‘We expect larger format corporate events soon’

Jaideep Anand, Vice President and General Manager at The Leela Gandhinagar and Mahatma Mandir Convention & Exhibition Centre, says Corporate MICE queries have started flowing in slowly but steadily

Not only does he head the Gujarat state capital’s largest hotel, the 300-room The Leela Gandhinagar, Jaideep Anand is also at the helm of affairs for the country’s largest convention and exhibition centre, the 34-acre Mahatma Mandir. The Vice President and General Manager at The Leela Gandhinagar and Mahatma Mandir Convention & Exhibition Centre started his career with Oberoi Hotels in India and the Middle East where he honed his skillset in operations – F&B and rooms division. 

“In the early stages of my three-and-a-half-decade-long career, I successfully led the iconic launch of butler services in India, the restaurants – Palms and Taipan, and the first Belvedere in India,” says Anand. In 1995, he joined The Leela Hotels to lead the turnarounds of The Leela Ambience Convention Hotel and The Leela Ambience Gurgaon before moving into the role of pre-opening and development at The Leela corporate office. “I have had the privilege to successfully spearhead the pre-opening tasks and lead special brand projects,” shares Anand, a gold medallist from the Oberoi School of Hotel Management where he led development and successful pre-opening of more than 10 luxury hotels.

Business Goals

“Being one of the largest MICE destination complexes in India, combined with state-of-the-art conference facilities elevates the overall MICE and social-driven events’ magnificence scale,” says Anand, adding that The Leela Gandhinagar has a total capacity of 8,545 sq ft in the Grand Ballroom with an attached pre-function area of 13,584 sq ft. “Added to it are the multiple boardroom meeting spaces of 6,612 sq ft, combined with state-of-the-art technology and personalised Leela services. It also has extravagant and extensive outdoor venues with the potential to host up to 5,000 people. Overall, we offer cutting-edge, versatile, indoor and outdoor meeting spaces that are well-equipped to host small and large-scale business and social events,” he shares.

On the other hand, F&B plays a critical role in driving business goals at The Leela Gandhinagar. “We offer an extensive selection of dining venues to satisfy even the most sophisticated palate. Though food and beverage are conventionally believed to be a lesser contributor to the hotel’s total share of revenue, The Leela Gandhinagar’s dining destinations have attracted non-resident businesses in the city and beyond. Therefore, the overall contribution we are striving for with F&B is going to be on equal terms to other key revenue-contributing departments,” Anand says.

Enhancing Guest Experience

To provide memorable and magical stays, The Leela recently introduced Tishya by The Leela, the brand’s signature fragrance with an all-new range of exclusively crafted bath amenities. “We also launched our signature wellness programme, Aujasya by The Leela, built around the two Rs of wellbeing – Restore (food) and Renew (mindfulness). We have launched the first pillar, Restore (food), in collaboration with nutritionist-food consultant Dr Ankita Jalori with thoughtfully curated menus to achieve the right balance between health needs and gastronomic expectations,” informs Anand. 

At the property level, The Leela Gandhinagar has curated special experiences to indulge in. The hotel’s enriching art walk story is one of the prime examples of how distinctly the property stands out in the twin cities, delivering an experience that combines exotic culinary offerings and quintessential layovers for travellers. “Every evening, our head concierge leads you on this sojourn and culminates it with Moksha Lounge’s signature afternoon ‘Tea Charlie’ which again showcases amalgamation this time in cuisine diversity,” he adds.

Talent Retention

“I have always followed a people-oriented approach where I believe listening is an important tool today. Very often we come across situations where if we had listened to our team and the challenges earlier, the situation could have been avoided. Similarly, as part of our brand practice under Leela Dharmas, we ensure to take proper care of all our team members, starting from the junior-most to the senior-most team members,” says Anand, adding the Leela Leadership Development Programme has helped in retaining talents and building a future together with them through proper guidance and guaranteed growth.   

Present-Day Hospitality Landscape 

With the market slowly opening again over the last couple of months, corporate MICE queries have started flowing in, shares the veteran hotelier. “At present, though the trend is on a smaller scale in the approximate range of 20 to 150 but there is the potential to go up to greater numbers over the next quarter. We are expecting more potential larger format corporate events, exhibitions and conventions in the latter part of the year,” says General Manager at The Leela Gandhinagar.

“At The Leela Gandhinagar and Mahatma Mandir Convention and Exhibition Centre managed by The Leela, we have introduced numerous state-of-the-art technological upgrades to make the experience of hosting events and conferences more seamless. Starting with the smooth arrival, check-in, and check-out at the hotel and access to various state-of-the-art facilities at the convention centre, elevate your event and conference experience to a new level of luxury. Our efforts for your safety and care are also covered under Suraksha by The Leela which ensures maximum precaution and safety for all our guests,” he informs. 

Future Plans

“With the vision to strive for excellence with The Leela Palaces Hotels and Resorts brand, I will always look to serve the organisation as a core team member. Also, give back to the same industry by offering proper mentorship to the young and upcoming generation of hoteliers,” avers the ace hotelier who lives by one motto: Unending Strive for Excellence. 

“To achieve a certain level of success as a hotelier, there always has to be a lot of patience and humility as virtues in place. As a leader, this has to be combined with a certain amount of empathy, genuine care for people you work with and lending a helping hand to the team when needed. The most important virtue a successful hotelier should have is not to treat it as a job or as a profession but as a lifestyle you are willing to live and enjoy,” he concludes.

This article was published in BW hotelier issue dated '' with cover story titled 'BW HOTELIER - THE TALENT POOL SPECIAL'


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