In a strategic move aligned with its ambitious expansion plans, Puneet Chhatwal, the Managing Director and CEO of Indian Hotels Corporation Ltd (IHCL), announced the company’s intention to hire about 2,000-2,500 employees during FY25. This significant recruitment drive is in response to IHCL’s robust pipeline of 85 hotels.

“We are at over 33,000 employees already. Only under our hotel business, if each hotel has on average 100 rooms, we can add up to 2,000-2,500 employees there alone,” he said.

The company’s portfolio, which includes renowned brands such as Taj, Vivanta SeleQtions, and Ginger, comprises a total of 285 hotels including a pipeline of 85 hotels. Of these, 105 fall under the Taj brand, 92 under Vivanta SeleQtions, and 88 under Ginger. Additionally, the ama brand, with over 150 properties in its portfolio as of Q3 FY24, is making a significant contribution to IHCL’s overall growth.

Growth strategy

Speaking about the company’s growth strategy, Chhatwal emphasised IHCL’s focus on both well-established and emerging destinations. He highlighted the evolving landscape of the hospitality industry, encompassing the maturation of existing destinations and the emergence of entirely new ones.

“Mature destinations are expected to further solidify their status, growing in popularity and sophistication. Meanwhile, new destinations have the potential to carve out their niche, akin to the trajectory of iconic routes like Delhi-Agra-Jaipur, centred around religious places, and the promising North East,” he said.

This diversification is not only geographical but also reflective of shifts in market dynamics and evolving consumer preferences. IHCL aims to tap into emerging markets, boosting hiring from those regions and creating new opportunities for growth and economic development.

Leadership programme

To support its growth strategy, IHCL introduced a leadership accelerator programme last year, aimed at grooming MBA degree holders with service industry experience for general managerial roles. The programme received 215 applications for a batch size of 15, underscoring the high interest and demand for leadership roles within the company.

“While some destinations have existed for ages, their time in the limelight may only be arriving now due to changing market trends. This introduces a dynamic element, creating new opportunities for growth and exploration.”

Furthermore, IHCL is expanding its skilling initiatives with the opening of its 32nd skill training centre in Ekta Nagar, Gujarat. The centre will offer courses in food and beverage service, and front office, coupled with on-the-job training. Post-course completion, IHCL will assist learners in securing employment in the sector, aligning with the company’s commitment to skill development and job creation.

The positive momentum in the sector, coupled with the company’s expansion initiatives, has bolstered confidence among Indian investors in the hospitality industry. The changing dynamics and impressive returns on investments are attracting investors, marking a paradigm shift from earlier perceptions of hotel investments merely as a means of parking money.

As IHCL continues on its growth trajectory, the recruitment drive, leadership initiatives, and skilling programmes are expected to contribute significantly to the company’s continued success in the highly-competitive hospitality landscape.