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In 2018, Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre & HICC did more than 1400 Events: Manish Dayya, GM
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MANISH DAYYA, who has over two decades of experience in the trade and hospitality industry was appointed as the General Manager of Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre and Hyderabad International Convention Centre (HICC) early in 2018. He has been associated with AccorHotels since 2013 and has held multiple roles across various locations in India in his earlier assignments which provided him with detailed insights about the various markets & business segments. In conversation with BW Hotelier, Dayya shared details about his earlier assignments and his current role and vision ahead for the Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre & HICC.

Being associated with the hospitality industry for over two decades, what trends have you witnessed that have particularly changed over the years in India?

Manish Dayya: There has been a paradigm shift in the industry but one thing that has remained the same is being guest-centric. All new innovations and trends revolve around the guest's convenience and the dynamic nature of their requirements. The development in the industry which has immensely impacted our dual property is the growth of MICE business in India, thus putting India on the global MICE map. We believe our venue and contribution has been partially responsible for positioning Hyderabad as a MICE destination. Another rapidly blooming trend is that of destination weddings and tailor-made events which have a specific and niche requirement, and demands for a well-equipped venue that can cater to these needs all under one roof.

Keeping up with the technology, the methods of bookings have drastically changed. One can notice that guests prefer websites, mobile apps and online channels like OTAs to do their immediate bookings. The brands are also focusing on retaining their loyal customers and patrons by providing loyalty programs and additional benefits while recognising and rewarding their loyalty. To give an estimate, about 50% of repeat guests who are a member of our loyalty program LCAH and our F&B Loyalty program (AccorPlus) members generate 18% of our restaurant revenues.

What were the challenges and opportunities that you have come across in your earlier assignments with AccorHotels until your latest appointment at Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre & HICC?

MD: Since 2013, when I joined the Accor Hotels group the journey has been nothing short but amazing. In this tenure, I got to manage multiple combo properties under Accor umbrella which helped gain insights of various markets and business segments.

From the very first hotel combo in the leisure market like Goa, featuring 2nd largest MICE space in the city with 8000 sq. ft. of indoor and 5500 sq. ft. of outdoor space overlooking the beach, to managing the distinct combo of a convention centre and hotel in Lavasa with 32,000 sq. ft. of event space catering a mix of leisure and MICE, both gave me an innate understanding of this unique business mix.

All these roles have aided in polishing my skillset and have been a good prep up for my current role where this huge complex caters to every segment of businesses and is one of the most unique venues in the country.

What new value additions and changes are you looking forward to bringing in at the Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre & HICC, in terms of - renovation, management rejig, new restaurants, etc.?

MD: We are constantly in the process of enhancing our facilities and ensuring they match global standards. The overall complex including the convention centre and hotel is recently refurbished and now we have a fresh product to offer our patrons. With the added focus on food and beverages we have also launched a new multi-cuisine contemporary restaurant- Food Exchange, the social hub with a wide range of delicacies from around the globe, catering every palate and diverse seating options which is apt for family packs as well as the "together alone" guests.

'The Bar' at the hotel has also been revamped completely to offer a trendier and hip vibe with chic interiors and new menu offerings. Our new and revitalised property will provide a relaxed, serene and lively atmosphere for our guests. The hotel encourages wellbeing (me time) and also promotes togetherness and bonding (we time). The refreshed look of the rooms has incorporated the soothing colours and modern fixtures preferred by new age travellers. Many other areas of the hotel have also been enhanced adding to the overall renewed look of the property.

With a large room inventory of 288 keys and state-of-the-art convention facility with internal hall measuring 6,480 sq. ft., what strategies are you planning to chalk out increased Occ., favourable RevPAR and sustainable business through MICE?

MD: Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre & Hyderabad International Convention Centre have been integral to the growth of MICE in India, helping position Hyderabad to the top four Indian MICE cities based on a number of events we have hosted at our centre. 2018 was one of the most successful years for us till now, we at Hyderabad International Convention Centre hosted several large conferences bringing more than 3.5 lakh international and national visitors to the city. We have observed a definite surge among the industries who contributed this year and we predict they will continue to grow for the following year as well. We anticipate an increased growth from the budding start-ups in the regions and have a positive impact on the demand.

In terms of business strategy, we will continue to source business from global markets to India and this city. We actively participate in relevant national and international platforms, including trade fairs to showcase our facilities to the right audience. We plan to aggressively promote our refurbished product in target national and international market with visibility on all mediums.

How the hotel is strategically positioned for easy access? What is the diverse visitor profile- including Family, Leisure, Corporate, BLeisure, received by the hotel?

MD: Located in the nerve centre of the city, the property is easily accessible from Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad by a 45-minute drive. The large connectivity of Hyderabad from many countries and Indian cities, state-of-the-art infrastructure, and world-class services provided by a trusted brand like AccorHotels has helped HICC make its mark as a global MICE destination in India.

By the virtue of being one of largest MICE provider in India, we host various corporate and associations throughout the year, contributing the larger chunk of our revenues, 60-65%. The grand weddings and social functions make up for approximately 12-15% of our business. The remaining numbers come from various other segments like Corporate, Transient, Leisure and FIT.

What is your vision ahead for the hotel and the convention centre? What are the milestones set by you at the end of FY18 or Year 2020 in terms of Occ., MICE, Spa activities, etc.?

MD: With the growing competition and trending demand, the prime focus will be on continue being the leader for MICE offerings in the country. We plan to achieve this by continuously offering the best experiences to our guests, ensure their dynamic requirements are well catered and retaining our loyal guests with us. The recent refurbishment at the hotel is done to keep up with the new trends and remain relevant to the new age travellers.

MICE being one of the key contributors we plan to bring more international associations and global meetings to Hyderabad, India. For this, we actively collaborate with HCVB and promote HICC and Hyderabad as a destination for MICE. In 2018, we have done more than 1400 events and hoping to see a surge in this number in the coming years.

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