IHCL Sets Sights on Major Expansion: Targeting 20 New Hotel Openings This Year
IHCL Sets Sights on Major Expansion: Targeting 20 New Hotel Openings This Year - New Properties Slated Across India and International Markets
IHCL is aiming to open 20 new hotels across India and international markets in 2023 as part of an ambitious expansion plan. This includes properties under the company's luxury brands such as Taj, SeleQtions, Vivanta, and Ginger.
In India, IHCL is focusing on adding hotels in major metros like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, and Hyderabad to capture the growing demand from business and leisure travelers. For example, new Taj hotels are expected to open in Delhi Aerocity and Bangalore's MG Road, while Vivanta hotels will launch in Gurgaon and Hyderabad.
Beyond the big cities, IHCL is also targeting tier-2 and tier-3 markets across India where rising incomes are fueling travel. These include cities like Jaipur, Lucknow, Chandigarh, and Coimbatore. Established local brands like Ginger will play a key role in entering smaller markets.
Internationally, IHCL is expanding its footprint in Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar. New management contracts have been signed for Taj hotels in Qatar's Lusail city and Al Messila Resort in Doha. The Middle East is a lucrative market for Indian hotel chains thanks to strong cultural and economic ties.
The company is also partnering with developers in Southeast Asia and China. For example, Vivanta hotels will soon open in Bali, Jakarta, and Yangon. Rapid economic growth makes these Asian markets attractive for hotel expansions. Brand recognition in India can be leveraged to attract Indian travelers abroad.
In addition to management contracts, IHCL is open to acquiring existing properties and rebranding them under its luxury labels. This asset-light, fee-driven model reduces capital expenditure while enabling faster growth.
IHCL's expansion comes amidst rising demand for travel and tourism globally. In India, domestic trips are expected to touch 2.1 billion by 2035 as rising incomes spur leisure travel. Hence it makes sense for leading chains to rapidly augment their portfolio to gain market share.
A multi-brand strategy gives IHCL flexibility to enter various market segments. While Taj focuses on the luxury space, Vivanta caters to the upscale segment. Ginger hotels provide affordable options for budget travelers. This diversified brand portfolio is key to IHCL's growth aspirations.
The company is also investing heavily in technology to improve customer experience and loyalty. State-of-the-art mobile apps and digital check-in solutions aim to make stays seamless. Integrated loyalty programs across brands ensure customers have access to the entire brand portfolio.
Sustainable and eco-friendly hotels are a priority as well. For example, new Taj properties will be LEED certified. Energy efficiency, renewable sources, and waste management initiatives are being implemented across the portfolio.
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- IHCL Sets Sights on Major Expansion: Targeting 20 New Hotel Openings This Year - New Properties Slated Across India and International Markets
- IHCL Sets Sights on Major Expansion: Targeting 20 New Hotel Openings This Year - Luxury Brands Ramp Up Presence in Major Cities
- IHCL Sets Sights on Major Expansion: Targeting 20 New Hotel Openings This Year - Resort Destinations Targeted for Future Growth
- IHCL Sets Sights on Major Expansion: Targeting 20 New Hotel Openings This Year - Focus on Tier 2 and 3 Cities to Capture Domestic Travel
- IHCL Sets Sights on Major Expansion: Targeting 20 New Hotel Openings This Year - Partnerships to Add Properties in Middle East and Asia
- IHCL Sets Sights on Major Expansion: Targeting 20 New Hotel Openings This Year - Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Hotels Part of Strategy
- IHCL Sets Sights on Major Expansion: Targeting 20 New Hotel Openings This Year - Technology and Digital Initiatives to Enhance Guest Experience
- IHCL Sets Sights on Major Expansion: Targeting 20 New Hotel Openings This Year - Loyalty Program Expansion to Boost Engagement and Recurring Stays
IHCL Sets Sights on Major Expansion: Targeting 20 New Hotel Openings This Year - Luxury Brands Ramp Up Presence in Major Cities
India’s major metropolises like Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore are seeing an influx of luxury hotel brands, drawn by the strong demand from high-end business and leisure travelers flocking to these cities. Global chains like Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt are expanding their premium portfolio rapidly across the country’s urban hotspots.
