Category: Latest

New Delhi, December 07, 2017: Want your guests to have the most relaxed stay at your hotel. Want to give them the best sleep they are hoping for at your hotel...Well, invest in an OxyMax oxygen generator! Oxygen is life. Gear up your property with one today!

Co-founded by Prodyut Bora and Narendra Bisht in July 2017, OxyMax is a path-breaking product that operates in a “split” mode, with an outdoor unit and an indoor unit. The outdoor unit harvests oxygen from the outside air and pumps it indoor, where it is dispensed by the indoor unit. This increases the oxygen level in the indoor air from its current level to 21%, creating an environment of freshness and vigour.

The air in most modern habitats is polluted, of course to varying degrees. Indoor air, unless there are specific interventions, tend to be worse than outdoor air. In fact, several studies have found indoor air quality to be upto 10 times more polluted than outside. Most people tend to combat air pollution with indoor air purifiers. While mostly helpful–and better than having nothing at all–air purifiers are not an comprehensive solution to the problem. This is because what an indoor air purifier does is catch particulate matters circulating through its vents. This is passive technology. What it does not do is actively change the mixture of air.

Good quality air–what is called Mountain Fresh–is a mixture of about 21% oxygen, 78% nitrogen and 1% other gases. In most cities the oxygen level in outdoor air is around 19%, indoor even less. This leads to a whole host of problems: some immediate and some long-term. Immediate effects consists of people feeling breathless, drowsiness and listless; no wonder so many corporate professionals seek so many coffee breaks and cigarette breaks during the course of a day! Long-term effect of oxygen deprivation is a loss of immunity and vitality.

The OxyMax range of oxygen generators work actively to maintain 21% oxygen level in ambient air. In terms of look, they appear pretty much like a Split AC with an outdoor unit and an indoor unit. But that is where the difference ends. While ACs merely recirculate indoor air, OxyMax oxygen generators harvest oxygen from air using the outdoor unit, and distributes it inside using the indoor unit.

Corporate Comm India(CCI Newswire)

Category: Latest

New Delhi, December 06, 2017: According to an ICRA report, with the pick-up in Revenue per available room (RevPAR)s, and the industry prospects, PE/VC interest in hotels is likely to pickup further. Hitherto Hotel PE/VC deals as a percentage of the total PE/VC universe in India had at its peak accounted for a miniscule 3% of total value of deals. The largest PE deals in the hotel industry include SAMHI Hotels, Lemon Tree and the hospitality division of Panchshil realty.

Explaining further, Ms. Pavethra Ponniah, Vice President, Corporate Sector ratings, ICRA says, "PE/VC activity has picked up in the market over the past 12-18 months; however, unlike the interest during 2005-2008, investors this time are cautious and looking more at operational/ready hotels, rather than going through 3-5 year construction cycle, to avoid project delays and cost overruns. Further, PE/VCs interest in the midscale segment has been driving investments in several smaller companies too during 2017. Typically, PE investments have been attracted to chains with multiple properties and a scalable model, which are also conducive to eventual listing through the IPO route. Example of such investments includes home-grown brand like Lemon Tree or asset-owning companies like SAMHI."

PE firms typically also look for assets that have significant value-add opportunities and show upside potential. Confidence in being able to wring out operational efficiencies and a strong belief in India's hotel industry growth story lead to sizable PE investments in Greenfield hotel projects during 2005-2008. However, with the down cycle leading to significant delays in under-construction projects and an elongation of the gestation cycle, PE interest waned during 2010-15. Most PE funds run for 8-10 years with possible extensions of 1-3 years; the current down cycle has elongated the breakeven cycle for hotel projects to ~10+years, leading to conflict between the fund life and cash flow distributions from the PE funded asset.

"Another area which has attracted high PE interest is the budget hotel aggregator space, with players like OYO rooms, Zo Rooms, Stayzilla, Rooms On Call, and Treebo, among others, says Ms. Pavethra. "Hotel aggregator platforms act as a connect between guests and hotel listings, in return for which they charge a commission per booking. Competition in this space has been intense leading to heavy discounting (borne by the aggregator) and cash burn. Some players like Stayzilla, Roomstonight have as a result, burnt out," she adds.

