After two years of Covid disruption, global hotel chains are betting big on India

Global hotel chains are now betting big on India, launching new brands and announcing ambitious pipelines for the coming years, after two years of disruption caused by the pandemic when the hospitality industry was one of the hardest hit.

“We are stronger than ever,” said Katerina Giannouka, Asia-Pacific president of Radisson Hotel Group.

The group plans to more than double its presence in India with 148 hotels and resorts to be added by 2025. These will be in addition to more than 140 properties Radisson Hotel Group currently has in operation or under development across the country.

The chain has opened 15 hotels in India over the past two years and has also launched Radisson Individuals Retreats, a range of upscale and luxurious retreats specially designed for the Indian market.

Zubin Saxena, managing director and vice president of operations, South Asia, at Radisson Hotel Group, said people’s wanderlust had only increased and the chain was “fully committed” to delivering more. “exceptional experiences” to its national and international customers in all regions. from the country. Radisson Individuals Retreats properties will be set up in leisure locations including Goa, Kashmir, Coorg and Kabini, as well as other offbeat locations.

According to Dimitris Manikis, president Europe, Middle East and Africa of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, India had come a long way since the “humanitarian crisis” that plunged the country during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Supporting our franchisees was our number one priority. But it’s not about recovery anymore. It’s about growth. India is doing much better than markets like Europe. “, did he declare. “We’ve hit the 50 hotel mark in India. We’re looking at 75-100 hotels by 2025. We’ve got six openings, and we’re launching a few new brands and looking at Tier 2-3 cities…the next Bangalore or the next big city where we can establish a presence.”

Wyndham, the world’s largest hotel franchise company by number of properties, currently has a presence in India through six brands including the namesake Wyndham, Ramada, Hawthorn Suites, Howard Johnson and Days Hotel and has 30 hotels in the pipeline. “We are bringing the Trademark Collection. We are also very excited to launch our Registry Collection by Wyndham which is our soft brand in the luxury space. I think there are amazing opportunities here. Boutique hotels…people who want to keep their name but at the same time also want international business,” he said.

Marc Descrozaille, director of operations, India, Middle East and Africa at Accor, said that with a drop in the number of Covid cases and a simultaneous increase in vaccination rates, the chain expects a promising recovery in bookings. in its hotels in India, given regular international flights also resumed and demand for small MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) and business travel was gradually returning. He said traveler confidence is resurfacing with the easing of travel restrictions in various Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities and there is continued interest in staycations with spontaneous last-minute travel plans. Over the next two years, Accor plans to add more than 1,300 rooms to its Novotel and Ibis brands in the country. Its new hotels will emerge in markets such as Bhubaneswar and Jodhpur.

Sudeep Jain, general manager for Southwest Asia at InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), said that over the next two to three years, IHG plans to add another 37 hotels to its current portfolio of 41 hotels in India. In October last year, IHG launched Six Senses Fort Barwara in Rajasthan, its first Six Senses property in India, in addition to opening hotels in markets such as Chandigarh, Goa and Jaipur. It also announced the launch of its extended stay brand Staybridge Suites in India with the signing of Staybridge Suites Bengaluru Thanisandra in February last year.

“As we sign more hotels, this pipeline will continue to grow. While our core portfolio with the Holiday Inn family of brands will continue to drive growth in line with market demands, we also see the potential to launch our global brands such such as Regent, Kimpton and the recently launched Vignette collection, at the right time with the right partners and the right location.Our premium brand, voco, is also very suitable for the Indian market and we are in discussions with several partners and will launch the brand with the right opportunity, added Jain.

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