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

MillionaireAsia India - - In Conversation - By Sam Lal

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 dene 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 prole, 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 difcult 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 identied the cut above the rest, one must cater to their am­bi­tions and as­pi­ra­tions. In short, identication 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.

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