Hospitality Day is a reminder of this value.” HI





DEEPIKA RAO IS MD AND CEO OF ROOTS CORPORATION Having completed the Tata Administrative Services (TAS) leadership programme, Deepika Rao started her career with Tata Motors in 2000. She has had several stints across functions in various Tata Group companies for the last 18 years. She will move to her current role from her previous position as Vice President, Asset Management at IHCL, where she was responsible for leading solutions for margin enhancement at the company. She has also served as interim CEO for Roots Corporation Ltd. in 2015 for a short period.

SHREEHARSH BHANDARI IS CTO AT PANCHSHIL REALTY During his two-decade career, Shreeharsh Bhandari has worked with reputed hotel chains including Taj Hotels and Resorts and Marriott International, and has completed over 200 hotel and mixed used projects throughout Asia Pacific. He will now lead Panchshil’s long-term technology strategic objectives, including heading its digital transformation journey, translating the company’s business plan into a technology, product, and services roadmap.

AYON BHATTACHARYA IS GM OF THE ORCHID HOTEL, BALEWADI Ayon Bhattacharya has been appointed as General Manager of The Orchid Hotel, Balewadi, Pune. Over the past 11 years, he has worked with brands like Radisson Khajuraho, Radisson Blu Ranchi, Pride Bangalore and Clarks Exotica Resort and Spa as a general manager. He has experience in pre-opening of hotels with exposure to managing business and MICE properties. One of his milestones in his career was the opening of Radisson Blu, Ranchi, which he managed to do within eight months, despite the ongoing recessive economy.

SAMIR MC IS MD OF FORTUNE PARK HOTELS Fortune Park Hotels has appointed operations professional, Samir MC, as Managing Director. He would also oversee the functioning of the WelcomHeritage brand. A MBA from University of Southern Queensland, Australia with a diploma in hotel management from IHMCTAN, Ahmedabad, he has operational and sales experience of over two decades across Asia. Prior to joining Fortune Hotels, he worked with InterContinental Hotels Group for 22 years in various roles across India, Southeast Asia and Korea.

SAURABH PRAKASH IS VP, COMMERCIAL, ASIA PACIFIC AT RADISSON HOTEL GROUP A skilled revenue management strategist with over 15 years of experience, Saurabh Prakash has spent a majority of his career with Marriott International, where he worked in India, Malaysia, China and Singapore. Prakash is a hospitality management graduate from the UK’s University of Huddersfield and also holds a bachelor’s degree from IHM Aurangabad.

MUDIT SHEKHAWAT IS CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER AT YATRA.COM Mudit Shekhawat will be responsible for leading marketing activities, alliances and ancillary revenues across all business-lines and group entities. In addition to further strengthening Yatra's brand positioning, he will also manage all consumer marketing initiatives across platforms to drive customer stickiness and loyalty.


BANDISH MEHTA IS GM OF NOVOTEL HYDERABAD CONVENTION CENTRE & HYDERABAD INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION CENTRE During his 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Bandish Mehta held multiple roles, including over 19 years with the AccorHotels Group across Asia Pacific. Originally from Australia, he started his professional career at the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre.

MOHAMMED SHOEB IS GM OF HOLIDAY INN MUMBAI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT Prior to this, Mohammed Shoeb was a hotel opening specialist, spearheading the management of four upscale hotels as general manager from 2005 to 2015, including two Novotel hotels in the southern parts of India. He was involved in turning around Radisson Blu, New Delhi, Dwarka. Until recently, he was the general manager of Radisson Blu Dwarka New Delhi. During his three-decade career, he has also worked with AccorHotels, ITC Welcome Group, Carlson Rezidor Hotel and Intercontinental Hotels Group.



NAMIT VIJH IS DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS AT RENAISSANCE HOTEL LUCKNOW Prior to this, Namit Vijh was working with Courtyard by Marriott, Gurugram as director of operations. He started his career with Taj Hotel, Chandigarh, as a front office trainee. Later, he served in various positions with hotels such as The Oberoi, The Imperial, The Hyatt Regency, The Leela Palace, New Delhi, JW Marriott Juhu, Courtyard by Marriott Mumbai and Courtyard by Marriott Gurugram.

