De-cluttered and simplified comfortable rooms paired with great technology is what hotels are offering these days: Thomas Abraham, GM, Park Hyatt Hyderabad
In Conversation with Vishakha Talreja

It is important that we focus on getting creative and thinking out of the box to sustain our brand and business.
Thomas Abraham
GMPark Hyatt, Hyderabad

Armed with an experience of 20 years in the hospitality industry, Thomas Abraham is spearheading global hospitality brand Hyatt's - Park Hyatt Hotel in Hyderabad. He talks about Hyderabad as a hotel market, competition, new trends in hospitality and experience that is Park Hyatt. Excerpts:

Tell us about the positioning of Park Hyatt Hyderabad Hotel? What type of clientele does it serve?

Park Hyatt Hyderabad is the first urban Park Hyatt hotel in India. As a contemporary and elegant hotel, it offers business travellers and local guests a sophisticated ambience. This top brand of Hyatt believes ‘luxury is personal’ and weaves rare and unexpected pleasures into each and every day. With a vision to create an intimate hotel experience that celebrates fine art, delicious food and wine, and truly personalized service, Park Hyatt hotels around the world are enriched, sophisticated and uncommon, making one’s experience, an exception.

Park Hyatt’s core market is the transient business traveler and corporate groups.  We don’t see us as a major MICE player though we would like to increase the groups. There are bigger hotels and larger convention centers in that side of town. But it works for us when that part of the city fills up because then the secondary business that comes to us is also at a much higher rate. We will grow some group business but not MICE, as our meeting spaces are not very large.

How do you see Hyderabad as a hotel market? Is it doing well in terms of occupancy, ARR and Rev PAR? 

Hyderabad had its own set of challenges; everybody knows that the partition of the two states has had an impact on business in general. However, things are looking good again, and it’s great to step up because there’s so much opportunity for us to work on and develop.

Today, the city is doing much better in terms of occupancy, ARR and Rev PAR. With the government pushing investments into new projects, the scenario is only likely to get better and better.

According to you what’s the USP of your hotel? In other words, why should a business traveller check-in at your hotel? 

The property is very plush and the service is uncommon and rare. The hotel is quite diverse when it comes to clientele. We have guests from across the globe and we cater to local, national and International conferences and social events.

The architecture and interior design of the hotel has been done with sophistication and showcases some fine pieces of art and sculptures unique to only this property. One of the biggest USPs of the property is the location. We are located in the business hub and one of the plush locations of the city. Great connectivity to the airport and the IT hub and the heritage site-seeing locations of the city. Truly a luxury hotel where luxury is personal.

There are many foreign brands that have entered India. Do you see competition getting hot? 

Competition is always good. It only helps us and prepares us to strategize better. Currently only one brand on the horizon in the year 2017 which is the ITC – Kohinoor. Growth also means more competition. While nearly every big hospitality brand is already present in Hyderabad, some such as the ITC are expanding their footprint.
I believe that every big brand hotel in Hyderabad is competition whether it is in close proximity to Park Hyatt or is an hour away at Gachibowli. At the end of the day, distance doesn’t really matter. Competition is competition. I also believe that no longer must we look at only hotel brands as our competition but also standalones.  Be it stand alone restaurants or standalone spas, outlets etc.

Growth is seen more in the mid-segment which is not in luxury but upper 5 star categories. Lot of companies looking at staying there as an option. So with this kind of competition also existing in the current market it is important that we focus on getting creative and thinking out of the box to sustain our brand and business.

What is the mode from which you get your maximum hotel bookings- online, travel agents, direct through Hyatt Sales and Marketing? If you could give a percentage share. 

Well 38% of our bookings come through our Sales force. About 31% through online channels like our own Hyatt website and OTAs and about 23% through group bookings and only about 2% through wholesale.

Since you have vast experience in the hospitality industry, which is your favorite business hotel/brand in India? 

It’s hard to compare once you’ve worked with the Hyatt,  but since I have also worked with The Oberoi  amongst many other brands , I think that would come to my mind on top of the list.

What are some of the latest hospitality trends for 2017? 

Trend now is moving away from running a business as a whole. On the contrary to individually manage various areas. Pockets of business activities like Restaurants, Spa , Event spaces all have a separate identity within the hotel.

“Less is more” is the new trend too. Gone is old-school opulence – overblown, fussy and formal – and in is approach that focuses on pampering and soothing the senses. De-cluttered and simplified comfortable rooms paired with great technology  is what hotels are offering these days.

Park Hyatt is opulent and plush and definitely a haven for great architecture, stunning sculptures and service that focus on providing rare and intimate experiences. One of the finest luxury properties in the city with signature restaurants offering unparalleled gourmet experiences.

What is the hotel doing to keep up with the tech savvy travelers? 

We are at par with most International brands when it comes to being tech savvy for our travelers. Some of the initiatives include: Online Check-Ins, Larger bandwidth, Free WiFi at the hotel – Not restricted to any number of devices. Free Wifi in hotel/guest car.

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