Nikheel Brid, General Manager of The Crown Goa

Mr. Nikheel Brid is a veteran in the Hospitality trade. He passed out of IHM Goa in 1991 and joined the newly opened Leela group as a Management Trainee. He was with the group for eight years during which period he worked at the Front Office and Food & Beverage in their various hotels both in Goa and Mumbai. Subsequently he moved to Pune where he was with prominent 5 star Luxury properties. A keen desire to accumulate new learning, prompted him to join Facility Management and Institutional Catering for about 6 years. A change in the industry brought in new challenges new experiences and further sharpened his business acumen skills . The Crown Goa, provided him a platform to reconnect with the property which he had opened and also gave him an opportunity to work with Vision Dempo which now is on the verge of an exciting phase in the hospitality sector.

Nikheel believes, customer service is about expectations. And the expectations that customers have today were shaped by their previous experiences. Businesses need to meet or exceed these customer expectations. Service is praised or criticized because of expectations.

In order to surprise and delight a guest , it’s important to have brand values which align with their expectations. In order to achieve this goal its essential all staff and management share the same vision.” Hospitality is not an assembly line and there needs to be a personal touch”, he says. The staff needs to understand and appreciate the different needs and expectations of corporate and leisure guests and the switch from one to the other needs to happen seamlessly. Technology also plays an important role in enhancing guest experience and we at The Crown are in the process of upgrading our technological infrastructure. Staff is encouraged and empowered to ask guests for their preferences and there is constant follow up from his key team , so that they can provide an experience that is truly personalised.

It’s easier to meet the demands of the industry if one has staff that is highly motivated. At the time of induction, the new joinee needs to feel welcome. Organisational expectations should be spelt out clearly. There should be constant interaction between a supervisor and team members and a strong feedback system needs to be in place. Learning and development , along with a robust Rewards & Recognition programme is key. Every employee looks at growth and that can happen only through knowledge, and training not necessarily through monetary gains. In fact on a scale of 1 to 10, Mr. Brid rates salary at a 6 whereas training and recognition are rated at 8 and 9 respectively. “It’s recognition that ensures employee loyalty and retention”, he says. “This industry”, he says, “has plenty of opportunities for non-qualified aspirants. Only kitchen or technical services require qualification. In other departments, attitude is key. For majority of positions experience and behaviour skills take precedence over qualifications.”

Goa is a preferred destination for both domestic and international tourists. Increasing a stay span which currently is limited to 02 -03 days will help in garnering more revenue for the stakeholders. Infrastructure development, safe adventure tourism choices, affordable commute options, visa accessibility, renowned wellness and spa experiences are some of the areas of development which can make Goa a more sought after destination.

On the subject of IHM institutes, he feels that the curriculum has not kept pace with progress in the industry. Thus a hotel has to spend time and resource in order to bring new entrants up to desired level. Students need to be made aware of the demands of the trade and the right attitude towards work needs to be inculcated. Unfortunately, this is not done which leads to high attrition within the first couple of months.