Power List 2017, Patu Keswani, Chairman and MD, Lemon Tree Hotels Limited
A smile carries lot of power, especially in the hospitality business. And a smile needs no words.
This is the premise on which Lemon Tree Hotels Limited has been promoting diversity and inclusivity in its manpower, by hiring more differently-abled people to its workforce. This unique staffing policy for its over 4,500 employees has won its forward-thinking Chairman and MD,, Patu Keswani, plenty of accolades from the industry as well as guests. And interestingly, this move also comes with its own cost-efficiency move built in.
Differently-abled personnel are more likely to stay with a company, thereby reducing attrition rates. They are also very loyal and more willing to take up responsibilities.
While initially, LemonTree Hotels Limited hired people with disabilities for back-end roles like in the kitchen, housekeeping or laundry departments, over the years, it has started moving them to roles where they are in direct guest interaction areas like restaurants, in-room dining and concierge services. These people-friendly initiatives helped it bag a key spot in the Economic Times ‘India’s Best Companies To Work For 2017’.
It is this foresight and ability to encourage people to change their perception about working patterns that sets Keswani as a pioneer in the hospitality. He is always willing to take uncharted roads, in a bid to stay ahead of competition and also leverage the assets on hand.
Talking about assets, this hospitality chain plans to add close to 15 hotels with over 1,200 rooms across the country by the end of next fiscal. Currently, the company has close to 40 hotels in 24 cities with around 4,300 rooms. Going forth, the brand is keen to tap the leisure locations, which is witnessing increasing footfalls from international travellers as well as domestic guests.
Keswani had co-founded Lemon Tree Hotels Limited in 2002 with an aim to provide comfortable and affordable accommodation to guests in the country. Today, the company has hotels under four brands – Lemon Tree Premier, which is an upscale brand; Lemon Tree Resorts, a leisure segment brand; Lemon Tree Hotels, a midscale brand and the economy brand Red Fox Hotels.
By Vinita Bhatia