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‘The biggest challenge in market like ours is hugely erratic and unpredictable demand’GM

Tuesday, December 26, 2017, 16:16 Hrs  [IST]

The challenge before Sarad Kumar Upadhyay, General Manager, Crowne Plaza New Delhi Rohini is similar to General Managers of hotels in many micro markets that emerged from the shackles of the city centre in the last few years, but still ahead of evolution curve. Such hotels generally face unknown trends, unstructured demand scenario, etc. In an interview with Hospitality Biz, Upadhyay talks about all these challenges, but at the same time shares how he strives to inject business sense being the only one upscale hospitality brand in the location...

Q Being in one of the micro markets of the city away from the down town location, what are the typical challenges the GM of an upscale hotel in location like Rohini generally face?
It’s fact that being removed from the city centre, as per the dynamics of the market there are a few challenges that the hotel faces. The first challenge is related to unknown trends. Since it’s relatively a new/emerging area in New Delhi, the demand patterns are often sketchy. They change erratically and are unpredictable. This makes planning and forecasting a major challenge. Secondly, since the businesses operating in and around Rohini are still not structured, the demand is generated through different channels each time. A business that you would expect to come from a locally negotiated account would come through one of the online portals. The demand therefore is highly fragmented making it difficult to assign the right amount of time and money in the right channels. Third challenge is of creating awareness about the location of the hotel in the market.

Q How are these markets evolving to upscale hospitality products and services? How have you been able to create and nurture a captive market around your location?
The power of Crowne Plaza Brand is our biggest strength and we see people do appreciate the value of our brand. We are the only international Hotel brand in this part of the city. While the awareness has been slow, we see a gradual increase in it year on year. Secondly, we also make use of our strong Distribution Network System, an important and crucial tool that helps to direct business towards us.

Another major focus area is the banquets. To promote the same we have recently created a microsite that focuses on weddings & events ( Our objective behind creating this microsite has been to provide guests with the precise and customised details about the venue before their visit. The guests get an overview of the Hotel with specifications related to all aspects. Apart from the weddings, the site elaborates details about rooms, restaurants, spa and lots more.

Q Considering the peculiarities of the market where demand tend to be more local with less of international guests’ footprint, what kind of localisation have you brought into your products, especially F&B, and services including banquets, etc.?
We’ve been quite lucky as per the market trends. The hotel does a lot of activities to attract local masses. We do a lot of F&B promotions and festivals every month. These promotions are conducted keeping in mind the likes and preferences of the guests.

The Hotel has four restaurants, Mosaic – All Day Dining Restaurant; Spice Art – North Indian Specialty & Fine Dining, Connexions – The Bar and Mosaic Lounge – The Tea Lounge & patisserie. Out of these, Spice Art is our Award winning North Indian Specialty Restaurant that attracts clientele from all over the city. With some of the delicacies that it serves, it is considered amongst the best restaurants in the city.

We also organise Events & Exhibitions on a regular basis. These get a massive footfall. We also have a popular loyalty program - Crowne Diners – being promoted to the guests in the vicinity. This involves an annual package for guests that include complimentary stays, meals, food and beverage, and lots more on discounted rates.

Q It is quite some time since Crowne Plaza Rohini started operations. Therefore, what is the up-gradation/renovation that you are planning to make the appeal going for future?
The maintenance is an on-going process. Being a part of an International Brand, keeps us always on our toes on the maintenance front. We have a Perpetual Maintenance Management System that assures the property is maintained as per the standards. Apart from that, we are audited regularly and also get mystery audits. Passing these audits with clearly laid-out threshold scores makes upkeep and standards at any Crowne Plaza a non-negotiable factor.

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