How To Make Your Hotel Work For You

Angry restaurantFor a business traveller, a hotel is like second home. If you’re a regular to a hotel, you know the layout, the best table at the sushi restaurant and probably the name of the room attendant who will get you extra strong coffee when you want it.  But one person who knows your hotel better than you is the GM of the hotel. Hotels are his business and the job involves being on the road to promote the brand, attend business conferences and go to team-building exercises. He is a business traveller who knows all about hotels. EXEC asks these road warriors to share tips that’ll ensure that you make the most of your next hotel stay, be it your preferred brand or a new experience.

SHRIDHAR NAIR
General Manager, The Leela Goa
Nair began his career with The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts as a Management Trainee in 1997 and worked in various management capacities across the group’s Mumbai, Bangalore, Kovalam and Goa properties.

Tip For The Traveller
Ø    Speed is of the essence – be it of wifi in the room or the service you are looking for from any section of the hotel and hence, it always helps to highlight the word “urgent” to the concerned staff member.
Ø    Ask for the right person to assist you with the service you are looking for and do not hesitate to escalate the matter to the next level. For example if you want the gym to be open 15 minutes earlier than the stipulated time, please ask for the fitness centre manager who should be able to organize this exception for you.
Ø    Give constructive feedback & custom requests/preferences to the section-in-charge concerned (specially, if it is a hotel you patronize often). Chances are that they will record this in your profile history and you may not need to ask for the service again on your next visit.
Ø    Check with the hotel if they run a membership program and if so, what are the benefits. There could be a lot of value-adds you may benefit from once you enroll into the program.
Ø    Lastly, ask for the GM if you are not happy with the service – it is most likely that the GM is the kind of person who truly values feedback and is genuinely interested in providing you a memorable experience at his hotel.

TAJ Hotels BANGALORE (BOX)
Sanjay Sood
GM, TheTaj West End
Sanjay Sood, General Manager The Taj West End has been associated with the Taj Group of hotels for the past 26 years and has held key portfolios across various functions in operations across hotels in the country.

Tips For The Traveller

A traveller should give feedback. This way the hotel can collect information about his preferences and update it, which will ensure that his needs are met when he comes back for his next visit. Hotels should have one point of contact to get anything done from meals to travel.

Albert Rebello
GM, The Gateway Hotel Residency Road
Rebello has been associated with the Taj Group of hotels for the past 27 years and has held key portfolios across various functions and hotels in the country and abroad.

Tips For The Traveller
·    When the traveller receives a confirmation letter, there is also a slot on what can the hotel do better to make their stay comfortable.  A traveller should inform the hotel on their specific preferences like – Type of room, the kind of pillows they use, the kind of cuisine they want, the furniture placement to facilitate their work requirements
·    Look for an interactive meal experience where you can interact with a chef and have the chef cook up something as per your specification. You can create a dish along with the chef in the interactive kitchen. This way you enjoy the cooking experience and also get to eat what you cook.

Vinod Valson
General Manager, Vivanta by Taj – M. G Road

An alumni from the Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology Dadar, Mumbai, Mr. Valson has worked with chains of repute in the hospitality industry namely ITC Hotels, Holiday Inn, The Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto, Canada and Currently with The Taj group of hotels.

Tips to the business traveller:

·    When you get to a hotel after a long journey makes sure you work out within an hour of arriving.  It gets you in a much better frame of mind, whether you are just going to sleep or have to carry on for the rest of the day.
·    Especially when you go abroad, use the concierge. The concierge team can help you understand a town’s nuts and bolts and send you on a quick walking tour with a map.
·    Get to meet the chef to cook up a meal of your choice if you want something of your comfort that is not captured as your preference if you are a regular guest with the hotel.

Kuldeep Dhawan,
GM, Sheraton Park Chennai
Born and brought up in Delhi, Kuldeep Dhawan pursued a Post-Graduation Diploma in Food Production Management and Culinary Skills from IHM Mumbai. He kick-started his career at Taj Palace, Delhi. After a fruitful tenure with the Taj, he joined ITC in 1989.

Tips For The Traveller
At our hotel we believe in proffering every convenience with simplicity and expediency to the business traveller. Guests can make use of this service with a one-touch button called “Welcom Assistance,” which has been set up to cater to every need of the traveller.

Manish Dayaa
GM, Regenta One, Hyderabad
Dayya is a veteran in the hotel industry with over fifteen years of industry exposure. He has worked with the Taj Group of Hotels, Marriott Hotels, The Ramada, Goa, The Lemon Tree Hotels and The Raintree Hotels, Chennai.

Tips For The Traveller
Every hotel has an experience that awaits every traveller who chooses a hotel for his or her stay. A traveller should use this time for reading, listening to music or just relaxing. A traveller should also take this opportunity to explore new cuisines that otherwise they might not get to do because of family or kids.
Also chose a hotel close to workplace, to avoid traffic.

Scott Thomson
GM, Hilton New Delhi-Noida-Mayur Vihar & DoubleTree by Hilton New Delhi-Noida-Mayur Vihar
Thomson brings with him extensive experience with a career that spans more than two decades in the hospitality industry and includes positions in New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong and India.

