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Adaptation is the key, with costs and revenue perfectly balanced

Not one to be easily fazed by situations, Biswajit Chakraborty, General Manager Delegate (Cluster Head) Pullman and Novotel Aerocity makes a calm assessment of the unprecedented circumstances and gets down to adapting to the times with agility...

TT Bureau: It is widely said ''The Corona pandemic will change the way we do business''. What changes do you think this pandemic will bring to the Hospitality sector?

Biswajit Chakraborty: Absolutely, the pandemic has changed the world and the way we think. It will change business and hospitality too - which is the oldest industry in the world and began with Innkeeping.

Hospitality being high investment, brick and mortar business, where customer interaction is on-site, will have to adapt to a fine balance of safety norms, providing good service, wholesome food and the requisite accommodation as per brand and price point. Adaptation is the key, with costs and revenue perfectly balanced, getting used to smaller profit margins from reduced volumes and scoring high on customer confidence from safety and value for money perception.

Digitalisation will be the key for both operations and the revenue quest. In the Luxury and Midscale segments multi-tasking will dominate as staff numbers at all levels reduce to fit a flatter unit and corporate structure.

TT Bureau: What time frame do you give for the travel industry to revive

Biswajit Chakraborty: At least 2 years to get back to 2019 business levels - since the economic uncertainty has hit every hotel stakeholder be it customer, supplier, owner or employee. Recovery will be staggered.

TT Bureau: What kind of business strategies to regain market share will you be looking at?

Biswajit Chakraborty: Quality and sincerity in whatever we do, with a brand-new approach — it will not be a one shoe fits all. The rooms division and F&B would have to recalibrate its offerings and market it in a high-impact low-cost distribution mode. Flexibility and safety will be a part of every approach in marketing.

TT Bureau: Does the post-Corona era see a major shift in new technology in customer interface? What new standards will be adopted to ensure COVID-free offerings for guest safety

Biswajit Chakraborty: Yes as mentioned earlier, the smartphone as of now will dominate since it will help maintain distance and is adaptable to booking rooms, choosing the menu, reviews etc. Technology is being upgraded with artificial intelligence which will sync with hotel software and the human being handling the property level.

TT Bureau: How do you keep up the employee morale during these tough times?

Biswajit Chakraborty: By being sincere, caring, communicating regularly, being factual, empathising and most important being genuine. Also by standing up for them, being transparent and not being over-promising. Giving them the utmost respect, understanding their pain and being humble with them is key.

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