Rajeev Kumar comes from the land of industrial revolutions in India but chose to settle with his family in the land of Sun, Sand & Surf and seek a career here. After finishing his studies in Hotel Management from Rourkela, Orissa, in 2020 he landed in Goa, the hub of the hospitality industry in India and has been here ever since scaling new heights in his chosen career. I met Rajeev to find out more about his journey. Below are the excerpts of the interview.
Rajeev Ji, please tell us more about your journey into the Hospitality Industry of Goa.
“I belong to Jamshedpur, the city of the industrial revolution in India and after completing my BBA in Hotel Management from Rourkela in Orissa I moved down to Goa “in search of a long-term career. Later on, I completed my MBA in Hospitality Management through distance learning from the Indian School of Management Studies, Mumbai.
My professional journey began in the year 2000 after I joined the Majorda Beach Resort, situated in south Goa as a trainee supervisor, and from thereafter completing my training I moved to Haathi Mahal as a Junior Manager. The journey continued as I explored more properties for growth prospects in India and abroad till finally, I landed at Fern Hotels and Resorts as a General Manager and since then I have been here for the past 5 years.
How did you land in the Hospitality Industry and what has been your inspiration behind this?
Upon the completion of my college, my father advised me to join the Hotel Management course and soon I realised that is something meant for me and I have to take my career forward in this industry.
Today when I look back I feel gratitude towards my father for guiding me to choose this field as my career path and I am sure that nothing would have made me happier than this industry has.
Rajeev Ji, You have helped many brands to set up and scale in this segment.
I feel very proud and honoured when I get such positive remarks from my colleagues and associates. I am the master of my field and as a Food & Beverage professional I had an opportunity to work with many brands in their pre-opening stage and set up the Food & Beverage outlets, department, and whole unit.
I surely want to name some of them which include Royal Resorts – Haathi Mahal, Many Units of Club Mahindra Holiday and the popular restaurant Bay 15, a part of Aqua Resorts & Spa is amongst the few to name.
What are the challenges that you faced in your journey and how did you tackle them?
At the beginning of my career, I had to face some major challenges, but then who does not? I was new to the Industry and our field may look very glamourized from the outside but it has a very hectic schedule and stressful scenarios all the time.
However, I am grateful to my mentor Mr Sunil Mittal who guided me and taught me the tricks of the trade and prepared me to face the challenges and attain growth through that.
I have known you for a long time but have never seen you stressed out anytime regardless of challenges, you always keep smiling. How do you manage to do this? Is there any special course you have done in this or it just comes naturally to you? Tell us more about this.
As I mentioned earlier, my initial journey was filled with lots of stress but as time passed I learned to deal with the situation more efficiently. Maturity comes with experience and naturally, it helps in gaining patience to deal with any kind of situation with a cool mind. According to me, thoughtful decisions are much more beneficial for the self as well as for the organisation.
You have seen the Hospitality Industry across the world, what is your opinion on Goa’s Hospitality Industry?
As far as my knowledge and experience go, I have seen the hospitality industry across the country and overseas and I have found that Goa Hospitality is the best, and due to this, I came back to Goa from wherever I went in a search of lucrative change.
Here, I would like to share that still there is a huge scope for improvement in the tourism sector of Goa and if things work as desired, Goa can become the best holiday destination in the world.
Fern Kadamba Comes Under Boutique Hotel Segment, According to you, is it an Advantage or Disadvantage?
Each type of property has its pros and cons and managing a small property is easier compared to the large one. On the one side, we are doing exceptionally well with our occupancy rate but at the same, we feel sad when we have to refuse many of our repeated clients due to the unavailability of the rooms. It leaves a bad taste with guests when we say “NO” during their future booking. Also afraid to lose the large size of business which has more benefits in terms of source of income.
We have also seen many celebrities visiting your hotel, how does it help in PR and Business?
Fern Hotels and Resorts is highly recognized amongst corporate clients. We have 88 hotels across the country and overseas and besides the unit sales, we have 9 regional sales offices in different locations in India.
Our presence is very strong in Metros as well as in 2nd-tier cities. Our business comes from various channels and sources and according to me, word-of-mouth publicity gets more than half our job done. Every happy guest refers us to their contact and references and that works very well for us.
According to you, what is the USP of your Property?
The Fern Kadamba comes under the upscale 5-star business hotels segment having all the modern facilities and situated in the heritage centre of Goa. Our hotel has 48 well-appointed rooms along with various options for Banqueting and Multi-cuisine dining.
We are also one of the Eco-Sensitive hotels striving hard to adhere to the go green factor and our state-of-the-art recreation facilities make our property special among others. The hotel also has other facilities such as Spa & Salon, Squash Court, 3 Layered Swimming Pool, and the Largest Gymnasium setup.
Tell us more about your Banqueting facilities and how it is Positioned.
We have multiple options when it comes to the Banqueting facility and we can cater from 10 pax to 400 pax for any social and corporate requirements. We have meeting rooms with different capacities besides the hall and open-air Poolside lawn for large Banqueting or events. Easy access to the property and massive parking facilities attract guests to us for their events.
Finally, tell us about your plans and career in Goa
As I told you earlier that Goa has been my all-time favourite place and that is why I have settled down here with my family. I believe that there is a tremendous scope of growth in this state in the hospitality industry in the near future and I am looking forward to continuing my services in this awesome state for good. This is my home now.