Ac­corHo­tels to launch new ho­tel brands in In­dia

HT Estates - - HTESTATES - Bidya Sa­pam bidya.s@livemint.com

MUM­BAI: Af­ter build­ing asize­able num­ber of econ­omy and mid­scale ho­tels in In­dia, Europe’s lead­ing hos­pi­tal­ity firm Ac­corHo­telshaslinedu­panew­pipeline of ho­tel brandsin­lux­u­ryand­ser­vice apart­mentspace, acat­e­gory which has seen grow­ing in­ter­est from ma­jor ho­tel chains like In­dian Ho­tels Co. Ltd, Hy­att Ho­tels Corp. and Mar­riott In­ter­na­tional Inc.

In an in­ter­view with Mint, Jean-Michel Cassé, chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer (In­dia andSouthAsia) at Ac­corHo­tels, saidthe­com­pany is in ad­vanced­sta­ge­ofdis­cus­sion with a real es­tate de­vel­oper in Gu­ru­gram to launch its first global apart­ment ho­tel brand, Novo­tel Suites, in the coun­try. Con­struc­tionofthe­p­ro­jectwhich com­prises around 100 apart­mentsis­likely to start in the next few months, he said.

The Paris-based ho­tel com­pany owns and runs around 20 brands across 92 coun­tries. In In­dia, it cur­rently op­er­ates around47ho­tel­sun­der10brands, in­clud­ing Sof­i­tel, Novo­tel and Ibis, in ma­jor cities like Delhi, Mum­bai and Ben­galuru.

“Weare­workingon­some­pro­jects in termso­fof­fer­ing ser­viced apart­ments. One or two projects are un­der devel­op­ment. We will be launch­ing our pure stan­dalonea­part­men­thotel­brandNovo­tel Suites,” Casse said. At present, the ho­tel com­pa­ny­op­er­ates ser­vice apart­ment busi­ness un­der­theNovotel­brand­inKolkata and Visakhat­pat­nam and Grand Mer­cure in Ben­galuru.

Be­sides­theGu­ru­gram­pro­ject, the com­pany is ex­plor­ing an op­por­tu­nity to launch its ser­vice apart­ment busi­ness in Vi­jay­wada in Andhra Pradesh.

“Upto15% of on­line trav­ellers in In­dia are us­ing non-ho­tel ac­com­mo­da­tions, in­clud­ing home­rental­sand­ser­vices apart­ments. The de­mand is grow­ing for this space. Fouryears­back, it was about 10%. There has been al­sobeena­grow­ingde­mand­from cor­po­rate ex­ec­u­tives for long stay and such apart­ments pro­vides a con­ve­nient op­tion,” said ChetanKapoor, re­search­an­a­lyst (Asia Pa­cific) at Pho­cuswright, a travel re­search firm.

Ac­corHo­tels is also at an ad­vanced stage of dis­cus­sion to launch its global lux­ury brands Raf­fles Ho­tel and Banyan Tree, Cass­e­said, addingthat up­to­four ho­tels are likely to be launched un­der these brands.

“We want to de­velop a strong pipeline inthelux­u­rys­pace­while we also see more op­por­tu­nity to strengthen our ex­ist­ing brands as weget­mor­ere­cog­ni­tion in the lo­cal mar­ket. We are aim­ing to open our lux­ury brand Raf­fles and also few Banyan Tree ho­tels in In­dia,” he said.

At­p­re­sent, the com­pa­ny­op­er­ates four lux­ury ho­tels un­der Sof­i­tel, Fair­mont, Pull­man and Swis­so­tel brands across Mum­bai, Jaipur, New Delhi and Kolkata. It is also look­ing de­velop more Fair­mont ho­tels in Delhi, Ben­galuru and Mum­bai, he added.

“We­would­be­hap­py­tode­velop more Sof­i­tel ho­tels in lo­ca­tions like Goa. In the lux­ury space, we haveshown­in­ter­esta­mong­prop­erty own­ersin­bring­ingTheBanyanTree, alux­u­ryre­sort­brand,” he said.

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