THE FIRST INDIAN MUTINY 1806- VELLORE

THE FIRST INDIAN MUTINY 1806- VELLORE

Vellore located on the  road from  Madras/ Chennai to Bangalore/ Bangaluru  is more reknowned  today for its CMC-Vellore, VIT and for its mouth watering   biriyani which is made in that belt of Vellore, Ambur and Vaniyambadi.

The rich historical past seems to be covered by a polythene wrapper of time, neglect and unplanned growth. The  place which can boast of having staged India’s first mutiny against the East India Colony almost 50 years before the Mangal Pandey led 1857 mutiny has not been given the pride of place by the Tamilians themselves.

In 1566, the Vijayanagara Empire Chiefs built an impregnable fort that still towers over the city. A fort that saw action during India’s 1st mutiny.

The British had taken it over to hold on to it. Its impregnability tested by Hyder Ali who tried  but even a siege of 2 years  went in vain.

With Tipu Sultan losing at Srirangam, his family was housed  here.

The mutiny though short lived was again like the 1857 mutiny ignited  by religious beliefs.

The predominantly Tamil soldiers were  directed to report on duty sans their sacred ash smearing on their foreheads and the traditional turban to be replaced by a round British hat which they perceived as their conversion by the British.

Sir John Cradock, the Commander- in- Chief of the Madras Army  ordered his troops to toe the line, despite, the advice from his seniors. If he had listened to the advice, there would have been no mutiny.

On 10th July the soldiers revolted in the early morning hours killing 100  Britishers and their families in their sleep. This went on till 1400 hours the same day.

In their momentum and on cleaning out the paymaster’s office, they lost focus to go on a looting spree after getting drunk on huge quantities of arrack, they discovered within.

They had the momentum, ammunitions, the manpower and an impregnable fort. Yet, they failed to  pad-lock the fort gates, and man the fort ramparts.

This gave the few surviving Britishers to re-group and organize a small yet disciplined force led by Rollo Gillespie from nearby Arcot to take over with consummate ease. 600 mutineers were killed with a few lined up to be shot down. The leaders were blown by cannons.

The mutineers raised  Tipu Siultan’s flag though, the family stayed away from involving themselves similar to  1857 and Bahadur Shah Zafar- The last Mughal Emperor.

Craddock and some other senior officers were sacked. Sensing the mood of the soldiers then, the Britishers began to be more humane with their soldiers, to set about making them professionals, inculcating regimental pride.  It paid off as The Tamil Regiment  was formed in the 1660’s as the European Madras regiment.

The troops saw action in the World Wars   https://www.google.com/search?ei=3So8XdqHCsfJrQHt0qvQAg&q=the+madras+regiment++role+in+the+world+war&

The Madras Regiment is one of the oldest and most decorated regiments whose troops are drawn from Karnataka Tamil Nadu Kerala and Andhra Pradesh yet the Vellore belt  remains one of the major contributors.

I  love and respect the Tamilians pride in their culture. But  as much as they take great but unwanted pride in Tamil being the oldest language,  shouldn’t  they take more pride in this glorious feat that set the tone for the future.

KARGIL VIJAY DIWAS- INDIA’s LIP SERVICE TO HER MARTYR’s

 KARGIL VIJAY DIWAS- INDIA’s LIP SERVICE TO HER MARTYR’s

“The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve  in any war, no matter how justified shall be directly proportional  as to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated  by their nation” George Washington.

That is the USA for their soldiers. On the other hand is India. Where soldiers have to ask for their dues-The most impoverished passage of time, in a nation’s history.

Hypocrisy- We Indians thrive on it. Begrudging the rations they are entitled to and the canteen services within their cantonments.

We see only that and their partying. But don’t want to see they earn this at the cost of being separated from their families for many a month to return at times with  life threatening ailments of frost bites, pulmonary disorders and edema to say the least.

The callousness and insensitivity of the civilians working in the Defence Services Accounts section, I get to taste when I overhear my Father- in- Law based at our village in Palakkad trying to explain on the phone to a clerk repeatedly at Red Fort office for getting his pension revision-after the endless number of e-mails of course. This from an Indian Air-force veteran, who joined service in 1953, being, one of those selected for training and to fly back from Russia with our prized 1st lot of AN12’s.I wonder, why they can’t employ Ex- Servicemen who will at least empathize with such veteran’s grievances.

Remember the freeways of the USA We all choose to highlight as the metaphor of development was laid by WWII veterans. Half a century later, it still is as good as new-proof of their caliber.

Come 26th July we hall view our love for our martyrs in all forms. Whether it is the cone shape loudspeakers on road intersections and/or markets 24 x7 blaring out patriotic songs from films Hindustan ki Kasam, Haqeeqat, Border LOC and now Uri.

 Now our national media can’t let go of such an opportunity to improve their TRP.  NDTV, Republic TV, Times NOW, Mirror NOW, India Today all  quiet till now, shall be having those great armchair chat shows. The vocal chords of Radio FM Jockeys of Radio Mirchi, Red FM and Fever et al shall be strained as they attempt to milk that one day’s cash cow. You think the print media will be left behind! No Sir, India Inc shall ensure that day from jacket advertisements, full page and all possible types of advertisements

 Feature in their great service on behalf of the nation to thank our martyrs.

The New Indian Express yesterday 25th July on Page 7 http://epaper.newindianexpress.com/m5/2257513/The-New-Indian-Express-Thrissur/26072019#page/7/1

And today 26th July also.  http://epaper.newindianexpress.com/m5/2255953/The-New-Indian-Express-Thrissur/25072019#page/7/1

In addition,   a supplement titled 26th KARGIL VIJAY DIWAS – the headline possibly coined by their Sports Editor reading ‘ REVISITING THE  FOURTH VICTORY  AGAINST PAKISTAN’ I  found with my New Indian Express this morning.

 12 Pages supplement with   all pages with Kargil details in the top half and advertisements if not all over, at least, taking almost half the space at the bottom.

 The last page Tribute To Our Brave-hearts stinks of commerce as the name, battalion and rank of those 599 martyred  necessitates a magnifying glass to read but the advertisement  font crystal clear I  would suppose even  to the blind !

It would be far more effective if Corporate India instead of these advertisements in mainline newsprint and advertisements on prime time pools these expenses to sponsor one or two martyr’s family.

Compare the size of the feature, number of photographs, front page or inside pages positioning for gallantry awards in comparison to the Arjuna awards and Khel Ratna awards or for that matter, the National awards for film stars!

1999 saw the show of Indians offering  support unconditional for their soldiers- praying for their lives; who were scaling the vertical  Himalayan snow clad peaks at night despite being fired at to drive away the intruders. Kargil, Drass, Tololing and Batalik the three subsectors replaced momentarily Shimla, Rohtang Pass and Manali in the common man’s mind. Paramvir Chakra Awardee posthumous Captain Vikram Batra’s (13 J & K Rifles) emotion stirring clarion call “Yeh dil Maangey More” on recapturing a summit to plant the tricolor, resonated in the heartbeat of every Indian then for moment only.

 Within a year or less, the Indian hypocrisy got exposed. When we needed them to protect our frontiers, the people were there individually and collectively to show their support. A pretence as every Fauji family is aware. ‘A friend in need is no friend of mine.’

Did we ever care to find out what the families of these martyrs are going through in life? We pledged them our support. The majority being the lone breadwinners of their family, mainly from the peasant stock with their homes in the small towns and hamlets we pass by when gliding in our cars on our weekend getaways and holidays.   They put their hand up to take responsibility. They join the fauj as they find no other employment elsewhere.

One corporate captain seated in his air conditioned office, summed up the hypocrisy in one sentence. “They volunteered, were not conscripted”- on my telling him “they give up their youth for the country and look at their plight now. Nobody gives a damn” Neatly, absolving himself.  

The present regime in their first term 2014-2019 promised full implementation of the OROP-One Rank One Pension with immediate effect.  As expected, the babudom stymied the effort, but for a Prime Minister who could courageously proclaim “We will, if need be, kick the doors of their residences to barge in and hammer them” his action in awarding a pittance as OROP remained just mere words! To add insult to injury the police were actioned on a disciplined protest of war veterans.

 We are all envious of martyr’s families being entitled to a petrol filling station and/or a LPG agency. Of course, it comes at a cost for the widow who is still struggling to come to grips with her loss,  is made to run from the proverbial pillar to post;  finally to breakdown on the very same chowk or street named in honour of her hero.

 Finally when she gets it a feat that-where decathlon champions would fail at. A Sisyphusian effort! Her relief is momentary on getting the order as the petrol station or LPG Agency would be located many a mile away. That, my friends is the power of babus.  For all my praise for our 1st Prime Minister; One act initiated by Pandit Nehru of down grading the military personnel ranks in comparison to his favourites the babus and further continued by successive Prime Ministers That act by India’s 1st PM a criminal with military blood on his hands for causing the 1962 war with his gung ho ‘Forward policy’ with China, but refusing the Indian Air Force to go in. Bloodshed could have been averted. As we had an Air-force while China was no match in the air. Besides, the bloodshed, we would have won the war, too.

But the Generals of the tri-services are no less culpable. As a former Army officer on my admiring Army officers for their intelligence, compassion, empathy, communications-all that we associate with ‘An Officer and a Gentleman’ remarked in the typical Fauji self-deprecating manner “Nonsense. For our medical test, we are sent into a room asked to sit on a three legged stool. One person will flash a torch light on one ear to ask the other “Lait dikhya”. Once the other person confirms the empty space between both ears comes the quip “Perfect Indian Army officer material!” He adds on.  “For Senior ranks, the Medical Officer moves his palm down the officer’s back.  “Only when the MO confirms “No back bone”, the officer is promoted!

This in jest yet reflects on how senior officers have let their men, the rank and file down; the very same who lay down their lives or maimed for life.

It’s a shame there are two former senior Army officers in the Union government as Ministers, yet nothing substantial has happened for their men. Now you understand the seriousness in the jest of a medical test!

I am sure you would have noticed why a select group of senior Officers on retirement, find themselves as the occupants of Governor’s bungalow and High Commissions. The rank and file veterans you will find doing security duties in the gated communities or with the MNC’s- below their dignity, but then they need some means to feed their families. We pale in comparison to the United States, where war veterans are a prize catch for corporate. They lead by example.

They can manage pressure calmly, that clichéd corporate term that is uttered in conjunction with stress. Keith Miller, that role-model all-rounder who played in Sir Donald Bradman’s legendary team was once asked about pressure on playing cricket. His answer “You call this pressure! Pressure is when you are 20,000 feet high alone in your Spitfire to find a German Messerschmitt on your tail” Miller had flown Spitfires for the Allies in World War II.  That is the kind of pressure they have braved. An ideal profile for our corporate India.

Have I seen or heard of a corporate in India advertising for a vacancy with ‘War veterans/ Tri services personnel will be preferred.” I have not. Have you?  That’s our culture. We admire them, rever them venerate them but their place on being medically unfit is in doing a Watchman’s duty.

In my youth there was this popular song “One night in Hong Kong makes a tough man crumble”. I smile wryly paraphrasing it with ‘One stint in RR leaves a tough man broken….’ RR- Rashtriya Rifles, the units in J & k formed to combat terrorism. That is

I have heard of and seen soldiers after a RR stint at home sleeping at night if they do manage to sleep to wake up on the hint of a sound hands reaching out for their weapons. They need endless sessions of counseling to become normal again. That reaction- PSTD-Post Stress Traumatic Disorder. Being observed in soldiers since the Crimean War to be declared as an act of cowardice. Only during the Vietnam War, was it recognized as a psychological ailment

An incident at an Indigo airline desk Indira Gandhi Airport saw me witnessing an incident that made me ashamed to be an Indian. A jawan after an RR stint was heading home on a much deserved leave south-wards to be with his family, possibly in the village. His eyes and the lines on his face told his story more than his words. The typical callous desk clerk remarked “Sorry Sir you cannot carry this on the flight “- the consignment. A kilogram of walnuts for his children. The sight of this man teary eyed palms clasped pleading with the clerk, enraged me to leave my flight if need be to walk across and take on the desk clerk in the language they understood best. I had the satisfaction in ensuring that soldier was allowed without excess baggage costs with my cold rage getting the Manager’s intervention solving the issue.

 Our actors, cricketers and the VIP class are never subjugated thus. As we have chapters in school text books on the Sachin Tendulkars, Saina Nehwals, Amitabh Bachchans and Sudha Chandrans but not one on these real heroes.

We could start with the PVC’s oops! Not Poly Vinyl Chloride but Param Vir Chakra awardees- the nation’s highest wartime gallantry award.

I do not blame that girl at the desk as she did not learn this at school, nor did her environment make her to stand up for these heroes. 

The question arises how did I then? Well, two paternal uncles saw action in the World War II one at Basra, Iraq the other in Burma.

 A cousin’s father-in-law distantly related was a Colonel with General Montgomery in Africa to chase out the ‘Desert Fox’ General Rommel.

 I used to notice from childhood these war heroes in my family were seldom venerated but in my North Indian friend’s households they were the heroes.

