Every Sunday, 42-year-old Jeffrey Sussman, the expat general manager at the Leela Mumbai, heads to Lonavala along with four guests to cycle around the narrow lanes of the famous hill station.
“I take four guests because the van can accommodate only five cycles including mine. We start at 4.30 am and are back at the Leela for lunch,” said Sussman, an avid cyclist.
As competition heats up, this is one of the ideas that hoteliers are thinking up to bolster occupancy rates. While some are offering picnics in picturesque locations, others are providing comfortable stay for women.
Having worked in many hotels across Japan and China for over 18 years, Sussman has mastered the skill of getting ideas from guests at what he calls ‘GM’s cocktails’ organised at the hotel every Wednesday.
A year ago, Sussman convinced the local officials of Israeli airline El Al, to provide a privileged check-in facility for its first-class passengers staying at the Leela and other such flyers staying outside.
The Oberoi group, which recently rebranded many of its properties as Trident Hotels, is wooing the family traveller. Trident has set up a ‘Kid Club’ that provides entertainment for young guests who are covered in a holiday package. It also provides room for two children free of cost, making the family trip a comfortable one.
Occupancy rates in Trident’s Agra, Jaipur and Udaipur properties have gone up with people covered under the Kid Club package occupying 15 per cent of all rooms. “Now families are travelling for more than once in a year and frequenting hotels on long weekends,” say senior Trident officials.
“In metros, the demand for hotel rooms peaks from Monday to Wednesday. However, as one approaches the weekend starting Thursday, the occupancy at city hotels eases. The hospitality industry similar to airlines practices demand-based pricing, “ said Rattan Keswani, President, Trident Hotels.
Upcoming hotel brands are setting up projects by employing world famous architects and wooing women guests who stay in five star hotels for security reasons.