Hotel chains go on an expansion drive

Written by Vishakha Talreja | Neha Pal | Neha Pal | New Delhi | Updated: Apr 11 2011, 08:03am hrs
Its not only foreign players which are entering Indian hotel market and bringing new brands but the home-grown players too are in an expansion mode, taking the international brands head on.

Sample this: After the Leela Chankyapuris much-awaited April launch, the hotel chain has already firmed up plans to invest another R2,500 crore to open properties in Agra and Jaipur completing the golden triangle and also in Chennai and Kerala. We will soon open a property in Chennai followed by Agra, Jaipur and Ashtamudi near Kerala. We are planning to invest R2,500 crore on these hotels, said Sanjoy Pasricha, VP sales and marketing, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts.

Talking about the Agra hotel, which is still being conceptualised, Pasricha said, We have a land in Agra which is just a kilometre away from the Taj Mahal and maximum number of rooms in the hotel will have a view of the Taj. The Leela Group is also strengthening its presence with its partnership with the Global Hotel Alliance (GHA) which is worlds largest alliance of independent hotel brands. GHA comprises international hotels such as Anantara, Kempinski, Marco Polo, Tivoli Hotels and Resorts and others. Meanwhile, other major players too are spreading wings. The Oberoi will soon be opening doors of its highly-anticipated property in Gurgaon. The group will add five properties in the next two years. The Gurgaon property, which Oberois are betting big on, is a management contract. Similarly, the two properties coming up in Hyderabad, with a total investment of R650 crore, are a joint venture with Jubilee Hotels.

Hotel biggie Taj Hotels and Resorts group will be opening seven new properties this year, including a property in Srinagar. Similarly, NCR will witness another luxury property commencing its operations this year.

The Jaypee Groups hotel division will be opening Jaypee Golf Resort in Noida in August. The property that covers around 8 lakh sq feet area (excluding the golf course) is developed at a project cost of more than R500 crore. It will also house Indias first Six Senses spa. It will be an out-and-out luxury property with average room rates of around R20,000, said Manju Sharma, director. Jaypee Hotels. The group has another 500-room hotel in the pipeline.

Its not only high investments and super luxury segment that the domestic players are eyeing. Looking at the booming domestic tourism in the country, mid-market brands are being rolled out too. Jaypee recently launched its 4-star budget hotel Delcourt and is looking at expanding in that segment with its Delcourt brand.

Four-star business hotels have a very good market in this country as they are affordable. We would like to grow in this segment, said Sharma of Jaypee. Delhi-based Tivoli Group, which recently opened a 30-room business boutique hotel, Tivoli Cititel, is also looking at expanding its Cititel brand, along with its resort properties. We are looking at tier 1 and tier II cities to expand our footprint in the country with Cititel brand. We are in talks with various developers to sign management contracts, said Puneet Gupta, MD, Tivoli Group.

Similarly, Bharat Hotels which operates five-star hotels The Lalit, has earmarked R2,000 crore for expansion of its luxury hotels, and R500 crore for mid-segment hotels under the Lalit Traveller brand. The first Lalit Traveller hotel will commence operations in Pune next year.