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Sameer Sud GM, The Leela Mumbai

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The dynamics of the hospitality industry in 2020
The year 2019 was tough for business, as far as occupancies are concerned. Around September is when the momentum got back, however from the average rate point of view, we have seen marginal increase of three per cent compared to last year. The Government of India announced the corporate tax relief in mid-August/September which helped the industry to post some gains in occupancies. In my opinion, the demand will continue in 2020, however the average rates will more or less be flat. The demand for hotel rooms and banquet spaces from the corporate segment looks promising. Socials and weddings will see an upswing as the revised GST levels (18 per cent from 28 per cent) will give them a reason to relook at the home city to host these big ticket activities. All and all, I feel it will be an exciting year for hotel occupancies.

Your insights on the ARRs in the city
Mumbai has been one market where we do not get a great push as far as ARRs are concerned. Though the city has added additional inventories in last three years, every hotel has managed to keep their occupancy levels intact with a marginal increase of two to three per cent. Every pocket in the city has it’s own average rate story – I feel hotels in our radius will push the average rates up to five to seven per cent in the coming year.

Your management mantra
To create a work environment where everyone has the necessary tools and are encouraged to “service from the heart” – something that we are known for. I constantly work towards creating a sense of belongingness among co-workers. I always tell my team that you need to treat your colleagues or guests the way you like to be treated. It is hence important to put yourself in their shoes and act/ react accordingly. I also believe that being in the service industry it is imperative for one to – Be intuitive – identify the needs of the guests and proactively offer them the suitable solutions in an attempt to enhance their guest experience; Focus on Innovation – I firmly believe that it is imperative for us to move away from the one-size-fits-all approach and offer quality experiences to our patrons on a consistent basis. It is also essential for us to keep up with the evolving tastes and preferences of the consumers. As more people travel and explore new places, it is extremely essential to keep one’s finger on the pulse of the market; Listen – The best way to learn and improve is by understanding the feedback of guests/ co- workers and offerings suitable solutions.

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