Goa has two Novotel properties, Novotel Goa Shrem and Novotel Goa Resorts and Spa. What sets Novotel apart from its competitors?
We have two properties in Goa which are at a short distance from each other. Our both hotels share 270 rooms between them and is the second largest inventory in Goa. When we started 5 years ago we were clear on our objective – Goa for Kids. We even have a campaign on this line. Most hotels in Goa offer stunning views or villas, but aren't family or kid friendly. At Novotel, we have a team of 7 people who look after activities for kids and families. We have a Recreation Manager and there is a daily activity board which has 35 things to do for kids in the resort. Right from a play-station, virtual gaming, motion gaming to physical activities like badminton, basketball and cycling, we offer a huge variety of options. To give parents leisure time, we provide a service where we take care of your kids above the age of 4 years for a couple of hours and have devised activities for them.
The other thing is MICE. We have 20,000 sq ft of space in the resort and a lot of companies approach us for their business and leisure requirements. Recently, we constructed a new wing in Novotel Goa Shrem which is an all steel building.
What is the current situation of the hotel industry considering the increasing number of aggregators?
Yes, aggregators are slightly affecting business. The Oyo's and Airbnb's are a great business model but our research shows there are two types of travellers. One set wants to be looked after and pampered and the other set is out exploring and experiencing so hardly spend any time at the hotel except for to sleep. The first set prefers a hotel with service where they and their family will be cared for. The other set, mostly in the age of 27-35 are more likely to opt for something like an Airbnb. There is market for both and these two markets will co-exist.
Earlier there used to be a peak season and an off season. But lately it has kind of blurred.
Yes, touch wood there is no low season anymore. It is either high or mid season. Due to high-pressure jobs people are desperate for a holiday to balance things out. Apart from Delhi, Mumbai and Goa market has constantly been steady. Many factors decide on the destination. The Ahmedabad market grew due to Kabaddi and a couple of movie shoots.
The social media impact is one of the biggest when it comes to choosing a destination or a resort. How do you handle the positive and negative aspects?
In this regard, the Accor group is very advanced. We have an agency to handle social media and they keep a track of everything, good and bad on social media for us. Accor uses a software globally in all resorts that maps what the guests are saying about our resort across all channels – even the informal ones. The software highlights to us the reviews, both positive and negative and we handle them accordingly, online as well as offline.
Any new resort plans for Goa?
Yes, as both the properties are in north side, we will be coming up with our third property in the south part of Goa. It is a 180+ rooms property that will be re-branded.