Anand Chatterjee GM Planet Hollywood
A down to earth person who does not measure success in terms of monies earned or designation, he truly believes he is just doing the work “he was destined to do”.
A triple graduate in Science, Sociology as well as Hotel Management, Mr. Chatterjee joined ITC as a Management Trainee after completing his Hotel Management. Here he trained in various divisions of the company including Tobacco and Lifestyle, ITC Infotech and Hotels. After completing his stint as a Management trainee, he joined the Hotels division of the company.
He started his career in the Hospitality industry as a preopening Assistant Manager of the ITC Grand Maratha. He also opened the ITC Sonar Bangla in Kolkata and worked at the ITC Kakatiya Sheraton Hotel in Hyderabad.
While in Hyderabad, he left ITC hotels and joined Oberoi Hotels. He was posted as F&B manager of The Oberoi Udaivilas, one of the best hotels in the world. With the Oberoi Hotels, he also worked at The Oberoi Rajvilas, Trident Chennai and Trident Bandra Kurla in Mumbai. He also managed The Oberoi Wild Flower Hall in Shimla for a period of time.
Post Oberoi Hotels, he joined Viiking Ventures to build Planet Hollywood. Besides managing the hotel, his portfolio also includes helping the company to develop their other hotels in Delhi, Mumbai and Jaipur which in effect means he looks after the hospitality division of Viiking ventures. By 2022 they are looking at over 550 rooms in their inventory with two hotels in Delhi and one each in Mumbai and Jaipur. The group is also developing the Kingfisher Villa(renamed as King’s Mansion) in Goa into a very high end, first of its kind Transformative Wellness Centre. Goa and India certainly has something to look forward to here in 2019.
Mr. Chatterjee has a very simple formula at the macro level to ensure he has satisfied, repeat guests….give them “value for money”. How does one create that value? “Great food, a tremendous amount of personalisation… a guest should be a fan of the product”. At a micro level, Planet Hollywood creates activities for their guests of all ages. They take them on a village walking tour, cycle tours, local markets, historical tours, crab fishing. The guests interact with fisher folk, choose the fish they want to eat and the staff helps them cook it. According to him, the worst thing that can happen to a hotel is if “the decision to stay there is based on price point”. As an hotelier, he doesn’t want to be chosen because his property is the cheapest. He wants to be chosen despite being one of the most expensive and the only way to achieve this through personalised service and value for money in every aspect of a guest’s stay.
He keeps his staff motivated by empowering them. “To say NO you have to ask me. To say YES you don’t have to ask me” is his mantra. He meets every one of his hotel guests and tells them to contact him directly if needed. His office is not a room tucked away somewhere, but the lobby where he can interact directly with his guests.
He believes that the course at IHM is a “pretty forward looking” course. However he believes that the process of “rote learning” should be reduced and emphasis should be laid on “situation based learning”. According to him, in today’s world, importance should be placed on the ability to research and learn. It’s important to focus on Critical Thinking, Report Writing, Data Handling, Finances, Projects, Digital Marketing (beyond just posting pictures), Architecture, Appreciation and new trends. Real time training is important and should happen in different areas every year as against the 22 weeks training at the end of three years as it happens now. “An institute in any field should focus on arousing the inquisitive spirit of a student”.
On the topic of Goa as a preferred tourist destination, he says, “Goa has pristine natural beauty.” However he feels that in order to retain Goa as a preferred tourist destination, while progress is necessary, our man-made structures specially our roads and flyovers need some aesthetics around them even at the building stage. Our cities and beaches need to be cleaned up.