Indian Hotels Company, the hospitality arm of the Tata Group has signed a three hotel deal with Ambuja Neotia Group as it seeks to make deeper inroads in the eastern part of the country, it said on Monday.
With this and three other properties being developed by the Kolkata-based Group, IHCL will be able to double the number of rooms to 2,000 over the next four years in a strategically important region for the company.
The upcoming projects in Eastern India include two in Kolkata and one in Patna, Bihar. IHCL already has a partnership with the Group for two other hotels in the East – Taj Chia Kutir, Darjeeling and Taj Guras Kutir in Gangtok. These five projects will culminate to a total of 500 rooms. All these properties are in various stages of execution and likely to be completed over the next two years.
“South Asia’s largest hotel chain is signing up new properties even as occupancy remains at a sub optimal levels in key business centers. The leisure destinations however, are making up for the short fall,” said Puneet Chhatwal, managing director and CEO, IHCL.
“Since October-end the industry has picked up well. If we discount the lockdown period (as the revenue had touched zero), in some markets, we are already seeing 50 per cent plus level of occupancy,” said Chhatwal adding that markets like Goa, Jaipur, Coorg and other leisure destinations, IHCL has touched 70 to 80 per cent of last year – both in terms of occupancy and average daily rates (ADRs)
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While key business centres such as Delhi remain depressed, home-stay properties in leisure destinations “are all sold out.” “The leisure landscape has completely changed in terms of people taking short breaks, combining business and leisure.”
Ambuja Neotia Group has outlined an investment of Rs 800 crore for the project. IHCL will run the properties under the Taj brand for a management fee. While the properties in North East will be serviced by the Vivanta and Ginger brands, Bihar, Sikkim and West Bengal will have Taj brands. The region accounts for close to 10 per cent for IHCL revenue now and he expects it to grow at a rapid pace both in terms of room addition as well revenues in the forthcoming years.
The upcoming Kolkata property is strategically located in close proximity of the airport and the Biswa Bangla Convention Centre, one of the largest convention centers in South Asia. The hotel, with 147 keys, has been in operation for over 10 years and is slated to undergo extensive refurbishments before it re-opens as a Taj hotel in 2021.
The other hotel in Kolkata is a 57-room hotel overlooking Eco Park’s 112-acre water body. The resort hotel with state-of-the-art banqueting and convention facilities spread across 50,000 sq. ft. is slated to open in 2021.
The property in Patna is located on Budh Marg in Lodipur, at a short driving distance from the airport. This will be the first branded luxury hotel to enter the city. The hotel will have 126 rooms and will be the ideal choice for conventions and meetings. It will open in December 2022.