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Suresh Nanda of Claridges talks about post-pandemic hospitality revival

Survive, revive, and thrive is the mantra for hospitality amid the pandemic, he said. 

Suresh Nanda, Chairman of Claridges Group of Hotels, has called for strategic steps for the struggling Indian hospitality industry. He said that once such steps are taken for survival while building the capabilities and services for the revival, nothing is going to stop the hospitality from thriving once the pandemic gets over. 

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the global hospitality sector has witnessed an unprecedented contraction. Similarly, the Indian hospitality sector has been struggling since the imposition of the national lockdown in March last year. With a recent surge in infection cases and reimposition of movement on restriction, the future of hospitality in India has once again been surrounded with enhanced uncertainties.  

Here, Suresh Nanda said that the major focus of the industry should be on the trinity of survival, revival, and thrive. He said that adaptability is essential for survival and that the outbreak of the pandemic will change hospitality in the post-pandemic world. “In the post-pandemic world, emphasis is on sustainability and hygiene as well as exclusive experiences. The travelers are more focused on getting a safe and enriching experience than the ‘lowest cost’ options. This is where premier brands such as Claridges offer excellent value propositions to the guests. Lower carbon footprints, complete bio-bubble level hygiene, and adherence to COVID-19 protocols by guests and staff alike are some of the things that will be preferred as well as appreciated. Right now is the best time to assess the situation and revive operations that have been halted by the pandemic.”

While talking about the revival, he said that the stakeholders “across India are using this time to reset their operations, and re-strategize how they want to conduct processes, business activities and ensure efficiencies in the post-pandemic world. The circumstances are disruptive, but, they offer ample learning and transformation opportunities.”

“The need of the hour is to revive core competencies, facilities, and capabilities to create plans and operational infrastructure for the post-pandemic travelers,” adds Suresh Nanda. 

He is also optimistic about the future of the industry and with the pandemic altering the inbound and outbound tourism dynamics, he says, “Apart from the existing domestic travelers, there is now an opportunity to cater to the 25 million Indian tourists who throng global tourism hotspots in their quest for experiences. By creating quality and unique experiences closer at home, the industry operators can turn this audience into patrons.” 

“Sustainable tourism, upscale and boutique branded hotels, business hotels, and resorts that offer ‘exclusivity’ are going to thrive in the times to come. This would mean ensuring impeccable customer experience and keeping the user at the core of all operations – following global standards of service and support. The core philosophy would revolve around value creation as opposed to short-term profit generation,” Suresh Nanda adds. 

A seasoned market analyst, Suresh Nanda is a serial entrepreneur with over four decades of experience in the hospitality industry. 

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