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Serving Political Hostages!

Thursday, December 19, 2019, 10:04 Hrs  [IST]

The recent turn of events in Maharashtra and the subsequent 'Resort Politics' being enacted in Mumbai makes one think of many unexplored opportunities for the hotel industry in India. With the frequency of such events on the rise across India (We have seen the worst forms in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa and now in Mumbai), hospitality players needed to be more serious and geared to look at it as a business opportunity in the coming days. In case hotels and resorts haven't started marketing their products and services to political parties so far, they have to revisit their strategy without further delay. In fact they should also not hesitate to incorporate some design and service elements suited to appeal to this 'seasoned' guests so as to get a marketing edge to their products against the competition.

Political parties generally herd their flock into hi-end hotels as a last resort to keep poachers at bay during critical junctures. The safety and security of the property is paramount in such circumstances. Therefore, hotels can make safety and security features a selling point to make it appealing to this class. It is also not bad to have certain floors with extra security features for such guests, similar to what many hotels have rooms and floors dedicated for single woman travellers!

If media reports are to be believed, it is also not bad to hire staff or associates of certain political affinity or affiliation to make a solid sales pitch to make the hotel doubly reassuring. It was reported that cadres of a hotel employees' union with affiliation to a key political party in the reckoning for power kept a 24-hour vigil of the movements of the political guests in some of the Mumbai hotels during the recent crisis! Well done!

Political parties and politicians use hotels during time of crisis or for 'deal-making' at their will. We have even seen a whole hotel in Kashmir being converted into a virtual prison to house important politicians and law-makers after the abrogation of the Article 370. So far, so good. But, generally the policy-makers forsake the hospitality industry at its time of crisis. We have seen governments announcing incentives and financial boosters for different industries during economic and financial crisis to make them see off difficult times. But hospitality industry is largely left to fend for them. Adding insult to the agony is the directive to different departments and PSUs to avoid spending on hotels and hospitality as part of austerity!.

P Krishna Kumar
Assistant Editor

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