Srijan Vadhera, General Manager of Conrad Bengaluru, is pioneering new business models and keeping his clients loyal.
The past two years have brought the hotel industry to its knees. With abrupt restrictions and revenues falling off a cliff, both staff and management have slid into panic mode. While many in the hotel industry are hoping for a version of business-as-usual to re-emerge, Srijan Vadhera, General Manager of Conrad Bengaluru, is using the downtime to reframe relationships and restructure operations.
The go-getter GM has been pioneering new business models and keeping his clients loyal during tough times. Vadhera connected Conrad Bengaluru—primarily a business hotel—to the wedding fraternity, with whom he has built loyal, lasting relationships.
“From my experience in the wedding segment during my previous stint in Jaipur, I was able to shift Conrad Bengaluru from being a business-centric hotel to the most desired wedding destination in Bengaluru,” he says.
To cater to the growing wedding market, Conrad Bengaluru designed the Wedding Studio, a miniature version of elements one would need to plan a wedding. This initiative accelerated change and propelled hotel performance. As a result, Conrad Bengaluru won the silver award for best ‘Trendsetting Food Design’ and the gold award for ‘Trendsetting Bar Menu Design’ in the WeddingSutra Influencer Awards 2021.
“With the ease in restrictions and development of vaccines, larger ceremonies like weddings have made a comeback. Located next to a Gurudwara, with a dedicated room for a Nikah ceremony, in-house Maharaj and the largest ballroom in the city, Conrad Bengaluru has become a diversified wedding venue. We focused on different communities and understood their needs. We specialised in Marwari, Jain, Gujarati and Rajasthani,” says Vadhera.
In pursuit of purpose
To continue to meet guest demands and thrive financially, Vadhera ensured that he built a culture of collaborative innovation by defining and communicating goals. He pursued a purpose and put people at the center of it.
Recognition of hard work is one of the biggest motivators for employees, he says.
“I make sure I recognize and appreciate the hard work put in by my staff to keep the hotel running during these tough times. We have monthly inter-departmental meetings where each department updates all the team members on what they have done. We also conduct regular team engagement sessions with doctors and motivational speakers to keep everyone physically and mentally positive. I take steps to stay motivated so that my team remains motivated,” he adds.
Vadhera also prioritized team’s health and safety by unveiling a slew of initiatives, such as free doctor consultations through MFine App for employees and their family members, the Team Member Assistance Program (TMAP) designed to help team members manage their well-being, and Hilton’s Team Member Assistance Fund (TMAF) to support team members or immediate family members infected by the virus. A comprehensive Team Members Insurance was also covered for each hotel staff.
Learning and adapting
To achieve resilient growth and stay ahead of the competition during tough times, Vadhera made learning a part of his daily routine.
“I learned the importance of fixed costs of running operations. I learned to critically review and minimise expenses wherever possible. I also learned to be cautious about the cash flow, re-examine operational manpower ratios and find areas to optimize,” he says.
Vadhera is proud that his team too is learning how to adapt to uncertainty and be on their toes at any given time.
“I have seen that my team has become cohesive after the pandemic. This bond will continue to grow stronger in 2022. A closely knit team is directly related to increased productivity and job satisfaction. This is what I aim to achieve under my leadership,” says Vadhera.