- Fleur Hotels looks to develop 35 Lemon Tree hotels in India in 4 yrs
- Lebua Hotels & Resorts to introduce Sirocco and Breeze brands in India
- WORLDHOTELS looks to double India base in a year
- FHRAI chalks out five year plan
- 32nd Milestone to expand in luxury hotel space
- Winterhalter wins 1st place in warewashing technology
- SRS Group ventures into hotel industry
- India considered as preferred venue for MICE
- Rising demand drives up Indian hotel prices: Hotel Price Index report
Fleur Hotels looks to develop 35 Lemon Tree hotels in India in 4 yrs
Enters into strategic partnership with APG
HEENA MAHAJAN - Delhi
Lemon Tree has entered into a strategic partnership with the Dutch pension fund asset manager APG to develop a portfolio of 35 mid-market hotels in India in four years. APG has taken six per cent stake in Lemon Tree Hotels and formed a joint venture to set up a hotel development cum owning joint venture company Fleur Hotels. All the proposed hotels in this joint venture will be branded as Lemon Tree Hotels, Lemon Tree Premier or Red Fox Hotels. Confirming the developments to Express Hospitality, Saurabh Nandi, chief marketing officer, Lemon Tree said, “We are looking to build inventory further in the National Capital Region, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata. Additionally, Srinagar, Goa, Nasik, Guwahati, Raipur, Ranchi, Bhubaneshwar, Puri, Vishakapatnam, Vadodara, Surat, Gwalior, Mysore, Patna, Jamshedpur, Madurai, Puducherry, Lucknow and Amritsar.” These will be full service hotels and will offer 24x7 services, a range of food and beverage outlets including a 24x7 coffee shop, recreational bar, specialty restaurants, business facilities including WiFi, meeting rooms and recreational facilities including fitness centre, swimming pool and health spas.
APG manages about 299 billion Euros ($393 billion) on behalf of Dutch pension funds. Fleur Hotels will invest over Rs 2,000 crore to develop and own 4,500 rooms by end of 2016. It holds 47 per cent shareholding in the joint venture-Fleur Hotels, while Lemon Tree holds the balance 53 per cent. APG’s combined investment in the joint venture and Lemon Tree Hotels is Rs 650 crore.
“The hotel industry in India is not comprehensively segmented yet and is in the process of evolution. The non-five star/deluxe market is now seeing a number of brands entering the space and is getting further segmented into upper upscale, upscale, midscale and budget/economy. We see significant unmet demand in the upscale and upper upscale segment and supply being added in these segments will lead growth for the entire hotel industry. On completion of these proposed hotels, Lemon Tree will be a dominant player in the mid-market hotel segment,” added Nandi. Global private equity group Warburg Pincus also has a 25 per cent shareholding in the company, but Nandi informed that Warburg Pincus will continue to be invested in Lemon Tree.
Lebua Hotels & Resorts to introduce Sirocco and Breeze brands in India
Plans for 10 properties across the world, three in India
SUDIPTA DEV – Tokyo
All set to introduce a new experience in fine dining in India, Deepak Ohri, CEO, lebua Hotels and Resorts, is bringing Sirocco II and Sirocco III, to Delhi and Goa respectively. Modeled on the rooftop Sirocco restaurant in Bangkok, Sirocco II will also be roof top al fresco dining experience in lebua New Delhi while Sirocco III will be introduced in the Goa resort that is coming up by October 2013.
Breeze that specialises in Asian culinary will also be launched at both properties. “We are very excited to be in India and are looking forward to meeting our Indian customers and bringing them an experience of Sirocco and Breeze and all togther a new exciting bar.” said Ohri.
lebua Hotels & Resorts has currently five properties in three countries (two each in Thailand and India and one in New Zealand). The Goa property will be a boutique resort with 14 rooms and 40 villas. According to Ohri they are also on the look out for another location in India, which will take the total number of properties to three in the country. Another destination in the pipeline for a resort is Bali in Indonesia.
“We do not want to grow very fast. Overall we do not want more than 10 hotels. This is because we have a very different philosophy - we want to give our customers an experience which cannot be matched. We never replicate what we have created, we always want to create something new that makes each and every property very unique. We do a lot of research so it has to be customised, it cannot be mass production, it has to be tailored. We have to be very careful in how we expand and choose our locations and we do not want to over-expand. After Bali we will take a pause and maybe then go to Europe,” stated Ohri.
