Vishal Gupta, General Manager Hilton Jaipur is a multi-skilled business leader with over twenty years experience. He has been with Hilton since 2015 and started his journey as the General Manager of Hilton Garden Inn Trivandrum and from last four and a half years spearheaded Hilton Jaipur to new heights. Prior to joining Hilton he was with Marriott International for fourteen years. Before moving back to India, Vishal was Cluster Director of Sales for Greenbelt Marriott and College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, USA. He has also worked at Marriott St. Kitts Resort & Royal Beach Casino, Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis; Baltimore Marriott Waterfront, Baltimore, USA; and Hotel Intercontinental, Sydney, Australia.
Vishal is a strategic thinker with an entrepreneurial mindset. His commercial acumen helps to maximize revenues, his financial and operational expertise helps find savings and increase profitability with high quality results. He prides himself in fostering positive stakeholder relations through proactive and clear communication.
What makes Hilton Jaipur stand out from other properties you’ve worked in?
I strongly believe that ‘A business succeeds not because it is long established or because of it’s size. It becomes successful because of it’s people who live it, dream it, and create an experience for our guests.’ We are in a people business – a business that relies upon the talent and passion of our team to deliver incredible experiences to our guests. It’s easy to get the hotel with more room inventories, facilities and amenities but it’s a lot tougher to make a guest happy and satisfied at your hotel. It is the team that makes a difference by providing exceptional service to our guests. When your team is at it’s best then everything else – be it operations, guest satisfaction or new initiatives – will all fall into place towards success. Hilton Jaipur is successful and stands out from the competition because of our team members, as they are the heart and soul of Hilton – each day I am truly inspired by everything they do to create exceptional experiences for our guests and positively impact our communities.
Who is your typical customer?
The beauty about this hotel is that it transitions from a business hotel during weekdays to a leisure hotel over weekends seamlessly. Apart from that, the hotel also caters to a lot of weddings and social events.
If you could plan a one-day itinerary for guests looking to explore Jaipur, where would you send them?
Jaipur is one of the most popular cities among travelers and tourists in India. The palaces, forts, havelis, bazaars and shopping are a big lure for travelers to visit the pink city. For a one day itinerary, I would suggest the following:
Start your day with a healthy breakfast at Aurum, all day dining restaurant at Hilton Jaipur. Early visit at Amer Fort followed by Nahargarh Fort, Hawa Mahal and Jantar Mantar. This should set you free by 1 for a lunch break. To save time and enjoy a royal experience, you can have lunch at Baradari, Jaipur City Palace. After the lunch break, visit City Palace. Lastly, you can visit the old bazaar of Jaipur for shopping. Johari Bazar, Bapu Bazar, Sirehdyodi bazar, Tripolia bazar. And to end your day on a yummy note, dinner at Chaandi our Indian speciality restaurant. Here you can enjoy one of the most authentic Laal Maas in town.
Building the right team is crucial for a property’s success. What are the key skills you look for when hiring new employees?
It is impossible to run a successful hotel without hiring the right attitude. After all, success in the industry is hugely reliant on customer service and there are a huge number of additional tasks and duties that need to be carried out. Here are a few standout traits we look for in screening new hires: the right attitude, think out of the box, willingness to learn, adaptive and integrity.
Tell us about some USP’s of your hotel
Superbly located in the city center, 20 minutes drive from airport and 10 minutes from the railway station. Hilton Jaipur is minutes away from famous attractions and business and commercial districts, offering an ideal base for both leisure and business travelers. The hotel features 179 spacious rooms and suites with magnificent views of the Aravalli Hills, the Nahargarh Fort or the city skyline.
The hotel features 3 eclectic dining outlets at the hotel that offer a range of cuisines including Indian specialty restaurant and pool side seating. Recreational options include an outdoor swimming pool, 24-hour fitness center, salon and a full-service spa. The stunning over 10,000-sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor event venues at the hotel offers an ideal setting for exclusive mid-sized and intimate business meetings, social gatherings as well as memorable wedding-related functions like sangeet, mehendi, ring ceremony and reception.
What is the one dish that guests have to try when at your hotel?
If you are at Hilton Jaipur and not eating Lal Maas and Dal Baati Churma then you ain’t doing it right. Apart from the Laal Maas and Dal Baati Churma, savor the authentic and aromatic flavors of North India at our award winning restaurant, Chaandi. The restaurant features a live kitchen and a choice of stunning al fresco poolside seating in the evenings.
2020 was a challenging year for the hospitality industry. In your opinion, how will travel trends change in the 2nd half of 2021?
The travel and tourism industry have been the most widely and badly affected by the corona virus-induced lockdown and curbs in different parts of the country.2021 didn’t shape up much differently either, unfortunately. We have definitely noticed change in bookings trends and behavior. Business is picking up, mostly it is domestic driven. India has a huge domestic market that keeps traveling.
Whereas, we have observed that people increasingly prefer travel choices that provide hygienic staying options and we as Hilton follow our Clean Stay Program. Also, with the uncertainty created by the virus, people want flexible products where cancellations would be allowed as a rule.
Was a career in hospitality something you always dreamt of? What is your advice to aspiring hoteliers?
I truly believe that hospitality is a unique industry that allows you to travel around the world and provides you with in an opportunity to delve into different cultures, experience different cuisines and meet interesting people along the way. I cannot imagine a career in any other industry being as fulfilling for me.
My advice to aspiring hoteliers are:
- To become a people person
- Be a jack of all trades
- Be a follower of the Open Door Policy
- Be decisive
- Be observant at all times