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“At Marriott, our biggest advantage is technology”

A leader with truly a global perspective and an impressive track record leading Indian and International hotel companies throughout his 27 years of successful career, Anuraag Bhatnagar, presently the Multi-Property Vice President for Mumbai and Goa and also concurrently the GM for The St. Regis, Mumbai. We at TTJ are impressed by his constant endeavour to procure work at the hotel, along with dedication to the hospitality industry.

Prashant Nayak

Anuraag Bhatnagar currently oversees and leads some of the most valuable and strategically important portfolio of 12 operating hotels as Multi-Property Vice President, Mumbai and Goa. Some of the flagship properties of Marriott International include brands such as The St. Regis, W Hotels, JW Marriott, Le Meridien, Courtyard by Marriott, Renaissance which comes under his leadership along with the development of new properties in the region for Marriott International.

While working in dual capacities and with its responsibilities Anuraag says, “The work is very challenging but at the same time it is exciting and at The St. Regis you are very much in the thick of action. The St. Regis, Mumbai is the busiest hotel in the country, therefore, we need to constantly innovate and create distinct experiences which will be in synergy with the guest’s lifestyle and exceed their expectations. Other than the guest section, we are also required to connect with the quality, luxury quotient and associates satisfaction while managing the other operations of the hotel. While, we have a strong operation and brand team at every hotel and are managed by the respective General Managers, my further role is like a facilitator and enabler in guiding the other hotels and their associates under my portfolio, in case of support required by them as per Marriot standards.”

As a student, Anuraag was in awe with some of the hotels and their bespoke services which initiated and prompted him to join the industry. In those days, in spite of having choices of being an engineer or doctor, Anuraag opted out from those and preferred choosing the hospitality sector as a career and after 27 years in the industry, Anuraag is glad to have made the right choice.

From being a batch topper in 1988 to a Multi-Property Vice President, Anuraag has shown tremendous vertical growth in his successful career. He was known as the ‘Man with the Midas Touch’ allowing him to consistently revive the financial profile and restructuring of many hotels to show positive RevPar and growth.

With his immense experience Anuraag shares something on making of a successful hospitality brand. Anuraag explains, “A brand is how well it resonates with the market and all the stakeholders because a brand has to get embraced through its service culture and through its promise and which needs to be executed daily. There is no point in a brand being a trophy item that cannot deliver its service culture. At Marriott, we create distinctive brand promise and we also deliver it. At the St.

Regis, we bring our brand alive with various luxury service rituals such as Champagne savouring, Afternoon tea, Mumbai Mary or the Butler service. Similarly, for Westin which is more of a wellness oriented brand, we go to the extent of providing ‘Gear Lending Programme’ where new and fresh athletic shoes and apparels are provided during your stay at a nominal fee and one can take advantage of a ‘ Run Concierge’ who assist guests in the jogging programme. Thus, as a brand we are distinctive and we deliver what we promise.”

Anuraag says his overall experiences has been full of challenges and was all about learning, building leadership, team work, manage lots with less, innovations, collaborations, commitments, networking but most important was living up to the guest expectations. His international cross exposures gave him more eye openers and insights to raise the standards mostly in f&b and luxury segments.

On the luxury front, for him it’s all about exclusivity, attention to details, meticulous workmanship, creating a sumptuous atmosphere and discerning good taste. It is more of a spirit to serve, service from the soul and ensuring that there is excruciating attention to every small detail. Speaking of luxury, with a legacy of more than 100 years, the St. Regis brand is one of the most prestigious luxury addresses and one of the most anticipated brands to have entered India. Thus, for Anuraag he takes immense pride and feels a sense of achievement to be the General Manager of the first St. Regis in India.

Work wise, Anuraag always used to think, he is more of a GM with an Innkeeper values but with a CEO approach. This was when technology was not prevalent. Now, he is glad to have embraced technology with the help of his family and colleagues at work. He says, “I am glad to be living in an era where I have seen a bit of both, tradition and technology and people trying to fit them hand to glove. Today, our biggest advantage is technology, our back-end system where technology transforms itself or is better utilised to bring in personalisation. Technology has become a huge driver for so many growth stories and will be indispensable. Guests now, especially the millennials are well travelled and well aware of all the trends in hospitality and it is very important for us to keep abreast of what’s happening in this space including social media for a lot of our hotel activities.”

Anuraag is indeed a new age hospitality stalwart with an innate understanding of the luxury landscape in the country. He has earned some of the most prestigious awards during his tenure in different hotels. He is an avid whisky and food enthusiast. His fitness regime is a new found joy, while he is trekker, a wildlife enthusiast, a passionate reader and is also into Google/Netflix. He is a family man who enjoys spending time with their two dogs. Anuraag’s success mantra is having a strong belief and focus in what you do and if you have this in you, the energy comes within you automatically.

BLURB:

On the luxury front, for him it’s all about exclusivity, attention to details, meticulous workmanship, creating a sumptuous atmosphere and discerning good taste. It is more of a spirit to serve, service from the soul and ensuring that there is excruciating attention to every small detail.