Hozpitality Interview:- Every crisis is an opportunity, explains Mehul Sharma, CEO of Signum Hotels and Resorts
It’s time to consolidate and work together as a team, time to make one large community, and work towards a common goal to push tourism
Novel Coronavirus which started in Asia has now spread in at least 185 countries in the world. The pandemic has taken a giant leap in India, where the cases are growing more than 10,000 per day. Many Indian cities are still under lockdown and some have eased the restrictions. The hospitality industry has been hit hard, the hotels, restaurants, airlines, retail, events, travel agencies, cruise ships are all struggling. The economy needs to restart soon. According to the Tourism Minister in Maharashtra, India, the state tourism is likely to grow amid the pandemic. Each state will be promoting its landmarks and historic destinations to promote tourism. India is a huge country, but it will still take time to bring the revenues and profits back to Pre-COVID times.
In this article, Hozpitality Group spoke to the Founder CEO of Signum Hotels and Resorts to discuss the impact of the pandemic on the hotel industry and specifically on their brand and the way ahead. Signum Hotels and Resorts, an emerging hospitality company with 12 hotels across India and London, vows to manage 1000+ keys by 2021. Signum hotels have ventured into hotels, resorts, palaces, and serviced apartments in various Indian cities. The group is focused and determined to be the best choice of the large scale, as well as medium-scale investors and developers, by providing expertise and hospitality solutions. With the changing travel demand pattern, the hotel owners need professionals to run their hotels in the most profitable manner by streamlining the operations, sales, and marketing.
Hozpitality Group: Hospitality Industry is among the hardest hit to experience the extreme effects of Covid-19, what are your thoughts in current Pandemic situation and a way ahead?
Mehul Sharma: Every crisis is an opportunity, we are looking at massive expansion through revenue share or management agreement, launching signum talent academy to retain and nourish hotel talent, AI /tech platform introduced into our hotels to reduce cost, and most important, keep your team motivated. Its time to consolidate and work together as a team, time to make one large community, and work towards a common goal to push tourism.
Hozpitality Group: In your opinion what will be the long-term effect of Covid-19 on the Hospitality Industry? And how long will it take to bounce back to Normal?
Mehul Sharma: It will take at least half year easily as its a complete wipe off, we are starting from scratch, large hotels will take more time since their break-even at opex level is also very high.
Hozpitality Group: The World is coming to terms with the Covid-19 outbreak, how do you suggest leading a team during the period of crisis and uncertainty?
Mehul Sharma: Some of the few things are, team engagement, keeping morale high, keeping them involved in decision making, continuous training, communication and keep motivating, keep encouraging stand tall and lead by examples.
Hozpitality Group: Considering the Unlock India Phase, how are you taking care of Hygiene levels at your hotels?
Mehul Sharma: The company maintains very stringent standards and has implemented the usage of chemicals approved by WHO. Our corporate housekeeper Ms Rita Chowdhary is a well-accomplished hotelier and she is overlooking this with complete precision and in detail. This is one area where we are not compromising and taking no chances.
Hozpitality Group: The housekeeping department is frontline worrier in facing this crisis, how are you training the Housekeeping staff?
Mehul Sharma: All new norms, new standards, and most importantly their health safety and hygiene and focus on their training and usages of equipment and chemicals with a rigorous training programme, the element of confidence is induced in them by training and leading from the front.
Hozpitality Group: How do you plan on managing hotel functions while considering Social Distancing norms?
Mehul Sharma: We have kept all norms in place from safety hygiene, social distances, most importantly being sensitive to the needs of our guests and employees is of utmost importance, before that each staff is fully trained to ensure the same is implemented at grass root level.
Hozpitality Group: What measures have you taken to reduce the cost of operations?
Mehul Sharma: We have introduced robotics and AI which will get our cost down every year with 3/4 percent, central procurement, business-driven through our website to save commission, chatbots for higher conversion , HLP audits every months , stringent food cost control measures , central talent pool , central marketing agency to save any overheads of units .
Hozpitality Group: Do you think relaunch of Domestic Travel will help the industry to subside the crisis impact?
Mehul Sharma: It will be a mix of domestic transient business and MICE with cushioning from weddings in the later part of the year.