Monday, January 20, 2014

Winter Internship - a Memoir

Winter Internship @ TAJ FALAKNUMA PALACE 

                                                                          - by Priyadarshi Mayank (MBA 1st year)

Hospitality industry is an industry which has its own working style and is very unique in its own. This winter I got a tremendous opportunity to work for TAJ Falaknuma Palace, a hotel of Taj Hotels and Resorts group which comes under IHCL(Indian Hotel Companies Limited).  Falaknuma Palace is located in the culturally rich southern Indian city of Hyderabad. The Palace was built in 1893, and it is spread over 32 acres. It took NawabVikar-ul-Umra, the then Prime Minister of Hyderabad princely kingdom, nine years to build the Palace. It was later bought over by the ruler of the Hyderabad state, H.H. TheNizam VI, Nawab Mir Mahboob Ali Khan Bahadur, who was recognized as the world richest man in 1930’s. 

Taj Falaknuma Palace being a heritage hotel situated in outskirt of city has less scope for business unlike other business hotels which exists in heart of the city. Hence in order to increase the business of the hotel I worked on a project headed by Mr. Girish Sehgal (General Manager of Taj Falaknuma Palace). The hotel is very costly as its room rates varies between Rs.32,000 to 1,50,000 per night and most of the guests are foreign nationals or tourists. So in order to increase the business we worked on the concept of Destination Marketing Management. 

After doing a lot of market research and going through many research papers we found that the concept of DDM led to drastic changes in places and made them hot tourist spots. Some of the very well known examples are Australia, Brazil, Spain, Dubai, Hong Kong, Kerala etc. Hence we extracted those concepts, modified it and implemented on Hotel Level since DDM is a broad concept which needs involvement of government, Other Legal bodies, Tours and Travels Companies etc. I was asked to choose a management model to implement strategies. I chose Mc Kinsey 7S Model and implemented 7S in following manner:

·         Strategy
Firstly, starting with the state of Andhra Pradesh tourism, and then focusing on Hyderabad and Taj Falaknuma Palace, comparing it to opportunities that exist in this region when compared to the other successfully branded and marketed destinations in India, as listed above. 

At state level it should do the following things:
  •   Should take initiative for the formation of other tourism organizations to further boost Andhra Pradesh Tourism.
  •   Should involve in continuous Tourism Product Development in order to make variety of world-class tourist attractions.
At Hotel level:
  •   It should identify the rich culture and crafts of Hyderabad, and help motivate the craftsmen to keep their art alive.
  •   It should work with the identified craftsmen and help them showcase their unique art, to affluent high end traveler looking for unique experiences, and use these experiences to help market Hyderabad and Taj Falaknuma Palace as a attractive high end leisure destination, thus helping improve both the guest experience and the profitability of the property.
  •    It should organize variety of annual festivals and cultural events backed   up by outstanding tourism campaigns and promotions.
·         Structure
Revamping the organizational structure in order to boost internal as well as external stakeholders. It involves providing and maintaining of profitable and healthy relationship with other stakeholders like Andhra Pradesh  Tourism, Government, Tour and Travel Companies, Associates, Customers
Etc. Adding to that structure should also facilitate quality service controls which comprises of every effort to enhance the service quality of facilities and a generally hospitable atmosphere. These measures are meant to reinforce Hotel’s image as a leading destination that offers world-class standards of quality, service, and hospitality.

·         Staff
The recruitment process should be capable enough to hire the cream associates from institutions and industries. HR initiatives should focus on further enhancing the engagement within the workforce, sustaining workforce cost & productivity and enabling a responsive system to the business challenges through optimized use of technology platforms.

·         Shared Values
Business excellence should be embedded in Taj Falaknuma Palace through processes and methodologies that enable it to continually improve operations and achieve the world-class marquee.

·         Style
IHCL believes Corporate Governance is a continuous journey to provide a congenial environment to harmonize the goals of maximizing the stakeholders' value and maintaining a customer-centric focus. 
The internal audit process, through its unique ‘Taj Positive Assurance Model’, which is an objective methodology of providing a positive assurance based on the audits of operating units and corporate functions, is a convergence of Process Framework, Risk and Control Matrix and a Scoring Matrix.

·         Skill
The Hotel should promote branding, positioning, communication and hospitality skills. It should also focus on continuous associate development through various workshops and trainings. 

·         System
It involves the development in daily activities and procedures that staff members engage in to get the job done. Adding to that hotel should voluntarily participate in the globally recognized Carbon Disclosure Project to demonstrate its commitment towards performance in climate change mitigation. It should also organize CSR activities on a regular basis.
The outcome was phenomenal. Moreover I solely designed the quarterly newsletter for TAJ Falaknuma Palace. The feedback I got from GM was ’the newsletter is too good that we won’t  be needing any alterations for next five years’. General Manager was very esteemed by the idea and commitment I poured into my work. Hence, in the end I would like to say to all of us that don’t leave any stone unturned in order to achieve your goals. 

DOMS, IIT Roorkee  Rocks!!

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