No one said it was going to be easy and it certainly is not! Meet the men and women who are revenue managers, operations heads and the PR faces of hotels, all rolled into one. Those who are at helm of the happiness of their teams and in-turn the guests.
Individuals who by the sheer force of their personalities influence smiles and the TripAdvisor ratings. Meet the General Managers!
The Leela Ambience Convention Hotel, Delhi
Representing a perfect blend of class and comfort packed with absolute luxury and style, The Leela Ambience Convention Hotel, Delhi has everything to help you unwind despite your hectic schedule. Jaideep Anand, General Manager, The Leela Ambience Convention Hotel, Delhi, a veteran hotelier believes that delivering with excellence is the only way forward.
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Promising you an uber luxury five-star experience only in India, The Leela properties across the country have always been offering its guests with memorable and magical stays. Keeping up with The Leela’s goal to provide exceptional service quality and authentic Indian hospitality, The Leela Ambience Convention Hotel, Delhi is one such property rendering much more than one’s imagination.
Strategically located near the historic Old Delhi as well as the central business districts of Delhi, Ghaziabad and Noida, the hotel is a landmark for both business and leisure travellers. The multi-purpose meeting and banqueting spaces stretched across 70,000 sq ft including a pillar-less ballroom have a capacity to host more than 6,000 guests. The 480-room property offers one of the largest conference and event spaces in India. Talking about the positioning of the hotel, Jaideep Anand says,
“The Leela Ambience Convention Hotel, Delhi is India’s largest convention hotel. When we talk about it being the largest, it’s a combination of huge banqueting space of 70,000 sq ft with large ballroom spaces. If you look at the location of the hotel, we are just parallel to Jama Masjid. We are 40 minutes from Connaught Place, India Gate and the museums. Tourist attractions like Humayun Tomb, Akshardham Temple are very close by. We are about 2 hours 40 minutes from Taj Mahal specifically as we are very close to the expressway.”
Anand informs that 65 per cent of their core business goes to the MICE segment. As the property is big enough to host a national and international conference, Anand opines that the ballroom capacity along with the room capacity at the hotel particularly does not exist anywhere in Delhi NCR.
“Whether it is for the corporate, exhibitions, social events, large seminars or training, The Leela caters majorly to the MICE segment. Our primary focus is on conventions. We extend our conferences to outdoors and have tie-ups with the Yamuna Sports Complex and colleges. The Leela also conducts bespoke tours to New Delhi, Old Delhi and walking tours followed by a Haveli dinner. We have tie-ups with hotels in Agra where we take our guests during the morning, organise their lunch and bring them back to dinner. In short, we offer a one-stop solution and that is what stands us apart from everyone,” informs Anand.
“We offer a speedy and efficient check in and check outs. With our exceptional service, 24 people on the reception for your service, we guarantee 40 seconds check in and the check outs never take more than 20 seconds. We fine tune the entire process where we feel there can be a delay,” he adds.
Another important segment, according to Anand, is the leisure segment where The Leela has been offering an experience par excellence. Having worked with brands like Ananda and The Oberoi, uber luxury has been Anand’s workspace throughout. “Coming back from long stays or a weekend approaching, the spa becomes necessary. Here at The Leela, we have an amazing spa team who help you rejuvenate your senses and the treatment you get is top class. The food served at our banquets is another plus and I assure you that it is the best in the country,” says Anand.
Formerly known as Kempinski, The Leela Ambience Convention Hotel now stands as the preferred choice for corporates, domestic or international. According to Anand, “If we take a look at a Tripadvisor report of December 2015, the hotel was on 297th ranking. Right now, it stands on the 15th which is a big achievement for the hotel.” Anand goes on to say, “We are probably one of the most improved hotels in the luxury sector.”
Since its launch in 2015, the hotel has worked really hard towards preserving the brand identity and maintaining service quality. Elaborating further on the special initiatives taken by the hotel to keep up the brand quality, Anand informs, “A guest in my view is the one who decides the SOPs for a hotel. Keeping that in mind, we look at our client base, customise our menus and offer different food delicacies to our guests. We host theme breakfast, afternoon teas and gala dinners.”
“From corporates’ perspective, we are investing a lot in terms of infrastructure. We have bought a brand new fleet of cars for them. As we have realised that conferencing today is an art and the technology plays a big part, therefore our ballroom is made tech-savvy in a way that each person can take the advantage of high-speed internet. We have also increased the internet bandwidth to three Mbps in each room,” adds Anand.
The most important thing according to Anand is the level of unparalleled service, personalisation and excellence that the hotel offers. Anand, who is an experienced hotelier with over three decades with leading hotel groups, brings with him a reputation for excellence in hotel operations, food and beverage, and wellness. He believes that excellence is the only key to making a hotel property work smartly and efficiently. “I was born and brought up in excellence, believe in imparting excellence and expect the same out of my team. And that is the reason, we lead from the front and work very hard to get the results. We are involved in almost everything from operations to sales. We have brought excellence to each and every product at The Leela from menu design to plating, from concierge services to warm and happy welcomes,” shares Anand.
He adds “One of the most important things that we have ensured is that we have to deliver the guest well and there is no compromise on that front. We have employed right people in the right department; we plan a lot to maintain the efficiency. Excellence is what I demand from my team.”
As Anand’s mantra for success is the non-negotiable quest for excellence, he aims to make the Leela Ambience Convention Hotel, Delhi as a number one convention destination of choice. Under his leadership, the hotel has also won several awards for the luxury segment. He believes in serving from heart and leading by example.
