'Saint-Gobain Gyproc is not just the material supplier but the solution provider to the hospitality industry'

As the industry across verticals look forward to the times post-pandemic, Venkat Subramanian Managing Director, Saint-Gobain Gyproc India talks to BW HOTELIER about how Gyproc has been leading the edge in the building industry over many years.

Tell us about the USP of your company and products. How has the usage of gypsum grown over the last five years in the hospitality industry?

Saint-Gobain Gyproc, a leader in the building construction space for over three decades has been a pioneer in introducing light weight construction practices in the Indian building industry. In fact, Gyproc is top in the minds of customers when they think of ceiling, drywall partition and plaster as it offers the widest and complete range of plaster boards, ceiling tiles, metal framing and accessories. In the past ten years, Gyproc India has successfully created a robust distribution network and periodic investments through four manufacturing plants with a combined capacity of over 80 million square meters. With fifth plant in the offing, we aim to become a household name in the gypsum board category while efficiently serving our customers. 

Among various sectors, hospitality industry has been one of the first to adopt Drywall technology as a construction practice replacing traditional masonry work. The initial acceptance came from Global brands such as Marriott, Accor, IHG, including others. Drywalls aided with superior sound insulation and acoustic comfort to their guest rooms. Being a faster and light weight construction technology, Drywalls has now found much wider acceptance among all major hotel brands and developers, helping them deliver their projects faster, along with tremendous cost savings. 

What are the trends we are witnessing in the segment?

Pre-COVID, hospitality industry witnessed a rise in the midscale and economy hotel segment, addressing the business and leisure travelers. Despite the pandemic impacting the hospitality industry badly, the resilience and the response shown by the industry are commendable. The sector is expected to witness increased sanitisation of spaces, removal of buffet, touch free check-in process, etc. It’s all going to be about safety. Many hoteliers have also already started tapping corporate clients for rental incomes, offering flexi rental rooms and business centers that could be used as office spaces. Post pandemic, domestic tourism is expected to gain more preference compared to international destinations which in-turn would widely help the revival of the sector.

What is your sales and distribution strategy pan India? Which main hotel chains/hotels/restaurants do you supply to?

When it comes to catering to clients in the hospitality industry, Gyproc has been more of a solution provider than just a material supplier. Our sales team located across all major cities in the country, support the hoteliers in the entire project journey starting from techno-commercial inputs at the planning and design stage to on-field technical support during the execution stage. We have a centralized design team which assist clients with customized drywall and ceiling solutions as per the floor layouts and performance requirements as per the brand norms.

All major hotel chains such as Accor Group, Marriott International, Intercontinental Hotels Group, Taj Hotels, ITC, Radisson hotels group, etc. have widely used our drywalls and ceiling solutions in their projects. In the last 5 years, More than 20+ International and National hotel chains have adopted Drywalls technology for their projects instead of conventional masonry construction. In the near future, we are expecting to witness more regional chains and individual properties implementing the concept of drywalls.

How do you feel your business will be impacted in 2020? During the pandemic, how has your company, employees and the projects sustained? 

The COVID pandemic has two dimensions to it, the health crisis and the impact on the businesses and economy, at large. As far as business is concerned, like most manufacturing businesses we came to a standstill in the beginning of April and since then, life has been slowly creeping back in small ways in selected parts of the country. The on-going projects have commenced while the new projects will of course depend on the appetite of the investor/buyer. It is also important to mention that revival of construction is contingent upon availability of funds and the availability of labor. Getting back to pre-COVID levels of activity will happen only once these two factors normalize. Since the balance sheets of many real estate players are quite stretched, a strong injection of fresh working capital will be required to kick-start the activity.

During the lockdown period, our teams were incessantly involved with our stakeholders by imparting home training sessions to share, leverage knowledge and expertise on various facets of building construction. We, at Gyproc, have over the years gathered some of the best employees in the building material space and many loyal and committed customers. We are a long term player and will remain committed to the growth and development of this industry as we go forward.


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