Mohammad Shoeb, Associate Vice President, Pride Plaza Hotel Aerocity, New Delhi speaks to Today's Traveller in an exclusive on how new revenue streams have been adopted and the transformational process that is underway to remain proactive and ahead of the times
TT Bureau: How can Hotels create new revenue streams to recover faster? Can you give some examples
Mohammad Shoeb: When everything shut down on account of the pandemic, from the first week of the lockdown itself, we started rolling out the outdoor and digital services by making the best use of the available resources.
To generate revenues, these services have been promoted and sold by sales and tele-calling teams of the hotel. Some of the services offered include: Premises sanitation, Food delivery, Housekeeping solutions, Laundry at the doorstep, Maintenance services, Virtual fitness, Virtual cooking, Virtual training, Work from Pride (Co-working), Self-Isolation package and 'Pay now, stay' later coupons.
TT Bureau: What kind of transformation and reskilling will take place for players in order to survive? Do you see a major shift in new technology in customer interface?
Mohammad Shoeb: As far as survival is concerned, there are certain critical touchpoints which are the key focus for us during this period of crisis.
Staff training as per the latest SOP is compulsory. The new SOPs are totally evolved according to the COVID 19 situation and the entire team has been trained as per the new guidelines and regulations to handle the guests during and post lockdown situation.
Multi-skilling will be the order of the day. To handle this situation, we have trained our team to do multiple jobs to cope up with the current situation.
Health and Life Safety is on the top priority as the pandemic has taught us how to remain healthy and keep the surrounding clean and hygienic to prevent ourselves from this viral infection. Every associate has been well trained and are in protective gears while on duty.
With regards to the adaptation of new technology, we have implemented digitalisation and paperless transactions with the customers, right from check-in to check-out, ordering food to paying the bills, everything is through QR code scanning or online to avoid any sort of contamination and possibility of infection.
TT Bureau: With the planning of banquets, social distancing norms would be quite challenging. How do you plan to cope with it?
Mohammad Shoeb: With the new norms, maintaining social distancing during a social event is challenging but we are fully prepared while taking all the precautions.
Protocols include Temperature check of all guests and luggage sanitation; not entertaining more than 50 guests; Wearing of mask (including bride & groom); Proper markings and signage reminding social distancing and precautions; Seating with 6 ft distance; restricted dancing together or in groups. Only live bands and background music; Serving staff with protective gear; Silver Service / Flying Buffet – From starters, beverages to food, everything will be served on the table; Proper sanitation of the premises before and after the event.
TT Bureau: With hotels reopening in the country, what kind of revenues are projected for the coming months?
Mohammad Shoeb: In coming months, the revenues will depend purely upon the location of the hotel. The leisure and MICE hotels will take more time to recover as compared to corporate and business hotels.
As soon as everything opens up, business hotels will start getting bookings as people will prefer to travel for work instead of leisure, initially.
In my personal opinion, looking at the current scenario, the occupancy will not go beyond 40 per cent in coming months and business should gradually pick up from August onwards. However, the hotels in gateway cities with quarantining facility are expected to do better business.
TT Bureau: How do you keep up the employee morale during these tough times?
Mohammad Shoeb: To keep our associates motivated and maintain high morale, we have many planned digital activities.
Following the standards, the Town Hall happens at the end of every month digitally over a hangout call. Monthly revenues and targets are shared. Achiever of every department is awarded and it ends with a fun activity. We also share pictures of achievers on social media pages.
We also ensure motivational training of every department, once in a month. To keep the cheer Virtual DJ/live music party for employees are held on the last Saturday of every month and once in two weeks, a fun activity like online 'antakshari', poetry competition, stand-up comedy, talent hunt and many such activities are conducted by the HR team and winners are awarded.
We made a special effort to reward and recognise associates who stayed at the hotel during the lockdown. To keep the team future-ready, cross-training to sharpen their skills and expand learning is encouraged.