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Rediff.com  » Business » Hotels go in for 'she' change

Hotels go in for 'she' change

December 07, 2010 09:54 IST
HyattLeading hotel chains are rolling out a special red carpet for women travellers.

ITC Welcomgroup, The Leela and The Lalit are among those that ensure all touch-points for women travelling alone will be -- no prizes for guessing this -- ladies.

This means her airport chauffeur, guest executive, butler and security staff are all female. Hotels are also earmarking special rooms on a floor reserved exclusively for women.

ITC Welcomgroup, for instance, calls its special service Eva.

"The Eva concept has been received well and is well appreciated by ladies travelling alone, as we are willing to go that extra mile to ensure their comfort and safety," says Dhunji Kavarana, area manager for ITC Hotels-west and general manager at ITC Maratha.

The hotel says it has specifically hired female associates to meet the needs of its guests. Shifts and duties are assigned in a way that enough such associates are available to serve Eva rooms.

For Jatinder Peters, general manager for human resources and head of coordination at state-run Oil & Natural Gas Corporation, the concept is very appealing. Peters has been travelling on the job for over three decades and admits feeling uncomfortable and insecure at times at odd hours in unknown cities.

"This concept could be a boon. Especially when today more and more women are travelling alone and amidst heightened security concerns," adds Peters.

Hotels say personalisation is key. So, when guests check in, their favourite flowers could welcome them. In some cases, family photographs are also sourced and placed in rooms.

At The Lalit in New Delhi, special surveillance cameras have been installed to ensure better security for women travelling alone.

"When the door bell rings, ladies can identify the person. There is a safety latch on the doors that they can use in case of an emergency," says Vivek Shukla, general manager of The Lalit in New Delhi.

Foreign travellers comprise around 80 per cent of the total tourist check-ins at five-star hotels.

Women comprise 40 per cent of this. Hotels say women are happy with a dedicated service.

ITC Welcomgroup's increasing customer base includes companies like Royal Bank of Scotland, Fortis Insurance, Mindcrest India, ATKearney and Deutsche Bank.

Thomas L J Lind, vice-president for operations at The Leela Palaces, Hotels & Resorts, says domestic and international women travellers, who journey on their own, comprise a very important market segment. The hotel says it maintains special confidentiality on the allotment of rooms and personal details.

Also, the dietary needs of its guests are handled personally by a chef. The gym also has a lady instructor.

However, Rhea Vazirani, managing director of Global Logistics, says while such a move by hotels is welcome, "How far can a woman security guard take care of you is also a question."

Kalpana Pathak & Swaraj Baggonkar in Mumbai
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