‘Hospitality industry to be busiest in post-pandemic phase’

Amitava Roy, CEO and Arun Kumar VK, Executive Director, TGI Hotels, talk about their journey, the scope of hotels in Tier 2 and 3 cities and plans of reaching out for eastern and western markets soon

TGI Hotels started its journey from a 20 room hotel in Yelagiri, a hill station in Tirupattur district of Tamil Nadu in 2014. The initial two years were challenging but the owners neither lost heart or steam. Things started falling in place soon and business came on track when the Group added four new hotels under the TGI umbrella. In 2016, the Group moved their corporate office to Bengaluru and a year later, they started operations in central and northern India. Today, the Group operates 20 hotels across India and plans to establish itself in the eastern and western regions.

Keeping it simple, humble and profitable

Sharing with us the vision with which both the founders, CEO Amitava Roy and Executive Director Arun Kumar VK, started TGI Hotels, Kumar says, “To provide quality accommodation with affordable pricing in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, we have evolved our entire business on two Ts - Truth and Transparency. We have always provided our customers with what we promised and exhibited in promotional offerings. We have maintained transparency with all our hotel promoters and partners and fulfilled all our commitments towards them. This has helped us in creating a strong base of guests and built confidence and developed trust with hotel promoters. Most of the hotels managed by us are from repeat promoters or referrals by them as they believe in our business ethos.”

Atithi Devo Bhava!

Wanting to create a niche for small and medium-sized hotels and resorts, the founders decided to establish their hotels of international class yet stay true to Indian values. “We strongly believe in the Indian culture of Atithi Debo Bhava! TGI Hotels specialises in offering a full range of hands-on hotel management services, keeping in mind the geographical location of the hotels and resorts, food flavours, guest expectations from the unit and matching the right set of staff to deliver the expectations,” shares Roy, adding, “Considering guest satisfaction as their prime objectivity, the Group provides an elaborate menu along with guest comfort to the extent that the customer forgets the tiredness and feels refreshed for the next day.”

Word-of-mouth publicity

Firm believers that the hotel and resort business grows with word-of-mouth publicity and repeat clientele by making them feel homely, Kumar says, “At resort properties, our aim is the inclusion of local food and representation in various aspects so that the guests feel a connect with the place, get into adventure and in-house activities and socialise with other guests so that these memories remain with them for years to come. We always emphasise guest engagement during their stay, whether it is a cooking demo, guiding kids to swim or teaching the guests how to make mocktails and cocktails. These experiences become a memory for the guest.”

Future of Tier 2 and 3 cities

In recent times, Tier 2 and 3 cities have emerged as great business hubs for hotels. Providing them with quality budget-friendly accommodation is no easy task. This is where TGI Hotels tries to fit in. “During our initial market survey, we felt there is a lot of scope in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities and these are growing exponentially. As many of these cities are in the process of becoming Smart Cities, we chose to grow along with this development by providing quality and affordable stay to the customers,” says Roy.

Post-pandemic modus operandi

The hospitality industry was drenched with the losses due to the pandemic, and months of lockdown only added to the misery. Likewise for TGI as they operated for only six-seven months last year. The occupancy dipped to zero and there was no cash flow. However, the recovery period was brisk after the first lockdown lifted. Within two months, TGI reached 70 per cent of the pre-Covid levels. On the precautions the Group has adhered to, Kumar comments, “The safety protocols decided and followed are as per laid down policies by the Government and advice from the medical fraternity. The rooms and public areas are being sanitised as per the Covid-19 protocol and the hotels’ housekeeping have been given special emphasis to ensure guests get safe accommodation.”

According to Roy and Kumar, the hospitality industry is going to be the busiest and one of the most revenue-generating businesses after the pandemic ends. The duo says that they have utilised this time for renovation, new business plans and new investments for the upcoming ventures before the industry opens up. “Even after the second lockdown lifted, we could see the industry bouncing back at double the speed of the previous time. People have started travelling and will need a major break from the monotony of staying indoors,” feels Roy.

Future endeavours

Sharing their future goals, Kumar says, “We had set a target of managing 2,020 rooms in 2020, and we were moving progressively and aggressively towards the same. However, this pandemic has put a temporary halt and given us that much needed time to correct ourselves and align properly. We are much stronger and focussed now and the growth story shall continue. Our dream is to have TGI Hotels every three-four hours of the drive across India. After strengthening our presence in north, central and south India, we will venture out for eastern and western India.”

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