Making most of experiential value
Whether it is metropolis or unexplored small town, curated experiences sit at heart of every destination, believes Samir MC, Managing Director, Fortune Park Hotels Ltd.
When it comes to brand positioning, where is your focus in the new normal?
We are a proud Indian hospitality chain with complete faith in the Indian story; it is well established across the country with a deep understanding of the nuances of the various markets. Interestingly, about 30 per cent of our portfolio's hotels are in the leisure space. Our aim is to open more leisure hotels and expand in tourist locations. We began as a business hotel chain, but we have found a balance by expanding our footprint not only in business and city locations but also in leisure and tourist destinations. By 2025, we aim to establish a 50:50 balance of business and leisure in our portfolio.
BY 2025, WE AIM TO ESTABLISH A 50:50 BALANCE OF BUSINESS AND LEISURE MIX IN OUR PORTFOLIO
Which key destinations are you considering for expansion?
We are on track to open nine to 11 hotels this year. We are in active discussions to close operating contracts in important cities such as Goa, Himachal Pradesh, popular hill stations in Maharashtra, key temple towns in India, and intriguing leisure locations in the Northeast, to name a few. Our efforts to expand our range of business hotels continue. We hope to announce a few more signings this year in key tier II and III cities.
What kind of trends do you foresee shaping the future of domestic tourism?
People have become more open to newer, smaller towns and cities. As more people travel within the country's bounds, new destinations that are financially and geographically accessible are being explored. They prefer to spend more time in one place, away from crowds, rather than travelling between multiple destinations.
I believe that domestic travellers will be a profitable development driver for the sector, whereas international travel has yet to take off. It is now up to us to create and curate experiences for our guests wherever they are—be it a metropolis, a pilgrim destination, the hills, or even an unexplored, untouched small town.
When do you expect the complete return of business travel to pre-pandemic levels?
The M!CE segment is still growing, especially since the last several months, when large-scale events have just begun to be curated. We cater to a lot of these smallto-medium sized events in the M!CE sector since the majority of our hotels have an average of 80 rooms available. Since the pandemic, smallto medium-sized weddings present a significant business opportunity. Today, majority of our hotels are equipped with outstanding banqueting facilities where these weddings and other social gatherings are catered. To improve business across the portfolio, we had to constantly innovate and evolve what we were doing, working closely with our hotels.