Not business as usual for hospitality outlets

Mumbai: Even though hotels and resorts have started to roll back into business, Mumbaikars are still apprehensive to move out. Following relaxations on lockdown restrictions, hotel owners and hospitality partners have started to bring out special offers and schemes to woo Mumbaikars.

"People are still apprehensive to go out, while hotels in Mahabaleshwar, Lonavala and Matheran are still getting some business. The market in Mumbai is dry," Gurbaxish Singh, president Hotels and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) told FPJ. Kohli stated, nearly fifteen per cent of the hotels have shut down their business and owners are finding it difficult not just to run the business but also to pay their customers as well.

"The tourism and hospitality sectors across the state are suffering. The issued unlocking procedure is being done in an unscientific manner. Recovering our loss by operating business with 33 per cent capacity is impossible," he added.

October 2-4 was a long weekend and hoteliers and tour operators were hopeful that there would be some business; however, that weekend too there was not much business. "During long weekends, we run out of hotel rooms. We thought atleast 50 per cent of the hotels situated near the city would be booked, between October 2 and 4 but nothing of that sort happened," said a city-based employee of a tour aggregator firm.

"Only ten per cent of the hotels were booked in Matheran during that weekend. Most of the hotels were lying idle," said Shishir Patel, a hotel manager.

In an attempt to woo Mumbaikars, hoteliers have come with unique ideas of 'StayCations' and 'Work-From-Resort' facilities. Hotel owners offer patrons with specialised working facilities which are meant to relax them while they are at work.

"We have our own tree houses, equipped with internet and all modern-day facilities. One can work while being in a green environment," said Mihir Desai, a partner at a Karjat based resort.

"As people are working from home, many of them are finding it difficult to take holidays. We have made special arrangements like complimentary yoga and spa services so that one can one relax while being at work," said Abhijit Ravi, hotel manager, at a Lonavala resort.

"People from other states won't visit these tourist destinations, unless the pandemic is over and those in Maharashtra are not getting out for the fear of the pandemic," Kohli stated.

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