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A trend-setter hotel


The well designed lounge of the hotel.

Green Park has done Vizag proud by securing the national prominence and recognition and winning the prestigious H&FS Award for being the ''best economy business hotel of the year''.

This award has been won against stiff competition from over 3,000 hotels which have room tariffs in the range of Rs.1,000-Rs.2,000 per room night. Parameters like guest satisfaction, food quality, hygiene and facilities offered were thoroughly assessed and checked and counter-checked by ORG-MARG (a national market research organisation) in its survey, and responses were taken from 200 random guests who had stayed at the hotel.

Being the chief architect of this ''dream come true'', the irrepressible K.V. Madhu Nair - incidentallly he bagged the ''best general manager of the year'', also an all-India award, a couple of years ago - has been creating culinary waves in the otherwise orthodox and placid lake of Vizag's hospitality industry.

In its previous incarnation as Hotel Apsara, Green Park was languishing till early 1996 and its owners were looking for a turnaround specialist. Madhu, comfortably ensconced at Ooty's Holiday Inn then, was offered the opportunity. Not knowing what he was in for, he came down to the port city quietly before taking up the challenge and chatted with the city's elders. The verdict was unanimous: Vizag is a vegetable! Anybody else would have had a second thought.

But, he could spot the opportunity, grabbed it and, boy, he has changed the vegetable into a spicy, tangy fare! The turnover of the hotel has grown seven-fold and room occupancy has been consistently over 85 per cent for the past five years, a record of sorts in itself.


General Manager K.V. Madhu Nair with the award.

A major advantage that Madhu had in this remarkable overhauling exercise was his core competency - food and beverage. This, coupled with his experience in several hotels at home and abroad, helped him hone his skills in identifying what Vizag needed - a good variety of food with value for money.

His first two food festivals, 'Ayee Baisakhi' and 'Dosa Dhamaka', set the ball rolling, and there has been no looking back ever since. Sponsors came in, people came in and experienced the hotel, and Green Park became the preferred destination for all age groups. Today, on an average, the hotel elates 2,000 customers every day. It also does a lot of social service, the most heartwarming of which is the annual Christmas party for 350 mentally challenged children of Vizag.

The success of the hotel is its strong human resources management policies. As Madhu says, ''My USP (unique selling proposition) has been and will always be my staff''. The staff love their GM for his down-to-earth solutions for apparently insurmountable problems and his caring and affectionate nature. ''The hotel has now become my passion and I am an entrepreneur- GM; it's like my own business,'' he claims with pride.

Inculcating this sense-of-belonging down the hierarchy right from the manager to the bell-boy to the waiter, he has made one experience the warmth and caring that the hotel has for its customers and its people. Madhu keeps motivating his 240-odd employees to perform. The employee loyalty is quite high, something rare in the hospitality industry. ''When I interview for a job position, I don't look for stars, I look for attitudes!''

At the same time, he has not lost sight of the bottomline, too, and gets down to the nitty-gritties of costing. Why, he even randomly inspects the garbage to ensure that his people do not waste unnecessarily!

Madhu's cubicle is full of in-house awards like the ''best performer of the month'', ''energy conservator of the month'', etc., apart from the recognitions elsewhere. Having reached the top, the next target is remaining there.

Thanks to its belief that ''the learning curve never ends'', Green Park has become the benchmark in Vizag, and one can be sure that this kind of a hotel will continue to tickle the taste buds of the cosmopolitan Vizagites with, what Madhu likes to repeat often, its ''wallet-friendly'' tariff.

G. ANANTRAM

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