Explaining why after Bangkok it took almost six years before lebua entered India, Ohri stated, “We needed sometime to see how we are doing, to understand which market we should go first and then decided on India. This happened not because I am an Indian, but because India is one of the greatest economies and has a huge appetite for the luxury market. Indian consumers are very well travelled and well informed. So there is no better place to go anywhere in the world than to start in India.”
The Indian experience, Ohri pointed out, has been extremely positive. He differed from the usual complaint of international hotel groups that construction and project management are more challenging in India than anywhere else. “Maybe because we are an Asian company so we understand the conditions. Besides, now in India professional companies have come into construction, it depends on what programme you choose. For Goa we are choosing D&C (Design and Construction). Of course the cost is a little bit higher, almost 15 per cent, but it saves time and in the longer run time is money,” he summed up.
WORLDHOTELS looks to double India base in a year
First branded hotel to be launched in Chandigarh in August 2012
SUDIPTA DEV - Mumbai
WORLDHOTELS is looking at adding ten more hotels in India in the next one year. This year also marks a key milestone for WORLDHOTELS in the country with the launch of WORLDHOTELS Turquoise Chandigarh, the first branded Worldhotel opening in August 2012. In the next couple of years there will be two-three more branded hotels coming up in the country. “India is very important to us. It is now the second year that we have an office here. We are now strengthening it with sales force to develop the business, firstly for our outbound 490 hotels around the world and also to produce RFPs and domestic business for our Indian hotels, which will come to double over the next one year,” said Roland Jegge, vice president, Asia Pacific, WORLDHOTELS.
The destinations being looked at are Hyderabad, Pune, Goa, Kolkata, and also Colombo and Dhaka. “In cities like Delhi and Mumbai, we currently have two hotels in each but we can easily add two/three more properties in both cities because the business is so fragmented,” stated Naresh Chandnani, regional director business development, Indian Subcontinent & Maldives, WORLDHOTELS . They are also looking at tier III cities like Aurangabad, Jaipur, Indore, etc. The properties range from business hotels to large resorts.
Regarding the launch of the Chandigarh property Jegge said, “It is a big step for us to have a hotel carrying our name and brand.” Chandnani pointed out that WORLDHOTELS Turquoise is the second internationally branded hotel in Chandigarh. In fact this will be the first LEED certified environmentally friendly building in the city.
How the branded hotel differentiates from other member hotels is that the former gets more prominent branding. A state-of-the website is designed for them and the booking engine is integrated. The hotel also gets 360 degrees sales support. "Business is brought to them not only through the electronic channel in which we are very strong, but also business is brought directly to the hotel through tour operators, air crew, all that contributes to the room revenue,” stated Jegge. For branded hotels they also set up the rate strategy and distribution strategy. "Our investment goes into the technology, sales offices and branding," said Jegge.
For member hotels Worldhotels does sales, marketing and distribution, primarily through the CRS. Also 11 per cent of the business comes through the MICE segment, which all hotels get. The member list in India currently includes The Claridges Surajkund in Delhi/NCR, Aamby Valley City, Hotel Sahara Star Svenska in Mumbai, Asiana Hotel in Chennai amongst others.
FHRAI chalks out five year plan
Annual convention theme - Employment Generation: Engine of Inclusive Growth
KAHINI CHAKRABORTY - Mumbai
The Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Association of India (FHRAI) has chalked out its future five year plan as part of its internal strategy besides lobbying with the government of India. The five-year plan will look into addressing issues like policy strategies on government issues; revenue planning for the next five years; employment emphasis; CSR commitment on environment initiatives including water and fuel and public relations and legal matters. The FHRAI five year plan committee is headed by Kamlesh Barot, who is the chairman of the committee and president, FHRAI. “We have put all the 19 committees together and there is also a sub-committee which looks at the future five year plan of the association. This will aid in initiating to have a broader perspective which can be worked upon by the new president each year from wherever the past president is left out to complete,” said Barot. The committee will focus on new initiatives to facilitate operational and organisational support in enhancing efficiency through concerted efforts to achieve desired goals. Few of the sub-committees include: legal and taxation; sustainable development; FAITH; seminars; MOT and star hotels classification; pre-budget memorandum.
