Adapting Technology and Innovation by Indian Hotel Brands

When it comes to technology adoption, the hospitality sector in India does not immediately come to the mind. In fact, it comes more or less as an afterthought once you have counted the top segments such as banking, telecom, IT/ITES and others. And yet, at about 8-9% of India’s annual GDP, hospitality is quite significant.


For all the charming campaigns of Incredible India and tons of advertising by tourist-friendly states, however, hotels and restaurants in the country can barely be termed state-of-the-art. Why, in how many of them can you find end-to-end integrated systems, tablet-wielding staff or other signs of tech savvy?
Why has this sector lagged behind when it comes to embracing IT? The answer to this question lies in the evolution and growth of the segment. Most of India’s top hotels have for long focused on aspects of operations that may be high on hospitality but rather low on technology. Things such as cuisine,physical ambience and value-added tour packages have dominated their agenda of luring the foreigner on a mission to explore the old-world enchantments and mysteries of the Indian subcontinent. But facilities such as Wi-Fi and latest gadgets or customized experiences through advanced CRM systems or data analytics have not been accorded priority.
About a year ago, a foreign tourist who arrived at Indira Gandhi International Airport in NewDelhi lost his baggage owing to his airline’s negligence. Despite his best efforts, the gentleman could not locate his stuff, and reached The Oberoi, the hotel he was booked into.


As soon as the tourist reached the hotel, he tweeted that he lost his baggage at the airport and was now staying at The Oberoi. The central agency that was tracking Oberoi’s social media activities noticed it and informed the hotel’s duty manger at the airport. The duty manager traced and collected the baggage from the airline and delivered it to the guest at the hotel — to his pleasant astonishment.
“This not only increased the loyalty of the customer, but also gave us satisfaction as a hospitality player. We many a time experience a whole lot of business benefits with new technologies such as social media Like The Oberoi, many hotels in India in recent years are adopting a whole lot of modern technologies to streamline their day-to-day operations, better servicing theircustomers and to make more revenues. In fact, advanced technology has become a boon to the hospitality sector in today’s difficult economic situation.

Consumers seek live, bespoke social interactions that connect them with the essence of a place: Experiential travellers venture beyond the beaten tourist paths and dive deeper into authentic, local culture.

From computerized check-in, automatic wake-up calls, electronic locks to closed circuit TV, fire and security protection systems to teleconferencing, nothing is better organized than the modern-day hotels and resorts. One often wonders at the miracle that the present day hotels offer to its clients . The modern hotels have integrated system that tie operational requirements including a reservation system which checks the availability of room of individuals and groups, assign room types, tracks deposits, and print managerial reports.

Technology is a driving force of change that presents opportunities for greater efficiencies and integration for improved guest services.

Technology has become a tourism business activity in development of strategic resources and is considered as a tool to increase competitiveness. Effective use of information technology can make significant operational improvements. Advanced software and communication tools allow enlarging operational efficiency, for example, orders may be made better, faster and cheaper. In addition, decision-making through decision support tools, databases and modelling tools assist the manager’s job.

Technology on wireless communication systems enabling voice, text and data communication among employees, managers, departments and guests is now being adapted by hotels. Comprised of intelligent system software and lightweight, hands-free or handheld communication devices, these systems allow hotel staff to deliver the best customer service. Examples of wireless communication solutions for the hospitality industry include: communication badges, food and drinks ordering systems, as well as devices that allow hotel agents to check-in and check-out guests, process credit cards, print receipts and program room keys anywhere in or nearby the hotel. Wireless technology offers, among others, the following benefits for hotels and the quality of service they can provide to the guest

  • Guests Prefer Automated Services
  • It’s all about personalisation
  • 92% of hoteliers believe that by 2020 guests will expect their stay to be personalized around a set of choices they make before they arrive.
  • Customers want speed, consistency and convenience, as well as personalisation.
  • the customer experience of the future will be driven by technology
  • the most successful hotels will have technology driven solutions at their core.
  • failure to address customers’ technology needs would result in competitive disadvantage.
  • technology as a means to fundamentally change how guests engage with services from booking to checkout and beyond, at a strategic level.
  • With the latest solutions, you can send individually targeted offers to each customer’s smartphone, enable them to skip the queue at reception, pre-set the TV to their favourite channel, and much more.
  • providing guests with innovative, high-quality and interactive solutions will enhance loyalty and increaseroom occupancy levels.

