Please find here bellow my interview with Kapil Chopra, the CEO of OBEROI hotel. Please note that he quits the company to become full time entrepreneur.
How do you envision the hotel of the future, in 5 or 10 years? How are you preparing the new generation of hotels?
The hotel of tomorrow is going to be more digital. It’s going to be more personalized. It’s going to be more about choices. People like design, and they like great spaces to come together. I think that bars and restaurants are going to become hubs where people can be together. If we look at the fact that nowadays, most of the restaurants have very long tables where everyone goes and sits. I think it’s going to be more about sharing and interacting. But at Oberoi Hotel, we are committed to creating personalized and more private experiences for you because we also believe that people need a digital detox. People cannot be in tune with technology all the time. They need to sometimes get away with technology and relax, rejuvenate, and come back. From our perspective, the future of luxury will be about creating personalized experiences, but creating them without intruding on a person’s privacy and not shoving digitization in your face. We believe it has to be subtle. The art of hospitality has to be subtle.
How do you define the art of welcoming in Oberoi Hotels?
The Oberoi Group is about creating great arrival experiences at each one of our hotels because we believe that luxury is all about building experiences. When you get great experiences, you create great memories, and that makes you a fan of the brand.
The experience with Oberoi starts even before you check into a hotel, when we send you your reservation confirmation. We always try to ask you what would make you more comfortable and hence, your experience starts the moment you actually land at the airport where one of our cars will receive you with an airport representative in the car. We’ve even thought of smaller things; for instance, if you’re coming later in the night, would you need a room service menu in the car? You can order room service so that the food is ready when you arrive at the hotel so that you can eat and sleep quickly in case you are tired. We check the kind of music you like in the car; the driver can explain other facilities or even sights along the way as he’s reaching the hotel. Once you’re at the hotel, our people meet you at the main porch and then escort you directly to your room. We believe that standing in line for check-in is passé. In the luxury world of experiences, everything has to be customized and personalized. We try to get as many details of pre-arrival as we can get and then complete the formalities in the comfort of your room and exit quickly after explaining the facilities.
That is the Oberoi arrival experience. After that, the person who checks you in is also your point of contact in case you need anything. That’s how we are able to ensure that you get the best level of service delivered and that you enjoy your stay at the Oberoi.
How do you preserve the environment? How do you integrate sustainable development in your hotel?
In every single Oberoi hotel, we have measures in place to promote the environment. We encourage people to reuse their towels and sheets. We are moving away from plastic bottles in our restaurants, so all the water in our restaurants is now served in glass bottles. The Oberoi Group is committed to environmental sustainability; even the water in the hotel is completely recycled. In each one of our hotels, we even have our own sewage treatment plants, where we also do a lot of solid waste composting. The solid waste compost is actually used again for the gardens, for the flowers. The recycled water that we recycle through our STP is again used for the watering of plants in our gardens. We have many initiatives; we converted all of our lightbulbs to LED lights, which consumes at least 10x less electricity than a normal light bulb. Our air conditioning systems are the most efficient. We encourage people to follow sustainable practices themselves when they’re staying with us. And that is our commitment to sustainable practices because we believe that the environment really is perishable and that we need to do whatever it takes in order to maintain it and keep it.
Additionally, the new Oberoi in New Delhi is going to open up with the best quality of indoor air. Because Delhi sometimes has had issues with its air quality, but in the Oberoi in New Delhi, we are going to open up with the best air quality because we are putting up an air refrigeration plant, so everybody walking into the hotel will be breathing air that is better than normal air.
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Known for his international expertise on luxury hotels through his magazine, Laurent Delporte shares his vision and experiences in the world of hotels on his site DELPORTE Hospitality. He decodes the behind-the-scenes action in the sector: from food and beverage facilities, accommodations, architecture, to the quality of services. He offers interviews, advice, and articles as pragmatic resources that industry professionals and private individuals can refer to in their search for information.