New Delhi: Hotels and restaurants were in readiness for the arrival of the New Year in the month of November. However, PM Modi’s surprise move to demonetise 500 and 100-rupee notes to curb black money, counterfeit currency and terror funding poured cold water on their efforts.
Post demonetisation, the New Year eve has once again resuscitated the industry.
“Hard rock cafe outlets across India suffered in the month of November. In comparison to November 2015, business was down by 20 percent this year,” said Jay Singh, Executive Director and Co-founder of JSM Corporation, which owns Hard Rock Cafe’s exclusive franchise in India.
Even the beginning of December didn’t bring laurels to the café. “The business was down by 8 percent in 2016 as compared to December 2015,” Jay told CNN-News18, adding, “But business for December 31st follows a completely different trajectory. We are completely sold out on the New Year eve.”
Meena Bhatia, the Vice President (operations) of Le Meridien Delhi said that she was initially apprehensive of demonetisation’s impact on the New Year celebrations and hotel bookings.
“The year is going to be as rocking because we have not seen any decline… I think people come to hotels and we have the same level of bookings… In fact, I would not be surprised if we do better this year,” Bhatia told CNN-News18.
When asked about the numbers, Bhatia said: “…Look at the festival booking centre upstairs… They are inundated with calls… We already have 80 percent sold out situation for December 31st and 20 percent will easily sell out as New Year bookings are usually done at the last minute.”
Bhatia also said that there were some cancellations after PM’s surprise move and the hotel encountered several problems with no cash in hand.
“For instance foreign exchange. We are not able to exchange money for our guests because we don’t have money… Then we have to pay allowances to airline crew… Small petty cash expenses etc. were difficult to manage,” she said.
Modi government’s emphasis on the use of digital wallets and other cashless modes of transactions has also changed the way the industry transacts today. “We are not receiving too much cash now… 80-85 percent of our transactions are now through digital modes,” Bhatia said.