‘Revival of domestic travel a crucial opportunity for all hotels’

Sandeep Joshi, Cluster General Manager, Radisson Blu Plaza Hyderabad Banjara Hills, shares insights on post-pandemic opportunities in the hospitality market, wedding business and the role of F&B

With a career in hospitality spanning 27 years, Sandeep Joshi, Cluster General Manager, Radisson Blu Plaza Hyderabad Banjara Hills, has been actively involved in various operations of the hotel. As a skilled and experienced professional, Joshi has been devising and implementing sales strategies, forecasting and budgeting process for enhancing revenues and increasing the guest base. An alumnus of the Institute of Hotel Management Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition and a DU commerce graduate, Joshi started his career with the IHG Group, New Delhi as a Restaurant Manager. From there, he continued climbing up the ladder and worked in different roles with various hospitality groups in the country.  

An all-encompassing approach of management  

The role of a GM is often all-encompassing and to be successful, one needs to have an oversight of all responsibilities. “My journey in the industry has taught me that being inspirational, and visionary are two important qualities which are irreplaceable. One needs to be someone people want to follow and work their hardest for. An inspirational person brings out the best characteristics in his team. To possess a pleasant and happy team is of crucial importance in hospitality industry. To be enthusiastic and passionate should always come from the top,” says Joshi.  

Another important trait, he adds, is to be a visionary who can evaluate competition, trends, geography and target audience. “To truly achieve success, one needs to be always thinking ahead of times for proper implementation of planning, budgeting and improving the overall experience of the property – understanding what a guest wants even before the guest knows,” he puts in.  

Need of the hour   

A common opportunity in all the hotels and probably the most crucial one in the current times is the revival of domestic travel – both leisure and business. The brand, shares Joshi, has been focussing on providing best-in-class safety standards through SGS certification. “In addition, cross-selling campaigns and promotions such as staycations are helping the team come together and providing supply to the demand. The trend of digitalisation and contactless services has gained momentum and technology-assisted options, such as mobile check-in, contactless payments, voice control and biometrics are being leveraged to give enhanced guest experience,” he says. 

Sustainability is not just limited to a few hotels, says Joshi, adding, “It is there is in the entire industry. Avoiding disposable plastics, eliminating unnecessary paper consumption (thanks to digital receipts) and reducing food wastage by eliminating buffets in lean meal periods are decisive decisions made conscientiously. Vegetarian and vegan options also encourage environmental advantages,” he adds.  

Weddings are the way forward   

When it comes to banquet business, social events and weddings are the way forward, opines the Cluster General Manager, Radisson Blu Plaza Hyderabad Banjara Hills. “Data reveals that weddings remain a stable business, irrespective of economic downturns and Indian market has seen an early revival in this segment. As the millennial no longer prefers adhering to an auspicious date to get married, it is proving to be a profitable 365-day segment. Revamp on social media channels and leverage on viral marketing to attract footfalls are in our plans this year. Associating with high quality vendors and giving memorable experiences is key to deliverables,” feels Joshi.    

He adds the pandemic has led to notable changes in guest sentiments which have shifted to safety and hygiene, in addition to food and décor priorities. “The property holds an SGS safety certification and follows a strict 20-step safety protocol, giving guests the confidence to hold their special events with us. We have gone a step ahead by bundling this factor with a comprehensive wedding package called Bandhan by Radisson Blu Plaza Banjara Hills. It is a customised offer and a one-stop-shop for all their wedding needs,” shares Joshi.  

F&B role in the pandemic backdrop  

As the hotels continue to struggle for revenue and profitability due to stressed ADRs, dependence on F&B contribution will grow exponentially, opines Joshi. “New avenues in F&B are food delivery and concepts which relate and connect with local communities and cultures. F&B should be able to deliver immersive local experiences in vibrant destinations. Our endeavour is to add value experiences while retaining loyalty to the brand and increasing revenues,” he says.  

Wellness dining, feels Joshi, is a visible trend post-pandemic and it is safe to say it is going to stay for a while. “People using food ingredients due to its medicinal value is gaining wider acceptance. Sustainable and green wave is visible among communities. Two major key revolutions are ‘Buy Local’ and ‘Grow Local’ which is garnering huge popularity and people are well connected with this thought. F&B has the potential to drive experience in a way that makes people buy the product or service,” says Joshi. 

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