 To add I lost a student Major Navneet Vatts in the Valley, who made the supreme sacrifice going into a house to oust terrorists leading from the front as an Indian Army Officer is expected to. He left behind a widow, daughter and a mentally challenged brother in Chandigarh. It took the brave and determined efforts of his Gurgaon based course mate Dr. Anshu Maheshwari Arora- Now Principal-The Amity International- Gurgaon to go to Chandigarh, somehow get through to his unit’s CO. using all her persuasion to ensure the fauj taking responsibility for Nimeesh’s welfare. Any amount of praise is less for Anshu Maheswari ably supported by her husband Mandip, both civilians, clueless on the Army’s hierarchy etc. Yet against all odds, they did succeed in their efforts. 

If they could do it why can’t we the people whose, Mantris, elected representatives, Babus and Fauj’s senior officers have failed us take a leaf from Anshu and Mandip’s initiative. That is a solution.

Farcical is this celebration as it took light years for a simple War memorial to come up for the Unknown Soldier who fought 1948, 1962, ’65. ’71, the countless battles with insurgents and terrorists and 1999. Waiting for the OROP to be implemented in full measure may take a long time, a wee bit more than ‘Waiting for Godot!’

 Till then, we can expect to hear the lyrics of the lovely melody “Fauji rabda hai dooja naam” film Fauji only on 26th July but never in spirit. As we are too impoverished in our hearts. To summon them when Nehru’s boys the civil administration fail as they normally do in times of natural and man-made calamities. The Indian military forces remain the only apolitical and secular institution of this country who without a thought, put their lives at risk even to save lives in Jammu & Kashmir. As also, when a toddler has to be rescued from a bore-well, rescue passengers stranded midway in the air when an aerial ropeway stalls. I could go on and on…..

England beat Dressing Room Jinx and New Zealand to win ICC World Cup 2019

England beat Dressing Room Jinx and New Zealand to win ICC World Cup2019

England in their quest to win their maiden cricket World Cup had not only New Zealand to defeat in the 2019 ICC World Cup Final in their quest since 1975.

But they had a bigger rival to overcome at Lords, ‘The Dressing Room jinx.’  Since 1975 when the 1st World Cup finals was played at Lords, the team that was allotted the Home Dressing Room never won the trophy.

R Mohan in his column in the Deccan Chronicle writes that No team which has used the Home Dressing Room has won the finals.

1975- Australia allotted the Home Dressing Room.

1979- Hosts England used the Home Dressing Room.

1983- For some inexplicable reason, West Indies were allotted the Home Dressing Room.

19999- Human beings are superstitious, more, so, sportsmen as Steve Waugh, insisted on a toss of the coin for choice of dressing rooms after allotted Home! He won the toss to allot his rivals the Home Dressing Room.

2019- The British traditionally ‘Never the bride but always the bridesmaid  ‘ in World Cup competitions went on to defeat the enemy in the mind and their opponents.

Though it was not an England team, but a Commonwealth  team comprising of 2 South Africans, 1 West Indian, 1 New Zealander, 1 Irish and 2 Pakistanis. In addition to a lame ICC rule

Maybe that facilitated in beating the jinx.

Chef Arvind Saraswat Whom I interacted with

    My Tribute to Chef Arvind Saraswat

 A Legend passed away yesterday, 13th July 2019. I had the fortune of interacting with him in his role first as an Interviewer 1986 at IHMCT Ahmedabad.  Later from 1991- 1994 as a teaching faculty at IMCT Pusa and in my capacity as one of the members of the Indian Culinary Federation. I saw him in a new light then.

But, first, flashback 1986 The Final Round for the Management Trainee slot with the Taj. My first interaction with him.

Ramola Mahajini- Group HR Head was firing away questions starting on the 4 core subjects of Food Production, Food & Beverage Service, Front Office and Housekeeping. I was to my own surprise, in my elements, answering brilliantly.

All this while, the legend, Chef Saraswat, threatening with his stilled silence and hint of a smile. Almost foreboding, waiting like a vulture for his prey patiently.

Ramola- daughter of Late SK Wankhede- Wankhede stadium, changed tracks noticing cricket in my interests. But, knowing my facts, figures and anecdotes of my passion better than hotel management subjects, every delivery she bowled was despatched to the ropes effortlessly. Queries on literature, another interest, followed. Very articulate, well read and knowledgeable she was, in whom I found a great ally to literally discuss on everything from Spofforth, Bradman, The three W’S, Kundanlal Saigal, Hollywood, Bollywood authors, books….

To me it looked as we both were the only duo in the room on the edge of our seats facing each other chatting away like school friends meeting after years. The legend was, solemn; inscrutable his face. I dared not look at him, lest I falter.

At the end of the session lasting almost 2 hours, I was offered the letter in the F & B Department. Yet, he remained stoic. For some inexplicable reason, I did not take it up, but that’s not relevant here.

1991 I was asked my Sumita Paul, the Editor of The Pioneer Pulse – The Pioneer’s Sunday supplement (when Vinod Mehta was the Editor) to write  a feature on the leading  Chefs of India based in Delhi.

That’s when my impressions of Chef Saraswat changed. On my meeting Chef Manjit Singh Gill-Executive Chef-Welcomgroup Maurya Sheraton, Chef  Devinder -Meridien and Chef Sudhir Sibal -Executive Chef The Ashok also the member of the ‘Cub de Chef de Chefs- The Ivy League Club of Chefs assigned to the Head of State, they asked me to meet Chef Saraswat being the senior most and a legend as well. I shuddered at the idea. “Nahi Sir dar lagta hai” was my immediate response! They laughed but compelled me to refer me as well.

For the meet at TAC- Taj Air Caterers, I   was there an hour in advance. Outside the gate waking and smoking in a bid to be calm.

When I was announced, I was flummoxed to be greeted by him with a very warm smile that finding expression all over his face. Here I was like the club class bowler whose loosener saw Vivian Richards play a defensive shot. The thought in my mind was “When Viv Richards plays a defensive shot; the entire cricketing fraternity exclaims “Now what!”

Needless to state, I was on pins & needles. As he led me to his office, pulling the chair for me. I was pinching myself. ‘It was too good to be true.’ Seeing me uncomfortable, he was kind enough to ask me what he could do to make me comfortable. I confessed “Dar lagta hai” recalling the campus interview and quoting from the grapevine. He laughed. To comfort me and put me at ease with “Neelakantan that was then.”  “But Chef, that impression has stayed all these years which was fuelled further by the grapevine at Pusa and on interacting with you at Pusa too.”

To put me at ease he ordered lunch.  Taking the pleasure of serving me as a host would do at home.

I found myself. Then, to realize he was human as human as we who chat ‘nineteen to the dozen’ are, but, he kept his silence, which was misunderstood by us sitting on judgement. This man was charming for me not to notice time ticking away. It was dusk as I bid farewell. It was kind of him to organize a cab with his compliments over ruling my protests to drop me home . Slipping into my hands before closing the door a nice box ” Some treats for your family!”

The grapevine had it that he had ‘a hole in the heart.’ But the wag said “Impossible, for a heartless man.” I differ on that count. With “A man whose large heart we blinded by our prejudices, could not view.”

He shared very many insights which made for a great story on the Chefs of India in Delhi.

 I recall, starting the feature referring to the short story by Jeffery Archer on the boy who serendipitously becomes a great Chef. Detailing the hard work, grit determination and the long hours that become endless more when a Chef joins the managerial cadre.Getting rave reviews for the feature. One of my first attempts in mainline editions.

 But the finest and first among all callers from Chefs that Sunday was from the legend Chef Arvind Saraswat, calling early to compliment me for a lovely article.  Inviting me over whenever I wished to.

On noticing the cricket ground attached to the TAC, similar to those in New Zealand, I inquired whether my boys could play here; a cricket ground, basin shaped butting the road leading to the airport.He introduced me to the Manager to liaise to play our games there. My boys used to organize inconsequential fixtures just to play there in those picturesque settings. Lunch the airline food then a novelty to us being the bonus.

 Thank you Chef Arvind Saraswat.The first Indian Chef, presumably to author a book- his first of many- ‘Prashad Cooking with the Masters’ co authored with Jiggs Kalra with whom he did India’s 1st cookery series by the same name Prashad…

Go in peace to join your good friend Jiggs Kalra who has preceded you. To cook Prashad Cooking with Indian Masters for the Gods waiting in attendance.

How Indian IT companies are Crippling Our Youth

India’s IT exports are expected to grow at 7-9 percent to be at $135 billion-$137 billion in 2018-19, the report further said. The IT exports during the current financial year are projected to be $126 billion, a growth of 7-8 percent over last year.

That is the only scorecard that is shown to us for us to go gung ho on the stupendous intangible USD earnings by Wipro, Infosys, Accenture, TCS, CTS and other software companies.

 What we fail at and don’t notice is the seamy underbelly of how in this worship at the altar of Mammon, an entire generation of our youth is being crippled. These boys and girls primarily from tier-2 and tier-3 cities recruited at a CTC that is a small fortune. For them with accommodation to live in Bangalore, Pune, Kochi, Hyderabad… is to be mesmerised by this razzmatazz to lose their bearings.

 A majority of these employees in their late teens are already plagued by   crow’s feet, obesity, diabetes, infertility/ low sperm count, spondilytis, lower back problems, and a host of related ailments by the age of 25.Suffering from Vitamin D deficiency living in India, as they shuttle to fro office in an air conditioned cab.

Their sedentary lifestyle within conditioned environs to splurge on aerated beverages, carbohydrate and fat surplus meals at odd hours, is taking a   toll on these youth. Odd hours of sleep, if they get any, adding to the toll. Their insatiable craving for aerated beverages and junk food must not be mistaken for gluttony. We have to realize they are small town boys and girls who have been catapulted into El Dorado.

 At the OYO Home at Kochi I noticed these girls and boys.  They were   housed for a project. At age 53, I looked more presentable, leaner and healthier than these 25 pluses.  Girls and boys with more grey in their mop if they had any in comparison to my salt and pepper mop, a family pack in place of a six pack, slouched postures. They shuffle like old men and ladies than how youth should walk with energy, purpose and vigour

Indeed a sad commentary on how to earn a living.

 The issue raised here is how ‘Pound foolish and Penny wise’ as also ironically shrewd for their personal stake these cerebral captains at TCS, CTS, and Infosys are.

They have invested huge costs of time, manpower, money etc to recruit and train these youth.

Then leave them without a mentor to assist them professionally and personally for their career growth and health. ‘Jaan hai tho jahan hai’ or the corresponding in English ‘Health is Wealth.’

Ethically and businesswise just not done.

On Ethics- How to Cut Corners to save that Cab hiring charges. Lady employees in Hyderabad need to be home by 7 pm as per law I am told.  What our smart Software Companies do is to make them work late, save that cab costs to risk being penalised. Instead, they are paid a small amount to use their two-wheelers – As narrated by a lady employed with a software giant in Hyderabad. Uncle Scrooge would be shamed.

For all their pontificating in public, the reality is at odds.

Employees should not work more than 8 hours is the public pronouncement of one such IT captain, but that’s only for his US employees- the white skinned folks, otherwise he would be dragged into a legal battle. Whereas   back home, 10-15 hour shifts are normal.

INFOSYS Effects Parking Fee deduction in Staff Salaries’- Can it get any less ethical than this. As reported in the Hindu. I cross checked with several Infosys employees.

For all the talk about employee welfare, this is how hypocritical and cheap it can get

 These youth can anytime be laid low by a cerebral stroke, heart attack and other major health issues. They are not culpable but the software giants are.

Its time Wipro, Infosys, Accenture, TCS, CTS TCS and other software companies also start caring for their youth. Our youth, with as much focus as they do to their balance sheets and personal stock.

 We in the hotel industry fare better in comparison, working physically and mentally in all the 3 shifts allotted. Surely you can do better with the enviable resources you have at your command.

For all your glib talk in public on employee welfare, it’s Time to Walk the Talk.

The solutions if not in place already

  1. BMI monitoring fortnightly. To be adhered to strictly with those failing; to avail their annual leave to work on it.
  2.  Compulsory Yoga sessions before and after work with a good Yoga master.
  3. 30 minutes gym to be made compulsory daily on duty under the guidance of a fitness expert with aerobics.
  4. Food  menus to be prepared with more  natural fibres,
  5. Food guides for each employee with a Wellness expert’s guidance.

These are just some of the suggestions I could think of ‘off the cuff.’

I am sure all the wise heads can certainly think better.

Otherwise an entire generation, the next in line stands not just to be wiped off but being crippled for a lifetime without a support only due to  the  avarice, lust and greed of a few.

A Tribute

Mr YC Deveshwar and His Eye for Detail

 A tribute to the late YC Deveshwar, former Chairman, ITC 

 Somewhere in August 1986, I interacted with him in our official capacities. He was MD Welcomgroup Hotels (then the brand name for the ITC Hotels division). 

And I, the Front Office Supervisor, a member of the pre-opening team of the Welcomgroup, Vadodara. My first career break after campus placements at the Institute of Hotel Management & Catering Technology, Ahmedabad. 

For our soft opening, where senior management members check in as guests to test operational readiness before the official launch, YCD as he was known, too flew in from Delhi with the HD HQ team.  IA flight 487, the hopping flight on the Delhi Jaipur- Agra – Japur –Baroda- Bombay route (if memory serves me right).

He walked in tall at around 2100 hours after probably boarding the aircraft around 1800 hours,  into the lobby his right hand bent at the elbow  hooking his suit on his fingers behind his back, India Kings cigarette in his right hand. We, the Front Office staff  were all there behind the Front Desk while Mr Oscar D Monteiro RGM- West accompanied by the West Zone team were in attendance in the lobby having flown in earlier. Mrs Sumathi Rai, the Corporate Housekeeper too was there. Of course the WGV GM Mr Menon known as Bala Menon with his HOD’s Mr Atul Channa the F & B Manager, Mr Franz Mascarenas the Sales Manger, Mr Jehangir Ghadiali, the FOM  with Mrs Vandana Ghadiali the Executive Housekeeper all waiting to welcome him.

