Abhudaya Verma FNB at Courtyard by Marriott North Ryde, Australia

Mr. Verma, passed out in 2005 from IHM Ahmadabad and was part of the Trident in Jaipur from 2005 till 2011. From the Trident he went to Hyderabad to Sarovar Premier. It was one of the first five Star hotels that the Sarovar chain was opening. At the age of 35 he has a total of 15 to 16 years of experience in the hospitality industry.

He was born in Saharanpur, a city in Uttar Pradesh. His father was working in Madhya Pradesh, so he lived there for a great deal of his life. During his last years in school he had to go back to Saharanpur where he came to know about the IHM course. He liked travelling to new places and meeting new people so he started collecting information about the course. He passed the entrance exam and got into IHM Ahmadabad.

He always wanted to see and feel international hospitality. So when he went to his brother in Mumbai, he casually walked in for an interview for Doha, Qatar and managed to crack it. They offered him a job as a Food and Beverage supervisor. It was a beautiful property of 3 hotels under one roof in Qatar, Renaissance, Marriott Courtyard and Marriott Executive Apartments. So that is where he experienced international hospitality. He came back and joined the Hilton Garden, in Trivandrum but had to leave as his father’s health started deteriorating due to diabetes. During that time, in order to avoid putting a gap in his career, he took up a course in the cruise line where they offered him a job as a Training Program Manager for some time. But being a hotelier, the thrill and the excitement of meeting new people took him back to the hospitality industry. That is when he joined Ramada Caravela Beach Resort Goa and they gave him the position as a Restaurant Manager. While working in Ramada he started his PR process to go to Australia. He got married while working in Ramada and in 2016 he moved to Australia.

With regards to his next higher goal he says, “My General Manager is very happy with the way I am working and is planning to have me move to the next hotel as an FnB Manager so that I can open that branch. But due to covid-19 that is on a hold right now. So in 2021 I either see myself doing a preopening once again or I will go to a bigger hotel as an Asst. Director of FnB.”

When asked what, in his opinion, is the customer’s first preference, Abhi says, “I always feel that now a day’s most of the people have money at their disposal, the only thing people crave for is a sense of longing and acknowledgement. So I feel that the personalised service and acknowledgment is something which comes first in the guest list. As soon as they come to your hotel if you remember their name or their liking, they feel that this is their home away from home and that is when you will never lose them.”

Next we asked Abhi, what else can be done to enhance guest experience. To that he replied, “Well that will vary from hotel to hotel because every hotel is located at a different location and each hotel is based on different budgets and class as well. But something that we all can do to enhance guest experience and to bring the wow factor, is to always remember the guest’s profile. One thing that we do at the Marriott hotel is when the guest travels from one Marriot to another and if the guest is a Marriott Bonvoy member we get their details from the other hotel and by the time the customer checks in, we already know what their likings are, instead of finding about his liking and dislikes again from scratch. By doing this we progress to wowing him from the time guest arrives in the hotel. So to enhance guest experience you need to know their preferences, their likes and dislikes and make personalised recommendations and last but not the least you need to be honest with your guest. I believe honesty goes a long way in maintaining your customer loyalty.”

Three major challenges, according to Abhi, that a hotelier faces in day to day functioning are firstly man power, secondly resources and thirdly is the ability to maintain peoples spirit, encouragement and enthusiasm.

“With regards to manpower, in hospitality there are last minute functions and pop ups. When I talk about Indian and Australian hospitality, the foundation of both is the same but both work a bit differently. In India most of the people are full timers whereas in Australia more than 50% of the work force in the hotel are part timers. That is because students, while they are studying, are allowed to work as well. This is not there in India at the moment.  So that is an issue with manpower. If there is a sudden function we need to call in people and they can easily say no. In India also manpower is one of the biggest challenges that we face because if one of your team member falls sick and you do not have anybody else to attend the function then it puts unnecessary stress on the other team members to give more.

With regards to resources, there are many new technologies that are out there in the market. When I was working in Hyderabad one of the hotels had the technology that as soon as the guest arrives at the airport and the hotel cab pick them up, the guest can use the hotel tablet to go through the menu and place the order to the hotel. So, as soon as the guest arrives in the hotel, the food via room service will reach to their room. This is clearly one of the ways to enhance the guest experience. Now every hotel, because of their budget is not actually able to get all the resources. So sometimes we know the things that are required to enhance guest experience but we cannot do it because of limited resources.”

To his fellow hoteliers he would like to say, “If I put myself into their shoes, I believe that being as a hotelier or a hospitality professional, the very first attribute or the key attribute a person should have is patience. Patience is virtue, If you have patience then you can deal with anything and everything. So patience is something that can make you strong. While in the hotel we have so many heated moments, either between the manager and you or with the team, you need to have patience to deal with it, keep your head cool and then let it go.

Another point I would like to tell to all the hoteliers, is to never stop working on your goals. Every day brings a new challenge and then sometimes we feel like the year has passed but we have not accomplished anything new for ourselves. So they feel they are at the same position as they were a year ago. I feel that we should always have short term as well as long term goals and you should keep revising these goals over a period of time.

One more point that I would like to suggest is that if you feel like you are getting too comfortable at one place that means the time has come for you to make a few changes in your life. Comfort always brings in laziness. When you become comfortable you will stop giving your 100%.

Also in todays’s era there are many ways to make money if someone wants to. Other than your job one should definitely develop a new skill and use that skill to make a secondary income in order to withstand hard times like these (COVID). For example, if you are a chef, based on your expertise, you can make videos online and make money that way. So if you want to make money, then you have to think out of the box and monetize your extra time.

Yet another point is to always give time for your family. Your company may leave you but your family is the one that comes handy when needed and support you during those struggling times of your life. So it is very important that you give time to your family.

Last but not the least, do not forget to smile. Sometimes just a smile can turn a bad day to a good day. So make sure that you put on a smile and face every challenge with a smile on your face. It can make relationships.”