Indian Hotels Company expects further recoveries in corporate travel

Our Bureau Kolkata | Updated on March 02, 2021

Puneet Chhatwal, MD & CEO, IHCL

Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL), which owns and manages “The Taj” brand of hotels, expects further recoveries in corporate travel over the next few months.

Currently driven by leisure travel, business recoveries are to the tune of 50-55 per cent for both the hotel industry and IHCL, in the December-February period.

According to Puneet Chhatwal, Managing Director and CEO, IHCL, “corporate demand has picked up at the “lower and mid” management levels. Government bookings have begun too.

“We have seen good recoveries in December, January and February. Corporate has picked up. But at the mid and lower range. Senior management is yet to start travel. If they (senior management) travel in the next few months, we will see improvements,” he said, responding to a specific query.

“Outlook is more positive than it was a few months ago,” Chhatwal added.

Leisure travel currently accounts for 60 per cent, while corporate/business travel is at 40 per cent.

Focus on the East

IHCL also announced the signing of new properties under Taj hotels – two in Kolkata, one each in Patna, Kurseong (Taj Chia Kutir) and Gangtok (Taj Guras Kutir).

New hotels will be developed by the Kolkata-based Ambuja Neotia Group and managed by IHCL across its brands. Around 500 keys will be added across the properties.

The Kurseong property is already operational, while Kolkata hotels will be ready in phases during 2021. Gangtok and Patna hotels will be operational by Pujas 2022.

According to Harsh Neotia, Chairman, Ambuja Neotia Group, ₹800 crore will be invested in developing the properties.

“Discussions are also on to have more managed properties under the Taj brand,” he said.

IHCL currently has 23 properties in the east, of which 13 are operational, and ten are under development.

According to Chhatwal, the numbers “will be doubled over the next few years”.

“Currently contribution of the east, to our reported turnover is in single digits. However, if you take an enterprise value, that is the turnover generated through managed properties as well, it will be in double digits,” he said.

The Taj - across brands like Taj, SeleQtions, Vivanta and Ginger - currently has 165 properties in India and abroad, while 51 are in the pipeline.

Published on March 02, 2021

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