Exclusive Interview | Hospitality with Heart: A Senior General Manager's Commitment to Employee and Guest Well-being

Exclusive Interview | Hospitality with Heart: A Senior General Manager's Commitment to Employee and Guest Well-being

Admin

Published on October 1, 2023

In this exclusive interview, we had the opportunity to sit down with Rakesh Parameswaran, Senior General Manager of The Residency Towers, Chennai, where he provides valuable insights into his impressive career journey and his pivotal role at The Residency Towers.

Currently serving as the Senior General Manager of The Residency Towers, Chennai, since March 2020, Rakesh Parameswaran has demonstrated his leadership abilities over three years and seven months in this position. Prior to this, he served as the General Manager of The Residency, Chennai, for nearly three years, where he showcased his proficiency in hotel management. His extensive experience includes a notable stint as the General Manager of The Raviz Ashtamudi Resort & Spa at Raviz Hotels and Resorts. Rakesh has also contributed significantly to The Residency Hotels as the General Manager of Brands for three years and five months. His career includes roles at Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Limited, Le Meridien (Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc) Bangalore, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, and The Leela Palaces & Resorts. With a strong background in front office management and resort leadership, Rakesh Parameswaran is a seasoned professional in the hospitality industry.

What are your key responsibilities as the Senior General Manager of the hotel, and how do you prioritize them?

My top priority as Senior General Manager is to ensure that every guest has a memorable experience, whether they are checking in, using the restaurant, or attending a banquet. To achieve this, I focus on developing my team and building strong leaders. I also create a positive and fun work environment for my staff, so they can do their best. Additionally, I am responsible for strategizing the hotel's revenue and expense management, as well as overseeing its social media initiatives.

The hotel is divided into eleven departments, including front office, housekeeping, food and beverage services, food and beverage production, finance, and IT services. I oversee the operations of all of these departments to ensure the smooth running of the hotel.

What strategies do you employ to create a positive and inclusive work culture for your staff and to encourage professional growth within your team?

“Hospitality with Heart” is our brand principle, and Caring, Anticipating, Inspiring, and Evolving are our brand values. These values emphasize how we treat our associates within the company.

From the moment a new employee joins our team, we invest in their success. We provide five days of paid onboarding, as well as support for sports, academics, and financial needs. We also offer paternity and maternity leave, and bereavement support. Additionally, our buddy system pairs new employees with experienced mentors who help them adjust and learn.

Can you describe any recent successful initiatives or improvements you've implemented at The Residency Towers to enhance the guest experience?

We have recently opened our renovated rooftop restaurant called The Sky, a beautiful restaurant with an aqua terrace and a sea-side terrace. In the center is our premium bar, Dome.

We provide curated dining experiences, focusing on Oriental, Japanese, and Indian cuisine. Our delectable menu has been curated by our own chef. The ambience is great and the restaurant is a big hit among the crowd. We have also recently been awarded the Times Now Food Award for the restaurant. It is good to see that certain processes and research we did is working out well and our guests are liking it and appreciating it.

We also recently opened the club floor, which offers executive assistance for guests, similar to a butler operations program. We have boys and girls from hotel schools who joined us for this program. These assistants take care of the guests completely, right from check in to check out. This program has also received good reception from our guests.

Can you share any examples of unique guest experiences or memorable events hosted at The Residency Towers?

Events are an integral part of any hotel, but what makes them truly exciting are the families who want to surprise their loved ones. We are always happy to help our guests plan surprises, and we recently had the pleasure of hosting a 25th wedding anniversary celebration for a couple who were completely unaware of what was in store for them. The couple's children came to the hotel and planned everything in secret. They even went home as if nothing had happened, so their parents wouldn't suspect anything. We then picked the couple up from their residence and threw them a surprise party at the hotel. The little details of the evening were truly special, and it was clear that a lot of thought and care had gone into planning the celebration. We were honored to be a part of this special occasion, and we were thrilled to see how happy the couple was. On another occasion, we had the pleasure of hosting a completely vegan wedding for 300 people. This was a challenging task, but we were excited to rise to the occasion. We worked with the couple to create a custom menu that featured delicious and creative vegan dishes. We also served tea and coffee with almond milk, which was a big hit with the guests. We are always looking for new ways to challenge ourselves and to provide our guests with unique and memorable experiences. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with families and couples to create special events that they will cherish for years to come.

