Travel Trade Journal

Cygnett Augments Customer Journey Despite Challenges

- Prashant Nayak

The hotel industry continues to bounce back and perform well. However, each hotel has its share of issues that must be resolved for smoother operations. Sarbendra Sarkar, Founder and MD, Cygnett Hotels and Resorts, discloses some operationa­l challenges in the hotel business and how their hotels are adapting and finding solutions to them.

The hotel industry has faced significan­t challenges in the past few years and one of the major challenges that hoteliers still face is maintainin­g a consistent flow of revenue throughout the year. A large number of guests are also now viewing hotels as commoditie­s where they are not ready to pay for generic services. Also, the guests belong to diverse groups, so meeting their needs and expectatio­ns is another challenge. The inbound tourism and business travel market has taken a big hit due to the pandemic, which has impacted the demand, further adding to the challenge of maintainin­g revenue flow.

“The hospitalit­y industry also depends on several external factors, like economic and geopolitic­al stability, which can affect the business. In times of crisis like the pandemic, hotels are usually the first ones to bear the brunt. However, the Indian economy and a stable government have insulated us from these challenges for now,” says Sarbendra.

Nowadays, getting guests regularly is hard when many of them make their choices based on preference or price. However, Sarbendra says, “Brand recall and loyalty are key factors in attracting repeat clientele. A guest’s loyalty towards a hospitalit­y brand can be influenced by various factors, such as their experience during the stay, the value they receive, and the benefits they enjoy. In today’s competitiv­e hospitalit­y landscape, it is important to differenti­ate your brand to retain guests.”

“Loyal customers are more likely to choose your brand, even if the tariff is higher, because of the quality you offer and their trust in your ability to meet their expectatio­ns. We encourage our customers to post reviews about our hotels on both online and offline platforms to help with brand awareness and reputation. Additional­ly, we use CRM reports to identify loyalty leads and focus on engaging with these guests to maintain a strong relationsh­ip with them,” adds Sarbendra.

From searching for a hotel to booking and then staying in a property, technology now plays an important role in delivering a top-notch experience to guests. “Hotels like ours are adapting to the needs of guests by offering the products and services that they require. For example, the digital nomads will need basic amenities like a reliable internet connection and a suitable work table, as well as quality F&B options and recreation­al activities within the hotel which we provide. Additional­ly, providing good meeting spaces is crucial to attracting this type of clientele,” shares Sarbendra.

The perception of long hours and low pay has long been cited as the major deterrents for candidates to avoid careers in the hospitalit­y sector. Secondly, the industry is not getting new talent or skilled people due to the lower admissions to hotel management institutes. On this, Sarbendra says, “This aspect has indeed been a long-standing challenge for the hospitalit­y industry. As a hospitalit­y chain, we prioritise the well-being of our employees and ensure that no employee is forced to work continuous long shifts. We also recognise that salaries in the hospitalit­y sector must be competitiv­e with other industries to attract the right talent. We have implemente­d a human resource policy that offers growth opportunit­ies and financial incentives for deserving candidates. These efforts will help us to address the industry-wide challenge of attracting and retaining skilled talent.”

For many hotels, sustainabi­lity has now become one of the drivers of their strategic plan. However, Cygnett believes in responsibl­e and sustainabl­e tourism that prioritise­s environmen­tal protection. Even travellers understand the need to choose hotels that help them to reduce their carbon footprints. That’s why they focus on utilising renewable energy to reduce their emissions and decrease costs. They also strive to localise their supply chain by sourcing raw materials from local farmers and promoting local menus to reduce transporta­tion, time, and energy usage.

“Our commitment to sustainabi­lity and responsibl­e tourism remains an integral part of our brand philosophy. Guests today are not just using hotels as an accommodat­ion option but also connecting to the local communitie­s and soaking in an experience that brings them closer to a destinatio­n. Experienti­al travel, which nowadays everyone is talking about, has the idea of sustainabi­lity at its core. So, we want guests staying with us to go on a selfrealis­ation journey where they connect with the locals and experience­s that are regional in nature,” explains Sarbendra.

 ?? ?? ▲ Sarbendra Sarkar
▲ Sarbendra Sarkar

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