Noor Mahal Karnal
Manbeer Choudhary, Chairman cum Managing Director, Jewels Group of Hotels gives an insight into this luxury property's efforts to rebuild the grandeur after a difficult pandemic stretch
As the world is recovering from the adverse effects of the pandemic, the worst seems to be over but industries and business will take some time to overcome the damage and reach back to growth trajectory.
The hospitality Industry was completely surprised with the abnormal circumstances bringing about an absolute halt to the operations. Managing luxury hotels is unquestionably a task of great magnitude and this unique situation demanded tactful and strategic actions in order to soften the blow and ensure survival. When one thinks of a luxury hotel in this scenario, the scope is not limited to the hotel operations and employees. Hotel’s micro ecosystem has to be considered - other business that are associated with it, suppliers, craftsmen or artists engaged with upkeep, local community, etc. The fate of the hotel greatly affects the wellbeing of all within this micro ecosystem making every decision that much more important.
After the initial surprise, as is built into the DNA of hospitality businesses, luxury hotels found ways to keep going in spite of the main operations shut down. First in the order of affairs was immediately making sure staff safety. Followed by upgrading hygiene, cleanliness and sanitising practices. During lockdowns, hospitality organisations immediately stepped up to their social responsibility by assisting the frontline warriors and those in need with food packets and accommodation services. This was a humbling scenario and a truly humanitarian experience for all involved. Sincere and tireless efforts, endeavours and compassion shown by hospitality brands and workforce during trying times are laudable.
While the hospitality brands were fulfilling their duty as socially responsible corporate citizens, it was critical to strategize for the future of the organisation as a lot was on stake. Revenue sources were shut down but expenses had to be managed, employees and upkeep had to be taken care of. In the absence of events such as weddings, MICE events, no domestic or international guests and restaurants being closed, all sources of income stopped. Still, the luxury hotels had to stay prepared everyday to welcome guests at a short notice, so there could be no slack in upkeep. The upgraded COVID protocols also demanded additional resources. An unprecedented situation where no one knew when this would be over.
Luxury hotels hit the chalking board, minutely analysing and re-analyzing every aspect of operations and expenses. The whole operational gambit was reinvented and overhauled. Putting in place an action plan for upgrading hygiene, cleanliness and sanitation protocols. Upgrading and installing additional technology solutions to enable less human intervention and no contact servicing. Staff training for the new protocols and future preparedness required a lot of attention and action. In the hotel industry anything less than a 100% is not acceptable. Perfection has to be achieved, that is the job.
Manbeer Choudhary, Chairman cum Managing Director, Jewels Group of Hotels
"The pandemic has changed the way people perceive food. Attentiveness towards nutrition, immunity, ingredients, superfoods, cooking techniques, etc has increased drastically."
From the initial phase to the first wave and through the second wave, luxury hotels faced a lot of uncertainty. Treading in uncharted areas with unforeseeable timelines and constant development in guidelines. But even in this challenging scenario luxury hotels kept on functioning in the back offices with utmost efficiency.
As things have started to open up again, it is time when all the efforts done behind the curtain will reap benefits. After having to stay in for such a long time people are enthusiastic about exploring and travelling again. Guests have started to return for good hospitality experiences which can help them unwind. But they are venturing out with utmost caution. Terms like hygiene, cleanliness, transparency and sanitation are increasingly being used to select the accommodation. Coupled with hotels which are destinations in themselves - staycation. In the new dynamics and altered guest preference, luxury hotels are becoming a preferred choice.
Luxury hotels with their grandeur, decor, ambience, picturesque backdrops, facilities, activities, multiple restaurants and culinary spread offer excellent engagement and become the perfect match for customer requirements. More and more travelers are going to opt for luxury accommodation experiences at Indian palatial properties for the rich experiences they offer .Along with safety luxury Indian palatial hotels have the perfect open architecture (guests are and will be still wary of closed air conditioned spaces), providing abundant natural ventilation, wide corridors, large spaces to allow comfortable social distancing. These factors will make Indian palatial luxury hotel stays an even bigger trend than pre-pandemic time.
Indian luxury hotels with re-invented service standards, hygiene practices, sanitation practices and latest technology enabled servicing operations are ready to extend luxury hospitality experience 2.0.
The pandemic has changed the way people perceive food. Attentiveness towards nutrition, immunity, ingredients, superfoods, cooking techniques, etc has increased drastically. Indian cuisine has especially come into focus for being eternally healthy. Healthy food is not necessarily synonymous to less ghee or oil or bland but essentially a meal which is balanced with proper nutrition. Culinary offerings at luxury Indian hotels are now being rightly seen for their merit. There is a lot of focus on traditional Indian cooking and cuisine as it is held in high regard in this context.
Guests can be assured of the highest standards of relaxation and satisfaction with topmost services.
With normalcy setting in again, Indian luxury hospitality has started a new chapter with changes to suit the new world order.
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