Tips For The Traveller
A smart business traveller who values time should look for services that deliver him well equipped technology, comfortable rooms and healthy food. There are plenty of options to choose from today, however, business essentials met with basic luxury works best for any business traveller.

Arindam Kunar
GM, Crowne Plaza Today Gurgaon
An alumnus of the Institute of Hotel Management, PUSA, New Delhi, Arindam began his career in 1991 with Choice Hotels as a Management Trainee.

Tips For The Traveller
Ø    Check your insurance, particularly if you are combining a work trip with leisure, visiting an unusual destination or trying adventurous activities.
Ø    Make two photocopies of your passport –Leave one at home and one to keep with you when travelling.
Ø    You should report a lost or stolen passport to the police.
Ø    Familiarize yourself with local conditions and laws. Ensure you have your travel medicine pack as names of medicines vary from country to country.

Sunjae Sharma
General Manager, Hyatt Regency Chennai
Sunjae Sharma is an industry veteran with over two decades of experience in the hotel industry. He has worked with Hyatt for the past 8 years. Prior to joining the Hyatt family, Sharma had successful stints with the Taj Group and The Leela in Mumbai.

Tips For The Traveller
From a hotel’s perspective, it would be ideal if the business travellers who are driven, discerning and highly time bound, would share with the hotel their business requirements and special preferences viz. meeting space requirement, secretarial services, food preferences, transportation requests etc. This shall ensure that they feel at home and comfortable just the way they would while operating in their own offices.
Keeping handy identification documents as per local laws facilitates a prompt check-in and this ensures that the hotel takes care of all the guest’s needs, so the business traveller can focus on business at hand.

Amit Samson,
GM, The Lalit Ashok. Bangalore
In a career spanning 17 years within the hospitality industry, Samson has held several management positions in organizations of repute. An alumnus of IHM, Mumbai, Samson has worked with the Carlson Chain and The Lalit Grand Palace, Srinagar, to name a few.
Tips For The Traveller
Ø    Most of the business travellers spend much of their time in the hotel. They can utilise the hotel premises as a platform for networking. Interacting with other guests would help in building strong network connect which in turn can help their business or personally.
Ø    One should patronize one brand. This will help in availing loyalty benefits of the hotel that can be redeemed at a later stage.
Ø    Owing to their hurried lifestyle, it is recommended for business travellers to check out and experience services such as health club, spa etc to keep themselves relaxed.
Ø    A pillow can put you to sleep or ruin your sleep. Most of them are not aware of the pillow menu that every hotel has. A man ‘s 1/4th of life is spent sleeping. Therefore, it is important to enquire on such complementary services.

Ranjan Malakar
GM, Crowne Plaza Bangalore
Ranjan Malakar began his career in hospitality in 1998, and has over 14 years of experience in Hotel Operations & Revenue Management at the hotel, cluster and corporate levels.

Tips For The Traveller

·    Be loyal to one or two hotel chains with a large global network and try to stay with them wherever possible in order to achieve elite status in their loyalty programme. This gives the traveller significant perks, preferential treatment, access to last minute room inventory and bonus points that can be used for free nights, upgrades or cool merchandise.
·    When making the reservation for the hotel stay, list all your preferences as this gives the hotel ample time to plan and deliver on the same. Look for tips for the best rooms & views from Tripadvisor or similar review sites and include them in your request
·    Ask for Club room packages upon check in as sometimes hotels have great deals including internet access, club lounge access, laundry and meeting room usage for a nominal charge which can be much lower than the individual charges for these services.
Pranav Patel
GM – Alila Bangalore
With over a decade in the industry, Patel’s career has been truly global, with experience across three continents at leading hotel groups including Taj, Leela and Four Seasons.

Tips For The Traveller

Ø    I truly believe that business travellers need as much facilitation as an FIT on leisure and hence its imperative that choices made are based on facilities offered in terms of customisation options made available during the booking process. At the Alila Bangalore a highly personalised preference menu is created for each guest at both reservations and rooming stages.
Ø    Engagement with the hotel team at check-in would also yield similar results and hence our complete in-room check-in program and orientation leads to effective check-ins as well as caters to specific needs of our guests.

Philip Gough
GM, Alankrita Resorts and SPA, Hyderabad
Gough started his career as a chef and worked in many star hotels in Delhi, Chennai and as Chef d’ Parte in Salala (Oman) Malaysia in an Indian Restaurant.

Tips For The Traveller
It is important for a business traveller to choose the best hotel with all the facilities he needs. A business traveller should find out if the  hotel has following facilities to make his stay more productive.

–    Internet access, preferably free wireless broadband access.
–    Free long distance calling over the Internet
–    Quick turnarounds for dry cleaning, ironing, shoe shine, etc.
–    A salon with the ability to provide last minute services for business travellers
–    Gym services that have accessible treadmills, weights, and aerobic classes
–    Restaurants that have business traveller tables where business travellers can meet each other when they are dining alone
–    All standard travel agency services such as ticket sales, hotel
–    Reservations, rental car reservation, and so on
–    Business meeting arrangements
–    Legal services
–    Where to shop, where to find a pharmacy, where to find medical care, etc.

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