Novotel Kolkata Hotel & Residences, one of the largest inventory hotel in Eastern India with 340 rooms, What will be your strategy to re-energize the business of your property?
Mr Sandeep Johri: Our strategy is to have a localized approach as the travel restrictions still remain. Staycation and weekend packages for rooms, Food and Beverage offers during the sporting events like IPL and through the upcoming festive season will be marketed to the target audience. All this, while sticking to the utmost standards of hygiene safety remains to be our top priority.
Hotels are gradually re-opening after the haul of more than 5 months, what role “Brand Identity” is going to play in this crucial time?
Mr Sandeep Johri: Our guests relate with Novotel as a brand offering for modern easy living, a unique type of stay, full of elegance and simplicity. With 541 hotels across the world and 20 hotels in India, a strong brand identity exists which gives our guests the assurance of comfort and safety which in the current context is the core concern of every traveller. Accor’s global cleanliness and prevention standards have been developed with and vetted by Bureau Veritas, a world leader in testing, inspections, and certification.
In 26 years of experience in the hospitality industry, you have been a key contributor in the process of conceptualizing, launching, executing and stabilizing the hotels and its operations. What will be your strategy to engage more guests as well as staff in the upcoming days?
Mr Sandeep Johri: Hospitality is a people-focused industry, whether they are our guests or employees. Constant reinvention to offer unforgettable and unique experiences to our guests is the key. The people delivery these experiences are our employees who have to be regularly engaged with, motivated and incentivised so that they give their best. Most importantly, as mentioned before, safety is at the centre of everything that we will do. Our presence on the digital platforms also offers a rich digital experience to our guests through constant engagements and feedbacks.
No other Industry has severely hit as Hospitality in this pandemic, what are the changes industry is going to witness in nearby future and how are you equipping your property to make it “Future Ready”?
Mr Sandeep Johri: We are a resilient industry and have always bounced back after difficult times. In hotels, comprehensive safety and hygiene training program will be put in place so that all employees have the skills and training necessary to protect themselves and our guests. One will have to adapt to the restricted size of gathering in corporate and social events. In our restaurants, Accor is enriching its healthy and sustainable food charter to better respond to the current context with new food safety standards going beyond government and local regulations.
Also, the pandemic has forced hotels to re-look and reset on the cost front too. Hotels will do away with the expenses that till now were viewed as acceptable, thus bringing enhanced efficiencies and profitability in the times to come.
What practices you are adopting in your hotel property to contribute towards the sustainable environment?
Mr Sandeep Johri: Novotel Kolkata Hotel and Residences is a LEEDS Platinum certified hotel. Solar panels placed for natural electricity production, water recycling for controlling pollution and water conservation, eco-friendly waste disposal system are a few initiatives to mention from a number of processes ingrained in how we function.
What are the unique services you deliver to your four-legged guests(pets)? Please share with us.
Mr Sandeep Johri: Novotel Kolkata Hotel & Residences welcomes pets along with proud owners. Our Apartments are Pet-Friend. We offer customized menu suited to the pet’s need. Pet accessories like waste scooper, dog leash, pet cot, feeding bowls are all provided from hotel. We have a designated pet walk area around the hotel periphery and vet Doctor is available on call.
How Leading a Hotel property with residences/serviced apartments is different from leading a hotel property without serviced apartments?
Mr Sandeep Johri: Residences unit at Novotel Kolkata is a hotel within a hotel with dedicated separate entrance. Our guests at residences stay for longer durations, some even for years together. Their needs and requirements are different especially in terms of food, essential requirements that have to been taken care of within their budget.
Clear product differentiation with a well-defined value proposition in the Apartments is crucial. It has been a pleasure to lead our dynamic team that looks after our guests and to see our guests in Residences calling Novotel Kolkata their home is most gratifying.
Generally, during long stays guest’s looks for more homely and familiar things, how you deliver the guests a feeling of ‘Home away from home’?
Mr Sandeep Johri: Yes indeed, accommodation in Residences has well equipped Kitchen and living area for our residents to feel at home without having mundane worries, work from home enabled Apartments with high speed internet, In-room dining- homely food preparation by Chefs, flexible arrival and departure timings, entrance through exclusive elevator and easy access for visitors are some of the key highlights besides are size of apartments. We endeavour to provide peace and tranquillity of a home and yet offer the full-service experience of a modern hotel.
What does a normal day look like in your life as the General Manager at Novotel Kolkata?
Mr Sandeep Johri: We work through teams, therefore my day revolves around our key stakeholders that are our employees which we call to be the ‘Heartists’. Everything is aimed at offering an unforgettable and energising experience for our guests. The day encompasses planned meetings with all head of departments, unique strategic initiatives with a focus on guest experience and sustained business growth but more than that every day provides the sheer joy of looking after our guests who are very reason of our existence in the business of hospitality.
Social media these days has made things quite transparent for everyone. Please share with us, how Novotel Kolkata Hotel & are Residences utilizing the same for the growth of the hotel?
Mr Sandeep Johri: Engagement on social media platforms with relevant content is vital to get traction from the new-age customers. Novotel Kolkata Hotel and Residences provides enriching digital experience on all major online platforms. In the current context, we have further localized our social media campaigns to promote all our offering from food & beverage, rooms, apartments, and even laundry services. Emphasis is on pertinent content to stimulate the imagination of our target audiences, after all, “Seeing (on Social Media) is believing”
Mr Sandeep Johri: Engagement on social media platforms with relevant content is vital to get traction from the new age customers. Novotel Kolkata Hotel and Residences provides enriching digital experience on all major online platforms. In the current context, we have further localized our social media campaigns to promote all our offering from food & beverage, rooms, apartments, and even laundry services. Emphasis is on pertinent content to stimulate the imagination of our target audiences, after all “Seeing (on Social Media) is believing”
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