With business hit, hotels in Mumbai woo local patrons with staycation offers | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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With business hit, hotels in Mumbai woo local patrons with staycation offers

Dec 19, 2020 11:40 PM IST

Industry looks to bounce back after Covid-19 impact; hotels offer slashed tariffs, food festivals, customised menus

Pravin Jain (name changed), a Parel resident and an information technology professional, went on holiday last month with his family — only instead of a vacation, it was a four-day staycation at a five-star hotel in south Mumbai.

At JW Marriott in Sahar, guests are offered activities such as zumba workshops and pizza-making sessions. The hotel is also allowing early check-ins and late checkouts.(HT file)
At JW Marriott in Sahar, guests are offered activities such as zumba workshops and pizza-making sessions. The hotel is also allowing early check-ins and late checkouts.(HT file)

“We wanted to take a break as we were exhausted from being in the same environment for the past eight months. We desperately needed to get out, but travelling long distance was out of the question,” said Jain. When Jain discovered the five-star hotel that usually charged approximately Rs 15,000 per night was available for Rs 7,000 per night, he decided this would be their family holiday.

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With international and outstation guests slowing down to a trickle due to the pandemic and lockdown, hotels across Mumbai are wooing local residents with various offers, including slashed room tariffs, food festivals, and customised menus.

Take, for example, Hotel Radisson in Andheri, which is giving a discount of 30% on all bookings. Discounted rates like these are making staycations popular among Mumbaiites, said experts. “Professionals can carry out their routine work in a plush, changed environment and the hotels are doing everything to facilitate this. In addition, women who are tired of working hard during the lockdown, especially due to the absence of domestic help, can get some relaxation from their routines. After their online classes, children can also indulge in various activities [in the hotel],” said Gulam Zia, executive director (hospitality) at the consultancy firm, Knight Frank.

In Lower Parel, the five-star hotel St Regis Mumbai has been organising weekend events like regional Indian food festivals, games and champagne tasting sessions for their guests. “We have tweaked our menu and are seeing an increase in Indian vegetarian and oriental food due to the demand from our guests,” said Nicholas Dumbell, general manager, St Regis Hotels and Resorts. A popular feature during the pandemic has been the hotel’s special butler service, which ensures guests are in touch with one person instead of multiple hotel staff from various departments.

Interglobe Hotels, which runs properties like Hotel Ibis in Vile Parle and Navi Mumbai, has been organising activities like live music gigs and wine promotions. “After the lockdown and with gradual reopening, we understand that people needed to break the monotony of working from home and relax. Hence, we have introduced customised and attractive F&B [food and beverage] offerings,” said Shwetank Singh, vice president (development and asset management), Interglobe Hotels.

At JW Marriott in Sahar, guests are offered activities like zumba workshops and pizza-making sessions. The hotel is also allowing early check-ins (before 12 noon) and late check-outs (after 2pm). Nikita Gonsalves, director of sales and marketing for the hotel, said the hotel had also received a good response to its social media campaign. “Our campaign emphasised that we are taking all the precautions to ensure a safe environment at our hotel, which worked very well and attracted many guests,” said Gonsalves.

Hospitality experts said the staycation crowd is an important clientele for hotels right now. “Since business travellers are few, we are seeing hotels offering rates at unheard of prices with many reducing [tariffs] by more than half to attract domestic travellers. This is just covering the running cost of these establishments and none of them are making any profits,” said Zia.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Naresh is a Special Correspondent with Hindustan Times, Mumbai, since 2005. He covers the real estate sector, in addition to doing political reportage.

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