Revival of PE/VCs interest in hotel industry augers well for its growth as the alternative bank funding route have had problems in the past. They have been averse to lending for hotel projects, since the down cycle of 2009 which trigged several delays and defaults. While debt structuring has improved (banks typically used to lend for shorter tenures of 7-8 years which was inadequate) in the recent past, with debt tenure extending to 15 years (structured with moratorium for construction and initial gestation), hotels require longer loan amortisation.

Another key development that is seen is that compared to the situation in 2010-15, when several real estate developers like DLF exited the hotel business, few real estate developers like the Embassy group and the Brigade group have evinced interest in growing their hotel portfolio. Bengaluru-based Brigade Enterprises has hived off its hospitality business into a separate division and plans to grow it over the next couple of years. Embassy Group is planning to build business hotels at its existing and upcoming office parks, along with investor partner Blackstone Group Lp. Canadian global PE Brookfield Asset management and GIC, Singapore are in discussions for acquiring Four Seasons, Mumbai.

The exit routes for PE/VCs include IPOs; secondary PE transactions; strategic sale and M&A driven PE exit; and promoter buybacks, in loose order of preference. Closer to the exit timelines (~10-12 years for most funds), appetite in the primary markets plays a key role in driving valuations and supporting successful exits. Over the past 12 years (since 2005), there have been only a few IPOs in the tourism & hospitality segment (Hotels: Lemon Tree (2017 pending); amusement parks: Wonderla (2014) and Adlabs (2015); restaurants; and time share operator Mahindra Holidays (2009)). Of these only Lemon Tree is a pure-play hotel owner/operator. Few others like Four Seasons, Ahmadabad and Pride hotel had proposed and then withdrawn IPO plans during the past decade.

Given the lack of market interest and weak performance during the 2009-15 down cycle, most exits have been through promoter buybacks and PE backed M&A. Valuation write downs and haircuts have been significant in exists like Kamat hotels. Several PE backed hotel companies like Jalan Hotels, Neesa Leisure, Kamat Hotels and Royal Orchid went through periods of financial stress leading to defaults and/or restructuring of debt.

While as a secular trend, follow-on funding in the broader PE portfolio has been growing over the years (as a percentage of the overall funding activity), the hotel industry has witnessed limited follow-on activity. At its peak in 2014, follow-on funding accounted for close to half the number of total funding transactions, however the same was been limited in the hotel sector. Follow-on funding in the Indian tourism space increased significantly during 2017, with hotel companies like SAMHI Hotels and Lemon Tree; and aggregators like OYO, Treebo and FabHotels attracting capital.

ICRA expects PE interest in the India hotel industry to pick up significantly in the coming years. However, ability to successfully monetise PE investments, preferably through IPOs, would be a cornerstone for future investments. Several PE firms have already exceeded their holding period and are under pressure to recover their money. While industry wide recovery has started, valuations in the industry are also rationalising to either replacement values. This is expected to drive more secondary transactions in the market over the next 12 months.

Corporate Comm India(CCI Newswire)

Category: Latest
Celebrated the arrival of the season by spreading cheer and fulfilling wishes at this annual festive fund raiser event

Bengaluru, December 06, 2017: Christmas Tree Lighting marks the commencement of the much awaited winter festive season, world over. Shangri-La Hotel today ignited the spirit of the season's arrival with the annual Wish Tree Lighting ceremony at sundown. The lobby and public areas were dressed with festive embellishments while the 23 feet Christmas Wish Tree took centre stage at the hotel's splendid Lobby Lounge.

The carolers burst into songs as the tree dazzled with lights and 52 wishes from children residing at Angels Orphanage in Bangalore. Last year the hotel raised INR 80,000 that was used for fulfilling wishes of children from Angel's orphanage This year too, the aim was to bring lots of joy and happiness in the lives of these children with support from guests to fulfil their small wishes expressed on the wish tree. The hotel will take the children's to buy their wishes on a day excursion. Adding up to the festive fervour, the hotel will be helping the Angels Orphanage by refurbishing their kitchen and pantry and making 2018 a memorable year for them all.

