We Curate Experiences: Varun Talwar

Despite being a newbie, Hyatt Place has already made a mark in the Nepali hospitality industry as a top hotel. The secret? Caring for people—guests and colleagues

26, Aug 2022 | nepaltraveller.com

Varun Talwar has a very holistic approach to his work. He values his colleagues and understands their opinions are equally important. He is an excellent leader who constantly encourages and mentors his team to do better.

In today’s volatile and complex working environment, a humble leader performs better than one who believes he has the answer to everything. Varun Talwar, the General Manager of Hyatt Place, is a perfect example. Looking after the place since its inception in November 2021, he is one of the most easy-going people in the hospitality industry, and why wouldn’t he be—he had always had a zeal for hotels. “I come from a family of hoteliers where my aunts, uncles and cousins all worked at hotels, so I was introduced to this industry when I was a young boy. So, when it was time to make a career decision, I had two choices—my family business of garments or hotels,” he said. He chose the latter one and is living his dream.


For someone who has actively been a part of the industry since 2004, Talwar has seen it go through some significant evolutions. “The essence of hospitality remains the same—caring for people, whether they are your guests or your colleagues,” he said. “Having said that, when I started my career, it was tedious. There were no offline to online transactions. Marketing had to be done through billboards and signs. But today, things have evolved to a larger extent where everything is digital, making it easier for both parties.”

Someone who loves watching superhero movies on weekends, Talwar has a very holistic approach to his work. He values his colleagues and understands their opinions are equally important. Talwar is an excellent leader who constantly encourages and mentors his team to do better. “Care, money, designation—these are the three things you have to look after if you want to hold on to your people, and at Hyatt Place, we do just that. I don’t believe in an autocratic rule where everything has to run how I want to. I let the department heads run their respective departments like a business. Let them work things out, try, make mistakes and learn. I constantly tell them that their success is mine and vice versa. This has been one of the biggest motivating factors.”

That’s not all. His unwavering dedication and strong people skills enable him to impact guests and colleagues positively. “You will always see me in the lobby, either interacting with the guests or discussing our next move with my colleagues,” said Talwar. “I believe in standing beside my people at all times. I tell them, I’m a spare tire, I’m where you need me”. Besides having a boss who values your effort, Hyatt Place is also one of the very few places where everyone is on a first-name basis. “I always wanted a friendly environment in the hotel, where everyone respects everyone, which is why everyone is on a first-name basis here. No one says sir/ma’am. If you’re caught doing so, you’re bound to pay a fine of Rs. 100,” he shared.

But what makes Hyatt Place unique besides the people who run the place? Talwar answered, “We curate experiences! We make sure our guests have the best experience when they are here. A few years down the line, they will forget what places they visited, but they will always remember how someone made them feel, and that can only be done by curating those experiences.”

While we talk about all things hospitality, we most definitely cannot ignore the industry's challenges. To this, Talwar replied, “The biggest challenge that the Nepali hospitality industry is facing right now is brain drain. Talented young people are moving abroad. With the number of hotels coming up in Nepal, who will the industry employ? Today’s first batch of Hotel Management students will be employed after three years. But if the seats are empty in schools, we’ll have a major problem.”

So, what can be done to tackle these challenges? “The first thing we have to do is increase the flow of tourists. This will put the industry back on track and attract more people to work here.” But how can we do that? “All the hotels are marketing their own properties. There is an urgent need for hotels to come together and market Nepal as a destination. We are already in talks with other hotels to do so. Yes, there is a price war in terms of hotels. But we’re all a different segment of hotels. If we get together and market Nepal, tourists will be back.”

Photos by:Bidyash Dangol

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