“Serve With Passion and Lead With Compassion”
Nirav Akshay Oza is an astute professional with dynamic experience spearheading business operations for a series of the world's leading hotel management companies and enterprise organizations. A welcoming combination of a hotelier and businessman, who
Nirav Akshay Oza is an astute professional with dynamic experience spearheading business operations for a series of the world’s leading hotel management companies and enterprise organizations. A welcoming combination of a hotelier and businessman, who loves to network and make brands, Mr. Nirav Oza spearheads the Efcee Hotels as CEO. An international hotel management degree holder, Mr. Oza’s academia speaks of institutions and places renowned for their hospitality and hotel management diplomas, viz. New Zealand’s Pacific International Hotel Management School, School of Hotel Management – IHTTI, Switzerland and from Blue Mountain School of Hotel Management, NSW, Australia.
In Conversation with Nirav Akshay Oza, CEO – Efcee Hotels, Director (SO Solutions NZL Pvt Ltd)
A decade of experience in the industry, what motivated and influenced you the most in your early days to join the Hospitality Industry?
Reflecting back to my early days, my entrance into the hospitality industry was driven by a blend of passion, curiosity, and a deep-seated love for service. I grew up in a family that put a great emphasis on the importance of caring for others, making them feel welcome, and creating memorable experiences. This nurtured in me a natural inclination towards the hospitality industry, and I’ve found that it’s this human connection that I value above all.
Moreover, my travels in my youth sparked a curiosity in me about different cultures and cuisines, and how these aspects play a crucial role in hospitality. I was fascinated by the idea of an industry that is so diverse yet interconnected, and this led me to explore it further.
What influenced me the most, however, was witnessing the satisfaction and joy that exceptional service could bring to people. The ability to make a difference in someone’s day, or even their life, by offering them an unforgettable experience was deeply inspiring. It was this potential to impact people’s lives positively and directly that truly motivated me to join the industry and strive for excellence in it.
Over the years, my passion for hospitality has only grown. Every guest interaction, every opportunity to create a memorable experience, fuels my commitment to this industry. There’s a unique fulfillment in knowing that you’ve played a part in someone’s joyous occasion or eased the weariness of a long journey. It’s these moments that reaffirm my decision to be part of the hospitality industry.
If we talk about the pillars of the brand, what are the things on which the foundation of Efcee Hotels has been laid?
As a hotel asset owner, Efcee Hotels’ key pillars reflect a slightly different focus:
1. Strategic Investments: Our primary pillar is making strategic investments in properties that offer significant potential for growth and value. We carefully analyze markets and properties to ensure our investments are sound and have strong potential for returns.
2. Partnerships: We believe in the power of partnerships. We collaborate with leading hotel management companies who bring their operational expertise to our properties, ensuring top-tier service and exceptional guest experiences.
3. Asset Enhancement: We focus on continuously enhancing the value of our assets. This includes periodic renovations, technology upgrades, and other improvements to ensure our properties remain competitive and attractive to guests and operators.
4. Financial Sustainability: As an asset owning company, financial sustainability is crucial. We focus on efficient financial management, maximising revenue, and optimising operational costs through our management partners.
5. Responsible Ownership: We are committed to being responsible owners. This includes respecting the local communities where our properties are located, adhering to regulatory requirements, and supporting sustainable practices.
6. People and Relationships: We place great importance on the relationships we foster, be it with our management partners, employees, guests, or the communities in which we operate. Our people-centric approach ensures we maintain strong, mutually beneficial relationships.
Guided by the vision of our Chairman, Mr. Komalkant Sharma, these pillars form the foundation of Efcee Hotels. They shape our investment strategies, guide our partnerships, and drive our commitment to being a leading hotel asset owning company.
Being in the hospitality industry you must have undergone a high moment and a low moment. How have you managed both? Please tell us about your success mantra?
One of the more challenging moments was indeed during the COVID-19 pandemic. We faced a period of great uncertainty, with a severe reduction in travel and a dramatic drop in occupancy rates. However, we made it a priority to retain our staff. It was a difficult time, and it required a lot of adjustments and strategic planning to ensure we could weather the storm while keeping our team intact.
Managing these periods of highs and lows still hinges on resilience, adaptability, and an unwavering commitment to our mission of service. When we experience successes, it’s essential to celebrate, but also to maintain our focus, to continue innovating, and to strive for even greater accomplishments.
