Anuraag Bhatnagar, Multi-Property Vice President, Luxury, India, Marriott International and General Manager, The St. Regis Mumbai, plays multiple roles and is truly a master of all
Anuraag Bhatnagar gets candid about the growing luxury market, the synergies, his success story and his role as a mentor.
How would you describe India’s luxury sector in the context of the hospitality industry?
India is on the brink of a break-out in terms of luxury hospitality, we’ve seen double digit growth in all the luxury brands of Marriott International. There has been rapid growth in the luxury market, not just in hospitality but across other sectors and brands. We have the millennials and Gen-X changing the landscape and luxury is no more perceived as old world traditional. The concept of luxury has evolved to new age and experiential. Our biggest advantage over others is that our luxury brands have clear differentiators, in terms of design, technology, style, t, décor and also service rituals and enhancements, all of which a guest can really feel. Also, the perception and the way our luxury brands are seen by all our customers is unique and distinctive.
We at Marriott are opening another set of our luxury hotels over the next two to three years in key gateway cities which we believe are the right markets today to cater to the needs of this ever growing luxury clientele who look forward to unique experiences.
Luxury in hospitality is not just a stylised product, the proof of the pudding lies in the offering, whether it is our food and beverage, our spa, our athletic club or swimming pool, it is all about a ne curation of experiences, a string of experiences that determine and dene luxury. It has evolved just beyond product creation or the property creation, hence it is a plethora or a huge mix of every experience that we create and curate catering to the luxury market.
What are the kind of synergies you seek between different properties in your role as Multi-Property Vice-President, Luxury, India?
Tremendous synergies, primarily our luxury
properties are in key cities. We have The St. Regis in Mumbai, The Ritz-Carlton in Bangalore and W in Goa, and all of them have created a stir with the vibe the passion the brand brings to the city and in the market. Starting with our guest prole, marketing programmes, brand activations, brand programmes, best practices as also sharing and creation of virtual properties are some of the most salient points of our synergy.
You have a proven track record of delivering outstanding results. To what do you attribute your success?
I think it has been wonderful to have teams that are very sharp, giving a lot of ideas, creativity and guidance to their team. My job as leader is to empower and energise them and be the obstacle remover, freeing them up so they can unleash their potential which they have all successfully done, allowing us to see some excellent turn-arounds in some difcult markets.
You are also extremely respected as a mentor. How important is it to create future leaders?
The job of a leader is to create leaders. It is imperative to put systems in place like succession planning, fast tracks, mentorship plans, buddy programmes and the right exposure so they can really climb the ladder. If one has identied the cut above the rest, one must cater to their ambitions and aspirations. In short, identication of this talent is important to ensure that that you empower them and fuel them with the right resources and energy. Once you see that they have the re in them, mentor them to ensure that the value systems that is expected from leadership is strongly ingrained in each of them and set them up free thereby creating pipeline of leaders. I feel very privileged that I have worked closely with over 22 General Managers in the industry and further privileged that I have mentored most of them.
What inspires you as a person and as a professional?
Achieving success really gears me up, sometimes I like to try my hand at xing something that needs mending and the success of it gives me satisfaction and inspires me as professional.
Another thing that gives me great inspiration is really seeing the entire team do well, see superstars developing, evolving and being respected in the industry and in the peer group. This gives me a great feeling as their leader.
Also, as I am in the people’s business, I get energised by people, nothing energises me more than seeing happy faces and smiles on the faces of the associates who really enjoy what they are doing and who really bring value to our business daily. I see the efforts put in by them to ensure that is world class, that really inspires and energises me every day.
On the personal front, I have some leaders and role models that I look up to, I really admire them for what they do, how they are at the top of the game and the kind of commitment, dedication, integrity they have brought to everything that they have done, that really moves me and inspires me.
How do you unwind?
I love watching movies and catch up on my sleep.