Mr.Gaurav Apte, General Manager – Marriott, Goa
Mr.Gaurav Apte is a young, dynamic, highly qualified, industrious, lively and self-motivated individual. He is 39 years and holds a working experience of almost 18 years in the hospitality industry. Currently he is the General Manager of Marriott, Goa. He has completed his post-graduation in Hospitality and Tourism Management. Mr. Apte has achieved this position only through hard work, dedication and perseverance.
Q1. What is the key secret to your success?
According to me the mantra for success is hard work, high aspirations and dedication. We should always aim high and work towards your goal. One should not halt but move forward to achieve the next higher goal and setting the time frame for achieving these goals. I started my career as an associate, developed to a supervisor, went on to become a manager and then a department head gradually climbing the ladder of success. I had to tackle various hurdles to reach this position, so to achieve success, one has to put his heart and soul and overcome all obstacles that you come your way.
Q2. If the authority leaves up to you what changes or additions, would to like to incorporate in the course of IHM?
Firstly I would like to share something about myself. I wanted to be a post graduate and hence decided to do Masters after a diploma. I completed Masters in Tourism and later Masters in Hospitality Administration. This is when I realised that more importance and emphasis is given to only the core areas in hotel management namely Housekeeping, Front Office, Kitchen and Human Resources. But according to me, there are more vital areas in hospitality like Finance, Revenue, Sales and Marketing which need equal importance to change our perspective.
One more thing which I would like to highlight is that the written assignment system should be done away with as it is time consuming. Instead the assignments should be on an online system with a test at the end of every assignment which saves time and leads to gainful learning.
Q3. What would you recommend to the readers and youngsters wishing to get into this hospitality profession?
Teenagers think that it is a glamorous industry where you can meet celebrities, politicians etc. which, on one hand is the good part. On the other hand we must remember that this profession is such that when everyone else is enjoying, we are working to make their holidays memorable. In terms of scope, the hotel industry is ever growing and there is no dearth for job opportunities. This industry has a lot of potential, hotels will continue doing well and you will never be jobless.
Q4. In your opinion, what can be done differently to retain guests for a longer period of time?
Good question! Hotels usually function as a home away from home. Usually the guests get bored after a certain period and may think of moving to another hotel or a city altogether. So we should ensure that the guests’ requirements are not only met but exceeded. Provision of many restaurants serving different cuisines can be done instead of having just a single restaurant. Recreational facilities, various games, play station; pool, etc. can be provided. Also to ensure longer stay of the guests, personalised arrangements should be crafted for the kids putting the parents at ease and making their vacation comfortable and hassle free. This is the basic thing regarding vacation which helps parents in decision making. Additionally, sight-seeing can be organised, effectively designed with proper transportation and an experienced guide.
Q5. What are the basic needs of the employees, you believe, should be taken care of by the management, which will help them to perform better?
The best way to express this is the provision of ROTI, KAPDA, and MAKAAN. The first criterion is ensuring good quality and adequate food to the personnel. Second comes appropriate, clean and laundered uniforms .Thirdly provision of relaxation rooms and break rooms for employees working in shifts. So these are the three basic things to be taken care of by the management.
Also the performance of the employees should be applauded, recognised and rewarded.
Q6. What plays a major role in enhancing the guest’s experience?
Nowadays it is not advisable to have a standard approach for all the guests. We need to have a record and maintain a database of guest’s preferences likes and dislikes which can be done at the front office or at any point in the hotel. Major thing is recording, remembering, arranging and delivering effectively as per the personalised needs of each guest. Every hotel can learn from each experience as there is always a scope for improvement so that we can enhance and personalise the guest experience.
Q7. What can you do differently to make your hotel more preferable, as compared to others?
The most important thing in hotel industry is you need to be dynamic. You need to change keeping in mind the perception of the guests. We need to take feedback of the guests and improvise the shortcomings if any. Most importantly is to maintain a feedback tracking system, plan and act on the inadequacies. So the crux of the matter is that if we never ask for customer feedback, we’ll never understand what drives customer satisfaction. Customer feedback enables every business to fit their needs more accurately which is the key factor in hospitality industry.
Q8. What are the key areas to be focused by the authorities to make Goa the preferred tourist destination?
Goa is a land that redefines holidays, with its exquisite mix of sun, surf and beaches and visited by thousands of international and domestic tourists. There is a lot of potential and opportunity to promote tourism in Goa. The most important thing in this regard is connectivity and transportation. Enhancement of various facilities at the airport, resolving traffic issues, providing proper conveyance,etc, which will draw in more customers and lead to less stressful experience for the guests.
Q9. How do you believe Purchase Manager can be motivated or inspired to get the best deal or increase the revenue for the hotel?
Purchase manager has to adhere to the compliance system formulated by the management. Through effective negotiation, networking and dealing, purchase managers can help a business organisation save costs and increase profits. At Marriott, we have most of the contracts negotiated at a national level with set policies which doesn’t allow anyone to deviate from the policies.
Q10. What according to you gives more revenue F&B or Rooms?
Many hotels earn more from Rooms than F&B .We as well earn more revenue from Rooms than from F&B. The profitability in rooms is most definitely more than in F&B.
Q11. What in your opinion can help you to enhance the guest experience?
There are huge opportunities that can be enacted to enhance guests’ experience. I think keyless entry should be constituted which helps guests to check in and gain access to their hotel rooms and amenities through their smart phones. Also remote check in and check out can be initiated. Hotel payment gateway through their websites facilitates hassle free billing.