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Churning the zest for knowledge and innovation, Hospitality and Tourism Conference - VCON 2024, conducted by Vatel Hotel and Tourism Business School, has reached a successful culmination!

The event strung together an ingenious amalgamation of distinguished personalities who have made their mark in different areas of hospitality and tourism industry, thus are most qualified to throw light on the challenges and opportunities that technological intervention brings to the sector.

From enlightening addresses, thought-provoking panel discussion to light exchange of laughter and ideas at the lunch, the event gave birth to many unforgettable memories that will certainly be cherished for life at Vatel!

VHTBS therefore welcomed Ms Meena Bhatia, Vice President and GM, Le Meridien, New Delhi, as the keynote speaker and Ms Poulomi Bhattacharya, Director, Talent and Culture, Accor Group, to give away the special address. The panel witnessed the esteemed presence of Mr Suraj Vasudeva, Learning and Quality Manager, Crown Plaza, Dr Shweta Kumar, Principal, IHM Faridabad, Ms Natasha Mehta, Senior Faculty (Sales) at OCLD, Dr Pinaz Tiwari, Assistant Professor, GLA University and Mr Samrat Puri, Vatel alumni batch 2017-2020.

The discussion touched upon various aspects of the structural transformation that the hospitality industry is undergoing, particularly the unparalleled technological intervention in the post-COVID times and the consequent changes being adapted in hospitality and tourism curriculum in various schools. Later, the series of research papers presented by decorated academicians and scholars constituted a true contribution to the field and witnessed an adventurous summon of knowledge and wisdom!

Travel, tourism and hospitality are very versatile domains and they help to generate a tremendous amount opportunities of employment, business and earn a sizeable amount of foreign exchange for the country. However, these domains tend to be extremely delicate and also happen to be the ones to be immediately affected in case of any calamity, catastrophe or a disaster. There have been numerous instances of natural and man-made disasters having hit the trade unfavorably and harmfully, thereby resulting into the occupancies and revenues plummeting down to great extents.

It is keeping this versatility in mind that the Vatel Hotel & Tourism Business School, Sushant University organised an international conference names Re-Envisioning the Hospitality and Tourism Sectors – Challenges and Opportunities on Saturday, January 21, 2022, the main purpose of which was to take stock of how these sectors have recovered from the effects of the pandemic and to assess as to what would be the way forward.

After the welcome speech delivered by the Vice Chancellor Dr. Rakesh Ranjan, the keynote address was delivered by Mr. Paramjit Singh Bawa, CEO of Auxilia, which deals in international tourism and foreign trade. Mr. Bawa was rather optimistic about India having the potential to regain its popularity not only as an important touristic destination but also as a lucrative country for foreign trade and for direct investments. Mr. Bawa also spoke about the upsurge expected in leisure travel and said this sector is sure to grow in India by multiple times.

A panel discussion was held thereupon in which prominent personalities from the trade like Mr. Vineet Mishra, cluster general manager of Accor hotels, Prof Nimit Chawdhary from the Jamia Milia Islamia University, New Delhi, Mr. Jeetendra Kumar Sharma, AGM Operations BLK Super Speciality Hospital, Chef sambhavi Joshi, owner of Casarecce pasta and Ms Susanna Di Cosimo, owner of Pizzeria de Susy Gurugram participated. Several questions like revival of the sector post-pandemic, the growth of medical tourism in India, the Indian government’s role vis-à-vis the private entrepreneurs’ role to enhance the possibilities of tourism in India, the threats to tourism, the upgradation of monuments, the work-life balance and the proliferation of guest houses posing business challenges to the star-rated properties were discussed and satisfactorily answered. This panel discussion also took care of several training and development related issues and discussed the necessity to raise the industry-academic interface.

Thereupon the delegates and the attendees had a sumptuous lunch at the Vatel Epicure which was cooked and served by the students of the Vatel Hotel & Tourism Business School. The technical session held in room 508 was chaired by Dr. Garima Parkash, director hospitality school at the Amity University Gurgaon. Several research papers were presented which were discussed in depth and the presenters were given inputs as to how to enhance the content of their research and what all to take care of. The conference finished on a very positive note and Ms. Chandana Paul of the Vatel Hotel & Tourism Business School proposed the vote of thanks in which she expressed her gratitude to the keynote address speaker, the industry partners, the panelists, the paper presenters and to the sponsors of the conference.

“This was our first international conference of this magnitude, in which several relevant issues were raised and the points concerning the challenges and opportunities, which was the very theme of the conference were discussed at length. The success of this conference encourages us to conduct similar conferences in future, maybe on a much larger scale” said Dr. Saurav Chhabra, acting dean, Vatel Hotel & Tourism Business School.

Prof Dr. Mamata Bhatnagar who is associated with various IGNOU School of Tourism and Hospitality Management. She started her talk by saying that research was being incorporated as a subject in all the universities in the undergraduate and the post-graduate levels.

She elaborated upon why was it was becoming necessary to understand the research design and the importance that it carries and to appreciate the sensitivity in the research design. She said that in the new education policy, a component of research has been incorporated at many levels of study. This will also revamp our curricula as per the global standards and we must understand that research is an important part of our lives. All the students pursuing hospitality must provide a good project report and a dissertation.

A researcher must fully understand the topic and should be aware of how to initiate and to proceed further. This is where a decision on the research design has to be made. All ethical issues of the subject must be taken into consideration and a meticulous planning has to be done. This will reduce the research time and also will result into saving a lot of costs and in gaining efficiencies. The research has to be conducted both in the urban and in the rural areas with a focus on gender differences.

She then spoke about HYPOTHETICO-DEDUCTIVE METHOD, which comprises of evaluation, observation, formulation of hypotheses, prediction and testing. Most of the researchers are of the opinion that since everything is available on the internet, writing a research work could be a very easy task. But this is a mistake that many of the researchers commit. All researches must be done with their use and application for the next 3 to 5 years. Old researches can give you data but that might not by very contemporary.

While talking about the types of research designs, she said that they were of three types – exploratory, which is usually conducted at the outset of research projects, the main focus of which is in on the discovery ideas and insights. Here it gets sub-divided into two parts – a) key information technique, which is gathered to be collected from those renowned to be knowledgeable of the issues relevant to the problem and b) the lead user survey which concerns itself with acquiring information from the lead users of the new technology. All researches have to be done from the point of view of the customer. Though while getting more information about the problem, not all organisations might be ready to give complete information. Students must therefore conduct researches with the help of their faculty members.

Talking about the descriptive research, she said that it is carried out to supply answers to the questions, who, why, when, where and how. Dr. Bhatnagar spoke about researches having been done also in case of the implementation of the New Education Policy, which was more student-friendly and allows the students to exit and re-enter at multiple points.

Researches to be conducted on the futuristic plans of the government, like the implementation of electric vehicles by the tear 2030 can be done in tandem with the automobile majors like Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra as they will be able to give better inputs. In order to acquire more information and inputs, various types of panels can be created like continuous panels in which the same panel members can be asked questions on each panel measurement and discontinuous panels in which questions can be varied from one panel measurement to the other. These two panels are at times referred to as Omnibus Panels also as they cover multiple aspects of research.

The Casual Research works towards understanding a phenomenon in terms of the conditional statements of the form – “If not X, then Y” and such relationships are determined by the use of experiments, which may be defined as manipulating an independent variable to see how it affects a dependent variable while also controlling the effects of additional extraneous variables.

All researches must be exposed to some tests and Dr. Bhatnagar spoke about the Pre-tests and the Post-tests. She said that the pre-test refers to the measurement of the dependent variable taken prior to changing the independent variable.

The next part of the research seminar was taken forward by Dr. Kishore Kumar Morya, who is presently associated with the School of Management GD Goenka University as professor and area chair. His topic of discussion was sampling and Calculation of Sampling Size with the objective of understanding sampling and the types of sampling, why it is used, the use of sampling statistics etc. he said the use of the correct sampling will lead you to the right conclusion.

