Amidst outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the Indian hotel industry is staring at low revenues and is struggling for survival with international tourism being on a halt and locals being hesitant to get out of their homes. Under the new normal, hotel groups are attempting to reinvent themselves.
Gurugram's Hilton Garden Inn has launched 'work from hotel' with daily tariffs to break the monotony for those stuck at home for months. The hotel offers a workspace in a conference room for Rs 3,500 plus taxes, which includes lunch and unlimited tea/coffee for 8-9 hours of the work schedule. Talking about the impact of the pandemic on business, Rajat Bahl, Director Sales of the hotel says, "Before the lockdown, we were at 70 per cent occupancy which dipped to 7 per cent. That too because we had some expats stuck here. Otherwise new bookings had come to nil.''
Bahl said that they have also started delivering food for generating revenues. Hotels always shied away from this concept as the focus was always on providing a rich dining experience at the property. But food delivery business was one of the very few services which were allowed to continue even under lockdown as an essential service. Thus, hotels now see it as a perfect opportunity to enter this operation.
Roseate House, a 5-star hotel in Delhi, now also delivers food from its kitchen. However, as some customers were still cautious in ordering food from outside, the hotel made arrangements, so that they can access live footage of the kitchen on their mobile phone. The hotel has also launched laundry service. ''So, we pick up the laundry from guest's house and we deliver it at their home in 24 hours. We have prices starting from Rs 200 and it goes on." says Prem Prakash, Executive Assistant Manager, Roseate House Aerocity.
Another hotel in Greater Noida, Crowne Plaza, apart from home delivery of food has started ‘dial a chef' program. Ashwani Nayar, General Manager sharing the details said, ''if you have 4-5 people dining at your home, we will send you our chef that will setup a catering meal for you."
The Federation of Hotel And Restaurant Association Of India, that represents 55,000 hotels and 5,00,000 restaurants in the country, has also written to the finance minister requesting immediate extension of moratorium by 3 months for the hospitality industry. Hotels in different parts of the country are open, Delhi being the latest one to make the announcement. ''Occupancy is as low as 10-20 per cent wherever the sector is opened'' Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, Vice President, FHRAI, said.