Indian Hotels Company Ltd is scaling up its presence with a new upscale brand and launching new websites to more sales, IHCL managing director and CEO Puneet Chhatwal tells businessline.


IHCL has guided for ₹3,500-crore capex over the next five years? What will it be used for ?

We will continue to do comprehensive asset management which is value driven like the recent renovation of Taj Mansingh in Delhi and Taj Usha Kiran Palace in Gwalior. We have added our exclusive business club The Chambers in Taj West End in Bengaluru. We have started renovation and extension of Chambers in Taj Bengal. This year investments will also go into developing digital competencies. We are launching new websites starting next week for Taj and then for other brands. Other digital initiatives include a data lake for advanced analytics and a new ERP system.


How will this digital initiative help customers ?

Our new websites will offer a seamless customer journey across platforms including the Tata Neu app. We are pleased with the evolution of our loyalty programme. Tata Neu is doing very well for us. Today 29 per cent of our enterprise revenue is loyalty led which is 2.5x of what it was 3-4 years ago.


Is there investment planned for the re-imagined Gateway brand?

It will be a mix of both existing and new properties. There are new hotels planned in Bengaluru, Barnala, in Sarnath near Varanasi, in Jaipur, Gandhidham and so on. It will be a combination of owned and managed properties. As a full-service four-star hotels these would also contribute to our F&B and banquet revenue. This year we plan to introduce six hotels under the Gateway brand including two in the first quarter of FY 2025.


What is the development pipeline for FY25?

We plan to open 25 hotels in FY 25 including two in Bhutan. Last year we signed for 53 hotels,which is like one signing a week. The momentum is strong and the launch of reigmained Gateway brand will open more opportunities in tier II-III towns and emerging micro markets in metro cities.


How is the demand in the current quarter ?

Our business is trending at double digit growth in April compared to last year. Overall I am optimistic about the outlook.