India is known for following the principle of Atithi Devo Bhava. Therefore, throughout the country, we find boundless hospitality services of supreme quality. However, unfortunately in our state Odisha, there is a curtailment of the paramount level of hotels to provide the ablest hospitality to the visitors. However, there is one three-star hotel in Cuttack, which never fails to impress its customers with its umpteen level of service. The hotel is none other than Grand Residency. Moreover, it has only been possible due to the sheer hard work and dedication of its director, Nupur Mohanty.
Interview Times had a great conversation with Nupur and got to know more about the luxurious hotel and the phenomenal services, it provides. This is how the interview went.
Can you brief about yourself to your readers?
I am Nupur Mohanty, and I am from Cuttack, Odisha. I have spent most of my life in this city as I always prefer to be closer to my family who is based out of Cuttack. I also lived in Kolkata for a while when I was pursuing a Hotel Management degree. I am an MBA grad, as well.
Currently, I am working as a director in the Grand Residency, which is a three-start hotel in one of the most remarkable areas in Cuttack. On the personal front, I am a family person who loves family members a lot. Moreover, I am an optimistic person who takes one day at a time and tries to enjoy her life to the fullest. This is the reason I get so well along with others. I love to travel and spend time with friends.
In short, I like to combine my positive attitude with my business acumen to ensure that I excel at every task that I have to do.
How has been your association with Grand Residency?
Grand Residency was founded by my father, Jiban Kumar Mohanty, in 2008.
My father has always been a source of inspiration for me. I have seen him put his heart and soul into this establishment. That’s what he instilled in me as well. So, when I joined the business, I followed his trail and decided to work as hard as him and make him proud. I have learned a lot from him about this business, be it basic skills or expertise in handling complex situations.
Eventually, I grew into the role, and truthfully, it has only been possible because of my father and our consortium of brilliant professionals who work day and night to ensure that our customers are always satisfied with the services that we provide. More than a journey; it has been a wonderful experience.
We at Grand Residency strives for the same cause- delight the customers and enrich their lives with indelible memories. How can I not love it?
What are the biggest achievements you have made as an MD of Grand Residency?
First of all, I would like to highlight the fact that our staff has always been instrumental in our success. They have worked fantastically under the leadership of our General Manager Ritesh Nayak and my father. Ritesh has been one of the cornerstones of our business. My addition to the business has sort of augmented the overall offering from our workforce.
We, as a team, have achieved a lot in the last few years, be it meeting unprecedented revenue targets or carving out our business and growth strategy. I consider every success small or big, as an achievement. Recently, I managed to get our growth strategy approved by the leaders. The plan is in place, and I am proud of what we are going to do next. Nevertheless, it is a collective team effort, and to give you my two cents; our biggest achievement is yet to come.
What are the initial challenges that you faced when you got the MD post?
When you dip your toes in the water, you realize how cold the water can be. As soon as I joined this business, I realized that nothing could prepare me for what was going to come. Though I had degrees when dealing with business-related situations, I had to be more tactful, and it was vital for me to leverage the wealth of experience that the existing employees had.
The primary challenge was, of course, the competitors. In the last few years, there have been a lot of new entries into our space, be it hotels or restaurants. Customer satisfaction at the utmost level becomes a priority as a result of this type of development in a city like ours. Maintaining our dominance has always been one of the challenges which we face frequently. But we relish this challenge if you ask me because it also pushes us to try new things and to strive for excellence.
How did the pandemic affect the business of your organization?
With pandemic, came a host of issues. It was a situation which none of us saw coming. Not only did it affect us, but the hospitality industry as a whole was impacted on account of Covid-19. We lost our revenue stream. Every function of the business, be it finance or operations, was struggling.
On top of that, we have a pool of resources that were banking on us as well. We had to ensure that our employees were not laid off and they could get any help that they needed from us. Frankly speaking, when your revenue stream is severed, and you have to manage operations despite that, it puts you under a heavy financial strain.
However, we had to show grit, and we had to support each other. We are one big family and if family won’t get your back, then who will?
What are the safety measures Grand Residency has taken during the unlock period for both staff members and customers?
Grand Residency has been one of the pioneers in our city in terms of taking steps to ensure its staff and customers’ safety. We took a lot of precautions and implemented a lot of practices within our setup to ensure that we could drive home the message of “Your safety is paramount for us” successfully.
We installed sanitization gates, sanitizer dispensers at multiple locations, mandated the use of masks for both staff and customers, sanitized the hotel premises regularly, and enforced the social distancing rules. In terms of awareness, we created a video for public knowledge in which we showcased how we were taking safety measures. People have received the message with an open heart; they have shown their trust in us and have started to revisit us regularly.
Is your business seeing a positive growth after the unlocking phase?
Yes! There was a scare in the market after the pandemic. People had a lot of questions internally- how would we cope? Would people visit us? Would we survive? But I am happy to inform everyone that we have overcome the obstacles and we see positive growth. People have started to revisit us, and we are getting inundated with accommodation requests.
I will say that it is not what it was pre-covid-19. However, we are doing better after September. This has been only possible because of our team, the Government’s continued support, and people’s unwavering trust in us. Grand Residency always takes pride in serving its customers in the best possible manner, and I think people are aware of this, and that’s why they support us. That’s why they give us the chance to serve them. They are the proponents of the positive growth that we are discussing.
Any set-off plans for the Grand Residency in the future
Indeed! We started to devise our growth plans during the middle of the last year. Unfortunately, we could not proceed as we expected because of Covid-19. Nonetheless, we have a couple of things in store- We are about to launch a bakery on the premises of Grand Residency by the end of 2020. On top of this, next year we will expand in two of the most prominent cities of Odisha- Bhubaneswar, and Puri. Hopefully, we will be able to execute this plan as quickly as possible. Hence, watch out for announcements from our end.