Bidding adieu to the teens and entering the new decade with a lot of hope and zeal, hoteliers across India are anticipating an exceptional 2020. Hotel industry in India witnessed a dismal 2019 due to GST and taxation issues but with the New Year settled in, plenty is expected as the hospitality industry is going through major technological changes. In an exclusive chat with BOTT India, Managing Heads of renowned properties share their thoughts on the plans and policies for 2020… Here’s a look…
Priyanka Saxena and Arushi Bajaj
Tourism is the backbone of our economy and the millennials swear by it. With the increased travelling amongst millennials and the rapid technological advancement in the sector, hotels across the country have been experiencing good numbers. According to reports, 55 per cent of millennials extend business trips for extra leisure time, giving hotels more revenue. The year 2020 will expect even more travellers who will combine business and leisure travel into one trip – further boosting “bleisure tourism” in India. Sustainability is another major concern that is being seriously taken up by many hotels as they collectively ponder upon fulfilling their environmental responsibilities. Excepts –
Meena Bhatia, General Manager and Vice President, Le Meridien, New Delhi
2020 begins with a renewed promise of good times for the industry, the efforts of the industry leadership in getting the much awaited attention of the government towards tourism will show results in the coming year in the form of – reduction of taxes, e-visa and dynamic visa fee structure, opening of new routes will all bring the rightful gains. 2020 and the decade ahead is time to build and strengthen the tourism industry. Hopefully this year should see tourism getting its status as a mainstream industry.
Vijay Wanchoo, Sr. Executive Vice President & GM, The Imperial New Delhi
2020 will bring in more challenges with the leisure travellers becoming increasingly aware and conscious of their needs, while being ready to explore newer destinations with a gamut of offerings. Online Travel market and Digital/ social media domains will retain their popularity while the industry shall continue to bring in Conscious Travel and earth friendly initiatives, for leisure and business guests alike. The opportunities for established hotels lie in understanding the changing needs of the guest while offering a distinguished product offering and constantly upgrading the services. Our strategy at The Imperial has always rested on providing our guests a unique stay and a personalised service. It is all about creating a home away from home for our loyal guests and we shall continue to do the same in the New Year with sustainable operations, unique product offering and planet friendly initiatives, for an iconic Imperial experience.”
Greesh Bindra, Vice President – Operations, The Suryaa New Delhi
After a slow 2019 finally 2020 looks a little more buoyant. The first quarter of the year is rather busy with International MICE events and a huge number of wedding dates. We are all geared up to cater to these heavy Demands. E-Visa made inbound tourism easier and the booking window has decreased considerably, from major inbound destinations.
Ranjan Banerjee, General Manager, Crowne Plaza Today New Delhi Okhla
As we step into a new decade, we need to create a sustainable ecosystem in the hotel industry. This starts right from zero waste mechanism in kitchen to eco-friendly practices in operations, from locally sourced ingredients in menu planning to innovative concepts such as Farm to Fork. I wish to see India as a leading player in the world in innovations concerning food production, waste management, environment friendly practices, unique experiences and social media footprints. Hospitality is a very demanding industry, hence an engaged and motivated team is the core ingredient for success. It is very important to set up a culture focusing on mental wellbeing, job enrichment and growth opportunities for our colleagues. Training and empowering of local youth and engaging with local communities is a must. Political stability and infrastructural development will be key for the growth of tourism and hospitality sector in the country. Growth in the MICE segment will be a crucial factor for the growth of tourism and hospitality sector in the country. Promoting local cuisines and thus reviving the lost recipes is a very important task. This could also be a great takeaway for the international guests who would get an opportunity to experience the country like a local.
Amit Kumar, Sr. GM, The Muse Sarovar Portico New Delhi – Kapashera
Hospitality industry welcomes current government`s outlook towards expansion of Tourism in the country. GST rate reductions have shown positive results precisely for mid-market and luxury hotel segments. GST on F&B reduced from 18 to 5 per cent and has led to growth in banquet revenues and benefits are passed on to the guests at The Muse Sarovar Portico, Kapashera. GST rate cuts on rooms have helped us to increase Revpar and room nights due to growth in demand for domestic travel and expect this to grow further as it reduces total cost payable by the guest. Travel Agents and Online travel agents room nights production has increased marginally due to correction in GST. Though it is quite early to forecast the changes as its peak season for hotels, we are optimistic towards 2020 with a ray of hope to increase overall hotel business as government has shown dedication towards boosting domestic and inbound tourism by spreading the awareness to international partners in hospitality business.
Rajan Malhotra, Director of Sales and Marketing, Shangri-La’s – Eros Hotel, New Delhi
The hospitality industry in India is expected to grow exponentially in the coming year. The occupancy levels will see a growth in 2020, however, the ADR shall remain steady. Domestic travel is forecast to increase in the coming year. Emphasis shall be to connect with guests in engaging ways through content marketing on digital and social platforms. Food and Beverage shall be a major focus. Various activities such as conceptual dining pop-ups, wellness menus, and interactive brunches are in the offing at our property.
Narendra Prabhu, GM, Signature Club Resort
Slashing of Goods and Services Tax rates was definitely a boon for the Hospitality industry which will definitely attract more overseas tourists coming to India during 2020. Many brands will shift their focus to secondary and tertiary cities and also towards holiday destinations to absorb mid-scale hospitality segments, budget brands, affordable but yet quality and branded segments where the volume is guaranteed. Digital platforms will continue to play its vital role in influencing the customers to choose a destination or a brand. Presence on social media will become prerogative for any brand to sustain as it defines the online character of a brand and the effectiveness of how well it is communicated to its target clientele will define its success or failure. Increasingly, customers are concerned with environmental issues and want to know if the businesses they deal with are behaving ethically. For this reason, sustainability has been one of the most noticeable hospitality trends of recent times, with a growing number of hospitality businesses promoting their eco-friendliness and this trend will undeniably continue to dominate during 2020 as well. Trips which combine business travel with leisure activities, and it is increasingly popular, especially among the millennial generation. As an example, a traveller may initially visit a location to attend a business meeting or conference, but then extend their stay to turn it into a “Bleisure.”
Vineet Verma, CEO and Executive Director, Brigade Hospitality Services Limited
We expect to see a growing adoption of several innovative “green” initiatives, with specific focus on zero plastic, reduction in Carbon footprint, reduced wastage of food etc. We also see more and more operators turning their attention to adding an ‘experiential’ touch with flavours of ‘local culture and traditions’ even in city based business hotels. Digital transformation will continue to grow in 2020. A number of leading operators are working on their own Apps that will allow you to even check-in and gain access to your room and services, without having to go through front office etc. Customer experience and convenience is high on the agenda.