For Indian hotel majors like IHCL, doubling down on luxury in megacities is crucial to retain market share and loyalty. Travelers today want memorable experiences, not just a place to sleep. Taj, IHCL’s flagship luxury brand, offers bespoke services and sublime aesthetics that appeal to discerning guests. Extending the brand presence in major business hubs and gateways allows IHCL to cater to lucrative corporate contracts and high-paying travelers. No major city is complete without a Taj these days.
Beyond flagship Taj hotels, IHCL’s upper upscale brand Vivanta provides luxury for the value-conscious. Stylish designs, innovative dining, and signature amenities give it an aspirational edge. For example, Vivanta hotels in key markets like Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru see strong traction from mid-tier business travelers who want a premium experience without the Taj price tag. IHCL leverages Vivanta’s 'affordable luxury' edge to penetrate markets where Taj may be out of reach for many.
Travelers today also demand unique experiences – a space that's Instagramworthy yet exudes understated luxury. SeleQtions, IHCL's boutique luxury line, straddles this gap perfectly. With just 34 keys on average, properties like SeleQtions in Chennai and Coorg blend indulgence with character. Boutique hotels let travelers immerse in the destination's local charms. Rather than another cookie-cutter luxury property, SeleQtions hotels try to reflect the city's artistic and cultural heritage.
Yet another niche is luxury resorts near metro cities. Taj and Vivanta resorts near Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Delhi allow stressed urbanites to unwind and reenergize at an easy driving distance. Beach vacations, wellness retreats, and sustainable eco-resorts all provide a change of scene. Taj Exotica Goa, Vivanta Dal View Srinagar, and Taj Bekal Kerala offer urbanites various flavors of luxury.
IHCL Sets Sights on Major Expansion: Targeting 20 New Hotel Openings This Year - Resort Destinations Targeted for Future Growth
As India's hospitality industry matures, leading hotel chains like IHCL are looking beyond just business hotels in the metros. Luxury resorts and wellness retreats in exotic locales are emerging as the next frontier. For time-starved urbanites, nothing restores the soul faster than sun-kissed beaches or Himalayan serenity. Demand for unique, transformative travel experiences is heating up.
IHCL is crafting bespoke luxury at some of India's most breathtaking natural settings. Upcoming Taj resorts in Goa, Kerala, Ladakh, and Mahabaleshwar allow guests to immerse in lush landscapes. State-of-the-art spas, private plunge pools, and open-air restaurants provide indulgence without disrupting nature's tranquility.
Rooftop infinity pools with endless ocean vistas at Taj Exotica Goa or starbeds for stargazing in Leh amplify the sublime. Nature walks, astrology sessions, and artisanal activities ground travelers to the destination's ancient roots. It's luxury that nourishes the mind and spirit. At Vivanta Dal View Srinagar, palatial houseboats lift spirits high as majestic mountains enchant the soul.
Being one with nature rejuvenates busy souls. SeleQtions resorts in Coorg or Kumarakom tune travelers to nature's rhythms with curated wellness programs. Yoga amidst coffee plantations or on a private jetty facing the backwaters awakens the senses. Holistic healing comes from nearby waterfalls, fresh organic produce, and deep sleep under starry skies.
Adventure too is on offer with Taj Safaris lodges in India's famed national parks. Gaze at roaming tigers in Ranthambore or track rhinos through Kaziranga grasslands. High-adrenaline jungle safaris get your heart racing. Retreat into lavish tents with private butlers to relive each thrilling sighting.
Luxury needn't cost the earth. IHCL's sustainable eco-resorts are kinder to the planet. Solar energy, electric vehicles, upcycled decor, and hyperlocal cuisine reduce environmental impact. Responsible tourism initiatives like Mangrove plantation and coral restoration nurture fragile ecosystems. Eco-chic needn't mean sacrificing luxury.
Resort destinations beyond tried-and-tested Goa or Kerala are entering IHCL's radar. Taj properties will soon allow travelers to discover Andaman's pristine beaches, Tawang's monasteries, and the wildlife of Pench. Vivanta has eyes on Lonavala, McLeodganj, and Leh for upcoming resorts. Jetsetters demand new places to explore and IHCL is delivering.
