*Shibashish Koley explains to Irfan Aziz how his team plans on the reemergence of the golden era of Hotel Sarina
Hotel Sarina has a slightly Victorian era vibe about it. Maybe it’s the wooden walls or the marble floors or perhaps the spiral staircase but the place simply emits elegance. The hotel is one of the oldest establishments in the hospitality sector. Although it has stood the test of time, Sarina seems to be experiencing a resurgence under a carefully curated managment team, one of whom is Shibashish Koley. The Director of Sales and Marketing arrived in early April but it didn’t take him long to start dictating the tempo at Hotel Sarina. Koley has been in the hospitality sector for 16 years working for the likes of HHI, IIC Fortune and Lalit Great Eastern, so it is no wonder that he took to Sarina like a duck to water. “It’s been a lovely journey for me so far. I can say that the hospitality sector is more vibrant than the one in Kolkata,” said Koley, “We want to use this positive vibe to rebuild our legacy.” Of course, the hospitality sector is one that is filled with challenges and Koley explained to us the uncertainty and volatility that is prevalent in his field. “When your line of work is this dynamic, things can get tricky. Thankfully, we have a very lovely team that takes on things as they come. I realised that when you take care of your own people, they take care of your guest. The team members are charged up, motivated and work cohesively. This makes it easy for us to tackle any incoming problems. We are always on the front foot,” added the marketing maverick. As the team leader, Koley constantly promotes their spirit and does so by maintaining transparency and taking constant feedback from peers. He believes in two-way communication rather than a hierarchy that follows a command and obey system. He doesn’t want any information to be withheld from anyone. And his methods are paying dividends.
Despite of being fairly new to the fray, Koley has created a massive difference in Sarina. Under his and management’s tutelage, Sarina has been experiencing a consistent growth in terms of revenues. He has also revitalised the culinary map of Sarina by spearheading several projects like specialised themed nights in all of the five restaurants in Sarina. “We want to host food festivals and bring in elements of authenticity from specific countries to our guests. We want them to truly have the feeling of visiting a mini version of these countries,” exclaimed the avid foodie himself. Sarina has reached record sales during Ramadan and they also had a Halloween night recently, which was a massive success. Hotel Sarina also organised a soiree for the incumbent US Ambassador, H.E Martia Bernicat, which was highly acclaimed by the attendees.
Aside from the gastronomic experiences, the hotels also plans on introducing services like Chinese massage and acupuncture to maximise guest experience. “There is always a moment of truth involved in the hotel business which determines whether your guests enjoyed their experience or not. We always want Sarina’s to be a positive one,” Koley elaborated. In his words, our hospitality is one that touches the heart. Our dream is for every guest to experience this phenomenon and the managment is ensuring that no stone is left unturned regarding this.
*Photograph by Piyan