In an exclusive interview with Today’s Traveller, Rishi Chopra, General Manager, The Soaltee Kathmandu shares his thoughts on how to capitalize on the latest trends in terms of demand for hospitality services
TT Bureau: How has The Soaltee Kathmandu evolved over the years to meet the changing needs and preferences of travellers?
Rishi Chopra: The Soaltee Kathmandu is a luxury hotel located in Kathmandu, Nepal. Over the years, the hotel has evolved to meet the changing needs and preferences of travellers by constantly upgrading its facilities and services. With the new technologies, customer behaviour has changed a lot with their experiences.
One significant change the hotel has undergone is its renovation and expansion. We underwent a major renovation in 2022, which saw the addition of new rooms and suites, new restaurants and bars, a spa, and a fitness centre, also upgraded its technology infrastructure to provide guests with high-speed internet connectivity and state-of-the-art audio-visual facilities, the sensor at the swimming pool for safety purpose.
In order to meet the needs of each guest, we create custom packages for families, business travellers, and honeymooners, among other groups. To make sure visitors have a pleasant stay, we offer 24-hour concierge services, airport transportation, and individualized dining experiences.
TT Bureau: What are the initiatives that The Soaltee Kathmandu has undertaken to support sustainable tourism and social responsibility in the local community?
Rishi Chopra: The Soaltee Kathmandu has undertaken several initiatives to support sustainable tourism and social responsibility in the local community. The hotel has implemented several eco-friendly measures to conserve the environment. The hotel has a water treatment plant, which recycles water for gardening and cleaning purposes. The hotel also uses solar energy for heating water and lighting the property. The hotel mostly uses EV cars for environmental sustainability.
The hotel has implemented a comprehensive waste management system that has installed waste segregation bins in public areas and guest rooms to segregate waste and also composts organic waste and recycles paper, plastic, and glass waste. Similarly, the implementation of several energy-saving initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint as well as replacing traditional lighting with LED lights, which consume less energy and installing motion sensors in public areas to conserve energy.
We’ve been actively involved in supporting the local community. Soaltee provides employment opportunities to the locals and sources its supplies and ingredients from local vendors. The hotel also supports local schools and non-profit organizations through financial and in-kind donations.
We have also taken steps to preserve the local culture and heritage with a dedicated art gallery that showcases traditional Nepalese art and artefacts. We also organize cultural events and workshops to promote local culture.
TT Bureau: How is The Soaltee Kathmandu positioning itself to capitalize on the latest trends in terms of demand for hospitality services?
Rishi Chopra: Soaltee has a rich legacy of over 56 years in Kathmandu and we are proud to continue with the latest trends with a tradition of excellence. We have been actively indulging in social media such as Facebook, Instagram & TikTok and so on.
We have embraced technology to enhance the guest experience and implemented software that enables guests to check in, order room service, and make reservations. Investments in high-speed Wi-Fi connectivity, smart TVs, EV cars and other tech-enabled amenities to cater to tech-savvy guests have become our powerful tools for embracing the technologies.
We cater to the increased demand for health and wellness services by offering a range of services such as a fitness centre, a spa, and a wellness program also introduced healthy menus, yoga classes, and other wellness activities to cater to health-conscious guests.
Soaltee Hotel is focusing on sustainability to cater to the growing number of environmentally conscious travellers which has implemented several eco-friendly measures, such as waste management, energy conservation, and water conservation, to reduce its carbon footprint and promote sustainability.
We ensure that we offer personalized services to cater to the unique needs and preferences of guests. We provide tailor-made packages for families, business travellers, and honeymooners, among others. We offer 24-hour concierge services, personalized dining experiences, and airport transfers to ensure guests have a memorable stay. Promoting local experiences ensure that guests experience an authentic taste of Nepalese culture and heritage.
TT Bureau: A major milestone that shaped you as a hospitality leader
Rishi Chopra: Working in different states and cultures can expose a hospitality leader to diverse perspectives, and customs, and having worked with reputed brands in different locations has exposed me diversely. It has helped me develop cross-cultural communication skills, adaptability, and a global mindset.
Leading a significant rebranding or refurbishment project, too. Strong leadership, careful planning, and attention to detail are necessary for these initiatives. By successfully managing such a project, I have proven my capacity as a hospitality leader to manage difficult projects, interact with stakeholders effectively, and produce outcomes that meet or exceed customer expectations.
TT Bureau: What is that one thing that you cannot miss? Tea/coffee, music, morning walk, meditation, checking your cell etc.
Rishi Chopra: I don’t miss my morning walk as it helps me stay focused and builds my confidence. I definitely need my single-shot espresso to stimulate my innovative and rational thinking.
Read more: Interviews