LOCAL CONNECT WITH A STYLISH TOUCH
Marking the foray of AccorHotels in Lucknow, it is the very first Novotel to open in Uttar Pradesh. Strategically located in the heart of Lucknow’s emerging business district and corporate hub.The hotel offers a contemporary ‘home away from home’ experience to guests under the able guidance of Raj Singh, General Manager, Novotel Lucknow Gomti Nagar.
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Led by spacious and contemporary guest rooms as well as excellent F&B outlets and the Novotel tag that comes with excellent service-standards; Novotel Lucknow’s contemporary layout helps it stand out from the other properties in the city. The hotel however believes in a strong local connect insists the GM. “The ‘Chikankari’ inspired ‘Jaali Work’ in the hotel lobby helps connect with the city’s culture. Most of the hotel’s staff is from the city itself and is always eager to guide guests. Guests can also discover the hotel as well as the local spots through the Virtual Concierge in the lobby,” shares Singh.
When asked about the customer mix, Singh says that the hotel purposefully caters to both the business and leisure segments, which is also aided by its strategic location and proximity to both commercial precincts as well as retail and tourist spots. “Traditionally seen as a cultural hub, Lucknow’s radial expansion has given way to new growth corridors turning it into an important commercial hub. Given the same, the customer mix of the hotel includes both business travellers and families. With plentiful dedicated facilities and services for the two segments, the hotel is the preferred stay destination for every traveller – whether in Lucknow for work or leisure,” he elaborates.
Sharing the hotel’s marketing strategy Singh says, “We have employed a mix of both direct and indirect marketing methods that include promotion on social media, customer testimonials, and use of print media. We also participate in cross promotion activities like being a part of events involving Bollywood celebrities. That said, considering word of mouth is the strongest tool ever, we ensure unparalleled guest experience and delight.”
Customer connect is of primary importance feels Singh. “It is important to connect with customers on an individual level and make them feel welcome in the hotel to ensure repeat business. At the hotel, we have give-aways for guests staying for longer durations and for our regular guests. We have return gifts for ladies kitty parties and also host Sunday brunches for guests along with a splash in the pool to make things more interesting.”
A flexible approach to accommodate customers, the hotel also has little things that add to customer delight. “At Novotel Lucknow, Gomti Nagar, we provide Express Check-In for all our pre-booked guests. For the families travelling with two kids below the age of 16, we offer complimentary accommodation and breakfast on complimentary basis. Also, all the Platinum members of Le Club AccorHotels can avail late check-out facility till 1800 hrs,” says Singh talking about what the hotel does differently.
Marriott Hotels Bengaluru
POWER OF GOOD SERVICE
Only a truly confident professional recognises the contribution of his team and acknowledges it. A go-getter, Gaurav Singh, Multi-property General Manager, Courtyard by Marriott and Fairfield by Marriott, Outer Ring Road, Bengaluru and Fairfield by Marriott, Rajaji Nagar, Bengaluru, is one such person.
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When asked about what sets apart the three Marriott hotels in Bengaluru, Singh says, “The accolades the hotel receives is all due to the each of the team members putting their best foot forward. That both the IT hub hotels are ranked in the top five (out of 650) on Trip Advisor is solely due to the team’s efforts.”
Talking about the diversity of the team Singh further shares, “We have a diverse team from across the country as well as a large section from the local community. We also have the best female ratio in South Asia for any Marriott hotel, which brings about an extra element of care and warmth at the workplace.”
Out and out business hotels, the Marriott properties in Bengaluru, rely almost entirely on the business traveller and corporate houses in vicinity for individual, groups and MICE business.
The forward thinking hotels, do not bank on traditional marketing but rely on real time engagement. “We are engaging with our customer in real time almost all the time. So whether its review sites, blogs, Facebook or Instagram, the expectation is that we should be interacting with those who engage with us and do that in an organic way in real time.”
He also believes in the persuasion power of an experience, “Experiences such as an evening which potential guests may enjoy such as a curated event like supper theatre or taking a food truck to the office of one of our partners are some of the unique ways in which we continue to reach out,” adds Singh.
Singh believes in innovative offerings aimed both at guests such as new F&B experiences as well as associates — an example of the latter being the newly launched associate recognition program in the hotel.
On being asked what were the SOPs that set the operations under him apart, Singh shares, “I truly believe that ensuring the wellbeing of our associates, guests, asset and stakeholders will always produce results. It has to be a perfect balance of all four and not skewed towards any one. So it has to be constantly maintained, picking the right option at the right time. Having fun along the way is equally important.”
Talking of the brand philosophy Singh concludes, “Marriott has always had a strong culture and is an organisation with well defined standards. Ensuring these are implemented in our daily chores makes things simple yet effective. The fun we have, living these values, make our job so much easier.”
Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach
WHERE BUSINESS AND LEISURE GO HAND-IN-HAND
Majestically lording over the gorgeous Arabian Sea, Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach makes for a picturesque setting for weddings, shoots and business meetings. Manish Dayya, General Manager, Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach ensures the consistent growth for the property and believes that success comes to those who chase their dreams ardently.
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Located amidst major business parks, shopping malls, cinemas and Mumbai’s popular sites like ISKCON temple, Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach is set right opposite the Arabian Sea. From well-equipped meeting rooms designed to stimulate creative thinking process to set up options ranging from theatre style events to sit down dinners, or lovely sundowner evening events — the hotel offers a one stop solution for both business and leisure travellers.
