Power List 2017, Nakul Anand, Executive director, ITC Ltd
When your guests seek local experiences, how do you instill a sense of Indian-ness in your hotels? If you are ITC Ltd, you begin with the ubiquitous ‘Namaste’ and literally make it your brand’s leitmotif. That ‘Namaste’ has become an enduring symbol of ITC Hotels’ brand experience for over four decades. This vision to promote India’s diverse cultural heritage has driven the company’s philosophy of building ‘hotels that define the destination’.
Talking about this, Nakul Anand said, “Each ITC luxury hotel embodies ‘Responsible Luxury’, reflected in its distinct architecture, interiors, indigenous experiences, culinary brands and spas, with globally benchmarked standards in accommodation, environment and guest safety. From product design to room configuration to interiors, every aspect of our hotels is conceptualised and built around our guests’ evolving needs. We ensure that we stay relevant and contemporary in our offerings.”
He added that being an ITC lifer, he underscored his passion for a ‘Responsible’ approach towards business. Those learnings propelled the hotels division into a new era that have now become a milestone in ITC Hotels’ history.
In fact, this decision could well be called an inflection point for the business. To make a choice to either only focus on sustainable practices or to focus on luxury experiences.
“Deliberations led us to believe that choosing either was not an option because sustainability must be embedded in luxury is a belief that permeated from ITC’s triple line approach to business pillared on building economic, social and environmental capital. This inspired us to scale new heights in luxury, enhancing it to deeper levels by blending it with a Responsible approach. An approach that is committed to work towards the benefit of all stakeholders that are impacted by the luxury experiences delivered at ITC Hotels,” Anand recalled.
As executive director on ITC Ltd’s board, he is in charge of its hospitality, travel and tourism businesses as well as its lifestyle retail business division. He is at the forefront of a hotel chain that is recognised as the ‘Greenest Luxury Hotel Chain in the world’, abiding by ITC Hotels’ leading endeavours in ‘Responsible Luxury’.
The hospitality major owns and manages over 100 hotels in more than 70 destinations in India, having a unique position of providing comprehensive hospitality solutions through four brands. And Anand opined that the company’s investments in the business are testimony of its confidence in the growth prospects of the hospitality sector.
A recipient of the ‘Green Hotelier’ award by the International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IH&RA), his commitment to sustainable business is apparent in the contemporary green practices adapted at ITC’s hotels and acknowledgement for ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry & Sustainable Luxury’ at the Hotelier India Awards in 2012.
His goal for the tourism industry is to substantiate the economic benefits of tourism to Government and the industry, by working in unison with all stakeholders to ensure Indian tourism its rightful place in the globe. According to him, these are exciting times for the industry. “What we need to do is focus on how together as an industry, alongwith the government, we can increase the pull for India. We are over-roomed and we need to shift focus from the supply situation to creating a demand for tourism India,” Anand noted.
He added that it is important to have different strategies for domestic tourism and international tourism. “We need to focus on areas which give us a competitive advantage. What is unique to us, is our cultural diversity, our cuisine, wellness traditions and yoga. We need to narrow our focus down to certain segments, and within those segments create islands of excellence,” he suggested. Hope the government is listening.
By Vinita Bhatia