"The real spirit of Christmas celebration lies in the joy of giving and spreading that cheer. The legend of Santa Claus is a true embodiment of this spirit and we are privileged to have generous guests. This year too they have generously contributed to Shangri-La Hotel, Bengaluru's community fundraiser. We are certain that this contribution will make a valuable difference in the lives of these children." said Andreas Streiber, general manager of Shangri-La Hotel, Bengaluru.

Christmas Wish Tree Lighting at Shangri-La Hotel, Bengaluru

The lighting up of the tree was preceded by a cocktail party which included Christmas cocktails, mulled wines and delectable festive food like smoked turkey and wild berries puff, double cooked Pork Belly and fresh cucumber skewer with Vietnamese caramel sauce, filo baked figs with goat cheese and pickled onion, broken wheat falafel with yoghurt and mint gel, raspberry curd meringue tart, mini stolen cake, chocolate hazelnut dredge and macaroons. A life-size Ginger Bread City further added a different dimension to the colorful evening.

The ceremony also marked the commencement of the festive holiday offerings at the hotel including the Christmas market, celebratory menus, festive special overnight packages, joyous annual traditions and the fund raiser.

Corporate Comm India(CCI Newswire)

Category: Latest

New Delhi, December 02, 2017: The Internet of Things, room automation, artificial intelligence and virtual assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa are making headway in the hotels and hospitality sector .But none of this is possible without the right foundation of secure connectivity. No matter how luxurious your hotel, how sumptuous the food or how relaxing the spa, if you don’t offer secure connectivity and mobile guest services, you are unlikely to fill your rooms. Dirk Dumortier, Director, Healthcare & Hospitality Sales APAC at Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise looks at the issues and the technologies that are now available to enable hoteliers to provide the services guests expect.

Hospitality is a connected industry. Even back in 2014, 40 percent of people traveling on business had three or more connected devices, as smart and wearable tech offer far greater functionality to people on the move. Inside the hotel, guests are turning to their own technology for information and entertainment rather than traditional hotel services.

It’s secure access first – and last
Hoteliers realize that to grow their business they need to invest in technology. According to the 2017 Lodging Technology Study , 57 percent of hotels are planning to increase investment, with 42 percent intending to maintain their technology spend. The top priority is to increase digital customer engagement in a secure environment, and for this, mobility and connectivity need to be at the center of their digital transformation strategy.

Wireless connectivity is now an essential amenity. Guests experience it at home, at work and increasingly on the move – so they have high expectations. In fact, WiFi is so central to the guest experience that only room cost ranks higher in importance to guests. But providing WiFi is more than just providing connectivity bars on a device – balancing easy access with security is key.

Challenge 1: From the lobby to the lounger – pervasive and high-quality WiFi
Providing consistent WiFi access can present a major headache in hospitality environments. Not just because of the number of users, devices and amount of data on the network, but because often the buildings were not designed with networks in mind!

Managing the network infrastructure footprint, particularly in historic hotels, is one of the first considerations. Old buildings with thick walls or metal structures mean that it is just not possible to run all the cables you need to support room technology. Over in Europe, the 140-year-old Waldhaus Flims Alpine Grand Hotel & Spa recognized this problem, but through the use of hospitality access points (AP), the hotel rooms could each be connected via a single LAN cable. These specialized access points act as ‘mini-switches’ which ensure access to internet, telephony and video entertainment, only with a much smaller footprint. Where it is impossible to bring Ethernet to some areas of hotels, WiFi meshing can provide the solution.

Looking more locally, The Escarpment Group’s multiple properties, in the rugged geographic terrain of New South Wales’ Blue Mountains, were using disparate platforms, resulting in an excessive number of integration points, management challenges and a lack of consistency across locations. By consolidating the management system under one vendor, the management of WiFi platform became a simple task – allowing the IT team to spend more time on higher-value activities.

With IoT becoming the norm – room automation, IP security cameras, point of sale systems and virtual assistance devices – the growing pressure on networks to deliver uninterrupted quality of service to guests starts to become an issue.

