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Corona second wave hits hotel bookings, New launches continue, sustainable initiatives step up

Friday, April 30, 2021, 15:30 Hrs  [IST]
HBI Staff | Hyderabad

According to a report by Swapna Raghu Sanand, Published in Financial Express, Hotel bookings witness a big slump! India’s hospitality industry is once again grappling with the impact of state-specific lockdowns as the surge in coronavirus cases continues to spiral across the country. Many stakeholders pin their optimistic outlook on bookings picking up once the vaccination push becomes more robust. More importantly, hotels are innovating with new and emerging models of sustainable commitments to reduce carbon emissions and plastic waste.



Sharing insights, Shahzad Aslam, Head – Sales at Leisure Hotels Group says, “The pandemic continues to wreak havoc on all industries, with travel, hospitality and aviation bearing the brunt of the damage of the second wave. Bookings have fallen by more than 75 percent as a result of the second COVID wave and new restrictions imposed by state governments. However, we are optimistic that the forthcoming vaccination push would result in an increase in booking trends from June onwards. We continue to receive enquiries this month from travellers searching for Staycation and Workcation packages in our resorts, which are naturally isolated and in remote locations.”


However, recent launches by different hotels also indicate the uptick in travel demand across leisure destinations as enquiries for staycations and workcations continue.


Marking its 12th hotel under its Beacon brand, Concept Hospitality has opened a 40 room business hotel on Ashram Road, which is the commercial hub of Ahmedabad. Located close to Sabarmati ashram, Sabarmati river front and more, the Kanak Beacon Hotel is in proximity to the main sightseeing attractions in the city.


“We are the largest hospitality player in Gujarat. Ahmedabad being the capital city is extremely important from a business perspective. We already have The Fern Ahmedabad which is an upscale hotel. The Beacon brand per se is a smart efficient hotel brand in our portfolio. It deals with the mid market segment. We have been witnessing a demand for such a mid level hotel. Now that we got the right opportunity we opened Kanak Beacon,” informs Suhail Kannampilly, CEO Concept Hospitality Pvt Ltd,


He further highlights, “We are following a very strict policy from the beginning of the pandemic. We launched a Staygiene program to improve hygiene standards across all our properties. These guidelines which include contactless services as well, have been thoroughly implemented across the entire group.”


Beach goers may want to take note of another new launch: The Westin Goa. Marking the brand’s debut in Goa, the hotel is a 40-minute drive from the Goa International Airport at Dabolim. True to the spirit of Goan hospitality, the hotel has rolled out the red carpet to pamper guests with its premium hospitality offerings. Guests can avail relaxing massages, body wraps, bath rituals and exfoliation treatments and facials at Westin Heavenly Spa.


Terming the debut launch in Goa as the 9th Westin property in India, Neeraj Govil- Senior Vice President, Operations APEC, Marriott International expressed optimism at expanding the brand’s signature well being offering to more travellers.


‘Eat Well’ is one of the three core pillars of the experience that the Westin offers, with local cuisine being the showstopper and its all day dining restaurant ‘The Market’ offering health conscious culinary choices. For those who enjoy cocktails, its lobby bar ‘Haven’ offers cocktails inspired by Goa, while Anjuna Coffee and Co offer freshly brewed coffees alongside pastries and sandwiches and revitalizing drinks.


Besides new hotel launches, sustainability commitments are also being stepped up across the hospitality industry.


Recently, Andaz Delhi teamed up with a Gurgaon-based WaterTech startup Swajal WaterCute to adopt sustainable glass water bottles to replace plastic water bottles for all their hotel rooms. This move is estimated to save over hundred tonnes of plastic waste and four hundred tonnes of carbon emissions over the next five years.


Notably, Andaz Delhi is the first hotel to run the latest GenX5 platform rolled out by Swajal WaterCube, which enables every bottle to be sanitised, washed, sterilised and then filled.


Dr. Vibha Tripathi, an IIT alumnus and Swajal WaterCube’s CEO highlights that their startup is “a technology first start up in water” which has an inbuilt inventory management system designed for the hospitality segment.


Notably, the startup claims to be the ‘only system in the world designed for hotel glass water bottles’ to enable end-to-end automated solutions.


Swajal WaterCube states that they have developed a proprietary IoT platform to monitor the quality of each drop of water in real time. So, each glass water bottle works on the concept of ‘Zero Mile Water’, which implies that glass bottles are recirculated within hotel premises.


Simply put, it reduces carbon footprint by removing the need to keep 
transporting the bottle back and forth from a central plan. Given that the concept of Zero-Mile water is to provide carbon-free and plastic-free mineral water, WaterCube’s IoT platform allows the water to be monitored remotely.


While the second wave of corona has disrupted day to day life of most people, it is clear that the continuing spread has made it essential for travellers to hit the pause button on their travel plans at least for now.


The only silver lining is that hospitality stakeholders are optimistic that ‘this too shall pass’ and by June, travel and hotel bookings are likely to witness an uptick in demand once again.

 
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