Talking about the presidential elections in America at the time of Franklin Roosevelt in which it was predicted that the Republicans will win. But actually the Democrat president won the elections and Franklin Roosevelt was elected - which came as a big surprise for the republicans – the research was conducted by the magazine called Illustrated Weekly, which realized that they had conducted the research only amongst the rich elite people who, at that time, used to have a telephone.

All this happened because a wrong sampling was conducted and the desired effect was not given. Sampling, he said, is the process of selecting a predetermined number of people forming part of a large population and it is a technique to make inferences about characteristics of a larger population by obtaining information from a subject of a larger population. Exit polls and consumer surveys can be given as good examples here.

Sampling is used to learn something about a large group without having to study every member of the group, which can be too time consuming and attracting a lot of cost. The sampling statistics depends upon the population size, sample space and size, the standard deviation and several other aspects.

In case a research is oriented towards understanding the impact of social media on youngsters, then the sampling has to be done specifically amongst the youngsters, the size of which is phenomenal in a country like India.

Dr. Morya then spoke about the process of sampling or randomization, in which one needs to identify and define the population under study, define the sample space, the frame and finalise about the sample size, leading to sample units. The researcher will have to, nevertheless, take into consideration the sampling errors also caused by coverage error, nonresponse error and sampling error. A non-response error is the one in which several emails are sent but the response is not more than 10 to 15%.

Talking about the different types of sampling, Dr. Morya differentiated them broadly as probability sampling (simple) and the non-probability sampling, which was more of a judgmental sampling. The simple random sampling gives the most accurate results.

Stratified sampling involves dividing the population in groups of strata defined by the presence of certain characteristics leading to a random sampling from each stratum. The researcher should always calculate the correct sample size for a research study, which will eventually lead him or her to the closest conclusion of the research topic.

Dr. Morya also threw open a few questions to the audience which were logically answered at the end of the seminar to the complete satisfaction of the attendees.

The SPSS SOFTWARE offers a user-friendly interface ensuring high accuracy and quality decision-making. Dr. Gaurav Keny. SPSS South Asia Private Limited was the resource person for the seminar. He said that Statistical Package for Social Science, is a data-analytic software, which helps the researcher to analyze the data and grow upon one’s own business. It also allows you to access multiple data formats, cross-tabulations, frequencies, descriptive, ratio-analyses, linear regression. The two new add-ons in the programme have been Power Analysis and Meta Analysis.

SPSS is a widely used program for statistical analysis in social science. It is also used by market researchers, health researchers, survey companies, government, education researchers, marketing organizations, data miners, and others. SPSS has been described as one of "sociology's most influential books" for allowing ordinary researchers to do their own statistical analyses. In addition to statistical analysis, data management are features of the base software.

The many features of SPSS Statistics are accessible via pull-down menus or can be programmed with a proprietary 4GL command syntax language. Command syntax programming has the benefits of reproducible output, simplifying repetitive tasks, and handling complex data manipulations and analyses. Additionally, some complex applications can only be programmed in syntax and are not accessible through the menu structure. The pull-down menu interface also generates command syntax: this can be displayed in the output, although the default settings have to be changed to make the syntax visible to the user. They can also be pasted into a syntax file using the "paste" button present in each menu. Programs can be run interactively or unattended, using the supplied Production Job Facility.

Additionally a "macro" language can be used to write command language subroutines. A Python programmability extension can access the information in the data dictionary and data and dynamically build command syntax programs.

SPSS Statistics places constraints on internal file structure, data types, data processing, and matching files, which together considerably simplify programming. SPSS datasets have a two-dimensional table structure, where the rows typically represent cases (such as individuals or households) and the columns represent measurements (such as age, sex, or household income).

Only two data types are defined: numeric and text. All data processing occurs sequentially case-by-case through the file. Files can be matched one-to-one and one-to-many, but not many-to-many. In addition to that cases-by-variables structure and processing, there is a separate Matrix session where one can process data as matrices using matrix and linear algebra operations.

Unlike spreadsheets, the data cells can only contain numbers or text, and formulas cannot be stored in these cells. The 'Variable View' displays the metadata dictionary where each row represents a variable and shows the variable name, variable label, value label(s), print width, measurement type, and a variety of other characteristics.

The proprietary output can be exported to text or Microsoft Word, PDF, Excel, and other formats. Alternatively, output can be captured as data (using the OMS command).

So it so happens that this software, on one hand, is user-friendly, and on the other, opens up several avenues for research.

JMP is a ststistical discovery software and is a tool of choice engineers, scientists, leaders and other data explorers, the capabilities of which are data visualisation, introductory ststistics, multi variants, productive modellling, quality reliability and design of experiment, which being used by some 800 universities across the world for teaching and for research.

Dr. Muralidhara, who is part of the JMP Global Academic Team collabrates with professors and universities for analytical and statistical excellence.

JMP also known as the JUMP software has been in use for the past 32 years. It helps the teachers to teach better, researchers to research better and the students to learn better. JMP, rather than being merely a skill, is more of a need now and it helps us to solve many business problems. Its capabilities include data wrangling, visualisation and introductory and managerial statistics, multivariant consumer and market research, time series forecasting, predictive modeling and machine learning, text analytical and sentiment analysis. It also has the quality of processing Six-Sigma.

In JMP one can import any kind of data, copy-paste it and export the output in multiple formats. A researcher can make all sorts of diagrams, bar graphs, charts, histograms, geo-spatial maps and dashboards. It has a graph builder which can demonstrate all data in the the required timeline. Moreover, a bar graph can be turned into a linechart, contour graph and a pie chart etc. The researcher can build one’s own graph as per the required visialization and co-relations. JMP is fool-proof and does not leave you to make mistakes but gives a lot of useful stastistical outputs.

The data can be obtained in any way and form in which one may want to have. The results give a better, clearer and a more understandable picture of whatever may me the subject of your research in. In order to make any decision the explainability is very important and the JMP makes it very simple and user-friendly, leading to deep learning and a deep understanding. It can even analyse the sentimental value that a person migh attach to the product.

A person looking for a house with the amount of square-footage, the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, closer to the down-town or the amount of traffic in the neighbourhood will easily get to know how much he will have to pay as the variables registered by him. All information can be fine-tuned to serve the purpose of the researcher.

Apart from researchers, the industries are also using the JMP software. There is a free learning course for the students by the name of STIPS (Statistical Thinking for Industrial Problem Solving) and takes about 30-day free trial, plus there is also a apossibility for the teachers to get trained in the same. This is one software which takes you from the data to decision – in just one journey for which internet is not required.

There being a need to choose the compatible tools corresponding to the research activities and sticking to them during the entire research process that the Vatel Hotel and Tourism Business School, Sushant University, invited Dr. Nihar Ranjan Roy, associate professor, Department of Computer Science Engineering, School of Engineering and Technology, Sharda University, who has authored and co-authored several research papers, to delve upon the subject and to go in all details possible about the same. His topic was Referencing Tools for Research Papers. Without the right tools the journey of research will prove to be very difficult.

He started by elucidating upon the biggest and the simplest tools. The researchers always make explicit linkages between their current research and the prior work stored in the archives of the vast research literature or, for that sake, any literatue. Alongwith these go citations, which are intellectual transactions, formal acknowledgements of intellectual debts of the earlier authors. The work of the earlier authors can be acknowledged and used. Google Scholar, Web of Sciences and Scopus can always prove to be of great assistance.

He said that people though talk about Bibliography and Reference Work Cited List as two different entities, but he said he does not find too much of difference between them as both contain alphabetically arranged citations. He then explained citation indexing, which, he said makes linkages between books and articles that were written in the past and the items which make references to these older publications. It is a technique that allows us to trace the use of an idea. All these were designed earlier for information retrieval and helps locate the relevant research papers. These are like algoriths which were written a long time ago but they received recognition hundreds of years later on. An authentic and original work, he said will eventually get recognized.

Talking about the citation styles, Dr. Ranjan Said that there exist different styles and some of the important ones are Modern Languages Association (MLA), American Psychological Association, (APA) Vancouver, and I EEE, (institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineering which are adopted by different streams about which he gave links as well. He then elaborated about the challenges that one is likely to face while referencing, which included running out of time, misplaced components, and the lack of uniformity.

