The tyranny of occupancy

As you check into your hotel for your next holiday, look around carefully. You will find a forlorn figure standing in one corner of the lobby, muttering distractedly to himself. Go closer and you will hear him repeating the word “occupancy” under his breath. Spare a thought for him as you breeze off to get into your swimwear. For he is your host, the owner of the resort you are staying in.

Why this strange behaviour? You would behave the same way if you had his problem. You see, resorts in India have a peculiar problem. They alternate between feast and famine with nothing in between. During weekends or during the high season (mostly in Winter and over the summer school holidays), resorts are chock-a-block with tourists and all the owner can do is to practise the art of gracefully saying No. But elementary arithmetic tells us that this not enough to run this business. For, during the rest of the year, these hotels get very, very few guests. Therefore a resort that charges you a cool Rs 20,000 per couple for the New Year’s eve stay will actually be making a fat loss of a crore of rupees by the end of the year.

So the next time your room-service order takes 12 minutes to arrive, take a moment to reflect before you start raising hell. If you are in the peak season, the owner has too many compaints coming to him at the same time for him to do anything much. If it is the off-season, the guy who was to get your order has just been down-sized since occupancies are low. It is not that resort owners want to do this to you – it is just that they have no other option.

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