YCD  came in and  with one glance remarked “ Bala, you better have that crack in the ceiling looked up!” This a man who travelled extensively, must have sat through unending meetings, just got off a hopping flight, noticed in a nano second while we who were there for months failed.  Oh my God, every Manager worth his salt running to get that damned crack attended to. 

He was roomed in room number 320, the most luxurious & spacious room in the absence of a suite.

As the Front Office Supervisor, it was my responsibility to man the desk in the graveyard shift that followed. I was at the EBPX telephone exchange with a team member at the desk.

Precisely at around 0130 hours as veterans of night shifts  can testify is when  you can be caught napping literally. I heard the buzzer sound of a guest room calling to shake me out of my reverie. To see the light glow,  indicating it was 320. “Bloody hell, can’t this man sleep in peace”. I muttered instinctively plugging the socket to answer the call honed by the endless hours of practice in the training with “Good Morning Mr Deveshwar. My name is Neel, How may I help you?”

I  heard his deep bass voice replying with “ Oh no, I  was just checking.”

I could only shake my head in disbelief wondering about this incredible person who had set his alarm in the middle of the night to check; if his staff were ready to receive guests. A hectic day late arrival, retiring post dinner late after being taken around the hotel to ensure the hotel was ready reflected on his stature as the MD and his eye for detail.

As a hospitality Management teacher, I  have never failed to share this with my students at the IHMCT Pusa, New Delhi -’The One memorable  Night shift’ in which I  didn’t cat nap. Rather I could not as he had in truly  007  style  ‘Shaken the Living Daylights’ out of me.

Mr YCD, Rest in Peace eternally and thank you most for sharing a lesson no class room lecture could have. I chuckle at the thought of St. Peter   caught napping, literally ! 

MS Neelakantan  is a  Hospitality  Management Coach, Author, Columnist.   He is the Founder of India’s first & premier hospitality lessons website https://hospitalitylessons4u.com/

What After 10 +2? For Those Who Fail

What After 10+2? For those who fail One Test

A personal Account to succeed in life

One exam a scholar not make, neither does a 98 percent marks indicate intelligence.

One of the biggest blots apart from dowry and honour killings in India  is venerating only those who get excellent marks. Judging a student merely, on the basis of marks obtained in one exam.

For those of us who passed out in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s, there were only 3 streams to choose from: Arts, Science and Commerce. Aptitude was not taken into consideration but percentage. Nothing could be more cruel than this. The Xth & XIIth standard marks determined whether you were eligible for Science / Commerce/ Arts stream.

And those poor souls, who failed in that one test or got poor marks, were termed ‘Failures for life.’ To be hounded & sneered in the classrooms by some teachers, at home and in the neighbourhood with the tag ‘Bekaar’ or ‘Naalayak pre-fixed.’ Physical thrashing followed the day the report card came home.

A majority actually failed in life as comparisons to siblings or cousins was inevitable. At family occasions the family elders took turns with sadistic pleasure in pointing out a failure. More so in Tam-Bram families in which I was born.

With two elder sisters scoring 70 plus; paternal cousins with IIT & IIM degrees , maternal cousins topping the University, you can well imagine my trauma & agony with my scoring & matching consistently the Sunil  Gavaskaresque batting  average of 57. I never failed in that!

I did not actually fail but was made to feel like one. Hence I understood & empathized with those who did.

No wonder students forged marks and their parent’s signature on the report card.

Fear, peer pressure and societal judgement calls can make you do the unimaginable.

With no college ‘worth its salt’ willing to offer me admission, I had to settle for a lesser known morning college. It did hurt to see my classmates having fun at the prestigious HL College for Commerce, HA College and the St Xavier’s College.

In hindsight, I realize destiny had bigger & better plans for me. An advertisement inviting applicants for the 3 year Diploma Course in Hotel Management & Catering Technology, Ahmedabad, caught my attention.

Applied for a lark, got through the interview- ‘A walk in the Park’ it was. The 3 years were gruelling yet fun filled and we passed out as in the 1st batch 1986. To chart out a career in the wonderful world of hospitality.

Little did I  know the black sheep of the family was en-route to becoming the dark horse.

 Work experience of 3 years in a world of luxury interacting with guests from distant corners of the world was far more enriching than the CA/ IIT work experience I  thought.

 1989 was the Tipping Point on being appointed as a teacher at the IHMCT, Pusa, New Delhi.  I finally   found my soul in the classrooms & off classrooms with my students. Loved Cared for and Respected by them. 4 decades later I am an author (my students forcing me by sponsoring the costs to pen my memoirs

One of the finest  moments  in my life

Did I mention, I am the first teacher in my generation and also the first & only author. Not bad for the boy who was judged a failure on the basis of a report card!

(MS Neelakantan- is a Hospitality  Management Coach, Author, Columnist.   He is the Co-founder of India’s first & premier hospitality lessons website https://hospitalitylessons4u.com/ . Aslso  ranked high on www.quora.com as a life coach .

MS Neelakantan

Co- Founder

YC Deveshwar and His Eye for Detail

The Late YC Deveshwar and His Eye for DetailA tribute to the ITC Chairman

 Somewhere in August 1986, I interacted with him in our official capacities. He was MD Welcomgroup Hotels (then the brand name for the ITC Hotels division).

And I, the  Front Office Supervisor, a member of the pre-opening team of the Welcomgroup, Vadodara. My first career break after campus placements at the Institute of Hotel Management & Catering Technology, Ahmedabad.

For our soft opening, where senior management members check in as guests to test operational readiness before the official launch, YCD as he was known, too flew in from Delhi with the HD HQ team.  IA flight 487, the hopping flight on the Delhi Jaipur- Agra – Japur –Baroda- Bombay route (if memory serves me right).

He walked in at around 2100 hours after probably boarding the aircraft around 1800 hours, tall into the lobby his right hand bent at the elbow  hooking his suit on his fingers behind his back, India Kings cigarette in his right hand. We, the Front Office staff  were all there behind the Front Desk while Mr Oscar D Monteiro RGM- West accompanied by the West Zone team were in attendance in the lobby having flown in earlier. Mrs Sumathi Rai, the Corporate Housekeeper too was there. Of course the WG Vadodara team of  GM Mr Menon known as Bala Menon with his HOD’s Mr Atul Channa the F & B Manager, Mr Franz Mascarenas the Sales Manger, Mr Jehangir Ghadiali, the FOM  with Mrs Vandana Ghadiali the Executive Housekeeper all waiting to welcome him.

YCD  came in, with with on one glance, sweeping the lobby remarked “ Bala, you better have that crack in the ceiling looked up!” This a man who travelled extensively, must have sat through unending meetings, just got off a hopping flight, noticed in a nano second while we who were there for months failed.  Oh my God,! every Manager worth his salt running to get that damned crack attended to.

He was roomed in room number 320, the most luxurious & spacious room in the absence of a suite.

As the Front Office Supervisor, it was my responsibility to man the desk in the graveyard shift that followed. I was at the EBPX telephone exchange with a  team member at the desk.

Precisely at around 0130 hours as veterans of night shifts  can testify; is when  you can be caught napping literally. I heard the buzzer sound of a guest room calling to shake me out of my reverie. To see the  light glow  indicating it was 320. “Bloody hell, can’t this man sleep in peace”. I muttered instinctively plugging the socket to answer the call honed by the endless hours of practice in the training sessions  with a “ Good Morning Mr Deveshwar. My name is Neel, How may I  help you?”

I  heard his deep bass voice replying with “ Oh no, I  was just checking.”

I could only shake my head in disbelief wondering about this incredible person who had set his alarm in the middle of the night to check if his staff were ready to receive guests.  A hectic day, late arrival, retiring post dinner late after being taken around the hotel to ensure the hotel was ready reflected  on his stature as the MD and  his eye for detail.

As a hospitality Management teacher, I  have never failed to share this with my students at the IHMCT Pusa, New Delhi -’The One memorable  Night shift’ in which I  didn’t cat nap. Rather I  could not as he had in truly 007  style  ‘Shaken the Living Daylights’ out of me.

Mr YCD, Rest in Peace eternally and thank you most for sharing a lesson no  class room lecture could have.I chuckle at the thought of  St. Peter  going to be caught napping, literally !

(MS Neelakantan- is a Hospitality  Management Coach, Author, Columnist.   He is the Co-founder of India’s first & premier hospitality lessons website https://hospitalitylessons4u.com/ . Aslso  ranked high on www.quora.com as a life coach .

Delivering long-term value and quality for owners

Hi!

Here’s a tea time thought.

Just this morning was the news of the launch of Microtel brand by Wyndham Hotels ( You can find the same also on www.hospitalitylessons4u.com) . The brand is undoubtedly seeming to be a “Youthful” one.

We too in India have a youthful , not to forget Hotel ( not sure) brand called Oyo (www.Oyorooms.com) South Asia’s Largest Hotel Chain

This post isn’t about Microtel nor about Oyo , but about a business practice of creating and delivering long term value and quality for business partners (Owners in the case of Hospitality ), (Sellers in the case of e commerce companies etc).

While Wyndhams press release of Microtel brand talks about “The prototype is the first step of Wyndham’s overarching new construction growth strategy focused on delivering long-term value and quality for owners” I wondered if that’s a key practice that Oyo follows too?

How many Oyo partners have built multiple Oyo’s over the years or have reinvested their profits in doing so? Another thought would be- does Oyo have a referral program for its owners? What are the success metrics that Oyo adapts for measuring long term value for its owners?

While Oyo is just an example here of a young brand, Wyndham’s years of being in the business for several decades and its commitment to its owners as business partners is something one could easily emulate.

Drop in a few lines of your tea time reactions / thoughts / emotions or write to us at hospitalitylessons4u.com@gmail.com

Whiskey Barrels can age to 100and more?

Read this article if the maturing process of Whiskey’s fascinates or is of any taste or relevance to you.

Firstly you get to know about all the barrel types:

There are several specific varieties of oak used for barrels—namely, American white oak (Quercus alba), French oak (Quercus roburQuercus petraea), and to a far lesser extent Mongolian/Japanese oak (Quercus mongolica)

Secondly – why Choose Oak?

Flavor , character, body or more…

Thirdly the Barrel types? Wine , Bourbon , Scotch

And then the final question…..can we reuse the barrels to even a 100 years?

Read more and share your views :

https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2019/03/how-a-modern-whiskey-barrel-can-theoretically-be-u.html

Top Trends – Hospitality Industry #1

Hi Everyone- Global passionate Hospitality professionals!

Every now and then you would have across someone inside the industry and some of those outside of the Hospitality Industry , sharing their views on some of the new trends that they see in the future.

While many things may change , it would be impossible to take away the “smile” from the Hospitality World. This for now isn’t changing around the world and AI has no cure ( for now!)

So what’s really changing ?

  1. Are we Millennial ready and Millennial friendly?

As a brand , a physical touchpoint , our social media presence and how we address the highly demanding yet Wikipedia explains ” Millennials, also known as Generation Y or Gen Y,Although millennial characteristics vary by region, depending on social and economic conditions, the generation has been generally marked by an increased use and familiarity with communications, media and digital technologies

according to USA Today and also available on live science.com. “The trend is more of an emphasis on extrinsic values such as money, fame, and image, and less emphasis on intrinsic values such as self-acceptance, group affiliation and community.”

They have also been described in positive ways. They are generally regarded as being more open-minded, and more supportive of gay rights and equal rights for minorities. Other positives adjectives to describe them include confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and receptive to new ideas and ways of living.

So how well do you stack up with your offerings for the Millennial? Pause! The answer is not merely on what colours you use or what font style is your logo. The real challenge is how have you integrated the millennial thought process in your product and service delivery offerings and how do you keep changing these to constantly keep adapting to millennial customers and customer groups who choose you as a brand versus another.

There are no perfect answers , just an ever evolving process.

Do share your views and thoughts , experiences and ideas with us at www.hospitalitylessons4u.com

Apologies Unqualified

Dearest Subscriber

Kindly accept my sincere unqualified apologies for not mailing the daily Global Hospitality News consistently.

No excuses, but a plea to empathise due a combination of ill health, personal and technical reasons.

However, that’s history. We cannot attempt to change it. But, a resolve to update daily.

I would appreciate your feedback.

Thank you for bearing with us.

With Warm Regards & Best Wishes

MS Neelakantan- Neel

Founder CEO

FAREWELL Mrs. Malathi Borgia – Malathi Maa’m

A teacher affects eternity. He /She can never tell where his/her influence stops.
Henry Adams

Mrs. Malathi Borgia, or Malathi Ma’am, as her students from 1980 to 2018 address her or refer to her, could well be the teacher Henry Adams alluded to. As our unassuming and unpretentious House-keeping teacher bids farewell to IHMCT Ahmedabad on December 31, 2018, this is a tribute on behalf of those enriched by interacting with her.

I was the first from among my course-mates and juniors as to follow in her foot-steps, and join IHMCT, Pusa, New Delhi,  as a teacher. This meant, on my trips to Ahmedabad I could exchange notes on teaching, students etc. and had the pleasure and honour of hosting her every summer when she came over to Pusa to evaluate the Housekeeping papers at the National Council for Hotel Management & Catering Technology. I was blessed to have that honour and pleasure.   

