Clarks Exotica Convention Resort & Spa, Bengaluru Well Received by International Clientele for Consolidated Amenities and Services: M Balaji, CEO

Being associated with the mammoth hotel right since its inception, M Balaji, CEO of Clarks Exotica Convention Resort & Spa let BW Hotelier to sneak peek into his graduating designations at the hotel over the past 10 years, followed by details about the hotel and its varied offerings.

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CLARKS EXOTICA Convention Resort & Spa established in 2007 by Ronald Colaco, an Indian Businessman, based in Dubai, UAE, is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year. Located strategically 11 kilometres away from Kempegowda International Airport, the hotel boasts of 141 intelligently designed rooms and suites, and an extensive collection of 11 banquet halls, activities and accompanying sports facilities like table tennis, basketball, swimming pool, and more. The hotel also is home to Ocean Convention Centre spread over 50,000 sq. ft. which is one of Bengaluru’s largest event spaces.

Being associated with the mammoth hotel right since its inception, M Balaji, CEO of Clarks Exotica Convention Resort & Spa let BW Hotelier to sneak peek into his graduating designations at the hotel over the past 10 years, followed by details about the hotel and its varied offerings.

Being a newbie in the hospitality industry and starting with Clarks Exotica since its inception itself, how did you move up the designations to being the CEO of the hotel over the years? What were the challenges and opportunities that you faced while learning about this industry as well as serving to the vivid customer base at the hotel?

M Balaji: I joined Clarks Exotica as the Project Manager following which I was then promoted to General Project Manager. After two years, I was the Vice President of the company and then the CEO. We have increased the occupancy from 40% to 80%. My main challenge was the difficulty of understanding the dynamics of the hospitality industry since I was a non-hotelier. The industry comprises two main sides – operations and marketing & sales, which both go hand in hand. Failure of one department will automatically result in the other department failing. Consistency was another challenge. It was tough to maintain and focus on consistency. Instead of targeting a 100 people, I selected the top 10 customers and serviced them beautifully and catered to all their needs. Furthermore, international brands would open new hotels every year, due to which positioning in the market was an obstacle. However, due to word of mouth, news about our quality services spread quickly which thereby increased customer loyalty.

How does Clarks Exotica Convention Resort & Spa cater to the diverse guest portfolio seeking Leisure, MICE, Wellness, BLeisure, etc., amenities and services?

MB: All segments are different and it all boils down to the requirement. Whether it is wellness or an event, the amenities and services are rendered accordingly. Weddings and corporate events are completely different ball games. We also arrange manpower according to the scale of the event.

Considering the close proximity to the Kempegowda International Airport, what is the diverse International Clientele that you receive at the Hotel? Which industries do they usually belong to? Do they opt for long-stays?

MB: Most of our guests are from the US and Europe and it is mostly an IT crowd. They opt for stays between a couple of weeks to a few months. We have a few guests who stay for around 2 to 3 months at once. Guests who opt for longer stays are offered special F&B, wellness and stay discounts. We also give them surprises with their food and drinks.

Which guest profile serves as the key market for the hotel?

MB: The key profile of frequent visitors from abroad include a mix of everyone from executives to CEOs. We have CEOs from many international brands like Boeing, BMW, Mercedes - Benz, Audi and Rolls Royce whom we host at Clarks Exotica.

With three F&B Outlets at the hotel, please don light on the cuisines, signature cocktails, ambience, and the number of covers, etc., offered at each of the outlets?

MB: Ambrosia serves buffet breakfast, daily lunch, and buffet dinner of international dishes with a local twist while alongside also catering to à la carte orders. Illusion Bar is the lavish poolside lounge bar that serves a range of drinks from Martinis to the house special. It also has a sunken bar concept which allows guests to sit and enjoy their drinks while they take a dip in the pool. The Buvette Coffee Shop gives one a taste of beverages and sandwiches at this casual hangout, poolside cafe.

The number of covers at Buvette are 50 people, while Ambrosia can host 200 people.

Being a part of the team of Clarks Exotica right since its inception, with the high attrition rate in this industry, what kept you motivated to stay committed to the hotel? As the CEO, what efforts are you taking to keep the staff motivated to remain committed to Clarks Exotica?

MB: Unlike other properties, our team is a family and the attrition rate is considerably low. Everyone takes ownership and responsibility for their work. We make them feel like they own the business and are allowed to be a part of major decisions and changes. We also take advice and references from our team. Credit is always recognized, appreciated and respected in front of everyone.

How does technology, which has become quite crucial today in operations of hotels, play an important role at Clarks Exotica?

MB: The market is good now with a lot of inventory that is being added. Businesses are growing but not at the rate at which inventory is adding.

Technology plays a big role and we making use of it. We are solving problems in real-time instead of feedback after the patron stays at the hotel. We take feedback from the guests on WhatsApp during their stay so we can solve their problems immediately and make sure they enjoy their stay. We also record and maintain the requirements of guests so we can cater according to their likes and dislikes during their future visit to the hotel.


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