A Courtyard Strategically Placed

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Updated: November 27, 2015 4:45 PM

Marriott almost had a first mover advantage in Ahmedabad when it established one of its brands in the city around five years ago. Since then Ahmedabad has witnessed a growth in the number of international hotel chains who have made inroads into the city. Reema Lokesh finds out what makes Courtyard by Marriott Ahmedabad stand strong amidst increasing competition

20151130eh81The team at Courtyard by Marriott Ahmedabad with Gaurav Apte, GM (second from left)

Marriott almost had a first mover advantage in Ahmedabad when it established one of its brands in the city around five years ago. Since then Ahmedabad has witnessed a growth in the number of international hotel chains who have made inroads into the city. Reema Lokesh finds out what makes Courtyard by Marriott Ahmedabad stand strong amidst increasing competition

The real estate space on which Courtyard by Marriott Ahmedabad stands is considered to be a prime location of the city. Once considered to be in the outskirts of the city, it is today one of the most promising regions of the business district and is strategically placed. The centre of Ahmedabad city has been shifted from CG Road to SG Highway as a business district and the property is in close proximity to SG Highway. The 164 room hotel with 7,500 square feet of banqueting space, popular for corporate and pre-wedding functions, has been in operation since 2010. Though a few other hotel chains have set foot in the region, as per the locals, this hotel still enjoys the first brand recall as an international brand in its space. The property has been appreciated for consistency in service standard and keeping up to the competition that is emerging from newer brands in the same space. The city is known to have a business appeal and it is considered to be a hotspot for automobile manufacturers and the pharma industry. The city also plays host to six leading educational institutions and there are more planned for the future. Though new to the city and its culture, Gaurav Apte, GM, Courtyard by Marriott Ahmedabad, is excited to take one on an assignment in one of India’s fastest growing cities. He along with his team swear by the Marriott culture of offering high service standards in the hospitality space. He is all set to bring in new strategies and changes both in the F&B and marcom space.

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Apte says, “Ahmedabad is high on business. Though people like to spend on vacations and eating out, they definitely seek value for money. The city is also all about food. Eating out over the weekend is routine. The social fabric of the city is also distinctly divided – one which is inclined towards art, theatre and culture and the other where the locals who are hardcore business people have their place well established in the share market and construction space. Our job is to cater to both the segments and understand their tastes and preferences and offer them their choices.” He also states that his predecessors have been highly successful in maintaining the popularity of the property amidst growing competition and the locals still prefer the Marriott as it was the first international chain in the city. He along with his team are ready to take the experience to the next level.

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F&B focus

Since dining out is the culture of the city especially over the weekends, the focus is to refresh the F&B experience at the property. For Chef Ramakant Mishra, executive chef of the property since December 2013, who has spent 13 years in kitchens across the world, the mission has been to bring in something novel to the city of Ahmedabad in the culinary space. The current fine dining restaurant of the property called ‘Shakahari’ which serves authentic Indian vegetarian food, may soon undergo a revamp under his hands. He intends to introduce North-West Frontier cuisine and eventually change the name of the outlet to suit the culture and the cuisine that will be served. From a vegetarian outlet to a non-vegetarian one will be an interesting change. According to their research, the city is ready for the change and will welcome the same. Supporting his thought Apte states, “Though the locals prefer their traditional flavours, the young are ready to explore and experience. For the locals the set menu concept is popular and the plan is to introduce new mixes in the menu. The hotel is also proud of its liquor retail outlet called B&W.”

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Apte and his team are also focused on tapping long staying guests for the future as a business strategy. The city is a very popular destination in the car manufacturing space and he along with Mishra are working on a menu and service that can meet the demand of the Far East clientele dominated by the Japanese. The hotel also plays host to the MoMo Cafe and the Java + which is one of the best dens in the hotel having a vertical garden with a Zen like effect on the mind. Java+ is one of the best places in the property to unwind. Sudeep Sharma, director of operations, concludes, “We are a young team and are ready to meet the expectations and demands of this growing city especially in the MICE space.”

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