How are Hoteliers Dealing with Disruption?

The hospitality industry has seen rapid change over the past decade with new technologies and initiatives starting to have an impact on the customer’s experience in the service sector. How are the hospitality gurus dealing with this change?

AT THE 3rd edition of BW Hotelier Indian Hospitality Awards and Summit 2018 held at the Leela Ambience Gurugram, a panel discussion focussing on the theme of “Dealing with Disruption” deliberated on the fact that how are the new business models such as alternative accommodations like Airbnb changing the hospitality perceptions. The panel also discussed how hoteliers are approaching such activities and the potential disruption in the space.

Talking about the major theme and different ways in which the industry colleagues are tackling issues, Bikramjit Ray, Executive Editor, BW Hotelier, highlighted the fact that how India is still lagging behind from the point of view of hotel operators and what needs to be done.

Vilas Pawar, CEO, Choice Hotels India, pointed out that how the brands have a level of standard and offer better services as compared to Airbnb. “It is interesting to see the change in the landscape in some years from now and the time is right to invest in this opportunity. It is better to embrace this disruption and work towards the best.”

Sunjae Sharma, Vice President, Operations, Hyatt International, who launched a disruptive brand in the luxury space, Andaz, spoke of how the concept has been well-received by Indians and is changing the perception of luxury. “We have been able to break the mould as our guests look at what we do and perform as a brand whether it is in FnB, luxury space or even our fashion sense.”

Jean-Michel Casse, COO, India and South Asia, AccorHotels, spoke on the different disruptive spaces in South Asia. “India is not lagging behind in the disruption space as many brands have been able to penetrate here. Though all are not disrupting at the same scale, and many customers may not have liked Airbnb for security reasons. Sample this: About 80% of AccorHotels’ customers stay for less than 2 nights, whereas Airbnb has guests staying for more than 3 nights. The point here is that Airbnb is the new-age accommodation addressing to the different needs and is being liked by the current generation of travellers. They are tackling a space which is economical and experiential. We need to watch out and learn from such disruptors.”

Samir MC, MD, Fortune Park Hotels, felt that disruption is being looked at in a very different manner in the traditional hotel space. “About a decade back, we never ventured into the FnB space. Today, we think of leasing out restaurants. So the customer profile has changed and so has the requirement with time.”

Nikhil Sharma, COO, Ginger Hotels, feels that the new brands are moving in B2B space, especially in the luxury segment. “They are in the ecosystem and we need to learn, survive and compete with them.”

Kapil Chopra, Chairman of the Board, EazyDiner defined the different cycles of hospitality in a startup scenario. “A lot of brands have done well but do not think exponentially. Startups think exponentially and think 10x. In today’s scenario, people look for security and cleanliness in a budget hotel. Hence it is important to factor in five elements that categorise hotel business: Commodity hospitality which is clean bed, clean room, good security and basic FnB; Great product; Great service; Live like a local; and Transformative hospitality with great service.”

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