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Volume 10 | Issue 6 |July 2018 | `50

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PERSPECTIVE BLOCKCHAIN

Navjit Ahluwalia, senior VP and country head, India, Hilton Hotels & Resorts and Alan Watts, executive VP and president, Asia Pacific, Hilton Hotels & Resorts.

HILTON HOTELS & RESORTS WANTS TO SHED ITS CHALLENGER POSITION IN INDIA AND ADOPT A MORE DOMINANT STANCE Published by ITP Media (India)


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VIEWPOINT

THE PUSH FOR PROMINENCE

Vinita Bhatia

Rashmi Naicker

Alan Watts, the newly appointed executive VP and president, Asia Pacific of Hilton Hotels & Resorts has an uncanny knack. He can spot industry trends and then act fast to capitalise it. This trait held him in good stead at InterContinental Hotel Group for over two decades, where he was responsible for the company’s operations in 280 hotels across six brands and 40 countries and territories, and where he breathed life into the group’s substantial pipeline and brand introductions. Now, he plans to replicate a similar success story for Hilton Hotels & Resorts in India, where the company still has a smaller footprint, despite its veritable global lineage and presence for almost a century. To help him do this, he has brought on board industry veterans – Navjit Ahluwalia as senior VP and country head, India, and Jatin Khanna as VP and head of operations, India. In our cover story, Watts and Ahluwalia reveal how they will focus on select brands to create a significant impact on their existing business as Hilton aims to double its portfolio in the next three years, and also establish a collaborative relationship with owners. They also talk about how the company is investing in guest-oriented technology solutions that will add value to a customer’s travel experience. Moving on, in this issue, we also find out how the roles and responsibilities of revenue managers have changed with the advent of multiple distribution channels. While their mission is to sell as many rooms as possible at the best rates conceivable, their ultimate focus remains a healthy bottom line. To help them in this endeavour, they are increasingly using technologies like artificial intelligence to forecast and model the business impact of various combinations of channel mixes. Talking about technology, we discover how blockchain has the potential to offer several advantages to the hospitality industry, including security and stability benefits. It can also improve the quality of various services in tracking guest and food activities, provide a digital ID as well as manage airlines and hotel loyalty points, more effectively. This is just a primer of the articles that will definitely get you thinking and discussing. We hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together. Until next time!

July 2018 | Volume 10 | Issue 06 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 vinita.bhatia@itp.com Deputy editor Rashmi Naicker T +91 22 6154 6041 rashmi.naicker@itp.com ADVERTISING INDIA Director Gurmeet Sachdev T +91 9987 208866 gurmeet.sachdev@itp.com South India Director Sanjay Bhan T +91 9845 722377 sanjay.bhan@itp.com Sales manager - North Vipin Yadav T+91 9999 885515 vipin.yadav@itp.com STUDIO Head of design Milind Patil Senior designer Vinod Shinde Contributor Saili Bandre PRODUCTION Deputy production manager Ramesh Kumar ramesh.kumar@itp.com CIRCULATION Distribution manager James D’Souza T +91 22 6154 6001 james.dsouza@itp.com Cover Image: Ashish Bhallal 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. Editor: Vinita Bhatia

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

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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.

ANIL MADHOK

ANSHU SARIN

ANUJ PURI

DILIP PURI

DIPAK HAKSAR

FARHAT JAMAL

JEAN-MICHEL CASSE

MANAV THADANI

NAVJIT AHLUWALIA

NEERAJ GOVIL

NIRUPA SHANKAR

PARAM KANNAMPILLY

PRABHAT VERMA

PRASHANTH AROOR

RAJ RANA

RAJIV KAUL

RANJIT BATRA

RATTAN KESWANI

ROHIT KHOSLA

SATYEN JAIN

SOUVAGYA MOHAPATRA Executive director, Mayfair Hotels & Resorts Limited

VIJAY THACKER

VIMAL SINGH

VIVEK BHALLA

Executive chairman, Sarovar Hotels and Resorts

Chief executive, ITC Hotels

Senior VP and Country Head, Hilton India

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

President - Hospitality, Panchshil Realty

CEO, Berggruen 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

Chairman, Anarock Property Consultants

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 and CEO, Indian School of Hospitality

INDIA EXPO CENTRE & MART GREATER NOIDA EXPRESSWAY DELHI–NCR

IHE18 A U G 2 0 1 8

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Founder-chairman, Hotelivate

CMD, Concept Hospitality

President, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts

CEO, Pride Hotels

Regional VP, South West Asia, InterContinental Hotels Group

SARBENDRA SARKAR

MD and Founder Cygnett Hotels & Resorts

HOTELIER INDIA | JULY 2018 | www.hotelierindia.com

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CONTENTS

20 HAIL HILTON

HILTON HOTELS & RESORTS WANTS TO SHED ITS CHALLENGER POSITION IN INDIA AND ADOPT A MORE DOMINANT STANCE

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BULLETIN MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL ANNOUNCES VISION FOR SHERATON’S TRANSFORMATION, IHG LAUNCHES NEW UPSCALE BRAND, VOCO AND MORE…

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GM'S DIARY A LOOK AT HOW HOTELS CAN TRAIN THEIR TEAMS TO BE ATTENTIVE TOWARDS CUSTOMER NEEDS SO THAT NOT EVERY COMPLAINT TURNS INTO AN ISSUE.

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CHECKING ALL THE RIGHT BOXES THE NEW-AGE REVENUE MANAGERS ARE MULTI-FACETED PROFESSIONALS RESPONSIBLE FOR OPERATIONAL DECISIONS THAT LET A HOTEL FUNCTION AT OPTIMAL EFFICIENCY WHILE CUSTOMERS ENJOY A GREAT EXPERIENCE.

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QUICK CHAT IGNACE BAUWENS, REGIONAL VP, MIDDLE EAST, EURASIA AND AFRICA OF WYNDHAM HOTELS AND RESORTS EXPLAINS HOW THE COMPANY WILL BUILD UPON ITS ASSETLIGHT AND FEE-BASED BUSINESS MODEL.

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HOTELIER INDIA | JULY 2018 | www.hotelierindia.com


BULLETIN

N EWSM A K ERS A R O U N D-U P O F H O T E L S A N D H O T E L I E R S M A K I N G H E A D L I N E S

MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL ANNOUNCES VISION FOR SHERATON Estimates $500 million dollars of owner investment already committed in the U.S.

Facts & Figures: • Since the Marriott acquisition in September 2016, Sheraton has exited 6,000 rooms with another 2,000 expected to depart by 2018-end. • During the same period, 5,000 rooms have been signed to the portfolio. • System-wide, Sheraton generates $9.2 billion in property revenue globally. • Currently, there are nearly 450 Sheraton hotels with 80 additional projects in the pipeline in 72 countries. • By 2020, the brand’s footprint is expected to expand to 90 countries.

An artist’s impression of a lobby from the Sheraton Design Foundation.

M

arriott International announced its transformation vision for Sheraton Hotels and Resorts, the third largest brand in its portfolio. The company, which introduced its new Sheraton guestroom late last year, showcased its vision for Sheraton’s public spaces at the NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference in New York, bringing to life for owners and investors the company’s brand strategy as well as its signature focus on guest experience, hotel operations and design philosophy. “From the moment we closed the Starwood merger in late 2016, the revitalisation of Sheraton has been a top priority for our company,” said Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott International. “We knew that the way to restore this incredible brand was focus and collaboration with our

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hotel owners. With our Sheraton transformation plan, we’ve put together all of the pieces of the equation to work cooperatively with our owners to set this iconic brand on a new, disciplined and successful path. We are ready, our vision is clear and the energy is robust for Sheraton.” The company claimed that across the US, owners are already responding to the new vision with optimism and energy, committing an estimated half-abillion dollars in renovations of hotels. Globally, 25 percent of Sheraton hotels have committed to renovations with some already underway. The brand has built out a 4,200-square-foot vignette at the NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference that brings its vision to life, allowing investors to understand and experience Sheraton’s

Bulletin

Story of the month

transformation plans firsthand, particularly the concepts for the hotel’s public spaces. Reverting to its roots as the gathering place for locals and guests, Sheraton amplifies that legacy by leaning into services and design that enable socialization, productivity, and personalisation. Its strategy features collaborative venues, technology enabled designs, and a host who helps deliver a unique experience that is exclusive to Sheraton. “Marriott International is well positioned to deliver a comprehensive strategy for Sheraton’s brand transformation and we already have great momentum. This is the first time in years that the brand has been above competitive benchmark in both rate and occupancy,” said Tina Edmundson, global brand officer, Marriott International. “We have improved brand standards, increased group bookings, and have ramped up our business engine over the last year as a first step in a multi-phase, multi-year plan, leveraging our experience in revitalizing lodging brands.”

HOTELIER INDIA | JULY 2018 | www.hotelierindia.com


BULLETIN

HYATT CENTRIC BRAND DEBUTS IN INDIA Hyatt Centric MG Road Bangalore marks the arrival of Hyatt’s seventh brand in the country

(L-R) Dhruva Rathore, director of development, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts; Peter Fulton, group president, Europe, Africa, Middle East and South West Asia, Hyatt Hotels Corporation; Sunjae Sharma, VP, India operations, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, and Varun Mohan, GM, Hyatt Centric MG Road Bangalore.

H IHG LAUNCHES NEW UPSCALE BRAND, VOCO

I

nterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has launched voco, its new upscale hotel brand, alongside announcing a first signing in Australia. The brand will focus primarily on conversion opportunities and will strengthen IHG’s offer in the $40 billion upscale segment, which is expected to grow by a further $20 billion by 2025. Working with high-quality individual and locally branded hotels, this distinctive brand promises to offer owners the ability to drive higher returns through delivering a compelling guest experience and leveraging IHG’s inherent systems. This includes revenue management and technology capabilities and IHG Rewards Club loyalty programmes. voco, inspired by the meaning ‘to invite’ or to ‘come together’ in Latin, will combine the informality and charm of an individual hotel, with the quality and reassurance of a global and respected brand. Its rollout will begin in IHG’s Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa (EMEAA) region, with plans to take it to the Americas and Greater China over time. The new brand will drive significant incremental growth for IHG, with an expectation to open more than

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Voco’s 3 guest journey moments that will differentiate the brand: • Come on in – a signature welcome experience, swift and simple check-in with a locally influenced treat to kick-off a guest’s stay. • Me time – encouraging guests to take a moment for themselves with cosy beds and bedding, quality bathroom amenities, rejuvenating aerated showers, a variety of viewing content on Smart TVs and excellent connectivity in every room. • voco life – vibrant and sociable bar and lounge spaces that work for different moments of the day, so that guests always have space to relax and enjoy themselves.

200 voco hotels in urban and leisure locations over the next 10 years. Keith Barr, CEO, IHG, said, “We’ve talked about the significant growth opportunity we see for IHG in upscale and voco will help us deliver against this. We will work with owners of attractive properties, who appreciate the power and expertise that a global business can bring to the table. The brand’s versatility means a voco hotel can retain and celebrate all of the elements that make that existing hotel successful."

yatt Hotels Corporation announced the rebranding of Hyatt Bangalore MG Road to the Hyatt Centric brand, marking the brand’s first hotel in India and 23rd worldwide. Located in prime destinations across cities like New York, Miami, Madrid, Tokyo and Chicago, the Hyatt Centric brand is designed to enable exploration and discovery, and targets millennial-minded travelers who want to be in the middle of the action. Hyatt Centric MG Road Bangalore is the launch pad that inspires exploration of the city’s serene parks, inspiring Victorian-era architecture, and vibrant dining scene with ease. “We are delighted to introduce the Hyatt Centric brand to our savvy guests in India with the opening of Hyatt Centric MG Road Bangalore,” said Sunjae Sharma, Hyatt’s VP of operations, India. “The launch of a Hyatt Centric hotel in India strengthens our portfolio in the country and highlights our commitment to offering the authentic experiences guests want.” Designed by Studio HBA, the hotel boasts a contemporary feel with eclectic touches that capture the city’s cosmopolitan vibe. Its 143 contemporary guestrooms, including four suites with terrace gardens overlooking the aquamarine blue pool, have been stylishly redecorated and infused with local flare. Each guestroom has features like complimentary Wi-Fi and a 48-inch flat-screen TV.

HOTELIER INDIA | JULY 2018 | www.hotelierindia.com


BULLETIN

NEW LAUNCHES ITC Kohenur, Hyderabad, launched

ITC Hotels announced the addition of ITC Kohenur in Hyderabad as the 12th hotel to join its luxury hotel portfolio, from June 1, 2018. Overlooking the Durgam Cheruvu Lake, the hotel has 271 high technology enabled rooms, suites and service apartments, six culinary brands, state-of-the-art meeting and convention spaces, Kaya Kalp spa and well-being offerings. A stand-out in-room tech feature is the amalgamation of all services through the E-Butler iPad. Located in HITEC city, the architecture and design of the hotel mirror the facets of the feted jewel by bringing to life art, culture, cuisine and heritage of the region in a contemporary milieu. Inspirations range from the striking boulders of Hyderabad, to the famous Bidri work, showcase of local arts and crafts to presenting the rich culinary legacy of the region. The F&B destinations include Dum Pukht in a new avatar and Begum's showcasing influences from the Royal kitchens of Hyderabad. ITC Kohenur will also house Yi Jing, a new brand from ITC, featuring classic and creative Chinese cuisine. The 4th edition of the group’s pan-Italian brand, Ottimo will complement the Skypoint Bar on the rooftop, offering a picturesque view of the Hyderabad skyline. Golconda Pavilion, the all-day restaurant will showcase inventive international cuisine alongwith a large ‘Local Love’ repertoire feature Telangana and Andhra favourites. Complementing the expansive glass frontage overlooking the gardens and the pool, the Peacock bar epitomizes elegance with an extensive collection of fine beverages. The Hotel features nine versatile and state-ofthe-art meeting, banquet and conference spaces. This includes the pillar-less Deccan State room, which can be divided into two separate halls, each with its own pre-function area. The hotel also boasts of two outdoor venues, the Pearl Deck and the Golconda Greens.

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IHCL SIGNS SECOND GINGER HOTEL IN VISAKHAPATNAM

T

he Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) has signed a new Ginger hotel in Visakhapatnam, its second in the city. The Ginger portfolio has 45 operating hotels with seven in the pipeline. The announcement reflects the company’s strategic domestic expansion to drive growth momentum. Deepika Rao, MD and CEO, Roots Corporation Limited said, “We Deepika are delighted to partner with SSR Builders in Visakhapatnam for this hotel and happy to expand our presence in the city, a key one in Andhra Pradesh.” The new Ginger in Visakhapatnam has 56 rooms, an all-day diner, meeting room and a fitness centre and is located at Gajuwaka amidst a commercial hub. It is at

Rao of Ginger Hotels with Chintapudi Venkatramaiya of SSR Builders. close proximity to companies like TATA Motors, Nestle, BHEL, GAIL and many others. The hotel is slated to open mid-2019. IHCL has two other hotels in the city – The Gateway Hotel Beach Road Visakhapatnam and a 68-room Ginger hotel close to the Visakhapatnam railway station.

APEEJAY SURRENDRA PARK HOTELS TO ‘THE DENMARK TAVERN’ It is the company’s fourth hotel in in Kolkata and it will open hotels in Ajmer and Jaisalmer soon

A

peejay Surrendra Park Hotels has entered into an agreement with the Government of West Bengal to manage the historic The Denmark Tavern, the oldest hotel in India, in Serampore. The Tavern was established in 1786 in what was then Fredricksnagore. The two-storeyed structure by the Hooghly is the place where the Danes had kept their flagstaff and cannons. The Tavern was a place to meet and stay for traders, clergy and travellers exploring Bengal. In 2010 - 11, more than 200 years after the tavern’s heyday, a group of restoration experts studied the building that stood in

complete ruins surrounded by debris. It took around two years to restore the Tavern to its former glory as part of the Serampore Initiative, a restoration programme for several Danish heritage structures led by the National Museum of Denmark and funded by Realdania, a private trust in Denmark, in collaboration with West Bengal State Heritage Commission, and Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). The refurnished building has a cafe, inspired by the double height central atrium of the Indian Coffee House in Kolkata and six highceilinged spacious rooms. Priya Paul, chairperson, Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels said, “THE Park Hotels will build on the rich legacy of the Tavern and bring it and the area back to life. The hotel will soon be buzzing with guests enjoying a quiet break on the banks of Hooghly and the sights and sounds of old-world Serampore and beyond.”

