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‘Mid-scale hotels will continue to be trailblazers in the Indian market’

Wednesday, December 18, 2019, 12:31 Hrs  [IST]

Gorav Arora, General Manager, Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach is an accomplished hotelier with 18 years of hospitality experience. Arora strongly believes in hard work, honesty and dedication. As the General Manager the biggest challenge for him was to renovate the hotel while still running it profitably. Asmita Mukherjee spoke with Arora to know his path breaking ideas of positioning the hotel in a competitive market like Mumbai.

Q What is the USP of your property?
Our location is our unique selling proposition. Situated on the beachfront, Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach offers a magnificent view of the Arabian Sea and easy access to the beach. The hotel is ideal for weekend getaways for families, large corporate events and social gatherings, customised weddings and family functions. Juhu is a very vibrant locality and guests can visit the famous ISKON temple, Prithvi theatre and other well-known places, which are situated very near to the hotel. This is a very unique hotel in which we get to host business travelers, leisure travelers, and stay-cation travelers.

Novotel, as a brand, focuses on family and we offer a free stay to children below the age of 16 years (accompanied by their parent or grandparents).

The hotel is home to six award-winning dining options – The Square, Olio, Gadda Vida, Peche Mignon, Sampan and Bageecha which are very popular among our patrons. The Square offers all day dining options with a multi-cuisine buffet and an a-la-carte menu. Olio specializes in Italian delights and is famous for its thin crust pizza. Chef Penpa who is a culinary wizard and master of Oriental cuisine heads Sampan, the Chinese restaurant. Gadda Da Vida is the chic sea lounge with lively music which is perfect for a relaxed gathering with friends.

The hotel has a total number of 191 rooms and 12 suites, in addition to 9 meeting venues such as, meeting rooms, conferences and banquet facilities customized according to guest requirements. The property has 6 banquet rooms with a variety of solutions catering to high-profile gatherings of 10 guests up to gatherings of 1000 guests. Seating up to 350 people in theatre style, the main ballroom is well-equipped with the latest audio-visual and high fidelity sound equipment. All meeting rooms come with the latest audio-visual equipment and wireless Internet access making them perfect for corporate events.

The Banquet spaces are divided into various sections with the main Ballroom having a capacity of about 300 sit-downs and additional foyer for pre function space. Further, some of the additional spaces include a smaller Function Room, a Board Room and an open air upper deck area.

Q What are your plans for the year and beyond?
We are focussing on constantly innovating with our Food and Beverage offerings to cater to seasonal, as well as, local demand. We have a number of themed Sunday brunches planned, especially during the festive seasons. We will also have different food promotions and other interesting festivals that will entice our guests. The hotel's Instagram and Facebook pages are regularly updated with details on ongoing promotions.

Q What has been your experience of the Midscale brands market and how has it changed?
The mid-scale hospitality segment has completely transformed India in the past decade. Hotel brands in this tier are being driven by the rising power of the middle class, growing weekend culture and change in the mind-set of travellers to indulge in experiences. Over the next couple of years, mid-scale hotels will continue to be trailblazers in the Indian market and see an upward trajectory of growth.

Q Who are your target customers?
Our priority customers are corporate travelers as they contribute the most towards our revenue. The nationality breakup of the guests whom we host are 60% Indians and 40 % international. Among the 60% of Indian guests, around 25%-30 % are NRIs.

Q As the General Manager, what are your plans for the hotel?
My priority now is to ensure that the hotel is positioned at the right place. We will also be focusing on social media connect with our customers as feedback through social medium is good for us. We also have plans to do promotions of our properties through Airline magazines, and at the Domestic and International terminals of Mumbai Airport.

We started operating as Novetel Mumbai Juhu beach in 2009, and as every hotel needs a makeover after 9-10 years, we started renovating this hotel in the month of June 2018. The hotel earlier had wooden floors which we have now changed into carpet floors. Except the structure, almost everything including the furniture and bathroom fittings is brand new at our hotel now.

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