HVS Monday Musings: Self-Regulation is Essential for the Indian Hotel Industry to Build Credibility and Trust

This article discusses why self-regulation and independent accountability is important in the Indian hotel industry.
Mandeep S Lamba The tragic news of the murder of a young employee at a resort in Rishikesh last month tarnished the Indian hotel sector, which is recovering strongly from the pandemic. This prompted a verification drive to inspect all the hotels, resorts, and homestays in the area for violations of rules and regulations, as well as the closure of properties that did. There is no denying that rules and regulations must be strictly followed or there will be serious consequences. The recent fatal fire incident at a hotel in Lucknow, which occurred allegedly due to insufficient fire safety measures, serves as a case in point.

While we strongly condemn these incidents and think that those responsible should face the harshest penalties, we feel that the generalized tirade against the hotel sector as a whole is a bit harsh and does not augur well for the sector and the country as a whole given that tourism is a major economic driver. A similar generalization trend was also evident at the beginning of the pandemic when hotels were among the last few establishments to reopen following the lockdown and battled for a while to regain the trust of customers. With the sector finally experiencing renewed demand and growth, such incidents can jeopardize both guest and employee sentiment for the entire sector.

In the aftermath of the recent incident that led to the tragic murder of a young employee, the excessive action on hotels, resorts, guest houses, and homestays across the state leading to the abrupt sealing of a large number of such properties has deeply impacted the hospitality sector which felt isolated and singled out. While there is no grievance by any stakeholder from the sector on being duly regulated and for necessary checks by the concerned government bodies, the manner in which many of these have been conducted left the sector admonished as guilty till proven innocent. Sealing establishments without show cause notices or allowing time to provide necessary documents and respond to any queries cannot be an acceptable practice in the world’s largest democracy.

The merits of tourism having a multiplier impact on the economy and its significant contribution to the GDP must be recognized and the sector given its due respect and stature. The authorities may find it challenging to audit and inspect all properties in a nation the size of India, even though there are numerous mechanisms in place to check for violations and the sector must come together to support self-regulation and to ensure that independent accountability becomes a widely adopted procedure which can benefit both the sector and the government. In the meanwhile, governments must appreciate the contribution of the sector and not allow stray incidents in hotels or any hospitality establishment to become a trigger to tarnish the sector as a whole and must allow the sector to perform with dignity and without the fear of persecution.
Mandeep S. Lamba, President – South Asia, oversees the HVS global hospitality practice for South Asia. He has spent over 30 years in the hospitality industry of which the last 19 have been in CEO positions. Having worked with leading International and domestic Hotel Companies such as IHG, Radisson & ITC Hotels, he also set up joint venture companies with Dawnay Day Group UK and Onyx Hospitality, Thailand to own and operate hotels in India giving him a broader exposure to the hospitality business.
An established industry leader, Mandeep has won several awards and recognitions in India and abroad for his accomplishments and contribution to the hospitality industry. He is a Certified Hospitality Administrator from the American Hotels Association (CHA), a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, UK (MRICS) and a member of the Tourism Council of CII (Northern India). His views are often solicited for television and print media as a spokesperson for the hospitality & tourism sector.
Prior to joining HVS in 2018, Mandeep was the Managing Director, Hotels & Hospitality Group for JLL. 

Contact Mandeep at +91 981 1306 161 or [email protected]

About Dipti Mohan

Dipti Mohan, Associate Vice President - Research with HVS South Asia, is a seasoned knowledge professional with extensive experience in research-based content creation. She has authored several ‘point of view’ documents such as thought leadership reports, expert opinion articles, white papers, and research reports across industries including hospitality, real estate, infrastructure, cement, and construction. Contact Dipti at [email protected]


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