Eager to get their customers back, most luxury hotels in Calcutta are doing what they have seldom done before.
Discounts of up to 50 per cent on room tariff and other facilities such as spa and sauna, concession on food rates at restaurants, flexible reservation and cancellation policies, digital menu cards replacing physical ones — the city’s star addresses opened on Monday after 74 days with a range of offers aimed at restoring the pre-Covid occupancy.
The tariff of a deluxe twin room at JW Marriott is Rs 9,500 per night (without taxes). The EM Bypass hotel is offering almost half the price between June 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021, if the booking is done this month, according to its website.
The condition is that the bookings are non-transferable, meaning the person booking a room cannot transfer the booking to another individual.
The Oberoi Grand is offering a 20 per cent discount on room tariff if the booking is made through its website.
A customer ordered a 12-inch thin crust chicken pizza at The Bridge, a restaurant at The Park, on Monday. It cost Rs 1,210, instead of the usual price of Rs 1,593 (both include 18 per cent GST). The discounts on other food items ranged between 15 and 20 per cent.
Hospitality majors such as Marriott, Taj Bengal and The Park said the idea was to increase the footfall after a prolonged lockdown and cater to the needs of the customers looking for food and room while keeping in mind the liquidity constraints.
Not everyone has gone for a reduction in tariff — some are packaging benefits as part of the booking. Taj Bengal, for instance, is offering daily hotel credit of Rs 3,000 per room per night, which can be used for food and beverage, spa and laundry. The hotel is also offering upgrades to the next room category (except suites) based on availability and 20 per cent discount on salon and spa as part of the booking.
The hotel is also offering flexible cancellation to avoid a penalty of one night, plus applicable taxes and fees, said officials.
A major change is replacement of physical menu cards at restaurants in the hotels with digital ones. A guest has to scan a QR code to get the digital menu card on his or her mobile phone.
“This is an innovation keeping in mind the safety and sanitisation requirements. It also has the benefit of tweaking the menu without the need to reprint,” said chef Sharad Dewan of The Park, Calcutta. It also saves cost.
A key concern of most hospitality chains is the non-availability of certain items such as imported cheese, salmon, tuna etc. The other concern is that alcohol cannot be served, based on a government directive.
The footfall at many of the star restaurants did not cross 20 per cent on the first day. The managements hope the offers will help push up the footfall.
“We have introduced a scheme called ‘Save Now Stay Later’ across all our hotels in India. The scheme offers discounts ranging from 30 to 50 per cent. While the scheme is flexible, it’s not transferable. The offer is for a limited period and we will go back to normal rates,” said Gaurav Singh, general manager, JW Marriott, Calcutta.
The hotels have also adopted a range of hygiene norms and are conveying them to prospective customers through various platforms to allay their concerns over contracting the coronavirus.
“We are excited and relieved with the opening of our restaurants, at the same time we also understand that we have to move forward with caution and ensure complete safety for our guests and associates…. Hopefully the situation would gradually improve,” said Manish Gupta, general manager, Taj Bengal.