Airline crew, domestic leisure and weekend staycation are the three segments showing promise: Suraj Kumar Jha

Weddings, domestic leisure, and online retail will be the key focus segments for all hotels, as these segments are performing and are expected to further improvise in the coming days. Suraj Kumar Jha, General Manager, Crowne Plaza Today Gurugram shares more…

Tell us briefly about the market response to the reopening of hotels in the city? 

With the ease of restrictions and a go ahead to the inter-state travel, the hotels have transitioned into recovery mode with a considerable shift in hotel’s business mix. The recovery trajectory for hotels will and have varied for individual properties even within the same market. However, domestic market has been first to open up. Weddings and other social events are now the focus for every hotel. Infact, we have hosted several intimate weddings and social functions that have contributed significantly post re-opening. Airline crew, domestic leisure and weekend staycation are the three segments/ areas which have seen a green shoot at our hotel. With the IHG Clean Promise, we provide the guests a safer environment to welcome them back with confidence.

MICE has been one of the major revenue generators for hotels in Delhi-NCR region. With the current scenario, what market segments are going to drive the performance of hotels in this region?

Weddings, domestic leisure, and online retail will be the key focus segments for all hotels, as these segments are performing and are expected to further improvise in the coming days. 

F&B has been another significant contributor for a hotel. What creative initiatives have been taken by you to maximize your F&B business? 

Food and Beverage operations have been adjusted based on the guidance of the government, health authorities and IHG Ways of Clean.  Floor plans have been recreated, table layouts have been reset and covers have been revisited to ensure that Social Distancing norms are being followed. Floor markers have been put in place to avoid congestion. We are following the recommended practices such as QR Code based menus, E payment and many more.

 As far as innovation is concerned, we have introduced the ‘On Your Placemat’ concept (replacing buffets) for Sunday Brunches. Set menus/a la Carte menus will take over the buffet concept for some time to avoid multiple touch point issues with buffets. While our Takeaway and Home Delivery menu is already live, we have curated concepts such as Family Style Meals, Buffet on the table to enhance the at-home dining experience.

What was the percentage of revenue that you used to generate from weddings market in the pre-covid times? What are the latest developments in this market?

In 2019, weddings contributed close to 40 per cent of the Catering revenue, and we are expecting it to go in excess of 75 per cent by the year end.

Shortage of skilled manpower was one of the major issues that the hospitality industry was facing in the pre-Covid times. What is the current situation? 

This is a testing period for all of us. However, this also gives us an opportunity to learn and up skill ourselves. We have invested our focus on employee development by engaging them on various role-play-based training programmes and honing them for multi tasking and enhance productivity, interest levels and learning. This also gives them to explore new areas of operations as well and helps us retaining talents

Housekeeping has a leading role to play in the new normal. What is your take?

We know that the health, safety and comfort of our guests and hotel colleagues continues to be on top of the mind for everyone currently. In such scenario, enhanced cleanliness protocols and safety measures as far as Housekeeping is concerned becomes very important. We have a long-standing commitment to rigorous cleaning procedures and launched our IHG Way of Clean programme in 2015 – developed in partnership with Ecolab and Diversey – both world leaders in hygiene and cleaning technologies and services. This programme is now being expanded with additional Covid-19 protocols and best practices – many of which are already in place – to reflect the advice of regional and global health authorities.

At Crowne Plaza Today Gurugram, we are focusing on Individual guest amenity cleaning kits and personal-use sanitizer/wipes for guests, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) guidance for hotel staff, visible sanitizer stations in public areas and colleague spaces, new operating procedures to integrate social distancing signage and signals. We have implemented the processes that addresses short term needs and are sustainable over the long-term.  

With the increased focus on domestic tourism, what is your take on the revival of the industry?

Revival of international tourism would take some time, and therefore our focus is to promote domestic tourism. With inter-state travelling being allowed, I foresee the emergence of revenge tourism. People will definitely look at staycations within a drivable distance to unwind, spend family time or simply cover up for the missed travel plans. We are now waiting for international travel restrictions to be lifted for MICE, Corporate, Leisure segment to start again. 

What would be your message for the guests who may be making their travel plans for the near future?

We understand that safety and hygiene is the first and foremost consideration of every guest. With the IHG Clean Promise, we are committed to deliver a safe and hygienic experience to our guests to give them confidence to return to our hotel as well as to our IHG properties across the country.

At Crowne Plaza Today Gurugram, the colleagues have been trained on all enhanced protocols and best practices to keep themselves safe as well as ensure a safe experience for our guests. While our services have gone contactless and digital, the essence of True Hospitality shall remain the same. We are ready to serve our guests with masked face but smiling eyes.


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