To offset the volatility in the Indian hospitality market and to fuel its growth momentum, Hotel LeelaVentures, one of the leading hospitality majors, is planning to make inroads into the growing international market.
The company has already set up sales offices in UK and Dubai, which will not only enable them to tap the growing international consumers, but also help them to explore opportunities of setting up base in these markets. Singapore is next on the radar for a similar exercise.
Indrajeet Banerjee, head, sales and marketing, Hotel LeelaVentures, told FE, “The expansions are moving at a rapid pace at Leelas. On the completion of our upcoming properties in the domestic market, we may come out with our first international property. The international market is growing rapidly and eventually we will have to spread our wings and compete with the top most international chains in the global field as well.”
The company had recently more than doubled its capex programme from Rs 1,200 crore to Rs 2,500 crore to fund its expansion plans that currently spreads across six properties.
The company has signed a general sales agency agreement with a tour operator in Singapore to set up its sales and marketing arm, which will be operational within a month's time, informed Banerjee.
“We have taken the first baby steps by opening regional offices in the markets of UK, Dubai and Singapore. We will now assess these markets and undertake the feasibility study and then take the decision,” he added.
It is coming up with properties in Gurgaon, Udaipur, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune and Delhi.
Hotels in Gurgaon, Udaipur and Chennai will be up and running next year and Hyderabad and Pune hotels will be launched in 2009, and the one in Delhi will be up by 2010.
The company is also planning to capitalise on its existing network of more than 800 contractual contract corporate clients, and exploring the option of setting up convention centres to tap the growing MICE travel.
Banerjee said that the demand for luxury accommodation is growing at a phenomenal pace and lack of supply in the 5-star category has added substantially to the top line of most hotels in the luxury category by the way of an average 40% increase in average room rates (ARRs).