Mehul Sharma, Founder and CEO, Signum Hotels and Resorts shares company’s expansion plan as he reveals signing new properties in South amid pandemic. Keeping a sustainable approach and using technology to reduce human contact for both guests and associates is part of his future plans for all hotels. In his exclusive interview with Hospitality Talk, he highlights more on how the company will bounce back in dynamic situations.
Q.1) Have you signed any new hotels amidst this crisis?
Ans – Yes, we signed three hotels in the South. This situation of crisis is temporary and post that, it’s going to be a great opportunity for the hotel industry as hotels like always have been making relevant strategies to rise back.
Q.2) What is the hotel industry learning from this crisis? How will the sector change post this?
Ans – Hotels will be making use of advanced technologies to enable guests to carry out their pre-arrival, check-in and check-out procedures safely. As the industry has faced these tough times, those involved in managing everything in the front line will be valued even more so there’s going to be empathy.There will also be an approach towards sustainability and the hotels will be sales driven and cost-driven.
Q.3) Do you think the way guests and hotels interact will change given that it has always remained a core of this industry?
Ans – Yes, but it will continue to play an important role with tech support as you cannot get away with human interactions. Instead of the handshake, there will be other ways to greet which include the traditional ‘Namaskar’ or even a respectful salute or a nod.
Q.4) What trends do you think will change significantly post COVID-19?
Ans – Safety and hygiene will be the top priority for every hotel. Each hotel will have to be very clear about the safety measures that they are following. Further, to enable contact minimisation and adapt to this dynamic situation, there will be the usage of AI, apps and robotics for enhancing the experience for both guests and associates. Social distancing practices will continue to be followed for which the hotels will make changes to the spacing styles in all the spaces.
Q.5) Do you think hotels in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities are doing better? Ans – All hotels in these areas are shut at the moment. However, after things start to normalise, people living in these cities too will be travelling and involve in trading activities which does open doors for opportunities for the hotel industry.
Q.6) How long do you think it will take until investors start looking at this industry the way they used to?
Ans. The hotel industry has been taking proactive steps to mitigate the challenges. In about 1-2 years’ time frame, stability will start to come in as the hospitality industry has always been able to bounce back in dynamic situations.