INDIA: Key players in the Indian hotel market came together virtually via Zoom at a recent Industry awards event – they shared their experiences and spoke of the way forward.
The key take-aways one the first day of talks with different leaders, in summary were that the Indian hospitality industry like many countries around the world is witnessing a massive shift in its market trends, customer patterns, new demands and implementing improved health and sanitisation protocols. Reviews of design and function, space utilisation, technology, fixed cost and stakeholders returns were all mentioned. At the same time ensuring the industry stays competitive and progressive. Most agreed that the pandemic has presented hoteliers an opportunity to improve and strengthen the industry and profitability in the longer term.
The key Zoom panellists on the opening day included:
Prabhat Verma, Executive Vice President- Operations South India and International, Indian Hotels Company (IHCL)
Anuraag Bhatnagar, Chief Operating Officer, Leela Palaces Hotels and Resorts
Zubin Saxena, Managing Director and VP Operations, Radisson Hotel Group
Puneet Dhawan, Senior VP Operations-India and South Asia, Accor
Mandeep S Lamba, President (South Asia) HVS ANAROCK
Neeraj Govil, Senior Vice President- South Asia, Marriott International
Sunjae Sharma, VP Operations, Hyatt India and Anil Chadha, COO, ITC Hotels
Mandeep S Lamba of HVS ANAROCK said, “We reassure investors, hotel owners, and people who are trying to make their careers in the hospitality industry and all other stakeholders.” He says, “This is a temporary hit and two-three years down the line there is going to be a huge bounce back that the industry will witness.”
Neeraj Govil, Marriott International stated, ”In the past couple of months, the hotel sector had to think on its feet and come up with the most out-of-the-box ideas to maintain cash flows.” He added, “During this process they have opened several new revenue streams. The entire gamut of operational costs today, be it fixed, or variable is under intense scrutiny. Lowering of costs will have to have industry wide applicability or the business will struggle in financial terms.”
Anil Chadha, ITC Hotels responding to health and hygiene concerns says, “The customer is very nervous, we need to reassure the customer. Perception is especially important in our industry; we not only need to eliminate the germs but also the anxiety.”