Besides this, FHRAI is also going to hold its 47th annual convention from September 6-8, 2012 in Goa. The theme of the convention is 'Employment Generation: Engine of Inclusive Growth'. With an aim to raise the bar of its annual convention and make this year's convention as an international showcase, the association is in advance talks with International Hotels and Restaurant Association (IH&RA), FAITH, Cornell Hospitality, American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC)- India Initiative, Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), South African Tourism Association to participate for the convention. Talking about the number of delegates expected to attend the convention, Barot said, “We usually expect and the previous record has been 350-400 members but since this is going to be an international convention we are looking at 750-800 delegates. We have also made a list of business sessions which we want to conduct during the three-day convention. The parameters for these sessions will focus around the theme which will highlight on how is the government going to look at employment and what is the potential that we have.”
32nd Milestone to expand in luxury hotel space
SAYONI BHADURI – Delhi
Gurgaon based 32nd Milestone is expanding the company's portfolio. Mamta Sharma, executive director, 32nd Milestone informed, “We are expanding by entering the luxury segment of hotels. We've recently tied up with a leading international brand, to manage the newly designed deluxe five star hotel, which would be flanking 32nd Milestone. Apart from this, there would be limited edition branded residences, and premium, very restricted number, high end commercial spaces, all in the immediate vicinity of our current facility.” Apart from this Sharma also spoke of the 32nd Milestone Gurgaon upgradation plans. The upgrade will be across the property's facilities rooms, restaurants, bars, health and beauty outlets, entertainment zones. They would also be promoting some new venues of entertainment offering a value-for-money experience.
Sharma assured that the company's focus will only be the food and hospitality sector. She added, "In Goa, the government offers incentives for the food industry, so we might set up a processing unit in our industrial facility, spread over a beautiful hillside in north Goa. Our plans for the pilot project overseas are nearing completion, and should be launched before the end of this year." She said that they aim to have a balanced approach for their sales and marketing which include traditional media, social media, travel agents and internal sales team.
Winterhalter wins 1st place in warewashing technology
EH STAFF – Mumbai
Warewashing specialist Winterhalter Gastronom GmbH in Meckenbeuren recently won the Readers’ Choice Award 'BEST of Market 2012' in the category warewashing technology, which was presented at the Internorga trade fair (Hamburg). The award is based on the market research conducted by the three German specialist journals FirstClass, 24 Stunden Gastlichkeit and GVmanager on the market and buying behaviour in the out-of-home market in 2012.
SRS Group ventures into hotel industry
EH STAFF – Delhi
SRS Group, a diversified company with business portfolio in retail, multiplex cinemas, jewellery, fashion wear and food & beverages, recently announced its venture into the hotel and tourism industry in Haridwar through a strategic tie-up with the promoters of Lakshya Hotel, four-star property in the city. The property has been re-branded as SRS Lakshya. Under the agreement, SRS will earn substantial royalty and fees for professional management, marketing and operating the property.
The hotel is supposed to be the first in Haridwar having its own central air conditioning plant and an in-house express laundry and dry cleaning service for its guests. It features 78 rooms including three presidential suites, four deluxe suites and 71 deluxe rooms.
Apart from this, plans are afoot to build marketing salience both in India and abroad to target tourists. SRS Group already has initiated plans for its five-star hotel and two motels in Faridabad by procuring land and licences for all three projects. “With our expertise across sectors including F&B and hospitality, this is a natural extension for us. We feel proud to extend the reach of our brand to a whole new segment of customers and promise to deliver the best of hospitality experience from the SRS family. With SRS Lakshya, we aim to capitalise upon the vast opportunities in the hospitality sector in India and further strengthen our growth strategy while ensuring great value to our shareholders,” said Dr Anil Jindal, Chairman, SRS Group.
India considered as preferred venue for MICE
HEENA MAHAJAN – Delhi
India is increasingly being considered as the preferred venue for meetings, incentives, conferences, conventions and exhibitions (MICE). According to a report by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), 100 internationally recognised meetings were held in India in 2010, placing India on the 31st position in the global list of top meetings destinations. In 2011 the revenue from MICE at Hilton New Delhi/Janakpuri, which offers among the largest conference and banqueting facilities in the city, increased fourfold over the previous year, informed a Hilton Worldwide spokesperson to Express Hospitality. Seeing this potential in the MICE industry, Hilton Worldwide recently launched MICE Campaign in India aimed at the corporate meetings, events and incentives markets. This campaign rewards planners by offering additional benefits when they choose to host a meeting or event at any of the eight Hilton Worldwide hotels in India. The hotels participating in the campaign include, Hilton New Delhi/Janakpuri, Hilton New Delhi-Noida-Mayur Vihar, DoubleTree by Hilton New Delhi-Noida-Mayur Vihar, Hilton Garden Inn New Delhi/Saket, Eros Hotel - Managed by Hilton New Delhi/Nehru Place, DoubleTree by Hilton Gurgaon-New Delhi NCR, Hilton Mumbai International Airport and Hilton Chennai.
