The Dawn of Hospitality 2020

As for everything else these days, a business’s ability to understand their consumers’ intent and efficiently positioning themselves along the way can make or break the bank. With the paradigm shift that the ever-evolving hospitality industry undergo – the five key factors that we reckon will determine the hotel industry in 2020 are:

Online Space

Google is eyeing on the travel and hospitality industry, tapping into its gigantic trove of usage data to deliver highly relevant information to users across all various stages of their trip planning. Although it recently shut down its Google Trips app, many of its features will live on in Google Search and Google Maps. As regular OTAs continue to challenge the hotel industry, Expedia has been expanding its global presence and focusing on “brand-agnostic customers” through more relevant local offerings and content strategies. Expedia Collections has had a different approach, and provides a better solution to experience-focused travelers. Through its categories, travelers can select their preferred types of travel experience without deciding on a destination right off the bat. Google Flight and more recently Google Travel also offer the Explore feature to empower travelers to explore without first selecting a destination. While more traditional hospitality players are rethinking their brand portfolio, brand architecture and individual brands’ unique value propositions, they should gain inspiration from both Google and Expedia and keep travelers’ travel intent, occasions and hobbies in mind. 

Global Economy 

Undoubtedly, we are familiar with the vast amounts of data and statistics that point to the market edging ever closer to a recession. While other industries and their corresponding companies’ share prices will feel the brunt of this economic correction, hotels will inevitably get caught up in the tsunami if not already. The trend of record low unemployment coupled with record highs in the stock market will not last forever. In order to be better prepared for lessening the blow and catch up, one must know their contacts better than their competitors while meeting and anticipating their desires. It is a seemingly simple concept, but when you master it you will see the wins on the top line of your P&Ls. It’s a matter of listening and proactivity before the next downturn hits us.


Every generation — Z, Baby Boomers and Millennials has a unique skill set but different mindsets. All of them can benefit any hospitality business but in different ways. Thus, it is crucial to do some research and determine the strongest and weakest qualities of every generation before making strategies. Millennials are people born between 1981-1997; who are good with technologies, have quality education, and are ready to embrace and accept diversity. Moreover, they become the fastest growing users in the hospitality industry, so it is wise to keep an eye on this audience. It is imperative to pay close attention to different generations. Millennials can thus specially contribute so much to the hospitality business. 

Growth of alternative accommodation

With the success of such accommodation especially AirBNB, traditional hospitality players should learn and adapt their modus operandi. Addition of new features like Airbnb Plus and following the acquisition of Luxury Retreats in 2017, Beyond by Airbnb accounts for the group’s premium line, gathering the platform’s highest-end homes. Airbnb Collections and a revamped Superhost program makes the stay more customized. The launch of a pilot Superguest program is also underway and making steps towards building loyalty for its consumers. In addition to these new developments, the recent acquisition of last minute booking app – HotelTonight, proves how the San Francisco-based disruptor is venturing even further into the realm of traditional hospitality.

Digitalization/ Artificial intelligence 

Whether online check-in or digital guest maps – many innovations are often treated negligently and skeptically by hoteliers. However, digital guest communication and becoming receptive to the bots is the key to counteracting staff shortages, relieving the workload of employees and meeting guests’ expectations along the entire guest journey. Hoteliers should evaluate which digital solutions bring advantage to their business and how they can be integrated in a useful way. In times of digitalization, the question is not whether to digitalize guest communication, but when and with which tools. Hoteliers should focus on solutions that help to design the digital guest journey and make stay of guests even more pleasant. Processes should be optimized and personnel relieved so that hoteliers can concentrate on the centerpiece of their business: taking care of their guests.

Evolution for Existence

Evolution for Existence

The hospitality industry worldwide is shifting constantly but with the additional rationales applicable in the subcontinent, the Indian travel and hospitality industry is evolving faster to thrive itself. With news of curtains been drawn over some of the offline travel agencies, rise of AirBnB and Oyo – it’s clear indication that one mode isn’t killing the other but the modus operandi needs to be transformed rather quickly to keep one above the curve.

Traditionally offline travel agents were the only choice to book travel. One would simply call them or meet in the office, told them where you wanted to go, and it was DONE as the agents did all the annoying work of talking to airlines, hotels, transportation et al. Then came OTAs (online travel agencies), allowing one to book all the aforementioned and additionally attractions like tours and sightseeing, all in one place. But recently with another where people are moving away from OTAs and toward handling things themselves again. But this time around not via offline agents, they don’t need a middleman of any kind, digital or otherwise. For hoteliers, this an opportunity when a guest call the hotel to book rooms directly the reservations team can make sure they have the most convenient possible experience and convert those lookers into bookers.

