As I just returned from a 10 days trip though India, I got to stay in various hotel and realized that the Indian hospitality industry holds a very unique key to being the best model in the world. Having worked for a few hotel groups around the world (from Intercontinental to Starwood and Marriott), I couldn’t help myself , everywhere I would check-in, from having my brains in professional mode when it came to customer experience & hotel management : despite a few key areas of improvement, I realized that the hospitality groups in India (Oberoi, Taj, Leela etc...) could potentially possess the most powerful & winning combination of art & science when it comes to Customer satisfaction and could inspire many other service industries (airlines, banking...) in the quest for Customer Service Excellence.
However, at a time of economic pressure , less-than-expected growth in inbound travel, devaluation of the Indian rupee against the US dollar and room supply overshooting demand, the need for India’s hospitably industry to better structure & optimize its revenue structure & operations is pressing whilst its inherent superior assets could be better utilized...
However, despite these very unique qualities, I also found that beyond these irreplaceable assets in the art of hospitality, some other areas & more technical skills in the science of the trade seem to be missing in action or underutilized...At a time when many Indian joint ventures with Western groups are dissolving under the economic pressure that the country is going through, a pro-active charting & consolidation of these strategic skills could help Indian hospitality groups grow more efficiently by unleashing more profitability and an optimized customer experience , helping to consolidate what could become the most powerful marketing mix in the global hospitality industry landscape:
In conclusion, with the current slowed growth that it is going through, maybe it’s time for India’s hospitality industry to rethink some of its strategic skills & upgrade its approach & tools when it comes to their Customer strategy, Service Excellence & delivery. It will be even more crucial to the growing trend of Internationally-branded, mid-scale offerings and value segment which are more & more required by both domestic and international travelers...For that to happen, the best of traditional Maharajah style hospitality will have to incorporate an innovative 21st century strategy & its marketing tools that the population of Modern India & the digital age have already adopted.
If that happens, India’s hospitality industry might be in a position to become the most qualitative, competitive & efficient on the planet...!