Interview: Saurabh Gahoi, Vice President of Ramee group of hotels

Saurabh Gahoi

An exclusive interview with Saurabh Gahoi, Vice President of Ramee group of hotels in India

Welcome to an enlightening interview with Saurabh Gahoi, the accomplished Vice President of Ramee Group of Hotels. With a wealth of experience and expertise in the hospitality sector, Saurabh Gahoi has played a pivotal role in steering Ramee Group towards excellence and innovation in hotel management and operations.

Can you provide us with an overview of your journey within the hospitality industry and how you came to be Vice President of Ramee Group of Hotels?

Saurabh Gahoi: Embarking on my journey in the hospitality industry felt like stepping into a whole new world, fuelled by a childhood fascination for luxury. My academic background in science, maths, and psychology, coupled with my studies at the Institute of Hotel Management, gave me a solid foundation.

Starting as a management trainee, I chose to learn from the ground up, which turned out to be incredibly valuable. I took on leadership roles early on, leading teams and eventually becoming a General Manager at 28. Overseeing 18 General Managers exposed me to diverse markets and challenges, helping me grow and refine my skills.

Becoming Vice President of Ramee Group of Hotels wasn’t a quick journey; it took dedication and a commitment to excellence. I continuously sought to improve through specialised training programs like leadership coaching and “Train the Trainer.”

Now, in my current role, I use my experiences to navigate the complexities of the hospitality industry. Every challenge I’ve faced has prepared me for this position, from the attention to detail in luxury establishments to the dynamic nature of different markets.

Moving forward, I’m guided by the belief that success in hospitality requires both creativity and discipline. It’s about thinking like an artist while working like an army officer—a delicate balance that I strive to maintain every day.

India’s hospitality industry has faced challenges in recent times, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. How has Ramee Group navigated these challenges, and what lessons have been learned?

Saurabh Gahoi: The hospitality industry in India, like many around the world, has indeed faced significant challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s how Ramee Group navigated these challenges and learnt the important lessons:

Adaptation and Flexibility: We swiftly adapted to the changing circumstances by implementing flexible booking policies, allowing guests to cancel or reschedule their reservations without penalties. This helped maintain customer trust and loyalty during uncertain times.

Health and Safety Measures: We prioritized the health and safety of guests and staff by implementing stringent hygiene protocols, including enhanced cleaning procedures, regular disinfection of high-touch surfaces, and the provision of hand sanitizers in public areas. We also enforced social distancing measures in common areas and restaurants.

Digital Transformation: The pandemic accelerated the adoption of technology in the hospitality industry. We invested in contactless check-in/check-out systems, and digital concierge services to minimize physical contact and enhance the guest experience.

Diversification of Revenue Streams: With a sharp decline in traditional hotel bookings, we diversified our revenue streams by offering alternative services such as day-use rooms for remote work, long-term stays, and food delivery/takeaway services. At some hotels we even transformed our spaces into temporary healthcare facilities to support the overwhelmed healthcare system.

Focus on Domestic Tourism: With international travel restrictions in place, we shifted our focus to domestic tourism. We launched promotional campaigns targeting local travellers, offering special packages and discounts to encourage staycations and weekend getaways.

Cost Optimization and Efficiency: To mitigate financial losses, we implemented cost-cutting measures such as reducing staff overheads, renegotiating supplier contracts, and optimizing energy consumption. We also explored opportunities for revenue optimization through dynamic pricing strategies and yield management techniques.

Community Support and Collaboration We actively participated in community support initiatives by providing accommodation and meals to frontline healthcare workers, offering free or discounted stays to stranded travellers, and collaborating with local authorities to support COVID-19 relief efforts. These actions helped build goodwill and strengthen relationships with the community.

The key lessons learned from these experiences include the importance of agility and resilience in the face of unforeseen challenges, the critical role of technology in enhancing operational efficiency and guest safety, and the significance of prioritizing employee well-being and community engagement.

Moving forward, we are likely to continue embracing innovation and adaptability as we navigate the evolving landscape of the hospitality industry.

As VP, what are your primary goals and objectives for Ramee Group of Hotels in the coming years?

Saurabh Gahoi: As the Vice President of Ramee Group in India, my primary goals and objectives revolve around positioning our brand as a premier lifestyle hotel group across tier 1, tier 2, and tier 3 cities. Alongside this, we are committed to promoting social welfare and community upliftment, with sustainability at the core of our vision.

Embracing technology advancements and implementing sustainable practices are key priorities for us, ensuring that we operate responsibly while enhancing the guest experience. Guided by principles of integrity, diversity, and accountability, we aim to set new standards in the hospitality industry.

Can you share any insights into upcoming projects or expansions that Ramee Group is undertaking to further establish its presence in the Indian hospitality market?

Saurabh Gahoi: We are expanding across India and our primary objective is to make a presence in all major Indian cities. To achieve this, we are looking at various partnerships across all states in India. Our objective is to position “Ramee” as a synonym of lifestyle brand, make people aware about the brand and its strength in the geographies where we do not have a presence like New Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata etc.

We have already signed up/developing more hotels in cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru, Indore, Coimbatore, Bhuj etc.

Also, we launched new F&B brands like Megumi and Lucy Lou, expanded our renowned brands like Mutuswami and Rasoi. Further have plans to launch half a dozen more unique F&B concepts this year.

What role does technology play in the guest experience at Ramee Group hotels, and how do you ensure a balance between technology and personalised service?

Saurabh Gahoi: We leverage technology to streamline processes, improve efficiency, and cater to the evolving needs of our guests. At Ramee Group of hotels, technology is integrated to enhance guest experiences through various mediums.

However, while technology plays a crucial role, we understand the importance of personalised service in creating memorable experiences for our guests. We ensure that technology complements, rather than replaces, human interaction.

Our staff members are trained to anticipate guest needs and provide personalised attention, whether it’s remembering guests’ preferences, offering local recommendations, or simply engaging in friendly conversation. We believe that genuine hospitality is about connecting with guests on a personal level and making them feel valued and cared for.

To strike a balance between technology and personalised service, we continuously seek feedback from guests and monitor their preferences and satisfaction levels.

This enables us to tailor our services and technology offerings to meet the unique needs of each guest while maintaining the warmth and personal touch that defines the Ramee Group hospitality experience.

What is your success tip for young and aspiring entrepreneurs

Saurabh Gahoi: For young and aspiring entrepreneurs entering the hotel business understand that the hotel industry is like a never-ending business, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. Patience is key, as success often comes gradually. Once you take that leap, you’ll find yourself proud of the journey you’ve embarked upon.

Additionally, embrace the title of “hotelier” with pride. It’s a profession that requires dedication, creativity, and a genuine passion for service. Embrace the challenges, learn from them, and let your passion drive your success.

Saurabh Gahoi’s strategic vision and dedication to elevating guest experiences have been instrumental in Ramee Group’s continued success and growth.

His insights shared in this interview offer valuable perspectives on the evolving landscape of the hospitality industry. We extend our sincere appreciation to Mr. Gahoi for sharing his time and invaluable expertise.

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