With the refuge of the pandemic in the year 2020, the entire hospitality industry has confronted an unprecedented challenge with the temporary closure of almost all the hotels along with restrictions on travel. However, the reopening process had slowly begun with ease in conditions. Gradually the hospitality industry began recovering; however, the Covid-19 crisis continues to exist with profound impacts and thwart the sector about the business operations of the hotels.
In an enlightening conversation with Gaurav Goswami, the General Manager at ‘The Xen Suite (Unit of Siddha Group)’ of Kolkata, West Bengal.
Gaurav, you have been in the hospitality industry for many years, so what changes have taken place with the arrival of the Covid 19 Pandemic?
Gaurav – Many changes have taken place about the operations of the business as our priority is to ensure the health and safety of our employees and the customers. Now the properties are more into yield management to recover the tremendous loss, keeping the standards constant.
Indeed, health and safety protocols remain an utmost expectation of every guest from hotels.
Research says that 40% of hotel guests are willing to pay more for increased safety precautions. Is this true?
Gaurav – (smiles) This is a very wrong notion. During this period, the guest is more concerned with the safety protocols, but on the other hand, there are fewer movements, but the inventory is constant. So, if you look minutely, you will find that the demand is less, supply remains the same. We can easily guess that there is a price war among all the hotels. The hotel tariff is reduced to attract more potential guests, the price of banquets dropped down, but the inflation is rising. Management of the hotels needs to be more alert and think of increasing their revenue to boost up the operational profit.
Research also says that the majority of the hotel guests (app 70% -71%) believe that the use of service robots is necessary for the covid-19 environment to minimize human to human contact. What’s your take on this? Has service Robots been implemented in any of the hotels in India?
Gaurav – Yes, the industry is moving into automation. Still, service robots can hardly replace the need of the workforce because I feel that the human touch gives more comfort to the guest. Hence, I will prefer employees rather than robots (he smiles).
As a matter of course, the hotel industry has never experienced the employment challenge it has faced since the refuge of the Covid 19 Pandemic. Unfortunately, the myriad crisis of pandemics had let go of various all line employees in the hotels. The majority of the hotels was left with no revenue at all. Have you ever fell into this situation as an employee or as a part of management?Gaurav – Yes, I had to face this when I was the General Manager of Aquatica Water Park and Resorts. Aquatica is a large luxury property and one of the east zone’s biggest water parks and resorts. But being a part of the management team, we handled it well. We have provided alternative duties to the employees. We tried to help each and everyone so that they could survive the shock. The MD was good enough to take care of every single employee. And yes, Aquatica once again was back to its average revenue generation.