Do we really know why guests are choosing one property over others, and what they expect when they arrive? It’s a big point of discussion but for the subject of the blog will focus on it’s relevance to evolution for existence. There is or if we can say “there was” a void with a lot of untapped opportunities in the budget hotel segment. However, the same is right now catered or minted by Oyo, Airbnb with convenience and some standardization. One of the highest rated quality based on today’s guest reviews for properties are – location, location and location which also got addressed with platforms that permits ordinary people to rent out their residences as tourist accommodation. As the prominence of alternative accommodation continues to rise, many hotel have to change up their business models in order to appeal to the all-important millennial traveler.

The transformation has to be examined through the lens of disruptive innovation theory, which describes how products or services that lack in traditionally favored attributes but offer alternative benefits can, over time, transform a market and capture mainstream consumers. The concepts of the current disruptive innovation is built around modern internet technologies, distinct appeal, value for money and the potential to explore more authentic local experiences.

“Without information, you’re hamstrung in terms of making intelligent decisions around your business” — Unknown. Intelligent guesses or the way it worked last time doesn’t help the cause in the momentum shift. Several reports show the growth in contract freelancers and consultants to get the quality work done by someone or a firm who is an experienced professional or a subject matter expert.

Pic Courtesy: Arghyadeb Dey

The Banana Row :)

The Banana Row :)

A video posted by an actor appalled on being charged INR 442.50 for couple of bananas at a five star hotel got viral recently. With the post a controversial debate raged on various point of views just not the amount charged but was it ethical, logical, legal and more.

While it got the internet buzzing with memes and other hotels also taking a satire nip of the topic, it triggers a lot of questions for hoteliers, hotel operators and the blog highlights some of them. Training and auditing of the standard procedures in hotels is of critical importance with contingencies accounted for. In this case due to an irregular demand of 2 bananas either the team had a choice to not charge for them at all or raise a check for the closest possible alternative. The further course of event is a case study now for the management students 🙂

The hotel teams work diligently on their product and service offering to ensure their reviews and guest feedback peaks. Meeting every guest during the stay and quality check at most of the touch points ensure the service recovery is done in case of any lapse of guests’ expectations not met before the guest leave the premises. Managing a negative review that’s blowing a concern out of proportion to reprimand and malice the reputation of an organisation in service industry isn’t a child play.

In a situation like a management company running the hotel who is responsible to take the liability of such legal issues with the show cause notice and fine slapped in this case. In a contractual arrangement between owners and management company such issues can be handled by indemnity or insurance. However at time management companies do not give in easily on the issue of indemnities and often limit their obligation.

It is a thought provoking and eye opening issue to revisit the modus operandi of hotels or for that matter any service industry operations due to increasing consumer expectation and demands!

Water Crisis – Wake up Call or We Missed it already

Ever since I was a child while growing up in Rajasthan, water was an important commodity that’s not wasted and is surely LIMITED. I remember having water piped to our houses once ever 3rd day for few hours with irregularities of course. One of the task in the morning irrespective of the weather was to fill all the buckets, utensils with water for drinking, cooking, daily chores and for all that water is required in homes. In summers at times due to the reduced or no supply of water – tankers were ordered for and then the water tanks were filled along with all the utensils and buckets to go off few more days. Thus actually water at that point became from a basic need to something else much more . . . With changed times and projects that built dams and reservoir the problems faded for some parts of Rajasthan. However power centres pulled that water to state capital and left a lot of the beneficiary areas high and dry.

One of the initiative that got my attention few years back was on linking of rivers to effectively manage the water situation in India that would not only reduce persistent floods while feeds onto the places where there is water shortage perennially. To my surprise this proposal dates back to British colonial era in 19th century with historic data showing “National Water Grid” planned in 1970 as well. Also unique water conservation systems were prevalent in India and the communities who have practised them for decades before the debate on climate change even existed.

My inquisitiveness in the topic increased and it revealed that there is a lot that this new India can learn from the traditional water conservation system. Drawing upon centuries of experience, Indians continued to build structures to catch, hold and store monsoon rainwater for the dry seasons to come. The methods of conservation were simple and eco-friendly for the most part, they were not just highly effective for the people who rely on them but they are also good for the environment. Archaeological evidence shows that the practice of water conservation is deep rooted in the science of ancient India. These traditional techniques like Jhalara, Talab, Bawari, Kund and may similar ones though less popular today, are still in use and efficient.

With climate changes including low pressure created affecting the course of the monsoon it’s imperative to think and store water. As per one of the data – India currently stores only 30 days of rainfall, while developed nations strategically store 900 days worth of water demand in arid areas river basins and reservoirs. While India also relies excessively on groundwater and about 15 percent of India’s food is being produced using rapidly depleting groundwater. Our country’s agricultural system is so fragile as it’s completely dependant on the ground water and rainfall. A bad monsoon can wreck havoc just now by affecting the irrigation but has impact on the national economy.

