Young minds help curate the award process

Enterprising and proactive students from Indian School of Hospitality (ISH), under the mentorship of Dilip Puri share their experiences on being a part of the BW HOTELIER’S Indian Hospitality Awards (IHA) 2020 process.

Dilip Puri, Founder and CEO of the Indian School of Hospitality came up with a novel and learning proposition for his students. He suggested to them, “You have an opportunity to work on a project with hospitality veterans. You along with the BW Hotelier team will be creating a reimagined evaluation process that will serve as the new benchmark for the industry. This new benchmark will help identify and reward those who have been working tirelessly to elevate India’s position in the global hospitality landscape. It will require rigour and many weeks of groundwork, but the learning will be priceless" 

Challenge accepted with alacrity

Indian School of Hospitality (ISH) was invited to collaborate with BW Hotelier for the 2020 edition of the Indian Hospitality Awards (IHA). They were to be Knowledge Partners for a platform which are India's most prestigious awards in the hospitality industry. For the first time, the awards were to be 'virtual' given the COVID situation. Dilip Puri was a national jury member for the awards and he personally briefed them on the process. Dilip Puri is an industry veteran and the Former Managing Director and Regional Vice President of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, South Asia. 

All 17 of us, representing the senior-most cohort of the ISH family, intently listened to him, our headphones plugged in as we logged into a Zoom call from home. He explained to us the promise of the opportunity and the seriousness and impact of the evaluation. "Reimagining Indian Hospitality" was the theme for the awards, and we were briefed that our goal was to help create along with the BW Hotelier Team, a fair, transparent, and 100 per cent objective system of evaluation. We were students, perhaps a bit intimidated by the scale of the project, but extremely excited about the opportunity. Academics, founders, and senior executives from India's leading tourism & hospitality brand were involved, and we couldn't wait to get started.” Shared, Abir Malik, Hospitality Management Program, Class of 2022, Experience Ambassador, ISH Ambassadorial Council 

Nominations pour in

“The project picked pace and nominations started coming in. All in all, the BW Hotelier team received upwards of 900 nominations from General Managers and Managers of hotels across India, for 5 national and 12 national/regional award categories. With guidance from the BW Hotelier team and our faculty, we developed a 3-step SOP for systematically evaluating all nominations. The process was meticulous, and the rubric was multi-layered, fool proof and transparent.” Said, Ashrita Talwar, Culinary Arts Program, Class of 2022, Student Ambassador, ISH Ambassadorial Council

Nominations were assessed on the three parameters: Executive Communication, Relevance, and Factual Accuracy/ Evidence. Each nomination was independently scored. The second step required conducting a deeper evaluation of all nominations by domain experts. This panel of experts further evaluated the top 20 nominations in each award category according to five leadership qualities: Executive Communication, Execution & Results, Influence & Nurturing, Building Collaborative Relationships, and Strategic Perspective. The third step and final step involved a review of all nominations and their scores. 

Imbibing from the winners’ operational excellence

As students who have studied hospitality for three years and interned at some of the best hotels in India and abroad, it was really interesting to look at and evaluate operational excellence from the other side. Many topics which we had studied but not yet experienced on-ground, suddenly seemed to have monumental relevance and all of it was like a puzzle coming together (think Jumanji!). To understand business nuances and implications, to identify them, bucket them and rank them from a strategic perspective was very insightful.” Stated, Arjun Bharti, Hospitality Management Program, Class of 2022, Student Ambassador, ISH Ambassadorial Council

Getting Future Ready

The project made us work together, meet tight deadlines, check, double-check and triple-check our submissions for accuracy and it was all worth it. We, truly deep-dived into the depths of tactical and strategic nuances of business and the industry. We understood the role and importance of each and every individual position within a department and how important it was for all of them to work in tandem,”  said Tvisha Sharma, Hospitality Management Program, Class of 2022, Student Ambassador, ISH Ambassadorial Council.

Winners of the awards were announced on each day of the 5-day virtual gala and students logged in every single day, to see the winners being announced, oh what joy!

“It was a remarkable 3-weeks and we most definitely look forward to signing up for future opportunities as well. A big thank you to ISH and BW Hotelier for the challenge. We look forward to entering the industry and receiving our own awards on-stage, one day, “ concluded Tvisha Sharma.


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