We’ve Strengthened Our Service Standards Through ‘WeAssure’: Deepak Menezes, ITC Grand Bharat
by Mugdha Gaonkar Marketing | November 9, 2020 | Interview
Amidst the current pandemic, the hospitality industry is all set to bring about a structural change in its functioning post unlock in the country.
In an exclusive conversation with EVENTFAQS Media, Deepak Menezes, General Manager, ITC Grand Bharat - an embodiment of the luxury ITC Hotels chain- talks about reopening for events, safety measures at the facility, challenges faced and more.
How is ITC Grand Bharat gearing up to reopen for events? What kind of enquiries are coming in and from which sectors?
We have been operational for a few months now and at ITC Grand Bharat, we are taking this opportunity to introduce our guests to the ‘new normal’ - responsible luxury experience of contact light dining, digital check in and check out, QR codes and safe staycations. The consistent support of our guests has been the bedrock of our strength, especially during the past few months. Keeping in mind the present circumstances, we have strengthened our service standards even further through ITC Hotels’ ‘WeAssure’ initiative.
The last couple of months saw a restriction of large gatherings which led to postponement of weddings. With ease in restrictions, now customers are showing interest in intimate, boutique weddings at ITC Grand Bharat. We are changing our service designs to meet the needs of guests while complying with directives of the Government of India. Our banqueting and MICE facilities are operational with complete compliance as per guidelines of the Ministry of Home Affairs. Employees are equipped with masks and gloves while serving guests. Crowd management is also ensured while planning the layout of an event.
Gone are the days of big fat Indian weddings. Small, intimate gatherings comprising close members of the family, in strict adherence to government guidelines, are the new norm. Our focus is on creating unforgettable memories and experiences while ensuring the safety and hygiene of our guests.
What are the safety measures you have put in place? How are you reassuring event organizers?
Contact light dining, safe staycations, digital check-in and check-out are few features of the ‘new normal’ at ITC Grand Bharat, reinforcing its 'responsible luxury' ethos. The ‘WeAssure’ initiative will provide discerning guests of ITC Grand Bharat reassurance by an accreditation from the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH)- the leading standard organisation for sanitation, hygiene, safety and infection control practices.
Additionally, through a partnership with leading certification body DNV GL Business Assurance, we will ensure stringent clinical levels of hygiene and safety at the retreat.
Are there any special offers or discounts going? What will be the COVID impact on costing of future events?
International travel will take time to recover and people will increasingly seek options closer to home or ones that are a short drive away. People have stayed home for far too long during the lockdown and are keen to go for short staycations that not only give them a change of scenery but also ensure their safety.
Keeping this in mind, we have introduced the concept of ‘Safe Staycations’ for our guests with some enticing offers to make up for the missed holidays by spending a few days in the lap of luxury with some additional benefits. For example, we have introduced the Welcombreak All-In Getaway package where potential guests can get all the pampering they deserve in an all-inclusive package at ITC Grand Bharat starting at Rs 16,999 plus taxes. Additionally, for guests looking for a more private experience in the lap of luxury, we also offer our guests Presidential Villas for unhurried luxury staycations.
Given that retreats like ITC Grand Bharat cater to a niche segment of travellers, our guests and patrons understand that services and experiences we offer are unique irrespective of the price point being offered. We are truly humbled to see the positive response we have received.
How challenging is it to provide services for events during the current situation? What are the roadblocks you face and have you come up with any interesting solutions for them?
We take these unprecedented circumstances in our stride and look at the pandemic as an opportunity to learn. “Well-being, sustainability, safety and hygiene” will be the new luxury. Guest preferences will be based on healthy eating and sustainable food produce.
Additionally, domestic travel will definitely pick up in the coming months and that will give us an opportunity to attract travellers to our retreat. We have adapted to the changing situation and used the lockdown period to re-imagine our business model and offerings to cater to our guests effectively. Our constant endeavour is to reassure guests that their well-being is the most important thing for us. Our WeAssure initiative and our new service designs will strengthen the trust amongst travellers further. The new experiences, can be seen at various touch-points of ITC Grand Bharat, from the moment guests walk in to the time they check out. ITC Hotels has several planet positive experiences which reinforce its ‘responsible luxury’ ethos. This has enabled us to tide over the roadblocks effectively.
How would you differentiate yourself from other hotels? What are your USPs?
ITC Grand Bharat, a LEED Platinum certified retreat under the India NC programme, is India's first all-suites luxury retreat and is the ultimate expression of unhurried luxury. The retreat symbolizes the concept of 'Bharatvarsha' which encompasses the essence of India and brings to life myriad facets of the great nation through its architecture, interiors, services, cuisine, decor and ambience. Conceived as the next step in luxurious Indian hospitality, ITC Grand Bharat is an architectural confluence of some of the finest details and techniques that India has witnessed.
'Swasthya' cuisine at ITC Grand Bharat - based on the Ayurvedic principle of 'Prakriti' on how the body reacts with food - invokes ancient Indian diet philosophies through combination of foods that have been selected to enhance both internal and external well-being.
Set amidst an expanse of 1.2 square kilometers, the retreat has a classic 27-hole Jack Nicklaus designed signature golf course, 100 splendid deluxe suites and four palatial presidential villas and ITC’s indigenous spa brand Kaya Kalp, coupled with yoga sessions, nature trails and sports facilities, making ITC Grand Bharat the preferred staycation getaway.
In an exclusive conversation with EVENTFAQS Media, Deepak Menezes, General Manager, ITC Grand Bharat talks about reopening for events, safety measures at the facility, challenges faced and more.