During challenging times, embracing change and looking for innovative solutions has been key. The pandemic, for example, made us rethink our services and operations to cater to a new kind of customer demand. We found ways to serve our local community and adjusted our offerings to cater to staycations, work-from-hotel packages, and other innovative solutions.
Throughout these periods, keeping our team’s morale high was paramount. As a leader, I believe in transparency and effective communication. I made sure to keep our team updated about the situation and our strategies, which I believe played a critical role in navigating those difficult times.
My success mantra remains the same: “Serve with passion and lead with compassion.” Our team’s dedication to service, combined with a leadership approach rooted in empathy and understanding, is what I believe drives our continued success in this industry.
The dynamics of the Hospitality Market has changed quite a bit in the past few years with new trends setting that are tech-savvy and attractive to Gen Z. How do you keep your business up to date to cope up with such challenges and changing market trends?
Absolutely. To keep up with the changing dynamics of the hospitality industry, we focus on:
1. Embracing technology: We invest in modern technology to streamline operations and enhance guest experiences, catering to the tech-savvy preferences of newer generations.
2. Listening to customers: We actively seek and pay attention to feedback to understand and respond to evolving customer needs and preferences.
3. Innovation: We foster a culture of innovation within our team, encouraging creative thinking and new ideas to stay ahead of market trends.
4. Online engagement: We maintain a strong and authentic online presence to engage with younger audiences effectively.
5. Sustainability: We understand the importance of sustainability to younger generations, so we’ve implemented eco-friendly initiatives and emphasize our commitment to social responsibility.
In Current era, everyone is active on social media, please tell us how has social media revolutionized the hospitality sector?
Indeed, social media has fundamentally transformed the hospitality sector in several ways:
1. Customer Engagement: Social media has provided a platform for real-time interaction between businesses and customers. Hotels and restaurants can communicate directly with their guests, provide updates, handle customer service issues, and cultivate relationships in a personalized manner.
2. Marketing and Promotion: It’s a powerful tool for promoting new offerings, discounts, or special events. With highly targeted advertising capabilities, businesses can reach specific demographics more effectively.
3. Online Reputation Management: Online reviews and ratings on social media platforms significantly influence customer decisions. Businesses have an opportunity to manage their reputation by responding to feedback and addressing issues publicly, demonstrating commitment to customer satisfaction.
4. Consumer Insights: Businesses can monitor customer conversations and feedback on social media to gain insights into consumer preferences and trends, helping them improve their services and stay ahead of the competition.
5. Visual Appeal: Hospitality is a visual industry. Sharing high-quality images and videos of accommodations, cuisine, and experiences can entice potential customers.
6. Influencer Marketing: Collaborating with influencers can help businesses reach larger audiences. Influencers can provide authentic reviews and create engaging content about their experiences, which can significantly boost a business’s visibility and appeal.
7. Direct Booking: Some platforms now allow businesses to integrate booking systems into their profiles, making it easy for customers to reserve rooms or tables directly from social media.
By harnessing the power of social media, the hospitality industry can engage customers in unprecedented ways, manage their online reputation more effectively, and ultimately drive growth.
Please tell us about future plans of expanding your business?
Certainly, as we look towards the future of our hospitality business, our strategy is rooted in partnership and collaboration. We are in the process of aligning with various reputable hotel management companies to augment our services, expand our reach, and tap into their specialized expertise. By working with these companies, we will be able to streamline our operations, improve efficiency, and ensure our offerings continue to meet and exceed the expectations of our guests.
These partnerships will provide us with access to a wealth of industry experience, innovative operational models, and a network of professionals that will significantly contribute to our growth strategy. This collaborative approach will help us enhance our competitive edge in the hospitality industry, as we combine our unique brand identity with the operational excellence of our partners.
A significant source of our enthusiasm and optimism for this expansion comes from the support and vision of Mr. Komalkant Sharma, the Group Chairman of Leela Worldwide. Mr. Sharma’s vast experience, strategic insight, and unwavering commitment to excellence have been instrumental in shaping our approach.
His leadership has instilled in us a sense of confidence and purpose. His vision of delivering exceptional hospitality, creating memorable experiences, and elevating the standards of the industry guides us in every decision we make. We are buoyed by his belief in our potential, and his support has been invaluable as we embark on this exciting phase of growth and partnership.
With these strategic alliances and the continued guidance of Mr. Sharma, we are confident that our business will continue to thrive, innovate, and set new benchmarks in the hospitality industry. We look forward to this exciting journey ahead and to welcoming guests to enjoy the enhanced experiences that these partnerships will bring.