The Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad has awarded Hyderabad-based Sarovar Park Plaza, a subsidiary of Sarovar Hotels, a long-term contract to provide management-backed hospitality services.
If this initiative works well, other IIMs will follow suit, according to sources close to the development. IIM-Calcutta has already shown interest in roping professionals in hospitality business, sources added. Till date, the Indian School of Business has been the only premier business school to have incorporated corporate service hospitality on its campus.
Sarovar Park Plaza currently runs a 116-room hotel on the ISB campus. As part of its association with IIM-A, it has taken over the charge from October 1 to provide facilities like accommodation and catering at the institute's Kasturbhai Lalbhai Management Development Centre and International Management Development Centre.
The group will manage 230-odd rooms in the two centres, besides replacing the dorms with service apartments at the new campus.
Ishita Solanki, manager (global partnerships and corporate affairs), at IIM-A, confirmed: "Sarovar has been providing the facility management of the two management development centres of IIM-A from October 1 this year.
The kind of services and facility offered will be on a par with international four-star hotels. The difference we will make is similar to transforming a hostel to a hotel," said Ajay Bakaya, executive director of Sarovar Hotels. There were a number of players in the fray, however, Sarovar had the advantage to showcase its experience with the ISB.
About 225 employees of Sarovar have already been deployed at IIM-A and the staff strength is likely to increase as and when required, according to Bakaya. A host of services, including catering, hygiene maintenance, standardisation, reception, house-keeping by professionally trained staff and some change in the interiors, will lend a fresh look to these centres.
IIM-A sees more than 4,000 participants for various programmes on campus every year, besides important visitors and delegates.
In order to give the participants more than just the basic amenities along with an experience of staying on the campus, the premier management institute of the country has sought a helping hand from the hotel group for hospitality management and catering services.