Blogs » Appointment » The situation this time is dramatically different: Ajay Bakaya

The situation this time is dramatically different: Ajay Bakaya

  • The situation this time is dramatically different: Ajay Bakaya

    With 95 hotels and 7000 plus keys, Sarovar Hotels and Resorts is a substantial part of India’s hospitality landscape. ETHospitalityWorld caught up with Ajay Bakaya, the managing director of the company and doyen of the industry for a chat on what the industry was going through at the moment.

    “The situation this time is dramatically different. When we talked last time, it was about the larger lockdown and the first major downturn of business—but peoples' spirits were not battered, they were still not scared. Unless you had comorbidities, or working from, you were going about doing your business and we were seeing the impact in hotels—we saw many more people drive into our resorts, we saw people on flights come in, we saw corporate business pick up,” Bakaya said about the first wave of the pandemic in 2020 adding that during the first wave, there was also a market for those who had Covid but were asymptomatic who used the hotels to quarantine.

    The difference this time around was whole families were getting infected and preferring to quarantine at home—those who were looking for care, weren’t considering hotels, but hospitals. There was also the fact that people were just not travelling.

    “20 percent of my hotels are shut down at the moment. The other 80 percent are doing an occupancy rate of 20 percent if you put it all together. So it's poor business and in very few hotels are we able to do operational break-even,” he said when asked about Sarovar. Bakaya however did give us some positive examples of what his company was doing.

    “I want to cite the example of what we've done in the Golden Tulip in Gurugram. It's one of the newer hotels with 60 beds which we connected up with an elder care group called Emoha as well as a group called iamgurgaon. Lots of seniors who can't be taken care of at home, but with oxygen levels above 90, need doctors on premises, dedicated oxygen concentrators, nurses and other medical setups including an ambulance on call,” he said. The hotel also did a tie up with Fortis Hospital for patients who needed more complex care.

    “Now what we are saying is, if you’ve out of hospital and testing Covid negative, you can come here and help the recovery process since the whole setup is already there—which has met with a fair amount of success,” he added.

    And though as a company he built hotels to be used at hotels, this temporary move at least was able to save some lives and be able to provide a level of care that hospitals just could offer and a level of detail of care that Bakaya believed none of his competitors in a similar segment were offering.

    “What can a hotel company look for in terms of strategy? I can't convert my properties into anything else, except very temporarily which is what I'm doing right now. We opened up and pushed the work from hotel initiative, but we had very little traction there. We are focusing on the smaller wedding segment—our property in Mashobra which has 60 rooms did eight weddings in February. Corporate travel, if it starts will only be a trickle and I don't have a foreign segment to cater to—we may have to wait till the last quarter of 2022 to see any significant movement there,” he said.

    “The strategy right now was to cut down costs to the bone, examine every single line-item rupee by rupee. We have paid our employee expenses and it's been a tough journey. The number of employees in our hotels are half of what they used to be 15 months ago—it's a scary situation and we've had very little or no help from the government, though I must compliment Maharashtra for coming out with very strong proactive measures in terms of you know what the state can do,” Bakaya added.


    Source: ETHospitalityWorld

  • Hoteliersweb .
    Hoteliers Web announced their top 25 Housekeepers from South East Asia, Middle East and Africa in a virtual live event on 15th November 2020. The virtual event and this power list is one of hotel industry's first, and at hoteliers web we believe it's a great beginning. There are a lot of fraterni...
  • Hoteliersweb .
    Prabhat Shukla is the President of Asian Housekeepers Association & President of Qatar Housekeepers Association. He believes that taking care of his people is the key to his success. He is an innovator, motivator, and visionary with a history of securing, building, and retaining key talen...
  • Hoteliersweb .
    Tatjana Ahmed is the Functional Specialist Housekeeping for Hyatt Hotels and also is the Chair Lady for the UAE Professional Housekeepers Group since 2011. A passionate Housekeeping Professional with more than 30 years of experience in 5 Star Hotel Management. Her extensive experience and passion h...
  • Hoteliersweb .
    Meenu Tognatta is an Advisor and Life Member for Professional Housekeepers Association and also a member of International Housekeepers Forum in India With over 38 years of experience in the Hospitality Industry Covering journey of becoming a Divisional Corporate Housekeeper of ITC Hotels. She has...
View All