Zubin Songadwala, GM, ITC Gardenia, Bangalore
An alumnus of the famed Institute of Hotel Management, Dadar, Songadwala enrolled into the prestigious Welcomgroup Management Institute, which was the destination for his initial years of grooming and education in the industry. Songadwala’s journey with ITC Hotels began with ITC Windsor, Bangalore and since then he has held senior management positions at several ITC Hotels in Agra, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, setting definite and impeccable examples for his successors.
He was an integral part of the pre-opening team of ITC Maratha, Mumbai and instrumental in setting up the food and beverage operations of this hotel that has been the talk of the industry. Songadwala’s contemporary & modern management style combined with deft operational skills came to be much appreciated.
Are you looking at moving to other cities?
Who is your target audience and why?
Mostly business travelers as Bangalore is an important hub for tech companies and other industries. Another emerging segment is MICE, which seems to have shown encouraging traction over the years. Currently we have the largest banquets space in the five star luxury segment which makes us the preferred choice for many high profile events and conferences. We certainly focus on that and use it as a revenue generating opportunity.
What is the USP of the hotel?
Central location, beautiful architecture and the luxury of space.
How concerned are you with ‘green’?
We also have the distinction of being the pioneers in introducing ‘green’ hotels to the country without compromising on luxury. We take our motto of ‘Responsible Luxury’ seriously and do our best to ensure sustainable practices in every aspect of the hotel. Some of the key highlights being that all the wood used in the hotel is sourced from cultivated plantations and no wood is being sourced from natural forests. There is also a big focus on rainwater harvesting and water efficient systems. The hotel’s naturally air-cooled lobby itself reflects our ‘green ethos’, through the vertical gardens and no use of air-conditioning. We bring nature into our spaces, nurture it and create the perfect blend of luxury and sustainability.
How does the hotel appeal to the business traveller? Please enumerate the features and the facilities that cater to the business traveler.
We are located in the heart of the central business district and understand the needs of our business travelers. ITC Gardenia offers indoor and outdoor spaces that provide the ideal setting to work or relax and unwind in luxury.
What is the strategy to stay ahead of the competition?
Personal relationships supported by efficient delivery of services. We must constantly aim to meet and surpass the expectations of our guests.
What’s the hotel’s philosophy or business mantra?
Our mantra is not just to sell a room but an entire experience that includes the world’s best and India’s finest Cuisine and world -facilities blended with Indian hospitality.
What are the hotel’s tech-friendly features?
Technology is in each and every aspect of the hotel. Every room is equipped with a touch screen panel which controls lighting, air-conditioning, curtains and also doubles up as your phone. The hotel’s investment in technology coupled with environment friendly practices, eco embedded service designs and eco-sensitive associates make ITC Gardenia one of the most energy efficient hotels in the country.
Any unusual requests you have come across as an hotelier?
As a hotelier, no request from a guest can be considered too ‘unusual’ or ‘different. If it has been asked for it means there is a need for it and my ideal response would be to accept it and try to fulfill it as long as it is within the parameters of morality and legality.