Sensible, Sustainable, Superlative: The Fern tourism product

An interview with Param Kannampilly, Chairman and MD of CONCEPT HOSPITALITY – who conduct, manage and operate The Fern Hotels and Resorts -one of India’s foremost and fastest growing eco-centric hospitality  chains. Param Kannampilly has been one of the country’s most dynamic and successful hospitality management heads who has consistently spearheaded and created the need-of-the-hour environmentally sensitive core credo driving hospitality excellence to world standards.

PARAM KANNAMPILLY-CHAIRMAN-CONCEPT HOSPITALITY-2‘The Fern’ and your other brands of unique hotels have rapidly become synonymous with environmentally sensitive hospitality excellence in India. What sets it apart from the burgeoning hotel properties across the country?

We differentiate ourselves as a Leading Environmentally Sensitive Hotel Chain in India, which means our efforts are towards minimizing the impact on the environment by the various eco-sensitive initiatives that we undertake and put into practice at the various hotels we manage and operate. A testimony to this fact lies in the recognition received from various quarters viz., the tourism fraternity, NGO’s, Government etc. by way of awards which total 35 as of date and still counting.

How do you foster and fortify sustainable and holistic tourism through the eco-friendly credo of your hotel and resort properties?

Our associates selected are persons who have a concern for the environment and they are trained, tested and monitored during their course of their employment with us.

These associates of ours do converse with our guests and share with them the various environmentally sensitive initiatives that we practice. We also do community outreach programs wherein we educate youngsters during their school trips to our hotels and are in continuous touch with the community around, in order to make them environmentally conscious – on their way of life. We also propagate and help in implementing the ALM Programs around the hotels we operate (Advanced Locality Management) – so that the entire community around is involved with reducing the impact on the environment by educating them on solid waste management, garbage segregation, vermicomposting, rain water harvesting, etc.

Our guests have quite a few touch points where they participate in the environment programs and activities and we do find that many of our guests are inclined to press our energy saving button, join in the Earth Hour programs and other initiatives.

You conduct, operate and manage your four and five star hotels and resorts in many tourism destinations like Sasan Gir, Amritsar, Ganpatipule, Ajmer, Agra and Jodhpur, to name a few. How do you set the high bar on expectation and anticipation for visitors to these niche destinations?

We are a pure management Company and do not own any of the hotels we operate. The philosophy of the Fern Group of Hotels & Resorts is that our service standards, quality of food and guest amenities remain consistently right through the group. In order to ensure that guest services and cuisine remain consistent, we ensure that every unit operated by us – create standard operating procedures (SOP’s) that are implemented and associates are trained to follow and implement these SOP’s.

We have regular inspections and mystery audits to ensure that the quality of guest experience is just WOW – that of the highest order and the guest returns back for that WOW experience.

Hospitality and tourism go hand-in-hand for each others’ success. How remarkably different are your environmentally sensitive practices as compared to the rapidly increasing competition?

Our approach to implementing our environmental philosophy takes into consideration the following: Project team, our associates, guests and the community, in and around. 

We are happy that many hoteliers are embracing environmentally sensitive practices thus helping in reducing the impact of our industry on the environment. However, we as a group ensure that we have all the four aspects mentioned above involved at every stage and hence we stand out – well apart from the others in the process.

With increasing state-of-the-art, high tech applications and management practices, what degree of the human awareness factor on issues and concepts contribute to boosting tourism through responsible hospitality? 

We use excellent technology to ensure that in the course of business, minimum energy is being consumed in our guest rooms and public areas. However, once the guest checks in, he can conserve or waste resources. Hence it is here that we make the difference – we make him/her aware of the same, which is important in conserving these resources.

With guest / tourist demands getting more specific and focused, what are the challenges you envisage for the hospitality industry vis-à-vis the essential tourism context?

It is said that “luxury is the absence of inconvenience” and today’s guests are looking for convenience/ease of transacting/for undertaking travel, sightseeing, shopping or hotel stays.

We as a group ensure that we are updated and equipped with the latest technology so that our guests/business associates find it easy to transact and deal with us. Nevertheless, we do stress on the human element at every guest contact area, as personalized service also remains at the forefront – our Industry being service oriented.

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