Hospitality professionals are constantly told that they need to keep up with emerging technologies. However, many of the opportunities for learning at conferences revolve around really basic information that many of us already know – social media is important, tablets are nifty, and apps are a cool way to engage with attendees.

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Technology and Innovation in Indian Hotel Industry

Hospitality industry is a customer-driven industry. The hotels need to offer services based on customer feedback.
Entering a sub-continental market the size of India growing at 13% per annum is a tempting prospect for any multinational hotel chain but it poses management challenges too.Therefore, the first challenge is to understand the expectations of consumers and their behavior.With 1.25 billion people united by diversity of languages, religious and social identities, Indian consumers may not appear a homogenous group.
Technology is playing a bigger role in designing a hotel. Earlier an interior decorator would never call an IT guy, but now things are different with technology in the lobby, at the reception, guestroom.

Marketing and brand building strategies for Indian markets will need to be savvy enough to capitalise on the behaviour of these digitally connected consumers. The use of SMS as a transactional instrument or viral marketing is phenomenal in India. Inevitably the hotels attract young and fresh graduates who in turn are well in tune with the modern upwardly mobile middle class business and professional consumers.
Strategic investment in branding, human capital and information systems suited to local needs and aspirations in India is an opportunity enveloped in transparent challenge.
A large number of Indian hospitality customers have an insatiable appetite for bandwidth fed by professional and social needs. They do not, therefore, like hotels without internet access and they hate when wi-fi is charged for!

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Expansion of Hospitality Sector

• The tourism and hospitality sector is among the top 10 sectors in India to attract the highest foreign direct investment (FDI). In the period April 2000 – August 2014, this sector attracted around US$ 7,441 million of FDI, according to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).

• A high and positive growth of 12.5 per cent was registered in foreign tourist visits (FTVs) to north-eastern states of India during 2012 from 2011, which further rose by more than 100 per cent to register a growth of 27.9 per cent during 2013 from 2012. Among these north-eastern states, Manipur recorded the highest FTVs followed by Arunachal Pradesh and then Tripura.

  • FTAs in India witnessed a growth of 12.9 per cent in the period July 2013 – July 2014, according to data received from Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. The FTAs during the period January–July 2014 stood at 4.11 million as compared to 3.87 million during the corresponding period of 2013, registering a growth of 4.4 per cent. USA contributed the highest number to foreign arrivals in India followed by Bangladesh and the UK.
  • Foreign exchange earnings (FEE) during January–July 2014 stood at US$ 11.055 billion as compared to US$ 10.85 billion during the same period last year. FEE during July, 2014 stood at Rs 10,336 crore (US$ 1.68 billion) compared to Rs 8,620 crore (US$ 1.41 billion) in July, 2013.

Expansion plans for global hotel major players in India

Brand Name Brand present in india Existing hotels Planned hotel

(Est.)

By New brands being launched in India
InterContinental

Hotels Group

 

Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts,

Crowne Plaza, Intercontinental

12 150 2020 Holiday Inn express
Wyndham Hotels Ramada, Days Inn, Dream 14 60-70 2017 Howard Johnson
Marriott

International

executive

apartments

 

Courtyard, Renaissance, JWMarriott, Marriott, Marriott Hotels& convention Centre, Marriott

resort & Spa, Marriott

18 80-100 2015 Fairfield, Ritz
Hilton

Worldwide

 

Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Hilton

Garden Inn, Double Tree by Hilton,

Hampton by Hilton

8 50-60 2016 Hilton’s full-service brands-Hilton

and Double Tree, as well as its

mid-market, focused-service

Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton.

The company also plans to

introduce its luxury Conrad and

Waldorf Astoria brands

Accor Group Ibis, Mercure and Novotel 13 90-100 2015 Formule 1, Sofitel and Pullman
Choice Hotels

International

 

Quality, Comfort, Clarion 27 100 Next 5-7

yrs

Sleep Inn, Cambria Suites, Econo

Lodge

Best Western

international

 

Best Western, Best Western Plus 34 66 2017 Best Premier

Scope of Indian Hospitality Industry

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The Hospitality Industry is a broad category of fields within the service industry that includes lodging, event planning, theme parks, transportation, cruise line, and additional fields within the tourism industry. The hospitality industry is a several billion dollar industry that mostly depends on the availability of leisure time and disposable income. A hospitality unit such as a restaurant, hotel, or even an amusement park consists of multiple groups such as facility maintenance, direct operations (servers, housekeepers, porters, kitchen workers, bartenders, management, marketing, and human resources etc.).