Talking about what makes Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach different from others in the market, Manish Dayya says, “Overlooking some of the finest vistas and scenic waters of the Arabian Sea, Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach makes for a picture perfect setting for shoots and events.
Synonymous to our picturesque location, our hotel makes for an ideal destination for weddings and for people who are seeking to unwind and rejuvenate. Being situated in the prime location of the city, the hotel also attracts a lot of celebrities. A business hotel on a Monday and a resort on a Friday, Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach provides a quintessential blend of business and leisure.”
Dayya has been associated with AccorHotels since the beginning of 2013 and firmly believes that guest satisfaction is a key to success. He ardently believes that success comes to those who are dedicated to their passion as according to him, passion coupled with sincerity and hard work helps one climb the ladder of success. Sharing further about his journey with the hotel and his role in improving the efficiency of the property, Dayya informs, “I joined Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach in September 2016 and it has been a great journey so far.
As the General Manager of the hotel, I lead the hotel operations with my team to ensure its growth and expansion through innovative strategies. I also look into the hotel’s business development to adhere to the international standard service procedures
of AccorHotels and ensure that our guests experience the best of hospitality during their time with us.”
Not only does Dayya takes the utmost care of his guests but is also equally involved in enhancement of his team/employees through special training and team building sessions. “AccorHotels Académie runs various programs where employees can enroll and do classroom and online sessions. Special training programmes are conducted for our employees in order to keep them enthused to continue the good work; some of these include reward and recognition programs, birthday celebrations, employee wellness programs, financial planning and much more,” informs Dayya.
“At Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach, we value relationships and relentlessly work towards helping employees to become self-acting managers. We keep our team motivated by frequently integrating exciting team building sessions, sports like beach volleyball and in-house movies for our staff,” he adds.
The hotel is currently working towards various developments which include refurbishing rooms, key F&B outlets and upgrading the spa and banqueting areas.
Park Hyatt Hyderabad
REDEFINING LUXURY FOR GUESTS
Centrally located in the city’s business hub, Park Hyatt Hyderabad is an ideal address for a home away from home. Thomas Abraham, General Manager, Park Hyatt Hyderabad talks about how he and his team ensure to deliver the exceptional brand quality to their guests.
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With an impressive architecture, iconic interiors, a grand entrance and carefully curated masterpieces of art, Park Hyatt Hyderabad makes for one of the most sought after properties in town. According to Thomas Abraham, General Manager of the property, an extraordinary and intimate experience is what one finds at Park Hyatt Hyderabad and being different is the hotel’s USP.
“We at Park Hyatt Hyderabad through our superlative product, excellent food and beverage and impeccable service, tell a story of success in the world of luxury. Our guests encounter exceptional personal service, grounded in mindfulness. Peerless quality with contemporary luxury and artistry at its best – from original works of art to the finest in culinary expression is what Park Hyatt is all about,” explains Abraham.
Abraham shares, since he joined the hotel in December 2015; the journey has been an exciting one. “My role as the General Manager is more of a navigator than the captain of the ship. I only plan the journey and my family at Hyatt which are my team members, do the rest. With such a fantastic top of the line team that I have here, along with my leadership team, strategies are planned in advance to handle all initiatives pertaining to retaining talent, reducing unnecessary costs, maximising revenues,
personalising service and ensuring we deliver the brand to our guests with luxury that is impeccable and personal,”
As Abraham gives the utmost importance to his team and values their efforts, he says that Hyatt’s purpose of “we care for people so that they can be their best” is the most important guiding principle for him. Asked how he encourages his team, Abraham informs, “We ensure to give opportunities to all to drive their own workplaces instead of micro management.
Some of the initiatives that we take include retaining skilled talent, encouraging smart work and strictly discouraging long working hours. We also believe in empowering women by creating opportunities in the leadership team at our property. At the end of the day, every employee would call himself a part of the Hyatt family and not Hyatt company and that’s what speaks volumes about how we motivate everyone.”
Abraham seems very confident about the growth of the hotel in coming years and is certain of growing business in the market. He concludes, “With constant innovative initiatives; be it in the service or the product itself we manage to keep our guests engaged and entertained.”
“Our four strategic priorities- cultivate the best people, build and deliver brand-led experiences, operate with excellence and grow with intent, will focus on our efforts to become the most preferred hospitality brand – loved and respected by all.”
Crowne Plaza Jaipur
WHERE GUEST IS THE KING AND LUXURY IS PRIORITY
Awarded with 14 prestigious accolades for being the ‘Best Luxury Business Hotel’, Crowne Plaza Jaipur offers unmatched experiences to its guests. Identifying his guests’ needs and making them work in the right direction, Ashwani K Goela, General Manager, Crowne Plaza Jaipur believes that there is nothing that cannot be achieved.
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Ideally located opposite Jaipur Exhibition and Convention Centre (JECC) in the business hub of Sitapura and ten minutes drive from the airport, Crowne Plaza Jaipur Tonk Road is committed to make your stay a lifetime experience. Talking about the property,
Ashwani K Goela says, “Crowne Plaza Jaipur Tonk Road is a 18 months young hotel that offers 218 well-appointed rooms and suites with five eclectic dining options including two award winning restaurants – Sirocco, the global cuisine alfresco restaurant and House of Han, a contemporary Chinese and Mongolian grilled delicacies created by our expatriate chef Lee.”
