Vikram Oberoi, MD and CEO of The Oberoi Group, expressed his disappointment with the lack of relaxations in the hotel industry. In an interview, he talked about how his company and the industry have been affected by the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown.
He said, “We have seen an erosion of revenue that is unprecedented. We have not seen this in any crisis before and certainly not in my lifetime. But we see part of the picture. I believe the government would have applied due care in arriving at the decisions that they did to help various sections. Unfortunately, we weren’t part of that. Something may still be done. Who knows? Covid is not going away tomorrow.”
He also expressed his dissatisfaction with the economic package announced by the government. He said that the 20 lakh crore economic stimulus package had nothing to offer to the hotel industry specifically even after the Hotel Association of India (HAI) had sought government aid at various levels.
With the relaxation of domestic air travel, he expects the government to allow the industry to restart bookings. He also said that there are obvious health and safety requirements that worry the government and the guests but hotels can ensure these.
“Dissemination of information is critical and the same holds true for airlines,” he said. “If people are scared, nobody is going to come. There is a need to get factual and correct information out there so that people can take decisions on facts rather than perceptions for themselves and their families.”
The Oberoi Group has partnered with Bureau Veritas, a laboratory testing, inspection, and certification services provider. A new health and safety programme has been introduced by the group in all its properties. Bureau Veritas will also undertake various virtual and in-person training sessions to supervise the implementation of the new hygiene and safety standards at Oberoi and Trident hotels.
Talking about the vigilant and early measures that the group had taken as early as February he said , “We have not had a single guest during March that was positive while staying with us. Not one case of a colleague,” he said. “With all the measures that we have undertaken, I believe our hotels and those of others are as safe as anywhere else.”
The Oberoi Group owns and operates 33 five-star hotels and luxury resorts in India, Indonesia, Morocco, Mauritius, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).