The Windows and also propose several possibilities for conducting research activities and since most of them are downloadable and copiable, they can be easily made use of. Tex Maker and Midtech, which are also available on the widows can be very ready and helpful resources for information and for cross-referencing. The information supplied is very clear and non-distorted, in which papers can also be made from a two-column format to a single column format and vice versa. The size of diagrams is also automatically adjusted and all the relative values can be taken care of.

While talking about sources using Citation Managers, Dr. Roy apoke about JabRef, which is an open-sourced cross-platform citation and reference management software. The name stood for Java, Alver, Batada, Reference, of which the original version was released in 2003. BibTex, he said, was a referencing management software. Others which also help tremendously, he said are Mendeley, End Note, Zotero, RefMan, RefWorks. However, he cautioned that not all were free and the user needed to have a license for using them.

Asked whether the multi-authored articles have citational advantage over the single-authored one, Dr. Ranjan said that it is the expression of the concept that matters because at times a single author can do far bettre than a whole team. It is a question of quality or quantity. A paper written onm the current topics will get more citations.

Dr. Saurav Chhabra, associate professor Vatel Hotel & Tourism business school proposed a vote of thanks and the seminar came to a successful end.

In order to bring on a single platform, the various and diverse aspects connected with research in their micro and macro levels, Vatel Hotel & Tourism Business School planned a series of 8 eight sessions wherein eminent speakers, researchers and thinkers were invited to express their views about formulation of research topics, drafting research synopsis, art of review of literature, objective and hypothesis formulation, research design, handling of statistical designs and referencing styles.

Hand-picked speakers who were experts in their fields were called upon to elaborate upon specific topics like research designs, sampling and calculation of sample size, statistical software and the eventual publications.

Friday, February 4, 2022 was the first day of the series which started with a warm inaugural and welcome address by Dr. Garima Parkash, the Dean, Vatel Hotel & Tourism Business School, wherein she spoke about the purpose of the lecture series and elaborated upon how vast and deep the field of research is and is indeed ‘Fathomless’ in its scope. She said research is an infinite activity and nobody can ever claim that he or she has fully completed the research in any field. These series are being conducted to not only highlight the current trends of research but also to put in all attempts to further elaborate upon the scope and the dynamism that exists in this very vast and expansive field of research.

This was followed by the keynote address delivered by Dr. DNS Kumar, Vice Chancellor, Sushant University, who lauded the effort of the school by saying that the term Responsible Research which was coined for this series has a lot of implications – The achievement of end result of a research work should not be measured merely in terms of its publication; it should lead to actually putting into practice the findings of the research and initiating the required changes in the society – that is indeed what may be termed as Responsible Research.

Dr. Kumar gave an example of a vastly viewed TV serial Shark Tank, in which the contestants, in order to get their plans financed, have to present a deeply researched, commercially viable and a well thought-out proposal. He further gave example of poor sect of people in Karnataka who, despite producing a high quality footwear, could barely make a hand-to-mouth living, until the day when a few researchers endeavored to streamline their systems and bring about supply-chain management, in mobilizing grants, thereby transforming their small profession into a highly successful model.

Taking it further, Mr. R. Dayanand spoke about the contemporary perspective spirit of Enquiry and stressed upon the incisive approach. The lack of clarity about what research is and what does a person actually want to do needs to be addressed. One should work in groups and elaborate upon the commonality of problem or the research question. He said that research findings help us come to terms with each other’s disciplines. He said that research needs to have an inter-disciplinary and a collaborative approach. Talking about Convergence Research, Mr. Dayanand elaborated upon the need to have a deeper integration of the different discipline involved in research, of which the impetus should always be on social application.

Elaborating upon the need for contemporary research, he said that the data explosion was actually bringing the world together, wherein the specific inputs were resulting into better insights. The transparency in transactions leading to awareness of linkages with the other disciplines. Referring to the Sacred Groves in Karnataka. These sacred groves, which are dedicated to local deities or ancestral spirits, are protected by local communities through social traditions and taboos that incorporate spiritual and ecological values. Preserved over the course of many generations, sacred groves represent native vegetation in a natural or near-natural state and thus are rich in biodiversity and harbor many rare species of plants and animals. The forces of the modern world are depleting sacred groves and weakening the traditions that protect them. Here the environment is connected with religion as to inspire an element of fear and hence commitment in the society. This is a living example of a research work having been carried out at great lengths, the benefits of which are being reaped by the society. Dr. Chef Avin Thaliath. Spoke about the latest research inclination in food industry and observed that the taste moved to hygiene and hygiene has moved to healthy food,

He said that there was a need and scope of research in food industry in terms of its taste, colour, aroma and to discuss about how to preserve the health aspect of the consumer in an atmosphere wherein the sugar, salt and flour are fortified.

While speaking about innovation and research in salt reduction he said whereas a person requires just about 2.3 grams of salt, the excessive intake is increasing blood pressure and increasing the frequency of thirst. He spoke about the ways in which we can replace the salt by sodium chloride. 50/50 of the best restaurants in the world are doing the same, salt can be reduced and the fortification of the salty taste can be done with fibres. Research on other substitutes like black rice extract oligofructose (present in oions, leeks oats), calcium carbonate. Fiber fills in the gap and reduces the intake of salt.

Emerging research in gluten-free products –people are gluten-allergic. Gluten, though the body builder, it produces a common allergic protein, causes improper functioning of small intestines, takes a longer time to digest. 5-6 % are gluten intolerant. Research in different parts of the world.

Alternate flours from quinoa, buck wheat, chickpea, yam arrowroot etc. Raw banana powder. Oats millets and coconut for cookies and biscuits. Combination of different flours. Food preservation.

While talking about research in advanced food preservation systems, he observe that the consumer wants a naturally preserved food. Longer shelf life, temperature controlled, eco-friendly preservation practices. He then spoke about the way forward in preservation – natural fermentation, brine and sugar solution like it used to be done in olden days. Vacuum sterilization, temperature control, enzymes for preservation.

Innovations in baking ingredients – the Key players in baking ingredients can be looked into, like organically grown, healthy and nutritious, high in protein, fiber and carbohydrates, low caloric sugars, there was a need to Production of rare sugars, like allulose tagatose, high fiber. While elaborating upon the shift in trends of food consumption he says that the customer preference is moving away from take to after-taste and more of transparency across all types of foods.

Chef Avin’s research therefore centered around food ingredients which actually play an important part in the life of human beings, their health and their well-being.

The second seminar on the topic Research Seminar Series concerned more about the finesse and the intricacies involved in the area of research, which are essential to be carrried out before the commencement of the research. Dr. Arvind Kumar Saraswati – Asstt. Professor – School of Hospitality – Indraprasth university, while talking about Formulation of Research Topics and Research Questions, elaborated upon the need to first conduct a research on the research topic itself and then determine as to what the research is oriented towards. He said that all efforts should be made to understand the things which are known and to be researched upon the ones that are yet unknown. It is the gaps between these two that need to be filled in. The indentification of gaps is the way to the research topics an dthe research questions. Whatever may be the direction of the research, an approprite path should be chosen and the scope and the focus of the research should be narrowed down.

The angle of feasibility shoud then be considered and detrmined if the path chosen is approrpite and that it would eventually be for the benefit of the society should also be appropriately pondered upon. If it is not in any way going to benefit the society, then it will not sevre any pirpose. In order to get the maximum views pertaining to the subject, the matter should be amply discussed amongst peers and colleagues that’s how the new dimensions to the research work are due to get added. The topic of research may also be changed as per need as ideas can be influnced and it is at this point in time that the research should be begun. The course of the resarch should endeavor towards narrowing down upon upon the subject as a development from its abstract state.

Dr. Parikshat Singh Manhas, Director - School of Hospitality and Tourism, University of Jammu spoke about Drafting a Research Analysis and titled his pesentation as Research synopsis decoded. He said that in the modern day research, technology is coming of great help as it has reduced all manual endeavors. Now the researches are very focussed, logical and consistent and deal primarily with the main issues that that they are researchnig upon.

