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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Hoteliers add over 800 guestrooms across India in two weeks

This story first appeared in DNA Money edition on Thursday, Sep 5, 2013.

The current financial environment may remain tough, but that has not deterred Indian hospitality industry – both Indian and international – from pushing ahead with new hotels. In all, approximately 827 new guestrooms were added in the organised hospitality sector in the last two weeks and a majority – approximately 60% – of them have come up in South India alone.

Some of the big names here include Indian Hotels Co (Taj Group), East India Hotels (Oberoi Group), Accor, Berggruen Hotels and the Panaromic Group.

While French hospitality major Accor opened a 131-room budget hotel under the ‘Formule1’ brand in Bangalore, IHCL from the Tata stable rolled out its 200-room upscale ‘The Gateway Hotel’ on the IT Expressway in Chennai. September thus far has seen three hotels being launched with a combined guestroom inventory of 496.

Earlier this week (September 2), the Oberoi Group threw open its 323-key five-star business hotel under the Trident brand in Hyderabad. Berggruen Hotels, promoted by US-based Berggruen Holdings, opened its first five-star hotel in Pune under the Keys Klub brand featuring 115 guestrooms while a 58-room premium hotel got christened United 21 in Hyderabad.

While it may appear as a sheer coincidence that almost half-a-dozen hotels have entered the Indian hospitality market at around the same time, experts said most of the projects have been under development for some time now. “Hotel chains ideally like to time their new launches and September being the shoulder month it makes for a sensible move. The Indian hospitality sector will enter the peak business season starting October going up to January/February and launching at this time will help them tap incremental business,” said Ashish Bharadia, senior consultant, Mahajan & Aibara Management Consultant.

There is unanimity that coming months will see more additions from the likes of Marriott, Starwood, Accor, Hyatt and IHCL.

For instance, Marriott International is set to open its account for its 297-room five-star deluxe JW Marriott hotel in Bangalore this month. Another 510-room JW Marriott hotel is slated to take off inside the DIAL Hospitality District in New Delhi. Marriott will also open a few Courtyard by Marriott branded hotels with a total inventory of 350-odd in cities like Bilaspur (104), Pune (180) and Agra (150), in addition to a 150-key Fairfield by Marriott in 2013-14.

Similarly, for Accor, it’ll be a 104-room Formule1 and 223-room Novotel hotel each in the Pune hospitality market this calendar year. Two more Novotel hotels, one each in Ahmedabad (180 room) and Goa (150 room) are likely to hit the market in 2013.

A 167-room Hyatt Regency is currently under construction in Ludhiana and projected to go live this year. Starwood Hotels and Resorts will take the curtain off a 323-room five-star hotel in Kolkata under the Westin brand and a 126-room Le Meridien hotel in Mahabaleshwar. Hilton Worldwide is in the process of opening DoubleTree by Hilton hotels in Jaipur (179), Bangalore (172), Pune (115) & Agra (102) and a Hilton Residences in Bangalore (243 rooms) in 2013.

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