Editorial Board   

Mr. Rajagopal

Venkat Rajagopal

Professor, Pacific International Hotel Management School

Venkatraman Rajagopal known as Venkat is currently a lecturer teaching hospitality and tourism management subjects at Pacific International Hotel Management School in New Plymouth, New Zealand. Venkat holds a degree in Commerce, a Masters in Business Administration and a Masters in International Hospitality Management. With more than 20 years experience in the hospitality industry, Mr. Rajagopal has worked his way up in all departments of the industry, holding senior management positions such as Director of Finance, Director of Food and Beverage and General Manager. He has worked with city hotels, beach resorts and game parks, in India, Middle East, Africa and New Zealand. Most of the properties have been owned and operated by such well known chains as the Indian Hotels Company Ltd., (which owns and operates Taj and Taj groups of hotels in India and abroad), Intercontinental Hotels, The Kempinski Group, (Leading Hotels of the World), Preferred Group of Hotels, Stamford Plaza and Sheraton to name a few. Mr. Rajagopal has also been responsible for computerization of front office, food and beverage and interfacing of the same with back office accounts for one of the best beach resorts in Mombasa, Kenya, East Africa. He is very proud to have introduced “expatriate business” as one of the important segments for a city hotel in Nairobi, Kenya. Mr. Rajagopal has conducted many training sessions and workshops for middle and senior management staff in the hotel industry as part of “Training within Industry”, and has also been guest lecturer at the Institute of Hotel Management, Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition in India. Mr. Rajagopal has chosen to live and work in New Zealand because of the unprecedented growth of the hospitality and tourism sector within the country. In recent times that has resulted in increased opportunities for skilled and qualified personnel.

Mr. Rajagopal can be contacted at 649-835-0535 or venkatr@pihms.ac.nz

Coming up in September 2020...

Hotel Group Meetings: Demand vs. Supply

It is a great time for hotel group meetings. It is expected that once again this sector will grow by 5-10% in 2020, partly due to the increasing value of in-person group meetings. Because people now spend so much time in front of their screens, face-to-face interactions have become a more treasured commodity in our modern world. Plus, the use of social media reinforces the value of engagement, discussion, conversation, and networking - all areas where group meetings shine. Despite this rosy outlook, there is a concern that demand for meetings far exceeds the supply of suitable venues and hotels. There are very few "big box" properties with 500-plus rooms and extensive conference facilities being built, and this shortage of inventory could pose a serious challenge for meeting planners. In addition to location concerns, the role of the meeting planner has also evolved significantly. Planners are no longer just meeting coordinators - they are de facto travel agents. Cultural interactions, local dining, experiential travel, and team-building activities are all now a part of their meeting mix. Plus, they have to cater to evolving tastes. Millennials are insisting on healthier venues and activities, and to meet their demands, hotels are making yoga breaks, fresh-pressed juices, plant-based diets, state-of-the-art gyms, and locally-sourced menus available. Millennials are also insisting that meeting venues practice Corporate Social Responsibility, which means upholding sustainable and ethical values; investment in the local community; health and well-being of employees; and general business practices that reflect being good citizens of the planet. Finally, there is a growing trend to merge meetings with other local events, such as music festivals, sporting events, and cultural attractions. The December Hotel Business Review will report on issues relevant to group meetings and will document what some hotels are doing to support this part of their operations.