‘Sustainability is the key focus area of Mercure Hyderabad KCP’ : Soumitra Pahari, General Manager, Mercure Hyderabad KCP

‘Sustainability is the key focus area of Mercure Hyderabad KCP’ :
Soumitra Pahari, General Manager, Mercure Hyderabad KCP

The Mercure Hyderabad KCP, which is conveniently situated in the posh locality of Banjara Hills in
Hyderabad, is known for its top-notch service and lip-smacking food. In recent times, the hotel has
been seeing much better growth, even better than the 2019 pre-covid period. The hotel is also
planning to reduce its carbon footprint by eliminating single-use plastic and to make it a reality the
hotel is soon going to introduce its very own bottling plant. Asmita Mukherjee met with Soumitra
Pahari, General Manager, Mercure Hyderabad KCP to know his future plans for the property.

Highlighting the USP of Mercure Hyderabad KCP, Hyderabad which makes the hotel stand out from
the crowded market, Pahari said, “There are three points which make us different from others. First
is that we always depict and promote local culture and art through Mercure which is the motto of
Accor. Each and every room of Mercure Hyderabad KCP promotes local art and craft.

Second is that we always boast about our service. Our guest satisfaction score is paramount for us
and it is always above 90%. Be it a domestic or international guest, we give them all equal priority.
And the third point is food. In my opinion, what makes a hotel stand out in the crowded space is not
its rooms but food and top-notch service. Good food can build up a hotel’s USP. That’s the reason
we put a lot of emphasis on food. Mercure Hyderabad KCP consist of one all-day-dining – Cayenne,
one coffee shop, IQ – The Lounge Bar and the newly introduced Terrace Lounge. All of them are
known for great food. We bring to the table local fare and international cuisine. We try to bring in
different experiences together by organising food festivals every quarter.”

The differentiating factors adopted by Mercure Hyderabad KCP have paid off and combined with the
post-Covid return-to-travel phenomenon being observed all around, have resulted in tremendous
business growth. Pahari shared his joy by saying, “Since April 2022, we have been doing better, even
better than 2019. Our ADR is just above INR 4,000. We are driving occupancy at 80-85% month on
month. On the other hand, F&B revenue and room revenue both are at 40-45%.  Our room and F&B
business contribute to most of the revenue.” Commenting on the guest mix, Pahari stated, “We
receive 20% airline crew, 20% MICE, 20% corporate travellers and the rest of the 40% consists of
medical tourist and retail customers which we get through OTAs and ACCOR website bookings. We
see that leisure travellers numbers are very less. We also receive a lot of medical tourists who are
long-haul travellers. Their minimum stay is 7 days. We get 30% of our bookings from our own
website while from OTA we receive 20%. We also host a lot of weddings and our venues can
accommodate up to 300 people.”

To further fuel this blazing growth rate, the hotel has launched new products recently, aligned with
Pahari’s belief in the motto – ‘the only constant in life is change’. Elaborating on the new products
Pahari said, “In the last six months we had introduced a Spa which is a B2B tie-up with Somara
Wellness and launched a rooftop lounge called Terrace. The lounge is very thoughtfully designed
keeping the millennials in mind. The Terrace overlooking Hussain Sagar Lake, Birla Mandir, and
Necklace Road is the perfect spot for a weekend hangout.”

In the middle of all this, Pahari is also mindful of reducing the environmental footprint of Mercure
Hyderabad KCP. Pahari is trying to bring about radical changes to the way the property does
business through various sustainability initiatives. Pahari shared a few of those initiatives by saying,
“We have introduced electric vehicle chargers to our property. The transport service which we use
for the hotel has electric vehicles. Through this, we plan to reduce our carbon footprint. We are also
planning to eliminate all single-use plastic, such as toiletries – shampoo, conditioner, cream bottles,
shaving kits, earbuds, toothbrushes, and toothpaste.  We have tied up with a local Hyderabad-based

start-up called Nevo for supplying sustainable products. We will be replacing plastic combs with
wooden combs, and plastic toothbrushes with wooden toothbrushes. We are also starting our own
in-house water bottling plant, which can produce around 700 to 1000 bottles per day.”
While discussing the various challenges that Pahari has been facing, he commented that the pricing
of the hospitality industry in Hyderabad is a dampener, and the pricing is not growing at the rate
that it should be. “The room cost and the food pricing, both are not at par with Bengaluru, Delhi, or
Mumbai. We still have a lot to catch up on. That is something that probably the hospitality industry
of the city should work together for a solution,” he added.  A key challenge being faced by the
industry in current times is that of staff crunch. But Mercure Hyderabad KCP under the aegis of
Pahari has adopted several key steps to counter this crunch and has been successful in mitigating
this issue to a great extent. “We are pretty content. We are recruiting local talents. We had
increased our associate's salary twice in FY 21-22, and now wage-wise, we are at par with other
industries, so our associates are happy to work with us,” he concluded.

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