In a diverse and dynamic city like Chennai, how do you tailor the hotel's offerings and services to meet the needs of a broad range of guests?

When showcasing Chennai to guests, we first consider their expectations and then develop a menu, room designs, and experiences that will exceed them. For example, we serve coffee the way it is traditionally served in Chennai, by pouring the hot beverage between two glasses from great heights until the heat subsides. This seemingly small gesture infuses the Chennai culture into the guest experience, making it more authentic and memorable.

Are there any mentors or role models who have had a significant influence on your career or leadership style? If so, can you tell us about them?

The hotel industry provides the unique opportunity to meet leaders from all walks of life. I have been humbled by the opportunity to meet Mr. Abdul Kalam, whose demeanor and leadership have had a profound impact on me. Other industry leaders who have inspired me include Mr. Prabath Varma of the Taj Group of Hotels, Mr. Kush Kapoor of the Roseate Group of Hotels, Mr. Vijay Mohan of Club Mahindra, and Mr. Vijay Golrahalli. Each of these individuals has taught me valuable lessons about leadership and service excellence.

What do you find most rewarding about being the Senior General Manager of The Residency Towers?

As a Senior General Manager, I have the privilege of meeting people from all walks of life, each with their own unique requests and aspirations. Whether it's a corporate event, a wedding, a social function, or a romantic candlelit dinner, we are here to help our guests create memorable experiences. It is immensely satisfying to see the smiles on their faces when we deliver on our promises and exceed their expectations. Another rewarding aspect of my role is developing the next generation of leaders within my hotel. I find it both humbling and inspiring to mentor and coach my team members, helping them to reach their full potential.

This interview is exclusively published on Hospitalitynews.in. 


Surat's Hospitality Leader: Interview with the Area General Manager of Courtyard By Marriott Surat

Surat's Hospitality Leader: Interview with the Area General Manager of Courtyard By Marriott Surat

Admin

Published on June 3, 2024

In this exclusive interview, we sat down with Vikas Sharma, the Area General Manager who steers the helm of hospitality excellence at Courtyard by Marriott, Surat.

Vikas Sharma is an accomplished hospitality professional currently serving as the Area General Manager at Courtyard by Marriott in Surat. With over two decades of experience, Vikas excels in driving sales and enhancing profitability in competitive markets.

Vikas's career highlights include significant contributions to Gujarat JHM Hotels, part of Auro Hotels, and AURO University Facility Management. He has played a key role in major projects such as the Convention Centre, JW Marriott Surat, Golf Club, and Golf Course, collaborating with renowned entities like Smallwood Stewart, HBA-Hirsch Bedner Associates, and Troon.

Known for his strategic acumen and integrity, Vikas consistently surpasses budgetary targets while maintaining precise financial records. His self-motivation, resilience, and innovation have led to significant organizational success, including the opening of numerous full-service hotels across various cities over the past 25 years.

Currently based in Surat, Gujarat, Vikas continues to lead with excellence, driving his organization’s vision and setting new benchmarks in the hospitality industry.

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What strategies would you implement to enhance guest satisfaction and loyalty within the competitive hospitality market of Surat?

At Courtyard By Marriott Surat, our strategy for enhancing guest satisfaction and fostering loyalty in Surat's competitive hospitality market is focused on personalized experiences, exceptional service, and community engagement.

We prioritize personalized guest experiences by understanding individual preferences through robust profiling systems, ensuring every interaction is tailored to their needs.

Exceptional service is fundamental to our identity. We invest in training programs to empower our staff to exceed guest expectations, creating memorable moments at every touchpoint.

Seamless booking and check-in processes, along with diverse culinary options, further elevate the guest experience, while loyalty programs offer exclusive benefits and rewards.

Feedback mechanisms are in place to continuously improve, and we actively engage with the Surat community through partnerships and sustainable practices, reflecting our commitment to being more than just a hotel.

In essence, at Courtyard By Marriott Surat, we aim to create exceptional experiences that inspire loyalty, making us the preferred choice for travelers seeking unforgettable moments in Surat's hospitality landscape.

How do you prioritize and allocate resources effectively to ensure the smooth operation of various departments within the hotel?