The ideal components of research synopsis, he said, should identify the keywords, should reflect the theme of the research and be self explanatory. All research synopses should be specific to the particular domain. The why and what aspects of the research should be specified.

Elaborating upon the review of literature, he said that the following things mattered the most:

• Identification of the literature through a systematic literature review.

• The relevant literature should be critically read and understood.

• The impotant approaches and conclusions as arguments must lead to your conclusions.

He said that a lot of data was now available through net and through various search engines and we need to have the eficiency and the know-how about using that data and to transform it into the readable and understandable lterature. However the abundant availability of a plethora of information can also put one off the track. Things which might appear to be important might not be all that inportant.

The researchers should not put in too manu key words as everything might appear to be important for them, there should be a clariy of thought. One more important aspect is about how we sell and market our ideas to people at large. All thoughts have to be original in nature. All researches should be based on some plan of action and a clear roadmap should be made.

He said that that the primary objective of the research should be understanding the problem and upon what does it address at. This should be followed by a sound methodology and should be able to portray a strong research design and at the end, it should also elaborate upon how it is going to benefit the industry, academia or the society. Everybody now is doing research which can be applied to the market, which is termed as applied research. The research topic also needs to be chosen very wisely and the process of making a synopsis should also be very clear.

Writing a problem statement can be a challenging activity and it should showcase the societies to whom the research would eventually impact. The art, the style and the clarity of expressions come into play here as these factors can give a faithful picture of what the researcher really wants to communicate. Writing in precise, being is a specific form is more difficult than elaborating in detail. Furthermore, one should not form a vague research problem. At times while forming research questions, one should also think interms of doing research engineering. The research proposal should also be clearly worded and should not exceed around 2,000 or 2,500 words and should emphasize on its multidisciplinary aspects.

One should alwsys get the research proposal commented upon by the others, at the end of which, one must prove that the research being conducted is feasible.

At the end, Dr. Parikshat said that the researcher should possess the folling skills:

He should be

• Tech savvy

• Creative and innovative

• Should possess an excellent data literacy

• Be a critical thinker

• Should possess digital marketing and business skills

• Should be a leader

• Every researcher should commit himself to a lifelong learning.

Talking about the real Mantras in research, he said that the following are most essential:

• Adaptability

• Efficiency

• Inclusivity

• Universality.

However, the most important thing is to keep one’s eyes and ears open and to build upon the knowledge.

On Tuesday, August 10, 2021, the Vatel Hotel and Tourism Business School organised International Hospitality Leaders’ Conclave, in which CEO’s, General Managers and Vice Presidents of hospitality related organisations participated and deliberated primarily upon the way the systems and procedures in the various service establishments, owing to the current situation of the pandemic, have modified their ways of operations and have adopted for good a few of the changes brought in by the environment.

The general consensus: The purpose of organizing this conclave, since it had participation from people from the different parts of the world, was to understand the way in which hoteliers from the different parts of the world were coming to terms with the pandemic and the way in which they were handling it. It so came up that the measures generally employed by us here in India were almost similar to theirs and, despite the culture of people the world over being different, the customer behavior was also quite similar.

After the welcome address by Dr. Garima Parkash, Dean Vatel hotel and Tourism Business School, Mr. Laurent Guiraud spoke about the details of the Vatel Programme and gave a walk-through of the different parts of the Sushant University.

The inaugural address was delivered by Dr. D.N.S. Kumar, Vice Chancellor, Sushant University in which he welcomed the participants and expressed his happiness about the number of international speakers who had made it convenient to join the conclave from the different parts of the world.

The keynote address was delivered by Mr. Vijay Wanchoo, General Manager and Vice President, The Imperial, New Delhi in which he spoke about the deep decline in room and food and beverage business. “Business or no business, there are some costs which are fixed and need to be carried on even if the hotel is idling. You have to keep your property in a new, running condition, make sure that the air conditioning works in all public areas and that you keep a certain amount of staff on duty, especially in the kitchen, front office and housekeeping. We may have reduced the salaries but we haven’t dismissed any of our permanent staff”. He said that the hotel was getting used to new kinds of customers and had started accepting bookings for weddings for which a package for a gathering of 100 people had been designed. Bookings of film crews was another business which had come about.

This address was followed by a series of panel discussions, the theme and the brief of what all was discussed is mentioned herewith:

PANEL DISCUSSION – I - Strategy to Resilience – Responsible Business in a time of crisis – Moderated by Ms. Chandana Paul – Assistant Professor, Vatel Hotel and Tourism Business School. PANELISTS:

Mr. Kush Kapoor – CEO, Roseate hotels and Resorts

Mr. Ashwini Kumar Goela - Cluster General Manager- Rajasthan & Agra,Radisson Hotel Group, South Asia and GM, Radisson Blu Plaza, Delhi Airport

Mr. Anupam Dasgupta – General Manager, The Leela Palace, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi

Mr. Vignesh Mani - General Manager, Oakwood Residence, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Highlights: Mr. Kush Kapoor observed that their Food and Beverage business had started picking up recently but there is still a lot of improvement expected in the rooms division and recreational areas. In Vietnam though the occupancies were stable as the pandemic had not hit there in its most formidable form. The multi-skilling of staff so that one may be able to perform different roles and fill-in for the scarcity of staff was also discussed at length. The In-Room Dining was also coming up as a preference by guests as they would have the tendencies of avoiding larger gathering in the restaurants. Come what may, the situation of pandemic is there to stay and we have to learn to live with it and find our own ways to counter its effects.

PANEL DISCUSSION – II - Perception to prognostication – Redesigning safety, comfort, quality & aesthetics. Moderated by Ms. Anshu Rawal – Assistant Professor, Vatel Hotel and Tourism Business School.


Ms Akshi Singh – Cluster Director, Housekeeping, IHG Hotels, Al Thuraya City, Kuwait.

Mr. Deepak Mishra - Operations Department Specialist, Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort & Spa at Grande Dunes, South Carolina

Mr. Prabhat Shukla - Director of Rooms & Quality, Intercontinental, Doha, Qatar

Highlights: - Hotels are transforming their operations and are moving towards a plastic-free and a paper free environment and are adopting all measures to minimize the consumption of water and are thinking about ways and means of its recycle and its reuse. The room service menus being displayed on the televisions was one step towards creating an atmosphere of hygiene and confidence amongst guests.

The matter of sustainability was being given utmost priority. The room attendant performing the role of a room service steward was discussed as a matter of multi-tasking. The hotel business, generally speaking, having taken an abysmal fall, in Qatar they were talking about organizing the FIFA World Cup to recover the losses in business. There was, however no cutting of corners as the guest satisfaction and guest safety were emerging to be of a prime importance. Mr. Prabhat Shukla expressed concern about the procedure of budgeting and forecasting, which would not be the same as in the past because no clear direction or predictions could be made with regard to business. A very unique idea of bringing to the room of the guests a part of the health club was being spoken about.

PANEL DISCUSSION – III - Experiential to Sustainable – emerging trends in the field of gastronomy - Moderated by Chef Saurav Chhabra – Assistant Professor, Vatel Hotel and Tourism Business School.


Chef Hemant Oberoi – CEO and managing Director, Hemant Oberoi restaurant.

Chef Parvinder Singh Bali – Corporate Chef, Learning and Development at the Oberoi Hotels and Resorts.

Chef Steven peter – Executive Chef, JW Marriott Marquis Hotel, Doha

Chef Tejas Sovani – Executive Chef, Spice Labs, Tokyo.

Highlights: Most of the hotels and service establishments had begun to open their doors for lunches as the dinner service is still not very heavily patronized. The element of showmanship in hotels and fine-dine restaurants had gone away due to no proximity being exercised. There is more preference for local ingredients as the imports were stopped due to not much flights being operated so the size of the menus has become smaller and the prices have been moderated accordingly.

