‘We blend western aesthetics with Indian elements to create spaces that resonate’

InterGlobe Hotels is known for adopting unconventional methods to incorporate sustainable designs in its architectural practices. Arun Raju, Head, Projects at InterGlobe Hotels explains the kind of technology used, role of smart processes and innovative planet 21 strategy involved in maintaining the Hotel’s sustainability standards in an interview with Tejaswini Paranjape.

1)How does InterGlobe Hotels use innovative technologies such as dry walls, elimination of in-situ works, and pod bathrooms to enhance operational efficiency and reduce costs? Kindly elaborate on each of the technologies.
At InterGlobe Hotels, we leverage innovative design interventions and engineered products to stay ahead in the industry. By adopting practices like dry walls, elimination of in-situ works, and prefabricated pod bathrooms, we ensure that our properties are future-ready and aligned with customer aspirations. InterGlobe Hotels utilizes dry walls in construction, which leads to a lower carbon footprint. Dry walls are efficient in terms of construction time and resources compared to traditional methods involving wet plaster. This technology reduces construction time and labour costs while also being environmentally friendly.
In-situ works involve creating structures on-site, which can be time-consuming and resource-intensive. By eliminating in-situ works, InterGlobe Hotels streamlines the construction process. We incorporated pod bathrooms into our hotel designs in the past and continuously upgraded the design and layout pf these pods overtime to optimize space utilization and enhance guest comfort.
Pod bathrooms are prefabricated units that are assembled off-site and then installed in the hotel rooms, reducing the need for extensive on-site plumbing work.
Engaging with the market allows us to understand preferences and incorporate environment-friendly solutions, while offering tech-rich features. These technologies not only enhance our operational efficiency but also contribute to significant cost reductions over time.

2) Elaborate on the role of smart processes in achieving efficiency within the organization.
Smart processes are essential for achieving efficiency within our organization. We prioritize agility and adaptability, enabling us to quickly respond to changes in the market. Embracing ideation as a cultural pillar fosters creativity and innovation at all levels of the organization. Transparency, collaboration, and addressing customer needs are integral to our approach. We facilitate leader-employee connections through regular interactions such as town hall meetings and one-on-one sessions, fostering a culture of openness, creativity, and collaboration. Moreover, our commitment to employee growth and satisfaction is evident through continuous learning initiatives, reward and recognition programs, and well-being initiatives.

3)In what ways does InterGlobe Hotels integrate contemporary designs to reduce gross floor area while maintaining quality and guest satisfaction? How does this approach contribute to cost savings and sustainability?
Integrating contemporary designs allows us to optimize space utilization and reduce gross floor area without compromising on quality or guest satisfaction. Through effective space planning for the public areas, optimal room designs, and bundling of services, we achieve significant cost savings while enhancing sustainability.
For instance, we now have created effusive lobby areas integrating guest check-in and bar & all-day dining with added features like library and community tables to provide that wholesome functional experience to our guests and maximizing the space utilization at the same time. Our New Gen rooms are more colourful, sleeker and layout design make the room more spacious by adding wider windows and an additional couch. They also feature sleek and modernized wardrobes, designer TV panels and artwork displayed on the headboard wall. Through this art initiative, we aim to promote and support artistic talent and raise awareness of India’s thriving art scene among hotel guests and patrons.By centralizing resources for city centre locations and adopting efficient space utilization techniques, we not only reduce construction costs but also minimize our environmental footprint. This approach aligns with our commitment to sustainable practices and ensures that our properties remain competitive in the market.

4)Since sustainability and environmental impact reduction are key priorities for InterGlobe Hotels Group, what are the steps taken in this direction? What is the role of technology in this?
Sustainability is a top priority for us, and we have implemented various measures to reduce our environmental impact. Technologies such as dry walls, on site solar energy generation, and using energy-efficient equipment play a crucial role in minimizing our carbon footprint. We have also eliminated single-use plastics from guest interfaces and implemented water bottling plants for drinking water across our portfolio. Moreover, the integration of EV charging stations and the use of smart energy monitoring tools further contribute to our sustainability goals.
Our commitment to sustainable practices like the “Healthy and Sustainable Food Charter” is a collaborative initiative that emphasizes consuming local and seasonal products while also supporting food waste management. All ibis Hotels in India do not use coal or gel fuel in their day-to-day operations, contributing to our sustainability efforts. Additionally, we adhere to the PLANET 21 Strategy, which has seven pillars aimed at achieving sustainability.
We have also received the Indian Green Building Council’s Green Champion Award in 2020 and Sustainability Champion of the year 2023 at HOPE Conference for being a pioneer in the large-scale adoption of green buildings in the hospitality sector. Furthermore, we employ smart living like adopting an Energy Control Building Management System to optimize energy usage and reduce environmental impact.

5)Could you elaborate on the PLANET 21 Strategy.What are the challenges faced during the stage of implementation, how do you overcome those for best results?
While we adopt efficient and sustainable construction practices while building our hotels, we closely work with Accor on The PLANET 21 Strategy that consists of seven pillars aimed at achieving sustainability across hotel operations. These pillars include reducing carbon emissions, preserving biodiversity, promoting innovation, supporting local communities, ensuring fair labour practices, promoting health and well-being, and fostering open dialogue with stakeholders. Through these pillars, the PLANET 21 Strategy guides hotels, including those partnered with InterGlobe Hotels Group, in implementing sustainable practices and contributing to environmental and social responsibility. It is aimed at reducing energy consumption, water usage, and waste generation in hotel operations. We have implemented eco-friendly practices like recycling, composting, and energy-efficient technologies. Our commitment to eliminating single-use plastics aligns with the UN Global Tourism Plastics Initiative.
We take site preservation measures, including retaining topography and vegetation, mitigating soil erosion, and incorporating sustainable building design, underscored by a holistic approach.
Collaborating with architects and consultants ensures sustainable design features, resulting in energy-efficient buildings and reduced carbon footprints. Additional initiatives include water bottling plants for drinking water, deployment of energy-efficient equipment, EV charging stations, and leveraging technological tools for energy monitoring. Furthermore, adherence to a Healthy & Sustainable Food Charter emphasizes consuming local and seasonal products while managing food waste effectively.
Despite challenges in, proactive measures and collaborative efforts have led to success, paving the way for a more sustainable hospitality industry.

6)Kindly elaborate on design considerations of ibis hotels when it comes to partnership with Accor?
InterGlobe Hotels places a strong emphasis on adhering to international standards while incorporating modern design concepts. Our approach involves seamlessly blending Western aesthetics with Indian elements to create spaces that resonate with the preferences of the contemporary traveller. By continuously pushing the boundaries of design within the parameters set by the brand, we aim to challenge the status quo of the hospitality industry. Our innovative design strategies, including the effective utilization of space, departure from cookie-cutter room layouts, and meticulous planning of public areas, serve as significant changes that differentiate ibis hotels. These design elements not only enhance functionality but also elevate the aesthetic appeal of our properties, offering guests a memorable and enjoyable experience.

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