“Honesty and a relentless appetite for learning are paramount”

Amandeep Singh Grover elaborates on his role as General Manager of Hilton Goa Resort, Saipem and future goals for the property

Tell us about your journey. How did it all start?
Growing up, my passion was cricket; I aspired to be a cricketer. Yet, when my aspirations fell through, my coach recommended I consider hospitality, recognising my innate warmth and adeptness in engaging with others. Taking his advice, I ventured into hospitality 27 years ago, starting with a diploma in hotel management in Switzerland. Since then, I’ve been fortunate to work in various countries, including Switzerland, USA, Thailand, Oman, Maldives, and now India.

What do you think it takes to succeed in this industry?
In any field, honesty and a relentless appetite for learning are paramount. These qualities transcend industries, including hospitality. Being honest fosters trust and integrity, fundamental in any professional setting. Moreover, a continuous thirst for knowledge ensures growth and adaptability, acknowledging that learning is a lifelong journey. Success in any industry hinges on these principles. Additionally, a collaborative spirit, demonstrated through readiness to assist and collaborate with colleagues, amplifies effectiveness and cohesion within a team.

How has the year 2023 been for the hospitality industry?
The year 2023 presented a blend of challenges and successes, particularly notable in the tourism sector, which displayed significant recovery post-pandemic. This positive momentum extended into 2024. Despite the difficulties of recent years, 2023 marked a turning point, particularly beneficial for hoteliers. Various market segments flourished, with Goa emerging as a vibrant tourist hotspot due to increased traveler readiness. The year witnessed resurgence in travel enthusiasm, with many exploring options around Goa. Overall, 2023 proved to be a promising period, driven by rejuvenated tourism and successful ventures for those in the hospitality industry.

How has technology transformed the industry in 2023? What advancements have been made in contactless check-ins?
Technology is in a constant state of change, and it is crucial to keep up with the latest trends. At Hilton Goa Resort, our members can check-in to their room using the digital key through the Hilton Honors app. This is a seamless way of allowing guests access their rooms without having to walk around with a physical key every time.

At our resort, we also prioritise staying informed about advancements not only in the hospitality industry but also in technology’s impact on tourism. With a youthful team, we strive to remain attuned to emerging developments.

The new, young traveler wants experiences and insta-ready content. What do you have in store for them?
Our resort offers an array of experiences tailored to meet the demands of the modern traveler. One of our standout features is the captivating views it provides. With spacious rooms boasting expansive balconies, guests can enjoy breathtaking views of lush greenery and flowing rivers, especially during sunset. These picturesque scenes are not only appreciated by our guests but are also highly sought after by travelers seeking unique and novel experiences. In addition to stunning views, we pride ourselves on offering innovative service. For example, we were among the pioneering hotels in India to introduce the popular flat croissants, catering to the evolving tastes of our guests. Furthermore, we curate distinctive experiences, such as our Zodiac-themed brunch, where guests can indulge in personalised offerings tailored to their star signs. Ultimately, our resort sets itself apart with its unparalleled natural beauty and unique offerings. We provide a refreshing environment that resonates with current trends, ensuring that every guest leaves with unforgettable memories that align perfectly with their desire for authenticity and uniqueness.

What are the key trends that have emerged in the hospitality industry?
In the dynamic landscape of the hospitality industry, several key trends have emerged, constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of guests. One prominent trend that persists is the emphasis on human interaction. At Hilton Goa Resort, prioritising guest interactions remains paramount, with significant focus on training our teams in soft skills to ensure exceptional service delivery. Central to our approach is creating an environment where guests feel truly at home, reflecting in the positive reviews we receive online and underscoring the dedication of our team.
In tandem with the human touch, technology plays an increasingly integral role in enhancing guest experiences. Hilton has embraced innovations like the digital key feature, allowing guests to access their rooms conveniently through the Hilton Honors app, eliminating the need for physical keys. As technology continues to advance, Hilton remains at the forefront, continuously exploring new possibilities to further elevate guest satisfaction. While specific details of upcoming advancements remain confidential, it is evident that Hilton is committed to embracing innovation to provide unparalleled experiences for guest.

Share some of your secrets in keeping an engaged, safe, and happy team.
Creating an engaged, safe, and content team is simple for me. Transparency is key − no hidden agendas, a culture we have fostered since the hotel’s inception. Encouraging questions, no matter how seemingly trivial, fosters clarity and trust among team members. Our leadership team maintains an open-door policy, welcoming discussions on professional and personal matters to support and develop our team. Nurturing talent and providing opportunities is our leadership ethos, resulting in a successful tenure with Hilton, a brand known for embracing this culture. This approach has kept me committed to Hilton for nearly a decade, a testament to its effectiveness.

What are the emerging markets in the hospitality industry and what are the future goals for the property?

The rise of new markets, particularly the international market, is evident as global travel resumes, benefitting destinations like Goa. There’s a noticeable increase in international tourists visiting the region. Additionally, corporate events and off-site meetings, which had slowed down previously, are now picking up pace, contributing to the tourism surge in Goa. This trend persists, bolstering Goa’s status as a favoured destination. For our property, post-pandemic recovery involves solidifying our position as the top choice for guests in Goa. We aim to become the go-to option for travellers when selecting accommodations in Goa.

What advice would you give someone who wants to be a leader in the hospitality industry?
For those aspiring to become a leader in the hospitality industry, my foremost advice is to never lose sight of the path you have traveled to reach this position. The journey from the ground level, starting at an entry position, holds immense significance. It is crucial not to forget your humble beginnings, as this keeps you rooted and grounded amidst growth. Often, as we progress, we tend to overlook the valuable lessons learned along the way. The transition from entry-level roles to managerial positions imparts invaluable insights. It is imperative to cherish and retain these teachings. Furthermore, never underestimate the importance of teamwork. Every task, regardless of its scale, contributes to the collective effort. Lastly, uphold honesty at all times. Integrity forms the bedrock of trust and credibility. Embrace honesty wholeheartedly, as it is indispensable in every aspect of professional life

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