According to Goela, what adds to uniqueness of the hotel is that it is the only hotel façade in India, to not have any punch windows. “It has a single day lit corridor that ensures lower carbon foot prints and gives the guest the benefit of having a naturally lit corridor. Also, the hotel boasts of a modern architecture, fused with subtle local touches, International service quality and standards which makes us stand apart in the market,” he informs.
Being well positioned as a MICE and wedding destination, the hotel has received fourteen prestigious awards including “Best Luxury Business Hotel” by World Luxury Hotel Awards in 2017. Spread across 44,500 sqft., the expansive and pillar less banquet venues at the hotel have a capacity to accommodate up to 2500 guests. The hotel also has the Sohum Spa to pamper your senses and a well-equipped fitness centre to maintain your healthy self.
Goela is a staunch believer of keep-going attitude as he believes there is nothing that does not have a solution, he analyses every situation to achieve the impossible. “We identify through predicting, doing the analysis of marketing activities to see what worked and what did not work for us. Guest reviews/feedbacks, reviews from the competition give us an opportunity to offer something better to the guests,” he opines.
“At Crowne Plaza Jaipur, we do regular marketing campaigns and promotional activities based on guest’s expectations and requirements. We have our yearly marketing plans which we follow, execute and update regularly. We use combination of marketing mix methods to target our customers. The right promotional mix helps us satisfy our guests needs, increase sales, improve our results and increase our ability to reach out to multiple customers within our target market,” opines Goela.
The Grand New Delhi
COGS OF A GRAND WHEEL!
Leadership makes all the difference in a hotel. Rajat Sethi, General Manager, The Grand New Delhi, adds a special spark in the lives of the employees and guests. The effect is there for all to see.
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Structures remain the same, a lot of the times so do the people. That said, there are slight differences that tell one that there has been some shift that reflects in the attitudes, of people and the spaces they command.
The Grand New Delhi is not much different.The popular and easy going resort hotel suddenly seems to have a buzz around it, an energy and quiet efficency that makes one smile. In comes Rajat Sethi, General Manager of the hotel. Slickly turned out, polite and friendly, the man exudes efficiency and all at once, everything makes sense. It is the new leadership that is turning the cogs a little differently, making a huge incremental difference.
Talking about what sets apart the hotel that he joined six months ago, Sethi says, “The Grand New Delhi has a lot of USPs that make it a unique resort within the city. The same is reflected in the sheer scale of the hotel, which is spread over 10 acres. The height, the large amount of daylight coming in and the sheer expanse give it a ‘out of the city‘ feel. Having said that, it is one of the most centrally located hotels with close proximity to the airport, corporates —both in Delhi and Gurgaon, embassies and luxury malls.
This combined with the facilities we have, such as extraordinary F&B outlets and a 17000 sq ft spa make The Grand New Delhi unique in many ways”
Showcasing enhanced experiences on offer, Sethi shares, “We have started a lot of activities for our guests such as aqua yoga and aqua zumba, which come complimentary for in-house guests as well as are a great draw for the neighbourhood. These are also a means of creating a buzz in the neighbourhood. We also re-launched the G Bar in the great fanfare.”
The Grand New Delhi has held its own as a hotel that caters to various market segment and has been a first choice for both corporate and social MICE. When asked about the customer segmentation and the competition from the Aerocity hotels, Sethi recounts, “While the Aerocity is coming up as competition for MICE, we have some advantages.
Our location and the fact that there are no bottlenecks or traffic jams is a massive advantage we have for the segment. The travel trade business is seasonal with different countries and different parts of the world patronising us during different parts of the year. We get our share of corporate and a lot of embassy business, given the location advantage. The hotel is also a first choice for social MICE —mainly weddings.”
Self assured yet humble, Sethi believes in letting his work speak for himself. When asked about the difference or learnings that he had brought to the hotel. Sethi acknowledges the positives of the property of as well as the existing team and practices. “This is a well established hotel and we have a very experienced ex-comm team here. When someone comes in from outside, it is inevitable that he brings in a newer perspective. Since this a much bigger operations,
than where I had worked earlier; there are a lot of things happening simultaneously. This, at times,may lead to a shift in focus. Smaller operations are more focused and that is what I have tried to replicate here.”
He further adds, “All smaller parts need to work towards a larger, common goal and this is precisely what we are trying to achieve. With every department functioning a little more efficiently, it adds to the overall efficiency of the hotel. I have done this through a few small tweaks such as making the operations more process oriented. There is a more hands-on approach, better training and empowerment of front line managers for guest delight along with a continued focus on hardware enhancement and maintenance. ”
Sethi strongly believes that the product is larger than, the elements that make it.
“We are also integrating all our separate strengths and marketing them as one consolidated whole or package, which is quite a unique experience. While the hotel always had strong F& B, spa and numerous food festivals; there has been a renewed focus on bringing them all together and selling the entire package– in the process adding newer guest experiences,” shares Sethi.
Summing up, Sethi says, hiring, career enhancement and retention of the right talent, a process-oriented approach with a keen eye for detail, product upkeep and constant innovations make for the success of a hotel. “You can make great strategies on paper, it is however the execution that matters,”opines Sethi.
Le Royal Meridien Chennai
PERSONALISATION THE WAY TO GO
Designed exclusively for a curious and creative-minded traveller, Le Royal Meridien Chennai has one of the best-rated locations in Chennai. Sumit Kant, General Manager, Le Royal Meridien Chennai feels it’s important to build a one to one relationship with the guests as personalisation is the way forward.