In 1983, the Food Craft Institute, Ahmedabad, was upgraded as a Institute of Hotel Management with the introduction of the three-year Diploma programme. I was fortunate to be a student in the first batch, the Class of ’86 had around 30 students.  Most of us were raw and gauche, joining here as we had not secured admission elsewhere. We thank our stars today that we did not get through to the Engineering/Medical/Commerce stream  seats. Being the inaugural batch gave us undivided attention from our teachers, among them Malathi Ma’am.

Early in the first year, in one of our Housekeeping practical sessions, I  was assigned the Boys’ Hostel toilet. You could smell the stink a mile away.  Cursing under my breath, I somehow managed to clean it within the allotted time.  I stood back to survey my work with a sense of great satisfaction, presuming I would get an “Excellent” from Malathi Ma’am.

She came along a little while later to inquire whether I had completed the assignment. When I nodded in affirmation, she asked me to check if there were any boys in. To my utter shock, she entered the toilet, made a detailed check and asked me to hand over to her the brush used to clean the water closet.

I assumed I had done it satisfactorily but not by her standards of excellence. She demonstrated how a toilet should be cleaned. I saw the boys’ hostel water closet clean and shining. That was her leading by example.

Later, I was assigned the corridor in the entrance of the old building. “This is a walk in Park,” I thought to myself when comparing the corridor with the toilet in the boys’ hostel. The standard procedure involved removing the cobwebs, dusting, sweeping and mopping in that order, if memory does not fail me.

As she came to inspect, I recall her appreciating my work with a “Good, but….

“Neelakantan, you have overlooked the skirtings.”

And she hitched her starched light pink saree to squat on her haunches, soaped a part of the skirting and proceeded to use the hard brush on it. A mixture of grey and brown coloured liquid, grime and dust dripped down. Then, she used a duster to dry it up. I could only squat there mesmerised.

Handing me the brush and cleaning agent, she asked me to clean the rest of the skirting. She waited till I had done both the walls to her satisfaction. Whereupon, with a smile very impishly, she queried in Thamizh (it was always Thamizh in private) “I am sure you know how to mop!”

After I finished mopping, she showed she was not done yet! She ran her left palm under the inquiry counter and came up with dust. Did I need any more instruction now?

Many years later, during a conversation with fellow-alumnus Harish, now the Principal of Anjuman-e-Islam College for Hospitality in Mumbai, a few years my junior, I discovered that this was typical Malathi ma’am.

When IHM-A alumni meet one other for the first time,  you can be sure that  one question pops up. “Did you study at the old building or in the new building?” Harish had passed out from the old building. As the names of teachers came up, Malathi Ma’am’s name cropped up.  He narrated the boys’ hostel toilet and the skirting incidents as if he was reading my thoughts.   

These were just the two ‘encounters’, as Harish aptly termed them, that reflect the legend of Malathi ma’am. But the admonishing was always in her soft cultured tone with a smile.

For the record, she completed her three-year Diploma in Hotel Management & Catering Technology, Madras (now Chennai) in 1979. She spent a year teaching in Madras before joining IHM Ahmedabad, then known as Food Craft Institute. Imagine the challenge this young lady took upon herself! Not conversant with Hindi, she dared to venture to Ahmedabad – a rather small city back then – to start tutoring the Housekeeping Craft Course.

Of course, she had the company of her three course-mates – Chef Prathapsingh from Nagercoil; Bakery Chef Ramesh and Mr Borgia Bedc, our Food & Beverage teacher whom she was to marry.

Sometime in 2008, I dared to ask Mr NM Rafique, our Founder Principal, whether was it by design or by accident that he got his teaching faculty, all Tamilians from IHM Madras. “Neelakantan, no teaching faculty from Delhi, Bombay and Calcutta wanted to come to an FCI, that too in a small city then. They were willing and I had the Hobson’s choice,” he said.

That choice worked out great. As teachers, besides tutoring us in our respective subjects, they knocked some basic sense into us to make us worthy of being  hospitality industry  professionals. As our teacher, demanding– making us strain every sinew, inspiring us, earning our respect and in the process demonstrating every job had a dignity.

It will be apt to reproduce a paragraph from Love, Affection & Respect; A Teacher’s Ode to his Students, my memoirs as a teacher at IHMCT, Pusa, New Delhi. In the chapter title My role model teachers, I have written on her as one my role models whose standards of excellence I tried to emulate.  

Mrs Malathi Borgia…was our House-keeping Instructor. She was warmth personified and a bundle of enthusiastic energy. Her smile disarmed many. Unlike her husband who had a swagger and a hint of a smile. She was openly affable and simple. Both though were tough taskmasters, leading by example. He never hesitated to pick up a sheet and wipe the silver, glassware or crockery when needed or when he wanted to demonstrate.

She would be at home to demonstrate how to clean the boys’ toilets or kneel on the floor to make that tile on the skirting shine like a mirror. There was no compromise on standards of excellence. On the journal submission front, he would not spare a thought to send the journal to the floor if it did not meet the standards of excellence. She would with a smile return the journal to the student asking it to be re-written.  

It was a pity (from the students perspective, that is) the couple left IHMCT in 1984 to enrich themselves with knowledge of the industry practices. They joined Surya Hotel in Vadodara to be at the helm of affairs. They moved on to Manipal to lay the foundation of WGSHA as the first teaching faculty. They re-joined IHMCT Ahmedabad to bring the industry to the classrooms. Yes, we did miss them but were delighted to hear they had joined back after our passing out.

In cricketing terms, when an opening batsman remains unbeaten at the fall of his team’s 10th wicket, it is said that the batsman has carried his bat. In some respects, Malathi Ma’am will qualify as the only teacher from IHHMCT Ahmedabad to have carried her bat.

We can never thank Mrs Malathi Borgia enough. For dusting our minds, removing the cobwebs, for sweeping away our sub-standard efforts, for cleaning the skirtings of our character, and for mopping the thought of not taking ownership and responsibility.

During her eventful career, she never allowed the grass to grow under her feet, successfully completing her MBA when managing her own classes; raising children and grandchildren,   home and hearth. Retirement and she! Banish that thought. She is already in the process of authoring a book on Housekeeping which shall be a Bible for teachers and students alike.

Yet, as one institution parts professionally from another and she returns home, today on December 31, her eyes will be moist and there will be a lump in her throat as it will be with her students, wherever they are.

MS Neelakantan Class of ’86- IHM Ahmedabad is the Founder of https://hospitalitylessons4u.com/ 

Global Hospitality news -catch up on the Past week…

Dear Hospitality Professional

 

Here’s a Quick link to all the news and action for the past week!

 

Clink the links to read more!

Global Hospitality News-06.12.18

Global Hospitality News-05.12.18

# Full-Service Luxury Hotels Are Outperforming the Rest of the Hotel Sector. So Why Are Developers Not Building More of Them?

# The Jodhpur Palace played host to the star-studded wedding of Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas

# Hospitality sector could get a RevPar boost by 2019

# Indian food manufacturers unhappy with new food label restrictions

 #  Vacation Ownership Market Revenue & Gross Margin Analysis 2018 Key Players Wyndham, Marriott Vacations Worldwide

# This London Hotel has a Whisky Vending Machine and Exactly One Guest Room 

# HRAWI Trains & Certifies Over 1000 Hospitality Professionals under FSSAI’s STaC Programme

# Indian food manufacturers unhappy with new food label restrictions

# Michelle Obama on Facing Criticism, Life After the White House, and Advice for Meghan Markle

# We got to tag along with the crew of ‘Top Chef’ 16. Here’s what we saw

Global Hospitality News-04.12.18

# Let your passion not fade with the lookout for money

# “I don’t want to be in hospitality all my life“

# That customer service agent you’re chatting with might be watching you type in real time

# Easy ways to update your home before holiday guests arrive

# A $2.2m bottle of whisky

# The Most Expensive Caviar on the Planet (Photos)

# Brother of missing Florida tourist flies to Costa Rica to find her

# Former White House chef from Lancaster County reflects on President George H.W. Bush’s passing

# The greenskeeper: Baby’s Breath

 #  Philippines aims for more Indian tourists

Global Hospitality News-03.12.18

# Lifestyling with Lisa :It’s spring time clean-up time

#  2 important safety features failed during DSM hotel fire

# Freestyle Food Freestyle Expression

# Airlines To Start Weighing Carry- On  Bags Prior to Boarding

 # Hotel’s winning surprise is something you can use in your business

# Classic Travel mulls tour to Indian wildlife park

Ritesh Agarwal’s OYO is a $5-billion  Buisness

# Marriott’s Starwood hotels hit by massive cyber breach

# Earn 5,000 Points for a Selfie With IHG

Global Hospitality News-01.12.18

# Why you should drink champagne Every Day

# Global Extended Stay Hotel Market 2018 – Size, Share, Trends & Growth Opportunities

# Consider the Edible Arrangement

# These are the best hotels, destinations, airports and airlines in the world right now

 # The 25 Best-Selling Whisky Brands In The World

# India is next big market

# Marriott to open nearly 30 business hotels in Europe in two years

# Big Brothers Big Sisters to host holiday party for children in need

# Belgian caviar production at full speed for Christmas rush

# Las Vegas hosts student security conference

Global Hospitality News-30.11.18

# Canadian Hotel Occupancy Up 0.6 Percent to 62.8 Percent For Week Ending 17 November 2018

Cricket season sees $1bn Indian tourist boom

# In the European culture, hospitality is a common denominator

# Some airlines may be using algorithms to split up families during flights

Inside the Marriott-Starwood Loyalty Program Turbulence

# Last Call: Chef José Andrés nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

#  Travel booming thanks to strong economy, says IHG Americas CEO

Thai cave where soccer team was trapped now a tourist attraction

Accorhotels looks to buy out Polish hotel group Orbis

 

Have a wonderful & hospitable day!

 

Team HL4U

Hospi Quizzes!

 

Dear Hospitality Professional

Hospitality lessons is proud to present its exclusive offering-

Hospi Quizzes for all industry professionals, young professionals ( students) et all..

 

Test you knowledge, have fun and enjoy the learning experience!

Hospi Quizzes….anyday , anytime ….challenge your friends too!

 

Featuring Quizzes on :

  1. Greatest Chefs
  2. Indian Cities and States
  3. Cocktails
  4. Indian fairs
  5. Condiments and Spices
  6. Our Veggies & Fruits
  7. India’s National Parks
  8. Types of spirits
  9. Liqueurs
  10. Countries & currency
  11. Airlines of the World
  12. F&B Glassware
  13. F&B Chinaware
  14. Front office Basics
  15. Housekeeping Basics
  16. Indian Kitchen Equipment
  17. Cooking with Sugar
  18. Hotel CEOs
  19. Kitchens Team
  20. Indian Beverages
  21. Indian spices names
  22. All About Tea
  23. Worlds most expensive Hotel rooms
  24. French Cookery Terms (3)
  25. French Cookery terms(2)
  26. French cookery terms
  27. French Terminology for Hoteliers
  28. Alcoholic Beverages-1
  29. Indian Sweets
  30. Largest Hotel Chains in the World
  31. Biggest Hotels In The World!
  32. All about Hotels & Hoteliers
  33. Celebrity Quiz
  34. Hotels Loyalty programmes
  35. Hospitality Legends
  36. Hotel Basics
  37. Hotel Terminology(2)
  38. Hotel Terminology
  39. Cuisines of India (2)
  40. Hotel Industry knowledge
  41. Cuisines of India

Take One Quiz today and share your feedback!

 

You’d love them as much as we do….crafting these for you!

 

Lets learn and grow everyday!

 

Best wishes

 

Team HL4U.com

 

Global Hospitality Industry News – 10.11.18 & 11.11.18

Dear Hospitality Professional

Here’s your daily Global Industry newsletter for :

 

Global Hospitality News-11.11.18

#Au revoir, France: China to become worlds top travel destination by 2030

# Choice Hotels launches book on Google

# Choice Privileges Named A Top Hotel Loyalty Program In USA

# Naumi Hotels expands portfolio with acquisition of two hotels in Wellington

# Dubai Airports announces partnership with Dubai College of Tourism to elevate hospitality experience

# Become a whiskey expert at these 5 whiskey tastings around Boston

# Wines Of The Week: Why France Remains A Benchmark

# Here are the Cancellation Policies of Major Hotel Chains

# 9 Whiskey spiked Holiday recipes

# Hilton Garden Inn opens 13 hotels across six countries

 

Global Hospitality News-10.11.18

A hotel decorated with colors that represent your emotions is now open for guests

Napali Capital Announces Formation Of Napali Hospitality Group

# Five destinations for the active traveller

# How Can You Achieve Quality Customer Service By Determining Your Customers’ Temperament

# How Do You Improve Hotel Service? Listen To Your Guests

NRI falls to death in central Delhi hotel

# New ranking method could help hotels to maximize their revenue

Thailand to waive visa-on-arrival fee for Indian travellers ( for 2 months!)

Sustainable Tourism In Indian State Of Uttarakhand: Opportunities, Challenges And Policy Targets

Read more at :

https://hospitalitylessons4u.com/hospitality-news

Keep learning and sharing …

Have a Hospitable day!

