"The concept of mixology, infusion, molecular gastronomy and the art of plating will play an important role in the coming future" - Dr Amit Kumar
DR. AMIT KUMAR
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR & HEAD
SCHOOL OF HOTEL MANAGEMENT, AIRLINES & TOURISM
Tell us about your journey. How did it all start?
After doing B.A. Honours in Economics, I was looking for pursuing higher studies in a dynamic field, so I opted for the hospitality sector. I joined a Masters in Tourism Management at Kurukshetra University, thereafter working in the Tourism industry for a while went to Switzerland to pursue MBA in International Hospitality. I came back to home country to continue my career in academics after getting experience in tourism, airline, and hotel sector.
Now, I am having 2 years of industry and more than 9 years of teaching experience in the same field. I also hold a doctorate degree in Tourism Management.
Overall, it has been a great journey and expecting more adventure in the coming future.
You have now been an educator for a while. What makes you tick?
Teaching has always been in my genes. I got motivated to pursue teaching as my career from my parents, who have now retired professors from the University.
As far as the hospitality sector is concerned, it is very dynamic. Every day there are new concepts, it has changed a lot in the past two decades. The innovation and new technologies of this sector keep boosting me to work and explore new dimensions.
What do you think it takes to succeed in this industry?
In order to succeed in this industry, one must have a passion for hospitality. Hospitality is not a thing which you can learn from books, rather it is a feeling which comes from within. Success in this industry comes from dedication, hard-work, communication, multi-tasking and most importantly one must be flexible.
One of the major aspects of this industry is that it is a customer oriented industry, thus it becomes very important to understand the customers while dealing with them in a way that customers feel comfortable.
What according to you can trainees do while they are training at hotels to make it a win-win for them & the hotel/unit?
The trainee is supposed to acquire a good working knowledge of the hospitality sector with special attention to dealing with customers. The trainees need to acquire specific skills while on the training which will help them to make it a win-win for them and as well as for the hotels.
These skills are Time management, problem-solving, team member, motivator, good learner, and listener. Apart from these, a hotel personnel is required to handle various tasks at the same time. He is also expected to be able to identify and solve problems quickly and effectively. This requires one to have an innovative attitude and the desire to learn new things.
As a hotel employee, it is important that you keep learning, and that you keep up to date with new trends and developments in the industry. If you don’t do this, you run the risk of being left
behind by your competitors.
What are some of the trends you see impacting the hospitality industry?
There is a number of factors which impact the hospitality industry.
1. Increasing leisure travel: International leisure travel is on the rise and Hotels must be able to provide services in a multitude of languages, and tailored experiences properly suited to the culture and unique needs of their international visitors,
2. Sustainable Hospitality; Eco-friendly practices are becoming the norm, as properties focus on renewable energy resources and water scarcity. Many hotels are installing solar panels and updating systems so that air conditioners and lights automatically switch off when guests leave their rooms,
3. Promotion of Destinations; The explosion of social media is causing hotels to become more involved in destination and self-promotion. Many are featuring guests’ images and tweets on their websites; some are even using the material in their advertising campaigns,
4. Increased focus on Health and well being; Guests today are taking charge of their health; hotels are responding with well-equipped fitness centers, pools and spas. Increasingly, travelers are expecting innovative wellness options. In addition to healthy food options, growing trends include lighting that energizes, air purification, yoga spaces, in-room exercise equipment and even vitamin-infused shower water and
5. Attraction towards food and cuisine; These days the molecular gastronomy has taken shape a number of tourists are attracted by this. The concept of mixology, infusion, molecular gastronomy and the art of plating will play an important role in the coming future.
Two things you would like to change in the industry.
1. There should be a better understanding between industry and academia. they should work closely so as to provide a better curriculum for the students.
2. The industry should provide better incentives in terms of training stipends and starting salaries, also the working hours for the trainees should be looked after.
What can we expect from your institute/college in the coming year?
The School of Hotel Management, Airlines and Tourism (SOHMAT) at CT University, Ludhiana is the combination of sophisticated design and warm functions, welcoming ambiance enhanced by the latest technology. The SOHMAT has an environment which is designed to emphasize collaborative and experiential learning for creative thinking and inspired innovation. The SOHMAT is also a destination where on one platform the students share the experiences with the industry professionals to create the knowledge and the network of the industry and academia. in the near future, you can expect to witness conferences, events, and fests which will be unique and different from others. In the coming years, SOHMAT will emerge as one of the best hotel management institutes of the region keeping alive the legacy of the CT Group.