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Set amidst landscaped gardens, Le Royal Meridien Chennai is a five star luxury hotel that promises to engage its guests in the most unexpected experiences. The fashionable hotel is strategically located in the close proximity to the airport, Guindy National Park and at a distance of 12 kms from Marina Beach. Stylishly appointed rooms offer global-standard amenities. The three restaurants offer a choice of cuisines for guests while a flashy nightclub promises evenings full of excitement.
Talking about the property and its positioning, Sumit Kant says, “Le Royal Meridien Chennai is an upscale property and has been in existence for 17 years. The property is not only located closer to Airport (5 km) but is located close by to the business hub as well. This makes our property an ideal choice for the business travellers, tourists and transient passengers.”
Kant informs that the hotel is basically a corporate hotel with a major focus on MICE and groups which include the medical tourists travelling to Chennai for their treatment. “We have one of the largest banqueting facilities in town, making it the most preferred hotel for MICE and weddings. We are sold out on almost all the auspicious dates for weddings. Chennai offers the best of medical facilities at an affordable price, of late we see many guests travelling for their medical needs and we have special packages designed for them,” opines Kant.
Acquainted with the fact that factors like warm hospitality and a personalised guest experience are the prime reasons why guests return, Kant believes that building a positive relationship with the guests is very important. “Our hotel is known for its personalised service and authentic food. Our endeavor is to connect with all our guests and we take many initiatives towards building one to one relationship and personalising the guests stay. We have many loyal and regular customers and even a 100th visit is common; this is possible only if the changing needs of the guests is identified and fulfilled,” feels Kant.
Being in operations for around 17 years, the hotel has the SOPs designed for each touch areas and Kant makes sure that these SOPs are frequently-visited and tweaked with the changing demand and needs of the guests. They are designed in such a way that the experience offered to the guests at the hotel leaves a lasting memory with them.
Eros Hotel, Nehru Place
INDIAN HOSPITALITY AT ITS BEST
Delivering the authentic Indian Hospitality experience, Eros Hotel, Nehru Place is a convenient choice for both business and leisure guests. Davinder Juj, Hotel Manager, Eros Hotel, Nehru Place, New Delhi shares how he and his team cater to guests’ needs.
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Offering contemporary design and soothing comfort harmonised with old world hospitality charm, Eros Hotel, Nehru Place, New Delhi is a premier hotel designed to cater to every traveller’s need. Talking about the hotel and its ideal positioning in Delhi, Davinder Juj explains, “In close proximity to the business areas in South Delhi and choices for shopping, entertainment and tourist locations makes Eros Hotel, Nehru Place a truly convenient choice for all guests travelling for business or leisure.
Facing the magnificent Lotus Temple, this hotel defines indulgence at a whole new level. Inspite of being surrounded by the hustle and bustle of mainstream urban life, the hotel boasts an ambience that speaks of harmony and elegance. The fine dining options at Eros Hotel offer a host of fascinating cuisines and diverse culinary experiences. The hotel offers the banqueting space of 20,000 sq ft with indoor and outdoor options having their own unique style. Our blissful ‘Healthy Self’ in its beautiful and tranquil setting offers a rejuvenating experience.”
Juj believes at the Eros Hotel, the values of Indian Hospitality and the hotel team is the biggest strength and the hotel encourages a sense of belonging to its guests. “We take a lot of pride in talking to our customers and employees. It gives us an understanding of evolving consumer needs which in turn helps us in taking important business and operational decisions. We continuously emphasise at hotel to understand the customer needs. With the help of regular trainings, our team members are skilled and empowered to deal with situations and resolving any concerns immediately. We lay strong emphasis on staff trainings and inculcating Indian Hospitality values which prepare them to deal with all kind of situations at the work place,” says Juj..
The hotel has adopted a balanced approach for promoting its brand which includes personal selling to focus more on domestic customers, maintaining effective public relations, digital marketing and offering customised services to the guests. The hotel is also focusing on building a strong engagement with people through social media platforms.
As the corporate responsibilities towards the environment have become more significant, Juj also feels that it’s not an option anymore but a must for the operations of any organisation. Keeping that in mind, Eros Hotel has been taking significant steps to ensure its commitment towards the green environment which includes initiatives like waste management.
Jim’s Jungle Retreat
A PERFECT RENDEZVOUS WITH THE WILD
Catering to every traveller’s need, Jim’s Jungle Retreat is an ideal rendezvous with the untamed. Rati Karwal, General Manager, Jim’s Jungle Retreat shares about the rare experiences and best practices followed.
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Nestled amidst the lush and dense thickets of Nainital district in Uttarakhand, Jim Corbett National Park is not only the oldest, but also the largest national park in the country. At the forest’s edge, Jim’s Jungle Retreat is a perfect getaway offering acres of lush refuge, forest and mountain vistas, countless bird-spotting opportunities, memorable walks and safaris, and hours by the pool or on your private verandah.
While explaining about the uniqueness of this specialty lodge, Rati Karwal says, “Jim’s Jungle Retreat is an eco-sensitive wildlife lodge that invites you to seek the Tiger, find the Jungle. We have 18 stand-alone residences spread over 15 acres, ensuring our guests the most desirable of luxuries: privacy and solitude. These stand-alone units offer Raj-inspired living, the walls adorned with wildlife plates and lithographs and the rooms with aesthetically designed furnishing.”
