Making a giant splash in Kolkata
With an inventory of 347 rooms, Novotel Kolkata Hotels and Residences is the largest hotel in the city and Jai Kishan, the hotel's General Manager, says they are a business hotel during the week and a leisure hotel on weekends.
It’s been a little more than a month now that you have opened in Calcutta. How has the response been so far?
We are very happy with the response that we have received so far. Right now, we are having the biggest football event that happens in India and the players are all staying with us. So far, we have only heard the positive side because we have the largest inventory in the city. It is the biggest Novotel hotel operating in India as of now, and we have a multitude of other dimensions as well which give us an upper hand. So it’s all been positive.
What gives you an upper hand in the Kolkata hospitality market and how are you going to capitalise on it?
The first thing is that we are associated with Accor. So, Accor is a worldwide hospitality chain and as our tagline goes, ‘Opening new frontiers in hospitality’. So we have now raised the flag in Kolkata, plus we come with everything that Accor brings to the table along with the Novotel brand, which is both in line with our business travellers and our leisure guests. We are brand- new in Kolkata, and this is the first time that people are experiencing us and our hospitality like our Le Femme rooms for our female leisure travellers, our apartments for long-stay guests and our frequency in terms of operating the hotels both in the MICE and the leisure segment, as well as our restaurants and recreational facilities.
How are you trying to promote yourselves?
We are trying to get into the market and talk to everybody in the region. We will be targetting every single region in the North-East, because Kolkata is the Gateway to the East. Our airport will be the hub and we, being close to it, will make all inroads to every single corner of the region. Our Accor brand gives us that leverage. We are well established right now. First point is acknowledging it and the second is establishing a relationship. With our relationship established, we can build for a better stronger business.
What kind of competition are you looking at in the market?
I wouldn’t say competition; they are all opportunities for us to build because we learn from each other. In that way, it is a win-win situation for all of us. We are all hoteliers at the end of the day, and are competing for the hospitality sector.
What do you see in terms of positioning of the hotel as leisure or business?
We will be positioning as both a business and leisure hotel. We have the largest 347-room inventory in the city and we need a mix of both. I think we can be a business hotel through the week, and serve as a leisure hotel on weekends.
East India has always had great tourism potential but
I think the first step is to acknowledge the potential of the region, and I think we have already done that. The India Tourism Award - East is a great step towards that direction. I think this kind of recognition paves the way for future generations. I think the glitches, or areas that require improvement, would be firstly infrastructure and secondly promotion or marketing. So, once the marketing initiatives come in, we would definitely be up there and in competition with any other region in the country.