An experienced hand
Immense experience in hospitality across brands globally has helped Dilip Hari, COO DPNY Hospitality, charter his success route in the US
BY R. BARIK
How did the move to the US happen and how did DPNY come about?
One thing that has defined my career is a certain restlessness, driven by my fear of stagnation, which has had a positive impact on my life. When I was offered a position in New York working for a company that owned and managed 20 properties around the US and Canada and was looking for a CFO with brand experience and international expertise, it was an opportunity to explore and gain knowledge in the North American hospitality market. It was a chance to grow and progress in different areas. Thatâ€™s how DPNY came about.
How has his experience in India helped in establishing the brand in the US?
Hospitality is a completely different animal in India as itâ€™s instilled in our culture and history. To be groomed and cultivated in this environment has helped define and set my objectives as a hotelier and given me a road map to follow.
Also, I would be remiss not to mention my experience with Oberoi Hotels, which educated me on the importance of structure and attention to detail. It helped form my perception of luxury. It also established bench marks for me as a hotelier, ones where guest satisfaction and brand standards are key. This knowledge has influenced my work with DPNY and in effect given me a template for brand creation in the US. In fact, I believe it is my Indian heritage and experience in the Indian hospitality market that sets DPNY apart from other hospitality companies operating in the US market today.
What is the brand vision?
DPNYâ€™s brand vision is to be a professional management company with distinction. Although brand expansion is integral to DPNYâ€™s success, a structured approach to growth has been a hallmark of our success so far. DPNY works with strict guidelines and has been able to grow ROI substantially for its investors. DPNY has seen exponential growth in the last seven years having added six hotels to its portfolio in a relatively short time. The company specialises in the areas of deal selection, deal evaluation, raising of finance, to eventual operation and property renovation.
Looking ahead, we seeks to grow the portfolio in North America while collaborating with investors both at home and overseas. Additionally, having operated in the US market for over 15 years, DPNY strives to be the management company of choice for Indians looking to expand out west. Furthermore, I believe my expertise in the industry in both India and North America can be crucial particularly to Indian investors looking to grow in this part of the world.
What is your view of the Indian hospitality market; what can we learn from the global markets; and how do we better our current market scenario?
The upside to the Indian market is the nearly unlimited manpower available. I believe that human capital is indispensable and India is blessed with an ever increasing, educated and qualified populace. Combine that with the strong projected increase in business and leisure travel from both within and outside the country, I believe India is on the precipice of exponential growth in the global hospitality market.
The downside is the lack of stability in the financial markets that can hinder investors, especially first time investors from taking the jump. Onerous government regulation and red tape also create substantial barriers for growth in India. In terms of bettering the current market scenario, there are certain global trends that will and are already making an impact on hospitality markets around the world. Millennials are becoming the fastest growing customer segment in the hospitality industry. Keeping this in mind, Indian consumer businesses will need to be more transparent and tech savvy. Innovative technologies on a mobile platform will be expected as more individuals rely on digital concierge services. Seamless connectivity across platforms and devices and wireless technology should become standard in hotels. Eco-friendly practices are already the norm in certain foreign markets and travellers expect hotels to have environmental programmes in place, and some are even willing to pay more for certain eco-features.
I believe it is just a matter of time. As India progresses economically and continues to update its infrastructure, Indian hoteliers will strive to be more competitive on a global scale. The success of the industry is really tethered to the willingness of the federal government to take action to facilitate growth and remove impediments in the way.
What are the plans for the US market? And is India anywhere on the horizon?
Currently the plan is to expand at a relatively rapid rate and to take advantage of the cheap capital available to people looking to invest in the US and continue to acquire new properties all over the US and create a larger footprint in North America. India is not on the horizon in the immediate future. DPNY is best suited to provide a stepping stone for investors looking to venture outside of India and we want to be the vehicle to help facilitate that move.