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‘We plan to invest 100 Cr in next couple of years which includes introduction of new brands’

Wednesday, December 18, 2019, 15:36 Hrs  [IST]

With more than 20 years of unrivalled experience offering Premium Airport Services, Plaza Premium Group has become synonymous with best practice for airport value-added services. In India, Plaza Premium Group is being operated by a Joint Venture company, Premium Port Lounge Management Company Pvt. Ltd., and launched its first lounge in Hyderabad in 2008. At present, there are 15 Plaza Premium Lounges in India including Delhi and Ahmedabad. Bhavya Kukreja, Marketing Head, Plaza Premium Lounge Group, India, spoke to Hospitality Biz in the wake of the company introducing their acclaimed Meet & Greet Service – Allways – in Delhi airport.

Q As an independent airport lounge operator, how is Plaza Premium Lounges' product and service offerings are different from the usual airport lounges operated by airlines, hotels, etc.?
We are driven by the heartfelt desire "to do something for the majority". We are not just any lounge operator; we have a process behind every vertical and are driven by a structured process to excel at whatever services we provide at the lounges. Today, with more than 20 years of unrivalled experience offering Premium Airport Services, Plaza Premium Group has become synonymous with best practice for airport value-added services, to complement travellers' overall airport experience.

What a business traveller looks for is efficiency, finding ways to do things quicker, more efficiently and conveniently. For example, a quiet space with high speed Wi-Fi-enabled, collaborative work-spaces, meeting rooms and break out spaces to conduct business meetings or calls before boarding for the next destination. For those who are arriving, they always look for clothes-pressing services, shower facilities to freshen up or enjoy a good meal before their next meeting in town.

Also, importantly, it is the little things done by our team that is always beneficial. Sometimes a good coffee or a glass of wine, or simply a scrumptious meal is just what is needed by a traveller before their flight; at times, even a spa and massage service after a tiring flight is enough to rejuvenate while at the transit etc. So, we make sure our team is intuitive to the needs of the travellers.



Q How has Plaza Premium's journey been so far in India and how do you understand the market opportunities and challenges as the airport infrastructure in the country is on an upswing?
In India, Plaza Premium Group is being operated by a Joint Venture company, Premium Port Lounge Management Company Pvt. Ltd., and launched its first lounge in Hyderabad in 2008. At present, there are 15 Plaza Premium Lounges in India including Delhi and Ahmedabad. We are facing huge response from the travellers in India and have a growth rate of 20% year on year.

We believe that the journey of Plaza Premium starts and ends with the journey and experience of travellers. In India, the concept of 'Atithi Devo Bhava', the host-guest relationship is kept at the centre. And, with each passing year, we at Plaza Premium Lounge have been adding value to our products and services, adhering to the dynamics of the host-guest relationship. Our approach has always been customer-oriented and the results are best witnessed with each milestone that we achieve. Moreover, Indian market has an added advantage as the majority of the population are millennials and their desire for absolute contentment has taken the entire travel and tourism sector to a new level.



Being at the airport has its pros and cons. We always provide freshly cooked food at our lounges and in order to provide it round the clock, keeping the different cultures of our travellers in mind, at both - international and domestic departures, is quite challenging. Our team makes sure that we innovate new techniques and try our best to provide excellent services with efficiency.

Q From an airport lounge operator, Plaza Premium has diversified into transit hotel operator and also Airport Meet and Greet services, etc. What is your roll out plans for these products and services in India market?
We started with Plaza Premium Lounge and now we have 'Allways' and are exploring the opportunities to bring other brands of the group to India as well. Allways - which is currently operating in Delhi - will also be expanded to other cities.

Allways is the only authorized Meet & Greet service at Delhi Airport, currently. It provides Buggy Service, Porter Services, Lounge Access and Transit Assistance. Currently, there are more than 100 porters and 6 Buggies (Golf Carts) at Terminal 3 of Delhi Airport. Apart from Delhi, it is also present in Dallas Fort Worth, New York, Toronto, and Macau.

Q What is the sense of consumer demands that you expect to emerge in near future especially because of the ever-increasing number of New Gen travellers and millennials, and how are you preparing to be ready ahead of times?


The design of the lounge is suitable more for millennials. We are reducing the dark ambience inside the lounges by adding brighter spaces. We have a 'Wall of Sense' which is about making people familiar with the heritage of the city, with huge frames of two of the most popular monuments of India - Lal Qila and Qutab Minar. We are Indianizing our brand, making it more localized so that we can connect with our travellers and vice-versa.

We are already moving more towards AI driven technology for the lounges. Digital feedback forms are soon to be introduced at the lounges. We would urge our guests to look out for new up-gradations and let us know their opinions to help us improvise.

Q How Indian air travellers are evolving to travel lounges and their services and how is it different from other markets?
The scenario for the Indian air travellers has changed drastically. The unprecedented heavy traffic in India's metropolitan cities have changed the perception and approach of Indian travellers about the concept of airport lounges. People prefer to reach early at the airport and then find options to spend their time doing various activities before boarding the flight. For them, sitting in the lounge away from the concourse of passengers can be the perfect solution and a lot more comforting than wandering around the airport looking for a quiet spot.

Q What are your expansion plans in India and what kind of investment are you are committing for the market expansion?
We are upgrading all our lounges and expanding the seating capacity in Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Delhi to enhance and elevate the experience of our travellers. We plan to invest 100 Cr in next couple of years which includes introduction of new brands as well.

 
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