Consistency is the Key to Success, Says this Third Generation Entrepreneur
'technology isn't driving the change but as well as the product'
Vishal Kamat has been working with family-owned Kamat Hotels (India) Ltd more than a decade now. A few years ago when the entire hospitality industry was going through one of its worst phases, Kamat Hotels too was in immense debt. While his father is a stalwart of hospitality, Dr Vithal Kamat, gave the responsibility to his son to take charge of the 75-year old heritage's hotel business and tackle the situation.
The junior Kamat using the lessons of past not only engaged to reduce cost but the real focus was to reduce wastage. He did not compromise on the guest experience and instead focused on deploying fresh investment to upgrade the hotels and equipped it with modern tools that would reduce waste consumption and earn through ROIs.
It was a matter of time before the efforts bore fruit. Today, Kamat group’s occupancy today is about 80 percent and its books around INR 40 crore as profit. In a conversation with Entrepreneur India, Vishal Kamat, Director, Kamat Hotels talks about why it is necessary for hoteliers and restaurateurs to maintain a balance between human touch and technology.
According to Kamat, legacy is a very precious thing and one cannot afford to squander it. Easy to lose, takes decades to gain. While on the other side, when one joins a family business from the grassroots level, he feels there is a higher chance one learns the real challenges of the business and doesn't join with any delusions.
He shares, “Hospitality is a tough business. It was tough during my grandfather’s time and it is even tougher now. However, the core ethos remains the same of Atithi Devo Bhava ( Guest is God ) even though the dynamics of this business has changed due to creeping in of technology and social apps.”
But with ongoing change in the sector, he suggests maintaining a consistency is the key to success.
“Change for sake of change is not an improvement, it is an impediment. Having consistency and maintaining it is a key in our industry today due to high attrition and staff turnover,” Kamat added.
Tech-side of it
While discussing the travel tech and its impact on the industry, the hotelier says technology isn’t just driving the change but the product as well.
He explains, “People's expectations have grown in ways previously not expected by our industry. A lot of marketing technology has fundamentally changed our business. We must understand and adapt to what technology is offering us today and keeping pace is extremely important. There have been a lot of improvements also with the use of technology and guest experiences have improved with more smiling faces and better efficiency .”
However, Kamat warns entrepreneurs that technology can be a double-edged sword. It is very dangerous for an entrepreneur to totally depend on technology-based companies for their business.
Explaining his point of view, he gives an example of online travel agencies and says, a hotelier cannot entirely depend on them while at the same time resisting them is futile.
"One needs to walk the middle path and balance both so as to never be dependent and you can always be flexible," he pointed out.
I am a Mumbai-based journalist and have worked with media companies like The Dollar Business Magazine, Business Standard, etc.While on the other side, I am an avid reader who is a travel freak and has accepted foodism as my religion.