India to get its first Raf­fles

Ac­cor has re­cently an­nounced the ad­vent of its new brand, Raf­fles in India in Jaipur and Udaipur. Jean-Michel Cassé, COO – India and South Asia, Ac­cor, elab­o­rates on the brand and how India might see some more Ac­cor brands in the com­ing years.

TravTalk - India - - HOTELS - Anupriya Bish­noi

With a stronger fo­cus on lux­ury and premium brands, Ac­cor is brand to India in Jaipur and

open in Udaipur by mid-2020 with 101 rooms and suites. The group will later ven­ture into the Jaipur mar­ket by 2022 with 55 suites. Both ho­tels will de­liver a pala­tial ex­pe­ri­ence in an ex­tra­or­di­nary set­ting along with the fa­mously dis­creet and per­son­alised

Speak­ing more on the brand and its suit­abil­ity for the In­dian mar­ket, Jean-Michel Cassé, says, “The sign­ing of Udaipur marks a his­toric mo­ment for Ac­cor in India and cer­tainly for tourism in India. We are see­ing in­creas­ing de­mand for lux­ury travel in the coun­try and are look­ing for­ward to ex­pand­ing Ac­cor’s glob­ally renowned port­fo­lio of lux­ury brands here. The brand sig­nals a new era for our group.”

rich her­itage and tra­di­tion and is fa­mous for its spec­tac­u­lar palaces and forts. While Jaipur forms part of the cul­tur­ally rich tourist cir­cuit known as The Golden Tri­an­gle com­pris­ing Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, Udaipur is a nat­u­ral ex­ten­sion of this, given its prox­im­ity to Jaipur. Both cities are renowned as epi­cen­tres for the high­est lev­els of lux­ury.

Cassé fur­ther shares more on Ac­cor’s ex­pan­sion plans and its prop­er­ties in the pipeline. He men­tions, “To­day we have 51 prop­er­ties in India, one in Colombo, 52 in the re­gion, tak­ing the room count to 9,500 with the strong pres­ence in 22 cities. What we have in the pipeline to­day is 25 per cent of our cur­rent in­ven­tory which will come in Hope­fully, we will also see new brands in this pipeline.” Since Ac­cor has a wealth of brands, each per­forms dif­fer­ently and yields dif­fer­ent prof­its owing to the dy­nam­ics of the mar­ket the hotel op­er­ates in. Cassé ex­plains, “We look at the term ‘ prof­itabil­ity’ dif­fer­ently be­cause we are now a pure as­set- light com­pany so when I am speak­ing of at the op­er­a­tions of the ho­tels. The re­al­ity in India is, it takes at least two years to ramp up and be at par with the mar­ket, and once it is at par with the mar­ket, then we nor­mally go ahead of what the mar­ket does.”

Also, with the quirks and op­tions on of­fer, the ar­rival of Airbnb and the likes have put the hotel in­dus­try on its toe. But how does it af­fect the in­dus­try or if it does at all? Ac­cord­ing to Cassé, “In our ho­tels, on an av­er­age, we have one cus­tomer per room who stays for one to two nights.

In Airbnb, you will no­tice the book­ing is al­ways for more than one per­son, usu­ally a fam­ily and for a longer pe­riod peo­ple with a stay rang­ing from

We look at the term ‘prof­itabil­ity’ dif­fer­ently be­cause we are now a pure as­set-light com­pany. It only en­tails look­ing at the op­er­a­tions of ho­tels for us

So, we are not play­ing in the same league, it’s a dif­fer­ent of­fer­ing. So, a cus­tomer can be an Ac­cor guest to­day and stay in an Airbnb to­mor­row be­cause they both are aimed at two dif­fer­ent kind of ex­pe­ri­ences. It’s in fact good to see the hos­pi­tal­ity mar­ket evolv­ing.”

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