Carlson to unlock 170 hotels by 2020

Carlson to unlock 170 hotels by 2020
The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group has announced that it will have 170 hotels, operational and under development by 2020, as it consolidates its position in the country’s burgeoning, competitive market. The Brussels-based hospitality behemoth currently operates 84 (mid- to upper upscale) properties across 60 cities in India, which include 34 Radisson Blu, nine Radisson, 10 Park Plaza, 24 Country Inns & Suites, and seven Park Inn properties. These 84 properties hold around 10,000 keys, which would reach over 25,000 when the hotel count reaches 170 in three years.

“We open over eight hotels a year, besides signing over 12 properties in the said period. Our strategy is to first enter hub cities, and then penetrate into surrounding regional markets. Our observation is that guests visiting hubs usually on business may find time for leisure and visit tourist sites in the vicinity, wherein they would be assured of our service,” Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group Chief Executive Officer (South Asia) Raj Rana told DH.

As part of expansion, the company is bullish on a variety of captive markets such as corporate, tourist centres, the coastal belt and the pilgrim circuit. “We are keen on pilgrim centres for new properties as the demand there is rather stable around the year,” Rana said, hinting at Ajmer, Varanasi, Katra, and Haridwar being considered.

The company is especially bullish on South India, where it operates 16 hotels across Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Mysuru, Kochi, Salem, Coimbatore, Manipal, and Mamallapuram. Heading on the region’s tourist trail, Carlson Rezidor is contemplating properties in Puducherry, Kumarakom, Kodagu, Kabini, Ooty, and Munnar, among other spots.

The Indian hotel industry has a branded room inventory of 1,20,000, translating to 30% of the hotels being in the organised sector, compared with the US (the world’s largest hospitality market), where the organised sector occupies a whopping 70% of the total market. “Today, three important components decide the effectiveness of the services a hotel provides its guests, which are comfort and convenience, enabling technology usage, and personalisation. We invest a lot in our online offerings, be it cashless applications or our loyalty programme,” Rana said.

Carlson Rezidor’s vision also involves converting existing hotels, renovating and upgrading them to their best potential, and dressing them in new avatars. “A new hotel takes at least four years to set up from scratch, but renovation of an existing property presents us an existing location, a captive loyal customer pool, and saved time,” Rana concluded.
 

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