Lockdown resulted in improvisation of skills and multitasking by current employees: Mohammad Shoeb
In conversation with BW Hotelier, Mohammad Shoeb, Associate Vice President, Pride Plaza Hotel Aerocity, New Delhi discusses the future of MICE sector, renewed health protocols, role of housekeeping in the new normal and much more.
Tell us briefly about the market response to the reopening of hotels in the city?
The market response has not been as per the expectation for us. As international and domestic travel is still restricted and domestic travel is mainly towards resort locations rather than the business hotels, the city hotels are facing a tough time. The only business left is leisure and weddings, which is the major focus now.
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?
As MICE business has taken a dip for all the hotels, now leisure and weddings is the only hope which can support in running the hotel business. As everyone is totally dependent on this segment, all the hotels in and around the city have launched attractive stay and wedding packages with plenty of inclusion at a nominal price. Also, due to restriction in gathering, people are shifting to hotels for every event rather than big individual banquet halls or lawns.
F&B has been another significant contributor for a hotel. What creative initiatives have been taken by you to maximise your F&B business?
- Food Delivery: We have created a special delivery menu with competitive price and to increase the sale, listed the menu on delivery apps.
- BOGO Offer at Bar: The bar was opened with BOGO offer to attract the guests staying in-house and it is working well
- IPL offer at Bar: Exciting packages of drinks with starters to enjoy the game
- Discount on IRD: People booking directly through brand website gets 10% discount on In Room Dining
- Excellent discounts on special days: Good discounts are offered at our all-day dining restaurant on special days like Indian Airforce Day, Independence Day, Mothers Day and so on
What was the percentage of revenue that you used to generate from Weddings market in the pre-Covid19 times? What are the latest developments in this market?
In Pre-Covid19 time, the wedding contributed around 30 per cent of the total business and now it is around 60 per cent -65 per cent. The dependency on weddings has increased due to fall in other segment business and increase in demand of hotels for weddings as pricing and offers make it in reach of everyone’s pocket.
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?
The lockdown gave people time to think and develop skills. This has resulted in improvisation of the skills of current employees and they have started multitasking as this is the need of the hour. Moreover, the pandemic has taught us that only the toughest will survive, hence, the employees who really want to survive have upgraded themselves by attending virtual training sessions, attending webinars, doing online certifications and started learning about other departments for their best performance.
Housekeeping has a leading role to play in the new normal. What is your take?
I fully agree as in this new normal, housekeeping associates are the real warriors of the hotels as they are the one who does all the cleaning, spray disinfectant and sanitizer in every corner of the hotel to make the environment hygiene and virus free for the guests and colleagues. As soon a guest checks out, a housekeeper is the first person to enter the room for cleaning and sanitising without any hesitation. They are the one who supported us during the lockdown in upkeeping of the property and now maintaining the hygiene. Their presence makes us feel safe and secure in pandemic.
With the increased focus on domestic tourism, what is your take on the revival of the industry?
Though the domestic tourism has increased but the full revival will still take time for city hotels because people are traveling to nearby holiday destinations for a break after this long lockdown. Moreover, it has been observed that domestic travel is majorly on the weekends, for rest of the week, the business is really low for resorts as well.
What would be your message for the guests who may be making their travel plans for the near future?
Every hotel, including us, has taken all the precautionary measures, following SOPs and every WHO guideline. To make the hotel environment safe for the guests, all the rooms and public areas are well sanitized and disinfected on regular intervals. Still, our safety is in our own hands and would highly recommend taking all the precautions as mentioned by the state government while traveling or staying in the hotel. Always carry the mask and sanitizer, maintain 6 feet’s distance for the people. If everything is in place, keep travelling and exploring the places. We the hoteliers are here to welcome you with a smile and safety.
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