By Pramode Bhandari
I recently completed 15 years with The Park Hotels. As I look back, I can see a journey full of learning, fun, challenges and fabulous days of victory. From ‘Stay Inspired” to “Anything but Ordinary”, it has truly been an amazing journey so far.
The Vision of the organisation, “leadership through differentiation” has been the foundation of my entire journey with The Park and I have learnt very clearly to apply it in my day to day work both in terms of hotel management and customer journey. This has helped me contribute immensely to the success of The Park Kolkata by keeping it the #1 hotel in the city both in terms of Rooms and Food and Beverage.
Covid 19 has created havoc worldwide and has impacted our business severely. My biggest learning in these difficult times has been that challenges will keep coming, some big and some small. It is a matter of how one chooses to tackle them. If taking them head on is your style then there is your motivation!
And once your team sees the conviction in you and finds you among them, then the team is also motivated. My team has been immensely proactive and worked tirelessly to maintain business continuity along with me during this crisis. For me, working from home was never an option. While my family stayed home I came to work every single day as we did have a small team at all times in the hotel and as the Captain of the ship, I just had to be at work with my team members.
The Park Kolkata has been a landmark in the city and we understand our social responsibility during this crisis. We at The Park prepared 100s of meals each day and it gave us immense satisfaction to have it distributed to the needy and underprivileged people on the streets with the kind help of Kolkata Police every day.
During the lockdown period, with our online food deliveries we were able to deliver freshly cooked happiness, prepared under the most hygienic conditions to our guests. It gave them a break from their daily routine of cooking and uplifted their mood.
Our take away menu offered a variety of Indian and International specials – from our signature authentic wood-fired pizzas to city’s favourite Biryanis. We were available on two of the biggest online aggregators – Zomato and Swiggy.
We have been delivering smiles.. that makes our work even more worthwhile! Guests have written back letters such as these –
“As stepping out amid the quarantine is a concern, over gathering essential items and groceries have continued yet not sufficient. During these turbulent times, online food delivery helps expanding choice and convenience, allowing us to order from a wide array of options within a single tap from the safest kitchen in the city.”
“We are confident that the team at The Park Kolkata maintains the highest hygiene standards and equally tasty food, so the Hotel has been our go to destination for any food craving we have had.”
Such encouraging comments by our patrons have motivated us to keep it going!
With the Unlock 1.0 we were ready to welcome our valuable guests with the SHIELD on and open hearts!
At The Park Kolkata, we have reopened The Bridge, our coffee shop along with The Street- our deli.
Our hotel in Rajarhat- Zone by The Park has also started its restaurant at the lobby level.
The heritage property Denmark Tavern at Serampore also reopened its doors recently, much to the delight of its patrons.
Our British-style pub at The Park Kolkata which has been dominating the pub culture in Kolkata ever since it opened doors in August 1994; Someplace Else, is the only pub today with live acts throughout the week! Our city loves music & we look forward to giving back the love we have received. Musical hope..we want our viewers to have a great evening everyday amidst all the distress. The team has been engaging artists who have already performed at Someplace Else & the number of viewers have been increasing with each day. Someplace Else Virtual Live on the Facebook page is what the city revellers are raging about! Behram Siganporia from Best Kept Secret, Salman & Zaman, Abha Hanjura ( she just performed for IIFA awards), Wagah Road, Nilayan ( famous radio jockey from 93.5fm) and city’s favourite Kaustav Banerjee are some of the renowned artists who have performed in the Live sessions. The idea behind the whole live stream is entertainment right at your couch even as we look forward to welcoming back all our patrons once they feel safe to visit us, and we resume operations.
These challenging times begets a new reality that needs to be dealt with new Standards of Protocols. When it comes to hygiene, The Park Kolkata assures everyone with greatest confidence that it is being dealt by experts who are specialised to take care of safety under our all-encompassing program – S.H.I.E.L.D.
S – Sanitisation
H – Hygiene
I – ISO standard equipment
E – Excellence
L – Luxury redefined
D – Distancing
The past three months have made me realize that crisis of such a magnitude pushes a leader to be very innovative, extremely quick in decision making and execution, compassionate and work hand in hand with the teams with much greater force than ever before.
In the end, I definitely see light at the other side of this dark tunnel.
Humans are social animals, so they will travel, be it for work or leisure. Yes, at the moment we have a huge challenge with the pandemic and it has brought hospitality to a grinding halt. Hence, till such time the pandemic is not under control and people are absolutely comfortable to travel, we will continue to struggle and frankly I don’t have a clear time frame in mind. However, when all is back to normal I see no reason at all why the hospitality industry will not shine again.
Pramode Bhandari is Area General Manager, The Park Kolkata