But these things do not necessarily spell the future of this industry and it was believed that normalcy will have to be restored one day. Chef Bali also spoke about the local ingredients to be used along with the local spices. The guests were showing more preferences for the Indian regional cuisines belonging to the North-Eastern States, Jharkhand and Himachal Pradesh. People were getting into pickle making and using healthy ingredients like moringa seeds, fresh turmeric, and Vegan food. Hospitality, he said, was a trade completely driven by the guests and we have to be able to come up to their expectations. These days of pandemic will go away one day and the people will come back to normal functioning – the customers, he said had ‘short memory’.

Chef Stephen spoke about the usage of livestock food in smaller quantities as creating such food meant a huge consumption of water and care. People in general had drained pockets and they must still be provided food of their preference, though as an alternate sustenance. The policy of ‘Zero-Waste’ was being observed in restaurants and herb gardens are being promoted. In another comment it was expressed that the plant-based cuisines were being promoted. “This pandemic has taught people at large a lot of cooking and, in the excitement, they have also become self-proclaimed chefs”

PANEL DISCUSSION – IV - Revolutionising– New perspective & orderly change in F & B Service Moderated by Mr. Saif Anjum – Assistant Professor, Vatel Hotel and Tourism Business School. PANELISTS:

Mr. Naveen Mehta - Director of Food & Beverage, IHG Crowne Plaza, Rohini, India

Mr. Manos Tsesmatzoglou - F & B Manager, Akra Suites, Greece

Mr. Himanshu Bhandari - F&B Manager, ITC Grand Bharat, Manesar

Mr Andreas Koenig – Food and Beverage Manager, Abu Dhabi Corniche, UAE.

Highlights: The new normal in the food and beverage service areas are multi-skilling and multi-tasking and one has to come to terms with the fact that the privilege of having the desired number of staff is turning into the essential number of staff. Their employability in different roles, given the current situation, has become absolutely imminent. For example, the bartenders can be used for strengthening guest contact and for meeting people dining in the restaurants. the usage of cloud kitchens, in view of the current situation, cannot be thought about immediately.

The customers too have in general expressed their preference for local cuisines. The roles of personnel in hotels have undergone an immense diversification. The overall business has decreased tremendously and the staff has still not been able to join back their duties. Commenting about the recently passed out students joining hotels, he said that they were quite good in communication but they did not have the required amount of ground experience. The dynamics of food and beverage service have been changed tremendously.

PANEL DISCUSSION – V - Reimagining hospitality marketing from physical to Phygital. - Moderated by Chef Sunil Arora – Programme Director, Vatel Hotel and Tourism Business School.


Mr. Varun Balwani – Director of Sales and Channels, FSC Hotel Solutions

Mr. Ankit Sharma – Director of Sales & Marketing Hotel Marriott, Kathmandu

Mr. Arun Bablani – Director, Vivaah Weddings, Dubai

Mr. Amit Rathore – MD, Genie Events, India.

Highlights – owing to the circumstances, the term PHYGITAL has been coined, depicting the way of operation which is partly physical and partly digital. This is therefore a hybrid system of functioning. Just like hotels, the allied industry of entertainment, events and catering also have had their share of setbacks and disappointments from the current situation. Adaptation to the latest digital technology has though brought in a lot of disruption but has been both welcome and otherwise. The operators are gradually getting used to the technology and are changing their style of working in order to keep pace with the new way of functioning. The direct dealing with the customers having come down to a total nil, the functions of sales and marketing have come closer as complimenting each other’s domains. The panelists were of the opinion that the current situation has taught us a lot but the ways of operations have been more or less adopted and are expected to stay for some more time. The Conclave ended with Mr. Kulmohan Singh delivering the Vote of Thanks for their participation.

The purpose of the International Hospitality Deans’ online conclave held on July 23, 2021 by the Vatel hotel and Tourism Business School was, besides taking stock of the pre-pandemic and the supposedly post pandemic situation, to discuss about the best practices undertaken by hospitality institutes in order to, besides keeping the students motivated also bringing about changes owing to the latest intervention of technology.

In the welcome address, Dr. (Prof) Garima Parkash, Dean, Vatel Hotel and Tourism Business School expressed her delight to be welcoming the doyens of the industry, belonging to the best institutions from Singapore, Canada, UAE and the USA., and was hopeful of the matters of mutual interest coming up and being deeply elaborated upon. Dr. DNS Kumar, vice chancellor of Sushant University in his inaugural address was glad to see the renowned personalities joining the conclave and being eager to fruitfully contribute for the various themes chosen for the panel discussions of the conclave.

In their keynote addresses, the resources had the following to say.

Mr Kapil Jhingan head of THE Federation of Associations of International Tourism and Hospitality (FAITH) said that students are great resources and should not only know about but also be involved in several government bodies like the Federation of Hotels and Restaurants’ Association of India, India Conference Promotion Bureau, International Air Transporters’ Association, Travel Agents’ Association of India etc., which will give them more knowledge about the hospitality trade.

Steve Borgia – VP and Chairman, INDeco Hotels Pvt Ltd. Said that the pandemic has impacted all our lives and it is for us to derive a learning out of it. But in India we do needn’t fear about anything as we have been pioneers in many ways and have so much to offer the world. We must promote the rich depository of our rural areas where the villages have been upgraded and the palaces have been restored. He says that it is not the government but the travel and hospitality experts who build the tourism character of a country.

This was proceeded the panel discussions, the highlights of which were the following.

THEME – 1 - Pedagogical advancements in teaching learning – new perspectives for constructive changes in Hospitality Education

Arend HARDOFF – Dean Hotel School, The Hague

The HM institutes should not be considered as factories, churning out a line of products assembled in a conveyor belt but as the ones who would be creating resources for the future. Students should be trained into soft skills and have to be taught to work in different diversities for which their mental and financial wellbeing has to be intact. How you teach a student is far more important that what you teach, in the process of which, the role of the teachers is undergoing a radical change. Apart from soft skills, the digital skills need to be improved.

Isac Joshua – Director - MDIS Singapore

The working and the atmosphere has changed so much that the we have to modify the admission patterns and allow the students to join at different levels. we need to hold their hands as they are the ones who are going to be leading the industry.

Sanchari Chowdhury Director Indian Institute of Hospitality Management, Bangalore

The past 18 months have been a big challenge but the HM institutes have created a prominent place for themselves, they are here to stay and will not go anywhere. Things are getting back on the track but now the people will have to be more tech savvy and motivated as people are going to get more openings. Though the online HM studies have been a big challenge online but the students have adapted themselves to it very well.

Rushad Kavina – Dean Undergraduate Studies, Indian Institute of Hospitality Management, Aurangabad

We need to create greater platforms for the students to demonstrate a higher level of thinking at the application level and more of academic rigour needs to be demonstrated to fill the gap which exists between industry and the academia as we still see that there is a lack of focus on contemporary skilling. A system of learning oriented towards engaging the students and the industry is required so that they could adapt themselves to the timely changes. Industry can help in curriculum development in a very big way.

THEME – 2 - Applied multi-disciplinarity and research competitiveness in the hospitality domain

JULIEN LISQUET – Zonal Director - Vatel Bahrain emphasized upon the truth that there is a need to increase upon the engagements from the students and to bring about a change in their mentality, which would eventually lead to a change in their actions. Being in the hospitality trade, the students must learn and master soft skills and bring in an element of humility in them. Environmental stability and responsible research is becoming more evident.

MURALI NAIR – SDH INSTITUTE Singapore – The environment has posed such challenges upon us that we are being forced by the hotels to produce resources which are more multi-disciplinary and bring in a matter of problem-based learning and in examining case studies. we all need to move into a new arena.

ATUL GOKHALE – Director - Symbiosis School of Culinary Arts Pune – a HM school needs to use the services of other schools of allied studies and widen their horizons like time management, finance, HR, computing, data, waste management, energy management, analytics, budgeting, entrepreneur, problem-solving, excel, power point, so that they can fit into multiple job profiles. Application based researches have to be given a lot of priority and importance.

