‘Surge in demand for quality hospitality services’

Ashwini Kumar, General Manager, Hyatt Regency Chandigarh, says guests are ready to pay a premium for upgraded facilities

For over three decades plus, Ashwini Kumar has been an integral part of the Hyatt family. However, this is the first time that he has become part of a property in India, having spent a majority of his professional journey in the Middle East. Kumar considers himself fortunate to return to the city of Chandigarh where he had spent some unforgettable years of his life as a student at DAV College. Optimistic about the future of Hyatt Regency Chandigarh where he works as the General Manager, Kumar feels the hotel has a lot of untapped opportunities owing to its design, location, ambience and of course, the warm service of the hotel team. 

Located 5.5 km from Sukhna Lake and 2.2 km from CII Convention Centre, Hyatt Regency Chandigarh offers 211 air-conditioned rooms featuring iPod docking stations and LED televisions. Kumar feels that the hospitality sector in Chandigarh is going through a surge in demand for quality products and services. “Guests are ready to pay a premium price but then they do not compromise,” says Kumar.

The scenario regarding weddings changed after the imposition of new government guidelines due to the pandemic. Talking about the changes he has witnessed in the booking trends for weddings, Kumar says, “At the onset of the pandemic, guests now give a high emphasis to safety and hygiene when finalising a venue and a leading hospitality brand like Hyatt prioritises the safety, wellbeing of our guests and colleagues above everything else.”

On how much does it help the customers as well as the vendors when the hotel collaborates with various allied services to bring the wedding feels under one roof, Kumar says, “We love working with our partners, especially for weddings. There is a mutual benefit for both the parties to collaborate as this gives us the opportunity to make the best use of our respective areas of strength. Our guests also benefit from these partnerships since it gives them the flexibility to further personalise the event as per their preference.”

With technology becoming part and parcel of the hospitality sector, more so in the last 18 months plus, Hyatt Regency Chandigarh too has always been at the forefront when it comes to adapting to emerging technologies. “One of our major objectives is to provide guests with a contactless experience as much as possible. Our restaurants now have digital menus accessible via QR codes and all taps around the hotel are automated. We have also introduced biometrics with thermometers and digital notice boards for our employees. These are just a few of the new technologies introduced at the hotel recently,” shares the General Manager, Hyatt Regency Chandigarh.

Most recently, Hyatt Regency Chandigarh introduced an Italian menu for its guests for which the response has been tremendous. “The city Chandigarh certainly has an audience for pizzas and pastas and the ones offered at Piccante are truly appreciated by guests. We have, in fact, added more delicacies to our Italian menu this month and the response has been overwhelming,” he informs.

For decades, the region around Chandigarh has been a favourite with the filmmakers, both from Hindi and regional cinema, for scenic locations in movies. Expressing his views on the market growth in the near future and how can it help in the increase of domestic tourism in the state, Kumar opines, “Chandigarh has always been the gateway to the hill states of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Leh-Ladakh. This does contribute to room nights as movie shoots from different regions of the country bring in guests to the hotels in the city. However, the market segment is not yet a big driver for domestic tourism in Chandigarh. Hopefully, with more and more platforms for content coming up online, the number of movie shoots will increase and in turn contribute a bigger share to the domestic tourism.”

And why movies alone? Mohali, the commercial hub lying southwest of Chandigarh, is known world over for the famous Punjab Cricket Association Stadium and is a key area in the city and also one of the reasons for cricket enthusiasts to visit the place. But does it help in increasing accommodation, MICE or events? “Whenever Mohali is hosting a Test, one-day or an IPL match, hotels in the city do manage to get a certain percentage of business. However, as of this moment, it is not a big enough market segment to affect MICE movement in the city,” shares Kumar.

This article was published in BW hotelier issue dated '' with cover story titled 'INVESTMENT SPECIAL ISSUE VOL 7, ISSUE 6'

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