Great leaders inspire others with confidence in themselves, goes the saying! This is the story of a man who, leading by example, set goals, worked hard to achieve them and….he conquered! Mr. Paritosh Ladhani, Executive Director, Radisson Blu Agra, who took the onus of bringing brand name Radisson, to be conferred upon, one of the most coveted properties in the world! How then, could I pass off an opportunity to know more about him, just how a hospitality magnate like him operates, what makes him tick, and maybe some inspiration trickled?
Hailing from a business family that happens to be the biggest Bottler for Coca-Cola India, this continual supremacy inspired him to venture into other business ideas, such as, hospitality.
So, here I present to you, Mr. Paritosh Ladhani…
What’s Up Noida: Mr. Ladhani, what prompted you to dive into the hospitality sector?
Mr. Ladhani: Having travelled across India and the South East Asian countries, I realized that there was something amiss in Agra. A city which boasts of the first modern wonder of the world, didn’t have a single international hospitality brand at that time. I used to get piqued whenever I visited an already established five star hotel.There were more gaping holes in their standards than a block of Swiss cheese… There was a need of an international brand with internationally acceptable standards.
However, establishing Radisson was not only an emotional decision, we were extremely fortunate to get a piece of real estate right next to the majestic TajMahal. And as they say, hotels are all about location, location and location. We started with Radisson in 2011, upgraded it to Radisson Blu in 2012 and now we are the only Radisson Collection in Asia (the luxury brand of Radisson Hotel Group).
What’s Up Noida: Having travelled across the world, how would you compare the treatment of hospitality industry abroad vis a vis India?
Mr. Ladhani: We are dedicated, customer oriented, apologetic and we treat our guests like true royalties… Our levels and standards are way above. Our focus on F&B, creating different avenues for guest entertainment and attention is incomparable. Indian Hospitality industry is way ahead in terms of its product and services than its western counterpart.
What’s Up Noida: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced as the Executive Director?
Mr. Ladhani: The biggest challenge, would be acquiring the right talent. Agra is a great city but not an inspirational one. We struggle to get the right people as not many people want to settle in a Tier 2 city like Agra nowadays. The applicants get excited looking at our brand and the product but the city demotivates them. There is still an influx of good 4 and 5 star properties in metros and other Tier 1 cities, so there are tremendous opportunities for these talents.
What’s Up Noida: What roadblocks did you face heading one of the leading hospitality groups in a small town?
Mr. Ladhani: Like I have mentioned already, there are limited opportunities in the city.
To be honest, there are no companies so corporate business is extremely negligible. There is no airport so it is difficult to get the high end socials and MICE. So the entire industry fights for the same share of pie. The proximity to Delhi has never helped the city either.Eventually we all bleed and a lot of hotels have been declared as NPAs.
This is the reason that we have upgraded ourselves to a luxury hotel where we can cater to a larger share of the premium business needs.
What’s Up Noida: What is the one rule you follow resolutely, that gets you going on a daily basis?
Mr. Ladhani: Detailing and depth in everything. Whether it is maintaining and upgrading the current facilities, creating a new F&B outlet, entertainment zone or even creating a small new menu for one of the existing outlets.
The day to day issues can never be solved superficially. There has to be in-depth analysis of every problem – human or non-human in nature.
What’s Up Noida: One aspect of being a hotelier that is absolutely indispensable, according to you?
Mr. Ladhani: Financial knowledge and its application. While it is a great idea to go out of the way in giving your customers a world class service or product, eventually running a hotel is a business as well. Every aspect of investment, whether it is a new facility or an expensive manpower, it has to make financial sense. There should be financial victories rather than pyrrhic. Being a hotelier, you get extremely quick feedbacks, sometimes even on your face but that shouldn’t compel you to make any irrational and financially unviable decisions.
What’s Up Noida: What does brand Radisson entail?
Mr. Ladhani: Radisson as a brand is all about experiencing the highest standards of hospitality. Our ‘Yes we Can’ credo aims at providing 100% guest satisfaction. The brand takes care of every strata of the guests, whether business or leisure, upscale or midscale, lifestyle or luxury. With the addition of Radisson Collection as our premium lifestyle brand, the Radisson Hotel Group has completed the picture of being a group that caters to each and every guest and their needs.
What’s Up Noida: How do you envision Radisson, going forward?
Mr. Ladhani: To begin with, Radisson group has rebranded itself from Carlson hotels to Radisson Hotel Group or RHG. Ever since the acquisition of Carlson Group (the previous owners of brand Radisson) in 2016, by Chinese conglomerate HNA , I have witnessed great positive changes in the vision of the group. They have introduced a youthful, lifestyle brand like Radisson Redand a luxury brand like Radisson Collection.
Our property is the only property in Asia and among 14 in the world to be chosen as one of ‘Radisson Collection’ hotels.The RHG has shared their plans to market, brand and standardize their hotels in an aggressive and customer oriented way.
I am quite hopeful that RHG would become the world’s leader in hospitality in next three years.
What’s Up Noida: One thing that is completely unacceptable for a brand leader?
Mr. Ladhani: A brand leader should be extremely particular about maintaining its brand standards across the board. There has to be a zero tolerance policy on any deviation in the standards. The customers are extremely aware and intelligent in the modern times. The customers trust a brand as they know what they are going to get for the price they are going to pay. The internet is a vast pool of knowledge with unlimited access. Nothing is under the radar these days. Any ignorance towards the brand compliance would wipe out the brand within no time.
What’s Up Noida: What / Who has been the most influential inspiration to your life and why?
Mr. Ladhani: My father has been the most influential inspiration in my life. He is a brand in himself. He is disciplined, punctual, detail oriented, very open to feedbacks and improving on them. We are also the biggest bottling partners of Coca Cola and his leadership in both the business verticals – hospitality and FMCG is awe inspiring.
Thank you Mr. Ladhani, for such valuable words!