THEME - 3 - Embracing technology – a new imperative for the competitive edge and survival in the hospitality tutelage

MICHAEL CHANG – Dean – Hospitality Institute Florida, USA while responding to the question whether the hospitality industry WAS going to BE dependent upon the technology, his answer was in Yes & No. He emphasized upon the fact that the element of personalization, warmth and the eye contact would be absolutely necessary in the hospitality trade. Hospitality teaching is at its most advanced stage now but the soft part is still required. He commented upon the span for a student’s engagement in a face-to-face class, which does not last for more than 10 minutes.

PRATIK MAJUMDAR – Director – Shoolini Univ Himachal Pradesh.

Talking about the intervention of technology in the hospitality sector, he was in agreement with Mr. Cheng and commented that the service industry is a culture, which technology can never replace. A Robot is never capable of saying I am sorry and cannot feel the sentiments of the guests. Technology can give all back-ups but can fail if called upon to deal with guests.

K. THIRUGNANASAMBANTHAM – Principal, Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration. Technology may be a good assistant but cannot work as a substitute to the human touch. We may prepare for classes for four to six hours in advance but with technology it becomes easier as the facts are more reliable.

THEME – 4 - Institutional mechanism for knowledge enhancement – a need for industry integration and experiential learning based programmes

KERVIN NIGLI – Dean Christ University Bangalore – Hospitality being primarily a discipline of hands-on learning, there is a need to promote experiential and activity based learning. Secondly, we need to fill the gap of experienced people created by COVID. Come what may – we shall have to be social in our approaches, something that the machines cannot do. Talking about the concentration span of students on the online classes, he said as per the study recently conducted by McKenzie, there has been a 40 % of learning loss due to the online classes. There has been though the opportunity of people getting across the globe and uniting with each other to ensure the connect. More and more of Alumni should be engaged.

ZUBIN D’SOUZA Dean ISH Gurugram – The Artificial Intelligence can ease a few processes but is never going to be able to totally replace it. Talking about the Pandemic, he said it cannot wipe out everything as all the processes have been in place. The culture of hospitality schools has not yet picked up as the institutions still haven’t been able to market themselves properly, neither have they adapted to the changes which have evolved with the times. Students should come to terms with the fact that their 40 years of professional life depends but upon the 4 years of study at the HM institutes. There are many more openings in hospitality – people can become bloggers and food hunters. There is no dearth of the supply of hospitality manpower but the problem is of their proper fitment. Hotels will need professional manpower forever.

Dr. KIRSTEN TRIPODI - Director, Hospitality, Resort and Tourism Management, Welch College of Business Technology, USA. Pandemic has imposed a long break and the students are excited about going back to the classrooms as that is where they can get together and create things. She was of the opinion that the hospitality opens up several doors for students amongst which entrepreneurship is a great opportunity.

Dr. DENNIS B INNES dean, School of Hospitality, Food Studies and Applied Business at Vancouver Community College, Canada, impressed upon the need for soft skills amongst the hospitality professionals as these are very much appreciated by the guests and the colleagues. Teamwork and critical thinking needs to be instilled in all hospitality employees. With regard to the hospitality education, parents must know what their child is going to be getting into. An element of higher level thinking in the minds of students has to be inculcated. The better the attitude is harnessed, the better will be the incumbent prove to be a part of the workplace. Industry has to be included in the setting up of curricula as they have in Canada, involving many hotels as Programme Advisory Committees.

The meet ended with Mr. Kulmohan Singh delivering the vote of thanks…

The Vatel Hotel and Tourism Business has left no stone unturned in either in assessing the current Covid crisis by way of inviting various celebrated speakers engaged in the hospitality business, it has examined this angle equally in the airlines, the travel trade and now, since the consumption of meals are also being subjected to the angle of hygiene, self-protection and developing immunity, two specialists were invited as resource persons to conduct a webinar for faculty, students and for special invitees.

The theme of the webinar was carried forward by Dr. Shivani, a renowned dietician and Chef Akanksha a young chef, earlier with the ITC Hotels and now an entrepreneur herself, divulged extremely informative and revealing facts about the potency of various edibles and their use with regard to either developing immunity or for deterring various viruses. “Immuno meals are the next big thing in the society and the questions as to why and when do we eat healthy food automatically erupts in the mind” says Dr. Shivani, who while touching upon the history of the peoples’ eating habits said that compared to the earlier times, the modern, international standards have changed our mindset, our health and indeed our dietary and medical requirements. “What are immunity boosters…? They are the foods that have the capability of supporting our immune systems and prevent us from falling sick. To name a few, broccoli, avocados, citrus foods, ginger, strawberries and bell peppers help us a lot in this area. All these foods are available locally and are easily accessible.”

The Farm-to-Plate concept introduced by many organisations, in which they offer fresh fruits and vegetables right at your doorstep and also go to the extent of providing organic foods is in practice these days and, depending upon the authenticity of their claims about being hygienic and sanitized some amount of research should always be done.

“There are already some foods which are being used right from their ancient times and we too have carried forward their usage, without even knowing how valuable they are. Quinoa seeds, chia seeds, cabbage and amla are full of nutrients, so very essential for our bodies for building immune systems. We are slowly forgetting whatever we learnt from our ancestors as to why they used to include certain ingredients in their foods – they were actually immunity boosters, that’s the reason as to why we our immunity system in the modern days has become fragile and we are falling sick so frequently.

Hospitality establishments are now going to the extent of providing Immuno Thalis, Immuno drinks and shakes and ayurvedic meals based specifically on the constitution of an individual. Every food must satisfy all 5 senses space, air, water, earth and fire. “The benefits of Haldi, or turmeric are inestimable and in my mind everybody should consume turmeric mixed in milk before retiring for the day. This is the best immunity booster.” Says Dr. Shivani.

Chef Akanksha, while talking about the availability of healthy foods in the hotels of high standing said “Gone are the days when, while staying in hotels you were required to sacrifice your usual domestic meals as the hotels have now become innovative and have introduced special domestic, home-like meals for their customers. They are hygienic, low in calories and on the fat. Whatever you may say, the Indian food remains on the top of the list to be containing immunity boosters. Asked about how to recognize good honey with a bad one, Akanksha said, if the you put honey in the fridge and if it develops any crystals, it should mean it is not genuine. Secondly, honey will always settle down if poured in water. “I personally recommend the consumption of warm lemon water with honey and basil leaves at least twice in a day. This will keep you fit and active all day”

The biggest disadvantage of the modern day foods is that they all use processed ingredients which are the main cause of the proliferation of cancer, allergy and diabetes. Furthermore, we usually pass our days and nights in air conditioned areas and we do not break any sweat. Furthermore, we tend to neglect the drinking of water which is an extremely important thing to do in a day, neither do we get out into the sun. The olden days in which people used to walk for miles every day has also been reduced considerably. “We have to get down to doing our work ourselves – that will give us forceful exercise and movement to our body and keep us away from the sedentary lifestyle, of which most of us are victims” Says Akanksha. We should hand-pound our spices and ingredients as against getting them in a powder form from the market, packed in plastic coverings or containers. “All meals should be consumed at their fixed timings and the bodies too discipline themselves to it. Any disturbance in the regular meal timings will not make your systems function to their fullest. We are currently prioritizing work over our meals” Lemons are cheapest and easily available, says Akanksha, we should consume at least one in a day in whichever way possible – in water, salads, dal, fruits etc. People in olden days used to carry a lemon wedge in their tiffin as an important thing. We may have done it in our childhood but now we have forgotten all about it.

“Chana dal, raisins, cashew nuts and lentils are very rich in zinc and therefore must be consumed every week. It should be a practice, as much as possible, not to over-wash the lentils. Fruits and vegetables of different colours should be consumed as they contain their own special advantages.

There are many countries which have totally banned the consumption of sugar, Iceland, Norway, Sweden are the forerunners in this activity. “There is something to do also with the marketing systems we have adopted for our foods as they lose compared to how the American and Chinese foods are packaged and sold. That’s where the biggest problem lies. Being a vegan restricts you from getting a complete meal. As a matter of fact, one should cut down on cereals and compensate with milk. Soups should always be freshly prepared and consumed. Lamenting over the downside about the food control systems in India, Akanksha said that we are regrettably not very strict about what goes in the packaged foods, how the fresh vegetables are treated, how paneer is made, and how it is stored and transported.