 

Team Hospitality Lessons

Global Hospitality Industry News – 09.11.18

Dear Hospitality Professional

 

Here are the top picks for you around the world!

Global Hospitality News-09.11.18

# Hotels in the USA and Caribbean get major renovations

# Why Employee Recognition Matters for Hotels

# Hilton invested $7 million in Hawaii properties during Q3 2018

# Marriott CEO: Dont Worry About Our Soft Third Quarter

# Report: Here are the U.S. airlines with the most customer complaints

# IHG adds execs to boost growth in Europe

# Crowne Plaza Nairobi wins Kenyas Leading Business Hotel 2018

# IHG signs deal with Al Arabiya Real Estate Company to bring Staybridge Suites to Kuwait

# Wyndham plans eight new hotels next year including a luxury Grand in CDMX

# Plan to develop tourism along Indo-Pak border at Nadabet: Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani

 

Read more at www.hospitalitylessons4u.com

 

 

Global Hospitality Industry News – 06.11.18

Dear Hospitality Professional

Here’s the news roundup from around the world!

Global Hospitality News-06.11.18

# 5 beautiful palazzo hotels in Venice to suit every budget

# Thomas Cook is opening eight new hotels

# South Korea wants tourism, people exchange with India

# Sushi chain Wasabi hires PwC in hunt for cash injection to fund expansion

# Japan invests in service industry, reshaping its legendary hospitality

# The Ten Commandments Of Superior Customer Service

# Whats new at California ski resorts for 2018-2019

# Trump spent $95,000 on hotel rooms in Cairo last month

# The stunning Yorkshire hotel with chocolate and Champagne themed rooms

# Culinary Medicine: A Recipe for Better Health

 

Read more at : https://hospitalitylessons4u.com/hospitality-news

Global Hospitality Industry News – 05.11.18

Dear Hospitality Professional

Here’s the news roundup from around the world!

# Dubai hotel staff join hands to stay fit, boost solidarity

# Best Champagnes for Your Celebration

# Philippine hospitality school draws foreign students

# The new Four Seasons coffee table book is beautiful

# How Airlines Struggle During Winter and What They Can Do

# 11 incredible hotels for watching the Northern Lights in Iceland

# 11 Fabulously Festive Pop-Ups at London Hotels This Winter

# Heres why al fresco dining is back in style

# 5 White Wines to Drink with Indian Food

# Startups take desi foods like vada pav abroad

Read more at : https://hospitalitylessons4u.com/hospitality-news

Front Office Terminology

Front Office Terminology

Account-Document containing details of all guest transactions.

Advance Payment- Payment made for one room night at least by guest to guarantee his reservation..

Affiliate Reservation Network– A hotel chain reservations network  in which all participating hotels are members.

Allowance-A monetary reduction to the guest bill because of an accounting error or  loss of service.

Airport Hotel-A hotel located in proximity to an airport. Categorized as transit hotel. Guest segment include travellers transit, airline crew, and lay-overs.

Amendment- A change in the reservation made by a guest earlier.  A change in room category/dates of arrival or departure/ arrival or departure time.

Authorization code-A credit  verification generated online approving the transaction.

American Plan/Full Pension-  A food plan in which room rates include American Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Usually favoured for employees of a company attending a  HR  program- conference, meeting, training session or seminar. Offered logically by Convention hotels.

Availability  Status–  Updated Number of rooms in each category. Enables front office staff to know at a quick glance, number of rooms available for sale in each category.

Average Room Rate/ ARR–   An average rate derived dividing total room revenue earned by the number of  rooms sold.

B

Bounced Guest- A guest with a confirmed reservation denied a room on arrival due to over booking, overstays, OOO rooms not being readied in time. Or some rooms having a problem.

Bumped Guest- A bounced guest escorted to another hotel for the night to be escorted back the next morning.

Back-to Back– A full house in which the numbers of arrivals equal the number of departures..

Bed & Breakfast Hotel-  Hotels normally small in which room rates include breakfast. Now all hotels offer this service citing ‘Breakfast complimentary..’

Booking-Reserving a room or rooms on guest  request for a particular length of time.

Blocking-  Setting aside  a number of rooms, normally for a group, on one particular floor, or as required.

C 

Cancellation– a reservation request of a guest voided.

Central Reservations System/CRS- A network for reservations in which automatically reservation/ amendment/ cancellation. requests are updated.

Chain Hotels-  A  group of hotels owned by a company operating with a common brand name.

Commercial Hotel  A hotel located in the heart of the city, catering, primarily, to the business travellers.

Check-out-   A guest who has settled his bills and departed.

Corporate rate- A discounted room rate for executives of  a company which has a business arrangement – commitment of room nights vis a vis a certain rate.

 

Concierge – A  very experienced   hotel employee with excellent networks. Basic task to liaison for the guest internally and externally too to cater to specific guest requests.  A  Concierge is a European concept.

 

Cut-off Date- A  mutually agreed upon date between the hotel and  a group, after which the tentative booking is null& void, for the hotel to release the rooms.

 D

DND- ‘Do Not Disturb’ is a communication by the guest not to be disturbed. May be in the form of the door knob and/or on the room’s telephone.

 

 

Due Out– A room status indicating the occupied room shall be vacant the following day after the stipulated  check-out time.

E

Early Arrival-   A guest who arrives  before his expected date of arrival.

 

Employee folio–  A folio opened to record employee transactions. Examples- purchasing something from the cake shop or as ITC Hotels employees enjoy the privilege of buying ITC cigarettes at factory price from Room Service. Normally, the employee gets a discounted rate, with the option of paying then & there or getting it debited from his salary.

European Plan– A food plan in which room rate are included with food& beverages to be billed separately.

Expected Arrivals List/ Daily Arrivals list- A report generated the previous day detailing the following day’s expected arrivals with details of guest; details: transferred from the reservation form.

Expected Departures List

A report generated the previous day detailing the following  day’s departures.

F

Family Rate- A special  room rate for for  a family of a couple and children.

Flex Time-  A schedule of flexible hours that allows employees  to vary their time of starting and ending their work hours, under special circumstances with the HOD’s consent.

Floor Limit- A credit limit, allowed  to a credit card holder  by the credit card company.

Folio Posting- The process of entering transactions in the folio.

Forecasting– A process of  predicting room availability and  occupancy statistics. Can go totally off target like the weather forecasting !

Franchise-A contract entered into by two parties. One-the Franchiser and the other- Franchisee for the latter to use the former’s  reputed name & brand to conduct business. The franchisee to adhere to the franchiser’s standards as also pay royalty.

FIT– Free Individual Traveller, meaning a guest who pays rack rates/ rates as published in the tariff.

Full House-  A situation in which all the rooms of the hotel are reserved.  A Front Office Manager’s dream ! 

G

Global Distribution System- A distribution channel global in nature for room reservations. It provides world-wide distribution of room reservation status for travellers to book online.

 

Group Rate-A discounted room rate for a body of 15 pax travelling together  for a common purpose.

 

Guest Folio– A  document used to  record/post  all  financial transactions of a guest, generated at the time of registration.

Guest History– A record of a guest’s personal & financial  details stored by the front office, relevant to the hotel for retaining the guest.

Guaranteed Reservation- A  reservation in which the  room is held for the guest for 24 hours from his expected time of arrival.. As the, hotel is assured of one night’s room rent.

 

H

Handicap room– A  room designed  with features for handicapped/ physically challenged guests.

 

High Balance/ High Risk Account-  A guest account that has reached or about to reach the pre-determined credit limit. Requiring the need for a part payment or settlement.

 

House Count- The  total number of guests in the hotel at any  time.

House Use-  A room that is being used as  by  an employee of the hotel with the sanction of the management.

Housekeeper’s Room Status Report-  The status of rooms (Occupied, Vacant, OOO) compiled after a physical check by the Housekeeping staff.  Used to compare to find out discrepancies, if any with the Front Office room status.

I

Independent Hotel- A stand alone hotel, not affiliated to any chain or group.

Inter-sell Agency– A Central Reservation System that offers a package of hospitality services. For Example- Hotel bookings, airline bookings etc 

L

Late- Checkout- A  guest who is allowed to retain his room  past the check-out time.

Modified American Plan– A food plan that includes room rate, American breakfast and dinner only.

Layover- When a flight is unable to take off  and it is  forced to stay the night. The airline puts up the passengers at hotels in the city for a night. A discounted rate as it is a bonus plus high volume  unexpected business. The guest  in this case is termed layover.

N

Night Audit- A daily reconciliation of guest accounts with revenue transactions done daily at midnight after the day’s books of accounts are closed. A unique feature-closing books of accounts daily- specific only to the hotel industry. Night audit is the responsibility of the Night Auditor.

Non Affiliate Reservation Network-   A reservation network connecting independent hotels.

Non Guest Account-  An account created  to post financial transactions of  non- resident guests who enjoy credit facilities.

No Post Status-  A  term used to denote a guest who is not allowed to  enjoy any credit facility during her/ his stay.

No-Show- A guest with a confirmed reservation failing to turn up.

O

Occupancy Percentage- An occupancy ratio indicating the number of rooms  sold with the available for sale.

Overbooking-   Taking more room reservations as against the available. Done to counter No-Shows, Early Checkouts and last minute cancellations.

‘000’- A room status indicating the room is Out of Order, due to maintenance or other problem.  Also referred to as ‘Red Slip Room’- thered slip indicated it was Out of Order.

P

Paid-in Advance- A guest who pays her/ his room charges in advance at the time of registration.

POS- Point of Sale- being the location where the guest is provided the service. For example- Room Service, Coffee Shop etc.

Pre-registration- The process of filling in all the details of a guest to arrive that day to facilitate a convenient & faster registration on arrival. Details of the guest taken  from the Room Reservation Form and/or Guest History Card.

PMS/ Property Management System-  A software package that offers a variety of applications that related to front of the house & back of the house processes.

Posting- The process of recording guest  transactions on the guest folio.

R

Reservation- The  process of taking down the guest details to  block a room type as per the guest requirements.

Registration- The mandatory  legal  process of allotting a room to a guest  by filling up the Room registration card.

  Rack rate-  The standard rate for of the property  for a category of rooms, printed on the tariff card. A non-discounted rate, offered to FIT’s.

Room rate– The actual rate charged  to be paid  by the guest.

Room Status- The tem  used to describe whether the room is Occupied, Vacant , to be Cleared, OOO.

Room Status Discrepancy- A situation in which the status on the Housekeeper Status Report and the Front Office’s status do not tally/ reconcile.  Detailed checks are made to find out the discrepancy and tally.

S

Skipper-  The room status indicating the guest has skipped- checked out without settling the bills.

Sleep Out-  A registered room guest who  sleeps out  and not in the room.

Stay-over- A guest who is staying beyond his earlier informed date of departure.

U

Up-selling- A sales technique where a guest is offered a  more expensive room than the category he chose, done subtly buy communicating a picture of the experience and the services.

Up-grading- On registration allotting a guest a higher category of room than the one booked for. This could be as that category may have been oversold or  to ensure the guest and the big business he represents is retained by the hotel. This at no extra cost but after informing the guest of the same.

V

Voucher- A document supporting the any financial transaction  between a guest and the hotel.

W

Walk-in- A guest who  arrives at the hotel without a reservation. 

Y 

Yield Management- A  technique based on supply and demand  used to maximize revenues by lowering rates during off seasons and increasing it during peak season.

Z

Zero Out-  Status denoting the guest has settled the bill on checking out.

 

 

 

Organization Structure of Hotels- Large Hotel

Organization Chart of a Large Hotel

A  large  size  hotel  as as referred earlier in   https://hospitalitylessons4u.com/categorization-of-hotels/ is a hotel with more than 300 rooms .  If you compare the organization structure of a medium hotel, you will notice in a large size hotel, the GM  may also be designated as General Manager & Vice President. The increase and diverse senior managers. There is a Resident Manager as the number 2 in the organization chat.

Each department now managing more than 300 rooms needs to have  divisions within.  In F& B Department headed by a Director, the number of managers with specialized roles are more in number. The Banquet Manager is considered a heavy-weight  as banquet functions in such hotels make up for ore than 50& of the  total F& B revenue generated.  Bar operations are specialized .with a bar manager.  Among managers would include, room service, restaurant and coffee shop managers There would be very many Senior Captains  reporting to the restaurant manager, to whom in turn report the Captains, with the waiters. There  will e a Cake shop as well as a pool side bar.

The Executive Chef & Food Production  Director shall have a team with the Sous Chef reporting to him, who in turn will supervise the working of the Chef de Partie-  each responsible for a particular cuisine’s kitchen. For example a CDP-Indian kitchen,

The Rooms Division   is headed by a Accommodation Director overseeing both Front Office and House Keeping Departments, to whom the Front Office Manager and the Executive report. The Housekeeper. The Business Center Head reports to the Front Office Manager. There is a laundry manager and a assistant manager. The Chie.f Engineer reports to the Accommodation Director or to the Resident Manager

what has to be understood here is the fact that in large hotels unlike, medium and small hotels, the Food & Beverage Department generates almost the same amount of revenue as the Front Office does. In a small  and medium hotel, the Front Office Manager because of the rooms department  being the main revenue generator  is considered virtually as the number 2 in the organization.

