Hospitality leaders share their learning from the Coronavirus pandemic

Learnings from pandemic, Hospitality leaders, Hotel industry

Puneet Chhatwal, MD & CEO, IHCL: “On a macro level, the industry has faced many crises such as SARS, Gulf War, 9/11, 26/11, and even the consequences of the Lehmann collapse of 2008, but the scale and immediacy of the COVID-19 health crisis is unprecedented. A positive would be the way the entire industry has come together embracing a collective, mutually beneficial and coordinated ap-proach. I would like to institutionalise a permanent cognitive task force, whose responsibility shall be to constantly monitor and assess risks and opportunities, factoring in global volatility and potential challenges to business through various scenarios including health/ natural or other disasters.”

Neeraj Govil, Senior Vice President, South Asia, Marriott International Inc.: “The learning that will emerge collectively will form the backbone of the “new” normal in travel and hospitality. For starters, hotel operators must seize this opportunity to rethink the core of their business operations and where the business comes from. Segment strategies will be relooked at, as will the manning levels at our hotels. Fixed costs will be closely scrutinised and deliberated over. There will be a re-newed vigour in embracing the use of technology to amplify operational efficiencies.”

Vineet Verma, Executive Director & CEO, Brigade Hospitality: “You look at better ways of run-ning the business, run leaner operations to maximise profit and implement far improved operating standards.” 

Prashanth Rao Aroor, CEO, IntelliStay Hotels: “Hotels will introduce new measures around pro-tecting guests and teams from health hazards. There will be a move towards an organised, fully-managed sector from the semi-formal and loosely aggregated/ franchised brands, which don't always exercise enough controls at the hotel level on operations. On a bigger level, businesses will have to hit the reset button. Our planet is too delicately poised to suffer businesses concerned only with financial performance. We will need to move to zero-tolerance for impact on the environment and adopt minimalism in its best spirit. The days of frivolous use and throw, and days of any excess have to go. Luxury needs to be redefined with responsibility as a keystone.”

Zaid Sadiq, Executive Director, Liasoning & Hospitality, Prestige Group: “Such adverse scenarios test the ability of an organisation to change gears, to find ways to resort to cost-cutting measures that we have never had to resort to before, to find ways to work with less, and still be motivated. Simultaneously, it also teaches flexibility, teaches us to be ready to make quick changes, and be better prepared for the unknown in the future. Dexterity is the key.”

Zubin Saxena. MD and VP - Operations, South Asia at Radisson Hotel Group: In many ways, this crisis will change the way the travel industry works. Internationally, health, safety and hygiene will become paramount, and much research will happen around solutions driven to ensure this. A domestic tourism market like India will also have to reorient businesses to meet new requirements emerging from this situation.”

Sarbendra Sarkar, Founder and Managing Director, Cygnett Hotels and Resorts: “Hygiene, sani-tization and sustainability will be a key priority across all hotels. This pandemic has also reminded us to be on guard for the worst always.”

Souvagya Kumar Mohapatra. Executive Director, MAYFAIR Hotels & Resorts: “To face such exigencies in future, adequate funds need to be kept aside as contingency reserves out of our profits.”

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