Rajneesh Kumar is the General Manager of Courtyard by Marriott Aravali Resort and has been successful in spearheading the resort’s opening and operations. In his current role, Rajneesh is responsible for positioning the hotel as a defining benchmark in hospitality. He has completed 15 years in the Marriott Group. Prior to this, he has been General Manager at Courtyard by Marriott Raipur. He started his career at the Taj group of hotels after graduating from IHM Hyderabad in 2004.
An Interview by Payal Sahni
- Your current role as a GM, core 3 challenges that you face and how you plan to resolve them.
My role as the General Manager is to manage all aspects of operations at the hotel which also includes providing leadership and strategic planning to all the departments, ensuring guest and associate experiences and managing stakeholders including investors. The biggest challenge in our current scenario is managing talent due to the ongoing war in space and high aspirations, helping associates learn, develop and grow is the best way to be on top of it. I am a firm believer in Train to Retain! Another challenge is changing customer expectations which are ever-evolving. In today’s day and age as customers are well-informed and well-travelled. There are high expectations from a brand like Marriott; we make effective use of company-owned technology that enhances productivity ensuring personalization of services offered to our guests.
2. Top three things which you feel will define an exclusive hospitality experience
The top three things which define an exclusive hospitality experience is a unique product. When you have a unique product there will be numerous talking points that you can work around and garner more eyeballs. The second is experiences, when you curate experiences for guests they make it a point to remember that for their entire lifetime. Our aim is to be able to create unique experiences for our all guests that they can cherish. Last but not the least is personalised services and natural warmth. The last point plays a crucial role and can make or break a guest’s experience. Indian hospitality is talked about around the world and we try our best to make sure we imbibe this ethos in all our associates.
3. Sustainability is the way forward, but are we doing something about it and at the same time evoking a sense of responsibility with our guests also; trying to match their expectations at the same time (maybe some light can be thrown at food recycling/water and other resources).–
At Courtyard by Marriott Aravali, sustainability is one of our core values we do business with. Hence, all our day to day actions and decisions are taken keeping sustainability in mind. We already have many sustainable practices in place e.g. EV cars and charging stations, compost machines (to convert daily waste into manure which is used in landscaping), solar panels on rooftops to generate renewable energy, water bottling plant, residential bath amenities in the room (no single-use plastic tubes), hydroponic farming, etc. We continuously work on reducing the carbon footprint for which the entire supply chain is evaluated with emphasis on hyper-local procurement.
4. What do you think is going to be the next leap in the hospitality sector?
Technology will continue to evolve in hospitality to enhance digital experience for all our guests. In hotel experiences will be the deciding factor to choose a service provider. Sustainable practices in hospitality will take a huge jump in years to come due to increasing awareness & interest amongst the consumers.
- Your favourite pastime. – I start my day by reading the newspaper every day and apart from that I enjoy binge-watching web series with my family.