At Courtyard By Marriott Surat, our approach to resource allocation revolves around understanding departmental needs, fostering collaboration, and maintaining flexibility. We start by listening to our team members and managers to gain insights into their requirements. From there, we work together to develop comprehensive plans that consider budget constraints, staffing levels, and upcoming projects. Communication is key, as we encourage open dialogue between departments to ensure resources are utilized effectively. Regular monitoring of performance allows us to adjust as needed, while investing in training and development ensures our team is equipped to maximize resources. Ultimately, our goal is to create a seamless operation that delivers exceptional experiences for both guests and staff, positioning Courtyard By Marriott Surat as a preferred choice in the competitive hospitality market.

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In what ways do you foster a culture of teamwork and collaboration among staff members to achieve operational excellence?

At Courtyard By Marriott Surat, nurturing a culture of teamwork and collaboration is foundational to our operational excellence. We prioritize open communication, encouraging dialogue and idea-sharing across all levels of the organization through regular meetings and feedback sessions. Our shared goals and vision unite staff towards a common purpose, fostering a sense of belonging and commitment. We actively promote cross-departmental collaboration, breaking down silos to leverage diverse expertise and perspectives. Recognizing and appreciating team efforts are integral; we celebrate achievements and individual contributions, fostering motivation and morale. Investing in training and development programs further strengthens teamwork, with initiatives focused on communication, conflict resolution, and leadership skills. Leadership sets the tone by exemplifying collaborative behaviours, inspiring staff to work together effectively. Through these efforts, we cultivate an environment where every team member feels valued and empowered, driving operational excellence and delivering exceptional experiences at Courtyard By Marriott Surat.

How do you stay updated with industry trends and incorporate innovative practices to drive revenue growth and profitability?

We prioritize staying ahead of industry trends and embracing innovative practices to drive revenue growth and profitability. To achieve this, we're deeply engaged with the pulse of the hospitality sector. We regularly connect with industry peers, attend conferences, and participate in forums to exchange insights and gather inspiration. Additionally, we keep a keen eye on technological advancements relevant to our field, leveraging tools and platforms that enhance guest experiences and streamline operations. Our team members are encouraged to contribute ideas and experiment with new approaches, fostering a culture of innovation and continuous improvement. By staying informed, collaborative, and adaptable, we ensure that Courtyard By Marriott Surat remains at the forefront of the hospitality industry, delivering exceptional experiences and driving sustainable growth.

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Describe your approach to developing and executing a comprehensive sale and marketing strategy to attract both corporate and leisure guests to the hotel.

Our sales and marketing strategy aims to attract both corporate and leisure guests through a comprehensive approach. For corporate guests, we emphasize our modern facilities and business-friendly amenities, leveraging partnerships and customized packages. Leisure guests are enticed by our luxurious accommodations, culinary offerings, and recreational facilities, promoted through targeted campaigns and partnerships. Collaboration between sales and marketing teams ensures alignment and effectiveness in messaging and execution. We prioritize guest satisfaction and loyalty, delivering personalized experiences to encourage repeat visits and positive referrals. Continuous monitoring of market trends and guest feedback informs our strategy adjustments, ensuring agility and responsiveness to evolving needs. Our goal is to create a compelling value proposition that resonates with both segments, driving occupancy rates, revenue growth, and maintaining Courtyard By Marriott Surat's reputation as a premier hospitality destination.

How do you effectively manage and mitigate operational risks, such as security concerns, health and safety regulations, and environmental sustainability, within the property?

At Courtyard By Marriott Surat, ensuring the safety, security, and sustainability of our operations is a top priority. We take a proactive and comprehensive approach to manage and mitigate operational risks effectively.

First and foremost, we prioritize the safety and security of our guests and staff. Our property is equipped with state-of-the-art security systems, including surveillance cameras and access control measures. Trained security personnel are on duty 24/7 to monitor and respond to any potential threats or incidents.

In terms of health and safety, we strictly adhere to all regulations and guidelines set forth by local authorities and Marriott International standards. This includes rigorous cleaning and sanitation protocols, staff training on safety procedures, and regular inspections to ensure compliance.

Environmental sustainability is also a key focus area for us. We have implemented various initiatives to minimize our environmental impact, such as energy-saving measures, waste reduction programs, and the use of eco-friendly products and materials. Our goal is to promote sustainability awareness among both guests and staff, encouraging everyone to contribute to our environmental efforts.