Karwal informs that they host almost every customer segment, from wildlife enthusiasts to nature lovers, foreign to domestic, young and old; photographers, both professionals to amateurs; families looking for an outdoor holiday, birding groups, and leisure travellers. They are also looking to expand into yoga and wellness retreats. She further adds,
“Over the years our guests have also become ambassadors in our effort of nurturing and protecting the forests. We try and share our best practices with our guests so that they too can make earth friendly choices when they’re back home. Our detergent is the all natural Indian soap nut ‘Reetha’, our wet waste becomes manure for use in our organic vegetable and herb garden; our lighting is all LED; we use solar geysers wherever possible; our water is treated by a natural root-zone treatment plant.”
“Being an eco friendly lodge, with a complete understanding of its responsibility towards conservation, forest regeneration and minimum disturbance to the environment, I have taken forward the vision of JJR’s commitments to its neighborhood and the people who work with us. We are very careful about not disturbing the wildlife that visits us or lives in the forests around us. We also provide a support system to villagers during emergencies and weddings or during theatre functions and through monthly village waste management,” she opines.
Karwal shares that a social media campaign is underway to target the various segments which covers a lot of adventure activities. The campaign helps the guest understand the interdependent relationships that exist in a forest ecosystem. Also, JJR offers special packages for various seasons, including the monsoon, when the jungle is in a new avatar of green.
SETTING BENCHMARK FOR GUEST SATISFACTION
Currently in its second year of operations, Radisson Udaipur observed highest occupancy in the city. Richard Barooah, General Manager, Radisson Udaipur shares the success strategy for the hotel and the way forward.
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Situated amidst the beautiful city of lakes, Radisson Udaipur offers well-appointed rooms, exceptional dining options, variety of guest services and amenities ensuring a comfy stay. Radisson Udaipur during its first year of operations, witnessed one of the highest market shares among the city hotels. Talking about the positioning of the hotel, Richard Barooah shares,
“Radisson Udaipur being city’s first upscale MNC business hotel managed by Carlson Rezidor had to do its positioning very distinctly among all other hotels and it was a very successful exercise. As a Carlson Rezidor hotel and one of the leading hotel brands in the world, we understand the need of today’s discerning business travellers. In terms of external feedback from TripAdvisor and other OTA portals, we have over 90 per cent excellent feedback. We have grown leaps and bound on our online ranking by over 120 ranks. Today, with pride, I can say that Radisson Udaipur is one of the most popular hotels in Udaipur.”
Barooah further informs that their major focus on the MICE segment and FIT market has really helped the hotel to accelerate growth. “The hotel has seen a mix segment of travellers, however we have mainly focused on business travellers. This proved to be a boon to the hotel allowing a higher occupancy and more of repeated business from corporate; hence the hotel never saw any low season. We also focused on high-end mid-sized MICE business corporates where we design and offer tailor-made to suit every need and serve our guest with delight. In terms of FIT market,
we add lots of value added packages and our marketing team has tied up with international merchandise companies where any of our guests walk in and get discount on shopping up to 80 per cent,” informs Barooah.
Sharing further, he says, “Apart from that our main focus was on guest satisfaction which we managed to close on top ten ranking among all Carlson Rezidor hotels in South East Asia last year. Now we are accelerating more with our previous year learning so that we could close as the best hotel among all our hotels in the region. This strategic goal can only be accomplished when we also focus on our employee satisfaction which is now over 90 per cent as our benchmark.”
Barooah says that as a business hotel, Radisson Udaipur also takes good care of its Food & Beverage business from the local market, where they have induced various food festivals. “This dimension has set a new trend among all local people to try world famous cuisines which we host every month calling our specialty chefs. Radisson Udaipur’s F3, the first night club of the city is accepted very well by all kinds of travellers along with local young crowd as the city was missing on the night life,” informs Barooah.
Barooah is optimistic of growth in the coming years as the strategies adopted in the first year of operations worked out well for the hotel and he looks forward to follow most of them as corrective measures.
Activities like food festivals, book releases, art and craft exhibitions are in the pipeline which will not only add colors to the hotel but also to the city of Udaipur.
Novotel Kolkata Hotel & Residences
FRENCH HOSPITALITY IN AN EXTRAORDINARY SPACE
Led by Sandeep Johri, General Manager, Novotel Kolkata Hotel & Residences, has many firsts to its credit. It is the first Novotel in the city, as well as first in the serviced apartments category.
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With a unique design and architecture, optimum utilisation of space, along with enviable MICE facilities and world-class service standards, Novotel Kolkata is special in many ways. However Johri feels it is the people that make the difference, “We at Novotel Kolkata have a very strong belief in delivering superior guest experience by not only meeting the needs but also by anticipating the requirements and providing the WOW experience.”
Novotel Kolkata is a magnet for corporate and leisure guests alike due to its strategic location, with MICE being an area of strength. The 30,000 sq ft of banqueting space with a capability to accommodate between ten and 1,000 guests, make it a preferred choice for Corporate MICE and weddings.“This is a segment we focus on immensely by introducing concepts like dedicated event managers, themed breaks, healthy menus, meeting planner programs and many more such customised options,” shares Johri.
The positioning of the hotel reflects in the marketing strategy. Sharing the same, Johri says, “Novotel Kolkata has two major areas of focus – first MICE and weddings and second F&B for local guests. For both these segments we have adopted a 360-degree promotional approach. This entails traditional channels such as print, radio, media FAMs, PR and advertising along with social media, email communications and digital marketing. We are very proactive on all digital platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter, with creative promos.”
While the marketing initiatives have helped establish the hotel as a celebrity haunt, with sport stars to authors and Bollywood biggies patronising it, guest recommendations, Johri feels, are the best publicity. “We feel that no marketing tool can come up to to the power of word of mouth, and therefore, leave no stone unturned to ensure our guests have an extraordinary stay experience,” shares the GM.