HOTELIER INDIA | JULY 2018 | www.hotelierindia.com


GM’S DIARY NALIN MANDIRATTA

Nalin Mandiratta, area general manager, South India and general manager, Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park.

CONVERT COMPLAINTS INTO OPPORTUNITIES While guest grievances in hospitality business are inescapable, hotels can train their teams to be alert and attentive towards customer needs so that not every complaint turns into an issue BY VINITA BHATIA

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n a people intensive and people invested industry like hospitality, dealing with guest complaints is par for course. Every hotel associate has endured it at some point of their career – from a grumbling groan to a full-blown outburst – and understandably, dreads it. However, in this service-oriented business, guest issues are inevitable. The onus therefore lies on hoteliers to ensure that not every complaint turns into an out-and-out problem. To avoid these situations, Nalin Mandiratta, area general manager, South India and general manager, Crowne

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Plaza Chennai Adyar Park, believes that a hotel needs to prepare well in advance to understand what customers expect from it and what brand propositions that are delivered from the product and service perspective. Further, it is essential to accept that customer delight is the best way to get repeat business. For that one needs to empower the team and believe in them to take the right decisions from the customer’s perspective. “Customers should receive immense satisfaction from the brand as per the brand promise. While guest complaints are inescapable, we take measures by

training our team members in the hotel to be alert and attentive towards client needs,” he said. FOCUS ON RESOLUTION Creating a culture of trust and heightened customer experience in a hotel organisation is crucial when it comes to ensuring guest satisfaction. Unless associates have the conviction that their company has faith in their abilities to resolve an issue, they will not be able to deal with any situation with confidence either. “Building this culture starts with the suitable selection of team members fol-

HOTELIER INDIA | JULY 2018 | www.hotelierindia.com


GM’S DIARY NALIN MANDIRATTA

If the front office team is empowered to take decisions, problems can be resolved without the need for escalation. lowed by training them ably. This leads to empowering them to take every decision from the customer’s point of view while also balancing it from the company’s wellbeing perspective,” said Mandiratta. To do so, he recommends that every department should develop an empowerment grid that allows associates to take prompt actions for better problem resolution. Continuous review of guest issues should be given high importance so that the team appreciates the importance of customer experience and is able to respond effectively with corrective measures to avoid further lapses. “Creating this culture of cohesiveness, mutual trust and great team work is imperative and a prime focus for delivering a fantastic customer experience, be it a service or product. The team leaders should have an eye for detail and should share the feedback with the team regularly,” he advised. Constant guidance and motivation can go a long way in ensuring better results, rather than sporadic inputs. TAKE THE PLUNGE Often, hoteliers shy from letting associates take charge of complaints as they worry whether the team is incapable of dealing with the issue at hand. And

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this is not a completely misplaced apprehension. The key is to take small steps towards endowing associates with the authority to take some decisions when it comes to dealing with customer concerns, and then scale it up gradually based on how each associate fares. For instance, if the front office team is empowered to take decisions, it generates the right kind of customer satisfaction and problems can be resolved at level one without the need for escalation. At the same time, decisions taken by team members help in building confidence amongst themselves as well as guests. A complaint resolved on time is better than a delayed action taken. “In contemporary times, the focus is more on team work and customer interface. A quick action with the right decision should be able to get the right customer delight in any hotel,” Mandiratta pointed out. CONFIDENCE BUILDING In the hospitality industry, where associates have to deal with varied profiles of guests, it is immensely essential for them to be confident, empowered and well trained to take decision to resolve guest complaints. If not, the complaint can becomes a big dissonance and the

guest often seeks other alternatives. This is not a pleasant situation at a time when customer acquisition and retention costs are very high. “Not having faith in your employees when it comes to dealing with guest complaints can lead to business challenges, which no hotelier would want in light of growing competition. It is also important for the team to deliver impeccable customer service with confidence. Team members should feel emboldened to resolve guest issues with constant support of the management,” Mandiratta stated. Empowerment inculcates learning and growth amongst associates and constructs an atmosphere of fellowship within the organisation. Looking from the guest’s perspective, it creates trust with the brand and generates positive perception about the company where team members are able to resolve any operational issues. A PAT ON THE BACK It is critical that the senior management in a hotel company supports the decision of every property’s team handling the customers since this creates a sense of ownership. “Many times associates take the decision to extend a service recovery by offering discount or complimentary services depending upon the nature of complaint, which is fully supported by the senior management. Team members are appreciated, acknowledged and recognised for their great work, which creates boosts their confidence. Any new team member inducted in the system must be trained to handle future guest complaints and confidently take ownership of all customer issues,” suggested Mandiratta. This is equally important from a business point of view because with changing guest expectations, a general manager cannot be omnipresent and needs to empower his team to take certain decisions on his behalf. According to Mandiratta, if team members are passionate about being in the hospitality business, they can convert complaints into opportunities. A complaint is a covert gift; if handled well one can convert the guest into a loyal customer. HI

HOTELIER INDIA | JULY 2018 | www.hotelierindia.com


PHOTOGRAPH: ASHISH BALLAL

COVER STORY

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Hilton Hotels & Resortsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; executive VP and president, Asia Pacific, Alan Watts with senior VP and country head for India, Navjit Ahluwalia.

HOTELIER INDIA | JULY 2018 | www.hotelierindia.com


COVER STORY

HAIL HILTON Hilton Hotels & Resorts wants to shed its challenger position in India and adopt a more dominant stance BY VINITA BHATIA

I

t is always enticing to watch when the stakes in any business sphere are raised higher; when existing players adopt a more aggressive position and start challenging traditional status quo of established brands. That is what Hilton Hotels & Resorts has been doing in India for the past few months, albeit subtly. It began with the appointment of Alan Watts as executive VP and president, Asia Pacific in September 2017. He was assigned with the task of overseeing the company's pipeline of over 415 hotels, as well as the operations of more than 225 Hilton properties across the region. Reporting to the company’s president and CEO, Christopher Nassetta, he is also a member of the executive committee. This was followed by the announcement that Navjit Ahluwalia has joined Hilton as senior VP and country head, India. At the same time, Jatin Khanna, a Marriott International veteran who oversaw the company’s operations in Bangalore region and was the general manager for JW Marriott in Pune, came on board as VP and head of operations, India. Ahluwalia will oversee Hilton’s 33 hotels trading and under development, including the recently opened Conrad Bengaluru, while leading the company’s growth strategy in the country. Additionally, last year, Hilton regis-

tered a double digit RevPAR growth in India, which was its strongest in the past five years, and is forecasting doubledigit RevPAR growth again this year. Yet, from an organisational perspective, Watts is bemused that the company finds itself in a challenger position in the country. “Hilton is arguably the leading hospitality company in the world; it is the second largest in terms of rooms. So, we are often in first or second spot globally.

I believe the fundamentals in India are different and we are one of the smallest players here, which is strange, but it is still a good place to be in,” he said. Hence, Watts revealed that when he joined Hilton and was interviewed by the board one of the first questions that Nassetta asked him was about his experience and passion for India, because this is the market the company wants to focus on. “So, 90 days into the job, we opened

Hilton Garden Inn in Lucknow was launched in January 2018.

HOTELIER INDIA | JULY 2018 | www.hotelierindia.com

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PHOTOGRAPH: ASHISH BALLAL

COVER STORY

The reason we are so successful in Asia Pacific is our ability to deploy brands at the right time and our ability to regionalise them.” – Alan Watts, executive VP and president, Asia Pacific, Hilton Hotels & Resorts. Conrad Bengaluru – our second hotel under this brand – and attracted top professionals like Ahluwalia and Khanna. We are investing in a new sales and marketing office to ensure we have the same infrastructure as the largest players in the market, despite having a smaller footprint,” he disclosed.

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CREATING A DISTINCTION Over the past century, Hilton has built a portfolio of 14 brands, which it has grown organically rather than opting for the acquisition route. However, it has decided to operate only five in India. Talking about this stratagem, Watts

explained, “The reason we are so successful in Asia Pacific is our ability to deploy brands at the right time and our ability to regionalise them. A great example of this tactic is the success of the Hampton by Hilton brand, which we launched in China in 2016. It is our most requested brand globally, but until we customised it for the domestic traveller and ensured the product, service and cuisine was right for the region, we did not bring it to the Chinese market.” What he wishes to underline with this instance is that while scale matters, regionalisation makes all the difference when it comes to separating success from debacle for a brand. This is what Ahluwalia and Khanna have been assigned to do with their respective teams – identify the Hilton brands that can be localised and launched in the market and decide the timing for its introduction. This is also a reason why the company has been holding off its decision to launch Waldorf Astoria in India. If one pays closer attention to Hilton’s brand tree, it has avoided having brands at the similar price points, to prevent customer confusion and commoditisation of brands. Hence, there are only 30 Waldorf Astoria hotels globally and the company is very particular about if, where and when it should deploy it. Explaining the brand architecture, Watts said, “If Conrad is our business hotel, then we have Hilton as our leading brand. Doubletree, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton and Tru are our lifestyle and long stay brands. We are hypersensitive that no two brands should have the same price points.” SETTING THE PACE This does not mean that Hilton will slacken its growth pace in the country. Au contraire, Ahluwalia stressed that the company will strive to double its existing portfolio within the next three years. “We are quite under-represented in the Indian market, whether you look at the luxury or the full service space. So, there is plenty of opportunity to grow our pipeline since we are looking at the long haul,” he emphasised. At the same time, he, too, maintained that the company would introduce the right product at the right lo-


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cation with the right partners. “I don't think we are going to do anything in a rapid hurry. We just want to ensure that we are growing in the way we should be,” he added. Ahluwalia also highlighted that Hilton has a great opportunity in the resorts space, which is where it will focus in the upcoming months. “We already have a number of resorts within our portfolio, but we feel there is plenty of prospect to grow this domain in India as new destinations open up,” he stated. One reason why the resorts business is a lucrative one is because it has relatively lower occupancy but offers higher realisation. PEOPLE ORIENTATION Watts recognises that the key to success in the hotel industry is to treat owners, associates and customers with the same level of hospitality. “People do business with people, not just brands. So, when it comes to Hilton, people might want to sign a deal with Ahluwalia and know that he is going to be at the end of the phone for a long period of time,” explaining why the company is aggressively hiring people with the plenty of experience in hospitality operations. This is interesting since India has a history of expatriate hoteliers being at the helm of affairs, who manage the company for a period of three to five years, before moving on. During his long career in the industry – Watts spent two decades at InterContinental Hotel Group, where he was COO for its Asia, Middle East and Africa AMEA managing the company’s operations in 280 hotels across six brands and 40 countries and territories – he has realised that owners don't merely sell the asset, they want to get into mutually beneficial relationships for 15 years. And owners invest first and foremost for better yield on their asset. “These owners are often involved in various asset classes – retail, commercial, residential or hospitality. Those asset classes are constantly competing

with each other. Currently, the travel and tourism segment is doing very well in India, registering approximately 6% growth. That said, we have to ensure that the industry gives owners great returns, or we could lose our beautiful hotels to shopping malls or residences,” he stated. This pragmatism is why the company is designing brands around what customers want and not what it perceives that guests expect. If this means investing in forward-thinking technology, then Watts strongly advocates it. Secondly, he has also realised that as a hospitality company, it is important to give the same intent and care to the team as Hilton does to its customer, as well as its owner. “My customer wants a great stay, my team wants a great career and my owners want a great yield. I can't be doing either one or two

of these things, and then presume to be successful. I have to ensure that all stakeholders are happy,” he said. In his opinion, people work for people. “When folks join Hilton and aspire to have the top position at the head of the organisation, we want to provide those opportunities to them. So, if you consider the investment we are making into attracting the right talent and expanding our pipeline to double our portfolio within the next three years, you can see how we are set to challenge the market leaders.” Ahluwalia seconded Watts’ outlook about building a service culture for associates where they enjoy working with the brand and strongly believe in the growth map for their career. His take is that Hilton can grow only if its team members grow and prosper with the company.

Hilton will open three hotels in the next six months – a Double Tree by Hilton and Hilton in Goa and a Double Tree by Hilton in Ahmedabad. Owned by the Prestige Group, the 24-storey Conrad Bengaluru was opened in February 2018.

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COVER STORY

Hilton has five brands with 17 operational hotels with almost 3,000 rooms in India.

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might want to use digital key to stay at Waldorf Astoria or Conrad and not want to interact with our associates, which we perfectly understand and respect. We just need to ensure that we have this personalisation down to a fine art so that we are not intruding into a guest’s space,” added Ahluwalia – a valid point since it is very easy to overstep boundaries in this market.

PHOTOGRAPH: ASHISH BALLAL

TECH REIMAGINED The challenge, however, lies in making the above mentioned investments turn the company into a bigger hotel entity than what it is today with the right brands at the right time. Watts and Ahluwalia don’t seem perturbed, as they have been engaging in marathon series of conversations with individual owners that own Hilton brands and others who have the ability to partner with the company. And they maintain that the response has been very encouraging. One reason why owners are keen to embrace Hilton is because it is constantly innovating its brands and adapting it to match evolving guest expectations. What’s more, it has been using technology to enhance a guest’s travel experience. “I'm anti-gimmicks,” Watts claimed. “But, I believe in using technology to facilitate the guest’s stay. So, we are conducting trials around connected rooms at our lab in Washington. Under this concept, Hilton Honors members can use through their phone not just to check in and enter their rooms, but also control the lighting, the temperature, or in-room entertainment.” Ahluwalia pointed out that it is important to involve the customer in this experiential journey and let them use their handheld device to actually manage everything in their stay experience. “It's important that it's their device, not ours. This way they are in control of the data, which is a topic that guests are often very concerned about. We are only bringing in personalisation into the picture and ensuring security in various ways to enhance the guest experience,” he added. At the same time, the duo clarified that empowering guests with technology does not mean bringing down their interaction with the hotel. Instead, the objective is to have more meaningful relationships with travellers but with the right kind and amount of information. “By using technology appropriately, the front desk will have longer conversations and shorter transaction times with guests. At the same time, a guest

We are quite underrepresented in India, whether you look at the luxury or the full service space. So, there is plenty of opportunity to grow our pipeline.”

– Navjit Ahluwalia, senior VP and country head, India Hilton Hotels & Resorts.