“We in India might be consuming the healthiest meals on this earth but we still have a long way to go before we can eat fully hygienic, non-processed, pure ingredients and foods” says Chef Akanksha.

“Whether in a cork or in a screw cap, a good wine will remain a good wine”

“People think ours is a cushy job” says with a grin the renowned sommelier Magandeep Singh while beginning to address a gathering of students and faculty members of the Vatel Hotel and Tourism Business School, in a Webinar participated equally by the industry leaders and hospitality educators.

“People at large feel envious about the best wines and alcohol that we get to taste, the way we travel across the globe frequently and about the kind of lifestyle that we lead. Little do they know about the toil, the hard work, the labour and the drudgery we have to go through before being addressed to as Certified Sommeliers.

“A wine waiter that’s how our profession is labelled when people wonder about what a sommelier does” says Magandeep. “But, a lot has changed over the years, we, by virtue of having delved into the history of wines in their profoundest and micro levels, know far more than what the label of the bottle can tell a customer, and, being able to sell wine to the people dining in the restaurant is not an easy task as wines are ordered usually in the upscale fine-dine restaurants and bars, which the most frequently travelled people patronize and who have a rich international, first-hand experience of wines from the different regions of the world.” Says he.

Knowing about the origin of wine is a process that requires a deep study and stands to be a progression of a very profound and patient learning. This is a study that only a true sommelier can feel in his senses and can create the same experience to the people to whom he/she recommends it to. “Wines have a rich legacy and they date back to thousands of years, when in the ancient Greek mythology Bacchus was known as the God of Wines, whereas the whiskies and the other spirits, compared to the age of wines, are but very new and recent, without having much of history to talk about” says Magandeep’s companion Gagandeep Singh. “Wine has a very cultivated and a rich image as there are more than 100,000 varieties of grapes and they too differ, depending on the soil, the air and the water. But, fortunately, we do not need to learn about all of them as there are but a 150 of them which are used for wines” he said it was difficult to tell which grape is ‘ripe’ as the ripeness too depends upon what you wish to make out of the grape”

The difference of usage between wines and spirits is that whereas a bottle of whiskey, after opening, may be consumed over a few weeks, the bottle of wine is usually finished the same day. This goes to say that a good sommelier in a bar is able to earn his salary far quicker than can do a normal bartender. “That’s why”, Gagan says – “It is not easy to become a certified sommelier – there are hardly 50-60 of us in the second most populated country of the world. We are in the sellers’ market, where our demand is high and the supply is far too less.” Under the heading LET’S TALK MONEY, Gagan said – “We people are paid to study, paid to travel, paid to eat, paid to speak, paid through wines and are paid being associated with good companies. What else can we ask for?”

Upon being asked to throw some light on the subject of Blind Tasting, he said it is done in circumstances in which the tasters are kept unaware of the wines’ identities. The blind approach is routine for the wine professionals and wine tasters who wish to ensure impartiality in the judgement of the quality of wine during wine competitions on in the evaluation of a sommelier professional certification. “The Taste is allowed only to deduce and not to guess” “We sommeliers can’t taste spices” says he. “Our taste buds are oriented exclusively towards wines”

Upselling wines in a restaurant, especially to the connoisseurs is an arduous task. More than our keenness to sell, we should understand as to what the customer wants to buy and, here, it is a truth that the lady sommeliers stand to do much better. “Wines are no more restricted to be of interest in the world of hoteliers” says he “I can see many lawyers, engineers and even doctors getting interested in wines, its taste and have started about asking of its origins”

“Screw-cap or a cork is just a means to close the bottle” says Gagan, “Though some people might find the cork to be more ‘romantic’ the taste does not differ, neither does the wine develop any different taste in any of these closures”

While thanking the sommeliers for contributing their valuable time, Dr. Garima Parkash, Dean, Vatel Hotel and Tourism Business School said, “Our students can derive a lot of learning and inspiration from these webinars and, I am sure, one day, I will be proud to announce as seeing few students of our school being crowned as “Certified Sommeliers of the Vatel India School” This webinar was coordinated and presented by Mr. Saif Anjum, Assistant Professor, Vatel Hotel and Tourism Business School, Ansal University, Gurgaon.

The hospitality sector, not merely restricting itself to hotels and restaurants, equally extends its peculiarities and subtleties to the Show World. The cinema complexes, by virtue of being designed to congregate hundreds of people simultaneously, currently stand to be reckoned amongst the most volatile businesses, which the Government, for the moment, classifies amongst the non-essential business activities, to which, the grant of opening has been deferred. A cinema hall, receiving its patrons for a short stay of even 2-3 hours, is obliged to, like every other hospitality establishment’s binding commitment, their safety and security for the entire duration. This obligation, in the wake of the current situation, presents itself in its most formidable aspects upon which depends the making or breaking of an organization.

Ms Asha Pathania, a hotel management graduate and MBA in human resources, now holding the portfolio of Assistant Vice President, Housekeeping with PVR Cinemas, looks after 845 auditoriums of the company and has a backing of as many as 2000 personnel. “We though haven’t started our business but have, since long, begun the process to think, whenever the due permissions come our way, of ways and means to re-start our operations, in which we have to look, study and follow. Our SoP’s will change as the atmosphere has altered itself” she says. “Good housekeeping is a joint action and a good result is possible only when every other department cooperating correspondingly”

Asked upon how the norm of safe distancing, in view of the seats in the cinema hall being placed just next to each other, would be observed, she said “We will allocate seats together in a row only to the family members and as far as the single viewers are concerned, we will seat them safely away from each other, even if leaving a few seats in-between means a loss of revenue for us. We will not pass on the cost of vacant seats to our patrons”

With regard to the training the staff, she says “People have fertile brains and, having already been exposed to a period of extreme restraint and hardship over the past few months, they will, I am sure, understand the norms of safety and hygiene better. The masks and gloves have been made as parts of the uniform and are absolutely mandatory, irrespective of where one’s area of work is”

“We will put up safety guidelines and instructions at several places in our cinemas and in different regional languages so that people are reminded of these important restrictions wherever they go. Furthermore, the time-period in-between two shows has been increased from 15 minutes to 30 minutes, which will allow us more time to meticulously sanitize each and every seat, the aisles and the corridors” “We will issue E-Tickets which will be checked by matching apparatus so that the question of a physical contact of any kind does not arise.” She added “Hand-sanitizers will be put up each and every area of the premises where our patrons likely to go”

Upon a question regarding career progression in housekeeping put up by one of the students, she said “The only department which has a part to play in all the departments of the hotel is housekeeping and should not be looked down upon as a minor area. I have seen many executives rising to the position of general managers, even vice presidents, and this transition is on the increase now”

The second speaker of the Webinar Ms. Payal Mehta endorsed Ms. Pathania’s viewpoint about the lucrative growth prospects in housekeeping, citing her own example of having started with the Front Office but moving on to the HK Department, rising to the level of executive housekeeper and soon having risen to the coveted position of a Rooms Division Manager of Crowne Plaza Today, New Delhi Okhla, and now is just a step short of becoming the general manager.

“Housekeeping”, she says, “Can actually deliver more than what is expected of it, where, just on the basis of dealing with hard facts, new strategies can be evolved” “The myth that the housekeeper’s role was restricted to operate behind the curtains, no more holds true in the present context as, in order to deliver a personalized service, the young and trained staff is proficient and competent to directly deal with guests, which, now would, of course, be carried out after a series of hygiene checks. Just like the cinemas, even we have to treat the guest rooms for as long as 72 hours before allocating it to the next guest”

“Such programmes prove to be eye-openers for our students as they get to listen to the first-hand experienced and eminent hotel executives of modern times and see some future in the housekeeping department” Said Dr. Garima Parkash, Dean, Vatel Hotel and Tourism Business School.

This Webinar, attended by faculty members, students and professionals from all over the world, was coordinated by Ms. Chandana Paul, Assistant Professor, Vatel Hotel and Tourism Business School.