Domestic leisure travel is booming in India as disposable incomes rise. Urban Indians took 4.2 billion trips in 2019, many focused on leisure, relaxation and wellness. Online bookings make researching and booking vacations easier, even spur-of-the-moment ones. Long weekend getaways are now commonplace.
IHCL Sets Sights on Major Expansion: Targeting 20 New Hotel Openings This Year - Focus on Tier 2 and 3 Cities to Capture Domestic Travel
Beyond the major metros, India’s emerging Tier 2 and 3 cities are becoming important markets for hotel chains seeking to capture rising domestic travel demand. With growing disposable incomes and infrastructure development, these smaller cities are seeing an influx of business and leisure travelers.
Vivanta hotels will lead IHCL’s charge into cities like Jaipur, Lucknow, Chandigarh, and Coimbatore. Offering stylish accommodation and signature dining at attractive rates, Vivanta strikes the right chord with India’s value-conscious travelers. Local cultural touches and intuitive service give it a refined yet approachable ambiance, perfect for smaller markets.
Indians are flocking to nearby weekend destinations to de-stress or host lavish weddings. IHCL's Ginger brand, with its efficient and fuss-free service, is ideal for such trips. properties in Amritsar, Udaipur, and Vadodara are already magnets for budget travelers and large family groups.
Rather than cookie-cutter properties, Vivanta and Ginger hotels try to reflect the city’s unique character. Hand-painted murals showcasing Rajasthani art, Odissi dance sculptures, vintage cars from India’s freedom struggle - the local design elements wow guests seeking authentic experiences.
Food is quintessentially Indian as well, with regional cuisine starring on the menu. Rajasthani dal baati churma, Konkani fish curry, Awadhi biryani - every hotel highlights the flavors of its city. Many chefs hail from local culinary families, lending insider expertise.
With large banquet spaces and customized celebrations, IHCL hotels are also hosting more weddings beyond the metros. Ginger hotels provide value 3-star options for pre-wedding festivities and budget guest stays. Vivanta and Taj hotels cater to grander multi-day destination weddings, from mehendi-sangeet to pheras.
Technology and analytics help the brands identify potential Tier 2/3 opportunities early. Online travel portals reveal rising room night demand and travelers’ preferences. Data analytics mine tourist inflow patterns and infrastructure growth. IHCL tries getting in ahead of the curve before competitors flood these markets.
Beyond leisure, emerging business hubs also hold potential with Indian and multinational companies setting up offices in new cities. Vivanta fills the need for quality mid-market accommodations for business travelers on a budget. Ginger provides cheaper overnight stays for young professionals in shared spaces.
Tactical promotions with travel portals and wedding companies attract mass market travelers. Participating in local festivals and events gets IHCL’s brands on the tourism map. Tapping digital influencers from these cities helps build authentic buzz online. The goal is becoming the insiders' first choice.
IHCL Sets Sights on Major Expansion: Targeting 20 New Hotel Openings This Year - Partnerships to Add Properties in Middle East and Asia
IHCL is actively seeking partnerships and management contracts to expand its footprint in high-potential markets like the Middle East and Asia. These regions present lucrative opportunities, thanks to rising incomes and a growing appetite for Indian hospitality.
In the Middle East, IHCL aims to capitalize on strong cultural and economic bonds with India. The company has signed deals for new Taj hotels in Qatar's Lusail city and Al Messila Resort in Doha. Travelers from India and the GCC nations are familiar with the Taj brand, which can be leveraged for growth. India also supplies a significant share of the region's migrant workforce who look for familiar names.
According to Rajeev Menon, head of business development at IHCL, the Middle East holds tremendous potential despite economic uncertainties. In his experience, IHCL's portfolio of brands has universal appeal. While demand fluctuates with oil prices, the long-term growth trajectory remains positive. By forging local partnerships, IHCL aims to establish itself early before competition intensifies.
Veteran hotelier Anuraag Bhatnagar feels the brand recognition and operational excellence of Indian chains makes them attractive propositions for Middle Eastern developers. Trumpeting Indian hospitality in a foreign land also enables properties to command a premium over local operators. Partnership is a win-win - IHCL lends expertise while benefiting from reduced capital costs.
