Our survival years. We were set for 3X growth but instead got three years of pain. We moved online, like everyone else, which in a way was in the larger good. Now we could welcome people from across India’s vast geographies and demographics who were out of reach earlier.
Ladies In Hospitality
These were the hibernation years for Ladies in Hospitality, mainly credited to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, we held a few online activities and kept the social accounts active.
Int'l Chefs Day (India)
After the success of the 2019 campaign, we chose to keep quiet for two years, as respect for the extreme tough times the kitchen brigade experienced. This led to the hashtag #chefstogether in 2022 as our way to remember and honour the fraternity. The 2022 campaign was a fair success, considering the two-year hiatus; approximately 50,000 cooks, chefs and students celebrated with their teams and communities.
More importantly, last year’s effort set the platform to launch 2023’s amazing ‘Chefs Ride’ initiative.
This was a super success, an ideal pandemic creation. In mid-2021, the individual online weekly competition gave a lot of cash rewards as part of the beta-test. We also had two very well received team competitions that had student teams compete v/s their peers across campuses in a national format. The Hospitality Quiz College Championship (HQCC) in October 2021 and the Hospitality Quiz Beverage Master (HQBM) in February 2022 were designed for large, live audience participation amid tense, yet fun competition.
The HQBM introduced a new element, pre-contest workshops that supported the main theme. As beverages were the main focus, it was the great Shatbhi Basu of Stir Academy who hosted five excellent workshops that were open to all.
An online, industry interactive programme specific to the COVID-19 crisis, the key focus of #StayStrong was to address the fear of hospitality students and their faculty in the pandemic’s early days and offer assurances of the industry’s viable future which was in doubt at that time.
Many industry leaders interacted one-on-one with hospitality campuses over a three-month period. The initiative was well received by industry and academia.
Faculty Briefing 2021
The 2021 hospitality academic calendar commenced at the peak of the COVID-19 crisis in India. To address the immense fear and misinformation among campus faculty on the rapidly evolving developments, we organised the Faculty Briefing 2021.
Exclusively for hospitality faculty, this online interaction in September 2021, had the industry’s top bosses and trade association leaders, share details of their government interactions and pandemic-policy developments as well as their professional perspectives. From Nakul Anand of ITC Hotels and FAITH, KB Kachru of Radisson Hotels and HAI, to Jyoti Mayal of TAAI, Ajay Prakash of TAFI and Peden Doma Bhutia of ET TravelWorld, Indian tourism’s senior most policymakers participated in the Faculty Briefing 2021.
Yet another pandemic reactive programme, LEADERS 2021 aimed to have senior property-level managers share notes, clear doubts and interact with senior government and industry leaders. It was to be a four-part schedule, a safe space for pandemic-induced conversations these managers and the industry were grappling with at the time.
Unfortunately, due unavoidable, last moment issues, LEADERS 2021 could not be organised at that time or in the months that followed. Eventually, the COVID-19 threat receded completely and with it, the need for this effort.
India’s premier hospitality business conference usually held in March-April each year, HICSA 2021 was rescheduled to September of the same year. The organisers, Gurugram-based Hotelivate, attempted a hybrid model of select in-person conversations and a large online participation where the fee was a mere US$ 25, a marked reduction for the average in-person fee of US$ 750.
To take advantage of this low price, we partnered with Hotelivate to bring in a large student and faculty participation, a section normally unable to attend HICSA. The uptake among this new audience was largely positive, though unfortunately, the September 2021 edition also fell victim to COVID-19.
The first victim of COVID-19, the Eco-Quiz was slated for March 2020 as an in-person competition between hospitality students on all things environment and ecology related to our industry.
The quiz was the first itineration of our Hospitality Quiz platform. Since it could not take place, online iterations were the HQCC and HQBM along with the individual weekly quizzes.