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Friday, 30 November, 2018, 16 : 00 PM [IST]

Up for the Challenge - Anshu Sarin

Mid-market hotel segment is presently experiencing increased competition and robust demand. Taking due cognisance of the fact, Anshu Sarin initiated a series of initiatives for guest satisfaction to drive repeat business. It is with her sheer aggressiveness that she is driving the mid-market segment to stay on the top of the game. She believes that failures and mistakes are very much part of a successful journey.

Anshu Sarin started her journey in the year 1994 with the Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces as a Management Trainee and rose to a position of Resident Manager. Talking about the changes in programme she said that there have been many changes (to the programme) since then. “The programme structure was split with on-job projects and classroom sessions, and subjects were not limited to core hotel operations. Traversed various functions, cities and genres of hotels during a long stint with the Taj inclusive but not limited to Taj Holiday Village, Goa and Taj Lands End, Mumbai (two of my favourite hotels),” says Sarin.

In 2008, Sarin joined Kingfisher Airlines as Vice President, Commercial. The decision to join Kingfisher Airlines immensely benefitted her to learn new things, especially technology. “I gained invaluable learning across multiple functions and importantly the effective use of technology and data to arrive at insights. I truly believe that having this broader perspective of hospitality has immensely contributed to my professional growth,” she says.

She believes that every professional journey, exciting and enriching as it may have been, comes with its set of constraints. What is important is how one faces them and strives towards the objective in spite of them. Citing an example she said that the recent journey with Keys has been hugely transformational for them as a company. “It touched all facets of business and how we as a team create an eco-system which is diverse and nimble, a future ready company,” says Sarin.

Sarin believes that failure and mistake are very much part of a successful journey. People learn from failures and mistakes which subsequently make them stronger. But there is a way to learn from failures. “Sometimes you are the cause of failure and many times there is failure in spite of you. That is why, it is important to compartmentalise and learn from it. It is okay to make mistakes, it is okay to fail. What matters is to own and learn from them,” exhorts Sarin. She believes in giving her team members, an empowered environment where they are constantly saying ‘give me more’. “Mistakes and failures in such an environment are a part of the greater success that follows,” she says.

Talking about her efforts to turnaround the company, she said that the mid-market hotel segment is presently experiencing increased competition and great demand. So, it is prudent to remain in that space. The challenge is that in a category where there is high price sensitivity, limited loyalty and many substitutes/alternate options, how does one stay relevant and be successful. In their endeavour to keep their guests happy, they have taken series of initiatives which help them stay ahead of their competitors. Not only that, such steps help them to get repeat customers. “Our operating and financial metrics which are at par with the industry also make us happy. But above all, what we are proud of is the repeat guest base and ‘WOW’ stories shared by our guests. Initiatives such as #ownyourguest constantly nudge us to think as a guest would and offer an experience which is gratifying and personal,” she says.

Her favourite book is ‘Good to Great’ which she read at the insistence of her friend. “A friend insisted that I read ‘Good to Great’ and I can’t thank him enough for it. It’s an old book and yet so relevant. Another book that I like is ‘Change by Design’ by Tim Brown, am passionate about design thinking and this book has interesting insights,” she says. The best piece of advice she ever received, “Never stop learning, take risks but don’t be reckless, make technology work for you, believe in yourself and surround yourself with great mentors.”
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