A Silver Lining!?

December 10, 2020

Corona has brought regulations upon regulations upon regulations … leading to headaches upon headaches upon headaches for hotels!

Can’t complain though- restricted regulations are still better than a complete lockdown, which we faced  April to September.

Now, revised regulations restrict all indoor dining and activities but at least allow activities outside. 

My grandfather’s foresight planned large outdoor spaces for our Beach Luxury Hotel by the sea in 1947; the Avari Lahore hotel in 1978; and the Avari Towers in 1985.  Naturally, he had no knowledge about the calamity that would hit the world in 2020 then but his idea always was for large, green spaces.

Chinna Creek, Karachi

In a city like Karachi, our so-called autumns & winters (whatever semblance of “winter” one can call it in Karachi 😊) make it absolutely outstanding to be outdoors and not cooped up in an a/c environment.

The other day my father and I dropped by for a coffee to Avari Towers.  We made our way down to the gardens by the pool, which have been transformed into an all-day dining- menus from Fujiyama, Dynasty & Asia Live are available there.  We thought we were sitting in some tropical paradise- with the trees, greenery, plants, tree overhangs, etc.  Our Sky Grill restaurant continues operating for dinner on the roof of the Hotel, overlooking the lights of the sprawling metropolis.    

Avari Towers, Karachi
Skygrill Rooftop Restaurant

At Beach Luxury, a full day conference (with social distancing, I might add) took place on our Seafront restaurant- the only open air, floating restaurant in Pakistan – which we use for our buffet dinners.  In the past, we have used this venue for our breakfast and lunch buffets also – it is a sight for sleepy morning eyes to see the seagulls swoop down in Chinna Creek; school-going rowers in the first morning light (albeit being grumpy at having to awake at 5am 😊) on their Sculls, Doubles, Fours and Eights; the first morning fisherman throwing his net out in the dirty, still creek- to get small fish he can then sell to the large trawlers to use as bait … and if you come early enough, one of the best winter SUNRISES you can experience!  Our Casbah restaurant, the freshest seafood grill, has had outdoor dining 365 days.

Seafront Restaurant, Beach Luxury, Karachi

At Avari Lahore, our large lawns (which houses a small aviary too) now host our outdoor restaurants – Tollington combines Kims, Lakhnavi & Tollington menus; Dynasty & Fujiyama are combined at an adjacent garden venue.  With ample space to spare, the other parts of the lawns are used for weddings & related events.

Avari Lahore, Lahore

I may be proudly boasting but we are really happy of what our GMs & teams’ have created within the parameters of these Covid regulations & restrictions.

So, I tell you friends, we don’t look at the glass as “half empty” … rather, look at it as “half full”; these days shall also pass – maybe slowly, but pass they shall !  As my father quotes “Smile, & the World Smiles With You … Cry, & You Cry Alone”.

(End note: fat lot me giving such advice … by nature I’m one of the world’s greatest pessimists 😊 😊 😊)

Avari Lahore

Avari Towers
Beach Luxury Hotel, Karachi
Avari Lahore gardens

PRINT … SOCIAL … what next … HOLOGRAPHIC???

Hotels [rooms] marketing used to be so much easier- you put an advert in the newspaper or magazine to promote your product or facility or promotion.  That’s IT!

(Photo credit- https://images.app.goo.gl/kh4nzcBrg6QNPPXT8)

TV was around but one of the most expensive mediums to market a hotel- and only the large Hiltons, Hyatts and Sheratons of the world used it.

Then came the ‘90s email usage on a commercial basis, so we started emailing clients and guests.

Close on its heels came the WWW … followed by our “friend”, SOCIAL MEDIA in the last decade!

Very very confusing … not only to customers – with the JUNK being posted daily – but also to hotels. 

(photo credit- https://images.app.goo.gl/a8AAHSrANiKYjAwu9)

Where & who do we market to? 

When will our customer be “online”?

Who will see our advert in the clutter & junk of the information

available on the Web & Social?

Newspapers officially have a shelf life of 24 hours … in practice, it’s a few hours – the moment the paper is put back on the coffee table, that’s it. 

Magazines fare a little better (with their “official” shelf life of a week or month- depending on its publication).

We dabble in WhatsApp and SMS content too … not very satisfying!

…and SOCIAL … the amount of information explosion taking place is phenomenal and mind boggling.  A tweet is literally lost in seconds.  Few years back I actually experimented one day to see how many tweets used to go through on my account – I lost count after 800 or so!  Say a 1000 tweets in 9 hours!  That was when I had just started on Twitter.  I don’t even want to try a similar experiment today.

(photo credit- https://images.app.goo.gl/4NAGrhXshNhZzeoJ8)

What’s the best platform for hotel services marketing then? 

I REALLY DON’T KNOW

Only time will tell how to really market the hotel industry.  For now, we dabble in FB, IG or Twitter; maybe an advert in a newspaper; some messaging from time to time – but I am at a complete loss as to what is the future of advertising & marketing a hotel is in the 2020s and beyond!

Any guesses?  Ideas?  Suggestions?

(Photo credit- https://images.app.goo.gl/UamemvWdAT9yEPVs9)