© Ravi Wazir, 2020

The Hospitality Research Center of India

We all know that a business aligned with its customer habits and preferences is more likely to be relevant and therefore more likely to succeed. So at the very least we must ensure that our business is customer centric.

Of decision makers who create or re-engineer businesses, many rely exclusively on instinct, some on findings from a few associates, and a few on a thorough research of the market.

In India, it often happens that in-depth market research is perceived to be either the prerogative of a large company or one that lacks entrepreneurial intuition. This belief is unfortunately further strengthened when a well researched business plan developed by an agency of repute, fails. While even the most thorough research cannot ensure success, it is certainly the best known way to mitigate possible risks.

It is also true that even “reputed” agencies fudge their findings, as it may serve their need for continuity in being hired. Finding an agency or individual that will drive the research with integrity is thus even more important than the other parameters of their selection.

The need for a good Hospitality Research Center in India along the lines of that run by Cornell is thus on the top of my “within our control” (without government action) initiative wish list for the sector today. The objective would simply be to gather, collate and analyse data on relevant industry topics and present them in a format that is practically useful to both practicing professionals as well as academicians.

The modalities of such an enterprise such as differential pricing for different client types, a Memorandum of Understanding where the recipient of the knowledge transfer cannot resell the same in any form etc. can always be worked out.

Three Benefits of a Hospitality Research Center in India:

  1. Provides affordable access to reliable objective information for any organisation or individual, regardless of its size, by a dedicated outsourced agency.
  2. Serves as a bridge between academicians and practicing professionals that covers the alignment gap we so often complain about.
  3. Ups the minimum base level of professionalism in the sector; considering we have so many players in the unorganised sector.

For this Center of knowledge-workers to itself be customer centric, it must be born from the desire of top hospitality brands in the country. Having the blessings, time, thought and endowment from captains of industry; to form a national hospitality association with such an agenda, is crucial to its success. Large organisations like Nestle and top professionals like Raymond Bickson are associates of this initiative at Cornell. Apart from them, there will certainly be others willing and able to drive such an initiative here.

If you can pay for and acquire a legitimate affordable report on matters such as Employee Compensation Benefits in a budget hotel, or Customer Experience Measurement in the fine dining arena for instance, wouldn’t it be a shot in the arm for an organisation or individual wanting it?

Wouldn’t access to such information by academia allow professors and thus students to be better aligned with the practical needs and wants of the industry, thereby helping all concerned?

Wouldn’t you like to see little sandwich or juice stalls on the street take their hygiene up a few notches and conversely have insights into innovations they develop out of their necessity to stay lean?

Isn’t now as good a time as any to start this initiative in India?

Isn’t this something any professional worth his salt would find meaningful in terms of giving back to the industry? I know for sure, I absolutely would!