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Leela group to focus on luxury segment

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CAPT. C.P. KRISHANAN NAIR
CAPT. C.P. KRISHANAN NAIR

Sankar Radhakrishnan

Thiruvananthapuram, Dec. 29

There is a market for luxury hotels in India, said Capt. C.P. Krishnan Nair, Chairman, Hotel Leela Venture Ltd.

While there is a demand of budget hotels in the country, luxury and super luxury hotels too are in demand, he emphasised. Even in smaller cities such as pilgrim centres, there is demand for small, luxury hotels of 50-odd rooms, he said.

The Leela group will continue to focus on hotels in the luxury segment for some time to come, he stressed. The company would like to have its properties in all major cities and tourism centres of the country. Over the next three-four years, the company will have new hotels in Gurgaon near New Delhi, Udaipur, Chennai, Pune and Hyderabad. Also on the cards is a hotel in Jaipur, the details of which are currently being finalised, Capt. Nair added.

Commenting on the perceived shortage of hotel rooms, he pointed out that the shortage is not acute and is most pronounced in certain segments. For instance, the Leela group's hotels have an average occupancy of around 80 per cent, so there are rooms available for guests, he stressed. At the same time, the hospitality industry is working to add more hotel rooms. In the next four years, the number of hotel rooms in India will go up by around 50 per cent, Capt. Nair said. Currently the room inventory in India is around 1,10,000, he pointed out. The Leela group alone is adding another 1,300 rooms in the next three years and the investment in this expansion is expected to be around Rs 1,300 crore, he added.

Hotel occupancy rates in cities such as Bangalore are very high on weekdays, but start dropping by Thursday evenings. So, the company is looking to boost weekend occupancy rates in Bangalore by promoting special weekend packages that offer lower room rates and other incentives, he explained.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 30, 2006)
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