Sharad K Upadhyay, General Manager, Crowne Plaza Greater Noida

Crowne Plaza Greater Noida is a great choice for travellers looking for a 5-Star hotel in Delhi-NCR as it stands out as one of the highly recommended hotels in Greater Noida. The Hotel is in proximity to some popular tourist attractions and other places of interest in the vicinity. Some of the tourist attractions include Wave Mall Noida (15.5 km) and Decathlon Mall of India, Noida (15.6 km). A popular transit point from the hotel is Greater Noida Bus Depot (12.0 km).

Spread over 8 acres, this contemporary business hotel in Greater Noida features 398 well-designed spacious rooms including apartments and suites, five dining outlets and 51000 sq ft banqueting space, fitness centre, spa, salon and an outdoor pool.

Here is an interview with Mr Sharad K Upadhyay, GM, Crowne Plaza Greater Noida where he shares more details about the property. 

With an illustrious experience of over 20 years across a broad spectrum of hospitality functions, Mr Upadhyay holds a specialisation in hotel operations with an avid interest in food and beverage as well as in sales and marketing. He has held various leadership positions and worked with renowned domestic and international hospitality brands across the country and beyond. In his last stint, Upadhyay was the General Manager of Holiday Inn Mumbai International Airport. He completed his General Management Programme at Cornell University Ithaca, New York. He began working with IHG Group in 2002 which was at the Crowne Plaza North Beijing, and has worked with leading hospitality brands in Nepal, India and Thailand over his tenure with the parent brand.


How does Crowne Plaza Greater Noida stand out amongst the competition around?

We are unique in many ways. We are an IHG hotel with a strong global reach and access. We are the largest Crowne Plaza in South-West Asia, situated in the heart of the business hub of Greater Noida, spread over 8.5 acres. We have 5 award-winning dining outlets – Mosaic the All-Day Dining; Chao Bella Chinese & Italian fare; Spice Art – the fine-dining Indian specialty, ConneXions – a chic bar lounge and the Belgian Beer Café that is one of a kind in this part of the world.

Also, we are a large convention and a MICE centre with 51000 sq. ft banqueting space – 9 meeting rooms, three sprawling outdoor lawns.

We also have the world’s first and one of the largest Guest Loyalty Program – IHG one rewards, a program that gives our guests industry-leading benefits and perks for their loyalty with capabilities of serving our guests based on their preferences and past stays.

Now that things are opening up, how do you see the situation panning out for the Indian hospitality sector in 2022?

As travel continues to return, we see a rapid and gradual shift to pre-pandemic levels of demand. What’s significant now is that our guests will place a great emphasis on our brand promise of safety and service. Experiences are going to play a dominant role against just a hotel stay. Also, our guests are increasingly becoming inclined toward sustainability.


What are some of the new sustainable initiatives taken by Crowne Plaza Greater Noida?

IHG Green Engage is IHG’s online sustainability system which helps us reduce environmental impact. It is an innovative online environmental sustainability system that gives the means to measure and manage the impact on the environment. At IHG we have over 200 ‘Green Solutions’ that are designed to reduce energy, water, and waste, and improve their impact on the environment. The IHG Green Engage system has four levels of certification that our hotels can achieve and those achieving Level 3 certification or above can reduce energy use by up to 25%.

Also, at Crowne Plaza, Greater Noida we follow the bulk amenities program, switching to bulk-size amenities is a tried and tested approach at IHG. Whether for business or leisure, hotel guests increasingly want their stays to be more sustainable without any impact on the quality of their experience. Several IHG brands are already achieving this today, receiving positive guest feedback on the quality of products and the larger volume on offer: Furthermore, we do rainwater harvesting and daily monitoring of food wastage.


How is Crowne Plaza Greater Noida performing in terms of MICE (Meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) tourism?

We are the market leader when it comes to Meeting groups and Incentives. With a dedicated Crowne Meetings Director and a MICE team, it has indeed become one of the key contributors to our success. With state-of-the-art technology to drive guest experience and revenue for the hotel, doing business with us is seamless. We also have industry-leading programs like IHG Booker Bonus which is an added advantage for bookers doing business with us.                                  

What are the USPs that your hotel offers vis-à-vis others in the market?

We are a large 400-room hotel with one of the largest Meetings & Conference spaces in Delhi NCR. We have one of the largest spreads of Food & Beverage Offerings in the whole of Delhi NCR. Our on-site dining options make it easy to grab meals between meetings or chat with clients over drinks. Our restaurants offer a delicious culinary journey with innovative takes on Indian, Asian, and Mediterranean dishes. At Mosaic, guests enjoy a hands-on experience exploring a myriad of impressive International culinary delicacies, while the chefs at Spice Art combine traditional Indian flavours and handpicked culinary delights from Awadhi and Mughlai cuisines covering regions of Punjab, Delhi, and Lucknow. Chao Bella is the only Chinese and Italian speciality restaurant in the vicinity. ConneXions is a chic lounge bar at the lobby level serving the finest pours and gastronomic bit-size food. Belgian Beer Cafe, which is also at the lobby level is one-of-a-kind bars in the whole of India.

We have one of the largest loyalty programs in the world – IHG 1 Rewards which is also the first in the world. Since June 2022, the program has become even more powerful, with enhanced perks and benefits available to our loyal guests. IHG Business Edge – is another unique program that is designed to take care of small and midsize enterprises (SMEs). We also have IHG Business Rewards which is a global extension of IHG® Rewards, created to recognize and reward those who book on behalf of others by offering points when booking meetings, accommodations, and events (including social events such as weddings, family gatherings) at participating IHG hotels.


Is F&B (food and beverage) a big revenue earner for the property

Yes, 30% of our revenue comes from our Food & Beverage segment.

What is the marketing strategy you have adopted to promote your property?

Our strategy is to deliver the unique Crowne Plaza Experience by use of our large inventory, cutting-edge technology, and award-winning Food & Beverage outlets coupled with the unique IHG culture of True Hospitality. While doing business, we are also mindful of our contribution to the community and our impact on the environment.


What are some of the trends you see impacting the hospitality industry?

There is more focus on health and well-being across our guest segments. Our guests are increasingly wanting an “experience” rather than just a hotel stay or regular dining. Our people have also become more sensitive to health & safety protocols at the hotel.

Hybrid models of the meeting will continue, requiring hotels to remain up to date with the latest in AV and technology. Going forward, contactless, and exceptional customer services will be the key driver in instilling confidence among the guests. Also, smart technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and futuristic technologies will continue to be used by the hospitality players to ensure contactless experiences and sustain guests’ confidence. Multitasking will be the name of the game too.

What are the key challenges that lie ahead for you in the future?

While I am a firm believer that the recovery has started faster and stronger than we had expected, there are a few areas that may reduce the speed of recovery as we move ahead –

  • International traffic may take a while to get back to normal.
  • Covid-19 restrictions in our areas and our source markets may hinder progress/speed of recovery.
  • Supply chain delay worldwide affects operations and costs.
  • General inflation and a rise in the cost of goods sold will affect demand.
  • Talent attrition that the whole industry is aware of.


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