Companies

‘We have adopted an asset-light strategy for India’

Amrita Nair Ghaswalla | Updated on June 10, 2014 Published on June 10, 2014

Next on the agenda is Africa, West Asia and Europe, says Mark Lankester of Tune Hotels



Close on the heels of entering the Indian civil aviation sector by associating with the Tatas, AirAsia promoter Tony Fernandes’ Tune Hotels has rolled out plans to enter India's hospitality sector, with plans of an ambitious 30 properties in the next three years, at an investment of around $30 million. Mark Lankester, Group CEO, Tune Hotels spoke to Business Line about their first hotel in Ahmedabad, and about how the company is screening abundant opportunities in locales outside metros. Edited excerpts:

With Tony Fernandes teaming up with the Tatas for its airline venture, why did Tune Hotels not team up with Taj Hotels for its budget hotels?

Tony Fernandes’ airline business and the hotel business are very separate businesses. One is a publicly listed company, and the other is a private entity, with very separate management. On the hotel front, there is no intention to compete with Ginger Hotels.

Can you give us some details about your venture in India?

Tune Hotels has entered into an asset-light strategy for India. Our existing India partner, Apodis Hotels and Resorts, are the local investment partners. Tune Hotels is involved in the brand and operations. Apodis is the developer, investor and hotel owner, and we have a strategic brand relationship with them. So far, we have worked well together.

What was the biggest challenge you faced when you opened your first Indian hotel?

Every market entry is new and often provides a different challenge. Often, we tweak the model and product to be more sensitive to the local market needs. We have done that with regards to the Indian customer.

Why did you choose Ahmedabad ?

Gujarat has seen quite a remarkable economic growth, and our partners were very comfortable with the opportunity at the site in Ahmedabad. The 100-room Tune Hotel Ahmedabad is located on the Vista-Gandinaghar highway, and minutes from the Sardar Patel Cricket Stadium. Ahmedabad has a major business and corporate profile, which reflects in our guest profile.

What is the the company’s strategy to rope in more customers?

Our rates start from approximately ₹1,500. Whenever we start operations in a new market, it is important to showcase ourselves in a different manner.

How many properties do you have now? What is next on the agenda at Tune Hotels?

At the moment, we are in nine countries and have 45 hotels in operation. The strategy is to grow in each of the countries, but in addition have new market entries. The Asia Pacific region has received a considerable amount of attention from us, but hard on the agenda is Africa, West Asia and Europe.

Published on June 10, 2014
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