With such huge business volumes and financial transaction, there is a need to have a full fledged finance department headed by the Finance Director. with his team of  Food &  Beverage Cost controller,  Income accountant and Expenditure accountant , purchase, receiving and store managers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Organization structure of of Hotels- Small Hotel

Every hotel, small, medium or large has an organization structure  that details the hierarchy as also, to clearly define roles & responsibilities of each employee  in relationship to the other. This, in addition, states the communication and the levels of authority.  A graphic structure is the most obvious, with details in text form for clarity.

We  have detailed the  organization structure of a small hotel.  Though, This structure shown  is a general reference, as each hotel may have their own individual organisation structure.

Organization of  a Small Hotel 

A small hotel as discussed  in Categorization of Hotels is a hotel having 100 rooms or less than 100 rooms.  The  staff  are trained to be multi-skilled, since the hotel cannot afford to employ specialists for each position. It’s not surprising, to see the front office supervisor carrying out he duties & responsibilities of a shift-in-charge, lobby manager and guest relations executive. The front office staff manage the room reservations,  in exigencies, manning the telephone operator’s role too.

The F&B supervisor is virtually he F& The F & B Manager. Over-seeing room service, dining room and banquets.

There may be 1 floor supervisor in the Housekeeping department.

Laundry services, normally being   outsourced does away with the investment of laundry machines, specialized staff for it.

 

 

 

Hotel’s four core departments

Hotels, whether small, medium or large will have the  four core  departments namely:

a) Front Office

b)House-keeping

c) Food Production

d) Food & Beverage Service

Front Office department  otherwise known as the Rooms division deals with  the reservation, registration and sale of rooms to guests (over the counter) as also billing them for the same. ( to be detailed in Front office department post).

Housekeeping – as implied, it is their responsibility to keep the public areas and guest rooms clean as also manage linen, staff uniforms and guest laundry. ( to be detailed in Housekeeping post).

Food Production- or the kitchens is the area of the chefs and cooks where all the food is prepared to be served. The  the size of the hotel and star rating will determine whether there should be one central kitchen or a central kitchen with satellite kitchens attached to each food & beverage outlet. ( to be detailed in Food Production post)..

Food & Beverage Service- They serve the food & beverage to the guest prepared by the  Food . Production department.  Service be it  Room service, or in the restaurants, bars, pool side cafe and bar, night club & discotheque all are managed by the  F& b Service. ( to be detailed in Food & Beverage  post).

These are the four core departments that  whose staff are trained to look after the guest to her/his satisfaction.

There are the support services of Engineering, Kitchen Stewarding, Purchase and stores department and many others that operate but do not generate revenue directly unlike Front Office and Food & Beverage Service departments but without whose support, the revenue producing departments would be crippled . That we shall examine in detail when we come to Major & Minor Revenue producing departments and Operating departments.

 

 

 

 

 

Categorization of Hotels

In today’s world, with hotels customized and suited to a target segment, it is but important to categorize hotels as it is impossible to categorize all under one term- hotels. Hence keeping in mind certain factors, a general categorization is done based on the following:

  • Luxury-
  • Size
  • Location
  • Ownership
  • Food Plan
  • Type of Guest

As  per luxury

Luxury hotels- are those that have a star rating. Hotels are given a 5 star -1 star rating by a classification committee with members from the state tourism department, hospitality industry and educationists. Based on a  checklist of factors & standards, the raring is awarded. For example  for a hotel to be awarded a 5 star rating, it has to have a minimum number of rooms, each room being spacious in area as  per set standards with a bathroom attached as per standards. Facilities of  running hot & cold water with separated shower area and amenities as laid down. Even the guest room has to have amenities as laid down. The hotel must have 24 hours functioning room service and coffee-shop, a bar and restaurants, swimming pool,  and other facilities that an international traveler is used to having. Based on such guidelines, the hotel is awarded the star rating it deserves. Star rating is one of the finest ways to categorize a hotel as it involves a checklist to verify. Very clear. For a,  five star rating, the hotel has to have central air-conditioning, swimming pool, health club and shopping arcade. These norms change with time.

 As per Size-

Size is determined by the number of rooms a hotel has . A 100 room or less hotel is termed small. A hotel with 100-300 rooms in today’s parlance is considered medium. In the 1960’s a hotel with 100-300 rooms was considered large. Today a hotel having 300- 600 rooms is considered large. The hotel having more than 600 rooms are termed very large. But, remember  by 2040, these  the terms small, medium, large and very large may change.

As per location

As per location, hotels are defined as:

Downtown/ Commercial/ City/ Business Hotel-  They are located the heart of the city, in the business area. Land, being very expensive, they are vertical structures, optimizing every inch of space. Hence, even the  services offered are very expensive. The typical guests who check-in here are those who come on their company’s  work or business. The location  of the hotel being  in the vicinity of their work reduces their local travel time. For such guests, time is of utmost value. Normally such hotels witnesses a very high occupancy from  Sunday evening to  Friday mornings with the.  weekend occupancy low. The guests who stay in these hotels  travel with  a fixed agenda to complete their work  in a limited time period. From Sunday late evening, they  start checking -in or early  Monday morning. The average length of stay would be 2-3 nights or 6 nights from Sunday to Friday. Daily they leave for their appointments for the day, having their lunch wherever their work takes them. Not, for them, the luxury of returning to the hotel to have lunch. They may stay back to host a client or a government official for breakfast/ brunch/lunch. Otherwise they return in the evening after the day’s work is completed. With many restaurants and fast food outlets in the same location, the guest has the choice of eating out  along with the pleasure of enjoying a movie in the multiplex nearby. The reason for downtown hotels to have  a  food plan of room rate and breakfast. It is common to see such hotels serving a buffet breakfast in the coffee-shop. This  not only gives the guest an opportunity  to enjoy a sumptuous breakfast from a variety of choices offered as also do away ordering breakfast from room -service. Awaiting the waiter, which may delay the guest.The hotel too, benefits as they  not only know the previous evening itself, the number of guests for breakfast. Since buffet breakfast is termed complimentary,  offering a wide variety of choices, all the guests prefer that then to order through room service and pay for it. Though, they are aware, the cost of the breakfast is factored in the room rate ! For the F& B  Manager and the Executive Chef, this is welcome as they need lesser human resources during breakfast times.  A majority of guests are repeat guests with payment of bills being cash earlier now replaced by credit/debit card or ‘bill to company’..

Suburban Hotel – As the name implies, these hotels are located in the suburbs. With land  costs not high, such hotels have the luxury to be spacious in comparison to the downtown hotels.  They  are used by HR Heads of  corporate companies to conduct their training & development hotels as well as seminars for their employees. As the costs of transporting employees is also reasonable, such hotels  have conference halls for such purposes. In addition to corporate guests, the suburban hotels may also  have the typical downtown hotel guests who would prefer to stay here away from the city, yet close to it. As the room rates are reasonable, and normally the  the airport  located nearby. The  traveler in transit and layovers  as well as the cabin crew may be housed here.  The average  length of stay of a guest would be  maximum about  2-3 nights for an HR  program guest,   For the layover passenger and the traveler in transit, a night or two. The cabin crew at times for a night only or at most 2 nights. With the cities going beyond the earlier set territorial boundaries, the suburban hotel have in a manner of speaking, become a city hotel, but having  a twin advantage of being in the city yet in close proximity to the airport. Thereby, reaping the benefits of being preferred over downtown hotels due to their room rates. Food plans are fixed according to the profile of the guest. For a residential HR program guests, the American plan is offered.  The   in- transit and layover guests are offered as per the guidelines of the airline while the  business guest prefers the Modified American plan. The food plans are flexible as per the guest profile. A breakfast buffet and lunch buffet in the coffee-shop is normally the trend..  For the company’s HR programs, the bill is paid by the company, the business guest paying with a debit/credit card.

Transit Hotel-  A transit hotel is located near the airport. They are ideal for passengers in transit who have to wait for some hours to catch a connecting flight, and  for airlines to house their  layover passengers and for their cabin crew.  With such a guest profile, transit hotels, charge the guest  on the number of hours they have occupied the room. The emphasis is on the comforts than the luxuries; a 24 hour room service and a 24 hour coffee-shop is a must. For in-transit and layover  guests the airline settles the bill as with the cabin crew. Centaur hotel .

Apartment Hotel are also known as Service Apartments are a new trend.  It comprises of a large & spacious hall, well furnished, with bedrooms and attached  that are also furnished.. A kitchen may or may not be an integral part. There is a caretaker who either serves food outsourced from vendors as per the guest’s choice or prepares it for them. Housekeeping services are generally outsourced.  The guests who refer apartment hotels are families, a group of company executives or even  individuals travelling on work or leisure. As there are individual bedrooms ensuring privacy and a common living room, it suits all type of travelers since, the hotel is located in he heart of the city, is economical a compared to a city hotel.The average length of stay is normally 3-4 nights.

The food plan in Apartment hotels is flexible with Bed & Breakfast being the norm with those wanting lunch and dinner to pay extra.

Motel-  Motels are to to motorists today,  what serais were to traders on the silk routes .As  the name suggests are hotels located on motor-roads/ highways. They are spacious, providing  ample parking  space for cars and buses to be parked.  They are normally single floor buildings with about 20- 50 rooms. In India, the increase in incomes after liberalization in 1991 along with the increase in the double income families (both husband and wife working), has seen the increase in the purchase of cars).  This has resulted in families taking a weekend break by driving to a scenic place outside the city, to enjoy with family.

When the family takes their annual holidays, normally in India, they prefer to go back home- their ancestral households in the village or in another town or, to stay with a sibling/ relative/ friend.   They leave early in the morning,to enjoy their breakfast at the motel en-route. The motels en-route, stopping over  for lunch tea and dinner if need be as well as to stay over for the night, if need be.  For the motorists to start off early morning to their destination.  Motels shall have a 24 hours room service with one large dining hall to cater to the guests.

The average length of stay normally is for  1 night or 2 nights. Some families may schedule a family outing with other families to drive to a good motel to spend the long weekend there.  Motels charge room night charges on an hourly basis. There is no fixed check-in  or check-out time as the guest is charged on the number of hours the room is used.

The mode o payment is restricted to cash or debit/ credit cards.

The increase in the number of motorists on the highways has seen the mushrooming of motels along the highways. Today’s motels  not only offer guestrooms with bathroom attached. In addition, they may also have facilities  of ATM,  a shop selling OTC  drugs, sanitary napkins, mineral water bottles, biscuits etc which the family may require on their journey.

The food plan offered is European plan.

Resort-  Resorts are located in places with natural settings. For example: beach resort, hill resort, jungle resort etc, far from the city limits.

Tourists and holidaymakers form the majority of clientele, but today,  companies, to motivate  their employees conduct their HR  programs in resorts. The service is relaxed  with the hotel staff usually wearing the resort’s  branded T-shirts as uniform instead of the formal wear one is used to seeing in hotels.The building is normally spread out with very spacious guest rooms,and very spacious public areas too.  The rooms could be in the form of cottages or villas or in a row house pattern.

The guests normally if they are on holiday may choose to rest and rejuvenate as also go out to enjoy the natural beauty. Since the resorts are in an areas  far away from human habitation, there would be no  possibility of any restaurants nearby. Hence resorts normally offer an American Plan. There would be a 24 hours room service and a  multi cuisine -restaurant . Dinner might be ‘al- fresco’- on the lawns or near the artificial waterfalls to offer the guest a different experience.For HR  programs, theme dinners are planned with the theme changing daily.

Camp accommodation-  It’s a trend today for people living in cities  to enjoy a  different experience. Camp does that.  They travel  outside the cities, fora trekking expedition  Their vehicles are parked in a spacious area meant for parking. They leave early in the morning to trek carrying essentials to return by early evening to refresh themselves for a high tea., enjoy a ‘campfire’ experience weather permitting,  or sit around resting their limbs sharing their experiences singing songs, to tuck in an early  wholesome dinner. They sleep in the protection of weather-proof tents. These locations are safe from wild animals and hooligans as the organisation managing this property undertakes this responsibility.  The food served is normally from the local produce, wholesome and varied. Youngsters form the clientele. Nowadays HR  programs for leadership, team building and induction of new employees also form a growing slice of the clientele.

As per Ownership

Proprietorship-  A  hotel owned by an individual/ family is a proprietorship hotel. It  would normally be a stand alone hotel, of medium size.  Such hotels  run  into a problem, when they want to expand from a stand alone hotel to a chain. Then they face a paucity of funds.A single owner proprietorship  without a proper grooming of the next generation to take over usually finds itself into problems.

Partnerships- happen when more than one person join for a common business  objective. Each could be be an expert in their own areas. For example  One partner to manage finance, one to overlook marketing and likewise. As each partner brings in her/his funds, partnership firms have more resources than proprietorship hotels. But, unless, the partners work in coordination without any friction, the objective of managing a successful hotel as well as expansion too, shall be smooth.

Private Limited Company-  In this venture,  shares  of a company are privately owned; could be business acquaintances, family members or friends.  Usually the person who has he highest number of shares becomes the Managing Director and the others Directors. Unlike partnerships the Director’s liability is limited to the amount they have invested. Private Limited companies need a formal arrangement with the company to be registered with the Registrar of companies.  This enterprise has more resources than that in a partnership.

Public Limited Company- In this venture, the shares of the company are offered to the public at large as the company is listed on the stock exchange.  Depending upon the company’s perception by the  individual investor and institutional investors, the venture’s shares may be oversubscribed or sink with out a trace. It is the people on the board who make the difference in a positive perception or otherwise. Such ventures enjoy the luxury of huge funds at their disposal. They hire competent and experienced employees  thereby , ensuring the growth, sustainability and progress of the company. Chain hotels usually, are owned by Public Ltd Companies.

