Ho­tels: The taller, the bet­ter they func­tion!

TravTalk - India - - Hotels -

it. Malkani ex­plains, “A lot of tourists vis­it­ing In­dian ci­ties want to stay in the city cen­tre, where land costs are ex­tremely high. But when you have an FSI of be­tween one and two, it means that ho­tels can build only dou­ble of the to­tal land area forc­ing them to in­crease their room rates. New York gives a min­i­mum of 40 FSI, which means that hote­liers can build 40 times the area of con­struc­tion land even in the city cen­tre giv­ing them more rooms to sell. The cap­i­tal costs come down dra­mat­i­cally.”

He goes on to the string of in­di­rect taxes in In­dia levied on ho­tel – VAT on food at 12.5 per cent, VAT on for­eign liquor, en­ter­tain­ment duty if a ho­tel has a bar with mu­sic, prop­erty tax that are un­be­liev­ably dis­con­nected with re­al­ity, etc. “Ho­tel have to pay 100,000 per month in tax just as en­ter­tain­ment duty and this is all com­ing from the end con­sumers. You add up all th­ese costs and the fi­nal bill shoots up. We have reached crit­i­cal mass where taxes now form almost as third of the to­tal bill,” Malkani adds.

To ad­dress all th­ese is­sues, the as­so­ci­a­tion headed by Malkani will be talk­ing to the var­i­ous min­istries, in­clud­ing the Min­istry of Tourism, Min­istry of Fi­nance as well as the Min­istry of In­dus­try & Com­merce. HRAWI will also be en­gag­ing with the new Chief Min­is­ter of Ma­ha­rash­tra. He adds, “Our PM Naren­dra Modi has al­ready started talk­ing about do­ing away with ar­chaic laws. After the state elec­tions, we will have new peo­ple in place and maybe we will have a dif­fer­ent point of view.”

We will all agree that run­ning a business to­day, is more com­pli­cated and re­quires more re­sources than in the past. Tech­nol­ogy to­day plays a ma­jor role in almost all as­pects of hos­pi­tal­ity. We need to be re­cep­tive to change, and ex­tremely will­ing to ac­quire new skills. And in th­ese times of rapid change, strate­gies must be for­mu­lated and im­ple­mented quickly and swiftly.

What are the oc­cu­pan­cies like?

In our kind of business, ho­tels oc­cu­pan­cies are af­fected by a lot of ex­ter­nal fac­tors such as sea­son­al­ity, con­fer­ences and sym­po­siums be­ing held in the city, shift in gov­ern­ment poli­cies and of course the very es­sen­tial com­pet­i­tive set. Th­ese days, the guests are spoilt for choice. They have a plethora of ho­tels to choose from in each seg­ment. There­fore, even in the cap­i­tal city of Delhi, our oc­cu­pan­cies fluc­tu­ate from 25% dur­ing lean sea­sons, to 80-90% dur­ing peak sea­sons.

How much business is gen­er­ated by travel agents and OTAs?

To­day, our business part­ners work hand-in-hand with us. In fact, they en­joy a very dom­i­nant po­si­tion in our business mod­ule. For rooms, I can com­fort­ably state that our 50% business comes through TAs/OTAs and count­ing.

How rel­e­vant is the travel trade in this day and age?

Travel is in­dis­pens­able to hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try. What is the point of hav­ing a beau­ti­ful prop­erty at a scenic lo­cale, if there is no ac­ces­si­bil­ity? To­day, guests are spend­ing lesser num­ber of nights out­side their homes, and this is made pos­si­ble with the con­stant en­deavor to im­prove con­nec­tiv­ity, in­fra­struc­ture and con­scious ef­fort to built ho­tels closer to the air­ports.

How do you think the im­ple­men­ta­tion of VoA will help boost tourism?

I most def­i­nitely will vouch for Modi Gov­ern­ment’s VoA pol­icy. It will pro­vide a ma­jor boost to In­dia’s push to de­velop into one of the world’s note­wor­thy tourist des­ti­na­tions — a po­si­tion that it rightly de­serves. But with in­creased in­bound tourists, we need to fo­cus on In­dia as a brand. In­dia seems to of­fer ev­ery­thing, from deserts to ever­green forests, beaches to snow-clad moun­tains, an­cient his­tor­i­cal sites and pilgrim cen­tres to mod­ern­day ur­ban hotspots. We also need to im­prove our in­fra­struc­ture, clean­li­ness and up­keep. Tourists do not only see mon­u­ments. They are also ex­posed to var­i­ous other things, which make a deep im­pres­sion on their minds and con­trib­ute to the over­all ex­pe­ri­ence.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.