Event planners that book 20 rooms or more for an event at any one of the participating hotels will be able to choose to receive any one of the following special benefits - complimentary internet access for all delegates, complimentary welcome cocktail for all delegates or two rooms complimentary for every 20 rooms booked. The campaign is valid for bookings made from May 1 - June 30, 2012, and events scheduled from May 15 – October 15, 2012.
“Hilton Worldwide is expanding rapidly in India. We launched six hotels in the country last year, and anticipate opening another six hotels this year,” added the spokesperson. On asking about the changing trends in MICE, and evolving need of the customer, he informed that the MICE industry in India is witnessing a definite upward curve. Besides New Delhi and Mumbai, Hyderabad is recognised among the preferred MICE destinations. Given the immense potential of the segment in India, tour companies, hotels and airlines have established specialised verticals that focus specifically on the MICE segment.
Rising demand drives up Indian hotel prices: Hotel Price Index report
The latest Hotel Price Index report by Hotels.com has revealed a price rise in hotels in popular destinations across the country. One key reason for the price rise could be the increase in domestic travel because the rupee has struggled against foreign currencies. Indians have become more cost conscious and are possibly making trips to destinations within India. Speaking on the HPI report, Rajiv Malhotra, head of marketing, South East Asia, Hotels.com said, "The depreciating value of the rupee against most of the other currencies has also resulted in hotel room rates rising at popular destinations like Jaipur, Goa and Manali. Cities like New Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai also show a hike in room rates as they are business and cultural hubs. They are also well connected to other tourist destinations."
Major cities such as New Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Ahmedabad have shown a hike in room rates.
Disha Direct to invest Rs 300 crore in its hospitality division.
Mumbai-based real estate marketing company Disha Direct Marketing Services plans to invest Rs 300 crore in its hospitality division, Greenarth Leisure, in the next five years. Following the launch of Greenarth Lakeview at Vikramghad, 30 resorts have been planned for the next five years along Mumbai-Pune, Mumbai-Nashik, Mumbai-Ahmedabad and Mumbai-Goa highways. "We will set up around four to six resorts every year. In 2012, resorts at Karjat, Wada, Kasara and Roha will be developed and completely operational," said Santosh Naik, managing director, Disha Direct. Naik added that after setting up resorts in Maharashtra, the company would like to go beyond the state.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts has aggressive growth plans for India
Starwood Hotels & Resorts, which is on an aggressive expansion mode globally, has its growth plans charted out for India. While some brands will come with the existing partners, a few will be in the form of partnership with other developers. There was a time when Starwood's presence was limited to franchise model in India. Now, there is strong effort towards management opportunities. Starwood is also finding it lucrative to go to tier II cities and lesser known places.
Marriott International plans to introduce Autograph Collection in India
Marriott International plans to introduce its Autograph Collection in India in the near future. Marriott has planned to come up with 100 hotels in India by 2015. The core brands are JW, Renaissance, Marriott, Courtyard by Mariott and Marriott Executive Apartments. In addition, by 2015 the hotel brand would have Ritz-Carlton, Autograph Collection and Fairfield Inns & Suites in India.
Pride Group of Hotels signs new management contracts
Mumbai based Pride Group of Hotels that is looking to venture into an IPO has signed four management contracts for hotels in Gurgaon (which is already operational), Kochi, Indore and a 80-room hotel in Munnar opening next year. These properties will be branded as Pride Biznotels. Pride Group has also acquired resorts in Goa and Alibaug.
Neemrana Hotels to launch Noble Homes concept
Neemrana Hotels has introduced a new concept called Neemrana Noble Homes. The first one called Ishavilas in Soilim, Goa (already open) has four rooms and the second Diwan's Bungalow in Ahmedabad will open soon with six rooms.
Thali restaurant chain Rajdhani to develop delivery chain
Rajdhani, the Indian thali chain promoted by Mirah Hospitality, is looking at developing a delivery service system. The restaurant promotes Meal Boxes as a by-product of the thali format. Aji Nair, AVP - F&B, Mirah Hospitality informed that they will begin with Bengaluru and then move to Mumbai.