As industry experts believe that the prospects of the mid-scale and economy segment in India remain strong including the fact that recovery of the hospitality business is deemed to begin with this segment, Deepika Rao, MD & CEO, Ginger Hotels, in interaction with Akshay Nayak, underscores that this strong potential also flows into their growth strategy supported by the lower investment per key required by this segment
What would be the changing consumer sentiments moving forward regarding select services hotels segment post the pandemic?
Consumers will be looking at a comprehensive service design protocol at all legs of their journeys (pre-stay, stay, post-stay), which offers contactless service and lays emphasis on greater levels of hygiene and sanitisation. Ginger, having supported 10,000 plus rooms during the pandemic, has acquired first-hand experience in meeting the hygiene and sanitisation protocols and is geared up to fulfil future expectations as well.
What are the strategies at Ginger Hotels that are you considering to optimise costs moving forward?
Every crisis also brings with it several new opportunities to re-imagine our businesses. We are working on enhancing the variable components in our cost structure, in addition to engaging with all our partners in cost optimisation. We are identifying our top talent and grooming them to become adept at multiple functions such as housekeeping, front office and food & beverage so that in medium to long term, we can reassess our room to manpower ratios.
Which markets are you bullish about post the lockdown for Ginger? What safety measures have you devised to ensure the safety of consumers and employees?
We believe that markets that have been earmarked as industrial zones and have a presence of sectors such as Pharma, FMCG, Infrastructure & Projects and IT & ITES will be the first to show traction.
Some of our hotels are providing accommodation for the medical fraternity and are being used as quarantine centres as well. We follow a very detailed service protocol that is designed as per the guidelines of WHO and the Ministry of Health, which also includes equipping our team with PPEs and other safety equipment.
What dynamic approach are you taking in terms of investments in projects in the pipeline and other prospective ones? What is the future roadmap for Ginger Hotels?
Currently we have 50 operational and 20 hotels under development. We expect those under development to come online over the next 24-30 months. These hotels are in vibrant markets such as Amritsar, Udaipur, Chennai and Nagpur amongst others.
The prospects of the mid-scale and economy segment in India remain strong including the fact that recovery of the hospitality business is anticipated to begin with this segment. This strong potential also flows into our growth strategy supported by the lower investment per key required by this segment. Ginger, in its new lean luxe avatar, continues to receive strong interest from the investor community.
Ginger has been focusing on growing primarily through fully-fitted leases and management contracts. Going forward, this approach remains largely unchanged as the greenfield projects will take 2-3 years to come online, by which time the impact of Covid-19 is expected to have subsided.
On the product side, we are making necessary refinements to incorporate the new expectations of contact-free service delivery, social distancing requirements, enhanced requirement for room service, etc.