U.S.-headquartered Hyatt Hotel Corporation plans to add 24 new hotels in India over the next 36 months, taking the number of Hyatt-branded hotels in the country to more than 50, a senior company executive said.
“I think we are at a very exciting stage in Hyatt’s evolution in India, and if you look at the next 36 months, we are poised to accelerate our growth by opening 24 hotels,” said Dhruva Rathore, VP, Real Estate and Development – India, Hyatt.
He added that India remained a growth driver for Hyatt and with the planned expansion, the Indian brand portfolio would grow by more than 70% through 2023. Of this, six new hotels are set to open in 2021 under the Hyatt Regency and Hyatt Place brands. Hyatt, for which India is currently among the top three growth markets globally, currently has 7,000 rooms across its existing portfolio of 32 hotels across eight brands. These include Andaz, Alila, Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt, Hyatt Centric and Hyatt Place brands. With the new hotels across 24 destinations including Vadodara, Thiruvananthapuram, Vijayawada, Jaipur, Bharuch, Dehradun, Bodh Gaya, Chandigarh, Ghaziabad, Bengaluru, Surat and Tirupati, the company will add about 3,600 rooms.
“Obviously, the pandemic is a big stumbling block for the hospitality business, but I think India is sitting quite well because of its domestic consumption much like China, where there is enough in the economy to sustain hospitality with domestic tourism. Obviously, international tourism will also come back,” Mr. Rathore said, adding that in the leisure segment, occupancy was back to near pre-COVID levels, while the business segment was also showing growth month-on-month.
He added that he was excited about the opportunities coming up in the leisure segment, which was relatively quick to rebound post the lockdown was lifted.
“The other interesting segment that I think will evolve is independent hotels that want to tie up with brands. I think people who are running independent hotels, maybe as an outcome of this situation we’ve seen in the last 12 months, have realised that it may be worthwhile for them to plug into a much larger and a global distribution to de-risk themselves from the ups and downs in business and we’re seeing some independent hotel owners reaching out to us,” he said.
Asked about revenues, Mr. Rathore said the growth would come from new portfolio additions. However, he did not share any numbers. “Existing hotels coming back to pre-COVID levels will probably take some time to reach the 2019 numbers. So, I don’t see growth happening from our existing base today till we come out of this whole pandemic. Everyone has a different view on the timing… my sense is say 2023 you come back to 2019 levels, but again because of the number of hotels getting added on, you will also have that initial revenue go to the portfolio, which may offset that to some extent,” he said.