NITIN PATHAK IS GENERAL MANAGER OF NOVOTEL HOTEL PUNE The Novotel Hotel, Pune has appointed Nitin Pathak as general manager. His last stint was with Ibis Gurgaon as general manager. Prior to AccorHotels, Pathak was associated with Citrus Hotels as regional general manager – South Central. A post-graduate with an MBA from SP Jain Institute of Management & Research Mumbai and an IHM Ahmedabad alumnus, he started his career with Taj Group of Hotels working across multiple locations in varied capacities.

VINOD M IS GM OF ALOFT BENGALURU WHITEFIELD Vinod M has been appointed as General Manager of Aloft Bengaluru Whitefield. During his two-decade experience, he has been associated with hotel chains like Marriott International, Wyndham Hotels, Sarovar Hotels and Resorts and Royal Orchid Hotels. His roles have spanned various core business functions with a primary focus on operations and finance. He also represented Royal Orchid Suites for FHRAI’s ‘National Tourism award’ for 2012.

PANKAJ CHAUDHARY IS DIRECTOR OF SALES AND MARKETING AT JW MARRIOTT CHANDIGARH Pankaj Chaudhary has joined JW Marriott Chandigarh as Director of Sales and Marketing. He began his career as an operations trainee in 2001, after obtaining a three-year diploma from the Institute Of Hotel Management Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition, Jaipur. This included roles like assistant manager sales at Sarovar Hotels & Resorts, sales centre manager at Courtyard by Marriott Gurgaon, associate head, sales at The Leela Ambience, Gurgaon and finally director of sales at Courtyard by Marriott, Agra.

SAURABH DUBE IS DIRECTOR OF SALES AND MARKETING AT THE ST. REGIS MUMBAI The St. Regis Mumbai has appointed Saurabh Dube as Director of Sales and Marketing. An alumnus of Kolkata’s Institute of Hotel Management, he has been a part of the hospitality industry for over 14 years. He has been associated with various hotel chains including The Oberoi Hotels, The Marriott International, Hyatt Hotels and The Leela Palaces, Hotels & Resorts.

STEPHEN D’SOUZA IS HOTEL MANAGER AT COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT, CHENNAI Stephen D’Souza has taken over as Hotel Manager of Courtyard by Marriott, Chennai. A seasoned professional with over 17 years of expertise, he started his hospitality journey with The Oberoi Towers Mumbai and later held several positions at the Intercontinental Hotels and Marriott International. His last assignment was with Courtyard by Marriott, Mumbai as director of operations.

AMOL MORE IS DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS, THE WESTIN KOLKATA RAJARHAT Amol More kickstarted his career at Accor Group of Hotels as a kitchen executive. He moved on to Orchid Group of Hotels, Mumbai in 2001 as a sous chef. During his two-decade career he has worked with Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center & Marriott Executive Apartment, Mumbai, JW Marriott, Mumbai, JW Marriott, Phuket, Marriott Courtyard, Bhopal and JW Marriott, Jakarta.

SHALABH VERMA IS DIRECTOR OF SALES AND MARKETING OF GRAND HYATT MUMBAI Shalabh Verma has joined Grand Hyatt Mumbai as Director of Sales and Marketing. A graduate from the Institute of Advanced Management with a BA in hospitality, during his 18-year experience, he has worked with brands like Grand Group of Hotels, Leela Hotels Palaces and Resorts and Fariyas Group of Hotels, before joining Hyatt in 2008 as director of sales at Park Hyatt Goa Resorts & Spa. He later worked at Hyatt Regency Kolkata and Park Hyatt Chennai as director of sales and marketing, which was his most recent position.




SUNIL SHETTY IS DIRECTOR OF SALES AND MARKETING AT ALOFT BENGALURU CESSNA BUSINESS PARK Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park has promoted Sunil Shetty as Director of Sales and Marketing. He has been associated with Aloft since 2015 and has been leading the sales efforts as Director of Sales since August 2016 after joining Aloft as an account director. He has more than 10 years of experience with leading brands such as Shangri-La, Mövenpick Hotels, and Starwood.

