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Monday, August 10, 2020

Covid corollary: Hotels take guest services to the doorstep

From food delivery to laundry services and DIY meal kits with measured and prepped ingredients, luxury hotel chains are taking their services to people’s homes

Written by Divya A | New Delhi | Updated: July 2, 2020 7:29:28 pm
hotels, hotel industry, covid 19 pandemic, coronavirus, travel season, home delivery hotels, Swiggy, Zomato, While most hotels across the metros in the country are waiting for more lenient rules before they can welcome back guests whole-heartedly, some of them are — in the meantime — taking their services to the guests’ homes. (Photo: Getty Images)

For over a month now, many hotels of the Hyatt group around the country have been receiving calls from their regular guests and asking if some of their favourite delicacies could be delivered to their homes. “All the calls are from our regulars,” says Julian Ayers, Area Vice President – India North, and General Manager, Hyatt Regency, Delhi.

Even after a month of being allowed to operate, most hotels across the metros in the country have resumed limited services. While they are waiting for more lenient rules before they can welcome back guests whole-heartedly, some of them are — in the meantime — taking their services to the guests’ homes. Now, Hyatt group along with other hotel chains such as Accor, Hilton, Conrad, and Sheraton are delivering food from their in-house restaurants through Swiggy and Zomato. Marriott International has also partnered with Swiggy to launch their food delivery service and is calling it Marriott on Wheels. More than 20 Marriott hotels across 11 cities including in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Agra, Pune, Coimbatore and Goa have listed their delivery menus on Swiggy. More recently, AnnaMaya – the European Food Hall at Andaz Delhi — has also announced its home delivery menu option.

The Covid-19 outbreak has resulted in a severe drop in foreign and domestic travel, across both the tourist and business traveller segments. Luxury chains, that normally have 60-65% foreign travellers in their guest composition, are reeling to find an alternative stream of revenue while also giving a semblance of continuity to their existing domestic guests. “As we navigate and adapt ourselves to the new normal in all aspects of life, there will be a new balance in everything we do, including our approach to the business of hospitality,” said Neeraj Govil, Senior Vice President, South Asia, Marriott International in a statement.

Hilton, which has collaborated with Zomato and Swiggy for home delivery, has come up with a delivery-focussed menu across Indian cities with its signature dishes. “We needed to find a way to reach our guests,” said a company spokesperson. As of now, Hilton is delivering in Bengaluru, Pune, Mumbai, Chennai, Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Delhi.

While home delivery of food may be a natural course for the hotels who have in-house speciality restaurants and chefs on board, what is interesting to note is that some are going out of their way to extend their bouquet of doorstep services. For instance, Novotel Chennai OMR and Sheraton Grand Bangalore, Whitefield, have started laundry services for their members, so has Hyatt Regency in Gurugram and Pune. Services include free pickup and deliveries within a limited radius, and customers can pre-book the services through calls, WhatsApp or emails, and pay via contactless modes. Vishal Singh, General Manager, Hyatt Regency Gurgaon, says, “We have extended our laundry services to the doorstep to cater to the incoming demand from our guest community.”

Along with prepared meals, some of the hotels have also started delivering DIY meal kits. Park Hyatt Hyderabad has launched non-alcoholic premixes under the name of Tales of Rika, which allows the guests to make their own concoctions with elaborate but unique recipes. Hyatt Regency Kolkata has a DIY experience called Cook Like A Pro, where the hotel sends recipe details and measured and prepped ingredients to the guests’ delivery address for them to assemble and cook at home. Hyatt Regency Delhi also offers a Bake At Home Bread Kit which has the ingredients required to prepare homemade bread.

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