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Home > City Resources > Travel and Accommodation > GM, Taj Banjara

GM, Taj Banjara -  Mr Satish NambiarThe first five star hotel of the city, Taj Banjara has carved a niche for itself in the hospitality industry with its quality food and warm service. With its picturesque surroundings and delightful ambience, Taj Banjara is one of the favourite hotels for the tourists who frequent the most happening city of India. Satish Nambiar, General Manager, Taj Banjara speaks to in an exclusive interview.

Mr Satish Nambiar, who was born in Hyderabad is just thirty three years old and is the youngest General Manager of Taj Banjara. The dynamic Nambiar is fond of an easy going lifestyle of Hyderabad and loves to enjoy his free time by swimming, browsing the net and watching his favourite television channel HBO.

What have been some of Taj Banjara's main strengths that have contributed to its growth over the years?

Taj Banjara has been the first five star hotel in the city. It has grown along with the city's growth. Other hotels have come up much later when the people have realised the potential of the hotel industry in Hyderabad. In that way, Taj Banjara is a pioneering hotel in Hyderabad. People who have grown in the city have literally seen the hotel from their childhood. And they have strong memories about this hotel. For a business traveller who comes to Hyderabad, Taj Banjara has always been a hotel with value for money. Even though it is categorised as a five star hotel, but the kind of value perception, which the customer gets in this hotel, it is difficult for him to perceive in bigger hotels. Banjara has always been known for its warm hospitality and great courteous service. The staff of this hotel establish a great rapport with the customers and all the guests know the staff very well. I think this is one of the strongest points of this hotel.

What are some of the special features of Taj Banjara that distinguish it from the rest of the hotels in the city?

Young & DynamicWe have different categories of rooms to cater to different segments of the market. One of the main features of our hotel is the lake. This year we are planning to purify the lake, which is in bad shape by cleansing it. For that we are planning to invest close to a crore rupees. There is no other hotel in the city with a lake attached to it. People come to our hotel and request for the room which is facing towards the lake. The other important feature is that we are centrally located in the city. We also have a beautiful driveway and I think it is one of best long driveways and it is just like a private road, which drives you into the hotel. One of the predominant things about this hotel is its food and service. Everybody knows that this restaurant serves best food. Our Kebab-e-Bahar restaurant is a brand by itself in town. I think there is some charm in Taj Banjara which attracts everyone.

What in your opinion are the ingredients of a perfect ambience?

Today guests want a variety of things. They want variety in their menus. They get bored with regular menus. We have to change the menus faster. They need some lighter atmosphere in the hotel, which means there should be some kind of entertainment in the evening. Entertainment has become an important feature of ambience today. People like trendy things. We have a pub Under Deck, which is quite famous in the twin cities today. People like bright corners today and they prefer lively places. They want places where there is lot of light. They don't want stiff places. So your ambience has to be made lighter and liven up the moods of the people by your staff and also by the surroundings with the help of lighting.

Could you tell us about the scenario of hotel industry in Hyderabad? Both past and present?

Taj Banjara in all its gloryHotel industry was going at a slow pace two years back. But in the last two years, thanks to our dynamic Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, the hotel industry has witnessed tremendous growth. The kind of travelling which happens into the city by Indians and foreigners, is phenomenal. I think the growth will keep going up. Thanks to our Chief Minister who has new focuses always. First it was software industry and now tourism sector. Two years from now Hyderabad will become a prominent tourist destination. Four years back Hyderabad was not at all in the world map. Today everybody knows about Hyderabad. Right now the travellers are mostly business people but two years from now it could be tourists. First the government has brought in business, which is fundamental for growth by focusing on IT as the strong point. Now they are concentrating on tourism sector. Because of growth in industry, the spending capacity of the people has increased. Tourism is the mainstay in business today. Worldwide the focus is now shifting towards tourism. Today the city has the right mix of tourism and business. It is one of the unique cities where growth is happening both ways. Growth has reached to a new height as far as business is concerned. And I feel that Hyderabad could see its best of times in two years from now.

What is Taj Banjara's strategy in gaining the market share in Hyderabad?

We are only focusing on our strengths to ensure that we gain more loyalty from our business travellers. Give more value for the money which they pay. Look at the basic IT requirements and have them placed in the rooms. Ensure the good service and have proactive front-line staff who can deal with the customers in such a way that the loyalty builds up. The idea is that if the customer comes to us, we want to ensure that he stays with us forever.

Can you just tell us about your in-house restaurants?

Take a dip We have an open-air barbecue restaurant called Kebab-e-Bahar, Dakhni, a South Indian restaurant and a multi-cuisine restaurant called Coffee Shop, which serves excellent continental food. It has breakfast, lunch buffet and dinner buffet for the weekend. And a trendy fun pub called Under Deck, which is quite different from other pubs. People come here to have only fun.

Who are some of your high profile guests?

From the glamour world, almost all the film personalities stay with us. Apart from them we also have ambassadors, high commissioners, and leading industrialists who stay in our hotel.

How much importance does the hotel give to the customer service?

Our whole business revolves around the customer. Our bread and butter is the customer. All of us work for the customer. I would say out of my 100 per cent time 70 per cent of the time is spent with the customers. Only 30 per cent goes for other activities. All the activities that are done in the hotel have some relation to the customer. I follow a simple philosophy of keeping my staff happy so that they keep the customers happy. When you keep the customers happy, the business comes in and when the business comes in, the shareholders are happy.

In what way Taj Banjara is different from other Taj Group hotels of the city?

A right ambience There are three Taj hotels in Hyderabad and we have categorized our hotels. Top of the line is Taj Krishna, which is a luxury hotel; Taj Residency is a residency hotel, which is a top of the line business hotel. And Taj Banjara is a budget hotel today. Previously Taj had only one hotel in Hyderabad so we portrayed it as a number one hotel for Taj in the city. Now we have three hotels so we have changed our strategy. We have clear business and pricing strategies for each hotel. This is to ensure that we don't encroach into our other hotels. There is a synergy between three of them so all activities are planned according to the three hotels. If there is a festival in one hotel we ensure that there is no festival in other two hotels. We draw a calendar of events for three hotels together. It is a remarkable strategy as far as Taj is concerned to have three hotels together. This is the only city where Taj group has got three hotels in one-kilometer radius. Previously the market was not going up because there was infighting between the three. But today there is no fighting because we are together. And at present we garner our strengths to fight everybody else.

Can you briefly tell us about the future plans of Taj Banjara?

Our future plan is to be the market leaders in the budget segment. We want to be a number one hotel as far as budget segment is concerned.

Address: Taj Banjara, Road # 1, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad-500 034. Phone: 666 9999 Fax: 339 2218.


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- MAR Fareed
Photographs: Srinivas Setty
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