SARABJEET SINGH BHALLA IS F&B DIRECTOR AT WESTIN MUMBAI GARDEN CITY An alumnus of IHM Shimla, Sarabjeet Singh Bhalla holds a postgraduate diploma in tourism studies. Prior to joining The Westin Mumbai Garden City, he worked as the F&B manager at JW Marriott Aerocity New Delhi. During his tenure here, he successfully shouldered the F&B operations and was also involved in the pre-opening of the restaurant ‘K3’.

AMIT GANPULEY IS F&B MANAGER AT HOTEL SAHARA STAR Amit Ganpuley has been appointed as the F&B Manager at Hotel Sahara Star. He will be instrumental in processes such as restaurant operations, guest experience management, administration, restaurant revenue forecast, F&B strategy, concept promotions, cost control and beverage initiatives. He has over 20 years of experience in the hospitality and airport operations, including managing pre-opening and operating stages. His last assignment was at Resort Rio, Goa.

VINAY SINGH IS DIRECTOR OF SALES & MARKETING AT RENAISSANCE MUMBAI CONVENTION CENTRE HOTEL & LAKESIDE CHALET MARRIOTT EXECUTIVE APARTMENTS Prior to this, Vinay Singh was associated with St. Regis as director of sales and marketing. During his 15-year career, Singh has worked with brands such as The Westin Mumbai Garden City, Hilton Worldwide, Le Meridien Mumbai and The Orchid Mumbai. A science graduate from Mumbai University, he completed his Masters in Management Studies in business administration and management.

HIMANSHU KUMAR IS DIRECTOR OF REVENUE AT DOUBLETREE BY HILTON PUNE-CHINCHWAD DoubleTree by Hilton Pune-Chinchwad has appointed Himanshu Kumar as Director of Revenue. During his 17-year career, he has worked with various international brands including Crowne Plaza Bahrain, Fraser Suites Dubai, Oakwood Asia Pacific, Intercontinental Hotel Group and Marriott International. In his current role at DoubleTree by Hilton Pune, Kumar would be responsible for consolidating the hotel’s RevPar positioning and driving innovative strategies.

NAMRATA CHAWLA IS ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF SALES OF HILTON JAIPUR Prior to this, Namrata Chawla was heading groups and catering at JW Marriott, Kolkata and JW Marriott, Bangalore. She has received a Business Administration Honours in Hospitality management from IHM, Aurangabad. With eight years of experience, in her former role at JW Marriott Jaipur Resort & Spa, she was responsible for setting up and streamlining the sales processes leading to its successful launch as a destination wedding hotel.


AMIT KUMAR SINHA IS OPERATIONS MANAGER AT LORDS INN SOMNATH With a diploma in hotel management and catering technology, Amit Kumar Sinha has more than 19 years of industry experience. Prior to joining Lords Hotels & Resorts, Sinha served as the general manager of Hotel Amit Park International in Bhilai. He has also worked at Lords Plaza, Surat among other known hospitality brands and specialises in front office and general operations.

JITENDRA SHARMA IS OPERATIONS MANAGER AT LORDS PLAZA JAIPUR Lords Plaza – Jaipur has appointed Jitendra Sharma as its Operations Manager. With a diploma in hospitality management from IHM Catering Technology & Applied Nutrition, he has over 13 years of industry experience. A specialist in housekeeping and operations management, he will be responsible for enhancing guest experiences and drive positive feedback for the hotel.



LALTLANPARI VARTE IS SPA MANAGER AT CONRAD PUNE A graduate Economics from Mizoram University, Laltlanpari Varte has a degree in beauty culture and cosmetology, hair styling and beauty therapy and a diploma in Ayurveda treatment. A qualified professional with over a decade’s experience in the wellness industry, she started her career with the Radisson Blu and went on to work with brands such as Trident, Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Hyatt Regency and The Park. Varte specialises in Ayurveda therapy as well as various beauty treatments and cosmetology.

MOHAMED RAHIL AGA IS CHEF DE CUISINE AT COURTYARD MARRIOTT, AHMEDABAD A hotel and tourism management graduate from and a certified hospitality supervisor from American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute, Chef Mohamed Rahil started his career as chef de partie in Trident, Bandra Kurla. He later worked with Khana Khazana as senior R&D executive chef and with Sanjeev Kapoor Restaurants as its corporate sous chef before joining Courtyard Marriott Ahmedabad.

