Simply put, responsible travel has become a buzzword, which spells good news for the hospitality segment.
With more travellers increasingly planning weekend getaways and being on the move, the time is ripe for hospitality brands to revisit their own key offerings. If hybrid work becomes more widespread, it works as a silver lining for Indian travellers.
Also, international healthcare analysts and experts are of the view that the more we stay in the hybrid mode, there are more chances of it becoming a ‘sticky’ practice. Simply put, responsible travel has become a buzzword, which spells good news for the hospitality segment.
Sudeep Jain, Managing Director, South-West Asia, IHG Hotels & Resorts shares key insights with FinancialExpress.com, “Starting June 2021, as the situation improved after the second wave of Covid-19 in the country, we have been receiving a considerable number of bookings for weddings and social events. For example, at Crowne Plaza Greater Noida, we have witnessed almost twice the number of wedding events compared to last year. With new experiences being introduced across our hotels to cater to the changing guest preferences, we have seen a promising 30% jump in the wedding APC (Average per Cover) and over 25% increase in residential weddings.”
“Our hotels across destinations spanning NCR, Goa, Jaipur, Agra, and Chennai have been doing very well. To lock-in the upcoming enquiries for the first quarter of 2022, we are soon going to launch a refreshed intimate wedding campaign with lucrative offerings for our guests,” Sudeep Jain adds.
Your views on the rise in domestic travel?
With gradual easing of restrictions in India, effective roll out of vaccines and high standards of hygiene protocols being implemented across hotels, we have seen return of consumer confidence, and this has led to an increase in domestic travel demand. Moreover, despite easing of restrictions on international travel, people continue to look for quick weekend getaways, staycations or intercity vacations.
What are the top destinations in demand?
We have been well-poised to capitalize on the current market demand, with hotels across our portfolio registering a significant increase in bookings and occupancy.
Starting June 2021, as the situation improved after the second wave of Covid-19 in the country, we have been receiving a considerable number of bookings for weddings and social events. For example, at Crowne Plaza Greater Noida, we have witnessed almost twice the number of wedding events compared to last year. With new experiences being introduced across our hotels to cater to the changing guest preferences, we have seen a promising 30% jump in the wedding APC (Average per Cover) and over 25% increase in residential weddings.
Can you articulate IHG’s wedding campaign?
Last year, our weddings campaign was launched, keeping in mind the shift in trend from elaborate weddings to more intimate celebrations. Our teams across hotels have customised their venues and services to cater to these customized events, with a relentless focus on health and safety.
The campaign offered special inclusions like complimentary IHG Reward Points, room upgrades, stay vouchers for the couple and discounts on various services. Additionally, across brands, we have invested in the right resources, safety protocols, facilities and even created customized experiences to make our guests’ special occasion a memorable one.
What are your insights on IHG’s commitment to shape the future of responsible travel, particularly in terms of eco-friendly measures taken by the hotel chain?
With hotels close to local communities all over the world, we are in a unique position to make a real difference.
To this effect, we recently launched ‘Journey to Tomorrow’, a series of ambitious new commitments to make a positive difference for our people, communities and planet over the next decade. We are working alongside those who stay, work and partner with us, to help shape the future of responsible travel– this includes, supporting our people and making a positive difference in our local communities, while preserving our planet’s beauty and diversity long into the future.
We work collaboratively with our hotels, owners and external partners to reduce the environmental impact of all operations. Being at the heart of the communities in which our hotels operate, we source locally to support local businesses and to improve sustainability practices through reduced transportation. We are also being thoughtful in our daily actions, such as offsetting unavoidable waste in our hotels by moving more guestroom items to request-only, using digital newspapers, and we are also analyzing how the overall guest experience can evolve positively for the future.
Across our estate, we have the IHG Green Engage environmental management system which enables our hotels to track, measure and report on energy, water and waste. It also offers 200 green solutions that can be utilized to improve sustainability practices at property level. We make this a global standard for all hotels to utilise the platform and we recognise their progress through four levels of certification.