Nishanth Vishwanath, General Manager, The Ritz-Carlton, Pune, shares his mantra for becoming a successful hotelier
Understanding your brand, your customer and successfully delivering on the brand promise sets the foundation towards becoming a successful hotelier, opines Nishanth Vishwanath. The General Manager, The Ritz-Carlton, Pune, is quick to add that they, at the property, aim to inspire life’s most meaningful journeys by creating lasting memories and extraordinary moments. “Our customers belong to the rising global affluent tribe and have an affinity to going beyond the everyday. The curation and execution of these memorable moments during their journey is a finesse. However, it is a skill one must have to be a successful hotelier,” adds Vishwanath who started his career with Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel in 2001 as part of the F&B team
“My passion and creativity allowed me to move up the ranks across Marriott International’s myriad brands in the last two decades. Over the years, I’ve been part of many core pre-openings task force assignments and a recipient of several notable recognitions. During my operational tenure, I have enjoyed my role in building F&B reputation and establishing Renaissance Mumbai and JW Marriott Pune as leading conference and wedding venues in the country,” he shares.
After a stint at JW Marriott Hotel Bengaluru as Director of Operations, Vishwanath took over General Manager for Courtyard by Marriott Chennai. “My last role as Area Director – Operations for South & East India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, gave impetus to my growth and appointment into the luxury market. At The Ritz-Carlton, Pune, I’m entrusted with leading the dynamic luxury team in order to sustain the hotel’s positioning as one of the most preferred destinations for the social and business elite in the country,” he says.
Vishwanath adds that it has been his constant endeavour to enhance the nature of hospitality at the property with The Ritz-Carlton Gold Standards which are evident at every guest touchpoint throughout the hotel, preserving its position as one of the finest luxury hotels in the country. “With the markets starting to reopen, driving occupancy has been one of our key focus areas, along with enhancing the positioning of our award-winning restaurants with sustainability at the forefront,” he says.
Sitting majestically next to one of the oldest clubs in the country, The Poona Club which has a glorious 136-year history dating back to 1886, The Ritz-Carlton, Pune with its striking architecture and skyline views makes for strong attraction point. Vishwanath has been the skipper of the property since March 2021 and it has been his constant endeavour to enhance the nature of hospitality at the hotel.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
“The Ritz-Carlton, Pune is a gateway to iconic memories, enveloping guests in the sounds, flavours and imagery of a culturally vibrant and modern city. Celebrating the region’s distinct culinary scene, the hotel captures the essence of the destination with five signature dining experiences,” avers Vishwanath, adding gourmet world cuisine at Three Kitchens Restaurant and Bar welcomes guests by offering three residential-style kitchens while modern Japanese restaurant, Ukiyo, features a long sushi counter and robatayaki grill complemented by an expansive selection of sake. “The Ritz-Carlton Tea Lounge brings the custom of afternoon tea to the city and Aasmana, the rooftop lounge, captivates guests with 180-degree views of the golf course at The Poona Club and inventive adaptations from the royal kitchens of India. The recently opened Alta Vida is India’s first restaurant residency, showcasing a rotating line-up of international chefs,” he informs.
As Vishwanath keeps sustainability topmost on his priority list, the property works with indigenous produce from local farmers of Maharashtra who grow fruits, herbs, vegetables, edible flowers and microgreens using traditional techniques and sustainable means.
The hotel has around 35,000 sq ft of venue space for meetings and weddings. “The banquet facilities are suited to gatherings of all kinds, from business meetings to social affairs. With access to a beautiful outdoor foyer and deck area, the ballrooms are perfect for intimate gatherings and romantic weddings alike. While the pandemic restrictions were set in place, the hotel never ceased to do business and we could host intimate affairs while ensuring the highest levels of hygiene, safety and social distancing protocols were followed,” informs Vishwanath.
On the hotel’s performance in terms of events during the pandemic period, the GM says that there was a downward trend in 2021 with MICE business as there was a certain disinclination to host events but the beginning of 2022 ushered in residential, corporate and social events and from June onwards, regular wedding events have resumed at the hotel.
CHANGE IN DEMANDS
The year 2020 was a challenging one for the hospitality industry, opines Vishwanath, adding, “As global pandemic continues and its impact on many organisations remains unknown, one concept for our business is clear – employee and customer engagement is critical. Our typical customers are affluent leisure guests and top corporates who are looking for personalised experiences and services. We like to call this a rollout of the micro-vacation. With the domestic leisure travel segment breathing life into India’s hospitality industry, we are on the road to full recovery.”