--By Rashika Pokharel
Raju Bikram Shah
Group General Manager
Shangri- La Hotels and Resorts
Renowned for delivering excellent customer services, the Shangri-La Village Resort, Pokhara recently won the prestigious World Travel Award 2014 for Nepal's Leading Hotel. "We are very proud to receive the award and the award itself speaks of our services. We focus on selling experience to our guests, not rooms," Raju Bikram Shah, Group General Manager of the Shangri- La Hotels and Resorts said.
The resort thinks that small is beautiful and believes in maintaining high standards in order to completely satisfy its customers. It has no plans for further expansion, as it believes that too much of expansion might lose the charm of the resort. However, realizing the increasing demand for its exclusive suites, it has plans to add more of them in the near future.
The resort is planning to bring in popular singers for entertaining its customers as part of its special "Monsoon Madness Scheme”. The scheme is specially designed for local tourists, informed Shah adding that the resort offers special honeymoon and kids package as well."The scheme has its own customers and this time we are planning to add more of them. This scheme focuses more on bringing local tourists rather than foreigners,” he added.
Shangri-La Village Resort stands true to its name because it provides the customers a spellbinding view of Pokhara’s mountains and the Himalayan range in its northern backdrop. It is very popular among customers for its location. The resort is located at the place where the famous mountaineer, Tony Hagen, took pictures of the city 18 years ago and spread out its beauty to the world, thereby launching it as a tourist destination. Prior to that, people barely knew about Pokhara, Shah said. “Our location has been a great advantage. It gives our guests the privilege of enjoying the scenic beauty of the cityand surrounding,” Shah added.
The beauty of Shangri-La
Spread across 23 ropanis of land, Shangri-La Village Resort has 61 stand-alone villas with balconies facing the lush green mountains. Besides, it has a beautiful garden, Japanese fish pond, a miniature of monastery and a miniature Shiva temple. "The resort has everything that a guest would enjoy. I would love to describe Shangri-La as a heaven by itself," says shah.
The resort has a luxurious spa and a yoga centre. "Our spa is famous not only among the foreigners but among locals as well and Shangri-La Village Resort is the first one to have an infinity swimming pool in Nepal," says Shah.
The Resort’s Strength
"I believe that good service defines a good hotel. Of course, the product also plays a vital role but I think its unique experience provided by a hotel that matters and makes it special than any other hotels," says Shah. Designed as a deluxe resort comprising all luxurious facilities, Shangri-La delivers a combination of service, product and uniqueness to its guests." Basically the resort's product, location and hospitable staffs are its unique aspect. Our standards of services are very high. Continuous training has helped us to provide better and higher level of services to our customers and eventually retain them,” he added.
The resort has highest customer inflow during the month of October and November. However, sometimes March, April is much better than other seasons because it is the time when maximum numbers of tourists visit Pokhara for trekking. "Pokhara does have a seasonality problem. During monsoon its heavy downpour reduces tourist inflow. However, apart from tourists across the world, we now have a sizeable base of clientele that comprise of local, Indian and Chinese tourists," Shah informed.
Shangri-La suffered huge financial losses during the insurgency. However, it has been doing well in the recent years and trying to recover its past losses. Since the last four years, it has gone high up in terms of profitability. Currently it has been able to make healthy gross and net profit and has plans to clear its debts by this or early next year. "This year we suffered little bit because there was slight reduction in the number of tourists. However, we have been able to make good business even during off season this year,” says Shah.
The resort is actively involved in CSR activities. Recently, it invited various orphanages and distributed various kitchen equipment including crockeries and cutleries. Apart from that, the hotel organizes blood donation programmes every year and performs orphanage cleaning and street cleaning activities.