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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW | Manish Dayya, Area General Manager – Accor Hotel’s – Lavasa Hotels & Convention Centre

Editor: Congratulations on winning the award. How does it feel?
Its gives me immense pleasure to have received the 2 awards this August 2016 - “Best Mid Market Hotel” by India Hospitality Awards – West & South for Mercure Hotel, Lavasa and “Best Convention Centre” by India Travel awards – West for Lavasa International Convention Centre. With these 2 awards we are now proud winners of 7 awards along with 2 more certificates; Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor and Better Holiday Award Certificate by Holiday IQ all in the last one year for both our units at Lavasa managed by AccorHotels.

Editor: What would you ascribe this success to? 
This award is an outcome of the enthusiastic teams of Mercure Lavasa Convention Centre who have been serving every guest with a smile and take pride in their jobs. I ascribe this success to them. Of course the continuing support of the Accor India Regional Team along with their guidance makes it even easy for us to achieve all our targets which further get recognized in form of awards and recognitions through such platforms.

Editor: Tell us about your journey. How did it all start? 
Lavasa being a planned hill city with its bouquet of new and unique offerings has transformed from just being a family tourist spot to an exclusive MICE Destination. Lavasa facilitates its visitors with amenities suitable for both Business and Leisure travelers.

Lavasa is a popular getaway destination based out of Pune that proposes an array of sightseeing along with striking scenic beauty during the summer season . “Any time is a good time to visit Lavasa. Monsoon is the time to be in Lavasa. The small valley city attracts both leisure travelers and day trippers to experience the serene misty mornings and strolls over clouds. During summer, atmosphere is not so hot, you can get pleasant ambience during summers.

Nights are relatively cold than day time. Lavasa, has multiple exciting and interesting entertainment and business possibilities. One can explore the unique flora and fauna in the Nature Trail spotting the migratory birds and unique shrubs peculiar to Lavasa. The activities to add thrill and an everlasting adrenaline rush of experience during your visit are much entertained with the Lakeshore Water Sports and X-Thrill Adventure Sports activities. Kids pool area and kids play areas, splash pads and kids play areas are also some of the defined activities dedicated for Children recreation at Lavasa.

Mercure Hotels is a mid-scale brand of AccorHotels that offers world class standards and distinctive hospitality and services. Mercure Hotel, Lavasa, with 130 keys is the largest inventory at Lavasa city offers unique options for a complete gastronomic experiences. The multi cuisine restaurant Celebrations serves exclusive dining options. The restaurant features themed buffet, quick lunch, live cooking counters and more. Alongside, we have ZEN bar especially designed to provide cozy and relaxed experiences while you enjoy various offerings.

At Mercure Lavasa have thought out everything to ensure our guests an enjoyable, relaxing stay and warm, comfortable enthusiastic, and approachable service. Lavasa International Convention Centre (LICC) managed by AccorHotels is spread over 1.5 acres offering 34,500 sq. ft of flexible floor space. It is one of the finest Convention Centres in Western India, equipped with 8 break-away halls, 6 meeting rooms, board room and a business centre along with vast pre-function areas to hold simultaneous sessions. LICC can easily accommodate a gathering up to 1000 guests in a plenary session. Also at the promenade; open air space alongside the convention centre offers a picturesque view of Lavasa city and the beautiful Dasve lake that can easily accommodate approximately 5000 guests for concerts, weddings and other social and CSR events.

The convention is well equipped with other facilities that include best technology and digital support, Audio Visual and Communication features, tailor made food and beverage offerings and good parking facilities.

As for me; I have been associated with AccorHotels since the beginning of 2013 and started with the Pre-Opening role for the Novotel Goa Shrem Resort, Grand Mercure Goa Shrem Resort (Now Novotel Goa Resort & Spa) and La Brise, a beach front restaurant on Candolim Beach. Later in 2015 moved to Lavasa as the Area General Manager – AccorHotels - Lavasa Hotels & Convention Centre managing the operations for the Mercure Hotel, Lavasa & Lavasa International Convention Centre and Novotel Lavasa which is currently under development.

Editor: What are the attributes you look for while selecting or hiring? 
Right attitude, Smile apart from being Creative and Passionate, if anyone has these qualities and attributes in them, one can Feel Welcome at AccorHotels.

Editor: Tell us a little about your average day 
The average day at the hotel starts early with a quick breakfast with the team at the breakfast hall followed by a quick round at the restaurant for breakfast session and meeting a few guests. We have our daily morning meetings at 1000 hrs and discuss all the happenings, MICE events for the day being a MICE destination, VIP arrivals, business report, guest feedbacks and follow ups. Post clearing the mails I set for scheduled meetings with different departments.

A walk around the hotel before the lunch and visit to the Lavasa International Convention Centre (LICC) to meet the MICE guests, delegates and group coordinators during their lunch break. After spending some time at the LICC, I return to the hotel and finish up all pending jobs for the day and continue with any meetings with vendors, team members and Lavasa city authorities if any as this is a privately managed city and we all work very closely with each other and have lot of VIP movements that come for city visits through Lavasa Corporation and Tourism Office, every month I also visit our feeder cities and spend a few days sales calling with our sales team based out in Pune, Mumbai and Delhi.

Lastly since we cater to MICE/Leisure Group which contributed to 60% of our segment usually they end up having their gala dinners and make a quick visit back to LICC before calling it a day.

Editor: How do keep abreast of all that is happening in hospitality? 
I go through the mailers, magazines sent by different Industry publications to keep myself abreast with what is happening around in the cities as well as in the industry. Furthermore I am associated with a few forums and we keep meeting from time to time.

AccorHotels has lots of initiatives that keeps us going and updated with all trends in the industry globally which is a fantastic way of keeping everyone updated and together not just in India but Globally. We also actively participate in all trade shows through the year with AccorHotels as well as Lavasa Tourism promoting the destination as MICE and leisure destination and off late very strongly promoting as city made for destination weddings and social requirements.

I am also associated further as the Board of Governors for Institute of Hotel Management, Thiruvananthapuram and now as Honorary position offered by Tata Institute of Social Sciences - School of Vocational Education, Mumbai as COE representative. Both representations are as Industry expert.

Editor: Two reasons why this industry is awesome! 
I believe it is an industry with opportunities which is very dynamic not just as people but also adopts all new trends which has a mix of all the fields that include IT, Technical Services, Food & Beverage, Finance, Revenue, Sales & Marketing, Sustainability, Safety and Security and above all it includes Talent & Culture (HR & People) which is the key to our success if done with Smile and Passion. This industry develops you as a professional and an all-rounder which I don’t think any other industry can offer.

Editor: Two things you would like to change about the industry. 
Hospitality Industry has come a long way in India and today we are looked at as one of the fastest growing countries which has a great potential to grow. Players both domestic and International wants to have a foot print here.

Changes that I would want to see is to have and promote many more cities in the country which have a huge potential to develop states, cities with Business as well as Leisure interest which can boost our industry further and bring in more foot falls into this country from across the globe and further more streamline the taxation that are so different from one state to another and I think GST is a great initiative and to a major extent will bring in discipline.