In a world where the hospitality and tourism industry is on an unstoppable rise, there exists a trailblazer whose journey has been nothing short of extraordinary. Meet Souvagya Mohapatra, a consummate veteran with three decades of experience in the ultra-luxury and lifestyle hospitality domain. Choosing the path less travelled three decades ago, he embarked on a quest to shape the future of Indian Ocean hospitality. Today, as the Managing Director of Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts, his vision reaches far beyond the horizon, with plans to establish the brand as a force to be reckoned with in emerging destinations across South Asia, including the enchanting land of Odisha. In a freewheeling conversation with Interview Times, we delved into the inspiring odyssey of a man poised to take the world of hospitality to unprecedented heights.
A Journey of Passion and Excellence
With three decades of experience in the hospitality domain, Souvagya Mohapatra’s career has been nothing short of exemplary. It all started after completing his hotel management course from the Institute of Hotel Management (IHM) and an MBA in Marketing. He began his career at The Oberoi Group before moving to Mayfair Hotels & Resorts in 1994. During his tenure, he played a crucial role in the growth of the MAYFAIR Group, taking it from one property to a chain of twelve renowned luxury hotels and resorts.
“I have seen Mayfair grow from just one to twelve. This is where I grew as I was given the freedom to express my ideas and manage accordingly. I am heartily thankful to Shri Dilip Ray – Chairman of MAYFAIR Group for all the support and mentorship,” Mohapatra fondly reminisced.
As the Executive Director of the company from 2012 to 2020, he focused on enhancing the average daily rate (ADR) and Group Revenue to a respectable industry standard. He implemented policies and procedures, raising the operations to the highest Indian luxury hospitality standards. Effective marketing strategies were deployed under his guidance, successfully enhancing the company’s brand image.
Embracing New Horizons
In April 2021, Souvagya Mohapatra started his entrepreneurial journey as the Managing Director of Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts, overseeing expansion in India, Bhutan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. He quickly leveraged his industry expertise to propel the luxury resort brand to new heights in the region. Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts (AH&R) is a dynamic and fast-growing international hospitality company currently operating eight resorts within the Maldives and is set to further expand in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bhutan. AH&R’s distinguished portfolio comprises THE OZEN COLLECTION, COLOURS OF OBLU, and By Atmosphere, with a rich diversity of experiences within each of these brands. Its flagship resort – OZEN RESERVE BOLIFUSHI was recently adjudged as the world’s best all-inclusive resort in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2023. The brand is now known to denote the quality of service, understanding of leisure experience and its ethos ‘Joy of Giving.’ These are some of the USPs of the company which sets Atmosphere Group apart from its competitors.
“Our focus is to explore across India and wait for the right opportunities. India is blessed with varied tourism potential, making it a very good investment opportunity. India Tourism is poised to grow by leaps and bounds, and brands across the globe would certainly aspire to leverage this potential to their advantage by having a presence in the country,” Mohapatra emphasized.
A Leader in the Industry
Mohapatra’s dedication and passion for hospitality have earned him recognition and laurels over the years. He was conferred with the “Fellow of IIHM” by the International Institute of Hotel Management & International Hospitality Council, London in 2021. The World Congress of Poets (WCP) honoured him with the prestigious ‘Honorary Diploma for Outstanding Contribution and Excellence in Tourism & Hospitality.’ He has been consistently included in the Power List by Hotelier India, and in 2018, he was recognized as the ‘Hotelier of the Year’ during BBC Good Food and ‘Food Food Awards.’
This apart, Mohapatra’s association with Industry associations such as the Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Association of India (FHRAI), Hotel & Restaurant Association of Eastern India (HRAEI), Odisha State Tourism Promotion Council (OSTPC), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) and The Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) as executive council member & office bearer, has provided him with the opportunity to learn the best practices of the Industry from the best Leaders along with having a more comprehensive understanding of the nuances of Indian Hospitality Market comes as an added advantage and he is looking forward to introducing Atmosphere Hotels and Resorts to these important Industry institutions and vice versa.
A Vision for the Future
As he sets his sights on the future of Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts, Mohapatra believes that the O&M management contract is the strongest business model. However, the company remains open to accommodate the concerns of hotel owners for a beneficial association. The development team is identifying properties in potential destinations across India, with a particular focus on strategic tourism destinations in Odisha. So far under the leadership of Mohapatra, Atmosphere Group has already signed several hotel & resort management contracts in India under the ultra-luxury and luxury space. Many more are in the pipeline with a vision of 25 properties by 2025.
As Mohapatra is from Odisha, is greatly enthused to promote and develop the tourism industry in Odisha. “We are delighted to note that there is now an enhanced confidence in the hospitality and tourism industry in Odisha, hence, the company and its Board of Directors have decided to set up luxury Resorts at Bhubaneswar, Puri, Konark, Chilika Lake, Koraput, and other scenic destinations through FDI and investors” Mr. Mohapatra added.
His mantra for success is to evaluate the right investment opportunity in each region. He looks for destinations that offer unique attractions, strong connectivity, and a supportive policy framework.
A Family Man and a Nature Enthusiast
Outside of the corporate world, Souvagya Mohapatra is a dedicated family man. His small family, consisting of his mother, wife, and two daughters, holds a special place in his heart. He finds solace and inspiration in his beautifully maintained terrace garden, a place where he can declutter his mind and spend quality time with family and friends.
“My terrace garden is my favourite place to be, to declutter my mind, meet people, and close business deals. Since the pandemic, I have sat here every evening and watched the sunset in the background of the serene, sublime, and calm – Chandaka Wildlife Sanctuary. It is a beautiful sight,” he shared.
With an optimistic mindset, a passion for excellence, and a clear vision for the future, Souvagya Mohapatra is poised to take Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts to the stratosphere and contribute further to the growth of India’s hospitality and tourism sector.
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