HOTELIER OFF-DUTY: Holiday Inn's JS Anand

The Holiday Inn Dubai Al Barsha GM puts himself in the guest's shoes

JS Anand
JS Anand

As hoteliers refresh their focus on understanding guest behaviours, it’s time to look at hotels through the customer’s eyes. For JS Anand, general manager, Holiday Inn Dubai — Al Barsha, service delivery had better be well timed and the room must be spacious

How do you book a hotel? (Travel agent, direct phone call, direct email, online, mobile etc.)
Online.

When was the last time you used a travel agent for personal travel?
I used a travel agent who gets better deals on long haul travel to Canada last time, but I would mainly use a wholesaler.

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Front desk or self-service kiosk — which one do you approach for check-in?
Front desk.

What’s the first thing you do when you enter your hotel room?
I set up my laptop and check the wireless connectivity.

What would you prefer in your room - an espresso machine or kettle and fine teas?
A kettle and fine teas.

What could you live without - in-room robe and slippers, or guest bathroom toiletries?
The in-room robe and slippers.

What’s worse - no spa or no bar?
No bar.

How much would you be willing to pay to use the internet in a hotel?
Up to AED 75 (US $20) for a day charge.

How long do you wait for room service before calling to chase it?
30 minutes.

What item do you always hope to find on the in-room dining menu?
Breakfast items and selection.

What are you most likely to complain about in a hotel?
Service delivery and timely response from a service standpoint.

What will make you recommend a hotel to a friend?
For me to recommend a hotel to a friend, it must have a high standard of guest service, quality and cleanliness of the product and price positioning.

What’s your hotel pet peeve?
It’s when a hotel is not able to understand customer needs or be proactive, going the extra mile.

What did you last pinch from a hotel?
Nothing.

What’s best - pool or beach?
The swimming pool.

What do you use - traditional menu or iPad menu?
I prefer a visually designed menu that explains the concept and elaborates on menu items.

How do you relax when not at work?
I like to play tennis, watch movies and read books about brands and management styles.
I also enjoy visiting different kinds of restaurants and lounge concepts with my wife.

What’s your favorite holiday memory?
California, May 2001. I drove from San Francisco to Los Angeles and then to San Diego along the Pacific coast and covered 1600km. There were nice little towns along the way and the ocean was breathtaking.

What’s your best business travel experience and why?
It was a hotel in Washington DC which handled 1200 delegates for a convention. They achieved impeccable service delivery and outside the box meeting packages, and were seamless in managing and organising an event for such a large team of delegates.

Which holiday experience would you rather forget, and why?
Montreal 2006 — I stayed in a hotel paying top dollar and the room was the size of a train compartment.

Have you ever checked out of a hotel early because it was so bad? Why?
The above experience.

Which airport would you most hate to be delayed in?
Miami, it’s far too crowded and very confusing.

How many hours could you cope without your Blackberry/iPhone when on holiday?
30 minutes.

If you weren’t a hotelier, what other profession would you have chosen?
An airline pilot.

Tell us one thing your team doesn’t know about you?
I was a state level badminton player in India and in the Premium Squash League in Canada.

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