ES. How did you get into the hospitality industry? Please tell us about your professional journey so far in this industry?
Manoj Thapa. To tell you the truth, I am an accidental hotelier. I was very keen to join Indian Army and did cleared my Combined Defence Service exam and went to Allahabad for SSB. Unfortunately, I couldn’t clear it because of knee injury. As destiny would prevail, through one of my father’s friend who was security officer in Hyatt, I got to know about JET training program in Hyatt Regency Delhi. I did my one and a half years training with them and continued working for twelve years reaching the designation of banquet sales manager.
While I worked in Hyatt, I experienced the very essence of hospitality. I think since then I got attracted towards the hotels and finally ended up as a hospitality professional. Today, I have over 35 years’ experience in the industry and in this long span of time I should say that I am fortunate enough to get ample opportunities to work with major hotel brands including four years at The Claridges Hotel and Resort New Delhi, three years at Svelte Hotels and
Personal Suites New Delhi and five years at Four Points by Sheraton New Delhi at the airport. I took care of operations and standards, strategy and business growth, guest relations and community outreach while serving as the general manager of these hotel chains. I have specialization in leading hotel operations, food & beverage department and revenue optimization with a flair in standardizing operation processes and promoting business in critical markets. Prior to joining Nest Jaipur I was working as a Consulting General Manager with Cabana Resort and Spa, Jalandhar.
ES. How are hotels maximizing the opportunities now that travel is back?
Manoj Thapa. Hospitality is all about special experiences which create great memories. A hotel should be capable of catering its guests with such experience as they want their hotel to be an escape into another world with luxe ambience, comfy stay, delectable food, personalised service and unforgettable memories. We at Nest Jaipur are closely working with our marketing team to highlight the premium services with luxury stay we are offering to our customers in their regular communication to visitors and on social media. For offline marketing strategy, we are engaging with a lot of travel agents, event planners, and wedding planners along with participation in major travel and hospitality events. As social media and online reputation is equally important, we stay active on facebook and insta with our lucrative offers and services. In addition to regular practices, we are also reaching out to social media influencers like bloggers, youtubers, instagrammers, etc.
ES. Are there any fascinating tidbits about the hotel that you could share? Maybe some background information? Have there been any special events on the property?
Manoj Thapa. Nest Jaipur is a modern property with a tinge of royal Rajasthani architecture. Aiming to impress the visitors from the point they enter the property, we kept a vast 9 acre open before they stepped in the lobby. The wide open space at lobby cum reception is designed to make our guests feel that they are at the perfect place for vacation, staycation or an event. The strategically arranged modern furniture in classy pink settings is targeted to make the space comfortable for casual and semi-formal meetings. Darpan, the spectacular gathering space of the property, inspired by Abhaneri Stepwell is adorned with 18000 pieces of mirror which reflect the top and give a feel of a stepwell. Since the very day of the inception, the hotel witnessed many mega events such as destination weddings and corporate events. In one of the corporate event in the month of June, cricketer Piyush Chawla and Bollywood star Suniel Shetty marked their presence and even tried few shots on the field.
ES. In addition to guest behaviour evolving continuously, the pandemic has accelerated it. In the course of your experience with your guests, what behavioural changes have you observed?
People are travelling a lot but with an alert in their minds. They are cautious and aware like never before and completely following new travelling norms. They are preferring hotels with contactless services, stringent safety protocols and a higher standard of operational excellence to ensure their safety.
ES. What has been your approach to ensuring consistency when it comes to service?
Manoj Thapa. We are in the business of serving guests where experience is the key. With acute competition around, the best way to set yourself apart is to offer unparalleled experience with consistency in service. Having said that, since you are dealing with human intervention, it is more often that the detailing falls through the crack and consistency erode. To avoid that, we ensure that we set our brand standards and ensure every individual go through it extensively. Staff training is beefed up at every level and wherever required, a cross exposure is enforced among support department. To ensure consistency each customer is treated like a loyal, long time valued guest in every interaction with the team. Standard operating procedures are followed in every task performed by the team member.
ES. How do you overcome the difficulty of planning and executing the events? Please share your experience on some of the events you’ve recently hosted at your venue.
Manoj Thapa. I am an organised person by nature and that helps me a lot when I lead an event organising team. I personally meet with the guest to understand the requirements and strategize accordingly. Also we have all the essence required to meet the demands of guests like conference rooms, banquets, dedicated internet lines for conferences at a very economical pricing and high speed internet available in every corner of the hotel. Out of several destination weddings being hosted at our resort where many have shared their memorable experiences on trip advisor as well on our Instagram page, one specific incident was of Mr. Dipesh Mehta from Mumbai who actually came to book spill over rooms in our resort. However, he was so much impressed by the hospitality rendered to him and the eye for detail during the course of finalization that he shifted the entire groom side stay and functions in our hotel. Our team core value of constantly be present and active in establishing relationship played a major role.
ES. How do you balance work and leisure to be at the top of your game?
Manoj Thapa. I am a self-motivated person that keeps me going in every phase. I always prefer to have half an hour for contemplating the things I have in hand at both professional and personal level and accordingly act to execute. Also my disciplined lifestyle and being from an Army background supports me to excel by putting my full energy at work.
ES. What novelties shall we be expecting at The Nest Jaipur Luxury Resort this year?
Manoj Thapa. We will soon open our Bar along with a high-end spa. The upcoming spa will be a 4000 sq. Ft. of complete rejuvenation space including a well-equipped fitness centre. Apart from all of this, our rooftop bar BARSAAT would be a state of the art restro-bar featuring remarkable interiors and some wide varieties of national and international brands. The work on the restro-bar is going on full swing and we are hopeful to open on fall of 2022.
ES. Would you like to share any message with the industry?
Manoj Thapa. Since we are in the hospitality sector, we should be committed to our guests and our prime focus should be on creating memorable experiences for them to retain them forever.