Hotels In Are Of International Standards’
Thomas, managing director, IBM India Limited, asserts that high
levels of service is what drives him to select an airline. In conversation
with Ashish K Tiwari, he highlights aspects that make business
time I visit the Changi airport in Singapore, I marvel at the complex
infrastructure, which is managed with such professionalism. Its
sheer expanse is amazing. Besides, it offers travellers exclusive
destinations predominantly feature on your business travel itinerary?
business requirements typically necessitate domestic travel about
once or twice a week on an average and, as our ASEAN regional headquarters
are located in Singapore, I generally need to travel there about
once a quarter.
you registered with any frequent flyer programme?
am registered with the frequent flyer programme of Jet Airways.
I am also a member of similar programmes offered by Indian Airlines
- Flying Returns, Singapore Airlines (SQ) - Kris Flyer, Malaysian
Airways - Enrich and Northwest Airlines - World Perks.
airline meets your fancy?
Airlines is my undisputed favourite. Their unmatched service standards,
make it my preferred airline. What I find most endearing is that
minute details are taken care of - unobtrusively - and they go a
long way in adding to the comforts of the journey. It is evident
that a great deal of planning and innovation goes into their customer
regards to in-flight services, which airline emerges as the undisputed
airlines I fly regularly are Singapore Airlines, Malaysian Airlines
and Northwest Airlines. All of them offer quality service, but I
would rate SQ the best, primarily on account of its in-flight entertainment,
food and personalised service.
are your preferences with regards to wine, alcohol and cuisine on
board, and which airlines satisfy your palette?
a complete non-alcoholic person. While travelling, I prefer a light
meal and lots of fruit juices. The culinary fare served by Singapore
Airlines suits my palette just fine.
you recount some of your prominent travel experiences?
my most distinguished experiences, there are two incidents, Ill
always remember. One was not uncommon but surely trying, when I
lost my baggage at Minneapolis and had a tough time trying to retrieve
it. The other occurred at Istanbul, during my return flight to Singapore.
It so happened that we had a person who was in an inebriated state,
and naturally dramatised the situation aboard our flight and was
finally handcuffed on flight. In retrospect, the situation was quite
droll, though at that time we were all quite disturbed by it.
your judgment, how does domestic travel compare with overseas travel?
my experience, I can say that domestic travel has come of age in
the recent past. Visible changes for the better have come about
in service standards of most domestic airlines, flights are usually
as per schedule, aircraft cleanliness is accorded a great deal of
importance, the food served is of high quality and the staff are
courteous and attentive to passenger needs.
you a member of any hotels guest loyalty programme, domestic
as well as international?
I am a member of the loyalty programmes offered by Taj Group of
Hotels and Oberoi Hotels and Resorts.
do Indian business hotels compare with their international counterparts?
my perspective, the quality of services offered by the leading hotels
in India are of international standards. The hotel industry here
is definitely developed and the hospitality provided is of the highest
order, Ive experienced anywhere in the world. The only downside
is that hotels in India are more expensive when compared to hotels
of the same category, offering the same amenities abroad.
factors influence your selection of a particular hotel or chain?
selecting a hotel, location is of prime importance to me. It usually
is the key decision-making factor as I usually have clients to meet
or internal meetings to rush to after I arrive at a place. If the
hotel is conveniently located vis-a-vis the city, it effectively
saves time, otherwise wasted significantly on commuting. The other
important factors include the business facilities available at the
hotel, the security, of course, the hygiene factor and to an extent
the choice of restaurants.
is your impression of the Indian airports vis-a-vis the international
airports that you have visited?
airports at New Delhi and Mumbai are good, they function well and
have the requisite facilities to make travel comfortable, but to
be able to really hold a candle to international airports of repute,
I feel they still need to be upgraded, especially as far as infrastructure
your opinion, which international airport is the undisputed pacesetter?
Changi airport in Singapore would definitely qualify for this description.
Every time I visit it, I marvel at the complex infrastructure, which
is managed with such professionalism. Its sheer expanse is amazing.
Besides, it offers travellers exclusive shopping opportunities.