IHCL expects corporate travel to pick up further

Our Bureau Kolkata | Updated on March 02, 2021

Puneet Chhatwal, MD and CEO, IHCL

Sees good recoveries from Dec to Feb

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

Currently driven by leisure travel, business recoveries were to the tune of 50-55 per cent in the Decemeber-January perioid for both the hotel industry and IHCL.

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

“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 query.

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

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

Focus on East

IHCL also announced the signing of new properties under Taj hotels — two in Kolkata, and one each in Patna, Kurseong and Gangtok.

The 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 the Kolkata hotels will be ready in phases during 2021. The Gangtok and Patna hotels will be operational by Durga Puja 2022.

According to Harsh Neotia, Chairman, Ambuja Neotia, ₹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 country’s East, of which 13 are operational and 10 are under development. According to Chhatwal, the number “will be doubled over the next few years.”

“Currently the East’s contribution 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.

Published on March 02, 2021

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