Your WiFi should follow that guest!
It is not simply a case of adding a few more access points around the hotel – you need a solution in place to ensure simple and secure guest access and authentication. This simplified connectivity needs to ‘follow’ the guest around the premises, providing access to services where and when they need them. For instance, APs that can continuously monitor connection metrics from mobile devices can use this data to steer device connection to the most appropriate AP, which prevents the WiFi network from slowing down as people move throughout the hotel premises.

Challenge 2: Follow that device – mobile guest services from digital reception to check-out
A guest that uses the spa, the restaurant and the gym leads to a better bottom line. The key to unlocking this is the guest’s personal device – from providing direct bookings and services before guests arrive, to saving time by checking-out straight from their smartphone. This type of personalized experience ultimately means better guest engagement.

This requires frictionless digital interaction between guest and hotel departments – be that the front desk, restaurant or other facilities. With today’s open APIs (application programming interfaces), it is becoming easier than ever to integrate voice and message capabilities directly into guest loyalty or eConcierge apps.

Beyond this, location-based services are quickly establishing themselves as a way to offer guest services – providing directions to one of the resort’s featured restaurants or letting guests know what offers are available when they are walking past the spa are just a couple of examples. Successful digital engagement in the future will be personalized in these ways, and the data gained from mobile engagement will be invaluable to hoteliers in delivering personalized services and push notifications based on individual preferences.

Hotels are also using technology to ensure they are also getting the most out of each guest. Where phone systems in room are traditionally seen as cost-centers for a hotel, Accor Hotels is using a cloud-based system with a licensing model that allows them to only pay per occupied room per night, sharing the risk and reward with vendor and partners.

And mobility is not just for guests…

Behind the scenes, in hotels such as The Buddha Bar Hotel in Paris, enhanced mobility services are enabling staff to stay connected anywhere on-site, resulting in more attention made to guests’ demands. Add to this apps which enable employees to instantly report room availability via a code on their mobile device, or log and respond to maintenance issues on the move, and you can start to see how these capabilities can all add up to getting guests checked in faster and keeping them happy during their stay.

Challenge 3: Securing networks and containing threats with Containers and PANs
Hotels are a growing target for hackers and data thieves. The open, guest-facing nature of the hospitality industry means that hotels and venues need to be welcoming to guests and their devices. But with so many mobile, wearable and IoT devices entering the hotel space, balancing guest access while keeping data, hotel functions and back-end services secure is vital.

One of the core principles behind building a secure network for hotels is containerization technology. This is a method of creating virtual isolated environments on a single converged network. The idea is to group connected devices with a common function and the respective authorized users into a unique, virtual IoT ‘container’. For example, the ‘guest access container’ acts as its own network where guest users cannot see or interact with devices within the finance department’s container, or the IP cameras and alarm systems operated by the security team. Within each container, quality of service and security rules can be enforced and it is possible to reserve or limit bandwidth, prioritize traffic and block undesired applications.

As connectivity grows and with so many devices in guest rooms, you also need to consider what each guest can interact with – smart TVs, intelligent room assistants or climate control. With guests able to connect and mirror movies to the IPTV, how do you stop them connecting and streaming to the TV next door? The answer is the Personal Area Network (PAN). A PAN is almost like having a dedicated WiFi network for every room, where guests can interact with room technology as they’d expect at home – but crucially only in their room. Yes, hotels need to get connected, but they need to be smart about network security and the technology is now available to enable them to do just this.

Stay another day
To drive these benefits to their bottom line, hotels don’t just need to offer better mobility, they need to offer smarter mobility. The integration of a guest’s device through bespoke applications and services is only the beginning of the process – hoteliers need to add a personal touch to their technology offerings. That means enhancing guest experience with services that transform the Internet of Things into the Hospitality of Things and mobile engagement that offers timely and appropriate services to guests. But with digital criminals on the prowl and tech savvy guests highly aware of digital risks, securing hotel networks can no longer be an afterthought – secure connectivity needs to be at the center of design.

Corporate Comm India(CCI Newswire)


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