The global hotel industry generates approximately between 400 and 500 billion U.S. dollars in revenue each year, one third of that revenue is attributable to the United States. Some of the biggest hotel chains (groups) are the InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide, Accor, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, and the Wyndham Hotel Group. Three of the most important hotel performance indicators are the Average Daily Rate (ADR), the revenue per available room (RevPar), and the occupancy rate.

  • The Hospitality industry is the third-largest foreign exchange earner, accounting for 6.23% of India’s GDP and 8.78% of India’s total employment, according to a report by the Planning Commission.
  • Tourism in India is the largest service industry. The travel and tourism sector currently employs 49 million people, or 1 in every 10 jobs, and this is projected to increase to 58 million, or 1 in every 9.6 jobs by 2020.
  • Travel and tourism is a USD 32.7 billion business in India, according to industry estimates; in addition, the hospitality sector is sized at USD 23 billion and is expected to grow to US$ 36 billion by 2018.
  • It is expected that the hospitality sector will witness an inflow of USD 12.17 billion in investments over the next two years, according to market research company Technopak Advisors.
  • According to the Planning Commission, the hospitality sector creates more jobs per million rupees of investment than any other sector of the economy. The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which says India’s travel and tourism sector is expected to be the second-largest employer in the world, employing 40,37,000 people, directly or indirectly, by 2019.

MAJOR PLAYERS OF INDIAN HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY

  • ITDC Hotels
  • Hotel Corporation of India
  • Asian Hotels Limited
  • Hotel Leela Ventura
  • Oberoi Hotels
  • Indian Hotels Company Limited
  • ITC Hotels
  • Park Group of Hotels
  • Radisson Group of Hotels
  • Clarke Group of Hotels
  • Fortune hotels
  • Sarovar Hotels
  • Sheraton group of hotel

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

The hospitality industry is a labour intensive one and India has a large concentration of English speaking individuals, which prove as a catalyst in advancement and prosperity of the industry. Besides the regular jobs of a travel agent, tour guide, air hostess, chef, waiter and managers other opportunities await those who are keen on taking up a job in the sector. The new trends that have been emerging off late are as follows:

  • Floor Supervisor
  • Laundry Manager
  • Laundry Supervisor
  • Public Area Supervisor
  • Room Attendant

Finance & Accounts

  • Finance Controller
  • Revenue Manager
  • Credit Manager
  • Accountant
  • Night Auditor

 

Sales & Marketing

  • Director of Sales & Marketing
  • Sales Manger
  • Banquet Manager
  • Sales Executive

Reservation Executive

  • Event Managers
  • Captain
  • Room Attendant
  • Restaurant Attendant
  • Guest relations Officer

Other Departments

  • Human resource department
  • Maintenance & Engineering
  • Electronic data processing department
  • Communication department
  • Security department
  • Purchase department Stores

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Economic Benefits of Cinematic Tourism in Punjab

Economic benefits resulting from cinematic tourism can take a number of forms including:

1.Employment

Associated directly, such as tour guide or location manager VIP guest relation executive in hotels etc or in supporting industries like food production or retail suppliers.

  1. Increased spending

Increased spending in the community generated from visitors or tourism businesses,crew team can directly and indirectly promote the viability of local businesses.

  1. Economic diversification

Tourism operators can play a role in highlighting the broad prosperity that tourism can bring to a community and will contribute to a greater understanding and respect for the value of tourism.

Economic diversification is, for many communities, an insurance policy against hard times. By offering an additional means of income, tourism can support a community when a traditional industry is under financial pressure, particularly where that community relies heavily on a single industry.

  1. Infrastructure

Infrastructure including roads, parks, and other public spaces can be developed and improved both for visitors and local residents through increased tourism activity in a region. Tourism tends to encourage the development of multiple-use infrastructure that benefits the host community, including various means of transports, health care facilities, and sports centers, in addition to the hotels and high-end restaurants that cater to foreign visitors. The development of infrastructure has in turn induced the development of other directly productive activities.

