The percentage of weddings today is almost double than pre-COVID era: Sanjay Gupta
BW HOTELIER talks to Sanjay Gupta, General Manager at Le Meridien Gurgaon, about the hotel's performance since during the lockdown as well as post lockdown.
Located amidst the beautiful landscape of the Aravalli Range, Le Méridien Gurgaon was one of the few properties functional during the lockdown. BW HOTELIER talks to Sanjay Gupta, General Manager at Le Meridien Gurgaon, about the hotel's performance since during the lockdown as well as post lockdown. In conversation, Gupta shares key insights about the upcoming trends in MICE, F&B and housekeeping segment.
Tell us briefly about the market response to the reopening of hotels in the city?
As we were one of those few hotels that never closed down despite of lockdown and we still had long stay guests who couldn’t leave the city. As soon as the Gurgaon unlocked for business, we did a multitude of weddings and staycations. We soon mobilized a new business segment backed with Marriott on Wheels branding which further helped raise immediate cash flow.
Month on month, we witnessed an increase in the weddings and wedding related events being conducted in the hotel. The credibility of the brand, the universal cleanliness and sanitation protocols followed by us and the non-closure of the property all through; helped us stand tall despite these trying times.
Additionally, the credible references given by wedding planners or families who conducted their events with us during these trying times further helped garner business. Owing to which, August worked out to be a fantastic month for us. Apart from weddings, we did a couple of virtual product launch events with top notch automobile and mobile brands present in the country today. The month also witnessed the opening of our restaurant and an increase in the home delivery segment too.
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?
August has been a fantastic month for us. Though despite these trying times, as mentioned earlier too the hotel has been witnessing a fair business and improvement of revenues due to strategic activation of new normal procedures and business models. August has been the best month so far. We are witnessing people who are considering hotels over other options. Specially in the wedding Market, credible references given by wedding planners or families who conducted their events with us during these trying times further helped garner business.
Closure of Delhi for a long time too helped us yield formidable revenues from this segment during these times too.
F&B has been another significant contributor for a hotel. What creative initiatives have been taken by you to maximise your F&B business?
Adaptation to change and new normal led to the service emergence of Marriott on Wheels by Le Meridien Gurgaon. A food and beverage centric portfolio that led us to compete with the market leaders in the food delivery segment. The brand assurance backed with Marriott’s overall commitment to clean has enabled us to establish this portfolio as our major business source over the past few months.
What was the percentage of revenue that you used to generate from the weddings market in the pre-covid times? What are the latest developments in this market?
The percentage of weddings pre and post covid has witnessed almost double the rate than before. While pre-covid business led to around 35 per cent of revenue from the segment has now increased to 70 per cent. Here too, the brand recognition the Marriott’s Commitment to clean programme and good word shared by guests who have conducted their weddings with us during these testing times, has helped a lot. Five-star hotels today have more credibility from the customers perspective in terms of our hygiene and sanitation upkeep when it comes to their wedding venue choices. While our luxurious five-star services customised or personalised to ones requirements, help us seal the deal.
Shortage of skilled manpower was one of the major issues that the hospitality industry was facing in pre-Covid times. What is the current situation?
Skilled manpower and enormous attrition in all departments was what every industry may have witnessed during the pre-covid era. However, thanks to our Marriott Take Care Initiatives we have always lived by the thought – “Take care of associates and they'll take care of your customers.” Living by this foundation, it is often witnessed that valued employees, make an effort to share that experience with guests. Similarly, an inspired employee does it manifold. Now too we continue to do so. Maintaining a transparent relationship with our associates, addressing them from time and again over virtual call or otherwise, we have managed to rare some skilled individuals who have supported us all through these trying times too.
Housekeeping has a leading role to play in the new normal. What is your take?
During these testing times, we at Le Meridien Gurgaon have taken every measure to keep our guests safe and secure. The wellbeing of our guests and associates is of paramount important to us. To achieve this, the hotel is consistently following the guidance of WORLD Health Organization and the local authorities. Reinforcing Marriott’s overall ‘Commitment to Clean’, at Le Meridien Gurgaon too we have defined the dynamics and nuances of how we will operate when we welcome you back to our hotels.
You will witness visible changes in place from the pre-arrival to the check-out stage that focuses on social distancing norms and the new normal of hygiene and sanitation upkeep which is constantly monitored by our Executive House Keeper and our Hygiene Manager. This includes the heart of the house operations as well. Experts from cleaning & hygiene company such as DIVERSEY have advised and assisted in enhancing these protocols.
From contactless check-in through the use of Marriott Bonvoy Application to QR CODED service menus in all guestrooms, restaurants and recreation facilities. The ease of online payment or Mobile application payment has made the service protocols absolutely seamless. On behalf of the entire team of Le Meridien Gurgaon, we look forward to welcome back your smiles at the hotel soon.
With the increased focus on domestic tourism, what is your take on the revival of the industry?
The increased focus on domestic tourism has led all players in the segment to look into the curation of products that fit the domestic needs and requirements. Innovative package curation and adaptation to change at speeding rage seems to be the order of the day. Having witnessed the current trends, we too have developed packages to target the local and domestic audiences. Following which, curation of staycation packages, innovative corporate to unwind packages seem to have worked for us so far. Backed with food and beverage inclusions, these sorts of packages seem to have been working so far and will be the way forward too.
What would be your message for the guests who may be making their travel plans for the near future?
Your safety is our utmost priority. At the backdrop of the Marriott’s commitment to clean, we have taken stringent measures to keep you safe and secure from the time you arrive till you depart.
Around The World