‘Hotel rooms cannot sell on just price’

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Updated: August 17, 2016 3:20 PM

Anshu Sarin, CEO, Berggruen Hotels, is leading one of India's fastest growing hospitality brands with renewed dynamism and a firm vision By Reema Lokesh

Anshu Sarin, CEO, Berggruen Hotels, is leading one of India’s fastest growing hospitality brands with renewed dynamism and a firm vision By Reema Lokesh

In this environment wherein its crucial to have a competitive edge, what is your niche?

20160831eh09Anshu Sarin

We believe our niche is in the following areas:

  • Distribution landscape that we have today allows us to explore multiple channels and do inventory and price management effectively.
  • Agility and flexibility to tailor a product to cater to each asset owner’s requirements without compromising brand deliverable
  • Tried and tested cost optimised model which gives us a disproportionate upward swing in bottomline in both RevPAR and ARR growth models.

As you are a PE asset management company, is there a certain strategy you have chalked out to further penetrate the India market?

Our growth strategy is to focus on strengthening our operating platform and enhancing our capabilities and competency in that arena. We will focus on increasing our footprint in the genre of hotels we work in via management or franchise route.

Your experience clearly states, you feel ‘hotel rooms cannot sell on price’. Can you explain further?

We believe that price is market driven and should not become the sole basis on which a product is sold. There are other criteria such as brand loyalty, guest loyalty, distribution reach, experience and consistency that influence a decision making process.

What is the  strategy of Keys Hotels for working with business allies such as online and offline travel agents?

It is a competitive and importantly an emerging distribution landscape defined by what a customer eventually wants. As participants of this eco-system we respect that and fairly engage with our valued partners, may they be offline or online agents, to offer consistent value to the customer.

What is that one change you have implemented under your leadership at Keys?

I have been fortunate to have been given an extremely robust platform to perform on. It gives me the ability to augment seamlessly emerging trends and concepts, with relative ease. Re-defined distribution landscape and revenue optimisation capabilities is a key addition to our platform.

What is the current turnover and the target for 2016-17?

We are not a public listed company hence we would not like to disclose this.

Can you throw some light on your HR and training systems vis-a-vis other groups if any?

One of the most important aspects to incentivise top-performers is ensuring that they have a proper work-life balance. The objective is to have an enjoyable work-life with career progression. It is also a well-known fact that happy and satisfied employees ensure improvement of performance and long term commitment to the organisation. Today’s corporate life has gone much beyond the ordinary 9 am to 5 pm job with people having to be connected constantly with their work devices. Hence, when employers show flexibility; it encourages employees to go beyond putting in the minimum hours and in fact putting in much more efforts enthusiastically.

What kind of properties would you like to extend your brand name to, both in the leisure and business space. Is there a future mapping of regions in place?

We choose a business partner on the basis of common business objectives, value system and common orientation towards the business basics like customer centricity, quality and transparency. As far as the product is concerned, we follow certain minimum brand standards for all three categories i.e. Keys Prima, Keys Hotels and Keys Lite and our teams ensure that we shortlist, consider or entertain the properties which adhere to these parameters. These parameters are driven by customer expectations and some of the traditional fundamentals of industry like locations, architecture, legalities, etc. We also bring in our expertise here to fill the gaps (standards adherence) before we are operational. As far as mapping of the regions is concerned, we have considered smart cities, state capitals along with tourist destinations.

What is the primary brand identity of all Keys Hotels across categories in India?

Unmatched guest experience which compels the guest to always come back. For example you will always find a Keys Hotel centrally located with guests having a homelike stay and healthy homelike food. Keys Prima and Keys Lite draw a sharp distinction between the different market segments they serve. Keys Prima is a premium brand catering to the upper mid market segment, comprising the upscale business and leisure traveller, while Keys Lite is aimed at economy travellers. Keys Hotels plans to add six – eight hotels under Keys Prima and Keys Hotels, year on year basis. Plans are also on the cards to add 60-70 hotels under Keys Lite in the next 12 months.

Any other highlights you wish to share?

Women secure rooms, diabetic menu, Satwik menu, ‘Ghaar Ka Swad’ are our special offerings. Women secure rooms have a video telephone, an additional women’s kit, hairdryer and other soft elements. Single women travellers are treated with special care by the staff of Keys Hotels. The Diabetic Special menu is also worth taking note of. Satwik menu/ Prasadam section is for all the guests of Keys Hotels who are on a religious fast or diet. It comprises of pure vegetarian food which are grown above the soil. ‘Ghar Ka Swad’ is a patent product of Keys Hotels, specially designed to cater to the needs of all guests who miss home food. The menu is specially designed in a way to make the guest feel like he is dining at home. Extra care is taken to ensure that the food served matches the home flavours and taste, which is available in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian offerings.

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