Taj Krishna in Telangana
K Mohanchandran, Area Director, Taj Hotels Hyderabad, and General Manager, Taj Krishna talks about the offerings
How is Hyderabad evolving as a business city?
Hyderabad is coming out of a slow two years that is 2013-2014 and 2014-2015. Those two years saw Hyderabad at its lowest in terms of occupation, visitation and international travel fairs. Now there are two things happening, one there is a natural rebound because of business prospects due to the new government and secondly it being the youngest state they are very keen to attract investments. Google has brought its largest off-site office here; Amazon has put up its largest warehouse here. Wal-Mart is there. Taj on the other hand has had a major reorganisation in terms of the way they have structured the people. In most of our cities today where we have multiple hotels we have kind of an area director role to synergise these operations.
What plans does the Taj Group have?
I am in charge of five hotels there, The Taj Krishna, Taj Deccan, Vivanta by Taj– Begumpet, Taj Banjara and Taj Falaknuma Palace. On one side is the rebounding business opportunity and on the other is our chance to consolidate. With this portfolio of five hotels, Hyderabad is about five and half thousand hotel rooms which are at the five stars and five star deluxe levels, which is divided roughly half in the centre of the city and half in the new part of the city called Cyberabad. We have 784 rooms that means we are 12 per cent of the total inventory of the city, among these five hotels. I think there is a great opportunity for us to meet various price points of travellers. As an example we go from ARRs of 5,000 at Banjara to 25,000 at Faluknuma Palace. So we are pitching ourselves for MICE to delegations which is a huge opportunity.
Who are the target groups for MICE?
Taj Falaknuma Palace is slightly separate from the rest of the group because that is still largely leisure, let’s say special events. Then there is the central pool which is the heart of the city that is Taj Krishna, Taj Deccan, where the corporate occupancy is about 50 per cent, rest is a mix of weddings and large scale conferences. Taj Banjara is very popular with the film fraternity and traditionally it is a hotel where a lot of the longstay shootings have happened. There is a very thriving film industry in Hyderabad. Everybody must have heard of Ramoji film city. The Tamil and Telugu film fraternity shoots there and that is very active. That is another segment that we are trying to build our work into. Then there is Vivanta by Taj–Begumpet which is our newest
hotel. That’s in its fifth year of operation now. That is closer to the army base. So each hotel has its traditional pool and the opportunity to grow into other areas. In the financial year,Q1 and Q2 we were at 40 per cent, Q3 was 48 and Q4 we will end at 56 per cent. In 2014 to 2015 we ended at 40 per cent. This year we will be at 48 per cent. RevParr for Krishna was at 6002. Hyderabad is still behind many of the cities, the only good news is that it is climbing steadily. The goal still remains to achieve good occupancies.
What are the MICE offerings in Hyderabad?
Hyderabad is the only city which I know apart from Delhi that has its own convention and visitors’ bureau that is Hyderabad Convention Visitors Bureau (HCVB), stakeholders are the state government, GMR airport, HITECH city, 6,000 seater convention centre and there are individual hotel members that subscribe each year, we are one of them. There job is to go and pitch the city of Hyderabad for 5,000 plus delegate conferences going on. They are competing against destinations like Shanghai, Melbourne, Dubai, Colombo, among others. Last year we had 5,000 delegate plus conventions coming to the city.
What are the high points of Hyderabad?
The city dates back to the 1400s. It has all the history of the Nizams. It was the largest Muslim state of India, even at the time of independence. On the other end, there are also the fabulous elements of cuisine. Close to the hinterland of Hyderabad is Hampi, which is a world heritage site. I think slowly there is an opportunity to build a circuit around there. Lots can be done to develop the tourism product.