Staycations, bizcations evolving
Hyderabad: Weddings have become the saviour for the hospitality industry at a time when the occupancy levels have fallen drastically due to Covid induced lockdowns and travel restrictions. To bring back guests, hotels have launched customised packages with affordable tariffs, said Ian Dubier, Area Director and General Manager Taj Krishna, Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL).
IHCL in Hyderabad has five hotels – Taj Falaknuma Palace, Taj Krishna, Taj Deccan, Taj Banjara and Vivanta- with more than 760 rooms and suites.
“Covid disrupted IT, banking, manufacturing, and allied activities, which are key drivers of the hospitality sector in Hyderabad. Weddings became the mainstays for star hotels in Hyderabad for the past 18 months. At different phases of the restrictions, we have hosted wedding groups from 20 to 200 people. The average spend ranged from 10 lakh to 80 lakh,” Dubier told Telangana Today.
“Taj Falaknuma Palace is at the higher end of the price spectrum and is a jewel for us as well as Hyderabad. Unlike most palaces, which are present in a touristic circuit, this living palace in a major city like Hyderabad is well-connected by all modes of transport. We had lots of families driving in and spending a few days here,” he said.
On the visible trends, Dubier said, many have started taking staycations (coming out to unwind for two or three days) and bizcations (clubbing work and leisure for four to six days). There is also a demand for wellness packages. “You stay, go to a spa, unwind, and have a customised menu. That is an emerging area as the focus has shifted to wellness and health due to Covid,” he said.
Tariffs have gone south from the average Rs 7,500-9,000 to Rs 5,000-6,500 for city hotels. Hyderabad in the five-star segment has 5,200 keys and the current occupancy is about 50 to 60 per cent of the total capacity, said Dubier, who is also a member of Telangana State Committee of industry body Hotel Association of India (HAI).
“Hyderabad is a favoured destination for conventions, and international conferences. Telangana is among the States where the Covid situation was managed well and as a result conferences have started making a comeback from this July. While that is a good sign, there are no large-scale events lined up for the next few months. The events happening now are seeing an attendance of about 150 people. Board meets, AGMs, and corporate events are the key,” he said.
“Focus is on hygiene and safety. That is where the luxury segment scores as the safety protocols are high. Guests want those in their proximity to be vaccinated,” he said. In Hyderabad, 100 per cent of IHCL staff had taken the first dose and about 80 per cent of them have also taken the second dose.
On Telangana Government asking IT companies to resume work from offices, he said that will bring back some business to the hospitality industry as well as put the economy back on track. The hospitality industry lost an estimated $4 trillion globally and in India about Rs 1.3 trillion ($ 17.4 billion) due to Covid, in the last financial year. “The hospitality industry is fragile and gets easily affected due to calamities anywhere in the world,” he added.
As a Covidcare initiative, the company delivered more than 75,000 meals from Taj Falaknuma Palace for health professionals at the Gandhi hospital in Hyderabad.
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