Talking about the policies and practices that he has brought to the table, Johri says, “It is important to connect with customers on an individual level and make them feel welcome in the hotel to ensure repeat business. To maximise customer satisfaction, we maintain a flexible approach to accommodate individual guest preferences. To optimise guest experience, we focus on streamlining our daily processes to get best results and effectively enforcing already existing polices to maintain smooth functioning.”
The hotel also takes pride in its sustainable practices. “We follow Acting Here – Planet 21 initiative which is AccorHotels’ sustainable development program. We are conscious about our surrounding environment and carry out initiatives such as rainwater harvesting, recycling water among many others,” says Johri with a hint of pride.
Hotel Swosti Premium
SERVICE WITH A PERSONAL TOUCH
There are hotels that boast big brand names and then there are hotels that are run on sheer reputation they have built, organically brick by brick; guest by guest. Hotel Swosti Premium, Bhubaneswar is one such hotel. A part of the Swosti Group, the hotel has managed a special place for itself in the city. The credit, by no small means, goes to Aditya Prakash Jha, General Manager, Hotel Swosti Premium who ensures that having experienced the Swosti hospitality, no guest ever stays anywhere else.
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It may not boast an international brand tag but Hotel Swosti Premium, Bhubaneshwar has a unique charm. The fountain offset by four lions in the porch sets mood for the royal treatment one is set to receive inside.
Talking about the facilities Jha says, “The 147 rooms are spacious and comfortable, the dining options are many and offer Indian and international cuisines as well as a Scottish bar. For those who want a night out, the hotel hosts a discotheque. The spacious pool, health club and Ayurvedic massages on offer make it a popular choice for visitors and locals alike.The hotel’s biggest strength, however lies in the fact that it hosts the biggest Convention Centre of Eastern India.”
Talking about the customer mix, Jha says, “Our biggest chunk comes in the form of business travellers. However we are actively targeting MICE business as well as leisure travellers.”
A strong believer in service and offering a personalised touch to guests, Jha ensures that these are not merely words and catch phrases. He has a personal connect with all guests as well as his team members.“ We believe in living the philosophy -‘Service with a human touch’. The staff is courteous, service oriented but not robotic. There is a focus on offering a human touch and personalised service to each and every guest. Guest satisfaction is our priority,” insists Jha.
The hotel uses both traditional as well as social media and digital channels to market its services. Talking about the same, Jha shares, “We usually market through various sources namely digital marketing —websites, SEO, SMO, Google awards, different search engines like TripAdvisor, Trivago, Holiday IQ, Justdial and many more. We also partner with travel magazines, newspapers, FM and with other media partners.”
The hotel also offers various packages that not only include food and stay but also travel within Odisha. “We have various packages throughout the year such as Summer Package, Monsoon Package, Auditor’s, Weekend and Long Stay Packages, as well as Wedding and Conference Packages. We also arrange special packages of accommodation and transportations in and around Odisha like Golden Triangle Package, Jain or Buddhist tour Package, Wildlife, Tribal, Textile Tour packages to promote the rich culture and tradition of Odisha,” informs Jha.
The Roseate & Roseate House, Delhi
AN UBER LUXURIOUS ESCAPE
Combining incredibly luxurious designs with traditional elegance, The Roseate & Roseate House in Delhi introduce a whole new level of hospitality and lavishness. A perfect escape from the tedious city life, these two properties are truly awe-inspiring for those looking for uber luxury and a comforting stay. Kush Kapoor, Area General Manager, The Roseate & Roseate House, Delhi feels that both the properties are unique in their own way.
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Refreshing greenery blending seamlessly with the cozy environs, rooms featuring contemporary furnishings and graceful colors, the capital swanks these young perspective hotels. Where the Roseate is one-of-its-kind urban resort with an award winning architecture to fall in love with, Roseate House on the other hand is an ultrachic lifestyle hotel designed to cater to the next generation of business savvy and leisure travellers.
Delineating the uniqueness of both the properties, Kush Kapoor says, “The Roseate is an urban oasis in the capital. Spread over eight acres, the resort is encompassed by over a thousand trees and water bodies. High dome ceilings, twenty feet plus doors, bronze ‘jaali’ work, Isfahan pillars outside Kiyan, and the tent canopy design of Chi Ni the Chinese restaurant best define the architectural marvel.
The resort’s 102 meters long straight pool is the longest in the country escorting you along the length of the resort while the ficus wall element across the resort with over 650,000 leaves, may just be a design element to the untrained eye, but is actually an essential sound insulator to the outside world. The Aheli Spa at The Roseate offers a ‘’Hamam’’ or Turkish Bath along with extensive indoor outdoor treatment rooms. Not to be missed out is the resort’s library and an exclusive art room to let your creativity flow.”
“Roseate house meanwhile is conceived as a book where each floor is a ‘’story’’ and the rooms its ‘’chapters’’. The hotel offers an in-house cinema hall ‘’Upstage”, being the first in the country, the largest Indian restaurant par excellence ‘’Kheer’’, a rooftop Japanese lounge ‘’Tara’’ by the infinity poolside and a luxury boulevard with the fanciest brands to shop from. Other leisure and lifestyle options range from Aheli Spa and Roasted by Roseate, a chic patisserie serving TWG Tea, exclusive to the outlet in India other than Kiyan at The Roseate offering this haute couture tea experience. We also follow the farm to table concept at our restaurants especially our all day dining restaurants where our key ingredients come from our organic farm in Delhi,” adds Kapoor.
