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BW Businessworld

‘Smart Hotels Need Smart People’

The training of the staff is most important. We may have the latest technology but if staff isn’t trained enough than it’s a waste, says David Hopcroft, general manager at Le Meridien Gurgaon

Photo Credit : Tarun Gupta

Smart hotel starts from building the basic infrastructure such as; location, accessibility and expansion plans for the future. It’s not only about huge cost investment but, more of a planning that needs to be executed precisely before getting on with the executions, said Sonica Malhotra Kandhuri.

The joint managing director of MBD, Kandhuri, said that smaller initiatives in the beginning could make lots of differences and has major impact on the cost management and overall operations of any smart hotel.

She along with major hotel operators of the country at the BW Hotelier event on Smart Hotels on Wednesday (September 21), agreed that, ‘before being a smart hotel, we need smart people (hotel staff).’ They are the one who actually needs the training before installing any new feature to the hotel. They must be well-versed as they need to cater to the tech. savvy customers.

On cost cutting and efficiency, the general manager delegate of Pullman and Novotel, New Delhi, Tristan Beau de Lomenie, said, “Being in the aerocity we need to be a zero discharge hotel and we are one. We have invested heavily on recycling, solar rooftop and latest technology in lighting because energy eats upto 13 to 18 per cent of the hotel’s revenue.”

David Hopcroft, general manager at Le Meridien Gurgaon said that the training of the staff is most important. We may have the latest technology but if staff isn’t trained enough than it’s a waste.

“The newer technology has been able to make a cut as managing bigger hotels have become much easier now and the trend of smart and green hotels are catching up,” said Rajat Sethi, general manager of Radisson Blu MBD, Noida.

Arindam Chakraborty, general manager of Radisson MBD, Ludhiana, said that hotels need to keep upgrading their technology with the time.

On guest room management, Mehfooz Siddiqui, regional director-design and technical services at Starwood Hotels and Resorts, said that guests have started looking for more. Engineers and designers are pressurised to think more in terms of design and aesthetics. Technology has become an enabler for us and the customers as well. Now, we can ensure more satisfaction.

“Technology is greatly required in guest room management; customer wants everything to be digital and effective. And technology keeps changing so we need timely upgradation. Backward integration has also become relevant,” said Srirangarajan Kadaba, director, solution business at Schneider Electric.

Rothin Banerjee, director of engineering at Taj Palace, said that every electronic fixation needs to be redone in six to seven years.

On the usage of engineered wooden flooring, Anil Tyagi, business head- Mikasa floors of Greenlam Industries said wooden flooring is getting much recognition because of its durability and timeliness.

“Hard wood still poses lots of challenges such as scratches, termite and borers. It also adapts according to the changing weather and thus prone to moisture related issues,” said Sunil Relia, president, awesome and vice-president (technical) at JLL.

Rahul Prabhakar, chief engineer at ITC Maurya, said that we are trying wooden flooring at few of our locations and if it works, we would take it forward.

"Power trading has dual benefits,--monetary and power reliability. We are in a business where we sell luxury experiences and memories, which add to our
topline. To sustain our business, we need to look at our bottomline and the only solution is switching to an energy efficient future,"said John Samuel, Chief Engineer, ITC Grand Bharat on switching over to a more efficient future.

Nitin Sabikhi, senior manager, business development of IEX, said that the concept of power trading is still new and is facing initial resistance. Hotels still have the apprehensions.

Harish Chandra, general manager (IT) of Sarovar group also mentioned that this concept of power trading is very new and we were not aware of it.

Debating on the housekeeping, Sareena Kochar, vice-president (Housekeeping) at Lemon Tree Hotels, said, “We have designed social lobby for the millennial customers and where they can relax and chat with a touch of humour to it. We are also getting away with bath tubs and bulky furniture.”

Vaneeta Arora, director (Housekeeping) at The Park, New Delhi, said that we are also going to renovate our lobby next year. With technology customers have changed and they want everything on their phones. We are using our bath tubs to grow organic vegetables for the hotel kitchen.