VASANT KHOT IS EXECUTIVE CHEF AT THE RESORT, MADH-MARVE Till recently, Vasant Khot was the group executive chef of the Concord Luxury Suites & Hotels, Nairobi Kenya, South Africa where he managed F&B multiple units. During his 20year career, Chef Khot has worked with brands like Hyatt Hotels, Le Meridien, Holiday Inn, etc and will now lead the culinary team at The Resort’s various restaurants. He recently completed a stellar assignment for the Government of India’s AFDB 2017 (African Finance Development Bank) held in Gandhi Nagar.

GAURAV ANAND IS EXECUTIVE CHEF OF COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT BENGALURU HEBBAL Gaurav Anand was earlier the executive sous chef at The Westin Pune Koregaon Park for over two years. He has also been associated with The Hyatt Hotel, The Park Hotel, the Taj Group of Hotels and the Oberoi Hotels. He also trained in Italy where he specialised in Italian cuisine and received a certificate from Federazione Italiana Cuochi by Chef Michele D’ Agostino.

MAHESH PADALA IS EXECUTIVE CHEF AT THE WESTIN HYDERABAD MINDSPACE Prior to this, Chef Mahesh Padala was the executive chef at Bengaluru Marriott Hotel Whitefield and previously at Novotel Visakhapatnam, Varun Beach. Chef Padala kicked off his culinary career at the Taj Residency in Vishakhapatnam. He has been a part of the Marriott Group since 2005, working at Fairfield by Marriott, Rajajinagar, Bangalore, as the head of the kitchen.

SUDIP MISRA IS EXECUTIVE CHEF AT BENGALURU MARRIOTT HOTEL WHITEFIELD Chef Sudip Misra was earlier the executive sous chef at the JW Marriott Kolkata. Misra trained in kitchen management from the Oberoi Centre of Learning and Development (OCLD) and joined Oberoi Hotels & Resorts, Mumbai as junior sous chef in 1998. He later moved to Spain, then New Zealand working as a chef at La Finca Restaurant and at Malabar Restaurant Hanmer Springs, respectively.

YOGENDER PAL IS EXECUTIVE CHEF AT JW MARRIOTT JAIPUR RESORT & SPA Yogender Pal started his career at Quality Inn Kensington Terrace in Bangalore before moving on to Trident Agra. He has worked at various Oberoi Group properties for 11 years and later moved to Claridges Hotel in Surajkund as part of the pre-opening team. Four years later, he shifted located to Bangalore, and started working with Crowne Plaza Hotel then joined Hilton Chennai as executive chef.

ABHISHEK CHANDE IS FRONT OFFICE MANAGER AT HOTEL SAHARA STAR In his current role, Abhishek Chande will supervise the daily operations of the front office team to maintain guest delight standards. He has completed his higher diploma from IMI and business administration degree from The Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University. Chande started his career as a guest service associate at Courtyard by Marriott in 2010. Later, he worked at St. Regis Mumbai for four years and with WaterStones Hotel Mumbai as assistant front office manager for two years.





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An antique mahogany wooden carved door was sourced from a royal family in

Novotel Kochi Infopark is the first

Novotel in Kerala and second AccorHotels property in the city. The lobby features a painting inspired by Kerala’s two colourful aspects– Kathakali dancers and weavers of South India.

'boat with knots'.

Chinese fishing nets

is the general manager of the hotel.

The Square

restaurant serves quintessential Malabari delicacies and various local and international cuisines with live action stations.

The floral design on the of the hotel’s porch is inspired by the weavers of Kerala.

metal screen

The hotel’s mascot, a dressed up as a Kathakali dancer, blends AccorHotels’ Indo-French heritage.

mime artist



The marble boat sculpture at the entrance is inspired from Kerala’s traditional

The lobby curtains are inspired by state’s famous , introduced 500 years ago by a Chinese explorer.

Sachin Maheshwary



A special room for the differentlyabled allows easy access for a wheelchair.

Hi 01 05 2018  

What happens when a company decides to change its name? Well, the change in title is apparently not the most important thing; what truly mat...

Hi 01 05 2018  

What happens when a company decides to change its name? Well, the change in title is apparently not the most important thing; what truly mat...