As per Food Plans

A food plan is  a pricing tactic in which the room rate includes room rate only and may or may not include food component.

There are many types of food plans. We shall examine each in detail as  also, understand how each of them are  broadly linked to a category of hotel and a segment of guest.

European Plan- Obviously, the name indicates it originated in Europe. The room rate does not include any food component. Any meals consumed by the guest is charged. Used to be offered by downtown/city/commercial hotels in the 70’s & 80’s. The guest segment are normally being businessmen and company executives who may choose to  eat out. Motels and Transit hotels may also , prefer to offer European Plan.

Continental Plan-  Continent in this context also refers to Europe. Continental Plan includes room rate and continental breakfast with other meals being charged. Continental breakfast includes fruit juice,  bread/ toast, butter, jam, marmalade  and honey with coffee/tea.  Again, the segment of guests who prefer this are those who value time. Company executives on work and businessmen.  Earlier typically offered by city hotels.

Bermuda Plan- This food plan includes room rates and American breakfast, a very heavy breakfast.  The American breakfast includes fruit juice, toast, eggs to order, cereals, bacon/sausages and preserves with butter, jam, marmalade and honey with coffee/tea.  Americans generally start their day with a heavy breakfast as they start work  early.   Usually offered  in hotels where the number of  American guests travelling on work is more.

American Plan / AP/ Full Pension-   In this plan room rates include American breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Conference Hotels and Convention hotels offer this plan as the guests have to be engaged in the hotel itself for the  meeting/ convention  they are attending.  Some resorts, offer this  food plan when the holidaymakers or group have planned not to go out but to just relax, refresh.

Modified American Plan/ MAP/  Demi -Pension – Here as you must have logically presumed, room rates include American breakfast (as detailed above in American Plan),  lunch or dinner. Resorts favor MAP as the group/ holidaymakers have a heavy breakfast to go out on excursion/ sightseeing to  have lunch outside.

 Footnotes:

  •  Today,  hotels across the world factor in the breakfast cost  into the room rate to offer guests a buffet breakfast in the coffee-shop.
  •  A guest ordering breakfast in the room has to pay for it.
  • It is not unusual to find an electric kettle with sugar sachets, tea bags and coffee powder sachets for  the guest to make her/ his tea/coffee to their satisfaction.
  • Tea ordered from Room Service  is charged.

 

Type of Guest

Business Hotel- In today’s parlance, a business hotel is typically the city hotel. Meant for the guest travelling on business; the corporate executive. The accent is on speed.  Guests have access to hi-speed internet. With lady executives travelling for work, such hotels, may offer them  rooms on a floor only meant for lady guests with lady staff to wait on them. Corporate guests  may have a couple of floors dedicated to them  offering them the services of exclusive business lounge, small lounges to meet a guest.  Maybe, a library also with valet services. Needless to mention, the guest rooms would be much more spacious than the other rooms. The bathrooms too, shall be luxurious in terms of space, facilities and amenities.  Limousine services,  same day laundry, separate elevators and pre-registration formalities are just an indicator of the services  offered. Nowadays, the hotel staff checks-in for the guest on departure at the airport for the guest to spend that much time attending to work on hand. The guest on reaching the airport is handed over his boarding card.  Other services these guests enjoy in the rooms may be  a giant screen TV and a  customized mini-bar.

Convention Hotel- A convention hotel  is a huge imposing infrastructure as it is meant to accommodate  2000-3000 guests, normally delegates attending a convention.

More than one plenary  hall are there to seat the participants.  Other customized facilities include an office for the hosts, small meeting rooms, very large areas with large desks for registering participants,  The dining halls would be huge, with at times a private area for the hosts.  There would be almost 500 rooms in such hotels with twin bedded  rooms, The hotel will include the services of audio-video equipment on request. Such hotels are located normally in the city or in the suburbs. Parking space is  large to accommodate   the large numbers of cars, mini buses and coaches.  Nowadays, convention hotels are planned & built with the  5 star hotel adjacent to it. If need be, the hotel’s resources of manpower and services can be rushed i a jiffy. Besides, in case of over-booking, delegates can always  be accommodated in the hotel.

Conference Hotel- may be termed as a scaled down version of a convention hotel.

 

Luxury Rail Hotel-  The first luxury rail hotel would be the Orient Express plying on the London- Venice -London route. Agatha Christie, the iconic crime fiction author is known for her thriller ‘Murder on the Orient Express.’ Passengers are guests with the comforts of a 5 star hotel on board with spacious,  luxuriously designed  private compartments with attached baths and butler service, dining room, bar et al.

But today luxury on the rails is redefined by the Palace on Wheels train that ferries passengers from Delhi to Agra, Jaipur and other historic places on the golden triangle of Delhi- Agra- Jaipur.

The Palace on Wheels has coaches that once was used by India’s erstwhile Maharajas.   It is booked a year in advance by the foreign tourists. And to believe that these coaches were lying idle. A civil servant on seeing these coaches, thought of a Palace on Wheels.   The Indian Railways and the Rajasthan Tourism Corporation operate this luxurious train. Other trains in India are the Deccan Odyssey and the Golden Chariot.

 

Casino Hotel- A casino is a place where gambling is organized for the benefit of patrons. Las Vegas, in America, is  the casino capital of the world. People fly there just to gamble. Besides playing  poker,  blackjack,roulette games there is the chance to make money on the slot machines. The hotels with casinos attached see the guests waking up late as the casinos open  in the evening to go on past midnight. The gamblers wanting to maximize their time at the table tend to eat and drink  in the casinos at times seated at the table. The rooms are luxuriously designed for the benefit of those who fly in, as they  require such luxuries. Casino hotels make huge revenues from the sale of tobacco and alcohol.

Condominium- is an accommodation in which a owner of an apartment  wants to  rents out / leases his apartment, to travelers to the city. Such units are found in an apartment block  specially designed for this purpose, A caretaker is there to assist the guests. The owner informs the caretaker whenever he  should not let out the unit, as per his needs, usually whenever he wants to  stay there. All the conveniences are provided. The owner has to pay an annual maintenance fee  or the air-conditioning, water and housekeeping services.

 

Time-share hotel- In this concept a unit of accommodation, be it a suite in a resort or a room or a cottage is owned  by more than one owner who have invested in it. This unit is rented out as in a hotel. A kitchenette is provided in case the guests want to prepare their own meals with groceries & other essentials available within the complex. Or, there is a dining are for food & beverage. The owners inform the management in advance of their visit for the unit to be blocked. Families on holidays form the typical guest segment along  with honeymooners.

 

 

Boutique hotel- is a little difficult to explain. It  was in the ’80’s this term was used by hotels in London and Paris. It could be a unique theme or a unique selling point of a hotel that it is termed thus. A  classic example of a boutique hotel is the Park hotel Anna Salai, Chennai,  India. It is built on the grounds where earlier a premier film studio existed. The hotel interiors are thematic  with films as the backdrop. Boutique hotels need not be restricted only to cities, resorts may well be boutique properties.

 

Heritage hotel- Any  infrastructure or residence built before 1950 is termed as heritage. Reason why residences built before 1950 have been renovated retaining the heritage features to be converted into hotels. The typical guest  segment  being families, honeymooners and holidaymakers.

Palace hotel-  The erstwhile royalty’s residences in India , the palaces  needs  large resources to maintain. The royalty stripped off their  privileges after Independence   did not have the means and resources to do so. Hotel chains sensing an opportunity stepped in. The Rambagh Palace Jaipur, the Lake Palace & Shiv Nivas Udaipur and the Umaid Bhavan Palace are now luxurious hotels. Not only was a niche brand created but in the process, the erstwhile royalty had the satisfaction of seeing their magnificent palaces maintained in addition to be a good source of income. Besides, as a marketing  tactic, the hoteliers promised the guests a tea or a dinner with the Maharaja. This gave the Maharaja an opportunity to wear his royal garments once again, with the guests charged a princely sum for the same returning feeling enriched carrying home a photograph posing witth the Maharaja . As you must have reasoned out the majority of guests are foreign nationals on  a dream holiday travelling usually in groups.

 

Youth hostel- The best example of a youth hostel is the YMCA & the YWCA. Typically, as suggested for youths, hence dormitories and common bathrooms  are found with some rooms with attached bathrooms. A common dining hall is there  for the three meals.

Length of stay  is limited to 3-4 nights.

 

Cruise liner- Imagine you are in a 5 star hotel with an area of 250 meters length and 40 meters breadth with facilities of  your room termed as a cabin,with a casino, shops,  fitness center,open swimming pool and covered swimming pool, a fine dining room, basketball courts, table tennis facilities, tennis facility, library and all the other services and amenities offered by a 5 star hotel on board a ship, designed for this purpose. Cruise liners  offer this luxury all over the world.

House-boats- the house boats in Kerala’s backwaters which  ferry the tourist in comfort with accommodation too while experiencing  the joy of  the different hues of nature,

 

Howard Gardner’s Eight types of Human Intelligence and Hotel Management

Dr. Howard Gardener, Harvard University Professor and a developmental psychologist developed the Eight Intelligence concept in 1983 .The theory being every human being has one or more ways of learning according to her/ his intelligence.

In this respect a  Hotel management student learns in all the eight methods leading to developing an aptitude.And to choose the department she/he is most apt at.

What are the Eight  human intelligence?

Kinesthetic intelligence– People skilled at using their body; their hands and legs. Anywhere skills are required. Hand Hand & eye coordination with a fine sense of their body awareness.The skills normally associated with those in the Food & Beverage Service, the Kitchens and the House-keeping areas. Using the service spoon & fork to serve, walking with a tray heavy with a  food order; in the kitchens to use the different types of knives and other equipment ,in the housekeeping department  to use equipment, to clean guest  rooms , make beds, be creative with floral arrangements and  make the beds e al.

Spatial Intelligence: Ability to visualize and think in three dimensional  shapes and sizes.Examples being banquet themes by Food & Beverage  Service Staff, buffet counter displays by Chefs, interior decoration themes including soft furnishings in guest rooms and public areas by Housekeepers as well as in designing uniforms.

Mathematical Intelligence: The intelligence to think with reason and logic to solve problems: The ability to think logically and with reasoning as in managing guest complaints by all the Service Staff.

Auditory Intelligence: Intelligence: The ability to learn and work by listening & hearing as well as speaking. Applicable to all  personnel n the hotel.  The intelligence to listen and speak. Primarily related to Oral Communication which  is the main type of communication practiced. A waiter taking an order.  A House-keeping staff listening and ensuring  a guest request. A Room Reservations clerk taking down a reservation. Or a Chef preparing the required order on listening from the waiter.

Linguistic Intelligence Intelligence to listen and understand language as well as to speak and write. Now we all are aware of how much a guest feels at home once we can understand and converse in his language. Again  applicable to all the staff waiting on guests.

Naturalist Intelligence:  To be sensitive to nature and excel at it :  The drive from the main gate to the portico, even in city hotels would be limed with well manicured lawns.  Hotels for aesthetic purposes and for a green touch Hotels a potted plants in the public area.   Restaurant tables normally have a bud vase on the table .  The swimming pool area around which there would be a coffee-shop/ restaurant would  usually be encircled by a manicured lawn. A water body and lawns in close proximity.  It is but natural staff develop a naturalist intelligence.

Intra-personal Intelligence: Intelligence to be aware of self, emotions, motivation , goals etc.This is a must as  the hotel is a ‘people industry’ and all the staff must have fine intra-personal intelligence and keep developing it with the period of time. Team-members are people, other department members are people and of course guests too.

Interpersonal Intelligence: Intelligence to understand the other.: The hotel is the place where the guest comes for his basic needs of food & shelter. The hotel staff have to have this intelligence not just to interact with the guest but to interact with their team members, their colleagues in the other departments with whom they have to coordinate regularly. A fine example would be of a front office clerk who has to, on registering a guest coordinates with Room  Service, House-keeping and other Food & Beverage Outlets. Also internally within the Front Office Department itself with the  Billing section and the Reservations department. This sort of interpersonal interactions are frequent and not just restricted to arrivals, departures and reservations.

 

 

The evolution of of Budget/ low cost airlines in India

Photo courtesy: Col. Samuel, Co-founder, Air Deccan

When we talk of Budget Airlines in India, the first that comes up to mind is Air Deccan. It was truly the pioneer of budget airlines in India.

2003: Two retired Indian Army Officers who had fought the ’71 war, Lt Col KJ Samuel and Captain Gopinath, teamed up in Bangalore, to launch India’s first budget/low-cost airline, Air Deccan. Simplify was Air Deccan’s tag line. It had a fleet of 45 aircraft acquired in a mere 48 months.

The jets (acquired in the first year) too, were  flying along with the their passengers – mostly first time fliers, to 67 destinations in India. Many such destinations were seeing an aircraft for the first time in nearly 60 years. In its urge to expand the promoters diluted their stakes considerably, and in 2007-8, United Breweries acquired majority stakes. (Air Deccan pioneered the concept of advertising on the plane wings and tail as well as in the interior.

The resultant change in mission statement sounded the death-knell of the pioneer, but not before inspiring a lot of entrepreneurs across the country to get into the low cost airline business. Indigo, SpiceJet, Go Air, Air India Express….

