In the competitive world of Indian hospitality, Nakul Anand is known as a visionary who can see beyond ARRs and RevPAR numbers. He has a firm grip on the systems and processes and is known to be a keen observer of world hospitality trends. Anand has helped ITC transit from a traditional hospitality company to one that incorporates technology for guest experiences, even as it stays true to its roots with great F&B offerings and the understanding of India's cultural nuances. "The more we become dependent on technology, the more we yearn for the human touch," Anand has said, explaining why he continues to believe in the human touch to ensure that hotels "go beyond serving the wants" of their guests.
Anand often stands up for the industry as its spokesperson, or rather a thought leader, bringing up issues that it struggles with on various forums, including with the government. He drives the 'Responsible Luxury' maxim of ITC and believes, “If we don't see green, we see red." A sustainable planet, Anand feels, is an absolute necessity today. "It also fits in beautifully with our ethos of Atithi Devo Bhava," he says. At ITC Grand Chola, responsible luxury has translated to mean the use of wind power drawn from its own windmills.
Across the group, the ‘Food Sherpa’ programme is viewed as a sustainable initiative; ITC chefs scour their destinations for street food (or popular local food) and serve them in the sanitised environment of luxury hotels as part of their Local Love menu. Anand says, “We were at an inflection point, pressed to make a choice between sustainability and luxury as the way forward. Deliberations led us to the conclusion that choosing either/or wasn’t an option. Sustainable practices must be embedded in our business philosophy.” In some ways, ITC is a pioneer in the sphere of sustainable luxury.
Anand is known to be a team player and gives complete credit to his team, batting for the right attitude towards the business of hospitality to achieve the best results. He has led ITC through several transformations, including the restructuring of the WelcomHotel brand to make it more contemporary and focused on getting management contracts.