CONVERSION RATES Not too long ago, hotel companies were opting for re-branding of properties when it came to refreshing a property. However, this can become a time-consuming and investment intensive exercise for the asset owner. They would have to invest huge monies into renovating the existing hotel to fit into the standards of another brand. Watts questioned that if a designled hotel doesn't fit any hard brand, then how does a hotel company give that hotel an access to scale? That is why Hilton designed collection brands like Curio and Tapestry. However, he cautioned that companies ought to be careful with collection brands so that they do not dilute their product shelf. In his opinion, a straightout conversion bucket is akin to behaving like an OTA. “I am wary of the trend of companies forming a conversion brand to give owners access to their distribution and commission advantages, and plugging them into the system; there is nothing unique about this. You are just selling yourself as an OTA and calling it a conversion brand,” Watts said dismissively. In fact, he believes that hospitality companies should protect themselves against commoditisation and competing on the basis of price. As it gears up to deal with competition from established players and other up-and-coming brands that are nipping at its heels, Hilton knows that it cannot afford to be complacent in India. At the same time, it has to time its movements well in the market to remain relevant, and owners as well as customers can determine the impact it is attempting to make in the overcluttered hospitality industry. HI

HOTELIER INDIA | JULY 2018 | www.hotelierindia.com


SPECIAL FEATURE

CHECKING ALL THE RIGHT BOXES

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hey are the ones responsible for getting the right customer at the right price from the right channel for the right product at the right time. They are the ones who spend most of their day engrossed in numbers and data in their quest to increase a hotel’s profitability. They are the ones who scrutinise every distribution

channel to find cost-effective ways to acquire new customers, while driving repeat business. Meet the new-age revenue managers – the multi-faceted professionals who strive to make the right operational decisions so that a hotel functions at optimal efficiency and customers enjoy a great experience. All this, while they take charge of their hotel’s rate optimisation strategy. HI

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SPECIAL FEATURE

ALL REVVED UP While a revenue manager’s mission is to sell as many rooms as possible at the best rates conceivable, their ultimate focus remains a healthy bottom line BY VINITA BHATIA

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here was a time when revenue management was a fairly straightforward task in the hospitality business. It was about getting the right customer at the right price from the right channel for the right product at the right time. Hotels were focused on increasing the room occupancy, irrespective of the price positioning or the channel. Then arrived the digital era, where reservations started coming through numerous channels. These included online travel agencies (OTAs), negotiated contracts, direct bookings, walk-ins, etc. Each had a certain cost associated for customer acquisition and management. Revenue management, thereby, evolved to getting the right customer as per their purchasing power and their stay needs from specific channels. Complicated much? Well, Rahul Tondon, cluster revenue manager of Hilton Jaipur simplifies this with an example. A corporate hotel in key gateway cities like Mumbai or New Delhi will rely heavily on GDS and the hotel’s website for clients. On the other hand, a leisure hotel in cities like Jaipur or Agra is heavily

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dependent on the hotel’s website and OTAs for business. “Out of all the three channels mentioned above, the hotel’s website is the most profitable channel of business. This has led to many chains promoting their brand website, attempting to shift customers from a third party website to their own site,” he said. The reason is simple – it reduces the cost of the booking and customer acquisition, thereby increasing the profit for the hotel. TAKING OTAS HEAD-ON While a revenue manager’s mission is to sell as many rooms as possible at the best rates conceivable, their ultimate focus remains a healthy bottom line. According to Archana Bhawan, revenue manager at Alila Fort Bishangarh, a significant way to drive profitability is to steer guests away from OTAs and encourage them to book directly with the hotel. “This increases brand recall, loyalty and generates repeat business. It also offers the hotel a platform to market its products via direct communication with the customer, offer deals and upsell additional services or room upgrades,” she

opined. Once the revenue manager is through with number crunching and analysis, the success of channel optimisation relies on three key factors – best rate guarantee, digital marketing and loyalty programmes. Gagandeep Hanjra, director of revenue, Novotel Hotels & Resorts Goa stated, “All three have one objective – to get the customer to book direct with the hotel given that revenue managers maintain rate parity across all channels, rewarding customers booking direct via value add-ons and working closely with loyalty teams to ensure acquired customers continue to book direct. And digital marketing creates the reach and visibility across platforms.” Anil Swain, director of revenue at The Westin Kolkata Rajarhat presented another perspective to the story. In his opinion, the increasing traffic towards OTAs is not a good indication for hotels and smaller brands, since it allows for coupon discounts. “OTAs shell out a lot of money into offering these discounts, which make their brand stronger and they are purchasing loyalty at this point of time. At a later stage, this could be used against the hotels to increase

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commission percentages,” he warned. THE RIGHT CHANNEL When it comes to distribution channels, almost each one is equally important from a revenue manager’s perspective. However, a hotel’s website takes priority, since it brings in maximum profit, which explains why revenue managers rely on it the most. At the same time, they cannot afford to overlook third-party channels such as OTAs and GDS as they have larger reach. “We constantly have to update all channels with the right content in order to shift share and achieve our objective,” Tondon said. In the hotel business, each business channel contributes differently at different times. In this scenario, it is extremely important for revenue managers to be aware of the pros and cons of every channel and visualise its effect based on its individual permutations and combinations. These numbers can be extremely difficult to monitor and process

on an ongoing basis. Thankfully, though, there exists technologies that can aid them in this. Deepak Khusalani, director of rooms, Grand Hyatt Mumbai pointed out, “Technologies like artificial intelligence allow revenue managers to forecast and model the business impact of various combinations of channel mixes. These

software are not only able to plug-in different channel combinations and forecast (with reasonable accuracy) the resulting impact, but also layer these forecasts with distribution costs across each channel as well.” While revenue managers have to keep one eye on optimising Revenue Per Average Room (RevPAR), they can-

All distribution channels are equally important for a revenue manager. However, a hotel’s website takes priority, since it brings in maximum profit.

Revenue management has evolved to getting the right customer as per their purchasing power and their stay needs from specific channels.

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HOTELIER INDIA | JULY 2018 | www.hotelierindia.com


SPECIAL FEATURE

Anil Swain, director of revenue, The Westin Kolkata Rajarhat.

Revenue managers need to keep a regular check on demand, competitive market pricing and analyse guests booking behaviour.

Manas Banerjee, general manager, Hyatt Regency Ludhiana.

Deepak Khusalani, director of rooms, Grand Hyatt Mumbai. not lose sight of gross operating profit per available room (GOPPAR), which they arrive at after taking into account departmental and operational expenses. This gives them an overall profit in relation to occupancy rate. Manas Banerjee, general manager of Hyatt Regency Ludhiana elucidated, “Unlike RevPAR, GOPPAR is not concerned only with revenue generated by selling rooms, but includes total revenue (for instance, F&B and miscellaneous revenue). This gives them a rounded

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view of overall performance, including how effective the business is at making money and filling rooms. As a result, it can give an idea of how valuable a hotel is as a business.” Apart from ensuring occupancy, revenue managers have to continuously pay close attention to inventory management on each channel to better understand which are the profitable sources. Additionally, they need to keep a regular check on demand, competitive market pricing and analyse the booking behaviour of guests. Explaining why this constant monitoring is imperative, Tarun Singh, director of sales and marketing at Crowne Plaza Pune City Centre said, “It is also important to consider the demographic behaviour and geographic source of business from every channel and segment. This crucial market information can be used to profitably adjust rates based on when the demand is high or low.”

A significant way to drive profitability is to steer guests away from OTAs and encourage them to book directly with the hotel.’ – Archana Bhawan, revenue

TACTICAL METHODS Revenue managers often follow various methods to determine the optimum cost of business acquisition from different channels. Ankit Pradhan, cluster revenue manager at Hilton Chennai revealed, “Return on investment (RoI) is the guiding factor to determine the optimum cost of doing business from any channel. Hotel brands are currently

manager at Alila Fort Bishangarh

spending huge amounts of money in digital marketing and ecommerce activities to support hotel growth and drive optimal segment mix.”

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SPECIAL FEATURE

Prateek Pathak, general manager for digital marketing and e-commerce at Bloom Hotel Group added that there are different types of revenue management systems (RMS) that give the optimum cost of business acquisition from various channels, which are used by most hospitality companies. “We have developed an in-house system for this exercise. We realised that the Indian market is very diverse. To analyse

Tarun Singh, director, sales and marketing, Crowne Plaza Pune City Centre.

the optimum cost we customised these systems to answer all our questions. This is a very important exercise for us because it helps us develop all channels with a data-driven approach and understand the profitability from each channel. For each of our hotel we have a different strategy, which helps us to not only maximise the revenue but also have a long-term growth plan for the brand,” he added. While different properties use varied versions of a RMS, revenue managers focus on the cost of channel report. It takes into consideration the commission percentage paid to a third party, the manpower cost, the commission paid to the credit card company, etc. Tondon said that these costs vary from company to company and hotel to hotel. Keeping this cost of channel report updated and reviewing it on a monthly or quarterly basis is absolutely essential as it keeps the revenue manager focused on targeting the right channels. Khusalani said that the team at Grand Hyatt Mumbai has developed a set of questions to determine the channel that needs to be focused on. This includes basic questions like what is the current business scenario, where the hotel stands on an YTD basis, how it is placed with respect to the competition, is there enough business in the market, what is its current business mix, is it over-relying on any one channel, how do the

prices compare against each channel, how is competition faring channel-tochannel, what is the cost of acquisition for the piece of business, etc. “Depending on the answers to these questions, we draft a detailed action plan across each channel. Once our plans are deployed, there’s the final step or the moment of truth – where we monitor the numbers as they play out and continuously optimise the mix real time,” he added. MEASURING METRICS While it is important to measure the optimum cost of business acquisition, this is easier said than done. The reason is that while multiple tracking capabilities are available, discerning the paths of customer booking journey online is still a gray area in most cases. Hanjra pointed out, “It is dubious to figure out how much of your online and offline activities have truly contributed to the decision making and conversion. Having said that, majority of the business can be measured, tracked and monitored closely with the system capabilities and analytical tools available at the hotels now.” Hotels currently use a range of tactical methods to ensure that each channel is generating optimal results. Member fidelity is promoted by offering exclusive loyalty programmes and member rates on websites, maximizing the OTA presence with a well-defined

Gagandeep Hanjra, director of revenue, Novotel Hotels & Resorts Goa.

Rahul Tondon, cluster revenue manager, Hilton Jaipur.

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Hotels currently use a range of tactical methods to ensure that each channel is generating optimal results.

HOTELIER INDIA | JULY 2018 | www.hotelierindia.com


SPECIAL FEATURE

Repeat guests tend to spend three times more money than one-time customers. descriptor page and attractive hotel photography, all of which leads to better conversions. Singh said, “It is also important to focus on search engine optimisation tools to drive more direct bookings and acquire a higher conversion through brand websites. Bookings that come from direct channels are the most valuable as they help in upsell opportunities as well as in generating profitable returns.” Alila Fort Bishangarh has already started implementing this and is increasingly working out newer ways to combine KPIs with specific data types. “Our price optimisation models factor in three critical pricing elements: pricing strategy, the value of the product to both buyer and seller, and tactics that manage all elements affecting profitability,” said Bhawan. “We also believe in the forecasting process that keeps track of acquiring new businesses and its cost. This process assists in making more measured financial decisions, better preparation for any financial problems and adjusts to maximise revenue and minimise damage.” COMING BACK FOR MORE Repeat guests tend to spend three times more revenue than one-time customers. Therefore, it is critical for revenue managers engage with them often

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As revenue managers, we have lots of data at our disposal, which helps us analyse guests booking patterns, which includes new and repeat alike.’ – Rahul Tondon, cluster

revenue manager, Hilton Jaipur.

to drive loyalty. In Pradhan’s viewpoint they can play a critical role in providing revenue penetration amongst nonmembers, who can then become potential repeat customers through rate contracting. Tondon revealed that Hilton Hotels & Resorts has even invested in a technology lab that continuously tries to enhance guest experiences, which plays a pivotal role in increasing repeat guests. “As revenue managers, we have lots of data at our disposal, which helps us analyse guests booking patterns, which includes new and repeat alike. With targeted email campaign or even tele calling, we can touch upon a guest’s specific needs and help them plan their holidays or even a quick weekend getaway,” he further added. Historically, it is cheaper and easier to influence existing customers to make a repeat purchase than it is to find new customers. Alila Fort Bishangarh has been doing this by helping customers save their money and showing them some appreciation (and generating sales at the same time) through exclusive promotions. A case in point is the ‘Welcome Back Offer’ with discounted prices and welcome back gifts that is organising for July 2018. The way to proceed with such initiatives is to work in tandem with other teams in the organisation. Like Hanjra pointed out, revenue managers no longer work in isolation or just with the sales teams. The role has evolved and branched to various other departments specially marketing and loyalty. “We may not be directly involved in these activities, but data capture and analytics play an important role for pricing and value add-on strategies for loyalty programmes,” he added. Increasingly, revenue managers have moved out of the back offices to engage with the front-line staff. This helps in ensuring that all revenue-related protocols, like retention charges, re-confirmations, etc., are religiously followed, and they too get to understand guest expectations better. These measures will help them to further come up with strategies to maxmise rates as well as upsell the inventory and boost their hotel’s profit margins. All in a day’s work! HI

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TILL WYNDHAM COME Post its spin-off from Wyndham Worldwide Corporation, Ignace Bauwens, regional VP, Middle East, Eurasia and Africa of Wyndham Hotels and Resorts explains how the company will build upon its asset-light and fee-based business model BY VINITA BHATIA

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he recent introduction of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Inc. as an independent, pureplay hotel company reaffirms the company’s underlying mission – to make hotel travel possible for people all over the world. With its portfolio of nearly 9,000 hotels globally across 20 brands, which range from upper-upscale to economy, no matter where people go, there will be a Wyndham brand there to welcome them. To be able to do this, Ignace Bauwens, who was recently promoted as regional VP, Middle East, Eurasia and Africa at Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, tells Vinita Bhatia how the company will provide its franchised hotels with virtual and hands-on support including hotel management tools, revenue management, service culture training, access to global sales offices and accounts, strategic sourcing opportunities, on-going operational support and marketing services. How will Wyndham Hotels and Resorts balance scale and quality this

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year, post the acquisition of two new brands? To further unify our family of brands under our new company name, we have decided to endorse our signature economy and midscale brands with the ‘by Wyndham’ hallmark. 12 Wyndham Hotels & Resorts brands – including iconic names such as Super 8, Days Inn and Ramada – are adding the powerful ‘by Wyndham’ endorsement to their names. Very importantly, this also strengthens each brand’s connection to our awardwinning loyalty programme, Wyndham Rewards, and ultimately gives all of our brands greater recognition worldwide. To ensure we deliver great experiences to all our guests, our operations teams work very closely with all our hotels to maintain high quality standards. We provide our franchised hotels with virtual and hands-on support including hotel management tools, revenue management, service culture training, access to global sales offices and accounts, strategic sourcing opportunities, on-going operational support and marketing services. Our operations

team conducts regular review calls with the hotels to apprise them about the latest tools and initiatives that they can apply at their properties, as well as address any challenges they may have. Now that Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has completed its spin-off from Wyndham Worldwide Corporation, will this have any bearing on any of the operational hotels? As the world's largest hotel franchisor, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts post its spin-off from Wyndham Worldwide Corporation will continue to build upon its powerful asset-light and fee-based business model comprising of an exceptional portfolio of market-leading economy and midscale brands. From an operational standpoint the spin-off will have no impact on the day-to-day running of the hotels. What are some of the growth highlights for Wyndham Hotels & Resorts in the upcoming quarters in India, especially? As part of our development strategy in India, we are looking to expand our

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We have been first-movers in destinations such as Kumbhalgarh where we were the first branded hotel to open in 2016.” footprint beyond metros into secondary and tertiary cities, as well as potential leisure destinations. 2018 has been a good year for us so far with four new hotel signings in India at locations like Jaipur, Aligarh, Kapurthala and Bengaluru. There are some exciting projects under discussion and we hope to be adding to our existing strong pipeline of hotels under development in this region. Our upcoming openings in the next two to three years will see us expanding our footprint in leisure locations such as Goa, Kasauli and Lonavala, as well as in pilgrim destinations like Dwarka (Gujarat) and secondary business locations like Ghaziabad, Trivandrum, Gandhidham and Kapurthala amongst others. At its 2018 Global Brand Conference company representatives spoke about the shared strategy that included being first-movers in new and sometimes secondary and tertiary markets. How this will have any bearing in India? Our growth and development strategy at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts is bold yet simple. We work with local partners to bring quality accommodation to diverse locations. We believe in being present in all markets where there is demand for quality accommodation and thus, are open to being first-movers in new destinations. Many of these locations may not have current demand to justify big inventory hotels - i.e. 150–200 plus rooms so we go for hotels will smaller inventory in the range of 80–120 rooms. In India, most of the secondary and tertiary cities have substantial demand for F&B and banquet facility, and we provide flexibility to our hotels for this offering. We work with owners based

on their individual needs, market of operation and what makes sense for the partnerships. We believe that the next wave of growth in India will come from secondary and tertiary markets, and hence want to position ourselves as a hotel company, which understands the nuances of these markets and addresses the needs of hotel owners with our unique franchise model. How will you ensure you have a firstmover advantage in India, which has the presence of many hospitality companies already? Wyndham Hotels & Resorts is a hospitality powerhouse with 20 brands that span from upper-upscale to economy, meaning we are uniquely positioned to provide more travel choices than anyone else. India is a huge market with room for every hotel segment. Having said that, we have been first-movers in destinations such as Kumbhalgarh

where we were the first branded hotel to open in 2016, followed by Ramada Darjeeling Gandhi Road that opened in 2017 being the first international branded hotel in the hill town. Additional openings within the next two years will include Kasauli, Aligarh, as well as Gandhidham, where we will be among the first three internationally branded hotels to open. What are the advantages of being the first-movers in tertiary cities and towns? How do you ensure that you have a higher success ratio in these markets? We are constantly exploring development opportunities in upcoming secondary and tertiary markets. The prime advantage being that many of these markets currently have limited demand and therefore, the first mover or the first few movers have the opportunity to take a larger chunk of market share, attract the best of talent and manpower in the region, create brand recognition and loyalty, and establish itself firmly by the time the market fully matures to its potential. At Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, we look to provide global connectivity and brand recognition to our hotels. We offer Wyndham Rewards, which has revolutionised the loyalty landscape, offering members an easy-to-use, generous points earning structure along with a flat, free night redemption rate – the