In a yet another webinar in Hospitality 2.0 NCCO (New normal, careers, challenges and opportunities) series, the Vatel Hotel and Tourism Business School invited specialists to talk about regaining customer confidence – post-COVID Era.

Much has though been said and deliberated upon by various organisations about the way the hospitality trade would rejuvenate itself after the spell of Covid and would catapult itself back on the track, little has been discussed as to how confident would the customers feel about getting back to the hotel and performing tasks which they so liberally used to do earlier.

Ms, Shilpi Sharma of Westin and Mr. Tushar Abrol of the Vivanta by Taj brands, both of whom incidentally look after training and learning departments, spoke about the cloud of uncertainty and fear amongst people at large regarding how long for this situation would last. “We are in the process of learning, unlearning and re-learning and must adapt ourselves with the changes in the environment. We will do all that is possible to regain customer confidence and re-state their loyalty” said Shilpi.

Being optimistic in his approach, Tushar said that the hospitality sector would be the first one to bounce back and the COVID-Free cities, being safer, would instantly re-start their businesses in all fields, nevertheless, with entirely new systems and with highly advanced, safety-oriented technologies.

 “The challenges of today have to be transformed into the opportunities of tomorrow, which happens to be the best business approach adopted by several organisations.” “What will the customer look forward to as his foremost need?” asks Tushar and himself answers by saying “It is for the sake of winning customers back that the hotels would highlight more prominently their safety standards, rather than bringing up the features of luxury and the variety in gastronomy available at the hotel.”

The roles will change; this will be an era in which, rather than a customer visiting a hotel, the hotel would start visiting the customer right at their doorsteps to serve their delicacies and for gaining further self-assurance. “We must learn from the other players in the hospitality. Best practices can be picked up from Hospitals and health clinics which are renowned for their hygiene and cleanliness and we should try to implement the same at hotels, which would certainly be a big factor to regain faith in minds of the guests. Keeping our ears and eyes open, we will apply, to the fullest possible, the norms suggested by the World Health Organisation.” Commented Tushar.

Since the guests would tend to shy-away from crowded hotels, even having lesser but more efficient staff who can do multi-tasking would perhaps be the new norm. This would also bring down the impact on payroll. “We have accommodated our staff in the hotel itself so that they are not exposed to the outside world. We have, thereby, in our own ways, done our best to let our esteemed guests know about this step of ours.” 

Taj Vivanta has started the concept of limited dishes on the buffet and we spread the buffet on much longer tables. This will separate the distance in chaffing dishes and will help repose faith amongst the customers”, says Tushar with a smile. “The check-ins and the in-room dining orders would also be contact-less – all this for our discerning customers.” He adds

“Our housekeeping staff has been trained to thoroughly sanitize the rooms after the guest checks out and the front office associates have been instructed to allocate these rooms to the new customers only after a gap of 24 hours. This may though have a negative impact on our revenues but we want our guests to be happy at all costs.”, says he with full buoyancy. “The spin-off of this may result into the other departments losing out on business, but, we do realize that guest safety is of paramount importance these days?” remarked Tushar.

“The down-sizing of staff and instilling a sense of multi-tasking would indeed be temporary measures – we love the staff trained by us and would like to get everybody back as they have happily grown with us. They will, once again take on their usual responsibilities…” says Tushar.

“Internally we have put into place extremely robust programmes, whereby we watch and monitor closely how the supplies are received and the waste disposal is done. These small practices will lead to re-inforce the quality of our being environment-friendly and will eventually promote customer trust.” Confirms Tushar…

“Technology though is holding our hands during these days of emergency and is standing by us at our beck-and-call but we must admit that it has its own limitations and can never replace the human touch. Being a peoples’ oriented business, we must, for the sake of keeping a personal touch with the guest, have at our disposal, well trained, skilled, proficient and dedicated people.”

We would not like to miss out on the human factor, says Shilpi” – Hospitality is a peoples’ trade . She further says that “Whereas on one hand hotels are laying off people, on the other, new properties are continuously coming up.” The operating service establishments must therefore gear themselves up to receive guest only when their key staff is there to handle them”

The webinar was consummated with the address of the dean of the school, Dr. Garima Parkash.

Hospitality 2.0 Redefining careers in Hospitality

COVID is like an earthquake, filled with fear…

- Douglas Peter

A period in which uncertainty and ambiguity looms large on our planet, assuring physical existence comers up as the most important priority, taking precedence over professional or even, to a great extent, over one’s own commercial pursuits. With the businesses of almost all industries having taken a dip, hospitality reveals itself as the most severely hit sector which, due to its volatility, was the first, ruthlessly wounded victim…

The apprehension of students who aspired to make promising careers for themselves in the hospitality trade, upon seeing the hotels having to barely exist by hosting affected patients or surviving on home deliveries, grew more and more. Deemed soon-to-be the largest foreign-exchange earner, the hospitality trade now isn’t in any position to make promises of lucrative careers, of growth or even the progression for its human resources.

Be that as it may, in a Webinar titled Redefining Careers in Hospitality organized by the dean of Vatel Hotel and Tourism Business School Dr. Garima Parkash, in order to dispel the anxiety, distress and panic currently prevailing amongst the aspiring students, invited two veteran human resource Specialists Ms. Poulomi Bhattacharya, having headed the HR of a couple of international chains, is currently looking after the HR of Bestech Hospitality and Mr. Douglas Peter, a multi-faceted personality in the industry having worked as HR at international properties, with the India Skills, Government of India and now having evolved himself as a successful entrepreneur to be the guest speakers.

Both the speakers described the situation as “A passing phase like a storm” and were hopeful about this dynamic hospitality trade, upon adapting itself to new systems and procedures, would eventually bounce back into full operations. “Come, what may, the students pursuing Hotel Management, being presentable, polished and trained hard to be customer-oriented, would always be in demand” said Douglas, exuding a strong ray of hope and optimism for the hospitality trade aspirants.  

“To be strong in this trade, believe you me, a positive attitude is needed far more than one’s expertise and knowledge to handle operations” said Ms Poulomi Bhattacharya.   

“These Webinars, being participated by eminent speakers and renowned experts, create a real awakening amongst our students, reassure them, boost their morale and eventually inspire them to look for light at the end of the tunnel” Said the dean, Dr. Garima Parkash  

In our attempt to make our discussion on COVID – 19 stand out as different from the usual programmes that one gets to see these days, we made an attempt to put together in our forum a living experience of more than 500 years. Veterans who have individually spent more than 4 decades each and who have experienced and dealt with several ups and downs in this trade and have successfully managed to overcome such emergencies were, in our mind the worthiest resources to be able to put forth, on one hand, their personal assessment of the damage that this pandemic has made and on the other, paint a clear picture depicting in its true shades and colors, as to how this Sector would change the way of its functioning and what all lies in store for it.

The keynote speakers were unanimously of the opinion that this situation is not a collapse but it would definitely play its part by dramatically changing the ways of this Sector’s functioning, thereby making it necessary for the operators to bring about radical changes, not only in their systems as a whole but also in their procedures at the level of their micro, day-to-day functioning. There would be no other solution for the hoteliers but to adopt an approach towards being sharply customer-driven. The most important function, though, of the operators would be to keep their staff highly motivated and to instill in them the feeling that the industry would certainly rebound into complete action. Patience is therefore the need of the hour.

Though being skeptical about the pace of recovery with respect to the other economies of the world, it was strongly felt that the Indian economy would come back on its tracks much faster than any other economy of the world.

With the clear decline envisaged in the international inbound travel, the Indian domestic traveler would now be more inclined towards exploring the vast treasures that our own country has to offer, and will give an unprecedented indirect and indirect boost to meetings, conferences and conventions being organized within the subcontinent. The Tier-II or the mid-scale cities of India would, it was assumed, pick up much quicker than the other, bigger cities of India.

The conference was attended by the vice chancellor of Ansal University, the Vatel India team, the students, invitees and the resource persons who contributed their useful thoughts from the different parts of India, from the UAE, the UK and the USA…