‘We are looking forward to 2022 optimistically’
In a conversation with BW HOTELIER, Vikas Kumar, GM, Four Points by Sheraton Kochi Infopark , deliberates on the hotel’s operations along with giving insights on how to keep the team motivated, re-energizing business through staycations and workcations and presenting his outlook for 2022
Located amid Kakkanad’s vivid infopark, Four Points by Sheraton Kochi Infopark is an exquisite five-star hotel designed to offer unforgettable experiences and comfort to the guests. With 218 rooms including 23 suites, four food and beverage outlets, a spa and an infinity pool located on the rooftop, the hotel is in close proximity to landmarks like Fort Kochi, Lulu Mall and Wonderla. At the helm of affairs is General Manager Vikas Kumar who believes there’s plenty of unexplored travel and tourism opportunities in Kerala.
USP of Four Points by Sheraton Kochi Infopark
The brand’s USP, according to Kumar, lies in its hospitality as the hotel itself is a packaged destination designed to cater to the high expectations of the guests. “The brand comes with the tagline ‘Travel Reinvented’ and values of honesty and comfort. The USP includes well-appointed 23 suites which comes with a separate kitchenette (focussing on long-stay travellers). Our Executive Suites with large balconies allow guests to breathe in Kerala’s clean and fresh air. Infinity Pool, on the 14th floor, gives a skyline view of the Infopark and Kochi’s picturesque locations. All our rooms feature ‘Four Points by Four’ comfortable beds with plush bedding and crisp linen. We also have a well-equipped round-the-clock fitness centre,” he says, adding, “The biggest USP is our highly engaged and enthusiastic associates who bring smile and life to the hotel.”
Business from Infopark and other players
Highlighting the condition of Infopark after the imposition of covid lockdown and its effect on business, Kumar says, “IT parks in Kerala have been shut in the wake of Covid19 outbreak. We foresee the opening up of the IT hub segment-wise, likely to open partially from April 2022 onwards. A few of the IT companies which provide backend support for essential services such as banks and hospitals are working from Infopark campus. Though there are 250 companies functioning out of the Kakkanad campus, only around 200 employees arrive here to work as it is work from home for the rest. Apart from Infopark clients, the hotel has movements from other segments like government and private project officials, airline and movie crew. Even though Four Points by Sheraton is for the business travellers, our modern hotel is equally a favourite hangout spot for the families,” he adds.
Re-energising business through staycations and workcations
Commenting on how the property has been making use of the new trends like workcations and staycations, Kumar says, “Both Kochi and Kerala have a plethora of experiences to entice the tourists. We offer room packages - Workcation and Staycation with meals included for both families and business travellers to sit back, relax and to unwind from their day-to-day routine. We encourage guests to be Marriott Bonvoy members. Marriott’s’ loyalty programme gives instant benefits – Guests enjoy benefits the moment they join and start earning their way towards elite status with their very first stay.”
Offering perfect family time
The hotel is a perfect getaway for families. “We have tailor-made deals and packages for families, where they can choose from the array of inclusions like complimentary stay and dine for kids, engagement activities, interactive sessions and much more. The weekend staycation is high in demand. Also, the weekend dinner buffets and Sunday brunch is a major attraction for families. It offers a lavish buffet spread plus live band and engagement activities for kids,” informs Kumar.
Motivating the team
According to Kumar, motivating associates is crucial during these testing times because the employees are not only facing challenges at work due to adjustments to their schedules and safety protocols, they might be experiencing challenges on the personal front too. “Employees are more likely to be motivated if they believe their workplace is fair, equitable and inclusive. I ensure this through adequate staff engagement activities, weekly wellness sessions and ensuring associates are recognised and rewarded for their hard work and commitment in real-time. Our endeavour is to provide a flexible working environment as per our associates’ need,” he explained.
Digital, social media trends impacting hotel business
Kumar maintains that keeping up with digital trends is crucial in today’s times and adapting to new technologies is the only way to be on the top of the game. “We have adapted mobile check-ins, contactless payments and cash machine implementation at our property. All Marriott hotel websites are mobile optimised and user-friendly which enables the users to navigate easily. Undoubtedly, social media platform is a strong digital marketing tool. Many restaurants and hotel social media pages create sponsored posts, engage users and generate content to influence people on where to stay and what to eat,” he expressed.
Outlook for 2022
“We are looking forward to 2022 optimistically. As travel restrictions in 2020 and 2021 have facilitated the rise of domestic travels and staycations, we believe staycations are here to stay. The short vacations on weekends, The Weekend Getaway, is popular at our destination. As a brand of Marriott International's family, we have implemented a multi-pronged approach to meet the health and safety requirements through our ‘Commitment to Clean’ standards. These new protocols and elevated practices ensure high standards of cleanliness with a continued passion for service,” shares Kumar.
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