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QUICK CHAT

Ramada Darjeeling Gandhi Road opened in 2017, and Wyndham Hotels and Resorts claims it is the first international branded hotel in the hill town. first of its kind for a major rewards programme. In addition, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has a strong sales network who contribute inbound business to our hotels across regions. We also have a robust referral programme that encourages cross selling of hotels. With a strong online presence and distribution capabilities, we run several business promotions throughout the year with the objective of driving incremental business to our hotels. What are the criteria for selecting which brands to bring to a region like India? India’s hospitality industry is experiencing an upcycle and the next spurt of growth is expected to come from the mid-market segment. The market has witnessed an uptick in domestic travel that includes, leisure and corporate travellers, more Foreign Tourist Arrivals as well as a booming airline industry supported by government-led initiatives. The Indian market is also extremely cost sensitive, offering an excellent opportunity for mid-market hotel brands such as Ramada by Wyndham, which is well established in the country along with our other existing brands like Howard Johnson by Wyndham and Days Hotel by Wyndham. At the same time, we also feel that the Indian market is ready to welcome more of our iconic

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brands and there is potential for Wyndham Grand, Wyndham and Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham in the future. How will the acquisition of more brands help Wyndham drive down distribution costs? The ability to book hotels online gives companies an edge in the fiercely competitive environment. The more hotels and brands we have the more competitive we are. At Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, we are in the midst of a global technology transformation aimed at migrating our entire portfolio of hotels onto a best-in-class cloud-based central reservation system. Having more brands helps in scaling up operations and optimising distribution costs. Moreover, the notion of ‘democratisation of travel’ is all about making travel accessible to every type of traveller, regardless of background or budget. Therefore, with wide diversity of brands ranging from economy to upper-upscale, we like to think that we have a hotel that can appeal to every type of guest imaginable. What is Wyndham’s portfolio in India currently? What is its expected pipeline by 2019? Our growing portfolio in India comprises 35 operational hotels and 3,258 rooms across 26 destinations, includ-

ing metros, tier 2 and 3 cities as well as leisure destinations. Our presence includes hotels under the Ramada by Wyndham, Ramada Encore by Wyndham, Howard Johnson by Wyndham and Days Hotel by Wyndham brands. In 2017 we added seven new hotels and 588 new rooms to our hotel portfolio in India and also expanded our development pipeline, including an agreement with Nebula Infraspace LLP to develop at least 20 hotels under the Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham brand over the next 10 years. We have an interesting pipeline of hotels to open by the end of 2019 including locations like Jaipur, Kasauli, Trivandrum, Ghaziabad and Kathmandu in Nepal. Ramada Encore Kathmandu Thamel will be our first hotel in Nepal. We aim to have 75 operational hotels in India by the end of 2020 to meet the demand of India’s growing travel sector. When it comes to growth, which are the biggest opportunities for growth in India? Global hospitality chains are expanding in the mid-market segment in India and this space has become increasingly competitive in the last few years. This

WYNDHAM WORLDWIDE CORPORATION RENAMED AS WYNDHAM DESTINATIONS Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has completed its spin-off from Wyndham Worldwide Corporation, which has been renamed Wyndham Destinations, Inc. Wyndham Hotels & Resorts is a leading hotel franchisor and provider of hotel management services, with a portfolio of 20 wellrecognised lodging brands and nearly 9,000 franchised hotels in more than 80 countries. "We're thrilled to begin a new era in which we will continue to build upon our powerful asset-light and fee-based business model that is driven by an exceptional portfolio of market-leading economy and midscale brands," said Geoff Ballotti, chief executive officer of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. "As the world's largest hotel franchisor with a proven ability to create value through acquisitions and organic growth, we will focus on strengthening our industry-leading loyalty and technology platforms to drive more direct distribution to our owners and franchisees at a lower cost, while serving everyday travellers exceptionally well."

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only reiterates the potential of the market. Tourism in India is growing rapidly. According to IBEF, the industry’s total contribution to the country’s GDP is expected to increase from US$ 136.3 billion in 2015 to US$ 275.2 billion in 2025. In 2016, India also ranked 3rd among 184 countries in terms of travel and tourism’s total contribution to GDP. Despite high capital costs, long development time and a price sensitive audience, we foresee an increasing demand for stay options that meet international standard but which still offer great value. We believe the mid-scale space will continue to experience strong growth with the upscale segment following closely behind. Our growing and diverse portfolio of brands is strongly positioned to cater to this increasing demand in the market. Though Wyndham has been present in the country for a while, its presence in the midscale segment, which is its core segment, is still limited. Why? Our growing presence in India includes 35 operational hotels. Our portfolio of

brands include Ramada by Wyndham, Ramada Encore by Wyndham and Howard Johnson by Wyndham brands which all operate in the mid-market segment. Last year we expanded our footprint in India and neighbouring countries with 11 new hotels. Two-thirds of the new hotel openings were in India thus re-enforcing our presence in the country’s rapidly growing mid-market hospitality segment. Within the wider Middle East, Eurasia & Africa region, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has a portfolio of 96 operational hotels across a broad range of brands, in addition to a solid pipeline of approximately 70 hotels. How are you convincing more hotel owners to join the Wyndham brand family by emphasising on your commitment to quality standards? Wyndham Hotels & Resorts is a franchisor of hotel brands but in many markets we also have a large hotel management business. In India, we have largely grown through the franchise model, which has worked particularly well for

us, growing our presence from just 8 hotels in 2010 to 35 operational hotels to date. This model provides hotel owners with an option to affiliate with a strong international brand with access to a wide array of high quality services - global distribution channels, brand standards, operational training, sales and marketing and, very importantly, loyalty schemes - whilst retaining the ability to manage and operate the hotel. We work closely with every new hotel owner to introduce them to the brand’s philosophy by defining basic brand standards so that the general look and feel of the brand is maintained. To ensure we deliver great experiences to all our guests, our dedicated Operations teams work with all our hotels to maintain high quality standards of the brand at all times. We have received positive feedback from hotel owners and seen continued interest over the years. In 2017, we had 15 franchise agreements signed with over 1,800 rooms in Eurasia and are confident to keep up this positive momentum in the coming years. HI


Heading this workshop is Michael Wang, who has been with Marriott for over 20 years, and is currently responsible for design and project management related activities for Marriott International’s portfolio of 30 brands (Luxury, Premium and Select) in Asia Pacific. Michael is also responsible for the development and execution of strategies to effectively respond to the changing development and business needs of Marriott International brands in the region. Michael has grown the continent’s portfolio from 16 hotels to 560. He is also leading the integration of the Starwood technical service team in Asia Pacific, and the Global Design team is currently working on over 600 signed projects under Michael’s leadership. GOLD PARTNERS

SUPPORTING PARTNER


HOST HOTEL

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For more information, contact: Gurmeet Sachdev | Director - Hotelier India | gurmeet.sachdev@itp.com | +91 99872 08866


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DIAL T FOR TALENT

Millennials have different career expectations, priorities and ambitions from the erstwhile generation. Arif Khan, director of HR, India for Hyatt Hotels and Resorts urges hoteliers to keep pace with changing times so that they don’t end up managing a 21st century workforce with 20th century workplace practices BY VINITA BHATIA

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peak to an hotelier about the contemporary business challenges they face and in all probability manpower will be amongst the top three of those issues. While it might appear that human resource management – from hiring, training to retaining – is an issue that is plaguing the industry over the past few years, the fact is that the hospitality industry has always had to ride this dragon. Arif Khan, director of HR, India of Hyatt Hotels and Resorts tells Vinita Bhatia that the biggest challenge is actually the shortage of skilled manpower. His definition of skilled people is people who have an interest to join the hospitality business and remain in this industry for a long time, and who have the affinity and ability to connect with guests. Getting and retaining people with this mindset, passion and devotion is increasingly becoming an uphill task. What are the reasons behind the staffing crisis that the hotel industry has been facing over the past few years? There are several factors that have con-

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tributed to this situation. On the macro-level, the growth of the IT and retail sectors weaned away potential talent from the hospitality sector, which was experiencing sluggish growth and offered limited opportunities during the past few years. How has inadequate staffing affected the industry in terms of loss revenue and profitability, in addition to lowered guest satisfaction? It is not the shortage of manpower but the shortage of skilled as well as motivated talent, which has a direct bearing on the guest service levels. This, in turn impacts the guest loyalty and advocacy factor, thereby impacting potential businesses. This shortage of motivated and skilled manpower can also lead to high staff turnover, as one has to be very passionate about working in our industry to make a career. A high churn rate is never a desirable situation for any business, as it increases cost and impacts customer service and ultimately profitability. Which is the most critical challenge when it comes to manpower manage-

ment in the hospitality domain – attracting talent, retention, or retraining? Today, attracting the right talent and retaining them is a big challenge in the hospitality sector. Historically, our industry didn’t have the best reputation due to long working hours, to match a business that operates 24/7, and the intense work of being in touch with customers pretty much all the time. A number of hospitality companies have started reacting to the signs of time, by implementing talent management practices that are more conducive to the new generation. Many others, unfortunately, are still applying fairly archaic practices around compensation, scheduling and working hours, which doesn’t do much good to the reputation of our industry. Compared to previous generations, millennials demand to be heard and expect an interesting, relevant and faster career progression. They want to know exactly what is expected of them, and are looking for ongoing feedback on how they are progressing. Moreover, they do not value job security in the same way as their predecessors did, but

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info@flchospitality.com www.flchospitality.com +912266333849 +912266333850


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will stay with their employer as long as their career progression is interesting and experiential; they move jobs regularly if they see a clearer, more stimulating and rapid path to a senior roles with a better work/life balance. How does a high attrition rate put a burden on the existing staff in the longer run? The higher-than-usual turnover definitely takes a toll on other colleagues, as well as on the internal recruitment, onboarding and development function. We often see that turnover also has a significant impact on customer satisfaction (or NPS, in our case), as new colleagues need time to settle in their new roles, and their buddies are often taken away from their dayto-day jobs to assist in their onboarding. So yes, the high turnover in many places does affect other existing colleagues, if employers don’t plan for measures to alleviate this additional stress. At Hyatt, we try to anticipate turnover based on historical data, and ensure that we have a pipeline of motivated colleagues to join us when opportunities become available. This way, the onboarding process becomes more fun for existing colleagues, and also provides them with a great learning opportunity to develop others. How can hoteliers create an encouraging work environment for associates? At Hyatt, we are trying to create a workplace that is conducive to all generations currently in our workforce. Keeping care in mind, and anticipating the expectations of colleagues who will join us in the future, we introduced some decisions to enhance the work culture of our colleagues. This commitment, launched by our group president and VP for HR, includes a five-day work week (or eight days off a month) for all colleagues, work rosters published a minimum of seven days in advance so that colleagues can plan their schedules and have a better work-life balance, adherence to working hours so associates leave on time and get compensated for hours worked, and a Global ‘Family Assistance Policy’, which includes among many other benefits a fairly unique paternity leave. Since its implementation in 2017, this has significantly impacted the engage-

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ment levels of our colleagues and has emerged as a key employee value proposition in attracting the right talent. We have also empowered our colleagues to chart their own careers plans, at their own pace, and they have a free-flow process to move to different Hyatt-branded properties and locations across the country, region and even the world. In addition to initiatives like overtime and other benefits, how else can hoteliers avoid existing staff ‘s burnout? Wellbeing, alignment with an organisation’s purpose, and tong-term job satisfaction is the key to avoiding staff burnout. Colleagues today are looking for roles that are meaningful to them, where they can align their own values to the organisation’s values and purpose. Talking about values, our CSR programme, Hyatt Thrive, gives our colleagues the opportunity to care not only about our customers and other colleagues but also about the community and environment. April 2018, which is our Global Month of Service across Hyatt, saw our colleagues in India put in more than 9000 man-hours for the betterment of the community.

colleagues from all over the world who are exploring ways to improve our recruiting processes across all countries we are operating in. Going along with time, recruiting today has to be digital as well in order to attract the new generation to the industry, and to our hotels. We have an interactive talent website that allows candidates to experience Hyatt before they join us, read and view testimonials, and hear about potential career plans. If they like what they see, hear and feel, the site also facilitates an easily on-line application process, where candidates can potentially apply to any opportunity across the many countries we are operating in. We implement a variety of practices to reach out and attract the right kind of candidates – from employment advertisements and recruitment videos on social media channels, to a career site designed to help potential candidates get a sense of Hyatt’s culture. We also have Colleague Referral programs to encourage our colleagues to refer external candidates. Historically, referrals stay longer and perform better because they share our same dedication of delivering authentic hospitality and caring for others.

How has Hyatt evolved some of its hiring practices to get more candidates through the door? Our search for talent has evolved from and is guided by the belief that hiring individuals with tremendous passion about caring for others will produce better results, such as the ability to connect with guests and other colleagues, than simply focusing on prior experience. We believe in caring for people so they can be their best, and in order to fulfill our purpose from a recruiting standpoint, we have a global task force, made up of

While many hotels promote the idea of hiring local employees, do you think it is practical and possible in the hospitality industry? Companies that embrace diversity and inclusion in all aspects of their business statistically outperform their peers. At Hyatt, we believe that diversity and inclusion in our workforce, workplace, and marketplace enriches our perspectives, expands our thinking, extends our knowledge and enhances our creativity and innovation. It is through the effective harnessing of all people, that we

It is not the shortage of manpower but the shortage of skilled and motivated talent, which has a direct bearing on guest service levels.”

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Millennial workers want to know exactly what is expected of them, and are looking for ongoing feedback on how they are progressing. strengthen our position as a leader in global hospitality for our colleagues and customers around the world. We understand that demographics alone do not automatically make us an inclusive workplace. We can only be a truly diverse and inclusive workplace if the people who work at our hotels can be themselves. Our programmes and policies in the diversity and inclusion arena are centered on the promotion of individual authenticity. Encouraging individual authenticity makes it easier for all our colleagues to provide authentic hospitality to our guests and colleagues. It is both practical and logical for a hospitality company to hire staff locally. Although, the talent pool of skilled and motivated colleagues is not very big, we predominantly hire locally on only bring in talent from abroad if specific skills or experience are required. How has Hyatt tried to reduce its internal turnover rate to retain more of its existing staff? Our selection process begins with attracting and engaging candidates that share Hyatt’s values. Our leaders find candidates that share our values, and can help us brining our purpose of care to life. Secondly, they find positions that fit prospective colleagues’ passion and skill set. It is critical that our colleagues share a common value system to be successful in our company culture, and a

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role where they can bring their strengths to life. And when work is meaningful, and colleagues can potentially get into this stage of ‘flow’ because they do what they do best, then motivation will grow. Often in our industry, the first 90 days is when you see the highest attrition rates when employers don’t handle the on boarding carefully enough. Our ‘Welcome to Hyatt’ new hire orientation is specially developed to integrate new hires into our culture and introduce them the authentic hospitality that defines our brands. Through a design thinking process involving empathy interviews with dozens of newly hired colleagues, we learned what our new hires want – and don’t want – from their orientation experience. Feedback Sessions are administered within 30 to 90 days of joining. This is an opportunity for new hires to provide feedback on their experiences to date, and to share suggestions on how the hotel can better support their progression. ‘Hyatt Talks’ are confidential, small group discussions that encourage colleagues to share their operational knowledge, insights, thoughts, viewpoints, issues and suggestions with a member of their hotel’s leadership committee. What kind of flexible and individualised roadmaps for advancement does Hyatt provide for its associates who want to move up in the organizations?