Southeast Asia is another focus area for IHCL, with upcoming Vivanta properties in Jakarta and Bali. The company aims to start with gateway cities before venturing into smaller markets. According to industry veteran Akash Sheth, Bali is a natural extension for Indian brands given the heavy tourist traffic between the destinations. Brand awareness already exists that can be capitalized.
Mandeep Lamba, President (South Asia) at HVS Anarock, concurs that SE Asia offers fertile ground. With booming intra-regional tourism, hotels need recognized Indian brands to attract share of travelers. IHCL's strong balance sheet and operational experience adds credibility with local developers. Its brands seamlessly fuse luxury with modernity expected by Asian travelers.
China is also in IHCL's crosshairs as it looks to diversify from India. Joint ventures, franchises, and management contracts are pathways to enter the tightly regulated market. Industry experts like Manav Thadani Chairman of Hotelivate, advise patience and prudence while navigating China's notorious bureaucracy. Deep local relationships and China-ready products essential.
Rahul Pandit, MD & CEO of Lemon Tree Hotels, vouches for IHCL's cautious yet optimistic approach for China. Building brand awareness takes time unlike tourist-friendly Thailand or Bali. For long-term sustainable growth, cultural nuances and local regulations need consideration. IHCL is playing the long game.
IHCL Sets Sights on Major Expansion: Targeting 20 New Hotel Openings This Year - Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Hotels Part of Strategy
As climate change and sustainability become pressing issues worldwide, travelers are increasingly factoring eco-credentials into their hotel choices. Indian chains like IHCL realize that going green is now an imperative to attract conscientious guests. Integrating sustainability into its expansion strategy also allows IHCL to lead by example in the hospitality industry.
Across new IHCL properties, eco-design and green technologies aim to reduce carbon footprints drastically. For example, upcoming Taj hotels in Bangalore and Goa will be LEED-certified, considered the gold standard for green buildings globally. Energy-efficient HVAC systems, solar heating, intelligent lighting controls, and heat-reflecting window film will optimize energy savings. Rooftop solar panels generate onsite renewable energy while treated wastewater meets non-potable water needs.
Local and eco-friendly materials are being favored for construction and interiors. Locally sourced AAC blocks, fly ash bricks, bamboo, recycled wood, and local stone avoid carbon-intensive imports. Handmade furnishings from community artisans and upcycled decor add authenticity. Organic cotton linens and chemical-free toiletries make for greener guest rooms.
IHCL hotels are also ditching single-use plastic bathroom amenities and switching to bulk dispensers. Glass bottles and reusable containers replace plastic bottled water. Onsite water bottling plants allow reusable glass bottles in guest rooms. Minimizing waste like food, paper, and e-waste is also a priority through improved segregation and disposal systems.
To enhance conservation, Taj Safaris lodges run wildlife research initiatives like vulture breeding programs and grassland restoration. Vivanta and Taj resorts are also pioneer providers of eco-luxury experiences. For example, Taj Exotica Goa offers tours of its onsite water recycling plant and organic gardens. Guests can participate in mangrove plantation drives or beach clean-ups. Eco-chic villas made from recycled wood immerse guests in nature through floor-to-ceiling windows. Locavore cuisine cooked in solar ovens, al fresco hydrotherapy pools fed by natural springs, and electric buggy rides further minimize environmental impact.
IHCL Sets Sights on Major Expansion: Targeting 20 New Hotel Openings This Year - Technology and Digital Initiatives to Enhance Guest Experience
IHCL is betting big on technology and digital initiatives to further personalize and smoothen the guest experience across its portfolio. From pre-stay to post-stay, various touchpoints are being digitized to delight the modern traveler.
Take reservations – IHCL’s website and mobile apps allow guests to not just book rooms but also reserve tables at the hotel's award-winning restaurants ahead of their stay. Diners can browse menus and wines in advance to better plan their culinary experience. In-stay check-ins are getting automated as well with mobile entry solutions. Guests at select Taj and Vivanta hotels can bypass reception and check-in on their phones. Digital keys accessed via apps then unlock rooms directly.
Even in-room experiences are going high-tech with voice-activated controls, mood lighting, and infotainment systems operated by tablets or phones. At newer Taj properties, guests can customize in-room ambiance, order amenities, adjust temperature, and control entertainment with a tap on their personal device. IoT-enabled rooms make for personalized stays. Radisson Group Americas VP of Technology Matt Davis feels such technologies can make rooms seem more spacious virtually.
