Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): The launch of five-star hotels like Taj and Radisson Blu in Bhopal has brought a welcome change for industries and businesses in the capital city during Covid pandemic, introducing the concept of workations. This is what industry experts told Free Press on Wednesday.
Pandemic brought the concept of work-from-home and the boredom of lockdown brought the concept of workations, city's long-time hotelier Pranab Pradhan said.
People got bored staying at home during the lockdown. They needed some time off and a place away from the four walls of their house to relax and rekindle their productivity. Workations, a vacation where you can relax and work simultaneously, have come as a fresh concept for business corporates. The 5-star hotels and tourism spots are serving as best venues for workation, he added.
Bhopal has witnessed the launch of several hotels that are a part of large Indian and global chains. For instance, the 152-room Taj Lakefront, Bhopal, which chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan inaugurated recently, offers view of lake and hills from either side.
Kanika Hasrat, the area director of Madhya Pradesh at Taj Group of Hotels, said, ìWe know that development of infrastructure boosts the economy and the presence of Taj in Bhopal should help the city contend with others in India for larger MICE events including product launches, government delegations and other large gatherings.
As Covid has hit the industries, most of them are looking for alternatives like workations to avoid losses they suffered during first and second waves of pandemic. We as a hotel offer resources and facility to work and enjoy without fear of getting infected. We have services that follow Covid protocols set by government and enormous space to practice social distancing, Kanika added. Taj has been having guests looking for space and internet to work during daytime.
The Radisson Blu hotel boasts over 3,900 square metres of space for events and meetings. With seven indoor venues and two outdoor venues, it offers a 360-degree view of the city, according to hotel manager.
Zubin Saxena, managing director and vice president (operations), South Asia, Radisson Hotel Group, says, ìI can see a V shaped recovery for the industry. Occupancy is going to lead the way and while the average rate has obviously taken a pretty severe beating, I would imagine them to start picking up, there is typically a three to four month lag behind occupancies. Because of strategic exercises that were undertaken last year, which have unlocked synergies and efficiencies across the portfolio, I think the long-term profitability levels of the business are going to be very strong.î†
The historic Kushbhau Thakre Smriti Hall, which once housed Vidhan Sabha, was converted into luxury hotel and convention centre in 2018. Kushbhau Thakre Smriti Hall that overlooks the quaint Lower Lake and Hotel Lake View Ashok offers views of Upper Lake. Hotel Lake View Ashok has got an upgrade from three stars to five. The location for third hotel is the picturesque Kotra Sultanabad area near MANIT, say sources.
Officials believe that rise in 5-star properties in Bhopal will see a change in profile of visitors, with more quality tourists coming in. And this, in turn, will make a case for better air connectivity, they hope.
Tourist manager Altaf Ali says, We have had tourists in Bhopal from across India and world willing to visit nearby UNESCO World Heritage sites Sanchi and Khajuraho Group of monuments. They do require a place like Taj or Radisson to lounge during breaks. This will invite more people to the city as they definitely have a brand value.
Major tourist spots:
Sanchi Stupa, Bhimbetka Rock Shelters, Satpura National Park, Vidisha, Bori Wildlife Sanctuary, Islamnagar Fort, Bhojeshwar Temple, Raisen, Ralamandal Wildlife Sanctuary in Indore, Bajrangarh Fort, Bandhavgarh National Park, Kanha National Park, Jyotirlings of Omkareshwar, Ujjain