India Today Conclave: Indian Hotels’ Puneet Chhatwal speaks on surviving lows during Covid lockdowns


Puneet Chhatwal, Indian Hotels MD and CEO, said the Covid period for them was about being compassionate and empathetic to thousands of frontline and migrant workers in the country. Speaking at the India Today Conclave, Chhatwal said his team at the Indian Hotels stuck to the core values of trust, awareness and joy.

“We were supplying 60,000-70,000 meals a day. In the end, it rose up to 6 million meals,” said Chhatwal.

Chhatwal said they also hosted 120,000 bed nights for frontline workers. “All this got done through the Taj Public Service Welfare Trust, which was created post-26/11 to help victims of terrorism. We clarified that a virus was nothing but another kind of terror attack on humankind.”

Chhatwal said that while the hospitality sector was badly hit, it was all about being aware of your surroundings and listening to your guests. “We started providing home delivery to meet the needs of the customers. Qmin was created. We started bringing Taj food to people’s homes. We created homestay in the form of Ama, so that people could have a holiday in a secluded environment. That’s again become a business for us.”

Both these initiatives are doing well even post Covid. “And now that business is back, we are seeing that all these channels are firing,” he said.  

Chhatwal said that the company was 30 per cent ahead of its 2019-20 revenues at an enterprise level. “In the last quarter 2022-23, our profit after tax was higher that any full year profit of the best financial year,” he said.

Talking about his learnings from Covid, Chhatwal said he realised the importance of giving. “If you do one good thing, ten times good comes back to you,” he said. “The second learning is if you look after your people, they look after your guests. Lastly, shortcuts don’t help even in a pandemic. Don’t take shortcuts. They only solve short-term problems but create long-term challenges,” he said.

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