We advocate internal growth and offer our existing colleagues the first preference for an opportunity before posting it to external candidates. We also have a robust transfer and mobility policy where we work diligently to provide a workplace environment that constantly challenges our colleagues to grow their careers in different roles and locations at Hyatt. We assist colleagues in fulfilling transfer requests to other Hyatt-branded properties around the world, and even provide the financial assistance necessary to help them relocate for these opportunities. We also have internal programmes like Corporate Leadership Trainee programmes through which high-potential graduates are put on a fast track programme to become a first-time manager, New Manager Development programmes for first time people managers with Hyatt, and a Foundation for the Future for potential General Managers. We also have a programme running where inter-department transfers take place. In India, we have managed to help colleagues answer their true calling. We have many examples where chefs have moved into sales, front office to HR, F&B Service to Production and Housekeeping to front desk, all across our various Hyatt properties in India. Does Hyatt plan to rely on outsourcing non-core domains like housekeeping, maintenance, etc, so that the HR department can focus on more core functions? The reason for outsourcing is usually not connected to the work of the HR function, nor to non-core, if related to housekeeping and maintenance, but is a business decision based on the market we are operating in. In some locations, there are opportunities to outsource parts of housekeeping and engineering; but we are still striving to provide the same working environment to colleagues from outsource companies as we do for other colleagues. Outsource opportunities are more often considered for true non-core domains, such as administration or payroll, where real synergy can be created even between properties to allow us to spend more time and efforts on our core stakeholders – our owners, guests and colleagues. HI

HOTELIER INDIA | JULY 2018 | www.hotelierindia.com


BUYER'S GUIDE

OVER 400 EXHIBITORS, 10,000 DELEGATES EXPECTED TO PARTICIPATE IN IHE 2018

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he India International Hospitality Expo (IHE 2018) will be held from 8th to 11th August 2018 at the India Expo Center in New Delhi. With over 400 exhibitors and 10,000 decision makers expected to participate from across the country, it is expected to be the biggest hospitality show in India. It will be spread across 14,000 square meters and will have exhibition stalls ranging from F&B equipment, food products and beverages, decor, etc. A curtain raiser for this event, which is touted to be India’s most comprehensive sourcing hub for the hospitality, retail, baking, housekeeping and F&B industry, was recently held. Over 200 management professionals, stakeholders as well as associations for buyers and exhibitors came together to support IHE 2018. These included HORECA bodies like ARCHII and HOTREMAI along with Purchase Professionals Federation India (PPFI) were also present at the event. Talking about the event, Chef Manjit Gill,

corporate chef of ITC Hotels and president of Indian Federation of Culinary Associations said, “I have been to many exhibitions in the world and always felt why we don’t have the infrastructure in our country to create an international level exhibition. I am happy that IHE 2018 has bridged that gap. I am extremely excited and committed to work along with IHE 2018 to make it not only the country’s, but the world’s, biggest show.” Talking about the opportunities IHSE 2018 holds for chefs, Chef Gunjan Goela, consultant at ITC said, “This is a very big canvas where all people from hospitality domains can showcase a picture about India that will leave a global impact. And for chefs it will be a good platform to showcase their regional cuisines to international visitors who will come and experience the food, interact with them and also form a business alliance.” Nitin Nagrale, VP, materials at Foodlink Restaurants also noted, “I am happy that this forum will be providing a platform to a lot of new

exhibitors and suppliers to showcase their products, which will help the industry at large. I am sure IHE 2018 will be a grand success.” IHE 2018’s organisers aim to use targeted corporate matchmaking to bring the right buyers and sellers under a single roof. This will be complimented with a one-day conference and industry driven awards ceremony. They have tied up with HORECA bodies like NRAI, NSIC, IPCA, FHRAI, HOTREMAI, ARCHII, HPMF, PPFI, SIB and SHIRA and have the support by Ministry of MSME and NSIC. Chef Manjit Gill and Chef Davinder Kumar, president of Indian Culinary Forum shall conduct a culinary theatre along with wine and whisky tasting. Sunil Sethi, chairman of IHE 2018’s Steering Committee and director of India Expo Mart said, “We will be bringing the entire world of hospitality, retail and F&B industry under one roof with state-of-art facilities that India Expo Centre & Mart has to offer. The expo has been planned after understanding the business goals of the hospitality industry.” Nirmal Khandelwal, chairman, FCML and board member of IHE 2018 noted, “The hospitality industry has come together to build a show that makes the ease of doing business and networking much easier. Our vision for IHE is to make it into an exhibition, which is at par with international hotel shows where actual B2B decision makers are brought in and productive meetings are set up.”

GOVERNMENT OF INDIA INCREASES TARIFF ON WALNUTS AND ALMONDS

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he increase in tariff on walnuts and almonds will increase the price by up to INR 2,000 per kg. These two dry fruits are often used in the Indian diet and chefs stock it extensively in their pantry. Production of almonds and walnuts has been scattered in the state of Kashmir and have not been enough to support the soaring consumer demand. To fulfill the consumer demand and to ensure that quality products are available at affordable price, hotels will now have to import produce. Amit Lohani, Forum

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of Indian Food Importers, said that the Government should consider revoking an increase in tariff on immediate basis and see that the idea of generating revenue should not be done at the cost of India’s health profile. Shekhar Jain, Director, VKC Nuts, added, “In terms of health benefits, walnut scores over all other nuts and is the richest vegetarian source of omega-3 fatty acids which is normally found in fish. Allowing for imports of walnuts in 2013 brought in a welcome respite to the scorched Indian market looking for

this healthy nut at affordable prices as production of Kashmir walnuts has not kept pace with the burgeoning demand in India.”

HOTELIER INDIA | JULY 2018 | www.hotelierindia.com


BUYER'S GUIDE

GRAPE TO GLASS PRESENTS HANDMADE DECANTERS FROM RIEDEL

NEW LAUNCHES FANZART INTRODUCES IP-54 CERTIFIED MIST FAN Fanzart India has introduced ‘Aqua Jet’ mist fan, a luxury cooling solution for hotels and restaurants. The construction of the fan is in the shape of a jet engine, and it is mobile with the wheels attached at the bottom, which allows it to be moved from one place to another with ease. Also available in a wall-mount version, Aqua Jet’s design is in a clean matte white colour. Equipped with a water spray, the mist fan sends a refreshing breeze in the chosen direction. It has an extra motor, which permits better air delivery and cuts air noise. The fan furthermore provides a drop in temperature of upto 8°Celsius over an area of 95 square meters. Speaking about it, Anil Lala, founder, Fanzart India said, “Aqua Jet helps beat heat and humidity on hot days with its unique design, ease of use and premium quality.” The product is best suited for outdoor areas like balconies, backyards, lawns, etc.

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rape to Glass, a venture from Shagun Mehta, has launched the latest editions of handmade decanters from Riedel in India. The company is the exclusive distributor for Riedel, which is credited with revolutionising wine glassware, and has announced a decanter that works with every Riedel series. Each handmade decanter, which is designed for a single bottle of wine, is handmade to achieve striking designs and a smooth and effective decantation process. The art of optically blown glass, which originated in Venice, offers precise angles and graceful shape that aerates the wine and releases its flavours and aromas exquisitely. Gupta recommends Amadeo and Cornetto for more mature wines and for champagne. Mamba is better suited for young, wild wines that benefit from this decanter’s dual decanting function. The Sommeliers Black Tie Face To Face wine decanter from Riedel is designed to pair with the Riedel Sommeliers Black Tie stemware. To enjoy young wines fully (up to 10 years for both red and white), Mehta suggested opening them eight to twelve hours prior to consumption for aeration, or decanting the wine, as this shortens the aeration process. The main preservation element in wine is carbon dioxide, which is integrated with the wine during the first fermentation. Decanting reduces the amount of carbon dioxide and matures the wine, allowing the bouquet to develop faster. On the palate, decanted wine expresses higher levels of fruit in red wines and tends to integrate and smooth out tannins. When decanting young wines, turn the bottle straight into the decanter and let it splash into the vessel, allowing maximum aeration. When decanting off the sediment of an old wine, slowly pour the wine into the decanter without allowing any sediment to leave the bottle.

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FIVE NEW FLOORINGS FROM PERGO

Pergo has introduced the Sensation range of oak décor flooring, where each design highlights the wood’s matt-finish, while the deeper embossing brings out every grain of the wood. This collection includes the Modern Danish, Farmhouse, Village Plank, Limed Grey and Manor Oak. The Pergo Sensation has the patented TitanX surface protection that gives it’s a multi-layer protective floor finish, making it scratch and impact-resistant. This helps it retain its lustre and makes is easier to clean. Installation is made easier with the PerfectFold 3.0 click system, which goes all the way down into the bevels, to create a fully-closed surface. The AquaSafe technology protects the flooring against water seepage, while water-repellent coating on the plank edges ensures that water can’t penetrate from there either. The Sensation floors are hygienic as dirt and water stays on the surface and can be wiped away easily. Its Genuine Rustic surface texture accentuates cracks, knots and scraped effect of wooden floors.

HOTELIER INDIA | JULY 2018 | www.hotelierindia.com


BUYER'S GUIDE

WILLIAM GRANT & SONS TO LAUNCH GRANT’S IN INDIA Global distiller announces first local production venture in India

SELL IT TO ME ELANPRO SC 66 - COUNTER TOP CHILLER What is your latest product offering? Elanpro SC 66 - Counter Top Chiller What are some of its benefits? It is available in 66 liters with top sliding glass door and can be easily cleaned. It features a microprocessor-based control for temperature and heating management, along with low emission glass for zero condensation. The chiller has a molded plastic doorframe, special glass for clear display and is designed to work at high temperature. Why is this product special? It can safely operate even at high ambient temperatures of up to 38°Celsius. It is suitable for the operations at different voltages due to frequency-controlled components. It has low maintenance costs due to a high-performing refrigeration system.

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illiam Grant & Sons, the 130 year-old family run Scottish distiller, announced a deal with Modi Distilleries Limited to bottle and launch Grant’s Blended Scotch whisky in India. Under the terms of the deal, Grant’s Scotch Whisky will be shipped in bulk from Scotland to Modi’s distillery at Modinagar in Uttar Pradesh, where it will be bottled and packaged before being sold nationwide. The brand will initially be sold from September in Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra, Telengana, Goa, Karnataka and Maharastra. According to IWSR global forecasts, India is expected to be one of the largest contributors to global whisky growth over the next 5 years. The Blended Scotch market in India is expected to grow to 5 million cases by 2021. Currently the scale of the market for Scotch brands bottled in India is 10 times larger than those bottled in Scotland and imported. James Pennefather, MD, William Grant & Sons India, said, “This marks an important next phase of William Grant & Sons’ India market entry strategy. Having already established a successful portfolio of imported premium spirits such as Glenfiddich, Monkey Shoulder and Hendricks Gin in India, we decided that this is the right time to enter local production in the market. It is the first time that William Grant & Sons has entered local production in India, so we are delighted to be partnering for this with an established local family business, Modi Distilleries.” Abhishek Modi, executive director, Modi Distilleries Limited, said, “This association with William Grant & Sons is a natural fit for our company, since we have already established our quality credentials with brands such as Rockford Reserve and Artic Vodka. We look forward to working with William Grant & Sons to bring its leading international brand Grant’s Blended Scotch whisky to a new audience.”

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What kind of companies is it targeted at? The glass merchandise display helps showcase bottled products and promote sales of featured beverages. It can be used for displaying products in small quantities or for a new launch. The Elanpro Counter Top Chiller is ideal for restaurants, delis, bakeries and F&B outlets looking to showcase their offerings display, while saving valuable counter space.

HOTELIER INDIA | JULY 2018 | www.hotelierindia.com


OPS & SERVICES F&B

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COLD AND HAPPENING An efficient cold storage system plays an important role in food production and preparation BY PRADEEP SUVARNA

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n efficient cold storage system is critical in any food management business, the hotel industry included. Food that is stored properly in the right temperatures and in the right cold storage systems will minimise contamination and deterioration to a significant extent. So important is this issue, that there are industry guidelines about food storage that all hotels and restaurants have to adhere to. In India, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has outlined some regulations when it comes to cold storage in the F&B segment. Explaining this, Vishi Oberoi, F&B director at Novotel Imagica Khopoli said, “Frozen food must be stored at -18°C (0°F) in refrigerators, refrigerated display units must be 4°C (40°F) or colder, raw and ready to eat/ cooked food should be stored separately. Also, food should be covered and labeled with date and time of production and expiry. To facilitate cleaning and to deter pests, all food should be kept 15cm (6 inches) above the floor.” Another basic guideline is keeping packaging material covered to avoid contamination and follow the rotate stock method (FIFO - First in, First Out and FEFO - First Expire First Out). The most important rule to follow is keeping rejected material separately to avoid cross contamination. Vivek Kalia, Executive Chef, Indore Marriott Hotel added that while planning the cold storage room, it should be kept in mind that all raw, processed, packaged, rejected, returned or recalled food items are segregated; even allergen material and marked and secured products (hardware & cleaning chemicals) are distinguished. “The storage area for raw food should be kept separated from the area of work-in-progress, processed, cooked and packaged products. Furthermore, containers made of non-toxic materials should be provided for storage of raw materials, work-inprogress and finished / ready to serve products,” he added. THE BIG CHILL An efficient cold storage system plays an important role in food production and preparation. Refrigeration is a tech-

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OPS & SERVICES F&B

nology that is used in hotel and restaurant kitchens to maintain freshness of produce and increase its shelf life, without affecting its quality. Technological developments have helped in ensuring that food remains storage in commercial cold storage units retain their nutritional value without significantly altering its organoleptic qualities. Talking about this, Chef Mani Mohan Pathak of Howard Johnson Hotel Hebbal, Bengaluru said, “For chilled foods, quality and safety are reliant on the food being maintained at a sufficiently low temperature throughout its life to prevent growth of bacterial pathogens and to minimise growth of spoilage microbes. Chilling also has beneficial effects on quality, minimising moisture transport and maintaining flavour, colour and texture.” Saurabh Srivastava, executive chef of Aloft New Delhi Aerocity added, “Cold storage helps maintain the right temperature of ingredients to be used for cooking. Since its nutrient value remains intact, the overall food is of high quality and of utmost perfection.”

Chef Mani Mohan Pathak, executive chef, Howard Johnson Hotel Hebbal, Bengaluru.

Chef Vikash Prasad, executive chef, The Westin Kolkata Rajarhat.

It is also interesting to note that a optimal cold storage also has great business benefits. Manoj Rawat, executive chef of Hilton Garden Inn Gurgaon Baani Square, explained this perspective, “Food production is a dynamic job and the uncertainty in this business can make it very challenging for the culinary team to meet the guest needs every time. Hence, an efficient cold storage is important to maintain the cold chain and for large storage needs. A cold stor-

age must be well spacious, lit and practically designed so that it helps in food storage effectively.” This is especially in the case of produce that is often classified as ‘high-risk foods’, for instance, meat, poultry, dairy, seafood, eggs, or even cooked rice and pasta. It can also extend to ready-to-eat foods that have high-risk of contamination like casseroles, quiche, pasta salad, pizza, sandwiches or cakes. Chef Prasad said, “By keeping these


OPS & SERVICES F&B

Refrigeration technology is used in hotel and restaurant kitchens to maintain freshness of produce and increase its shelf life, without affecting its quality.

Chef Alok Anand, executive chef, JW Marriott Kolkata. high-risk foods under 5 degrees Celsius in a refrigerator, they are prevented from entering the ‘danger-zone’ – or temperatures between 5 degrees Celsius and 60 degrees Celsius. This temperature zone is the one that provides bacteria with the perfect environment to rapidly grow and multiply, causing food poisoning.” HESITATE AT YOUR OWN RISK In the contemporary world, it is impossible to run a commercial kitchen without an efficient cold storage unit. For instance, like Chef Mani Mohan Pathak pointed out, there is little chance for bacteria, yeast or mould to grow at temperatures below - 12°C, which means that frozen storage mainly influences food quality, not food safety. “Freezing food provides consumers with access to

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seasonal products that otherwise would not be available year round, unless imported from overseas with the associated cost and environmental impact, and products such as ice cream that could only be created using refrigeration,” he claimed. Ilandhirai Vaivel, Executive Chef, Radisson Blu Hinjawadi added, “The right food storage helps in cooling the hot food before refrigerating and place the shallow containers so that it cools more quickly. By storing raw and cooked food or ready to eat food separately, chefs can eliminate the risk of cross-contamination.” Cold storage facilities are commonly built to store perishable goods for longer period. Due to increasing demand, production of perishable goods such as fruit and vegetables continues to rise. To better preserve these goods and prevent them from spoiling, they need to be placed in cold storage facilities, underlining its importance. Chef Vikash Prasad, Executive Chef, The Westin Kolkata Rajarhat noted, “The downside of not having cold storage system is failure to sustain the shelf life of raw materials such as fresh vegetables, raw chicken, meat, egg. Moreover, not having proper cold storage system means shortening the timeframe for marketing the foods. This also increases the chances of food becoming unsafe

due to spoilage, as many kinds of spoilage cannot be detected by naked eye, smell or touch.” Vivek Kalia, Executive Chef, Indore Marriott Hotel said that in developed countries, the use of ‘cold’ handling and storage systems is seen as an investment to prevent perishable food losses. It can be highly cost-effective compared to increasing production to meet increasing demands for these foods. “The use of cold technologies in the development of agricultural supply chains for meat, dairy, fish and horticulture products in the USA and EU countries began in the early 1950s along with the growth of the mechanical refrigeration industry; but cold chains are still limited in most developing countries,” he pointed out. However, in addition to having a cold storage system, it is important to ensure that it is working in top form. Chef Alok Anand, executive chef, JW Marriott Kolkata said, “An inefficient cold storage will compromise on the food quality which could have a detrimental effect on the guests’ health and wellbeing. This could lead to fines or prosecution

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Rules to follow Here are some guidelines for colde storage facilities to avoid food cross-contamination: ⊲ Frozen food must be stored at -18°C (0°F) ⊲ Refrigerators and refrigerated display units must be 4°C (40°F) or colder ⊲ Dry storage areas should be from 10°C to 21°C (50°F to 70°F) ⊲ Store raw and ready to eat/cooked food separately ⊲ Never store raw food above ready to eat/ cooked food ⊲ Keep food covered all the time ⊲ Keep all foods labelled with date of production and expiry ⊲ Rotate stock (FIFO- First in First Out and FEFO- First Expire First Out) ⊲ Store all food 15cm (6 inches) off the floor to facilitate cleaning and deter pests ⊲ Keep packaging material covered to avoid contamination ⊲ Rejected material to be kept separately to avoid cross contamination ⊲ Storage areas should always be clean and well lit


OPS & SERVICES F&B

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Manoj Rawat, executive chef, Hilton Garden Inn Gurgaon Baani Square.

