Monday, September 4, 2017

The Iconic Hotelier and Most Influential leader Indrajeet Banerjee

'Hotel' by Arthur Halle had intrigued me as a dreamy teenager. I was absolutely eager to know the veritable nuances of Hospitality industry. Blogging provided me lots of opportunities to review many hotels but still I was nowhere near knowing the REAL , actual Hotel functioning. 

We have ice-capped Himalayas, fort-fulls of Sahyadri mountains, valleys, Ganges, Godawari rivers, lush green forests, picturesque islands spectacular biodiversity, exotic flora & Fauna, sprawling metropolises, IT hubs, exquisite natural wonders which we can monetize if the tourism and hospitality work in tandem. Next is Guest. Types of guests , such as  Generation Z , Millenials, more reclusive , private , wishing for curated , personalized experiences Generation Y ( public sharing, exhibitionist ) , Generation X , Baby boomers, their preferences , their spending choices , powers and how it all affects the hospitality industry.

I was totally enchanted with whichever Five star hotels I visited in Mumbai for press conferences and wished for answers for all of above. You may imagine my joy when I happened to strike Gold with blogposts such as 'Excellence Lies in the Grey ', 'The Brand called Guest' , How the digital world has affected the luxury hotel industry' from Mr. Indrajeet Banerjee (IB), a Hospitality & Marketing Stalwart with 24 years of exclusive experience in the industry. IB has very recently been conferred “The Iconic Hotelier 2017” award presented by Times Network and felicitated with “The Most Influential Sales & Mktg Leader of the Decade (2007-2017)” title by CMO Asia at Sentosa, Singapore.

Each and every word IB uttered about Excellence in Hospitality industry, was totally in sync with his joyous & amp; kind behaviour. He made me feel really comfortable with his undivided attention to my views and was extremely hospitable. I was amazed to see that the serving staff were treated so warmly by him and could dare to chat with him frankly – it spoke about the down to earth human being within the mask of a luxury hotelier.

When I read his erudite LinkedIn posts, I was expecting kind of a studious, a bit aloof official person. Thank God and thanks to the perfect upbringing of his loving Mom, he proved my bookish judgement wrong. His astonishing life-story about humble background and achieving the glorious summit at the young age through sheer passion, determination, discipline and smart work mesmerized us instantly. Meeting and learning about IB's dazzling career was like reading an exciting novel. His love & dedication to his mom made a tender yet lasting impression on me. I would so like to recite his biography to my nephew. If he can emulate at least the way IB loves his Mom, I will be  blessed forever.

Let's find out about his experiences in the hospitality space, straight from  IB's mouth for our readers : 

How has the Hospitality industry evolved since the day you joined and how it has added dimensions to your personality?

Over the years power has moved from Brands to People.
The industry today has evolved, customers are far more informed, have greater choices, are much more vocal about their experiences and the hotels ability to stroke the business through one on one interaction are far less. We dont see a substantial percentage of our customers today - such is the impact of automation. Globally guests book through online channels and self booking tools. The master stroke today no longer lies in effective sales calls, it lies in effectively understanding the online buying behavior and projecting the brand based on target market and the brand promise it demands.
This phenomenal change in buying behaviour was a wake up call to re-skill my self and unlearn all that I followed over the years as conventional sales.

What is the Indian perspective of Hospitality?

Luxury, for me, is Indian hospitality.
Our approach to guest satisfaction evolves from our culture - Atithi Devo Bhava – Guest is God.
Hence, in Indian Hospitality there is no cookie cutter aproaches, guest is not considered a room number only and chokolates on the pillow are’nt enough.  It is about treating a guests just the way one would treat him at his/her own home.
Our constant endeveour to keep striving towards raising the bar of guest experience sets Indian hospitality in a league of its own.

What is the current scenario of Indian Hospitality industry vice versa Indian tourism?

****Indian Tourism is growing rapidly. The World Travel & Tourism Council calculated Indian Tourism to have contributed 9.6% to the nations GDP and supported 40,343 million jobs which is 9.3% of its total employment. The sector is predicted to grow at 6.8% annuually. The Travel & Tourism Competetiveness Report 2017 ranks India 36th among 136 countries. The World Tourism Organisation reported that India’s reciepts from tourism in 2012 ranked 16th in the world and 7th among Asian and Pacific countries. (references mentioned below)

India is rich in every way – a country that provides tourism with a canvas of diverse experinces to choose from. Be it mountains and the valleys, beaches and the back waters, healing or the heritage. This supported by e-visa’s, brilliant connectivities, infrastructure and the culture of Atithi Devo Bhava sets the country apart

The hospitality sector is managing this exciting journey brilliantly. The sector is adopting the new trend of customer buying skewed towards global digital platforms at the right pace. It has been able to arrive at a beautiful and delicate balance of e-management and at the same time maintain its unique approach towards an experiencial selling and brand delivery through the digital platforms.

What is the role of social media ( Twitter , Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat etc.) in Public Relations , Advertising, Marketing of Hotel's image building?

The industry today has evolved, customers are far more informed, have greater choices and are much more vocal about their experiences . All this on/due to the social media.
Tomorrow belongs to Digitalization.

The delivery of the brand is aggressively shifting towards the online space. How effectively has one been able to project its brands promise and narrow the gap between the “aspired” and “perceived” brand positioning in the online space will determine the hospitality leaders of tomorrow.


Abhijit Ray said...

Nice interview.


Thanks Abhijit. The Mumbai bloggers enjoyed learning the nuances of Hospitality industry from Mr. Indrajeet Banerjee ( IB )

Jai said...

Visited Mumbai just twice. Once during an industrial tour when I was in college. The other time when I was to attend a job interview. Those days it was called Bombay. Nice interview. Seems to be a very humble man in spite of rising to such great heights.

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