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What's your favorite aspect of working in the hospitality industry, and how does it motivate you in your role as the Area General Manager?

One of the most fulfilling aspects of working in the hospitality industry is the opportunity to interact with guests from diverse backgrounds and cultures. Every interaction presents a chance to learn something new and gain insights into different perspectives.

Engaging with guests allows me to hear their stories, learn about their travels, and understand their unique experiences. Whether it's a family on vacation, a business traveler attending a conference, or a couple celebrating a special occasion, each guest has their own story to share.

Meeting people from around the world is incredibly enriching. It's fascinating to hear about their home countries, traditions, and customs. These interactions not only broaden my understanding of different cultures but also foster a sense of connection and camaraderie.

This Interview is Published Exclusively on hospitalitynews.in.


The Intersection of Technology and Design in Modern Hospitality: Studio B Architects

The Intersection of Technology and Design in Modern Hospitality: Studio B Architects

Admin

Published on June 3, 2024

In this feature, Ar. Anil Badan, Founder and Principal Architect at Studio B Architects shares insights on technology in the hospitality sector, boosting efficiency and guest satisfaction in hotels.

Ar. Anil Badan, the visionary founder of Studio B, has made significant strides in the field of hospitality design, transforming his humble beginnings into a story of success and innovation. Originating from a small town in Jammu, Ar. Badan's journey into the world of architecture began with a strong affinity for design, which he pursued with unwavering dedication despite numerous challenges.

Ar. Anil Badan's career is punctuated by significant milestones that underscore his talent and dedication in architecture. He gained recognition with Cloud Nine, Kolkata's pioneering nightclub project, followed by the successful creation of Ramada Plaza in Varanasi. Winning the interior design project for Dynasty Restaurant in Gurugram showcased his competitive edge. His work impressed industry leaders in Mumbai, leading to a crucial opportunity in Dubai, marking a turning point in his international career. Throughout, he has remained committed to creating accessible, functional, and aesthetically pleasing spaces, reflecting his perseverance and creativity in the architectural realm.

Under Ar. Badan's leadership, Studio B has rapidly climbed the social ladder, taking on high-profile clients and making a significant impact in the hospitality sector. His creative and innovative mindset has been instrumental in the firm's success, and his projects reflect his dedication to excellence in design.

How do you approach balancing the integration of smart technologies with the overall aesthetic and ambience of a hotel or resort environment?

The key to including smart technologies with aesthetics lies in the idea of integrating them appropriately into the overall design. Firstly, the design should prioritise an unobstructed and clutter-free look. Smart lighting controls and entertainment systems should be included in the room’s design. Hidden design or built-in devices help to maintain a balanced look in the design, aligning with a minimalist look in design. Additionally, selecting technologies that complement the existing decor is essential. From programmed lighting solutions to smart music, each feature can enhance the ambience of the room. Collaborating with designers and tech experts can ensure a seamless integration and balanced style.

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In what ways do you see smart room automation systems evolving in the near future, and how can these advancements further improve guest satisfaction and operational efficiency?

Advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning will make their way into the design, efficiently adapting to the guest's preference. This will personalise the experience and minimise the manual effort. Further, IoT devices will add to the idea of smart rooms, allowing them to control more amenities in a single interface. From adjusting room temperature and lighting to ordering room service, it allows guests to enjoy the convenience and control over their environment. Moreover, enhanced connectivity and data analytics gather insights and offer solutions based on their preferences and behaviours.

With the increasing emphasis on sustainability in the hospitality industry, how do you incorporate eco-friendly practices into the design and implementation of smart technologies?

Smart technologies can enhance the idea of sustainability in the hospitality industry by elevating the impact of energy efficiency. Integrating energy-efficient fixtures and devices can be an inception to the same. Smart low-performance processors, LED lighting, and smart thermostats can reduce the overall footprint of the hotel. Moreover, renewable energy sources like solar panels and wind turbines integrated with IoT can save power and provide energy for seamless operations in the hotel. Using sustainable materials in construction can also align with environmental stewardship, reducing the carbon footprint of the hotel.

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Data privacy and security are paramount concerns when it comes to implementing smart technologies in hotels. How do you ensure that guest data remains protected while still delivering personalised experiences?