The decision of investing in a cold storage system can be on the basis of F&B outlet’s size, menu selection and availability of ingredients.

STORAGE PRACTICES Chef Vikash Prasad, executive chef of The Westin Kolkata Rajarhat shares some best practices for storing food: ⊲ Separate Fridge is required for veg and nonveg food ⊲ Sequence in vegetarian refrigerator should be – ready to eat and salad at the top shelve, cooked vegetables at next top shelves and raw vegetables at the lower shelves. ⊲ Sequence in non-vegetarian refrigerator should be –ready to eat and non-veg salad at the top shelve, cooked non-veg at next top shelves and raw non-veg at the lower shelves. ⊲ If separate refrigerator is not available, then place ready to eat and salad at the top shelves, cooked vegetables on next top shelves. Cooked non-veg in the next top shelves and raw food at the lower shelves.

Vishi Oberoi, F&B director, Novotel Imagica Khopoli.

Vivek Kalia, executive chef, Indore Marriott Hotel. as well, apart from damaging the business reputation of the brand.” CHOOSING WISELY Since an investment in a commercial cold storage unit does not come cheap, hoteliers have to make this choice judiciously. Chef Alok Anand recommended that the decision should be on the basis of F&B outlet’s size, menu selection and availability of ingredients. It would also depend on the cold storage brands

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available with good after sales service. Manoj Rawat, too, agreed with him. He suggested considering the size of the F&B business, which broadly includes the number of outlets, banquets etc. “Additionally, the hotelier needs to deliberate on the floors where the whole F&B operations is spread as well as the offerings in terms of different cuisines. More options more resources. And most importantly, the hotel’s inventory should also be taken into consideration as the number of rooms is a deciding parameter,” he explained. Chef Vikash Prasad has four parameters for the selection of a cold stor-

age unit – operation volume, operation standard, FSSAI guidelines and food safety. At the same time, it is important the various technologies available in the market, and even contemplate whether it is viable to have a combination of these. Chef Mani Mohan Pathak explained, “Chilled production facilities, cold rooms and freezer rooms, frozen food rooms as well as blast chillers and blast freezers all play their part in locking in the freshness regardless of whether you are working with fish or seafood, meat or poultry or fruit and vegetables and dairy.” Since food safety and hygiene play an important role in today’s scenario in hotels, Vishi Oberoi believes that it has become imperative for a hotel to have a Food Safety Management System (FSMS) in place and further that it should be HAACP certified. Ultimately, the investment in a cold storage system will depend upon the size and category of the hotel. The significance of an effectual cold storage system can never be overstated in the F&B business. No hotel or restaurant would want to deal with the issues that come with food wastage or contamination, or worse, food poisoning. All of these have the possibility of potentially causing irreparable damage to a hotel’s business as well as reputation. This it can be easily avoided, by investing in the right kind of cold storage systems, which underscores its importance in the food chain, literally! HI

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PRESENTS

GM & LEADERSHIP ROUNDTABLE

Hotelier India initiates the first-ever event to bring together top GMs from various cities across the country to raise core issues and share their experiences. GMs representing leading hotel chains will discuss topics ranging from pain points to success stories â&#x20AC;&#x201C; including critical subjects like guest satisfaction, food safety, water and energy management, and hygiene. Comencing with our first edition from Delhi in July, Hotelier India will carry the learnings in its subsequent issues. AN EVENT BY


OPS & SERVICES DESIGN

MEET AND GREET Hotels are investing in making their meeting areas more efficient, utilitarian and elegant. The objective is to utilise these spaces to maximise revenue BY PRADEEP SUVARNA

M

eeting rooms have often remained the underutilised business areas in a hotel, with most properties focusing more on ensuring room occupancy and getting more footfalls into its F&B outlets. Not any more. They are waking up to the fact that by harnessing the opportunities in meeting spaces, they can achieve both these objectives in one shot. To be able to do this, hotels need to put in place a well-managed meetings programme. This begins from the moment a guest makes an enquiry about

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the availability of a meeting space to finalising the event details to its successful completion. Through it all, it is imperative that the hotel’s team is in sync with the guest’s needs, without the latter encountering any inconvenience or issues. Suman Dutta Sharma, general manager of Hyatt Regency Amritsar defined a well-managed meetings programme as one that ensures a seamless experience offering the best of solutions. “This not only ensures that all the stated requirements are fulfilled but proactively determines non-stated requirements, which may come up at the last minute

and makes sure that things are in place in advance to cater to these needs.” For Archis Khanwelkar, groups, conferences and events manager at Hilton Bangalore Embassy GolfLinks an accomplished meeting programme is one where the customer has been able to achieve their core objective, i.e. an event, without any hassle. “This involves multiple aspects, viz. pre-sales experience, 360 degree qualification of customer needs to ensure we know what they want, being transparent with customer in terms of what the hotel can provide and what is not do-

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OPS & SERVICES DESIGN

Vikalp Raj, director of sales and marketing at Sheraton Grand Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway

Ajinkya Kulkarni, director of sales and marketing, Oterra Bengaluru.

able – to ensure they are well prepared for last minute changes to their programme needs, proper internal communication with the operations team to ensure they know the event’s objective, improvisation during the event as per customer’s need, offering flexibility, having multiple solutions for a customer’s problem. Additionally, it is necessary to have a feedback mechanism that allows customers to share concerns during the event in order to arrest issues on the spot,” he explained. STEP RIGHT UP Depending on its business segment, brand and its location, a hotel’s meeting areas can vary from a small boardroom to a large convention center to cater to meetings as well social gatherings. With the number of properties currently in the market for conversions as well as new constructions coming up, hotels are considering ways to make these areas more efficient, utilitarian and elegant.

Take the case of Hyatt Amritsar, which was rebranded to Hyatt Regency Amritsar recently. As part of the upgradation and rebranding, the hotel decided to bring some innovative technology and solutions and invested a sizeable amount on upgrading its facilities to ensure they are contemporary, user friendly and ahead of the competition. “Offering an experience that puts everything a guest needs right at their fingertips, Hyatt Regency Amritsar delivers a full range of intuitive services and amenities, including technology-enabled ways to collaborate; the space to work, and expert planners who can take care of every detail,” said Sharma, talking about how investments are based on market needs and changing dynamics. Similarly, last year, Hilton Bangalore Embassy GolfLinks introduced a larger meeting space to meet growing demands of its corporate clients. The hotel intends to upgrade the technology it uses at its meeting venues, renovate its interiors to bring freshness in the

ambience, introduce props for various F&B breaks, provide regular training of C&E service team to smoothly manage multiple events, improvise the poolside lawn area to make it more conducive for corporate meetings and invest more in one of its F&B outlets, which is often used as an additional venue. Talking about these initiatives, Khanwelkar said that being part to a business park, the requirement for day-today events range from small to medium sized events and the same is mostly from repeat clients, or from clients who have explored the conferences and events space earlier. “Hence, the idea is to always extend something fresh and magnetic, which suits their meeting requirement. This involves working closely with the people who are part of the meeting, understanding the agenda for the meeting, the idea of the company, etc,” he noted. IMPROVING EFFICIENCY While hotels focus on ways to improve efficiency across all departments, they follow a more holistic approach when it comes to management of meeting spaces. They take the practice beyond just the space’s design and its elements by delving into the requirements of a particular meeting and their attendees. Pankaj Chaudhary, director of sales and marketing, JW Marriott Chandigarh explained, “For instance, since social media and online platforms have become integral and crucial to business meetings, our focus is on further improving internet connectivity so that these platforms can function seamlessly to the attendees’ satisfaction.” With the increase in clients’ spending power in the last decade, there is a corresponding rise in the number of events that they host at hotels. At the same time, this has heightened their expectations from meeting venues. Vikalp Raj, director of sales and marketing at Sheraton Grand Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway explained, “Guests generally prefer to have a planning session after their event with a small breakaway session for better productivity. They prefer to host their meetings at our hotel as we provide them with an expansive meeting space of 25,649 square feet, with varied F&B

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OPS & SERVICES DESIGN

offerings. Being a part of a lifestyle enclave, they have the flexibility to venture and explore for entertainment options at Orion Mall or in the neighborhood.” Multi-functional meeting spaces are gaining ground and hotels are customising these spaces to suit a variety of needs. Talking about this Sharma stated, “We introduced the White Box, a versatile space that can accommodate about 100 covers for intimate occasions like family get-togethers, private parties and celebrations, and is adaptable for corporate events. It is also the only dedicated kitty party space for Amritsar residents, supported by enthusiastic associates and state of the art audio-visual facilities. It offers three private dining rooms and an outdoor seating space for 24 people with customisable menu offerings and seating arrangements.”

MONETISING UNDERUTILISED AREAS Hoteliers are now trying to better understand their guests’ requirements and then provide them with tailored offerings based on their specific needs. The key to success here is assessing the flexibility and limitation of one’s own resources before offering the solution that can best meet the client’s expectations. Take the instance of The Living Room at JW Marriott Chandigarh, which is a suitable meeting space for social and corporate training events as it goes well with the idea of providing the right combination of indoor and outdoor covered space. The Grand Ball Room, on the other hand, is suitable for catering to large groups and is preferred by corporates holding customer-centric events.

At the same time, meeting spaces have various under-tapped opportunities that can be leveraged to maximise revenue, especially the pre-function areas. Ajinkya Kulkarni, sirector of sales and marketing, Oterra Bengaluru cites the example of wedding and social functions, where hotels can come up with innovative ways for space utilisation, like using the poolside area for the Hindu rituals, pre-function areas for other small-scale social events. Khanwelkar opined that a lot of times some pre-function areas are under-utilised due to different timings or when no events are held at a particular point in time. “But, in case a property or a company wants to showcase their product, they can maximise on these

Pankaj Chaudhary, director of sales and marketing, JW Marriott Chandigarh.

Suman Dutta Sharma, general manager, Hyatt Regency Amritsar.

SUSTAINABILITY IN EVENTS At a time when sustainability has become a focal point for the hospitality industry, take a leaf from Hilton Bangalore Embassy GolfLinks’ book on how to organise sustainable meetings: • Use recycled notepads and pencils • Use infused water containers instead of plastic bottles • Operate thermostat controlled AC instead of centralised AC • Source produce for food from within 5-mile radius and avoid use of imported food items.

Hoteliers are now trying to better understand their guests’ requirements and then provide them with tailored offerings based on their specific needs.

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HOTELIER INDIA | JULY 2018 | www.hotelierindia.com


OPS & SERVICES DESIGN

Archis Khanwelkar, groups, conferences and events, Hilton Bangalore Embassy GolfLinks. real estate slots for exhibitions or product showcase,” he suggested. Raj of Sheraton Grand Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway agreed with him. “While we utilise every facility to its maximum potential, pre-function areas and sections for breakaways are extremely useful. This is especially when events require extra space for increasing buffet spread or hosting exhibitions, etc,” he stated. GAINING AN EDGE Unconventional spaces can give a strong and steady fillip to a hotel’s bottom line. Hence, the events teams at properties like Sheraton Grand Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway come up with innovative ways for this vertical; by making the décor lively or adhering to a theme of the season, or food that will be served at the event. Raj said, “This not only motivates the team to work towards extending impeccable guest service, but also provides a refreshed experience to guests after a long session. They even organise thematic breaks and octanorm stall during the exhibitions. Or if it is for an exhibition, we utilise the areas effectively by spreading it over strategically for flexible movement.” Marriott recently introduced a new concept called ‘Meetings Imagined’, which focuses on the specific purpose of the meeting and provides facilities accordingly. Based on the purpose of the meeting, the brand provides expert tips in accordance with the latest trends and gives access to an ‘inspiration gallery’ to help guests plan essentials well in advance. While leveraging this concept at all

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Hotels can come up with innovative ways for space utilisation, like using the poolside area for the Hindu rituals, pre-function areas for other small-scale social events.

PUTTING DATA ANALYTICS TO WORK Hyatt Regency Amritsar uses data analysis as a process tool in a three-phase manner: pre-event, during the event and post-event. The three steps work in cohesion with one another. During an event, the events team keeps track of live feedback/suggestions from guests, which are later analysed for value addition in future events. Similarly, it has a feedback mechanism in place to take customer feedback post-event regarding the overall service

corporate events taking place at JW Marriott Chandigarh, Chaudhary said that the hotel does other things to ensure it stays ahead of the market curve. “To maintain an edge over our competitors, we consistently review the events we host in our meetings, thereby ensuring that our marketing initiatives are in sync with the requirements of our guests. JW Marriott Chandigarh’s services and location, coupled with a dedicated events team, serve as the right combination for ensuring the success of MICE events,” he stated. Similarly, Khanwelkar said that Hilton strongly believes that the bottom line of its business is to ensure customer gratification. “The higher the satisfaction, the more achievable the goals are. Hence, as a team, we always move beyond our comfortable space and reach out to our customers with ideas, which help them to think be-

experience, constructive suggestions and ratings. The hotel studies the feedback to stay on par with the evolving guest preferences. In the pre-event analysis phase, it draws reference from the above two steps as well as proactive data gathering mechanisms which include industry scan, surveys etc., to have the best possible understanding of customer expectations and customise its offerings.

yond a regular meeting,” he maintained. Talking about how Hyatt Regency Amritsar is using its events space to optimise revenues, Sharma revealed that the entire meetings space is suited to cater to a variety of events and activities. “These contribute in increasing our events bottom lines. The hotel has also worked on concerted plans to ensure optimization of spaces through activities which include exhibitions, flee market, cultural evenings, high energy events, launches and leadership meetings to name a few,” he noted. Ultimately, to stay ahead of competition and also etch a positive image in the minds of their clientele, hoteliers need to constantly relook at their events space. There might exist areas that can be better augmented for revenue. All it needs is a closer look and some out-ofthe-box thinking. HI

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OPS & SERVICES TECH

ROOM WITH A VOICE

Heightened in-room entertainment is not about offering guests convenience, but about matching their expectations, and ensuring they are more relaxed and productive during their stay BY PRADEEP SUVARNA

I

n a conventional situation, when guest want amenities or towels, they have to call the housekeeping department from the room phone and place their request. Well, things are evolving. In some Marriott hotels, guests can soon state their requests for these items to an Amazon Echo device in their rooms and the housekeeping department will simply send it to their room. HOW, YOU ASK? It is courtesy the recent Alexa for Hospitality programme by Amazon, which the company announced in June 2018, nearly seven months after announcing Alexa for Business. It offers hotels an Amazon Echo device that can be used as a voice-activated virtual concierge in each room. While explaining the programme’s functionality and utility at a New York preview, Amazon’s VP, Daniel Rausch said, “It is a set of tools that allows ho-

tels to build immersive experiences with Alexa right into the hotel context, the brand context and the guest stay.” Initially, Marriott International has signed up as Amazon’s launch partner on the new platform, since it has been testing both Siri and Alexa devices for various other applications. It is expected that the hotel chain will introduce the new Alexa solution at select properties in Westin Hotels & Resorts, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, Aloft Hotels, and Autograph Collection Hotels in the Americas. At the same time, Amazon is also inviting other hospitality providers to leverage this solution using customised Echo devices that will be installed in guest rooms. If you thought that this solution can only be used for ordering stuff from the housekeeping department, you have another think coming. Guests can use the Alexa solution to place in-room dining requests, speak to the concierge or the front desk or book spa appointments.

