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FORTUNE SMILES ON DILIGHT BROTHERS

Meet Kethavarapu brothers and you are bound to remember the adage- “Families are the compasses that guide us. They provide inspiration to reach great heights.” Inheriting a rich legacy and strengthening it manifold, they are wrapping it in all glory to gift it to their progeny. Yet, the brothers, Mr.K.Gurumurthy and Mr.Gurumurthy Gupta, Promoters of Fortune Inn Sree Kanya, remain humble and unassuming, indicating that they are untouched by name, fame and incredible success. The brothers speak of their eventful journey from their native place Makavarapalem to the City of Destiny and how they keep their family flag flying in the world of trade. But the conversation stays riveted to their proud possession Fortune Inn Sree Kanya which celebrated its 10th anniversary on 1st Nov 2017.

EXCERPTS
Genesis
Gurumurthy: We belong to a very renowned business family and my grandfather, the late Sri Chinna Gurumurthy, founded Sri Kanyaka Parameswari Trading Company in 1940 and ran a number of ventures with great success.
Gupta: We were brought up on noble principles of joint family run by our father, the late Mr.Devullu and brothers Mr.Ranga Rao and Mr.Narasimha Murthy.

Journey
Both: Our family shifted to Vizag in 1979 and established Sri Kanya Lodge, Sri Kanya Theatre and Sri Kanya Cine complex, besides a commercial complex.

Fortune Inn Sree Kanya
Gurumurthy: Initially, we planned to build commercial units in the ground and first floors leaving the rest of the building for a lodge. But Mr.Ambica Ramachandra Rao, our relative & owner of Ambica Empire, Chennai advised us to go for an individual hotel, following which we developed a three-star hotel.

Gupta: Mr.Ramachandra further advised us to go for a tie up with a brand. A few brands like Sarovar and Quality Inn approached us. But we chose Fortune Park Hotels Ltd., Member ITC’s hotel group. The hotel opened on 1st Nov 2007.

Transition
Gurumurthy: Earlier, we were dealing with only one aspect of hospitality- boarding, but this is a different ball game altogether. But the transition was smooth, thanks to the brand which is meticulous in handling legal aspects, licenses and insurance.

Gupta: We maintain transparency in our transactions and everything is methodically audited. We have auditors checking in incognito and scrutinising not only our facility but also others in the vicinity to give a comprehensive report of the city’s hospitality scenario.

Instant Hit
Gurumurthy: We started with a bang. Our hotel swarmed with foreign guests in the first two years.
Gupta: Fortune Hotels even asked us to go for another property.



Marketing Strategy
Gurumurthy: We believe in the maxim- Courteous treatment makes a customer a walking advertisement.
Gupta: Fortune Hotels gather clientele, absolving us of the onus of looking for more business.

Advantage Brand
Gurumurthy: In franchise, we should avoid too much personal involvement. It is like sending our child to school after which we don’t have much of a say. Yet your presence too is important. We have to maintain a fine balance.
Gupta: Meeting the standards is more important to Fortune Hotels than cutting the corners. We get involved when it goes overboard and overspend. We share the same passion of maintaining the standards. Hence, no conflict.

Winds of Change
Gurumurthy: We cater to corporate clientele. Earlier, the corporates used to spend a lot more on travel. Now they go for budget hotels. There is a change in the client’s demand too. Today all they want is a comfortable room with good Wi-Fi connection. Hence, all these aesthetic add-ons are irrelevant. For hotels like ours, this transition is difficult.
Gupta: Today people want group bookings and firms lucrative packages. After the Mumbai terrorists’ attack, there was a huge drop in foreign visitors. Added to that was the state bifurcation, demonetisation and GST. The city has added 1000 more rooms offering a stiff competition. I note the flow in the restaurants is too much less these days as people prefer speciality restaurants. They make their choice even before they step out of their homes- whether they go for a Punjabi cuisine or Italian one.

Online Booking
Gurumurthy: We have our own online facility and tie-ups with a few operators. Gupta: The online facilities help us get more business as they may charge the client less, but pay us our regular tariff.

USP Sree Kanya
Gurumurthy: We allow 24-hour check-ins without fussing over 24 hour mandate. Banqueting is our strong point and known for hosting events.
Gupta: Our cafeteria meets high parameters of hygiene.

Challenges
Gurumurthy: The workers come with zero knowledge and get trained under professionals from Fortune Hotels. Then they get lured away for extra chips.
Gupta: Quite a few employees stayed loyal to us right from the day one.

Unforgettable Incidents
Gurumurthy: That day we had a 1000-people gathering and workers went on a lightning strike. The manager himself got into action and started washing the plates. The rest of the staff joined him. The Fortune Hotels training is such that their men can rise to any occasion.
Gupta: We had the fortune of hosting celebrities like the former Tamil Nadu Governor Mr.K.Rosaiah, film stars like Ms.Tamannah and IPL cricket players. Film producer Mr.Dilraj stays with us.

Vizag Future
Gurumurthy: Hard to predict, dreams and schemes are aplenty for the Smart City but we see little happening around. The fate of hospitality industry is linked to tourism too. We have to develop the city as a tourism hub.
Gupta: The food and hospitality industry is here to stay. The cost of travelling aboard is almost on par with travelling at home. Hence, people prefer foreign jankets. This puts local hotels in a spot.

Advice to Aspirants
Gurumurthy: Do come, but with low debt-commitment. Tie up with brands.
Gupta: This trade is hard to understand. For eg. our power tariff used to be Rs.3.6 lakh per annum which is now Rs.12 lakhs; egg used to cost 40 paise and now it is Rs.4.00. Ironically, the cost of our buffet remains the same.

Future Plans
Both: We want to upgrade our 50-room Gajuwaka lodging.

Best Compliments
We are always copiously served with compliments by guests. The Fortune Hotels trains the staff so thoroughly that they can appease any guest.

 
 
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