Indian Hotels readies expansion plan for a post-pandemic world

Forum Gandhi | | Updated on: Dec 06, 2021

Puneet Chhatwal, CEO and MD | Photo Credit: BIJOY GHOSH

M&A activity will pick up if pandemic’s pace slows down in the next four-eight weeks: MD

Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) is readying a post-Covid plan which includes acquisition opportunities through its partnership with GIC, growing the Ginger brand, crossing the first hundred mark with its homestay brand Ama and doubling revenues on online platform Qmin.

Speaking at an analysts call following the fourth quarter results, Puneet Chhatwal, Managing Director & CEO of IHCL, said M&A activity will pick up speed if the pandemic’s pace slows down in the next four to eight weeks.

“M&A will pick up speed in the next three to four months. If something fits with us or with our portfolio in whatever form, we are willing to find creative solutions, to take advantage of this consolidation and expand our portfolio,” he said.

Last fiscal, IHCL had partnered with GIC to acquire stressed assets. However, due to the pandemic, the company wasn’t able to make deals.

He said brand Ginger will soon become a more-than-a-hundred hotel portfolio. Today, it has 78 hotels of which 54 are in operation.

Ama, IHCL’s homestay brand, has 38 properties under its portfolio, including 19 in the pipeline. “We plan to get our first hundred in the next 18 months at the most,” he said.

Home delivery

During the pandemic, hotels were struggling with occupancies-they had to pivot to home delivery. In mid-last-year, IHCL launched Qmin, its home delivery brand. Qmin is today operational in 14 cities.

“Our margin in Qmin is anywhere north of 50 per cent. We've had approximately 70,000 orders in the previous financial year with a revenue of more than ₹26 crore,” adding that he hopes to double its revenue this year and extend the brand to a few more cities.

Last year, TajSATS, an airline catering subsidiary of IHCL, in Q4 increased its market share to over 50 per cent. It also added new airline customers during the pandemic along with a higher number of flights catered in March 2021 compared to the previous fiscal.

Published on May 17, 2021
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