Leela Ho­tels in Jaipur & Agra

Ra­jiv Kaul, Pres­i­dent, The Leela Palaces, Ho­tels and Re­sorts, tells about the ho­tel’s growth in 2015, its plans and ex­pec­ta­tions from 2016.

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The Leela Palaces, Ho­tels and Re­sorts wit­nessed a mod­est growth in room rate of about of 5 to 8 per cent in 2015 over 2014. Oc­cu­pan­cies have also grown by about 2 to 5 per cent.

“Over­all there is a top line growth of 7 to 8 per cent; it’s a sin­gle digit growth. We all were hop­ing it will be 15 per cent growth, but that is not the case. We ex­pect the fourth quar­ter to be three strong months, but what we are get­ting is three strong weeks. Cer­tain weeks can be en­gines of growth, but by and large it is flat. Over­sup­ply has neu­tralised. Rates to­day are less than what they were eight years ago in ru­pees and in dol­lars it would be even worse,” Kaul says.

The three prop­er­ties in the Delhi-NCR, op­er­ated by the Leela Group, are very dif­fer­ent from one an­other as they cater to three dif­fer­ent mar­ket seg­ments and price points. Kaul men­tions, “The Leela Palace, New Delhi, Chanakya­puri, does not have ne­go­ti­ated rates (90 per cent of the busi­ness is on non­nego­ti­ated rates). The Leela Am­bi­ence Gur­gaon Ho­tel & Res­i­dences has only 15 per cent of its busi­ness as MICE, while the Leela Am­bi­ence Con­ven­tion Ho­tel, Delhi, will have 60 per cent of the busi­ness as MICE.”

Talk­ing about their prospec­tive joint ven­ture part­ner­ship, where The Leela Group will be the man­agers in line with their as­set light growth strat­egy, Kaul com­ments, “We are go­ing to start work in Jaipur by Fe­bru­ary. We hope to have that ready in a year’s time. It will be a 56-room Leela Palace Ho­tel. We hope to break ground in April or May in Agra, which will also be a lux­ury ho­tel. Agra will take close to three years, and will be a 90-room lux­ury prop­erty, with all rooms over­look­ing the Taj Ma­hal.”

On the in­bound mar­ket, he adds, “In­bound has gone down; how­ever I am still op­ti­mistic. The US mar­ket is show­ing growth, and it will con­tinue to do well par­tic­u­larly be­cause their dol­lar is strong. We have to be selec­tive in Europe be­cause there are cer­tain coun­tries that will do well and oth­ers will not. The Rus­sian mar­ket is down in a big way. That is def­i­nitely a deficit that we have to over­come par­tic­u­larly for Goa and other leisure des­ti­na­tions.”

Ra­jiv Kaul

Pres­i­dent The Leela Palaces, Ho­tels and Re­sorts

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