Rajiv Kapoor is building signature stories that showcase Fairmont’s brand personality with a sense of humour even in trying times.
Working in a star hotel, although glamorous, is often a humourless endeavour.
The staff walk into work already laden with stress of handling tantrum-throwing guests and meeting unrealistic deadlines. The anxiety often results in the hotel staff feigning a smile. A guest perceives this to be insincere, checks out of the hotel, promising never to come back again.
This isn’t the case with Fairmont Jaipur, which is swarming with repeat guests and five-star testimonials. For the staff of Fairmont Jaipur, pressure and deadline are everyday winnable battles. Even while these battles are being fought, the team ensures that they have loads of fun.
Rajiv Kapoor, General Manager of Fairmont Jaipur, has made fun an integral part of the hotel culture. Kapoor is building signature stories that showcase Fairmont’s brand personality with a sense of humour even in trying times.
The charismatic GM has found that getting people to loosen up and enjoy themselves is good for business. He believes that having fun at work fosters greater camaraderie, starts conversations that spark innovation, ensures the completion of unpleasant tasks, and conveys important corporate messages in memorable ways.
One valuable lesson Kapoor has learned in life is to adopt a people-first approach.
“I hate sitting in my office. I spend about 10-12 hours at the hotel. I barely spend three hours in my office. I spend more time interacting with my staff. In fact, I spend more time with my staff than my own family. So, I have begun to treat my hotel as my home and my staff as my family. It does not matter what designation they hold. It could be a waiter, a guy who is cleaning the dishes, a gardener, or my director of finance. I meet everybody like friends. It is important that we meet every person as a human being first and respect them as a human being,” says Kapoor.
A team that laughs together wins together, believes Kapoor, who is also the unofficial fun designer at Fairmont.
Once every two weeks, the team joins him on an early morning hike on forts and hillocks near the hotel to unwind and have fun.
“During these hikes, we never talk about work or revenues. We talk about fitness, exercise, and happiness. We have lassi together. We have loads of fun together. That’s important to me,” he says.
Saying ‘No’ to a ‘No’
Kapoor says that team activities strengthen the team spirit and people tend to work towards Fairmont’s goal of turning moments into memories. He trains the team to say ‘No’ to a ‘No.’
“Luxury is in every detail. We teach our teams it is the small details that matter. When something isn’t available, we always offer our guest alternatives and options. To enhance the guest experience, we do a pre-arrival connection to understand the trip persona such as why a guest is coming and create memories around that trip so that the guest can take home beautiful moments. We create moments for couples. We create moments for children such as building a cosy tent in their room. We also conduct a cooking class for the kids. We think about the experience we can bring to the guest memories. We empower our team to go beyond their job role and forget about thinking about the cost. My belief is that cost is not relevant. When the right experience is offered, the guest will never look at the right side of the menu,” says Kapoor.
Pandemic never stymied Team Fairmont from achieving their numbers. “I love numbers. But we can get the numbers only when we have the right people,” says Kapoor.