While Roseate House targets business, MICE, corporate and lifestyle travellers primarily, The Roseate guests’ on the other hand are from a more mature segment looking for a respite from the city’s hustle while staying within the capital. Being strategically located near the airport, entertainment centres and commercial hubs of Delhi and Gurgaon, Roseate House also caters to a small leisure segment.
Kapoor informs that their marketing initiatives and focus revolves around the prime objective of creating awareness about their brand “Roseate Hotels & Resorts” and rebranding The Roseate and Roseate House. “We have undertaken mainly print and digital marketing campaigns focusing on our hotel’s USPs and F&B offerings. We have a promotional calendar of activities that we follow to capture our target audience.” shares Kapoor.
Since Roseate Hotels & Resorts is a growing hospitality chain of hotels in India, the hotels have a standard set of SOPs. Kapoor shares that their current SOPs focus on seamless operations, forecasting and budgeting and sales & marketing. Also, under the ownership of Bird Hospitality, the launch of three luxury and upscale properties in Jaipur, Goa and Rishikesh are in the pipeline.
Sofitel Mumbai BKC
BEACON OF FRENCH HOSPITALITY IN INDIA
A luxury hotel reflecting the contemporary setting, Sofitel Mumbai Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) distinguishes itself with a huge customer base. Biswajit Chakraborty, General Manager, Sofitel Mumbai BKC shares the ‘magnifique’ journey of the hotel from good to the best.
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Entwining authentic French hospitality with modern luxury, Sofitel Mumbai BKC is a soothing retreat ideally positioned in Bandra Kurla Complex. While explaining about the property, Biswajit Chakraborty says, “Sofitel Mumbai BKC is a unique address offering a four-dimensional experience through its brand pillars of ‘Design’, ‘Gastronomy’, ‘Culture’ and ‘Wellbeing’ which constitute the pure essence of the Sofitel brand. Additionally, the grandeur of the hotel is reflected in its personalised service from the heart, which is referred to
as “Cousu Main” in French
and elements like these have created a huge loyal customer base for us.”
Talking about the MICE capabilities of the hotel, Chakraborty says, “Magnifique Meetings — Sofitel’s meetings concept, combines the latest conference technology with a passion for excellence, dedicated to making every event an unforgettable success. The Club Millésime — Business Lounge has a sophisticated atmosphere with provisions for dining, lounging and meetings. Exclusive buffet counters with an impressive presentation of wine, champagne and distinctive cuisine create a backdrop for the most discerning customers to appreciate the exclusivity and privacy of Club Millésime.”
“The Grand Salon ballroom at the hotel is infused with natural light and accommodates over 250 guests, perfect for conferences and intimate events. A full-sized and serviced Loft Kitchen and a 24-hour Business Centre complete the offerings on the floor with services from dedicated chefs and experienced meeting planners.
‘Hriday’ – an outdoor venue of 30,000 sq ft in the heart of Mumbai, offers an inimitable space designed for extravagant happenings. Thoughtfully christened as Hriday, denoting ‘heart’ in Sanskrit the venue is a perfect destination for live shows, corporate events, car launches, award ceremonies and lavish weddings,” he adds.
Sofitel Mumbai BKC has created a niche of its own in the city. In a very short span, it has reached number two ranking on TripAdvisor out of 450 hotels in Mumbai. “Competition is always going to be there and in a country like India, which is constantly reinventing itself, an international hotel brand like ours has to be one step ahead of its competitors.
I started my ‘magnifique’ journey with Sofitel Mumbai BKC on February 1, 2012 and have nearly completed four years with the property. My aim is to constantly exemplify the luxury quotient of this hotel to consumers and be the catalyst in crafting the pathway to make Sofitel Mumbai BKC a cultural landmark in the city,” he shares.
“My intent is to accentuate the Sofitel DNA and the four key brand pillars of the hotel through a series of elite events, experiences and personalised service at the Sofitel Mumbai BKC, thus delivering an indelible guest experience. It is my endeavour to position the hotel as a game-changer in its segment,” he adds.
Chakraborty believes that personal engagement and ‘taking ownership’ are prerequisites for bringing new services to success and that is why his key focus is on employee satisfaction. He shares, “We refer to our staff as ‘Ambassadors’. We have a pool of trained and certified departmental trainers who meet every month during ‘Rendezvous’ to exchange ideas and best practices and the top three are felicitated for their contribution towards training.”
“We emphasise on employee satisfaction as much as guest satisfaction as we believe that only a content workforce can serve with happiness and pleasure, and we understand that genuine care for our Ambassadors leads to care for our guests,” he opines.
Constantly working towards enhancing its key brand pillars and reinventing the brand identity, Chakraborty expects to see a remarkable growth for the hotel. “Sofitel Mumbai BKC is well-known for being the beacon of French hospitality in India.
We will continue to strive to push our potential around our four key brand pillars. As part of business strategy and marketing plans, Sofitel Mumbai BKC has measurable goals internally to achieve quality, impeccable service, intelligent marketing and a high ratio of repeat guests. Given Sofitel’s unique positioning where luxury experiences and business meet in an elegant setting, we expect to see tremendous growth not just in occupancy, but also with our ADR. In addition, the property also brings a strong design aesthetic, not recently seen in city hotels. We are constantly reinventing the Sofitel brand providing innovative, high-quality products and services for the benefit of our guests,” he concludes.