Bengaluru as a hospitality market
I will talk about the scene of hospitality in Bengaluru in two ways. One is about the whole of the hospitality market in the city and the way I see it, and then I will touch on the services by our company because we are the single-largest to have such high concentration of inventory in Bengaluru.
Bengaluru market is not like one market, like in most cities if you see it, but it is broken up into micro markets like Whitefield area, CBD area, among others. Also, starting early this year, America-based global hotel data providing company – STR also started providing data as pre micro markets which were not there earlier. The growth in hospitality in Bengaluru is seen across the spectrum, it is not just the 5-star hotels that are dominating the market, but other upscale and budget hotels as well are doing good in the market. Also, serviced apartments are seen here because of the long-stay traveller segment. We are lucky enough to have people staying with us for years in our hotel. I guess the security concerns which is prevalent for the guests has kept them loyal to us. There are other standalone serviced apartments and hotels as well, but they do not have standardised services and considering the expats and long-stay people, we provide them with the safety in terms of accommodation and food.
Considering the micro market, we are catering to, Marriott International is having multiple properties opening in the region. Also, the fact that high-end residences are coming in catchment areas like next to the World Trade Centre, etc. Furthermore, considering the traffic in Bengaluru and the hassle of transportation here, people choose to accommodate in the place closest to their work. We are the market leaders in the compset. ADRs will grow in this market, but some amount of pressure is bound to be there with a new hotel opening in the city. So some turbulence is expected here looking at the new supply coming in here.
USP of Sheraton Grand Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway
Brigade Gateway is probably India’s one of the largest integrated complexes. Apart from the World Trade Centre, we have the Columbia Asia Hospital, the Orion Mall, and then we have the Brigade International School and of course, we have the hotel. So people visit our hotel because we have got easy access to all these facilities in the vicinity. Apart from the room inventory, we have got about 25000 sq ft of large banqueting space, right from ballroom to small meeting rooms and a wide spread of eight food outlets serving an array of cuisines from across the world, along with a full-fledged spa. We also recently converted an otherwise dead-space in the hotel to an Art Cafe, which showcases art to gaze at while having a cup of coffee, or probably enjoy the expansive view of Orion Lake. We also operate the High Ultra Lounge, which is at the rooftop of the World Trade Centre and is located at an altitude of 421 feet. Nobody has got anything close to it in south India in terms of being an F&B destination with a view. It’s broken up into four zones and we are working on the fifth zone as well so it is very comprehensive in what we have to offer in this facility.
Weddings is a big segment for us. Approximately we do about 30-35 weddings in a year which is good, but we always have room for more. We are one of the few hotels which offer full-fledged Shaadi rooms wherein we meet and discuss all that is needed for a wedding, which is a one-stop destination for those who are planning weddings.
Almost 55-60 per cent of our business in F&B comes from non-residents. That is the stature that we have in the local market in terms of F&B. In fact, we have got an array of multi-cuisine restaurants, with specialty cuisines and also three bars of which two are open air. Bengaluru has a really pleasant climate round the year for which the open air bar is really beneficial and we also capitalise on that.
In terms of attrition, 30-32 per cent is the average attrition level seen by the hospitality market in India on an average, while we closed at 16.5 per cent which is sort of commendable. A lot of industries for treat hotels and hospitals as poaching grounds. People who are in the hospitality industry initially have to grind, but with the time passing, they get to enjoy the fruits of the labour. For us, the preference is almost to encourage in hiring more of local talent as it saves our costs which otherwise comes for providing accommodation to a person coming from outside. It also helps to let the person know that they belong to the community. Greeting locals here are certainly very welcome to our hotel.
My Management Mantra
The mantra sort of depends on the situation. So depending on the situation, one has to take dynamic decisions. But, some of the few thumb rules that I follow include – ‘Be in the know before you are on the go’ which means know all the facts before you go out and make a decision. So if someone has got the talent, we can, of course, train them. And here, we are not hunting for experience, because if we keep looking for experienced personnel, how will the freshers get a start? Also, if you do what you have done, you will always get what you have got. So unless you change yourself and think differently, how can you get different results? is a question that I keep asking myself. So at each stage, the hunger to learn has to be there. We make mistakes, but learning never stops.