The two aims of Air Deccan still prevail:

  • To connect every nook and corner of the country by air
  • To reduce the price of air tickets to such a low, that it will never rise again to pre-2003 levels

Air Deccan’s smart, young flight attendants

Following the scent of spices to Malabar

Following the  Scent of Spices  to Malabar

 

          

(Vasco da Gama’s route from Europe to  Calicut courtesy wikipedia))

The Venetian, Marco Polo, arguably the pioneer of sea faring activities in the days of yore, was actually responsible for inspiring the likes of an entire tribe of daring, motivated sailors to locate the proverbial pot of gold at gold, at the end of the rainbow .The pot of gold, specifically, a treasure of spices at Malabaar, on the western coast of present day India .His tales of India and China chronicled in a form of a diary motivated another enterprising sailor and adventurer, an Italian by the name of Christopher Columbus, resident of the trading port of Genoa .It is  incidental, that Columbus is remembered at times, more for his search of a faster route to India, than for his accidental discovery of the present day U.S.A. as many would agree .This may be trivia to some but the pertinent point is that Columbus was an ardent admirer of Marco Polo’s exploits and, wanted to if not, better his hero’s exploits, at least emulate him. He treasured, a much-thumbed copy of the pioneer’s diary, which detailed all his quests in great detail.

The diary mentioned in detail that Marco Polo had travelled all the way to the great Kublai Khan’s court. The first westerner to do so, feeding the hungry Western citizens with glorified and maybe at times a trifle, exaggerated! Accounts of the till then, mysterious East .To the people of the West who lived a staid life, ate bland food, and survived, living an ordinary life with no frills and fancies this was a veritable ambrosial nectar to parched throats. The riches, the treasures that would be heirs for the taking by monopolizing the lucrative trade in spices were enamouring. The Portuguese and their greed totally spoilt the peaceful commercial exchange that was prevailing till then, between the rulers of Malabaar, and the traders, the enterprising Arabs. Nicolo Conti, the Italian traveller, who, visited Kozhikode [present day Calicut] in 1430, many, many, years before Vasco da Gama is quoted thus “Calicut is the emporium for the whole India and the East”. This was sweet music to the Portuguese. Since, the Papal order had decreed that they would have the rights to trade with the East and the Spanish with the West.  Vasco da Gama led the Portuguese, a proud and arrogant race. They brooked no interference at all. Da Gama proceeded to pay his respects to the ‘Samoodri,’ the Hindu ruler of Kozhikode& flooded him with a variety of gifts.  A covert strategy, to monopolize, and take over the trading rights of all spices, from Kozhikode. One has to remember that with the fall of the Roman Empire, the rights of this coveted trade had been taken over by the Arabs, whose ancestors had trade ties with Kozhikode.

This left the Europeans in general, and the Portuguese, specifically, to seethe   with fury and disgust. [Fuelled by the simmering remains of the Crusades and the Islamic Jihad]. On seeing the Saamoodri unmoved by their luxurious gifts, the Portuguese went on to do what they were best at. They waited with patience for two years before implementing their diabolical plan .1500 A.D. witnessed the arrival of Pedro Alvarez Cabral carrying with him the ‘royal order’ from the court of Portugal. This royal order issued by the ruler of Portugal addressed the Saamoodri to cancel the trading rights of the Arabs [Ironically, it was an Arab pilot who guided Vasco da Gama from Lisbon to Kozhikode, the last leg of his journey]. and hand over the trading rights of spices exclusively to the Portuguese, or else…. The quiet cold aggressive   message was not lost on the Samoodri who stuck to his guns .The Portuguese armed with the papal order viewed this as an Islamic Jihad on the righteous rights of the ‘fair Christians’. As their wont, they went on to ransack Kozhikode. It is reported that da Gama personally led the attack on a ship carrying pilgrims from Mecca.

This brutal assault by the Portuguese turned the hitherto, peaceful purely commercial, trading of spices regardless of caste, creed, community, race and religion into a market where the jungle rule of” Might is Right” prevailed then on with various European powers engaging themselves in it from time to time.

Kozhikode, the port that was subject to the power of the Portuguese tearfully was relegated to being just another port .To understand the gross damage done to the fair name of this commercial port is best explained by Abdul Razzak who visited the place in 1442. He wrote thus “Security and justice are so firmly established in the city that the most wealthy merchants bring thither from maritime countries considerable cargoes, which they unload and unhesitatingly send into the markets and bazaars without thinking in the meantime of the necessity of checking the accounts, or keeping watch over the goods .The officers of the customs – house take upon themselves the charge of looking after the merchandise, over, which they keep watch day and night. When a sale is concluded, they levy a duty of one -fortieth part on the total value of the goods sold. In the case of the goods not sold, no charges are levied. This practice followed is in stark contrast to the happenings in other ports. When Nature forces a ship to seek sanctuary at the nearest port, the people of that region ransack the ship under the pretext that, divine forces have sent them this gift. But at Kozhikode, this is not only unheard of but in fact, the royal decree ensured that even ships not destined for this port, seeking sanctuary for some reason, was provided fresh drinking water and other provisions as needed.”

This statement might seem a little biased, as the author was an Arab. Since the Samoodri was known to grant special favours and concessions to Arabs .We can understand and thoroughly know of the motives of the Portuguese   from this passage from the” Decadas da Asia”chronicled between 1496-1570 by a European himself, Baros. A great colonial historian who seems to have highlighted the covert and overt, machinations to usurp the trading rights in spices at any cost.”As we were masters of its seas, whoever wished to navigate, whether gentile or Moor, in order to do so securely and peacefully, asked for a safe conduct from our captains our there called Cartaz. If this infidel is found, not proceeding from places where we had fortresses which are in our friendship with just title, we may capture him as fair prize of war .For although by common right, the seas are common and open to all navigators… yet this law has force only in Europe among the Christian folk. But with respect to these Moors and gentiles, who are outside the law of Christ Jesus-which is the true law-since they are condemned in the principal part, which is the Soul, that part of them which it animates, cannot be privileged with the benefits of our Laws”. This meant that traders of spices who originated from Kozikode or from any port from the western coast of India had to inform the Portuguese the details of their navigation, consignment etc. This enabled them to get a permit to sail with the support of the many Portuguese patrol boats. Of course its another matter altogether, that these patrol boats waited for these spices laden ships based on the information supplied and, proceeded to plunder them -a clear act of piracy

As the times changed, the other colonial powers started evincing interest in this trade .The Dutch were the first on the trail of spices, following the Portuguese whom they expelled from Sri Lanka to start with in1658. By 1663, the Portuguese were totally expelled from their fortifications of Kollam, Kodunaanur, Kochi and Kannur.

The Dutch, though being a European maritime power as the Portuguese were not as fundamental as their continental cousins. They were the first foreign power to conclude a treaty with the Saamoodri in 1604.They too soon started meddling in the local affairs but suffered reverses, notably a severe mauling from Marthanda Verma of Travancore in 1741.They stayed on till almost 1781 but in the manner of of petty merchants.

 

But as early in 1615, the British had arrived with Captain Keeling landing off Kozhikode with three ships. The East India Company consolidated them in a short matter of time, and controlled the trade rights for another almost300 years. During this period, they became the base for Britain to rule the seas as the strongest naval force in the world at that time. The entire world had to pay obeisance to them, specially, in this lucrative trade of spices.

From the time that Marco Polo had travelled in a dugout down the waterways of Malabar looking for pepper and ginger to Kollam [whose rulers had trading ties with the Great Khan’s court somewhere in the 7th century. The evidence of these ties still adorns the coastline off Kochi, in the form of designer Chinese fishing nets. The trade has come a long way.

The pages of history only, contain names and achievements of personalities who were colourful and generated some news that people could lap up gleefully .In this manner, the silent achievers and contributors are relegated to the bin .The trail of spices to Malabaar would not have been possible for the Potugese, Dutch and the English without a book titled ”Periplus of the Erythraean Sea” authored by an unknown person somewhere in the 1st century A.D. .The origins of the author are still unknown. This book completely changed the eating habits in the West and also, changed the nature of trading of spices. This book featured first hand [trustworthy] accounts of the author’s trials and tribulations, lays down clear, crisp guidelines for later day sailors. The guidelines followed blindly, empowered the sailor with the knowledge on how to trade with the East, navigate the Indian Ocean. It further lists the ports to berth, at and the ones to avoid, measures to avoid pirates, increase profits. The listing of goods that are found on the West coast of India that can be shipped back home. He mentions of the availability of” ivory, fabrics, spices, butter, and also beautiful girls for the harems” from Bharuch, the port city of present day Gujarat.

The most important and noteworthy legacy he left behind was, the reference of “the Hippalus”; the monsoon winds that blew four months from Southwest to north east across the Indian Ocean, later to reverse direction in 3 months time. This enabled the traders from the West to make best use of the three months time they had on land to procure, in leisure all the commodities, needed. Then stock the cargo on the waiting ships with a definite departure time chalked out. Using these navigational guidelines, the traders would travel down the coast of Arabia and Oman; go north around the Gulf of Cambay to reach Bharuch. On reaching there, they could easily slip down to any port on the western coast of India normally, Travancore, Kozhikode or Kochi.

The next time all ye, gourmets in the West reach out for a packet of spices, purchased across the counter with plastic, pause… And stop to pay tribute to all those pioneering seafarers who braved the fury of the seas, the steel of the pirates, the dangers of the unknown to reach this precious packet that is taken for granted today. Remember, Emperor Akbar; favoured cardamom and even appointed a minister to keep a record of it. And another personality on this side of the planet, namely, another, Emperor Augustus whose weakness for black pepper saw ambassadors from the Malabaar pleasing him with gifts of black pepper. These were two royal gentlemen associated with spices, then the Gujaratis, the original seafarers who pioneered the trade by setting up bases in those days in places as far as in Aden, an important cross point on the Indian Ocean, The North African Jewish merchant Ben Yiju living in Mangalore on the Malabaar coast, whose trading activities are still recalled today from the medieval period.

They all engaged in this trade when the lingua franca, was   a common selling rate to any trader of any nationality, race, creed, community or skin.

This is why the Jews, Arabs, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Venetians, Egyptians and others all alike in those times co existed and traded harmoniously as one people for about 3000 years, from approx 1100-1500 A.D., till the advent of the greedy, hungry and avaricious Portuguese, Dutch, British, used their force for their own interests.   Today the same forces control this trade in a magnified and diplomatic manner with front organizations such as GATT, WTO, etc.

 

 

Incidentally, Marco Polo was incarcerated till his death, in Genoa, as they called him a heretic talking of strange stories of the east. In fact, he brought back the concept from Kublai Khan’s court, of the world being round rather than flat, which was the prevailing concept in Europe. Columbus picked up this concept to accidentally discover the Americas.

Europe was always greedy. They conquered each other for land as they had no natural resources. The Crusaders, a collection of invading Germanic origin kings called Francs, were promised immense riches in the middle-east by Pope Alban and  absolution of their sins, to recapture Jerusalem from the 400 year rule of the Muslims.

 

 

 

 

 (spices photo courtesy pixels)

Legends of Indian Hospitality Industry

 

Photo courtesy- successstory.com

1934– A Punjabi gentleman then a clerk, but an entrepreneur at heart joins the Cecil Hotel, Shimla. Hard work, zeal and an extraordinary ability with some luck saw him become a manager and working partner at the Clarkes in Shimla.  The English owner, Ernest Clarke deciding to leave India for England, offered him the hotel ownership for Rs. 20,000/-. A family member loaned him the money and Mohan Singh Oberoi, later to be known as the ‘Father of the Indian hotel industry’ bought his next property in Kolkata. After that the Oberoi chain opened properties in Delhi, Mumbai and other cities in India and abroad. His standards for excellence is epitomised by  his setting up the Oberoi School of Management, now known as Oberoi Centre for Learning & Development in Delhi. The Oberoi brand of hotels owned by the East India Hotels group not only had hotels in India but also overseas.

 

     903- JND Tata opens the doors of the Taj Mahal Hotel in Bombay, now, Mumbai. Historic as this was the first hotel which also allowed Indians. Apparently Jamsetji Tata   had been thrown out of a luxury hotel as the board outside read ‘No Indians and dogs allowed.’ This Parsi industrialist vowed to make the finest luxury hotel in the world where Indians could enter. And he did. The first hotel in India with electricity and American fans built at a cost of   500,000 pound sterling.

 

JRD Tata took over as Chairman of  the Indian Hotels Corporation   in 1938 and the Taj group  expanded under his leadership to become a chain of hotels..

However what is forgotten is his role as Chairman- Air India to set up Hotels Corporation of India Limited- a wholly owned subsidiary of Air India .  By 1971, The Centaur brand of transit hotels were established  initially in the f metros of Delhi and Bombay.

(photo courtesy amazon.in)

Why Hotel Industry is referred to as the ‘father of the Service Industry’

WHY The hotel Industry is unique in very many aspects and referred to as the ‘Father of the Service Industry’

  • It is the only industry serving the basic needs of Man- Food & Shelter.
  • The ‘People’s Industry’- People are the clients, referred to as Guests, People wait on them  – ‘For the People by The People!’
  • The only industry and segment of the service industry where books of accounts are closed for the day at the stroke of midnight. A new folio opened for the next day.
  •  Doors are open 24 hours a day 365 days a year. ‘The show must go on’ is practiced here.
  • ‘Father of the Service Industry’ as only in a hotel is the processing to finished goods to sale and consumption happens under one roof. Unlike in banking, aviation….

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