Tourism can be a significant or even an essential part of the local economy. Because environment is a basic component of the tourism industry’s assets, tourism revenues are often used to measure the economic value of protected areas. There are other local revenues that are not easily quantified, as not all tourist expenditures are formally registered in the macro-economic statistics. Part of the tourism income comes from informal employment, such as street vendors and informal guides. The positive side of informal or unreported employment is that the money is returned to the local economy and has a great multiplier effect as it is spent over and over again. The World Travel and Tourism Council estimates that tourism generates an indirect contribution equal to 100 % of direct tourism expenditures.

Cinema is often welcome as an economy booster and generator of job markets. Any assessments of the local and national impact of ‘cinematic tourism’ have to be structurally and contextually specific: they have to explore the position commodified cultures occupy in collective imaginations outside their cradle, and the historical and economic relationship of the nation-states that ‘host’ them with the rest of the world.

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Scope of Cinematic Tourism in Punjab

The gross state domestic product (GSDP) of Punjab was US$ 54.1 billion in 2011-12. The average GSDP growth rate between 2004-05 to 2011-12, was about 14 per cent.

In the recent past, the city has witnessed its fair share of films and tinsel town stars. Over a dozen Hollywood, Bollywood, Pollywood (Punjabi cinema) movies have been shot in the picturesque locales of Chandigarh last year.The Punjab government has invested approximately Rs 100 crore for the media and entertainment industry this year.

Hollywood’s ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ was shot at PEC University of Technology, Sector 15 and in Manimajra in 2012. Besides, Bollywood’s ‘Son of Sardar’ or upcoming movie ‘BhaagMilkhaBhaag’ were also shot in the city last year.In the past, movies like ‘Joker’ starrer Akshay Kumar and Sonakshi Sinha, ‘Mere Brother kiDulhan’ starring Katrina Kaif and Inmran Khan, Sadian, Namaste London, Dosti, Shortcut, Fashion, Singh is King, Veer Zara were shot here and in the nearby areas of the city.

Interestingly, the City Beautiful is not only attracting film-makers but telefilms, TV serials, albums, documentaries, Ad-films, reality shows are also being shot here now.

With mountains, lakes, alluring gardens, wide roads, five star hotels and striking buildings, the City Beautiful has all locations for shooting. And, some of the favourite locations for shooting in Chandigarh are Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park (RGCTP), Sukhna Lake, Leisure Valley area, Panjab University, Sector-17 Plaza, Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary, Airport, various roundabouts, markets, Sector-41 Hockey Stadium and nearby villages.

The city is a potential destination for film shootings and UT aims to capitalise on the booming cinema tourism industry in the country.

The setting up of Bollywood Facilitation Cell in 2009 has also eased the toilsome process of getting shooting clearance at various locations of the city.

Interestingly, Punjabi films are now also being released in other states such as Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh due to UFO digital technology bridging the geographical divide.

This has helped expand the audience base for Punjabi films and also encouraged several well known Punjabi film producers and actors to come forth and re-enter the industry with big ticket film offerings.

With the platform of almost 115 cinemas in the Punjab and surrounding regions of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, theatre owners are also reaping the benefits of the digitisation of films including higher footfalls in the theatre premises and enhanced advertising revenue earnings.

Punjabi film industry is currently churning out 40-45 films a year and getting growing recognition as the industry is witnessing a revenue growth of over Rs. 50 crore in recent years.

Punjab alone has 99 heritage sites. All these sites have been opened for shooting at nominal rates with a single window clearance. The state government provides 50% entertainment tax exemption for all films produced in Punjabi.Apart from this cinematic tourism, the administration will also promote religious tourism, freedom movement tourism, eco-tourism and heritage tourism and adventure tourism.

According to industry sources, in 2011, only 10 Punjabi films were released. This grew to more than double in 2012, when as many as 24 Punjabi films were released. And it is expected that as many as 40 Punjabi films are expected to be released in 2013.

Cinematic Tourism ,an emerging form of tourism is one of the most effective ways of redistributing wealth, by moving money into local economies from other parts of the country and overseas. It brings income into a community that would otherwise not be earned.

 

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Expansion of Tourism Sector

Tourism is a swiftly expanding sector in Punjab. Focusing on existing rich culture of the State, Punjab Government has decided to give a major fillip to tourism and promote rural tourism in the State. For the purpose, the Government has identified a cluster of four villages namely Katli, Bahadarpur, TibbaTapparian and Ranjitpura Bas in Rupnagar district which would be developed with the entire infrastructure needed to provide a new experience to the tourists visiting the State.

