HOPE 2023 by HVS ANAROCK commences

Day one of the inaugural edition offers insights aplenty

HOPE 2023 by HVS ANAROCK, India’s most exclusive Hospitality Summit, got underway yesterday at the Taj Resort & Convention Centre, Goa. Showcasing India's global stature as a hospitality industry powerhouse, HOPE (Hospitality Overview Presentation & Exchange) brings together Indian and international hospitality players for two days of high-octane knowledge exchange, networking, and also celebration. Moreover, this is the first time that such an event is happening in Goa, the leisure capital of the country. 

The select gathering consisted of 300-350 hospitality and travel eminences, and the senior leadership of domestic and international hotel chain operators, owners, investors, travel gurus, thought leaders and influencers from across the globe. This annual event promises to redefine how hospitality confers, networks, and celebrates success.

Among the key dignitaries present was the Honourable Chief Minister of Goa, Dr. Pramod Sawant, who said in his address, “I welcome the initiative taken by HVS in hosting the inaugural session of HVS ANAROCK HOPE 2023 in Goa. HOPE will be held here annually and will add to the list of premier events that are choosing Goa as the preferred destination. Goa has become the leisure capital of India and is also becoming the hub for luxury hotels, homestays and more. With India taking on the G20 presidency in 2022, the tourism sector is in a strong position not only to revive but also thrive in the post-COVID era”. Furthermore Mr. Sawant added that Goa will now also be promoting Medical, Inter-land, spiritual and sports tourism.   

The proceedings on Day One started with HVS ANAROCK President, Mandeep Lamba’s Beachside Chat with one of the world’s most celebrated hospitality leaders, Christopher J. Nassetta, President & CEO, of Hilton, which is amongst the top 3 largest hospitality companies in the world, with 20 brands across more than 7,000 properties in 123 countries & territories. Mr. Nasseta concluded the session by putting emphasis on how COVID has changed the way we travel and the impact on the hotel industry.

Day One featured four-panel discussions, including a Global Leaders Panel (Global Hospitality Outlook: Have we emerged stronger and more optimistic than ever before?) featuring Christopher Hartley, CEO, Global Hospitality Alliance; Dimitris Manikis, President, Europe, Middle East, Eurasia & Africa, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts; KB Kachru, Chairman Emeritus & Principal Advisor South Asia, Radisson Hotel Group; Stephen Rushmore, Jr., President & CEO, HVS; and Tommy Lai, Chief Executive Officer, General Hotel Management Pte. Ltd. The session moderated by Mandeep Lamba, President, South Asia, HVS ANAROCK concluded on a high with the global leaders sharing their COVID recovery stories and how the hospitality industry is headed towards a beaming future. 

Featuring in the Luxury Travel Panel (Post the pandemic, is luxury travel likely to witness a significant leap? Is the rapidly changing customer behaviour and outlook going to redefine luxury travel in some ways?) were Laure Morvan, Chief Development Officer, India, Middle East, Africa & Turkey, Accor; Mary Gostelow*, Global Ambassador, Travel Writer & Influencer, Gostelow Report; Rohit Khosla, Executive Vice President – Operations, North & West India, IHCL; Salil Deshpande, Head of Editorial Content, Condé Nast Traveller India; and Sameer Nayar, Executive Vice President, Strategic Development, Oberoi Hotels & Resorts. Rattan Keswani, an Industry Stalwart and Former Deputy Managing Director, Lemon Tree Hotels, moderated the session. The discussion touched upon the finer points of ‘How the perception of Luxury’ has changed in the last few years and that today’s traveller is much more informed about his choices and the way he wants to travel. 

This was followed by a Beachside Chat on How India Travels, in which Kapil Kaul—CEO & Director, CAPA Advisory—was joined by Rajesh Magow, Co-Founder & Group CEO, MakeMyTrip, for a freewheeling conversation, which was moderated by Ajay Mehtani, Senior Vice President, Asset Management, HVS ANAROCK. The free flowing discussion emphasised on the importance of aviation growth in redefining the way the average Indian is spending his money on business/leisure travel. 

The F&B Panel (Do hotels—the original pioneers of F&B in the country—need to rethink and reimagine F&B offerings given the rapid strides in innovation and customer acquisition made by standalone restaurants?) brought together AD Singh, Founder & Managing Director, Olive Bar & Kitchen; Anil Chadha, Divisional Chief Executive, ITC Hotels; Gaurav Singh, Market Vice President South & East India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, Marriott International; and Rohit Khattar, Founder & Chairman, Old World Hospitality, with Diwan Gautam Anand, Industry Stalwart & Former Executive Vice President, ITC Hotels, moderating the session. The session explored not just the possibility of co-existing but also drawing synergies together so that both the hoteliers and standalone restaurateurs can benefit from each other as there is enough and more market potential in the F&B space.

And taking part in the HR Panel (The Manpower Conundrum: How will hotels deal with attracting and retaining future talent?) were Ashutosh (Ash) Khanna, Partner, Heidrick & Struggles; Brijesh Paleri, Founder, GigsNearMe; Gaurav Pokhariyal, Executive Vice President – Human Resources, IHCL; Natwar Nagar, Founder & CEO, The People Network & The Job Plus; and Sanjay Bose, Executive Vice President & Head – Human Resource, ITC’s Hotel Group. This session was moderated by Prahlad Puri, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Indian School of Hospitality. A truly people’s driven panel, it touched upon the pointers of new avenues of hospitality learning, battling attrition, having a robust employee welfare scheme and ensuring that the HR machinery supports and is ready to create a talent pool that will satiate the appetite of the ever burgeoning hotel segment. 

One of the key highlights of the day was the release of HVS ANAROCK & Saint-Gobain’s “Sustainability in the Hospitality Industry: Working Towards ‘Travel Without a Footprint’” Report, alongside a Beachside Chat featuring B. Santhanam, CEO – Asia Pacific & India Region, and Chairman, Saint-Gobain India; and Ravi Sarangan, Director, Edifice. The conversation touched upon the greater need of adopting sustainable practices in the hospitality sector and that Saint-Gobain offers holistic, lean and sustainable construction solutions exclusively for the hospitality segment. He stressed on the fact that 60% of Saint-Gobain’s portfolio contributes to the reduction of CO2 emissions with low carbon, energy-efficient materials that meet the need for wellbeing in living and working spaces.

Day One concluded with Now It Can Be Told: Candid Conversations, a no-holds-barred chat between Patanjali (Patu) G. Keswani, Chairman & Managing Director, Lemon Tree Hotels, and Dilip Puri, Founder & CEO, Indian School of Hospitality. HOPE 2023 couldn’t have asked for a better finish to its Day 1 session as the stalwarts and friends gave a deep insight on all aspects of the industry that captured the attention of everyone in the room. The biggest takeaway was Mr. Keswani’s price ratio mechanism where the airfares of a sector were defining the ARR of the rooms. 

Commenting on the proceedings on the first day, Mandeep Lamba, President (South Asia), HVS ANAROCK, said, “It is with great expectation that we have been organising this summit and it has been a delight to see such a turnout comprising of the crème de la crème of the global and international hospitality industry. There have been so many takeaways from the sessions on Day One, as I’m sure there will be on Day Two. With the role of India and Asia growing in the hospitality space, I believe the HOPE Summit can become influential enough to drive policy and make a positive impact in this space the world over. I’m confident we will all return intellectually enriched, willing to contribute extra to further transform the prospects of the industry.”

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