Sunday, July 3, 2022

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Luxury Hotels are transforming rooms into workspaces as rental demand from companies soars

Suman Prasad

The outbreak of Covid-19 has severely impacted businesses in India. Even though positive cases are rapidly increasing across the country, the government had to announce Unlock 1.0 to bring the economy back to its feet. Covid-19 has also changed the dynamics of the businesses, allowing them to think out-of-the-box ideas and generate some revenue.
In the absence of business and leisure travelers, luxury hotels, for instance, are now focusing on medium to large corporates to offer their hotel rooms as a workspace and induce the much-needed cash flow. The corporates are also proactively exploring contingency options to allow employees to work from professional, safe, hygienic and clean workspaces for a short term until there is some form of certainty.
DoubleTree Suites by Hilton located Bengaluru’s tech hub and commercial business district of Marathahalli-Bellandur-Sarjapur is poised perfectly for such kind of opportunity. “Currently, corporates are exploring options and evaluating how we can serve them best for their business needs – in-person meetings or working with the team every day to accomplish various tasks and milestones,” says Akash Kalia, Commercial Director of the property.
The hotel is easily accessible to numerous Tech Parks namely RMZ Ecospace, RMZ Ecoworld, Global Tech Park, Prestige Fern Galaxy, The Hub, Embassy Tech Village, Prestige Tech Park, Cessna Business Park, RGA Tech Park to name a few.
While this development might be due to the outbreak of Covid-19, there are plenty of advantages of working from a hotel in these tough times as compared to a café or co-working spaces. 
Explaining how this move can be a win-win situation for both hotels and the corporates, Vivek Shukla,  General Manager – Corporate Affairs, The Lalit New Delhi says, “Renting a space means investing a lot to create the infrastructure. With the new norms for health and safety, it is a much wiser move for the corporates to look towards hotels as a one-stop-shop for all essential office infrastructure. Hotels are well equipped with plenty of space options, it is well-furnished and equipped with high-speed internet among other essentials for a healthy office space.”
The hotels are also offering tailor-made packages depending on the specific requirements of the organisations or working individuals. 
DoubleTree is not following a cookie-cutter approach and does not want to put a sticker price. Kalia elaborates, “Each corporate has its own unique needs, hence we are engaging with them to understand their requirements and propose customized options such as open desks, monthly or long term spaces.”
He further adds, “Bundling is definitely something we are looking at but add-ons such as meals will come at an additional cost considering the different F&B preferences that people have adopted due to the prolonged lockdown and limited access to fitness and lifestyle facilities.”
Double Tree is also providing packed meals to a large number of corporates in the vicinity who are looking to replace cafeteria buffet meals due to safety and hygiene concerns.
ITC Hotels and Welcom Hotel across different locations are providing ‘Day Use Offer’, a perfect layover for work venture, which comes with a 12-hour stay from 9am to 9pm, in the comfort of a well-appointed room to refresh and restart. The offer also includes Rs.1000 hotel credit, boardroom usage up to 2 hours, if available and Wi-Fi access.

“As the ‘New Normal’ was setting in, we identified the challenges that will be faced by our business partners and that is how the day use package came into being,” says Amaan Kidwai, General Manager at ITC Gardenia.

Kidwai further adds, “Most offices are closed right now, hence client meetings are difficult. In such a situation, corporates are looking to work from a place that gives them a sense of safety along with good internet connectivity and privacy, of course. We have enabled the same for our guest by introducing this custom made package which has the relevant inclusions of both complimentary Wi-Fi access and boardroom usage, things that a discerning business guest is looking for.” 

Similarly, The Lalit Group of Hotels is providing day use rates that vary from city to city. The experience is inclusive of meals, internet, and basic office infrastructure. They are also offering workstations at our leisure properties.  
The Oberoi Bengaluru, however, have made no special arrangements for such queries currently. “We have ample choices which already exist with us starting from our business center meeting rooms, board room, independent work stations and even our numerous alfresco restaurant spaces which are ideal for quiet independent work with plenty of fresh air and lush green views for company,” clarifies Visheshwar Raj Singh, Vice President and General Manager of the property.
Until there is some form of certainty, this might be a ‘new normal’ for luxury hotels and corporates. Talking about the future of this development, Singh says “There is potential for this segment to see reasonable growth. Corporates also are now seeking a more neutral, peaceful, non-cluttered environment for their employees, keeping safety and convenience both in mind.”

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