Back to basics

Updated: Mar 26 2006, 05:30am hrs
Raymond Bickson, MD and CEO, Indian Hotels Company Ltd, has spent 30 valuable years in the hospitality industry. In Delhi to announce the launch of smart basics hotels named Ginger across India, Bickson enthusiastically revealed that a single room will be priced at Rs 900 and the double room at Rs 1,175 only. He further added, With an automatic check-in kiosk, individually air-conditioned rooms, a 17-inch flat screen television, direct-dial telephone, mini-fridge, cyber caf, ATM, and wi-fi connectivity, I am sure Ginger will instantly click.

An American national, Bickson moved to India in January 2003 and joined the board as executive director and COO of Taj Luxury Hotels. In July he moved on to become the MD and CEO. Always armed with a charming smile, he seems to be made for the hospitality industry.

Little wonder then that he was voted one of the Top 10 Best Hotel Managers (1997-2002) by Leaders magazine and as the Best Hotelier in the World (2002) by the Gallivanter's Guide.

His academic credentials are equally impressive. Bickson has studied at the cole Htelire Lausanne in Switzerland and done an advanced management programme at Harvard Business School mastering languages, culture, hotel services, and financial management.

With a career spanning three decades in the hospitality industry globetrotting, Bickson says every day has been a challenge for him.

Be it the 15 years served as the V-P and GM of The Mark in New York, the management assignments for the Regent International Hotels, or the training at some of the world's most renowned hotels as the Hotel Plaza Athenee Paris, Le Montreux Palace Switzerland and the Kahala Hilton Hawaii. I love my work passionately. I believe that either you must enjoy what you do or do something else, he says laughingly.

Bickson considers himself to be very fortunate. Having been to New York, Chicago, Dallas, Puerto Rico, Melbourne, Shanghai, and a lot of other places, he cherishes each place for the different learning experience it has given him. India, he says, offers a huge potential for the hospitality industry.

An optimist at heart, Success to him is being happy and contented. And where does he spend the little spare time that he gets

I love surfing but unfortunately I cannot do much of it in India, so it is work, work and more work.

So, does he wish he could surf in India Well, if a wish were really to be granted, I would like to be able to open more hotels in India, he answers like a passionate workaholic.