MAKING ROOM

Starwood Hotels and Resorts is keen to expand its presence in the upscale category through conversion of existing hotels and could also look at investing through partnership with developers.

Aloft and Four Points by Sheraton are the two upscale brands Starwood operates in the country, and said it was looking for opportunities to introduce its brand Element that typically caters to longer stays.

“There is a lot of opportunity for both Aloft and Four Points by Sheraton in the country .There are opportunities not only in the tier 1 cities but also at manufacturing and technology hubs, as the number of next generation travellers with disposable income is growing,” said Brian McGuinness, Senior Vice-President, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Specialty Select Brands.

Dilip Puri, Managing Director-India and Regional Vice President-South Asia, Starwood Asia Pacific Hotels & Resorts, said, “While Aloft hotels are typically new ones, considering that the pace of development of hotels is slow, Four Points offers a massive opportunity to grow through conversion of properties.”

Of late, international hotels have started expanding through rebranding and aligning existing hotels to their brand standards.

Puri said that his company was also evaluating opportunities to invest in developing hotels, especially to grow upscale brands. The company has largely expanded in the country through management contracts.

Asked if the company was also looking at introducing Element in India, McGuinness said, they were in talks with potential developers and were looking at the right model.

Upswing expected

“The Indian hotel industry has been facing a downturn since 2008. Looking at the trends, we expect the second half of 2014 and beyond to see an upswing. We also expect to see stabilisation and consolidation and a lot of our hotels will also become operational around that time,” Puri added.

The company said Aloft at the Delhi International Airport was in its last leg for security clearances and may open in due course. Hotels being constructed at the Delhi International Airport had earlier run into trouble with security agencies and have been facing delays.

meenakshi.v@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on May 27, 2013)
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