The hospitality industry in India is fighting back on its feet after the disastrous effect of the Pandemic worldwide. Ms. Parinita Samanta, Director, of Marketing and Communications at Pullman and Novotel Aerocity spoke to TW on how Pullman New Delhi Aerocity is assuring a safe and comfortable experience for the clients along with the smooth adaptation of new norms and changes in the sector.
Being at the top, as the Director of Marketing and Communications for a reputed brand like Pullman and Novotel New Delhi Aerocity is an extraordinary feat to achieve. On the other hand, considering the extremely difficult time period while the Hospitality industry, in particular, facing the heat, not many people might consider the hot seat as quite a blessing. How challenging the last two years have been for you?
With 12 years of experience in this industry, I have surely seen every side of the business and it is not wrong to say that the hospitality industry has witnessed various challenges during the pandemic. Having said that, I feel proud as we, at Pullman New Delhi Aerocity, have managed to thrive well through this resilient phase.
Looking at the last two years in terms of marketing, we can see evolving patterns that have completely changed the game. Digital marketing has played a major role in every industry and helped businesses navigate their way out of gruesome circumstances. Dynamics for the hospitality industry too saw a shift from traditional approaches to digital amplification. Our major role as marketers was to keep our consumers engaged and provide them with the new digitised notion that gave us an opportunity to penetrate our way through our patrons.
In my opinion, we learnt a new way of marketing and created best practices instead of walking on the existing ones. The pandemic taught us to multi-task and step out of our comfort zones to cater to our customers.
Do you think that the Hospitality industry, in general, has undergone change or metamorphosis in the context of branding, deliverables, customer expectations, safety standards as well as digitalisation?
Covid-19 has impacted the hospitality industry in a potent manner. The entire course of action of how this industry functions has changed drastically. For some businesses, work from home worked but for hospitality, this doesn’t apply as the employees need to be present in order to provide a customer experience. Nonetheless, we have paved our way for meeting the expectations of customers through revised services using digitization and technology. With a change in the expectations of travelers, businesses, especially hospitality and F&B brands are adapting to the needs of the clientele by creating strategic and thoughtful practices.
You are a veteran in the industry with experience working with reputed brands like Hyatt Regency, Taj, Leela Ambience, etc. If you can share with us major turning points and lessons from your journey so far.
Having spent over 12 years in the industry, I believe change is the only thing constant and also there is no right or wrong way of doing marketing. Working with the various brands has brought with them their share of needs and demands. This has pushed me to take risks and learn from them, which is why I embrace all the experience that I have gained so far. I’m a believer in being a trendsetter rather than a trend follower, thus, I understand that ability to experiment is what leads to a successful marketing plan. My philosophy as a pioneer in the industry is to create new things every day in order to yield the maximum potential for the hospitality business.
How do you analyse Hospitality as a career option for young professional
With a Masters in Mass Communications, I never imagined myself working in the hospitality industry. However, there was always a thing about the industry that used to tickle my bone, especially the luxury hotels. Fortunately, during my first stint with a PR agency, I was allocated a group of hospitality chains, even without a hotel management degree to boast of and since then there has been no looking back. In my opinion, young professionals who have the zeal to work in such a dynamic and guest-centric industry can do wonders. The industry has ample opportunities awaiting the building blocks of the country.
What’s your plan in terms of brand marketing for Pullman and Novotel Aerocity in near future?
We envision Pullman and Novotel New Delhi Aerocity to become the most preferred hotel across the country. In order to achieve our goal, we have built a relationship of trust and authenticity with our customers. Our ideologies are panned out effectively for the audience through our campaigns and sustainable practices, as we believe in delivering our commitments. From our campaigns like “Heartists” we aimed to break stereotypes. Our digital “We will mind your business” disrupted the industry by showcasing Pullman as the safe haven for business travellers, we have always connected with the customers with a broader perspective and have gathered much love for it. In the coming future as well, we will aim to produce creative campaigns to connect with our audience that resonate and add value to them.
Safety and hygiene are the two most talked about criteria today among tourists along with other key features like luxury, comfort, F&B, etc. How are you communicating these aspects to the potential targets?
For the longest time in the history of the hospitality sector, travellers key preferences have been F&B, comfort and luxury. It was until the onset of Covid-19 that hygiene and safety became an integral practice. We, at Pullman New Delhi Aerocity, make sure that all the necessary protocols like sanitisation, disinfection processes and temperature checks are kept in motion. In addition to this, we have reinforced a cleaning program in public areas as well as a contactless check-in and check-out procedure. To communicate our efforts for the safe travel of our customers, we have a dedicated guest hotline to answer any safety and hygiene-related questions. As a practice to build the customer’s confidence, we constantly reach out to the audience via social media and digital programmes.