Bengaluru as a hospitality market
With more inventory coming into the city, the demand is also rising. Earlier some 10 or 12 years ago, Whitefield was a very calm quieter place, with hardly any hotels here. But, now its a different world altogether. Central Bengaluru is different now and so is Yeshwantpur which is another pocket. Hotels are opening in different micro-markets and hence the market is growing. We are fairly a new hotel but our pricing and our occupancy levels are in line with our competition hotels or our neighbouring hotels. You cannot compare hotels which are in and around MG Road to hotels in Whitefield or towards Electronic City.
Standalone restaurants are also picking up. F&B is also catching up in terms of the quirky and the newer design, offerings, beverage experiences and holistic experiences. Gone are the days when you want a white club service or a good Indian meal. It is more experiential now.
I believe that hotel F&B has to compete sometimes with good standalone restaurants and bars as thee are many in the city. Hotels can no longer stick to their conventional cookie-cutter operations style. Today we have to give what the customer wants. So overall business in the city has grown, the numbers are very strong.
USP of Conrad Bengaluru
This is the second Conrad in India. We are the luxury brand of Hilton which has close to 5900 hotels worldwide. India is a growing market for our company. As we talk there are more Hilton hotels being planned within the micro-city of Bengaluru. We have the largest banqueting in this part of the city. We have one ballroom which is close to 7500 sq ft. Very large pre-function area, separate entrance for the ballroom with dedicated porch, dedicated elevator for our banquet floor and it is right in front of the Ulsoor Lake. All the rooms look out towards the lake because of the concave shape of the hotel.
The poolside is like an oasis. Our pool is the only temperature controlled hotel pool in the city. We are very focused on energy conservation. We are a new hotel so we have heat pumps, we do not use diesel to run the boilers.
We get lot of corporate groups because of the location. Mikasu our Japanese restaurant is very popular. Lunches are very busy with many companies in and around the hotel. Dinners are for inhouse guests and walk ins as well. We do the maximum revenue in banqueting. We do large MICE events too like at the recent NASSCOM event, we had 800 people attending and some 90 CEOs and MDs who stayed with us. It was a two and a half-day event.
As of attrition, there are more opportunities and the challenge is to keep the millennials engaged. We have to think the way they think. And what are their wants and desires. Attrition overall in Bengaluru is higher – around 40 to 50 per cent in most of the hotels. But it is stabilising to a great extent. Also we are opening three more Hiltons here so the opportunities are immense for associates working with us.
My Management Mantra
You have to flex your style when it comes to handling different sets of team members. Firstly, I like to be surrounded by awesome people, people who are better than me, people who know their job better than me because they will always ensure that they will put their best foot forward in what they do and they are going to make the hotel and the team look smarter.
Secondly, don’t accept mediocrity in life. I would rather do a very good job or not do it at all. And, that is what I expect from every team member. We do a great job, not an average job. And third, which is the toughest – always do the right thing. If you are doing everything right, then you have no stress. Whether it is with our owners or the management or even guests, we have a very transparent relationship, very open, very clear. We don’t accept anything unethical. This way you save the pride of the company, and the pride of all your team members.