The Hotel Conclave, ET HospitalityWorld

The Hotel Conclave, ET HospitalityWorld

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Vikramjit Singh, (extreme left) founder and CMD, Alivaa Hotels moderating a panel of hotel operators in India comprising of (second left to right) Arun Kumar, market vice president – north India, Nepal, Bhutan, Marriott International; Samir MC, managing director, Fortune Park Hotels; Sudeep Jain, managing director, South West Asia, IHG; and Jatin Khanna, CEO, Sarovar Hotels.

The maiden Hotel Conclave organised by ETHospitalityWorld at Crowne Plaza Gurugram with an overarching theme of sustainability has evoked overwhelming interest and response from the hotel industry. The day-long conclave discussed the sustainability challenges before the industry minutely starting from architecture, design, development, engineering to IT and talent management. Participating in the discussion on ‘Sustaining business growth in India’, representatives of leading hotel brands in the country opined that although the demand-supply gap is expected to improve as a lot of hotel projects signed by brands in the last couple of years and under development currently are expected to open in the coming 18 to 24 months, the business prospects will remain robust with all segments of travel coming full-steam.

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The Indian hospitality sector is expected to reap the demographic dividend for a very long time, opined Sudeep Jain, MD – south west Asia, IHG. Travel is no more a discretionary item for the Indian middle class. “The growth cycle is here to stay; the pace of growth may go up and down,” he said.

Talking about maintaining the revenue growth momentum, Jatin Khanna, CEO, Sarovar Hotels & Resorts said that it will depend on how hotels react to the pressures of new supplies in the coming years.

Coming to the issues of environment sustainability, the panellists noted that most of the big brands have already made ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) investments part of their brand standards and try to bring owners and developers also on the same page as far as overall sustainability is concerned.

Jain said that while it was difficult to convince owners and developers to invest in ESG related stuff as capex was prohibitive and return on investment was slow and uncertain in the industry, the situation has changed over the years as the capex has come down drastically and there is much more certainty as far as returns are concerned. “There is less resistance as far as ESG is concerned in general,” he informed.

Representing Marriott Hotels, Arun Kumar, market vice president – north India, Nepal & Bhutan, said that while the hotel company has come a long way in ESG compliances over the last one decade, it is time to take it to “the next level” by engaging and involving guests and other stakeholders as well into the overall bandwagon of sustainability and ESG compliance. While it was easy so far to embed brand standards with regards to ESG as the hotel development has been happening in big cities of the country, Kumar said that the challenge now would be how brands are able to take it to projects happening in smaller cities and towns in the country.

Enumerating the initiatives on ESG front at Fortune Park Hotels, an asset light division of ITC Hotels, Samir MC, MD of the company said that they have committed to convert up to 80 percent of energy requirements to renewable energy sources by 2027. On the social sustainability front, he said that the company has mandated all units to work for women upskilling locally with the support of local NGOs.

Jain said that the sustainability goals and targets cannot be met by hotels alone. The involvement of guests are also integral for the success of ESG goals. He suggested “green rewards” for guests to bring behavioural changes in the guests as hotels are still an aspirational product for the vast majority of domestic travellers.

When it comes to advanced technology integration to save energy, water, food wastage in hotels, Khanna said that while it is easy to incorporate such technology into a greenfield project, retrofitting in existing hotels will be a challenge as it involves heavy capex.

Around 200 delegates attended the day-long conference.

  • Published On Jun 12, 2024 at 05:00 PM IST

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