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5 Tips for Startups to Grow in the Hospitality Industry Hospitality industry has transformed immensely in the past 5 years. Competition has skyrocketed, so have the opportunities

By Aastha Singal

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Considering today's tiring life, people are keener on escaping the reality once in a while to enjoy the freshness associated with travel. Indian tourism and hospitality industry has been bustling with opportunities. The nation's rich cultural heritage and natural diversity not only attract thousands of foreign tourists to the country but also exert a pull on the budding entrepreneurs to explore the field.

From the employment perspective too, the industry has been generating a remarkable number of job opportunities. In 2017, a total of 41.6 million people were recorded getting employed in the travel & tourism sector and the number is expected to rise by 2 per cent annum to 52.3 million jobs by 2028. To tap the market's potential; multiple international hotel chains are marking their presence in the country.

However, the homegrown players like OYO and Vista Rooms are setting the standards high for both emerging players and foreign competitors with their rate of success and popularity among the customers. While starting out, there are hundreds of things that can go wrong. From staff negligence to misinterpreted technical glitches, little slipups can cost the business a prospective customer.

The hospitality industry has transformed immensely over the past 5 years. Competition has sky-rocketed, so have the opportunities. If you are someone with a keen interest to invest in the segment, here are 5 things you must keep in mind:

Spending Capacity

Understanding your audience holds the utmost importance in a business like hospitality along with their economic background. Targeting the right customers might take a defined amount of time but makes up for the foundation stone of a business. Keeping the customers and one's own spending capacity in mind before marketing a business is crucial for any startup.

Needless to say, a hospitality service provider must match up to the standard for the amount he is charging the customer. "The availability of reliable, standardized, the predictable accommodation has led to increasing impulse travel among people which has in-return developed new use cases for the hotel booking," said Maninder Gulati, Chief Strategy Officer of OYO.

Customer Experience

"Offering an exceptional customer experience that keeps in mind the changing dynamics of the social environment is key to creating a long-lasting impact," added Gulati. While booking a hotel or homestay while travelling, one has high expectations and the service provider is bound to deliver, that is if they are willing to struggle and stay in the space.

Personalization is another aspect. Not every customer is the same, so are their requirements. Some judge the service from staff's behaviour while others scrutinize every corner for cleanliness. It is up to the providers of how they keep up with every aspect and requirement of customer needs. "Ask guests what they want and deliver," recommended Ajay K. Bakaya, Managing Director, Sarovar Hotels and Resorts.

Consistency & Continuity

Starting a good service and maintaining its consistency are two different things. "One has to constantly innovate and experiment. We've kept trying new initiatives for guests, ranging from cakes for birthday or anniversary celebrations to sending a magician for entertainment. These are just small ways to delight the customer," suggested Amit Damani, the co-founder of Vista Rooms, a luxury homestay business.

In the hospitality space, a number of businesses are blooming due to their creative concept. Homestay is another of these sectors which have caught people's attention. If a wants to feel at home despite being away from his own, homestay is the option for you. It was initially considered a cheaper alternative to a hotel versus now they are considered a more authentic alternative.

Food & Services

Food can make or break the experience for customers. Indians harbor a special love for food and hardly bear unreasonable delay or compromise in the quality of their food. "Hence, only dabble in meals for guests if you can deliver a quality meal," added Damani. Providing the best of services to the customers should be the goal instead of making short-term profits.

If your guests were satisfied with the service, they themselves become evangelizers and promote it to others as clearly, no freebies can replace a good experience. Being "prompt and proactive' with the guests is very critical as any situation can arise requiring assistance and it is up to the hospitality service provider how to save the customers' getaway.

Digital Influence

"Over the past few years, the use of innovative technology in the hospitality industry, in the form of dynamic pricing, hotel management systems, amongst others, has brought in a sea change in the travelling behaviour and experience along with the entire hotel booking pattern and service expectations of the consumer," opined Gulati adding that customer satisfaction is at the centricity of all our innovations.

Booking a hotel, homestay or hospitality service for spending a vacation has changed in more ways than one in the past 5 years. All they do now is check for their reviews on the internet before making the decision of booking it or not. Digital media has influenced the market immensely and it is up to the new and old players on how to utilize it for their benefit.

Aastha Singal

Entrepreneur Staff

Former Features Writer

A business journalist looking to find happiness in the world of startups, investments, MSMEs and more. Officially started her career as a news reporter for News World India, Aastha had short stints with NDTV and NewsX. A true optimist seeking to make a difference, she is a comic junkie who'd rather watch a typical Bollywood masala than a Hollywood blockbuster. 


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