Power List 2018: Rajiv Kaul, President, The Leela Palaces, Hotels & Resorts

“The Leela brand’s portfolio has today grown to nine award-winning hotels, with plans to further expand our footprint in India and overseas. Each Leela property is recognised for its unique identity, is a market leader in its respective location and is acclaimed for its superior hospitality, having received numerous accolades from guests and industry leaders,” Kaul reveals.

The Leela brand has been voted among the ‘Top 10 Hotel Brands in the World’ for three consecutive years in a worldwide readers’ survey conducted by Travel & Leisure, USA. Whilst other hotel chains are serving guests in multiple countries, India has been the sole touch point for The Leela. “Despite this limitation, we have received global recognition from discerning travellers on a list where top international hotel brands strive to win a place. This makes our achievement more unique and special,” elaborates Rajiv Kaul, President, The Leela Palaces, Hotels & Resorts. Nothing bears greater testimony to his mammoth contribution as a leader than this.

Kaul informs, “We were recently awarded the Management contract to operate India’s largest Convention and Exhibition Center – the 34-acre Mahatma Mandir, and launch Gujarat state capital’s largest hotel, the 300-room The Leela Gandhinagar, which is expected to open in early 2019. With this signing, The Leela has expanded its hotel portfolio to 10
acclaimed properties across India.”

He reaffirms, “Our main focus remains on continually striving to enhance The Leela guest experience. Brands are ultimately built on superior guest experience — one guest at a time. Our guests tell us that they particularly appreciate The Leela experience for the manner in which we showcase the destination through bespoke experiences, which includes celebration of local art, architecture, cuisines and culture. The Leela difference can be felt in every aspect of a stay — from the way each hotel showcases Indian craftsmanship and natural materials, to the way every guest is treated with honor and regard.”
Known for his perceptiveness, sharing his insights about the Industry, Kaul says, “As an industry, we continue to be one of the major drivers of domestic economic growth and a key employment generator. Internationally, Indian hotels are standing tall, recognised as they are amongst the very best in the world. That being said, we need to prepare for the changing market realities and paradigm shifts.”

He stresses on the importance of good talent saying, “The war for talent continues to intensify as attrition rates of employees exceed 30%. The ability to attract, develop and retain talent is a pre-requisite for success.”

Modest about his tremendous contribution, Kaul says, “In my career spanning four decades, I have been fortunate to helm some iconic hotels acclaimed for hospitality excellence. This provided me with an opportunity to usher higher operational standards of excellence; enhance global reputation of luxury Indian hospitality; and also mentor a generation of hoteliers, many of whom are providing leadership to leading hospitality brands in India."

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