‘Sustainability must be at the core of hotel operations’

Sumeet Suri, General Manager, JW Marriott Kolkata, shares insights on the varied segments driving the operations and revenue at the hotel

Soaked in purity and happiness, Kolkata is the perfect embodiment of rich and varied culture. It is also a focal point of the hospitality industry in the eastern region of the country. The ever-widening scope for the hospitality industry in the city provides substantial opportunities for hotel businesses to sprawl in the region.  

Sumeet Suri, General Manager, JW Marriott Kolkata deliberates on subjects like sustainability, occupancy and cost regulation along with sharing his insights on the varied segments driving the operations and revenue at the hotel. Reminiscing his journey, Suri says, “My prolonged years in the industry have given me the opportunity to meet countless individuals from distinct states of the country and from various nations across the world. This industry welcomes innovation and the freedom to try something unique which people will love to experience. One of the most important learnings from the industry is to have a lot of patience to ensure you can take up challenges and meet the demands of the patrons even in the toughest of the environment.” 


“JW Marriott Kolkata is a renowned food and beverage hub in Kolkata. Its USP is one of the biggest banquets in the city with a premium setting for ultimate weddings, tied in with the best culinary offerings. Apart from that, the hotel rooms are spacious, with picturesque views with luxury bathroom installations which makes every room truly comfortable for our guests,” he says, adding that the revenue at the property comes from the banquets and outlets. “The capacity of the banquet makes it an ideal venue to organise big fat weddings. Furthermore, it’s a popular destination for MICE and corporate events. The JW Kitchen and JW Lounge are some of the most active coffee shops and popular food and beverage destinations that offer world-class cuisines. Apart from the Asian specialty restaurant, Vintage Asia, we have recently introduced an outdoor seasonal outlet, Angaar by Alfresco, a perfect evening venue,” Suri shares. 


“We take sustainability very seriously. During the pandemic, we realised that the guests are also treating it importantly by ensuring that we are self-sustained and not dependent on the international market. I think sustainability must be at the core of hotel operations and a lot of smaller things can be done to ensure we move towards sustainability steadily. JW Marriott Kolkata is working rigorously on various new projects to ensure that sustainability reaches new heights and is treated as a general practice across all our departments,” he says.


Addressing the issue of cost and occupancy, Suri maintains that reducing cost or relaxing the ADRs will not help in driving more occupancy. “I don’t think it’s a smart decision. The focus should be ‘value’ thereby creating value for the customers along with the right experience. Experiences are the sum of products and the services we offer so the focus should be on driving the experience which automatically will ensure that customers come back even if they have to pay a premium for that,” Suri avers. 


“I believe better food and beverage experiences can add to the overall hotel experience, especially during these times where we are trying to localise the market. With international travel was almost zero, a good food and beverage offering can drive overall hotel operations,” he opines, adding, “At JW Marriott Kolkata, we are trying to experiment with a newer aspect of food and beverage like Angaar by Alfresco, an open-air venue suitable during winter season; Asian restaurant called Vintage Asia and the popular coffee shop, JW Kitchen. The idea is to focus more on local dishes while infusing international flavours that bring a blend of global flavours to the customer’s palate,” he further added. 


Suri reveals the main step towards enhancing the overall MICE offerings at the hotel was marked by ensuring that they had the right products within reach. “The idea is to present a holistic experience for a MICE event, from the check-in to its completion. The audio-visual and the food experience also play a significant role. It’s also important to have an in-house specialist who is responsible that all the steps are taken care of, from booking the room to ensuring a well-curated banquet event. We are also focussing on ensuring that we are flexible to incorporate various last-minute requests as far as MICE operators are concerned which will help us to bring an edge over our competitors,” he said. 


On the subject of OTA, Suri feels OTAs are critical for the industry because their audience penetration is quite wide. “Although, in my opinion, at JW Marriott Kolkata, our price point is decided on multiple variables that include added benefits, loyalty programmes and redeemable credit points. Hence, we ensure competitive pricing with OTA channels for our guests. OTAs help us to balance our price curation rather than being a catalyst for pushing down prices,” he says.

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

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