Intimate boardroom meetings have been organised at the hotel: Vikas Parimoo

The pandemic has had a global impact on businesses and the hospitality industry is gradually moving towards the path to recovery and has geared itself for a new normal. Vikas Parimoo, General Manager, Ambassador, New Delhi - IHCL SeleQtions, tells us how the heritage boutique hotel has been faring.

Privileged with the patronage

Set in the heart of the capital, Ambassador, New Delhi - IHCL SeleQtions, has been witnessing a growing demand for social gatherings, weddings, pre- and post-wedding celebrations, and domestic leisure travellers. With its central location, celebrated restaurants and intimate venues, Ambassador, New Delhi has been privileged with the patronage and trust of its guests.  Vikas Parimoo says, “Over the last few months too, we have remained connected with our guests and have been innovating and customising our offerings to cater to the evolving customer requirements. It is a matter of delight that guests are regaining that sense of confidence to step out again and experience what we have to offer. The safety and well-being of our guests, associates, partners, and other stakeholders has always been our utmost priority. As a part of Tajness - A Commitment Restrengthened, we have undertaken a host of initiatives that reflect our commitment to assuring a seamless and safe experience.”

On business he adds, “Ambassador, New Delhi - IHCL SeleQtions, has been witnessing demand in weekend staycations, short trips, daycations and a rising interest in working from a new address! As far as corporate events are concerned, intimate boardroom meetings have been organised at the hotel, however, big scale events and conferences will take a few more months to pick up the pace, given many companies are still operating from home and the prevailing official guidelines. Considering the ongoing trends, wedding bookings are on a rise and the business is returning with physical distancing norms. This has made weddings a more intimate affair. The sheer pleasure of serving our guests has been a huge boost for the team.” 

Qmin App for personalised orders

A scenario such as this is also an enabler to innovate, to chart a new course and to implement new initiatives in a manner like never before. To leverage our F&B offerings in the national capital, Ambassador, New Delhi - IHCL SeleQtions along with other landmark hotels of IHCL Delhi bring signature dishes from their iconic restaurants through the successfully launched Qmin initiative. Parimoo adds, “Now available on a mobile app as well, the Qmin App gives guests a differentiated delivery experience through a seamless interface that allows them to personalise their order, curate menus and track deliveries real time. The user-friendly interface enables guests to choose their favourite dishes from the much-celebrated Yellow Brick Road and Larry’s China at the Ambassador, New Delhi, based on their location.” On digitalisation of menus, he further adds, “At our restaurants, the first and foremost change was the implementation of a contactless digital menu to ensure the elimination of the touch-point of handling a physical menu. The digital menus at our restaurants and in-room are easily accessible via QR codes. Additionally, we have redesigned the seating arrangements, keeping physical distancing in mind; mandated use of statutorily prescribed protective equipment, by   our guests, associates and vendors; use of digital technology for payments and dining experiences. As wellness and a better lifestyle is the need of the hour, we have also introduced immunity boosters in our menus and wellness hampers for special occasions.” The hotel is also recreating the ambiance of Larry’s China and Yellow Brick Road at their banquet spaces as bespoke experiences for a group of 10-12 guests. They are also offering unique dining experiences with a high degree of personalisation at the Terrace and In-suite Dining at their premium SeleQtion Suite overlooking the lush Lutyens’ Delhi. 

Weddings, a more intimate affair

With gradual ease in restrictions and the lifting of the lockdown, wedding queries are on the rise across the country for small-scale and intimate weddings. Recent trends show that the number of wedding bookings hasn’t come down, just the size has reduced. At Ambassador – IHCL SeleQtions, they have undertaken a host of initiatives that reflect their commitment to assuring a seamless and a safe experience.  Elaborating on the same, Vikas Parimoo adds, “The transition of banquet areas from a socially active to a socially or rather physically distanced space is the need of the hour. Apart from displaying physical distancing guidelines in guest areas, queue managers are placed to ensure the distancing norms are maintained. Furniture placements are well spaced-out (tables are six feet apart with appropriate gaps between chairs) to ensure smooth commotion for guests thereby ensuring physical distancing. Revised layouts and seating capacities have been mapped out. Dedicated entry and exit for guests have been designed and separate entrance for vendors is ensured. There is constant monitoring of areas such as cloak rooms, elevators, pre-function areas to ensure that proper measures are being followed in common areas. These measures are constantly monitored and audited by a dedicated, pre-identified, well trained team of individuals from across departments. We are also providing hygiene kits that include alcohol wipes, masks and hand sanitisers to our guests at the events in case of a requirement.” 

There has been a change in the style of service. For instance, instead of service on circulation, they  have moved towards the use of laufen trolleys for service of snacks and individual pre-plated portions of dishes have been well received by their guests.

Focus on extensive training

Change is never easy - but it is the only constant! A challenging situation such as this initially seems like a wall – and the victory lies in rising above so the wall seems like a line that you can just cross-over. “At the Ambassador, New Delhi, we remain committed and have an enhanced focussed on extensive training of our associates as far as heightened safety, hygiene and physical distancing norms are concerned. There is a robust orientation programme and training mechanism in place. We are determined to evolve with changing times and are ensuring that the personalisation of the experiences we offer is only enhanced. Our role, as pioneers of hospitality, is to ensure that we live our promise of Tajness, with our delightful smiles beneath the masks and standing true to the legendary warmth and sincere care that IHCL is known for since 1903.” He adds. 

The role of housekeeping has always been of prime importance and today, it has phenomenally become more crucial and taken centre stage. There have been many things that have changed operationally, with heightened housekeeping standards. They have been agile and have been constantly monitoring the situation. At Ambassador, New Delhi – IHCL SeleQtions, they have successfully incorporated the new procedures and exacting standards to ensure augmented safety and hygiene. Not only housekeeping, but it is imperative to have a holistic hygienic approach for entire hospitality operations. Parimoo enunciates, “Check-ins, check-outs and dining experiences have been enhanced and personalised with digital payments, non-invasive thermal screening, and an all-encompassing use of technology to replace physical touch. The flow of movement in the common areas like lobbies, elevators, restaurants has been altered to practice social distancing. In guest and heart of the house areas, all surfaces, fittings, furniture, stationery, equipment, cutlery, crockery, linen and laundry are disinfected regularly after every use. The suites and rooms are rested and disinfected after occupation. We have developed sanitisation tags for luggage that are simply applied once the luggage bags / trolleys have been thoroughly sanitised.” 

#TravelForIndia , a campaign to inspire safe travel

Tourism is a key catalyst that will boost our economy’s efforts in accelerating growth. We are now witnessing a tectonic shift when it comes to people going on short trips within the cities, to mini vacations to drivable distances and weekend staycations. With the rising sense of confidence in the people, the revival of industry looks affirmative, as more Indians travel inbound promoting local architecture, experiences, and culture. “With international tourism taking a back seat owing to travel restrictions and risks involved, domestic tourism is bound to take the centre stage. IHCL launched #TravelForIndia , a campaign to inspire safe travel and help rebuild the tourism and hospitality industry that touched  millions of lives to commemorate World Tourism Day. #TravelForIndia aims at driving awareness about the importance of domestic tourism and its impact on livelihoods,” he states.

“With its central location, spacious accommodation, elegant indoor and outdoor spaces, warm service and culinary offerings, Ambassador, New Delhi looks forward to the privilege of welcoming guests again. Nobility, sincere care and warmth are at the heart of everything we do. We remain committed to offering our guests memorable and safe experiences for them to cherish. So, open the doors of travel again as your trust in us will drive our commitment to newer heights,” concluded Parimoo.


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