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 64 9 8350535 or venkatr@pihms.ac.nz

Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.