Another area seeing digital disruption is F&B through e-menus, cashless payments, and automated order taking. Handheld tablets allow customers to browse menus easily, understand ingredients, discover wines, and place orders directly. Apps also allow pre-ordering from restaurants or room service, reducing wait times. Celebrity chef Sarah Todd feels such innovations make the dining experience more immersive. India Director of Culinary Development and Operations at Marriott Hotels Brian Pereira believes F&B tech like AI menu recommendations enhances personalization and improves order accuracy.
Loyalty apps and programs are also undergoing digital makeovers to drive direct bookings and engagement. Features like easy earn-and-burn of rewards points, member-only deals, and personalized travel recommendations are becoming commonplace. Amadeus Hospitality IT Group MD Somya Srivastava lauds IHCL’s unified loyalty program that integrates all its hotel brands. Currency pooling and tier benefits across brands incentivize guests to book direct repeatedly.
Post-stay, mobile surveys allow real-time guest feedback while it's still fresh. Cloud-based customer relationship management tools give staff holistic profiles of frequent guests and their preferences, enabling highly personalized service. IHCL can track guest sentiment more accurately and quickly address complaints, boosting satisfaction.
IHCL's growing focus on weddings and events also warrants digitalization for seamless execution. Lowdra Thai Hotel Brand Manager notes event booking portals allow customized searches for venues, menus, themes, and so on. Dashboard access lets planners manage event planning remotely through collaborative tools. Tech drives greater transparency and customization.
IHCL Sets Sights on Major Expansion: Targeting 20 New Hotel Openings This Year - Loyalty Program Expansion to Boost Engagement and Recurring Stays
IHCL is doubling down on expanding its loyalty programs to drive direct bookings and build lasting guest relationships across brands. Forward-thinking hotel groups realize that today's travelers demand personalization, recognition, and rewards every time they check-in. Cookie-cutter loyalty schemes with minimal member benefits lead to guest churn. IHCL aims to make its programs indispensable to travelers through compelling elite benefits and instant gratification.
For example, the newly integrated IHCL InnerCircle program unites all brands like Taj, Vivanta, and Ginger under one loyalty umbrella. Perks like earning points on dining and spas alongside room bookings encourages guests to spend more on each visit. Members also enjoy complimentary room upgrades, late checkouts, and celebratory benefits on special occasions.
Another clever feature is instant redemption of points for instant perks. Travelers short on time can redeem points on the spot for spa discounts or F&B credits during their stay, rather than waiting to accumulate points. Immediate joy drives loyalty. Ritesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO at OYO Hotels, shares how instant redeemable credits upon check-in delivered 3.5X more repeat bookings.
Loyalty programs today go beyond free nights and flights. Curating unique member experiences is crucial. For its elite Platinum members, IHCL organizes exclusive 'InResidence' weekends at various heritage Taj properties. Rare meals helmed by celebrity chefs, personal wellness consultations, private museum tours - the bespoke events deliver VIP treatment money can't buy.
Marriott International Loyalty VP David Flueck reveals that elite members globally cherish such priceless experiences provided by programs like The Luxury Collection's The Art of Living. Exclusive member events drive word-of-mouth and social media advocacy.
Even lower elite tiers get pampered with periodic treats to stay motivated. Mid-tier members could enjoy complimentary upgrade certificates, birthday/anniversary gift vouchers, or exclusive F&B/spa promotions. Small delights remind members the program cares.
Loyalty is also going hyperlocal, with bespoke benefits for regular guests at specific hotels. Accor VP Loyalty & Partnerships Mehdi Hemici explains that most member engagement happens at 2-3 preferred hotels. So properties now craft personalized gestures for their VIPs when onsite, like personalized welcome letters or favorite beverages in-room.
Beyond stays, loyalty programs are integrating everyday spending to enhance stickiness. Co-branded credit cards that earn points for retail shopping and dining add flexibility. IHCL InnerCircle members can soon earn points for Uber rides, online shopping, dining, and entertainment. The goal is becoming indispensable in members' daily lives, beyond just hotel stays.