What is also impressive is that the Alexa system can be customised further to control even the in-room entertainment on the TV. Amazon said that the technology specifically works with guest room entertainment providers like World Cinema and GuestTek for voice control of TV experiences, and offers in-room control of connected devices using Crestron and Inncom by Honeywell. Additionally, guests can play music and radio over audio services like iHeartRadio and TuneIn, and hotels can tweak these to play those music stations or create playlists that match its brand ethos. They can also give guests the option to access thirdparty apps like live streaming sites, depending on their nature of engagement with that entity. THE DIGITAL PUSH There is a reason why hotels are bullish on innovating when it comes to

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OPS & SERVICES TECH

We offer plug in and play away features wherein the guests can enjoy content from their portable electronic devices on the 42 inches TV screen in their rooms.â&#x20AC;? - Amit Kumar, hotel manager, Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park.

in-room entertainment â&#x20AC;&#x201C; many guests have smart TVs at home as well as Alexa-supported devices; they expect the same with the luxury and business hotels that they check into. For hoteliers, it is not just a matter of offering convenience to their guests, but matching their expectations and ensuring travellers are more relaxed or productive during their travel experience. This is one reason why an increasing number of hotels are investing in interactive TV content, as they believe there is a distinct possibility that it will have a direct impact on guest satisfac-

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And then there is sound! It is safe to accept that music is a crucial element in the overall in-room entertainment experience offered to guests. The technical, financial and rights-related challenges and investments have shrunk massively over the past years. At the same time, there exists a much deeper understanding of how the guest experience is built up and how music affects it. EMBRACING TECHNOLOGY Creating a worthwhile musical atmosphere has become extremely easy. All you need is an audio system and an internet connection. For maximum flexibility you can opt for a streaming system. The music is piped to your hotel over the internet in real time. But perhaps your connection is not perfectly stable, or for security or bandwidth reasons you do not want the constant data load of streaming music. In this case, you can opt for an offline mode where the playlists are downloaded to any modern device that you use to play music. MUSIC RIGHTS If you were to start approaching the musical atmosphere of your hotel in this fashion, things can quickly turn complicated and expensive when it comes to music rights. These are fees to compensate the rights holders (artists, record labels, songwriters and publishers) of the music that you are using their copyrights in your hotel. Luckily, there is a new alternative to the old system: Direct Licensing. This is music that is sourced directly from the artist, without unnecessary middlemen or intermediaries. This is not only a more simple solution, it also saves a lot of money every year. Back in the days, directly licensed music was often of lower quality than commercial music. That is no longer the case now that music production and licensing has been democratised and globalised in recent years. BRANDED MUSIC Of course, you also want your music to reflect and enhance your brand image. A combination of sight, sound and scent can trigger extremely strong associations. Particularly for worldwide hotel chains, it can be rewarding to create recognisability. A guest will feel right at home, even though he or she has never been to this specific property before. The best way to create recognisability is to be specific. 90% of mainstreet businesses play generic pop music. This is a safe choice, which results in a generic, vague and unmemborable image. Dare to go for something different. Maybe your formula is all about Blues or Baroque. Be special.

Courtesy - Rightsify

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Hoteliers have to provide guests with various in-room entertainment choices, without making it a complex affair. tion and loyalty. Take the case of Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park, which provides 50 plus channels along with SPGtv as part of interactive TV content in its guest rooms. The SPGtv has been curated to engage guests with global content in terms of destinations, brands, events and promotions, which directly impacts customer engagement and loyalty for the brand. Similarly, at the recently opened Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty, keeping in line with Hyatt’s concepts of sustainability and environmentally conscious processes, the hotel chose to reduce paper and related collaterals and opted to maximise its content on the interactive TV. Every guest room’s TV sports an in-house promotions page, which shows the latest hotel offers and is frequently updated. “It is also used to showcase the property’s expansive inroom dining and F&B outlet menus as well as the comprehensive list of Destination Experiences specially curated for its guests, from trekking in the forests of Kodanad to a star-lit backwater cruise on the Vembanad Lake, overlooking the hotel,” said Girish Bhagat, general manager, Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty. CHANGE, THE ONLY CONSTANT In-room entertainment has evolved rapidly over the past few years and TV in guestrooms today play multiple roles. It has to show sitcoms and movies in addition to hotel content. Additionally, a guest should be able to port their Netflix or Amazon Prime content from their mobile device to watch it. Some might

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In line with Hyatt’s sustainability concepts, we chose to reduce paper and related collaterals and opted to maximise our hotel’s content on the interactive TV.” - Girish Bhagat, general manager, Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty.

want to cast or mirror their phone on the TV to watch content from their mobile device on a bigger screen. With so many changes taking place when it comes to digital technologies, it is important that hoteliers provide their guests with the option to make their own choice for their in-room entertainment, without making it a complex affair. Additionally, it is important to ensure that this is done in a seamless way. Citing the example of his own hotel, Amit Kumar, hotel manager, Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park said, “Aloft as a brand is tech-forward and serves as the R&D lab of what a hotel will be in the future. It consistently looks at strategically aligning itself in terms of technology in selecting the right solution for in room entertainment for its guests. In line with guest experience and technology choices, we are the only hotel in Bengaluru that offers complimentary 100 Mbps internet to their guests. Our high speed internet which is a key for in-room entertainment, is 100% secure with firewall and updated software to ensure we do not comprise on security at the hotel.” This speed is highly advantageous since more often than not guests really want to stream their own content to the TV. What’s more, they expect the inroom TV viewing experience to either match the one they have at home, or even be better. Understanding this perspective, Kumar pointed out that Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park offers plug in and play away features wherein the guests can enjoy content from their portable electronic devices on the 42 inches TV screen in their rooms. “All they need to do is, plug into the all-in-one connectively panel, and the video source will pop up on the screen. To amplify the guest experience even more, free cables are provided at the front desk,” he stated. It is undeniable that in-room entertainment has become very significant to guests, and therefore essential to their travel experience. Hotels have to, therefore, view the TV as more than a dumb screen. Instead, they have to consider it as an interactive nucleus where they can portray their brand identity and also use it as a platform to showcase various stay-enhancing activities. HI

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INDUSTRY DEBATE

DOING THE MATH As the hotel business witnesses accelerated change, revenue managers are developing innovative strategies to optimise demand and improve room occupancy BY BINDU GOPAL RAO

A

n underlying premise that drives hospitality is profitability. With changing landscapes driven by an intensely competitive business dynamics, revenue managers are working on newer business models and techniques to strengthen pricing across all product domains to improve overall profitability. The key to optimising revenues is to

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develop strategies that can spur demand and improve room occupancy. Occupancy again is dependent on demand and prices. Demand forecasting and appropriately managing rates, according to seasonal demand, can play a vital role in driving occupancy. “Many hoteliers fail to forecast and gather the status for forthcoming months. It is always vital to know how many room nights you are picking up

each day for every future date for at least up to three months. This has to be done for all the market segments of a hotel. This can help one make strategies in advance for all market segments and determine how many rooms to allot for each market segment,” said Chandrakant Shetty, CEO, VITS Luxury Business Hotels. Stephanie Tanpure, VP, sales, Sands China added, “Today's consumers are

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INDUSTRY DEBATE

inundated with information that is used to form decisions on where and when to book a hotel room. The ability to collect and analyse this information strengthens a hotel’s position as far as optimising demand and driving occupancy is concerned.” A revenue manager must take many factors into consideration, such as changes in consumer buying behaviour, the roles of various online distribution channels, and the activities of the competitive set. “Each segment drives a price point and a distribution mechanism. Hotels with the use of technology-based systems like rate shopper and channel managers, manage online and offline pricing, forecasting and inventory allocation through competitive performance reports like STR,” said Rathish Kumar, revenue manager, Jaypee Greens Golf & Spa Resort.

CATCHING THEM YOUNG Travellers today have more purchasing intelligence, putting greater pressure on hoteliers to make accurate forecasts relative to booking demand, room pricing and promotions. Also, there are several changes taking place in the distribution landscape. Increasingly, hotels are relying on Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) for their distribution with only large chain hotels relying on Global Distribution System (GDS). Many hotels also rely on Google by searching for hotel+location and identifying the sites their competitors appear as. “Hoteliers can easily see how Google/ Search engines and OTAs have become very powerful marketing agencies in this era, which is going to continue for a long time. There has been a rapid growth in a consumer’s use of search using mobile and social media for planning their travel or making room reservations. A hotel’s revenue manager, therefore, has to become conversant about the multitude of ways in which these tools can be utilised,” said Shetty. One clear trend is that online booking is growing fast in Asia – 50% in China, 31% in Japan and 22% in India, according to one industry report. "Another clear trend is that OTAs are leading the charge with OTA hotel bookings growing faster than hotel direct bookings. Given these trends, it is critical that hotels implement the necessary distribution and marketing strategies, put the right structures and resources in place to capture new customers, optimise customer acquisition costs with the right channel mix, maximise revenues and profitability, and improve the in-destination experience offerings by leveraging data and technology," explained Remson Fernandes, corporate revenue manager, Mars Enterprises and Hospitality. According to a recent survey conducted by a major OTA, young Indians are the driving force behind the changing travel landscape in the country. About 66% of the total trips are made by travellers in the age group 18-30 years. “Tapping the handset market is very important with the recent announcement that there are more mobile devices than people in the world. Every guest is now moving from desktops and laptops to smartphones, this means that hoteliers now have a

Rathish Kumar, revenue manager, Jaypee Greens Golf & Spa Resort.

Sucheta Jadhao, director of revenue management, Sofitel Mumbai BKC.

Stephanie Tanpure, VP, sales, Sands China. 24X7 booking window. Looking at the demand we will be soon launching our own Planet Hollywood Goa mobile app, which is in pipeline,” said Sunil Amonker, revenue and e-commerce manager, Planet Hollywood Resort, a part of Viiking Hospitality. Massive changes are seen in the recent years in terms of distribution landscape, more so in the online space. The distribution in the offline space is dominated through three parts – B2B, B2C and direct customer calls to

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INDUSTRY DEBATE

Amit Maini, director of revenue strategy, Bengaluru, Marriott Hotels India the hotel. NEW VISTAS Newer business models and techniques are being used by revenue managers using to strengthen pricing across all product domains to improve overall profitability as hoteliers have to ensure that the bottom line is not taking a hit with new sales strategies being implemented. Hoteliers cannot rely on Average Daily rate (ADR) and Revenue per Available Room (RevPar) alone to measure their profitability this is where gross operating profit per available room (GOPPAR) and other advanced budgeting models come into play which might differ from hotel to hotel based on which model they chose. Kumar noted, “Moving from fixed pricing to dynamic pricing has caused a significant change in the way hotel rooms are priced and sold. Guests are now in a better bargaining position provided by the ever increasing value transparency.” Sucheta Jadhao, director of revenue management, Sofitel Mumbai BKC added, “At Sofitel Mumbai BKC, we have implemented pricing strategies based on length of stay, which has proved to effective in driving revenue. We also apply the competitive pricing model. Profitability can be maximised by applying measures to drive more traffic from direct channels which are cost effective. We also implement strategies to increase contribution across various categories, by launching an attractive up-selling programme by the front office and reservations teams, which helps improve room profitability.” Understanding the booking curve and

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Demand forecasting and appropriately managing rates, according to seasonal demand, can play a vital role in driving occupancy. channels and what channels drive business into your markets at the highest volume and at the best rates is important. “Implement upselling is another easiest thing to apply. Use of technology is one of the most important recent ongoing changes is the increased presence of automation. RM systems with automation are preferable than those without. Automation increases RM efficiency and helps managers focus on driving profitability. They can spend more time on strategy, while data entry and logistics are automated,” opined Amonker. Again, buying patterns are segmentspecific. Understanding specific differences in buying behaviour is the key to form custom distribution strategy and help hotels get a high ROI. “Additionally, with more data and trends at their disposal, hotels today are not considering room revenue as the only indicator of ROI. There is growing focus for other value that the investment adds such as On-spend of guests, loyalty and the gross margin of a guest relationship over time,” averred Amit Maini, director of revenue strategy, Bengaluru, Marriott Hotels India. DIRECT CONNECTION There is also an increased focus on direct hotel bookings as every property strives for more direct bookings as they

have the lowest cost of acquisition and are better for a hotel’s bottom line. A hotel’s CRM or PMS holding guest data can identify who the guests are why they chose your hotel. Maintaining a compelling and user-friendly website is another crucial component of direct booking strategy. Most importantly, encouraging direct bookings involves savings in the form of OTA commission. ROI is the core objective as the number of rooms which get unsold each day becomes a liability due to nature of business. There are permutations and combinations to overlook the ROI. Direct channels are the cheapest way to get a booking in. With hotels paying 15-25% of top-line revenue in commissions to OTA’s, this is usually the most-cited reason for increased focus on direct bookings. “Also with the increase in supply across markets, loyalty is extremely vital for hotel chains. The basic requirement for building a lasting relationship are contact details which are far easier to gather during a direct booking than on-property,” said Maini. The technology that powers revenue management systems is constantly changing and hoteliers need to rely on the right tools. Most hotels are now using a channel manager and there has

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INDUSTRY DEBATE

trigger the revise price post sale of first level of occupancy, quite similar to how airlines price the tickets.”

been a spike in the number of channel manager software services that have come through in this OTA-dominated hotel market. “And introducing a rate shopping tool along with this can easily help any hotel to maximise their OTA revenue. Along with these two tools and an integrated cloud based PMS hotels get more power on controlling their prices and measuring occupancy levels and generating various other reports. At VITS we rely heavily on excel reports for revenue management and have developed our own RMS that incorporates business mix, tracking demand, forecasting and budgeting. These tools are the driving force for our chain of hotels and have given us rapid growth in terms of our YOY figures,” said Shetty. Prasad Bal, general manager, online revenue, The Fern Hotels and Resorts explained, “We use Booking.com rate intelligence for almost all hotels and few key hotels we refer to STR data. Booking com rate intelligence is comprehensive platform which clearly indicate competition pricing and demand for the respective city for 90 days window. Even Expedia’s RM module is also extensive platform to gather intelligence. We are also piloting the rate grid pricing structure via PMS which means PMS will

PROCEDURE CALL Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) related to revenue management involve daily audits, followed by price yield management in the early hours every day, comp set analysis, forecasting, pick-up analysis, segment-wise inventory bifurcation and distribution. Hotels need to be consistent with their distribution strategy. Biggest mistake some hotels make is focus on channels based on need. “For example reduced focus on OTAs during high demand and then running back to the OTA to fill the rooms during low demand months. The hotels that I have seen with the most successful channel strategies are the ones who are consistent with their approach during good and bad times,” explained Maini. Some common SOPs for revenue management are market segmentation, forecasting, pricing and market analysis. Market analysis also plays as an important procedure in revenue management. Being an independent hotel, we have the leverage to position ourselves differently as per market conditions. “From competing with chain properties during peak seasons to competing with 4-star properties during slack, these are only possible if the manager understands the market and demand. Segmentation helps in building the positioning a hotel with higher corporate bookings can aim at promoting themselves in the same manner. Revenue management meetings along with sales is another protocol. Sales and revenue go hand in hand and same helps in forecasting by knowing what groups are coming in or what business is tentative,” said Fernandes. Alexander Abraham, revenue manager, Conrad Bengaluru added, “I suggest having someone at the hotel who looks at revenue management. Although independent hotels rely on OTAs, investing in a fully-functioning website would help. Understanding competition, looking at pricing over the entire year instead of just over peak dates, and regular changes in pricing depending on demand and competi-

Remson Fernandes, corporate revenue manager, Mars Enterprises and Hospitality tion should be prioritised. Ensuring data is tracked by market segment and channel so that one has control over forecasting is also key.” NON-ROOM REVENUES Non-room revenue include revenue sources from F&B, banquets, spa, gym, sauna, dry-cleaning and various other amenities available at the hotel. There is great opportunity for revenue management processes and insights to drive alignment between operational departments as well as enable marketing to undertake more effective and targeted campaigns and sales programmes. According to Prashant Singh, revenue manager, Roseate House and The Roseate to ensure F&B outlets are registered on all key digital platforms and from time to time basis lucrative promotions and offers should be launched with proper target audience in mind. Spa services should be promoted to in-house and non-residential guests as well. “Conversion of treatments is much easier with the guest in-house hence at the time check in itself Spa creative or collateral should be shared with the guest. Meeting Rooms and Ballrooms need to be sold as per the Total Revenue Contribution so that ‘Revenue Per Event’ can exceed our expectations. MICE, Social should be key area to discussed in weekly meetings and to make sure for high demand periods rate are optimum to match the city/market trends,” he added. Revenue managers certainly have a task on their hand and it goes beyond counting cash for sure. HI

