Today’s Traveller invites Bhupinder Singh Gujral, Managing Director of Gujral Group of Companies to share his insights on future trends and what are the hotel industry’s ‘must-haves’ of tomorrow.
Today’s Traveller: Now that hotels are open with further relaxations, what is your strategy to keep your hotel at the top of its game?
Bhupinder Singh Gujral: I would like to clarify that hotels around various states still face some restrictions in terms of timings and capacity. Although there is active dialogue happening with various state govt, there seems to be a little breakthrough. Considering the current restrictions, we are only able to cater to half of the actual demand. Our strategy is to develop multiple streams of income within the hotel itself and position our hotels in the market with a very unique proposition.
Our Business hotel in Kolkata, The Golden Parkk is the most talked-about hotel in 2021 in the area because we are offering a host of nationwide F&B brands. Golden Parkk is home to Wafira – Lounge Bar nightclub that boasts of being the largest Nightclub in Kolkata, a few Bollywood Celebrity Djs even call Wafira their Home. So, developing new brands and being a host to nationwide brands, has been a success formula for us.
Today’s Traveller: What are the hotel industry’s ‘must-haves’ of tomorrow?
Bhupinder Singh Gujral: The must-haves for the hotel industry is to adopt the latest and newest technology that aids in taking management decisions. We recently partnered with a Gujarat based F&B software provider which does exactly that. Our management knows in real-time which transactions take place between service staff and hotel guests and using a mobile interface our staff and management are able to cater to guest demands and collaborate. So being Mobile-First is an absolute must-have.
We are also taking Hygiene seriously, apart from the usual Covid norms and recommendations by the Ministry of Tourism, our management has taken some extra steps to ensure the least contact experience.
Today’s Traveller: How do you intend to offer the new COVID-era luxury- defined as ‘a getaway without in-person contact’?
Bhupinder Singh Gujral: We are in process of implementing a self-check-in system similar to what the airports have nowadays. The guest’s details are pre-filled, all the guest needs are just to Tap on a button, do a digital signature and Voila his room key is ready. We aspire to take this experience further that one day the guest just walks into the hotel and he goes straight into his room, although I am trying to be an idealist by saying this.
This system of course has its cons too, the guest never gets to experience our hospitality since instead of interacting with persons, now the guest prefers to communicate with machines (I am guessing we all do).
Today’s Traveller: Is technology the only winning strategy for quick industry recovery?
Bhupinder Singh Gujral: Technology is only an enabler, it’s the right people strategy we follow in our businesses. We can provide these latest technological tools to our people, but it’s useless if the staff eventually rejects it and finds some workarounds.
Our Right People strategy also ensures that we attract the right customers and cater to their demands. Each and every person in the organisation contributes to the organisation’s recovery. Alternative revenue streams are key to industry recovery.
For instance, a lot of resorts that were recently inaugurated were made with huge capacities to cater to big fat Indian Weddings, but they are almost entirely unused. The promoters will need to repurpose these assets to start their cash flows once again.
Today’s Traveller: What kind of revenue diversification and new income streams can hotels adopt to navigate future risk?
Bhupinder Singh Gujral: Although every hotel property is unique in its offerings and locations, the best alternative revenue streams to diversify their risk is to look around their immediate neighbourhood and research what works for them. In our case, F&B brands housed under a single roof worked, but that will not necessarily work for a resort 20 km away from the city.
I would bet my money on the weekend staycation for my resort. We are a nation of 1.3 billion people, there is always a demand that needs to be catered to and it’s only about recognising this opportunity.
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