Industry News

  • ‘The Guest is Equivalent to God’
  • Date: 2015-08-24
  • Kunal Onkar, General Manager, Shraddha Sarovar Portico, Shirdi brings with him 14 years’ of experience in the hospitality industry. His previous assignments include,  General Manager operations at The Travotel Suites & Mocha Nagpur, Assistant F&B Manager for Holiday Inn Heathrow London, Training Manager, Frankfinn Institute, Nagpur, Deputy Manager – P&O Cruises British Luxury Cruise Liner, F&B Dept, The Oberoi Hotels and Resorts Mumbai, adding his midas touch to the beautiful property of Sarovar in Shirdi. Under his guidance and knowledge the property is doing wonders. Here he shares more about his journey in the industry.
    By | Rachita Sehgal


    How long have you been handling the reins of this property?
    I’ve been associated with the property since November 2014, which is almost Eight Months now.


    As compared to your previous positions, how tough is it to be a GM of this property?
    The foremost thing which is different here is the place where this property is located – it’s still a primitive town with limited access from rest of the country or rest of world for that matter and we have to literally struggle for getting success for any of our efforts mostly since it’s a pilgrimage destination and the guests are least bothered about class and star services we always face a tough time to convince them about everything – be it pricing – or quality or we coming from a star background.


    As the GM, what special touch do you bring with you to the property you manage?
    It’s the personal touch which I found missing earlier and the team members were frustrated. Guests were not getting attended with right hospitality and personal touch and the operational team members were unknown to the guests which now has been set right and more and more team members have started taking extra efforts to go an extra mile to create a satisfactory atmosphere.


    As an hotelier, which aspect of hospitality industry or which phase of a hotel gives you maximum kick and why?
    My journey to the city of Joy, Kolkata in mid-2002 and My very first job as an Apprentice Steward at the Oberoi Tower Mumbai where I was assigned to their ‘Frangipani’ an all-day Italian restaurant where I loved the job’s overall profile from classic hand tossed pizza made in India’s very first wood fired oven to the making of mouthwatering cocktails... life was full of joy despite of work pressures and responsibilities till when I was asked to report at the Oberoi Grand Kolkata one fine day. To support fellow team members as the Hotel was going through severe union crisis, very next morning upon arriving I was asked by my HR to report at the ‘Thai’ restaurant as a shift in-charge with no significance knowledge of Thai Menu it was a complete shock 
    for me I spent all night reading menus 
    and understanding the recipes. Next morning I reported wearing a traditional Thai uniform I went and opened the restaurant doors I was nervous however with all my confidence which I gained working with the Oberoi Hotels I welcomed my first guest with traditional greeting ‘Savadika Ban Thai’ and it continued from there. That was the most important turning phase of my life and as a person where I actually got the word redefined - IMPOSSIBLE SAYS I’M POSSIBLE.  


    One place in India you would love to travel to.
    I would love to travel to Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. 

    One hotel you would love to ‘manage’.
    The Oberoi Tower Mumbai is one hotel that I would love to manage.


    Which is your favourite corner in the hotel?
    For me as a GM, every corner of my hotel is my favourite one however to pick one I would choose the pool side that overlook the holy shrine and one can hear the energising chants from SAI BABA Temple.


    What is the USP of your property?
    ‘The Guest is Equivalent to God’ our friendly and attentive staff is dedicated to providing personalised service throughout their stay.


    His Achievements:
    •    Awarded ‘A’ grade in Team Building & complain handling skill course from Carnival UK.
    •    Personal Survival Techniques Carnival UK.
    •    Certificate of Proficiency in Survival Craft & Rescue Boats, Carnival UK.
    •    Certificate of Proficiency in Crowd Management during the emergency with Carnival UK & Princess Cruises Miami (USA).
    •    Fire Fighting and Emergency Evacuation, Carnival UK.
    •    Leadership and people management, Holiday Inn Heathrow

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