In order to tap the potential, there is a dire need to focus on certain key issues such as participation of local government, efficient tourism promotion and development programs, cooperation between local government and entrepreneurs and community support for tourism development are essential for successful tourism in Punjab.

Punjab tourism showed healthy 5.29 per cent growth in 2011 thanks to strong domestic arrivals. Punjab welcomed 10.11 million tourists in 2011 comparing to 10.05 million in 2010.

The growth for Punjab tourism primary came from domestic sector. There was 5 per cent increase in domestic tourists to Punjab.In 2010 Punjab saw 10.58 million domestic tourists in the state and in 2011 the number grew to 16.42 million. Foreign tourist arrivals increased merely 13,000 to 150,000 in 2011 comparing to 137,000 in 2010.

In past few years Punjab Heritage and Tourism Promotion Board has taken several steps to boost tourism in Punjab. Tourism board has chalked out plan to increase tourist activity in the state. Punjab is now one of the popular tourist destination in India.The construction of state-of-the-art ‘Virasat-e-Khalsa’ Conceived as a repository of the rich heritage of the Khalsa, showcasing the old history and culture of Punjab, the heritage complex has been built on a 100-acre site to emphasise the eternal message of the Sikh gurus. the budget of Rs 71.76 crore by Punjab government for the construction of state-of-the-art Virasat-e-Khalsa phase-II project .

Tallest victory tower ‘FatehBurj’ in the country is in Punjab. The 328-ft tower is dedicated to Baba Banda Singh Bahadur who had the distinction of establishing the Sikh rule in India in 1711. At 328-ft tall, it is taller than QutubMinar.

Majority of tourists to Punjab are pilgrims visiting Golden Temple in Amritsar. The Punjab Heritage and Tourism Promotion Board wants to promote other activities in the state like farm tourism, freedom trail that includes JaliawalaBagh etc.

Punjab is also trying to woo more pilgrims with the help of ‘Sikh circuit’ that includes several important pilgrim sites for Sikhs in the country. Punjab Heritage and Tourism Promotion Board along with Indian Railways is also planning to launch a train that will take you to major Sikh pilgrimage in the state.

Punjab Government has approved the ‘Sikh Circuit’ tourism plan of Rs. 250 crore for developing prominent Sikh religious places in the state.This project which would be undertaken on Central Financial Assistance (CFA) and PPP mode aims at developing the surroundings of prominent Sikh religious places in a holistic manner. all the three Sikh Takhts namely Sri Akal Takht, Sri Kesgarh Sahib and Dam Dama Sahib besides other gurdawaras and Sikh historic places at Amritsar, Anandpur Sahib, Fatehgarh Sahib, SultanpurLodhi, Dera Baba Nanak, ChhaparChiri and others would be covered under this Sikh Circuit tourism in the state for their further development and beautification.

The Punjab government has approved a project worth Rs 15 crore to turn Kartarpur (Jalandhar district) into a tourist destination under the 12th Five Year Plan, for the state’s ongoing ‘Sikh Circuit’ tourism plans. The project is formulated to widen the integrated infrastructure for religious tourism development and improve connectivity to the identified religious circuits.

There is also scope for heritage and cultural tourism. With the 262 acres Medicity coming up in Mohali there is a huge potential for medical tourism. The state is promoting farm tourism with good accessibility, already having 22 units operational.

There are plans to develop Mohali and Amritsar as trade fair hubs with the development of convention centres and trade fair halls. An area of 2000 acres around RanjitSagar Dam is available for tourism projects. lands will be provided for hotels to be developed on the islands on the lake. this area will be develop as a luxury tourism destination in a proper planned manner .

Entertainment city being developed near Ludhiana. Spread over 4400 acres it is intended to be an entertainment hub of north India.

Of the future projects -the Mohali, Amritsar and Machhiwala are the state’s three international airports. There is a domestic airport coming up in Bhatinda, the Ludhiana and Pathankot airports are being expanded. The state has a high road density of 133 km per 100 sq km.

Punjab government is putting up a lot of efforts to bring different varities of tourism with good infrastructure in the state but what is required is a effective tourism policy and awareness about the potential and large variety of tourism product ranging from art and craft to sports tourism, religious tourism to medical tourism, Adventure tourism to Lesiure, Rural to MICE tourism thereby attracting majority of different tourist in the state.

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