Going Solo

Mayfair Hotels & Resorts, Souvagya Mohapatra

While building a brand is challenging, Mayfair Hotels & Resorts has realised that it pays better dividends in the long run

By Vinita Bhatia

The advent of technology over the past few years has given guests a lot more choices while making their travel decisions. They check online for prices, view details, consider reviews from their peers and compare brands before making a purchase decision. Often, they give maximum preference to the brand, which underlines its importance.

The significance of creating a distinctive identity is something that Mayfair Hotels & Resorts has realised over the years, and has steadily invested in. Today, it is well-established as a luxury boutique resort company with properties that are set in idyllic locations amidst natural surroundings, especially in North-East India. And it is has managed to do this without being affiliated with any reputed hotel chain. “We have not felt the need to partner with any hospitality brand till now and in the future too, we do not have any intention to tie up with a company,” informed Souvagya Mohapatra, executive director, Mayfair Hotels & Resorts.

He added that Mayfair has always emphasised on operating hotels and resorts in low-rise buildings amidst dense greenery, which has become its calling card. “We presently have 10 hotels, each spread in a huge area, where most of the space is dedicated to landscaping without compromising on the room size. Hence, we have kept our inventory at every hotel a little less than average,” he stated. The company will follow this layout strategy for the three projects it has in the pipeline, at Naya Raipur, Siliguri and Kolkata, which will take its total room inventory from 550 to 1,050 by 2020.

Till date, all 10 operational Mayfair hotels are greenfield projects and even the upcoming three will fall under this category. However, Mohapatra revealed that as a part of its expansion strategy, the company has decided to venture into a franchise model and is open to management contracts without acquiring any existing hotels.

“While limited-service hotels would do well in tier-2 and 3 cities where there is extensive business-related travel, it is always better to have a full service hotel at tourist destinations to cater to high net worth individuals. This will be our guiding factor when we enter into a franchise mode as an operator,” he added.

Till a few years ago, developers, especially builders, were more inclined towards hotel projects as real estate investments, investing into it from their surplus corpus. Hence, they were not very concerned about issues like sustainability. Mohapatra pointed out that now with the involvement of serious investors as promoters in the hotel trade, sustainability has become a core issue.

“True operational efficiency can generate healthy gross operating profit. Investment in relevant technology and a shift from conventional sources to renewable sources can result in healthy bottom lines,” Mohapatra stated. “It is remarkable that there is now more focus on energy conservation for reducing costs, multi-skilling manpower to contain wage bills, recycling and investment to ensure statutory compliances.”

These initiatives have spilled over to building transparency in client relations as well. Brands, like Mayfair, are going all out to maintain a personal connection with their guests as they have understood that this has a direct bearing on the bottomline. Once you have captured a guest’s attention, you not only have a loyal customer, but also get a brand advocate who will bring in more customers by extension.

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