Other industries which get affected due to water indirectly and impacting on the economy is tourism. Last year, as Shimla’s water supply fell to almost 1/3rd a severe water crisis was created, tourists gave the popular hill station a miss as several hotels were ordered to be shut by the state High Court. Chennai this year is facing a drought like situation and companies have asked their employees to work from home. Ladakh, another region which is dependent on the tourism sector to sustain itself have received more tourists than the local populace is also facing an acute water crisis whereas Mumbai is getting flooded due to excessive rains.

With the increased global warming and temperatures rising the water sources are drying up faster than one can imagine. I don’t know how much of India’s GDP has been impacted by its water woes but what the numbers do show is that we have been inefficient in handling our water resources. I wonder are we really taking adequate actions apart from the social media message trends and forwarding messages – asking others to save water wherein we don’t try to keep a tab on what amount of water we saved today.


Harrell (1994) proposed that the entrepreneur’s careers have four transition stages in which the entrepreneurs develop and grow into successful business persons (Morrison et al, 2005). The stages are namely Entrepreneurial genius, Benevolent dictator, Disassociated director and lastly a Visionary leader. These stages assist to analyse business behaviour in different periods of the entrepreneurial cycle. Hospitality entrepreneur follow a similar trend as well but in India at times the 2nd and 3rd stages are not as evident due to various rationales.

The excitement, energy and dedication determine a business person to become one of the entrepreneurial geniuses in the business career. Development of business portfolio by buying, fighting and getting personally involved in all aspects of his business empire with total control is a significant behaviour for the entrepreneurial stage of benevolent dictator. Quotes at this stage are – ‘Money was never a big motivation, except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game’ (brainyquote).

The stage of disassociated director is referred as confusing and frustrating time, full of distrust, inconsistencies and erratic mood swings. This phase is a test whether entrepreneur can become a business leader. The last is a stage of visionary leader, which is characterized by communication, co-operation and collaboration. It is described as a fulfilment of entrepreneur’s original dreams. Quotes at this stage are – ‘I don’t make deals for the money. I’ve got enough, much more than I’ll ever need. I do it to do it’ (brainyquote).

Accrue as a consulting partner wades an organisation or individuals through these stages while developing Intrapreneurship which is referred to as a formalized entrepreneurial activity within existing organization. According to the Ferguson et al (1987) successful intrapreneurs do possess the entrepreneur’s ability to take action-oriented decisions and implement them. In order to foster and inhibit entrepreneurship there are various social, political and educational behavioural needs which decide the degree of the entrepreneurial success. The cultural context in which people are located plays an important influencing role.

Strategic Solution & Project Advisory

There are various components to a business like a cog in the wheel which makes the organisation thrive. From a basic thought to experiencing unique products to service delivery with memories created, is the customer lifecycle. However, for a business from behind the scenes – the same steps are more strategic in nature.

It all starts with the Business ethics – ‘ensuring acceptable standards of behaviour throughout all the operations of a business’, ‘complying with company, legal, professional and regulatory standards, and abiding by principles like fairness, honesty, respect and truth’ ( responsibility proposes that a private corporation has responsibilities to society that extend beyond making a profit’ (Wheelen, T and Hunger). The three different levels of social responsibility that have been identified are the economic growth, social values and priorities regarding the environment, employee and customer safety and employee relations and the third responsibility refers to the contribution to the community (Ghauri and Cateora).

The revenue is translated by marketing and is generated with a completed sale. The main purpose of marketing and advertising is to communicate with consumers and make them aware of the existence and characteristics of products. The human resources are the forefront of delivery especially in the service industry. A successful business have to invest in training and development programmes for their staff at every level and they also encourage personal growth and motivate for a higher level of performance, which in turn helps them to retain quality staff, thus contributing to economic growth.

Social responsibility and ethical issues are very important components of cross cultural and multi cultural marketing especially with regards to socially and economically disadvantaged ethnics groups within a country and diverse cultural group in developing countries of the world. For successful companies, one of the most important visions should be responsibility beyond its economic goals, taking the step further towards the well being of its stakeholders and local communities
Accrue is involved with it’s partners in an intensive development and planning process

– including market research while considering sustainability and all rationales that impacts the project. In business planning, ethical issues comprise a difficult but important task for many stakeholders. The impetus to ‘do what is right’ for the consumer elevates strategy, unleashes creativity and at the same time creates a sense of purpose and pride for practitioners (Costa, 2006). The principle of ‘the customer is always right’ can be questioned but with tact and deliberation. Nowadays, running a successful hotel takes more than delivering products and service at a good price.