Follow the sun: Meet Biplab Hazra

This week we had the opportunity to sit down with Biplab Hazra, our Regional Managing Director for India and the Subcontinent who has been with interTouch for 18 years.

Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
“Yes absolutely. I have over 25 years of experience in operations management, sales, service delivery, pre-sales and customer support, system integration and networking, and program management. I joined interTouch in October 2003 as IT Manager based in Mumbai and am currently the Regional Managing Director for India and the Subcontinent. I have a B.E. in Computer Science and Engineering and an MBA in Operations Management as well as several professional certifications including Prince2, ITIL, CWNA, CCNP, CCNA, CIPT and EVOICE.”

You have been with interTouch since the set-up of the office in India in 2003, what have been some  of your most memorable moments over the past 18 years?
“There are so many memorable moments over the years that it will be hard to pick one, but seeing the company’s footprint in the region grow has definitely been a highlight. We started operations here in 2003 with installations in just three hotels in India, and today we have over 130 installations in the region, including the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. We have also been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to build a very strong team for interTouch here in the region and many of our colleagues have been with us for many years and have grown with the company.”

What makes interTouch such a great place to work?
“What really stands out for me is the stability, teamwork and the support we receive from management. There is a lot of opportunity for self-development within interTouch which allows us to grow with the company. We also have a great company culture and work environment which is based on teamwork, dedication and honesty. This serves as the foundation for our focus on customer satisfaction in everything we do.”

From your personal perspective, what is the best part of working at interTouch?
“There are so many elements that make my work at interTouch really rewarding, which includes the opportunities for personal and professional growth, the friendly and open-door environment, the support we get from management, and the stability of the business.”

What is the most exciting part of your day?
“Every day is different and there is always an opportunity to learn something new which makes for a nice challenge! What I really enjoy is being able to adapt and change and wear different hats to support the team and the business. Some days I focus primarily on operations, others I may be very involved in sales and pre-sales, and sometimes I need to focus on HR or finance related tasks which makes my role really varied and interesting. I truly believe that to be a successful team leader and mentor for the team, you need to lead by example and understand the roles and responsibilities of the team.”

And the best part of your role?
“For me it’s the fact that every day presents an opportunity to learn, to accept challenges, and to work on large customer portfolios and teams. I am also a firm believer in the importance of self and team growth and enjoy achieving our targets and deadlines together as one team.”

What do you see as the biggest trends in hotel technology?
“I see quite a few different trends emerging in hotel technology, including touchless technology and voice-enabled services, which are accelerating because of the global pandemic. I also foresee more applications of IoT in hospitality and expect an increase in the use of integrated guest applications and mobile technology for back-office operations in hotels. In addition, I think there will be a continued focus on self-services in hotels as well as the use of predictive analytics across all touchpoints in a hotel.”

Once we can all travel again, what cities/places/destinations are on your bucket list?
“I would really like to go and see our regional team outside of India and visit my colleagues that are looking after these markets, as well as our clients across the region. For my holidays I am keen to visit some Hill Stations in India.”

Do you have a role model in life?
“My father is my role model in life. I learned from him that honesty, hard work and dedication always pay off in the long run and that it is a prerequisite for success. My father was a teacher who got a National Award from the President of India for his teaching.”

What is your favourite business mantra?
“Every day is learning day, learn from everyone but do not copy anyone.”

What are your personal key learnings from the Covid-19 pandemic?
“I took several learnings from the Covid-19 pandemic. Firstly, it’s important to stay positive and be patient and to make the most out of any adverse situation. Secondly, no matter how bad the situation is, it will change, as nothing is permanent. Lastly, I realise more than ever before, that health is wealth.”

What do you see as the key USPs of interTouch and the key strengths of your team in the region?
“We have the best product line in the hospitality industry, we are fully customer centric and have a highly experienced and stable team – all key elements to our success and strength in the region.”

What advice could you give to young professionals looking to start a career in hospitality technology?.
“My advice is to learn from every situation you encounter and every colleague you work with. The hospitality industry is so incredibly dynamic and diverse that it presents limitless opportunities for professional and personal skills development.”

What’s your outlook for the hospitality industry in 2022 as we near the end of the year?
“The biggest trends I foresee for the hospitality industry are sustainability, the emergence of new lodging options and a shift in global demand. In terms of technologies and services, I expect hotels will continue to deploy more touchless solutions and services that enable guests to use their own mobile devices, including casting. In addition, I believe data security will remain a high priority for hotels.”

What makes interTouch a great company to do business with?
“We have a global presence and pride ourselves on our innovative technology vision. Our product line is very strong and our experienced support team provides 365x24x7 support to our customers locally on the ground. We work alongside our customers as partners to understand their requirements and provide solutions that give them excellent return on their investment.”

How does the company differentiate itself?
“We are fully customer centric in everything we do and have a strong product line with clearly defined roadmaps for our technologies.”

How do hotels benefit from interTouch solutions?
“interTouch is a one-stop-shop for stable, secure, innovative and future-proof guest-facing technologies that enable hotels to deliver a seamless and exceptional guest experience.”

What are the key characteristics of a strong salesperson in (hotel) technology?
“It is very important to work alongside the customer as a partner and to thoroughly understand their requirements in order to provide a tailored solution that suits their business needs. A good sales person should be hardworking, dedicated, customer-focused and believe in the power of partnership.”

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