Gaurav Apte is the General Manager of Goa Marriott Resort & Spa, Miramar. Gaurav who always comes across as a very suave personality is a man of few words and his actions actually speak louder. But we tried to get in a candid conversation with Gaurav, trying to discover a little more behind his shy smile.
Tell us something about your early days.
I was born and brought up in Mumbai. I was good at sports and basically an outdoor person who likes to explore different places and spend time with a lot of friends.
How did you choose hospitality as a line, was it intentional or happened by chance?
It actually happened by chance. I had got through a good institute in Pune for a Bachelor of Computer Studies and my second option was hotel management as my cousin used to be a Chef in one of the 5-star hotels. I used to think that my cousin gets to make and eat such fancy dishes, the hotel industry would be definitely better than Computer studies, hence decided to give it a try.
How has living in Goa been for you, was it easy or did you face any challenges initially?
Goa used to be and it still is my favorite place to stay or work. I used to make it a point that at least once a year I travel to Goa and spend a few days there. My first visit to Goa was after my 10th Class, where we school friends decided to venture out on our own to Goa and it was right then that I fell in love with Goa. I didn’t have any issues moving to Goa as the people are very friendly and also the Konkani language is not difficult to understand if you know Marathi well
What do you think is your greatest strength and your biggest weakness?
My greatest strength is teamwork. I absolutely believe that you are as strong as your team. Leadership is all about holding the team together to achieve a common goal. My biggest low is when I am unable to prevent any team member from leaving the company and unable to manage their career aspirations,
As a team leader, how do you cope with bad business days and keep your team motivated?
It is important to understand that when any business is faced with adversity, it is critical to keep the team together and depict a sense of belonging, as it is the team that creates memorable experiences for our guests, and with our motto at Marriott being ‘Put People First’, we do just that.
In our day-to-day operations, we encourage collaborative thinking and cross-functional ideation to bring about a positive and resourceful environment, which ultimately keeps the team engaged especially through difficult times.
We at Marriott believe in effective and transparent communication with our team members, which is positive in nature and ensure that every success story is praised.
As leaders, it is our fundamental responsibility to maintain an optimal balance while carrying out our businesses and encourage an inclusive and supportive framework for our team members
What are the key USPs of Marriott Goa Resort & Spa as a hotel and how have you nurtured them?
Our location! Being a resort that is centrally located in the heart of the city, the capital of Goa. With stunning views of the bay and glorious sunsets, we are an ideal hotel for a stay in the land of sun and sand for all those who wish to celebrate any occasion or a getaway.
How do you think Goa’s tourism business is different from other parts of the country?
Located on the south-western coast of India, Goa is one of the top tourist destinations in the country. This erstwhile Portuguese colony is best known for its serene beaches, forts and churches that date back to the colonial era, wildlife sanctuaries, museums, and rich culinary legacy. Goa also boasts of vibrant nightlife, thanks to the many beach shacks, pubs, and clubs dotting the region. What’s more, it is the only Indian state where you can find floating casinos.
Which other hotels apart from the Marriott do you personally appreciate?
I think all brands have their uniqueness- some of the hotel chains that I really appreciate are Taj, Oberoi, ITC, Hyatt, Hilton, and Accor. The competitive spirit between the hotel chains drives quality and better guest satisfaction.
What events/activities are you planning for the season to keep Marriott always buzzing with people?
Goa Marriott Resort and Spa believes in building strong customer relationships to boost loyalty. Currently, we have many ongoing food and beverage offerings to provide our local guests with varied experiences.
- Beyond Brunch– Every Sunday from 12:30 pm to 3: 00 pm at Waterfront Terrace and Bar showcasing a wide spread of local and International specialties paired with crafted drinks, live counters, and pool access. Live music and much more.
- Barbeque On Wheels– Pique your appetite with our tempting Barbeque in a Box safely delivered to your doorstep. Our culinary maestro has exclusively curated this grilling experience to uplift your mood. Choose from a selection of meats and sauces paired with sautéed vegetables, mashed potato, or rice noodles, and just grill it your way.
- Wok By The Bay– Savour scrumptious Asian cuisine inspired by timeless culinary traditions at our new pop-up Indo-Chinese restaurant, every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at South Central Lawns from 7 pm to 11 pm.
- Easter Goodies and Brunch– This Easter, enjoy classic treats like chocolate eggs, cakes, bunnies, and lots more at Goa Baking Company. Relive the ancient tales of Easter celebration with friends and family over our Sunday brunch on 17th April with an array of international cuisine, old fashioned pot roast live counter, sweet-hot plum-glazed ham, grilled fish, slow roast leg of lamb, and desserts paired with unlimited beverages, live entertainment and Easter egg hunt for kids at Waterfront Terrace & Bar.
How much do you think social media and influencers help in spreading the word for businesses these days?
Social media and Influencer marketing have caused a revolutionary change for businesses by offering unbelievable opportunities at a low cost to help them market their products and services to a much larger audience and build a strong brand reputation.
Every business, be it small or large, nowadays have an online presence. Businesses have personified themselves by giving their brand a friendly voice and unmatchable customer services that allow building a relationship with the customers at a human level. With the help of social media and influencer marketing, businesses can now connect with their customers like a friend who understands their needs and thus helping them drive sales. What is special about social media influencers, is that their fan base is very loyal and their trust in the influencers is high.
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
In the last 20 years with Marriott, I have been working and staying in cities like Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, and Goa, and have experience in business hotels and resorts. In 5 years I feel that I would be able to take care of larger hotels or clusters of hotels and larger teams.
Images by Goa Marriott Resort & Spa