Category Archives: Interviews

Radisson Hotel Group goes tech savvy in five year plan: Raj Rana


Radisson Hotel Group has embarked on a five year plan which is focused around technology where the brand is investing in technology to drive the top-line of its hotels. Also, to make sure the new loyalty name, Radisson Rewards is well accepted by the guests. Raj Rana, CEO, South Asia, Radisson Hotel Group, says, “We are steadily growing, adding 7-9 hotels each year and signing 14-15 hotels. As the Udan Scheme takes off and as the infrastructure grows, especially road connectivity, we look forward to add more hotels on leisure as well as business front.”

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7 Lemon Tree hotels to open by end of this fiscal: Rattan Keswani

Rattan Keswani - Deputy MD, Lemon Tree Hotels - Director, Carnation Hotels Pvt. Ltd.

Lemon Tree will be opening 7-8 hotels by the end of this fiscal year. Rattan Keswani, Deputy Managing Director, Lemon Tree Hotels says, “There are a lot of exciting things happening in the group. The recent one was the successful IPO where we opened hotels one after the other post that. It continues to be that way in the sense that we have about 7-8 opening due by the end of this fiscal. Fair amount of growth is being added in terms of inventory. From a managed piece, there are a few contracts in play. The market is firmer now and occupancies are stable even tough its summer.”

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Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts eyes India for expansion: VP, Operations- India, Hilton


In a recent interview, Jatin Khanna, Vice President, Operations- India, Hilton, talks about how important India as a market is for the brand, growth strategy in the country and more. He says, “We have two-pronged strategy plan for India. One is for the big cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad etc, where we want to bring some of our iconic brands like Conrad and Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts. Also, we don’t want to lose out on Tier II and Tier III cities where there is a lot of expansion happening. So, we have a robust plan for the country where we are not going to overlook smaller cities. It will be a uniform growth. We have a plan where we do not want to miss out on any of the brands or any other positioning in any city.”

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Marriott to launch a new brand in India- Ramesh Daryanani

IMG_4851 Ramesh Daryanani-INTERVIEW

Marriott has robust expansion plan for the Indian market. Ramesh Daryanani, Vice President, Global Sales – Asia Pacific (excluding Greater China), says, “Globally, we have over 2700 hotels in the pipeline of development. It represents over 460,000 rooms. In India, we will be launching a new brand in the next six month to a year. We still are in discussion about where this new brand will be launched.”

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Selling bottled water and packaged products above MRP in hotel restaurants brings relief to HRAWI

Mr. Dilip Datwani,President, Hotel & Restaurant Association of Western India

As per recent reports, the Supreme Court (SC) has given a judgement that allows hotels and restaurants to sell bottled water and other packaged products at above the maximum retail price (MRP). “The judgement has come as a relief for the hotel industry. Hotels do not just sell packaged drinking water, aerated drinks or any such packaged commodity, but they serve it. As was contested by us, the bench observed that hotels and restaurants besides selling F&B, also render a service. We are glad that the Hon’ble Supreme Court has acknowledged the point and come out with a just decision”, says Mr. Dilip Datwani, President, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI)

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Suresh Prabhu inaugurates Aahar 2018


Aahar, The International Food & Hospitality Fair, New Delhi, organised by India Trade Promotion Organisation, commenced today at Pragati Maidaan. Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation of India, inaugurated the fair. He said,”Food is a very important part of Indian culture and has been a great attraction for the people who visit our country. Every state in our country has different cuisine. Over a period of time, we have started processing food and this is a great transition. India is the largest producer of milk and the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables. Therefore, all this food which is produced is creating a value chain, supply chain, thus adding to the real economic opportunities. This is just a beginning. I don’t think we have even touched the surface of the opportunities that lies in our country and therefore I am happy, that is exactly what has been showcased at Aahar.” Talking further about the development, he said,”Also, under the recent policy, it will be made sure that the farmers are not just circulating their products within the country but they are being exported as well. To do that, we already have tied up with few countries, and they are really interested and has shown us huge support. We are going to provide air support to this activity. I am very happy to say that we have decided that wherever there is a possibility of agricultural produce being exported will be provided with air lifting facility. Such potential spots will be identified and based on that civil aviation will provide aerial support so that our products can further be exported in a fast matter. Within …

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Meininger Hotels to launch nine hotels this year


Meininger Hotels will be launching nine hotels this year. Peter Kerkar, Group CEO, Cox & Kings says, “We are rapidly growing new model of hotels called Meininger which are hybrid hotels. We will open nine new properties this year. We have a very special relation with the Indian market. Meininger is a unique hotel product that combines the service and comfort of an international budget hotel with hostel-like facilities, such as a guest kitchen and a games zone. The central location, high quality furnishings and fair prices appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds.

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Hyatt names Mark Vondrasek as its Chief Commercial Officer


Hyatt Hotels Corporation has announced the appointment of Mark Vondrasek as the company’s Chief Commercial Officer. In this role, Vondrasek will be responsible for the previously announced commercial services organisation driving guest and customer engagement functions while working across the organization to enhance the frequency and level of engagement with guests. Vondrasek will assume his new role effective March 1, 2018, continuing to report to Mark Hoplamazian, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Mark’s track record as a transformational leader, his past experience and recent success in accelerating the World of Hyatt loyalty program make him uniquely qualified for this role,” said Hoplamazian. “His ability to identify and advance innovative ideas that deepen relationships with customers is vital to our experience-based growth strategy.” Vondrasek will continue to oversee the World of Hyatt loyalty platform as well as new growth platforms, including Miraval and exhale, along with global sales, revenue management, distribution strategy, corporate marketing, brands, communications, digital, consumer insights and global contact centers. Information technology will report into Alex Zoghlin, global head of data strategy, innovation and technology. Hyatt further announced Jim Chu has been selected as global head of development and owner relations to maintain and enhance the momentum in new hotel development around the world, continuing to report to Chuck Floyd, global president of operations. Building on the previously announced streamlined structure for full service and select service operations, managed and franchised operations and development will reside within each region. Additionally, James Francque has been appointed head of transactions, focusing on new investment opportunities for the company, and reporting to Mark Hoplamazian. “I am extremely grateful to have a team of versatile leaders equipped to lead across a variety …

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Kempinski conducts its roadshow in Delhi


Kempinski has a organised three-city roadshow in India- Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai. The Delhi roadshow happened on Feb 21 at The Imperial, New Delhi. Theo Ocks, Vice President-Sales, Kempinski Hotels, says, “This is the first time that we have come to India with such a large group of hotels. The agenda is to meet the key leadership of travel agencies, wholesalers, tour operators in the market and know what exactly they are looking for in Kempinksi, in terms of services and locations and how can we best serve them.”

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AccorHotels to grow in Kochi and Sriperumbudur

Jean-Michel Casse, Chief Operating Officer India and South Asia, AccorHotels 2

In India, AccorHotels has a network of 46 hotels spanning across nine international brands in 22 cities. According to Jean-Michel Cassé, Chief Operating Officer, India and South Asia, AccorHotels, “Mid-segment hotels form a larger percentage of the total room inventory, also accounting for nearly 50 percent of all the hotel rooms in the country. In this segment, we see a significant demand and supply gap, which we seek to bridge with our Novotel and ibis brands. We see this growing demand as a potential growth engine for the future. Our recent openings in Lucknow, Dwarka, Chennai OMR, Pune and Goa along with upcoming openings in Kochi and Sriperumbudur further highlight our focus to cater to the needs of a diversified growing base of business and leisure travellers alike.”

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