‘Innovative staycation offerings helped ensure an elevated experience’

Nikita Ramchandani, General Manager, JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu discusses the innovative strategies employed during the Covid-era.

With the country trying to break free from the clasp of Covid-19 pandemic, hoteliers are fast adapting to changed conditions to move past these challenging times safely and successfully. Nikita Ramchandani, General Manager, JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu, in a conversation with BW HOTELIER, reveals the shift in management strategies during the Covid-era.

Innovations lead the way 

The hospitality sector has perhaps witnessed the longest standstill in history, and hoteliers are working 24×7 to keep moving forward despite the dip in business over the last 15 months plus. Speaking about the innovations that helped JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu remain afloat during the turbulent times, Ramchandani mentions, “Marriott Bonvoy on Wheels, our food & beverage home delivery service, has been a key contributor to our revenue stream this past year. We are going beyond merely providing a dining experience. We also want to ensure that people celebrate their special moments at home, leading us to introduce concepts such as celebration hampers, JW Brunch at Home, and festive menus for festivals such as Holi, Rakshabandhan, and Diwali.”

JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu introduced the JW Glamping experience in February 2021, wherein they curated personalised décor setups for intimate celebrations at unique venues in the hotel. As part of Marriott International’s ‘Commitment to Clean’ initiative, the hotel has ensured contactless service across all functions through technological enhancements, which has helped them garner guests’ confidence over time. Innovating staycation offerings for families has also helped them ensure an elevated stay experience synonymous with the JW Marriott brand for multi-generational guests. 

“This past year has led us to innovate our services for intimate weddings in terms of identifying outdoor venues and creating more opportunities for personalisation. Moreover, we have identified new ways of associate engagement and conducting training via virtual platforms to ensure constant upskilling and development,” she adds.

Prioritising a women-friendly working environment

When asked about women-friendly initiatives, she shares, “With diversity and inclusivity being the foundation of our company, we have women associates across all departments in the hotel and a good percentage of women in leadership. As a company responsible for the safety of its people, this matter is of paramount importance to us, and we take immense pride in having established efficient safety and security procedures for our valued women associates. Hotel security guards accompany all women working in the night shift to ensure they are dropped home safely. The hotel has a dedicated 24×7 security helpline in case of an emergency. We have established a stringent sexual harassment policy comprising regular trainings and a redressal mechanism consisting of a committee to handle such issues.”

What’s new on the menu? 

Talking about the new offerings the hotel offers, Ramchandani mentions, “Apart from the offerings under Marriott Bonvoy on Wheels home delivery service including weekend brunches at home, immunity-boosting menus, we have launched a ‘Mood Diet’ menu comprising mood-enhancing dishes. We have also introduced an array of new Family by JW activities as part of our staycation packages that appeal to every generation, ensuring the family gets together to create memorable moments.”

MICE & wedding: Now a personalised affair 

Providing a comparative view and talking about the shift in business tactics, she says, “Weddings have become smaller intimate celebrations, giving us more opportunities to personalise our services. We have seen a significant rise in the number of residential weddings. The reduced guest numbers have allowed us to focus on detailing to ensure a memorable day. With people seeking destination wedding experience closer to home now, we strive to provide that level of grandeur and luxury within our resort-like hotel, offering multiple venues with distinct personalities.”

Leading sectors in the new normal

As the country witnesses gradual unlock, travel-related activities might see a positive side in the coming days. Expressing her opinion on the sectors likely to dictate the business in future, she asserts, “The near future will be dominated by domestic travel market. We have been fortunate to garner a lot of business in this segment this past year. We anticipate that corporate travel will resume soon, given the pace at which the vaccination drive has been picking up across the country. Staycations, leisure travel, and weddings will continue to be significant sources of business as well. As the world transitions into the new normal, we will continue to operate with an uncompromising approach towards the safety of our guests and associates.”