Conversation with Mr. Sajan Shakya | Director, Marcopolo Business Hotel
Mr. Shakya, shared with us how and when the concept of Marcopolo Business Hotel was conceived and its journey into the hotel it is now?
In 1990, my uncle Karna Bahadur Shakya and elder brother Yogendra Bahadur Shakya dreamt of a hotel that would cater business travelers in Nepal. We envisaged a hotel that would provide everything necessary for a person on a business mission that included secretarial services, personal computer, internet services. All of those were not so easy during those times. Many had looked at us with skeptical eyes and commented that a concept of business hotel would not work in Nepal. We did have guest flow but not as expected in terms of business guest. I was studying at that time when they established Marcopolo Business Hotel.
When I joined later in 1998, we got together and formulated strategies to make our business hotel work in Nepal. Overtime with all the hard work and dedication of the team, the dream evolved into a reality and took the shape of what it is today. Location turned out to be our biggest strength and we provided services like sim-cards, vehicle on hire and corporate contact database upon request, all of those helped translate our vision into reality. While Marcopolo was positioning itself as the only branded business hotel, we faced the challenge of convincing travel agencies to work with us. Travel agencies/ tour operators were a little reluctant to put their guests in our hotel because of the brand; they thought it was not for their guests. Thanks to our ACE group strength we are doing quite well in both the segments now. We can convince our guests that we are a business hotel and at the same time retain leisure customers with our services. Currently, we also rent out spaces to set up temporary and permanent offices.
What makes business hotel different from the rest? How is Marcopolo Business Hotel different?
There are many factors that set a business hotel apart from other hotels. However, prime location has been the key factor that has stuck around with Marcopolo Business Hotel all these years. People mostly visit or stay in hotels for vacation or recreational purposes but our guests usually visit or travel with business purposes. We have set up Himalayan Java inside our premises with the aim of providing 24-hour service, which will come into operation soon. It will be a place where our guests can work and conduct their meetings at any time of the day.
What are the facilities and services provided?
Our goal is to make our guests’ stay as fruitful as possible in Nepal. We provide them with furnished spaces to set up temporary offices inside the premises if they need, which makes it easier for them. They can also use our boardroom for their meetings. Apart from this we also provide stationaries on our compliment. A business traveler’s need may vary depending upon their mission, we ensure to help them in every possible way. Hence, it is basically like getting a small group of staff of your own without having to deal with the hassle or expense of hiring one.
Are there business travelers from any particular place/ country who visit frequently?
We mostly receive guests from India. We also get a good number of corporate guest from companies around our hotel. Since the past couple of years Chinese guests are also on the rise. They stay for a long durations or until their project is complete. It is a lot easier and economical for them to stay with us than to book an entire apartment for themselves for such long durations. These kinds of guests stay here for at least two to three months at a time. We provide special rate for our long staying guests, which is mutually beneficial for both the hotel and the guest because our occupancy is guaranteed and at the same time their requirements are met.
Should a business hotel have different modus operandi that the other hotels?
Technically yes, but since the business environment of Nepal does not allow much of it so at Marcopolo we are operating like the other hotels here. However, we provide additional facilities to the business travelers. We have learnt and evolved over the years to dovetail to the market requirement ally.
What are the prospects for business hotels in Nepal? Is there a need for more of similar hotels here at Nepal? Why?
Yes, I would say we need more because Nepal lies between giant economies. There has been very little or no efforts on targeting or attracting such visitors. A prospect of a business hotel is directly related to the business environment of the country. We have miles to go to pull such arrivals.
You never know. If the scenario changes and a favorable environment is created and required investments are made then definitely there will be need of more business hotels.
“I would say the original taste of a business hotel is still missing in Nepal.”