Pascal Gauvin, Managing Director India, Middle East & Africa, IHG (Intercontinental Hotels Group) is looking forward to building a ‘luxury halo’ of hotel brands in the country.

“All these years we had got in mid-scale brands like Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express in India, but now we could be getting in to upper luxury brands like Regent Hotels since we bought the brand with a 51 per cent stake just two months ago,’’ said Gauvin, who visits India every couple of months.

The UK-based chain has about 32 hotels under its fold but intends taking it it up to 50 by next year. “The occupancy and revenue are improving in India and our ambition is to have 150 hotels within the next decade and want to have ‘luxury halo’ with brands like Intercontinental and Regent,’’ he said.

Economy segment

On the other hand, the Radisson Hotel Group is interested in entering the economy segment, since it already has a host of midscale and luxury brands like Park Plaza, Park Inn Inn by Radisson and Radisson Collection with 90 hotels in the country.

“We do not have an economy brand in India and may look at bringing in Prizeotel. Our midscale brands may be the fastest growing but those are budget brands, which will bring in scale,’’says Raj Rana, Chief Executive Officer, South Asia, Radisson Hotel Group.

By bringing in new brands, international chains are riding on the new cycle in the hospitality industry as demand outpaces supply with room rates growing to highest levels in a decade.

According to India Hotel Review Report 2017 by Horwath HTL, all India occupancy grew by 1.4 points to 65.3 per cent, the highest in nine years.

Jehangir H Aibara, Director, Mahajan & Aibara, a hotel management consultancy, “ In the past 4-5 years, there had been a build up in supply but now there is equilibrium in demand and supply. The hotel industry is climbing the cycle and international brands are putting their money behind it.’’

Besides, the rev par is also low in India compared to other countries, giving international players more opportunity to grow their brands in this market.

“Given the cost of land and operations in India, the revpar is low at $42, but we feel that occupancy had found new legs and that there will be a jump in room rates, which are currently at ₹5,700,’’ said Rana of The Radisson Hotel Group.