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PERSPECTIVE

NEW TECH ON THE BLOCK Blockchain technology offers several advantages to the hospitality industry including security and stability benefits BY VINITA BHATIA

T

he advent of a new innovation is often met with either excitement or indifference, which is how blockchain was also greeted in the hospitality business. This technology allows digital information to be distributed to a network, so that it is difficult to compromise and easy to verfiy. While other industries, like the finance and IT sectors have already started using it, the hotel domain has yet to adopt it. We present perspectives from two industry professionals â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Harish Chandra, IT director of Sarovar Hotels and Yue

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Wang, founder and CEO, PopulStay â&#x20AC;&#x201C; about how blockchain technology has the potential to transform the various aspects of business in hospitality. Can blockchain play an important role in the hospitality industry? Harish Chandra: While the technology is still in its infancy, hotels, restaurants, airlines, travel agencies, and other hospitality businesses could improve their service quality, guest satisfaction and profitability by integrating it. As more hospitality businesses adopt blockchain technology, stakeholders in the hospi-

tality industry will collectively benefit from its use. It can definitely improve the quality of services in tracking guest and food activities, providing a digital ID as well as managing airlines and hotel loyalty points. Yue Wang: Blockchain has a fundamental technology and mindset to redesign the hospitality business. This is something that needs to be accepted. How can this technology allow digital information to be distributed securely on a network in this industry? Harish Chandra: Blockchain technol-

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PERSPECTIVE

Yue Wang, founder and CEO, PopulStay.

ogy has the potential to revolutionise many aspects of technology, business and governance. Its trust-free, tamperevident, and cryptographic security structure enables digitising fiat currencies, creating smart contracts, developing decentralised autonomous organisations, and more applications. For instance, when it comes to guest tracking, hotels can be instantly updated right from the time that a guest leaves their home for the airport to when they check in to the flight and even upon their arrival at the hotel. This tracking increases efficiency by reducing wait time during the check in process and increases guest satisfaction. Similarly, tracking and monitoring foods is applicable to the restaurant industry, from supply chain beginning at the point of production. Thus, extending blockchain based supply chain management systems to restaurants could provide better quality control and food safety in res-

taurants. Restaurants could collaborate with their food suppliers to be involved in the blockchain platform that tracks and monitors the food. Furthermore, they can allow guests to check the origins of and routes taken by the food used to prepare their meals, via blockchain technology. Simply put, blockchain technology can facilitate trust in restaurants with regards to the quality of the ingredients used to prepare meals. Another area of interest is loyalty programmes, which often create more problems than they solve. Hotels and airlines can build these on a blockchain platform and issue loyalty tokens as rewards to their guests. Blockchain technology could also provide a solution to identity theft. In hotels and restaurants, costumers must often present their IDs as proof in order to pass security and check in to their hotel rooms, or consume alcoholic beverages. This makes them vulnerable to identity theft; not only by the person who is checking IDs but also other people around who might obtain important personal information. A solution to this exposure is storing these details on a blockchain platform and people can be given permissions to check and validate IDs. Yue Wang: Blockchain allows digital information to be distributed securely on a network, which is one of its biggest benefits that could be applied to any business. There are other aspects of technology, which include trustless smart contract operation and token distribution to motivate the community to work on consensus target. Addition-

Harish Chandra, IT director, Sarovar Hotels ally, the data is owned by users instead of any centralised organisation. This makes it a very public and transparent transaction. It is also important to note that worldwide the exchange fee for crypto payment is very low when compared with fiat currency. Industries, such as BFSI, are adopting blockchain, which support crypto currencies like Bitcoin. What possibilities does the hospitality industry have? Harish Chandra: Blockchain technology has several advantages to offer the hospitality industry, with the most obvious being the security and stability benefits. For instance, all data is decentralised and traceable, and the database can never go offline, or be removed through a cyberattack, which can be important when dealing with financial transactions. Additionally, the technology could play a key role in simplifying actual payments. At present, this can be somewhat complicated, especially when dealing with overseas settlements. With this technology, the entire process can potentially be streamlined and made more transparent. Yue Wang: Crypto payment is a lowhanging fruit in many industries including the hospitality industry, which requires payments from all over the world. Among the different verticals in the hotel business, I am especially positive about the home sharing economy and loyalty programme in industry adopting blockchain, since it naturally requires a P2P transaction and privilege for high profile and loyal customers.

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PERSPECTIVE

sion makers end up making expensive judgements. However, by combining transparent data with Big Data analysis, they can improve their decision-making capabilities while improving their customer’s user experience.

With blockchain technology, the entire payment process can potentially be streamlined and made more transparent. The hospitality industry has not been the first mover in many technologies – be it messaging, CRM, database management. Will it accept blockchain faster and anytime soon? Yue Wang: I don’t think this technology will evolve very soon in the hotel industry. We need to be patient and wait for it. Harish Chandra: The technology is global – a product or a service that is identifiable by an ID stored in the blockchain searchable by the Distributed Application (DAPP) can be tradable anywhere in the world. Digital currency like Bitcoins and Ethereum are already popular in India and industries are developing application over blockchain technology. Thus, the acceptance of blockchain-based services will be higher in countries like India. Have you seen any applications of blockchain in the hospitality industry so far? Harish Chandra: Winding Tree is a decentralised travel distribution network built on top of Ethereum platform, which connects buyers and sellers via a set of smart contracts and open-source tools in a non-rent-seeking manner without taking a transaction fee. It offers a decentralised alternative to GDS and OTA distribution with a reduced cost of distribution and more packaging flexibility than traditional platforms. The network connects suppliers (hotels, airlines) and sellers (travel agencies) to a single marketplace, so suppliers can put their availability and price information in the database, where sellers can

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easily discover it. The latter can then buy that inventory and pay instantly. These interactions are designed to be performed automatically without human intervention. Yue Wang: Yes, a good example is decentralised home sharing community. So far, it has been doing well and supported by major crypto fund. Is this technology ideal for large hotel chains, or can smaller chains and independent hotel brands also adopt it? Harish Chandra: Both large and smaller chains can gain from it. Large hotel chains can deploy it as a private blockchain and can take advantage of information and resource sharing, movement of inventories. On the other hand, smaller hotel chains can join as a member to a blockchain group in the same industry to get the benefits from the group. Yue Wang: Smaller hotels have more chance to benefit from a technology like blockchain. How can hotels justify the investment for this technology? Is it on the basis of revenue it will garner the hotel as compared to the investment, or on how it will gain a competitive edge? Harish Chandra: The topmost benefit is the customer satisfaction. It is definitely going to boost the revenue. Thus it has advantage on the both aspects. Yue Wang: Usually, implementing this technology will cut the operation cost and improve the guest experience. Due to non-transparent information sharing among the group, often deci-

What specific challenges will the application of blockchain resolve in hospitality and tourism? Harish Chandra: As the blockchain ecosystem evolves and different use cases emerge, organisations in all industry sectors, particularly tourism, face a complex issues. The principal challenge associated with this technology is a lack of awareness and understanding of how it works, which is hampering investment and its exploration. The problem with many current approaches, though, is that they remain stove-piped: organisations are developing their own blockchains and applications to run on top of them. In any sector, different organisations have different standards. The other issue is lack of broad visualisation of the proposed solution. It requires a new approach as it removes the dependency on the middleman. Since this is a new technology and the awareness level is low, the lack of skilled manpower is a major concern. The industry is still operating on the market place concept and offering solutions based on buyers and sellers. Yue Wang: There are some instances like a decentralised smart lock, which will save the security challenge of smart lock that is used a lot in hospitality. Currently, a lot of centralised managed smart lock systems are vulnerable to attacks. How does the adoption of blockchain encourage direct interaction between guests and hoteliers? Yue Wang: As long as the trust cost is reduced, it is very likely that the cost of the middleman will be minimised. For the platform we built, we have reduced the service fee from 18% to 3%, which is significantly lower when compared with average. Harish Chandra: Blockchain platform enables the service provider to reach to the end customer directly, which creates value to the customer interns of money and better service. Thus the role of middleman will be diminished. HI

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CAREERS

MOVERS & SHAKERS NEW APPOINTMENTS

RAMZY FENIANOS IS CHIEF DEVELOPMENT OFFICER, APAC, RADISSON HOTEL GROUP Ramzy Fenianos will be based at the company’s Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore and will also be a member of the Asia Pacific executive committee. He will oversee all aspects of the group’s regional development activities, including leading the Asia Pacific development team in identifying new opportunities to drive growth and strategic expansion of the hotel portfolio.

VISHAL KHOSLA IS GENERAL MANAGER, NOVOTEL GOA DONA SYLVIA RESORT Vishal Khosla holds a MBA in marketing management and has been associated with companies in the UK and UAE like Hilton Hotels, Radisson SAS Hotel (now Radisson Blu), Holiday Inn Aylesbury, etc. In India, he has been associated with various brands including The Club Mahindra Resort Varca Beach, The Lalit Golf & Spa Resort, The Kenilworth Resort & Spa, Radisson Blu and Park Regis.

SOUMITRA PAHARI IS HOTEL MANAGER OF MERCURE HYDERABAD KCP A hotel management alumnus from Kolkata’s Indian Institute of Management and MBA in hospitality and finance, Soumitra Pahari has been associated with AccorHotels since 2010. He has also worked with leading hotel chains in India and across the globe. Pahari has been recognised as the ‘Most Influential Leader of the Year’ by Star Group’s Hospitality Awards and was awarded ‘Food and Beverage Director of the Year ‘under ‘Hospitality Leaders Choice Award’.

GAURAV SINGH IS GENERAL MANAGER, JW MARRIOTT KOLKATA Gaurav Singh has also been appointed as Cluster GM of Bangladesh for Marriott International. An alumnus of Mayo College and a hotel management graduate from Manipal’s WGHSA, he holds a diploma in hotel management from WMI, Gurgaon. Starting his career at ITC Grand Maratha and ITC Grand Central, Mumbai, he has worked with The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra, Leela Kempinski, Mumbai and Courtyard Ahmedabad.

RAJESH GOPALAKRISHNAN IS GM OF NOVOTEL VISAKHAPATNAM VARUN BEACH AND VARUN BHEEMLI RESORT Rajesh Gopalakrishnan was earlier general manager of Grand Mercure Vadodara. An MBA in hospitality management from GLION University, Switzerland with a diploma in hotel management from New Delhi’s National Council for Hotel Management, he has worked with Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris, Leela Palaces Hotels and Resorts and Hyatt Hotels.

RAVINDRAN NAIR IS THE GENERAL MANAGER OF EXPRESS INN NASHIK Ravindran Nair has been appointed as the General Manager of Express Inn Nashik. A MBA in marketing management, he has experience in sales and marketing. He was earlier associated with Mayfair Banquets-Graviss Hospitality in Mumbai as head sales and marketing. He was also the general manager at St. Laurn–Shirdi and Palms Hotels Tower & Villas, Mumbai.

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AMIT CHAWLA IS HOTEL OPERATIONS MANAGER AT COUNTRY INN & SUITES BY RADISSON, NAVI MUMBAI Amit Chawla was earlier working with ITC Hotels as F&B manager. Armed with a post-graduation diploma in marketing from Pune’s Symbiosis University, he began his career with the Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts and Safaris, and has also worked with Hyatt Hotels, IHG, The Park, ITC Hotels and Radisson Hotel Group.

NITIN MARRIYA IS COMPLEX DOSM, SHERATON GRAND BENGALURU WHITEFIELD HOTEL AND CONVENTION CENTER AND ALOFT BENGALURU CESSNA BUSINESS PARK Nitin Marriya was earlier the complex director of sales and marketing at The Westin Hyderabad Mindspace and Sheraton Hyderabad Hotel. Starting his career with The Leela Kempinski Mumbai, he has worked at Leela Palace Bangalore, Ista Gachibowli, Hyderabad, Taj West End and Sheraton Grand Bangalore at Brigade Gateway.

HOTELIER INDIA | JULY 2018 | www.hotelierindia.com


CAREERS

YOJAN DAS IS GUEST EXPERIENCE MANAGER AT NOVOTEL HOTELS & RESORTS, GOA A hotel management graduate from University of Huddersfield, Aurangabad, Yojan Das was associated with leading hotel chains like Vivanta by Taj, Goa, Bangalore and ITC Sonar Kolkata. At Novotel Hotels & Resorts, Goa, she will coordinate for various hotel amenities and proactive address guests’ requests.

ANKITA DAWAR IS DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS AT SHANGRI-LA'S EROS HOTEL, NEW DELHI A journalism and mass communications graduate from New Delhi’s IP University, Ankita Dawar did her MBA with specialisation in marketing from IMT, Ghaziabad. She handled regional and unit level marketing and communications for hotel chains like Hilton and Radisson Hotel Group, and serviced The Oberoi Group while working at Weber Shandwick.

KRISHNA BARANWAL IS IT HEAD AT HOTEL SAHARA STAR MUMBAI Krishna Baranwal previously was the IT Manager at Almalfa Hotels & Resorts in Saudi Arabia. In his current role, his core responsibility would be ensuring IBMS system integration and technical support. He would also have to manage the IT operations and administration with complete accountability of delivering the project.

ANUJ KAPOOR IS EXECUTIVE CHEF AT THE GRAND, NEW DELHI Starting out as a management trainee at The Park Group of Hotels, Anuj Kapoor graduated from IHM Lucknow’s Hotel Management School. He was the corporate chef for Compass Group PLC and Four Points by Sheraton in India, and launched and operated F&B brands like Olive Bar & Kitchen, Olive Beach, Manré, Café Amor, Café E, Kebab Khan, Zazen and Kink.

SWATANTRA GAUTAM IS EXECUTIVE CHEF AT AZAYA BEACH RESORT GOA Swatantra Gautam was earlier corporate executive chef at DDG Hospitality and has also worked with Welgrow Hotels Concepts in a similar capacity. A graduate from Sikkim’s EIILM University, he has worked at Old World Hospitality in India Habitat Centre and DLF Golf Resorts.

JASMIN WALDMANN IS RESIDENT LIFE COACH AT ROSEATE HOTELS & RESORTS Jasmin Waldmann will coach in-house guests and members of Aheli Spa in fitness and wellbeing sessions. This will be through techniques such as mental coaching, non-linguistic programming and guided fitness videos. Bavaria-born Jasmin Waldmann is an inspirational speaker, who leads seminars as a caring guide and is a limit-pushing coach.

ANKITA DEORUKHKAR IS HR MANAGER AT HOTEL SAHARA STAR MUMBAI Ankita Deorukhkar has joined Sahara Star as Human Resources Manager. She will look after human resources and manage employee development policies and systems. Having worked with Future Group & Max Lifestyle as deputy HR manager, leading the HR Department and retail division, she will help the hotel to reach higher heights. Her last job was with The Lalit as deputy HR manager.

RAJESH RAWAT IS PASTRY CHEF AT DOUBLETREE BY HILTON PUNE DoubleTree by Hilton Pune has appointed Rajesh Rawat as Pastry Chef. A resident of Dehradun, he has around 14 years of experience in the hospitality industry and has worked with brands like Radisson Blu, Marriott International. Some of his specialities include customised designer cakes, hand rolled chocolates, fusion desserts and edible decorative showpieces.

HOTELIER INDIA | JULY 2018 | www.hotelierindia.com

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CHECKING OUT

10 THINGS YOU DIDNâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;T KNOW ABOUT... ALOFT AEROCITY, NEW DELHI

16 27 38 49 510

Aloft Aerocity, New Delhi has

250 guest rooms with three spacious service apartments.

All the public spaces have been designed by Ankur Chowksi and his team at Studio Lotus.

Re:Fuel grab-

n-go outlet is a gourmet pantry with mix and match meals, bespoke cappuccinos and more.

Arcop Associates,

the principal architect, designed guest rooms to allow natural light at all times.

The WXYZ

signature bar

has live performances by local talent with an ambience that changes as per the time of the day.

The poolside lounge, Splash, is designed to ensure complete relaxation for guests.

public places are The

naturally lit, from a wide lobby to the central courtyard comprising a water body.

A picturesque landscape art piece by , artist, adorns the wall behind the Infinity pool.

Gauri

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The 102-cover Nook, an allday dining outlet, offers Indian and international cuisine with live cooking stations.

HOTELIER INDIA | JULY 2018 | www.hotelierindia.com

Suman Gahlot is

the hotelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s general manager.


Hotelier India July 2018 Issue  
Hotelier India July 2018 Issue  
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