Securing data in hotels is a key aspect when it comes to integrating smart technology. Begin with robust encryption that prevents unauthorised access and ensures that information is sensitive and confidential. Implementing a segmented network further isolates the guests’ data from other systems. Using strong authentication mechanisms and access controls allows only authorised personnel to access sensitive data. Additionally, conducting regular security audits and continuous monitoring can detect and respond to suspicious activities promptly. Implementing intrusion detection systems (IDS) and intrusion prevention systems (IPS) can offer enhanced security.

Can you share your thoughts on the role of artificial intelligence and machine learning in shaping the future of hospitality design, particularly in terms of personalised guest services and operational optimisation?

Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are changing the guest experience in hotels. These technologies analyse data and behavioural patterns, offering solutions according to their needs. For instance, smartphone-equipped AI can adjust lighting temperature, and entertainment options based on individual preferences. Machine learning algorithms can also streamline the check-in process, anticipate maintenance needs, and improve inventory management, ensuring a seamless guest experience. Additionally, AR and VR technologies offer immersive experiences along with real-time data on locality and other required data.

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As the hospitality industry continues to evolve, what emerging trends do you foresee in the integration of smart technologies, and how can designers stay ahead of the curve to meet evolving guest expectations?

One of the rising trends is the inclusion of voice-control systems for a better experience. Assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google assistants are becoming central for a smart room design. Another trend is the aspect of sustainability and energy efficiency. Smart lighting systems and energy management systems enhance convenience and promote eco-friendly living. Integration of health and wellness technologies like air quality monitors and smart fitness equipment are making their way into hotel rooms, reflecting the idea of holistic wellness.

This Interview is Published Exclusively on hospitalitynews.in.


Crafting Memorable Experiences: Radisson Blu Palace Resort’s Customer-Centric Approach

Crafting Memorable Experiences: Radisson Blu Palace Resort’s Customer-Centric Approach

Admin

Published on June 3, 2024

In this exclusive interview, we sat down with Mr. Somesh Agarwal, Chairman and MD of Radisson Blu Palace Resort, Udaipur, to delve into the strategies and decisions that have significantly contributed to the success and growth of the resort. 

Somesh Agarwal, the Chairman and Managing Director of Rockwood Hotels & Resorts, is an entrepreneur with an indomitable spirit who continuously drives the world of hospitality forward. Growing up in Mumbai, Somesh pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Virginia Tech in the USA and furthered his education at the University of California, Berkeley.

Somesh Agarwal’s innovative vision has significantly transformed the global destination wedding sector. He is renowned for introducing the largest pillar-less banquet hall in Rajasthan, a groundbreaking achievement in the hospitality industry. His contributions to tourism and his pioneering initiatives have earned his hotels several prestigious accolades, including the 'Best Luxury Wedding Hotel' by India Travel Awards in 2017, 'Best Wedding Hotel' by India Hospitality Awards in 2017, and 'Best Venue for Indoor Weddings' by EWPC in 2018.

Apart from his professional endeavors, Somesh is also known for his passion for sports and travel, reflecting his dynamic and multifaceted personality.

As the Chairman and Managing Director of Radisson Blu Palace Resort, Udaipur, you've been instrumental in its success. Could you share some key strategies or decisions that you believe have contributed significantly to the growth and reputation of the property?

In 2007 when I initiated my entrepreneurial journey, I knew Udaipur was the right place for me. It was an emerging tourist destination back then, but I could foresee the city’s growth in the hospitality industry. I wanted to contribute to its development while pursuing my dreams: building a palatial, one-of-its-kind property with 240 rooms. This led to the establishment of Radisson Blu Palace Resort and Spa in the city of lakes. When I look back in time, it fills me with gratitude and pride to see I have achieved what I envisioned several years ago. Even though I chose an unconventional path of building a luxurious hotel, I am happy that I followed my instincts and made the right decision. Today, Udaipur is well-positioned on the global tourism map and holds a prominent place in the wedding tourism market.

The hospitality industry has always been a dynamic, competitive market. Hence, we were prepared for other players to test their waters in the market. We realized that there are only two ways to have an edge: innovation and differentiated offerings. With this vision in mind, our motto has always been to offer top-notch services to our guests and ensure they have a comfortable and memorable stay with us. Simultaneously, keeping a tab on the ongoing market trends and connecting with industry stalwarts has been a continuous process. This helps us gain better insights and understanding of the industry landscape and provides us with an opportunity to evolve accordingly to service our clients better.

