Lux­ury Ho­tels Group seeks ‘right’ ho­tels

Naresh Chand­nani, Re­gional Di­rec­tor – Asia, Lux­ury Ho­tels Group, says the company sees a huge po­ten­tial in the Tier-II and Tier-III ci­ties of In­dia. He says based on their un­der­stand­ing of the needs of ho­tels, they have come up with cus­tomised of­fers and

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What prompted Lux­ury Ho­tels Group to come to In­dia? How dif­fer­ent will your ser­vices be from that of your com­peti­tors?

We see a big op­por­tu­nity in In­dia, not just in the big mar­kets but also in the Tier-2 and Tier-3 ci­ties and also in the leisure mar­ket. We bring a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence. Un­der­stand­ing the needs of the ho­tels, we have come up with cus­tomised of­fers and pack­ages on which they'll see re­turn on in­vest­ments. We don't tie them down to a long term con­tract of 1020 years which ho­tels th­ese days are scep­ti­cal to get into as there is a fee el­e­ment in­volved and they want to make sure they see re­turn on in­vest­ments. Our con­tracts are very flex­i­ble. We de­liver tai­lor-made pro­grammes to ho­tels de­pend­ing on their re­quire­ments, whether it is cor­po­rate business, MICE or leisure. At times, ho­tels just need some PR ex­po­sure; some need rep­re­sen­ta­tion ser­vices in cer­tain mar­kets. So we de­liver tai­lor­made pack­ages for them. We are very strong on the PR el­e­ment and build­ing the dig­i­tal pres­ence of ho­tels - whether it is so­cial me­dia or gen­er­at­ing business from all re­sources on dig­i­tal sites.

It’s in­ter­est­ing you men­tion Tier-II and Tier-III ci­ties; how dif­fer­ent is your ap­proach in th­ese ci­ties?

Met­ros are strong on cor­po­rate business and the leisure side is also more or less cov­ered. In Tier- II and Tier-III ci­ties, we have to be a lit­tle in­no­va­tive on our ap­proach and we have to de­liver business that is com­ing to the re­gion - for them the MICE and leisure business would be very im­por­tant. We are con­fi­dent that we can drive a lot of business into the leisure seg­ment. We are talk­ing to small chain and in­de­pen­dent ho­tels. For them, the Delhi-NCR re­gion it­self presents a big op­por­tu­nity, their rel­a­tively smaller scale of op­er­a­tion would not al­low them to set up ded­i­cated of­fices in Delhi- NCR, plus they also need to take care of mon­i­tor­ing and re­sources. So, we give them rep­re­sen­ta­tion of­fices even for the Delhi mar­ket so we can drive in business even from within In­dia. And a lot of them need ex­po­sure and we can give that to them as we are strong on our PR and dig­i­tal part.

For us, it is very im­por­tant to con­sol­i­date our po­si­tion. We don't want to rush in; we need more re­fer­ral business, we want to make sure we sign up with the right ho­tels. I can't sign up with ho­tels where we can't add value. Now we've es­tab­lished our­selves and are dis­cussing with ho­tels. So we see more suc­cess com­ing in now. For the last six months, it's been more about es­tab­lish­ing our brand.

What is a ‘Right ho­tel’?

We sit down with the ho­tels and try and un­der­stand their business; what are the seg­ments we can de­liver; some­times they come with a lot of bag­gage, maybe for poor ser­vices or shift of business to other parts. They have lost out on a lot of business and we don't have con­trol over the ho­tels where we can mon­i­tor their business every­day.

Naresh Chand­nani

Re­gional Di­rec­tor – Asia Lux­ury Ho­tels Group

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