A discerning guest is willing to pay a premium for quality services: Amitabh Rai

The Ritz Carlton Bangalore is embracing change by offering tailor-made services that prioritise health and safety of guests and staff. In an attempt to understand the hospitality sector's scenario at the revival stage, BW HOTELIER spoke with Amitabh Rai, General Manager, The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore.

The year has changed, and so has the mood of the industry. With a newfound zeal to revive, hoteliers are trying their best to provide quality and innovative services to those willing to step outside. 

High on privacy and comfort 

Employing technology for touch-free access to hotels or menus, The Ritz Carlton Bangalore is prepared to cater to the populace working from the comfort of a hotel room.

Amitabh Rai, General Manager, The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore said, "At, The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore, we have meticulously evolved the standard of operations with stringent implementation of the sanitisation and safety protocols with the Marriott International Commitment to Clean program."

"The new normal has inspired innovation in product and services, our home-delivery service offering dishes from our award-winning restaurants has been well-received. Especially the DIY section, wherein a recipe note from the executive chef allows for our patronised guests to cook their favourite dishes at home, bonding and engaging with family."

 What is unique about the hotel is the dining option available at the Ritz-Carlton room. Rai mentioned that there exist over 15 menu options that can be easily accessed using a QR code. "The entire culinary experience is entirely led by a private butler. Guests have their private restrooms, television, radio - music sets that can be accessed to have an elevated dining experience," he said.

Moreover, the sixth floor has been converted into a dining area that consists of private dining rooms. This service is running since May 2020. 

"It is a pioneering initiative by the hotel, now adopted by many hotels across the country as an innovative initiative. It has received a lot of recognition, not just within India but globally. We have seen a healthy response with guests celebrating their special occasions with us," Rai added.

Juggling supply and demand

With the RevPAR and occupancy rates dipping for most Bengaluru hotels until the third quarter of 2020, Rai defined his situation as balanced. Rai expressed, "There is more supply than demand, which has led to heavy discounting in the market. However, we have not succumbed to the situation and refrained from downscaling of our services and have maintained a healthy ADR."

He further said, "We have noticed that a discerning guest is willing to pay a premium for quality services and products and appreciates that we have not downscaled or undercut his experience. We are experiencing a steadily growing trend in occupancy as guests have continued to patronize us without any inhibitions, and their trust has been strengthened."

Building safety net with Marriott International Commitment to Clean 

Upholding the sanitisation and safety protocols with the Marriott International Commitment to Clean program, the hotel prioritises guests' and staff's safety. Speaking about the measures employed in the hotel, Rai commented, "This encompassed training and re-training of the team across all areas on the new protocols, safety, and sanitisation measures. Every department is aligned to follow the updated standard operating procedures, while maintaining sacrosanct the delivery of comfort and effortless luxury to our guests."


Adopting new ways for revenue generation

With the approval of vaccines, it would not be wrong to say that soon people will be moving out in public places to undertake leisure activities. If we talk about yesteryear, to deal with the hindrance created by lockdown, some hotels had adopted the concept of cloud kitchens to serve great food at the comfort of home and drive revenue.

When asked about his opinion on the rising alternate revenue source adopted by hotels in the name of Cloud Kitchens, Rai said, "The pandemic has led to creative concepts and solutions such as the cloud kitchen, which have good potential to sustain as an added revenue stream even when other conventional revenue streams gain momentum as the guests needs have evolved to accept the concept."

Prioritising wellness and staycations in 2021

Talking about the trends that will be visible throughout 2021, Rai stated, "There is immense value in investing in wellness as it is a priority criterion in the decisions consumers are making. Experiences that instil a sense of well-being are being widely embraced. For instance, staycations with SPA and wellness inclusions are sought-after. Another strong segment is the leisure segment which encompasses local travel and road trips."

"We, at The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore have curated staycations that include local cultural tours within Bangalore and Karnataka, with guided itineraries to Mysuru, Kabini, Hampi, and more such destinations," he said.  

Rai also said that the hotel is planning to collaborate with Golden Chariot to provide curated travel options soon. While discussing the offers that the customers can look out for in 2021, Rai further added, "We have begun working with Karnataka State Tourism highlighting different aspects, like the fact that the state had the highest concentration of tigers and Indian elephants anywhere in the world. This is the mainstay apart from the exclusive dining and wellness experiences within the hotel."  



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