We have even upgraded our rooms with world-class furniture, exquisite décor, and palatial interiors to provide a royal experience. With the change in customers’ demands and industry trends, we have been prompt to adopt customization and personalization features. This approach complements our customer-first ideology and helps us cater to their diverse requirements.

Customer-centricity forms the core foundation of our operations as this aspect is a deal breaker for any hospitality player. This is why, every business decision by the brand is taken keeping in mind their benefit.

Whether it is a corporate offsite, MICE, weddings and related functions, or even leisure travel, we offer diverse services falling under the gamut of events and craft memorable experiences for our guests that they can cherish lifelong. Today, if it is arranging a specific color or variety of flowers, serving authentic local and global cuisines with exceptional culinary experiences, or including activities that add to the grandeur of events, we fulfil every wish of our customers and organize the event just the way they want.

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The hospitality industry has faced unprecedented challenges due to the pandemic. How did Radisson Blu Palace Resort, Udaipur, adapt its operations and offerings to navigate through these challenging times, particularly in the context of the destination wedding market?

India is a big fat wedding market. Viewed as symbols of traditions wrapped in the glory of opulence and grandeur, they are synonymous with exceptional hospitality. People desire to host lavish weddings and create memories that they can cherish for their lifetime. We understand that for couples, D-day marks a significant milestone in their life’s journey, and our constant endeavor is to transform their dream weddings into reality. This approach sets us apart from our competitors and motivates us to give our best. 

The wedding industry has had a curvy graph ever since the pandemic. Owing to social distancing practices and Covid-related restrictions, there were operational hiccups, and we had to face several challenges. However, once the situation started resuming normalcy, we noticed various shifts and the market had to adapt to new norms. For instance, we moved from lavish weddings to intimate ceremonies and smaller gatherings. Making grand arrangements and curating experiences was a hurdle as businesses had come to a halt. Even manpower was an issue. This is when we took this as an opportunity and made certain modifications to our strategies to meet the customers’ demands. Thanks to our hardworking team and our vendors, by God’s grace, we were able to sail through the challenging time. 

Today, as the trend of grand weddings has made a comeback, their grandeur is increasing exponentially. Even the concept of destination weddings is becoming commonplace as couples prefer celebrating their union in a serene, picturesque location. We offer anything and everything under the umbrella of wedding services to add to the charm and glory of their weddings. 

Udaipur has emerged as a popular destination for weddings. What unique aspects or services does Radisson Blu Palace Resort offer to cater to this niche market, and how do you foresee this segment evolving in the coming years?

Over the years, Udaipur has developed significantly. It has embraced hospitality players and given them an opportunity space to grow and prosper. Surrounded by the lush Aravalli range and dotted with lakes and stunning historic architectural marvels, the city provides breathtaking landscapes and natural views that serve as the perfect backdrop for weddings. Hence, it is considered to be one of the most romantic destinations to exchange vows. Additionally, Udaipur’s cultural heritage and amicable hospitality add up to its grandeur. It has become synonymous with grand-scale weddings and destination weddings, and our property is one of the top choices. We host 80-100 weddings annually and are known as one of the picturesque places for destination weddings.

Overlooking Fateh Sagar Lake and the Aravalli range, we have the largest pillarless ballrooms in the state. Our indoor and outdoor event spaces are spacious and serve as the perfect venue for palatial sundowner weddings and related ceremonies. The palace radiates royalty and elegance with traditional architecture, a touch of contemporary décor, high-end facilities, alluring views and world-class hospitality. Whether it is decoration, curation of thematic events, or value-added experiences like royal welcome, romantic set-ups, butler services, personalized experiences, and rejuvenating spas - you name it, and you’ll find diverse services at our property. 

Udaipur offers the right balance of tradition, luxury, and hospitality and is the best destination for weddings. Standing strong as a witness of several celebrity and high-end weddings, Udaipur’s relevance will increase all the more in the times to come with the rise in the trend of destination weddings.

Consumer preferences and expectations in the hospitality industry are constantly evolving. What are some key insights or trends you've observed in guest preferences, and how is Radisson Blu Palace Resort staying ahead to meet these changing demands?

