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Anshu Sarin

Anshu Sarin, CEO, Berggruen Hotels.

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How have Disruptors Changed the Way You do Business?

Disruptors are not from a new tribe. Disruption may seem like the new argot in the consumer and demand driven corporate world of today, but it is not really a newfangled phenomenon.

The world is transforming. Technology and the power of information is disrupting and reshaping every facet of our work and lives. Incredible new opportunities are getting created – and along with it, so are significant risks. However no one wants to be caught napping or be static till rendered obsolete!

Technology and the resultant disruption have upended entire industries and business models. They have spawned an ecosystem of entities – big and small - that would not have existed otherwise. The pace of innovation today means that the next status-quo busting idea could be right around the corner.  No business sector or industry today is immune to disruption and there is no going back to “business as usual”.

Disruptors have changed the way we do business. While some of the businesses as we had earlier known cease, there are several more which are getting created. Technology has also provided us with a increasingly smart tool kit to help us to not only spot but also seize new opportunities in this transformation – smart tools that can facilitate us in harnessing the power of change and turn disruption to our advantage.

Disruptors are not from a new tribe. Disruption may seem like the new argot in the consumer and demand driven corporate world of today, but it is not really a newfangled phenomenon. Since the genesis of inventions and discoveries, radical business models and technologies have made established players either redundant and out of business or forced them to reinvent themselves. What has changed however is the non linear pace of these changes brought in by disruption. Armed with an increasingly connected and globalized world and coupled with a humungous amount of data and information at disposal, the speed at which disruption is happening is unprecedent. That is a key reason why the stakeholders, especially the established ones, are finding managing and responding to these disruptors somewhat staggering. Additionally, and this is a vital point not to be missed, is that today we have examples of the impact of the changes brought in by these disruptors spanning not just the business world but also the realm of regulatory frameworks.

Some of these disruptions may initially appear like a spark in the dark, something that can be easily missed. We see glimpses of them over a period of time and in short phases or spurts, but soon enough we find that they have become mainstream.

Like other businesses, the hospitality industry has also been disrupted. AirBnB introduced the sharing economy to the hotel sector. This was a radical business model and a shift away from the mostly  incremental innovation on traditional products and offerings, usually provided by incumbents.

Typically, traditional hotel chains have been slow to react to changes, especially ones on the scale that we are seeing now. Their sprawling size and investments in assets which tend to have a long-term yield window make it difficult for them to be as quick-footed as rivals who operate only online. However, maintaining status-quo is not an option – it is a death knell for a business especially in these fast changing times.

Disruption also hands hotel chains an opportunity to adapt and reassess their business models and up their game.The disruption while introducing new players has propelled incumbents too to  rethink their business models in a radical way. This has spawned new partnerships and collaborations – quite a few with non traditional players, industry consolidation, new distribution platforms and reach, dynamic pricing strategies and novel ways to woo customers. A big change is also seen in the way the hospitality sector is adopting technology in this transformation journey.

The fundamental to handling the ‘D’ word is to embrace it and not fear it or avoid it. We at Keys believe in being alert to disruptions and be well positioned to seize the opportunities they usher in along with the changes in the way business is done. This entails being open to radical approaches and explore new, significant and sustainable sources of revenue. We need to be nimble to adapt to the changes. The requisite transformation spans multiple elements and each requires a number of diverse capabilities and skill sets. A systematic and holistic comprehension and strategy is of essence. And all this requires a significant commitment.

Keys is all geared up for the new wave in hospitality where the industry would need to capitalise on the consumer demands looking for richer and valuable experiences.

At Keys, we frequently stand back and realign ourselves from the consumers perspective and gauge their point of view. It is imperative that we keep a close eye on how today’s guest would respond to different options on the multitude of  channels available to her for making a purchase decision.

We endeavour to ensure that we can provide a value proposition that is very compelling and lucrative for a guest.

As an organisation we are consistently working towards evolving our policies to be dynamic and flexible. We are not afraid to experiment and reshape the way we work, redesign our business models and evolve multiple and diverse modes to anticipate and address what our customers would value – implicit as well as explicit.

On the other hand we also do believe that one needs to be prudish and discerning  in one’s approach and ascertain that each disruption that comes our way is not always destined to break or change the tide. Leaping in the wave can at times be fatal – especially when one is not watchful, well-prepared or agile.

Our various innovative approaches towards a plethora of products and services that are customized and targeted for our guests across multitude demographics, an extensive and varied distribution system and reach are some of the means to leverage the changes brought in by disruption. We are working innovatively towards offering a compelling value-proposition to our guests – existing and prospective. And powering all this is our human capital engine – a young and agile team coming from different genres which adds to the diversity in ideas and execution. They are open to new approaches and concepts and have the mandate to experiment. They are nimble and willing to pivot. The work environment is more like that of a startup!

It is exciting times ahead – and is not for the faint hearted!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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