The hospitality industry has always been dynamic and competitive. But yes, the pandemic had a major role to play in bringing about a shift in the consumers’ preferences and expectations from the sector. However, there is a silver lining as well. Amid the changes, the market got an opportunity to evolve and adapt an innovative approach. This led to several changes in the hospitality industry, driving innovation and disruption. For instance, hygiene protocols and contactless technologies have become an integral part of the operational functions. Simultaneously, travel trends like workcations, staycations, weekend getaways, luxury vacations, recreational holidays, etc., are shaping the hospitality industry landscape. Eventually, value-added services extending beyond bed and breakfast, experiential travel, and personalization of experiences to cater to individual preferences and choices have redefined customer-centricity in the hospitality industry. 

The pent-up demand is driving the growth of the hospitality industry and we are moving from a linear approach of following day-by-day itinerary to experiential traveling. Hence, today, the focus is more on offering one-of-a-kind services like rejuvenating spas, wellness retreats, holistic well-being-focused programmes, recreational activities, romantic set-ups, yoga, meditation, etc. Guests not only demand but value such services as these add up to their holiday and stay experiences. 

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In recent years, sustainability and eco-friendly practices have become increasingly important in the hospitality sector. How is Radisson Blu Palace Resort incorporating sustainability into its operations and guest experiences?

Today's travelers are increasingly supportive of environmental conservation and make conscientious choices. As a result, sustainability is now a fundamental aspect of the tourism and hospitality industries. At Radisson Blu Palace Resort, we are an environmentally conscious brand dedicated to protecting the planet and giving back to the environment in every possible way.

Aligned with this vision, we have implemented several operational modifications. Firstly, we have adopted renewable energy sources, such as solar panels from a plant near Bikaner, to reduce carbon emissions. This initiative is both cost-effective and energy-efficient. Additionally, we have established efficiency systems and guest awareness programs to promote water conservation. The palace is designed to ensure natural illumination in all meeting rooms and public areas. Moreover, all artificial lighting is sensor-based and utilizes energy-saving LED lights.

Our commitment to sustainability extends beyond operations to personalized guest experiences. The interiors and decorative elements, such as puppets and wall décor, are handcrafted by local artisans. Even the personalized welcome notes from the General Manager are made from eco-friendly materials.

We believe that these sustainability-driven initiatives not only help preserve Rajasthan’s heritage but also positively impact the socio-economic development of the surrounding areas.

With the rise of digital technologies and online platforms, how has Radisson Blu Palace Resort utilized digital marketing and technology to enhance guest engagement and drive bookings, especially in the competitive landscape of the hospitality industry?

In today’s digitally driven world, integrating new-age tech solutions is vital to ensuring operational efficiency and fulfilling customers’ demands. The hospitality industry is highly competitive and technology can be pivotal to improving guest engagement, driving bookings, and fostering customer loyalty and satisfaction. To share an example: we have introduced QR codes on our websites to help our guests navigate to the application, which gives them access to lucrative deals and exclusive app-only offers. 

Digital marketing is an essential component of our marketing initiatives. We follow a robust strategy to promote our property, showcase our achievements and milestones, and connect with customers by sharing real-time updates. These updates highlight event glimpses, preparations, venue set-ups, décor, high-end offerings, behind-the-scenes shots, and customer reviews. Such steps increase brand awareness and visibility, attracting potential customers.

Customer feedback and reviews are crucial for improving our services. This is why we have a dedicated section on our website where valuable customers can share their feedback on their overall guest experiences and our tech platforms.

Looking ahead, what are your aspirations and vision for the future growth and development of Radisson Blu Palace Resort, Udaipur? Are there any upcoming projects or initiatives that you're particularly excited about?

Radisson Blu Palace Resort and Spa, Udaipur, is a well-known name in the hospitality industry. Our main focus is on business growth and expansion. In the short term, we aim to grow further in Rajasthan and become the top choice for events like weddings, corporate offsites, and leisure travel. We also plan to expand across India with a sustainable growth strategy. Our first step is launching Fairmont Palace in Udaipur, with new properties in Jaipur and Mumbai also in the works.

Our property is 13 years old, so we decided it was time for a renovation to offer a warmer, more comfortable, and memorable experience for our guests. We have updated our banquet halls with the latest technology and done the same for our ballrooms, blending royal architecture with modern interiors and high-tech features. Next, we will redesign our in-house restaurants and add more rooms to the hotel.

This Interview is Published Exclusively on hospitalitynews.in.