Global hospitality major IHG Hotels and Resorts is scaling up in India as it plans to add more hotels in the country, especially in the luxury segment.
The company doubled its hotel portfolio in India from 22 hotels in 2016 to 44 currently, said a top official of the company. "The strategy is to double our portfolio again in next 3-5 years in India," said Haitham Mattar, MD, IMEA, IHG Hotels & Resorts.
The company has 45 hotels in South-West Asia across five core brands, out of which 41 hotels are in India. In the next 2-3 years, IHG plans to add another 52 hotels in South-West Asia, out of which 42 hotels will be added to its portfolio in India, noted Mattar.
He said that while Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express brands under IHG are the bread and butter for the company, they are seeing interest from investors and consumers for their luxury brands like voco and Six Senses.
The company signed two properties under the voco brand in the leisure destinations of Jim Corbett and Gurgaon and both hotels are expected to open in 2024. Under the Six Senses brand, the company has two properties in India currently.
Mattar said that IHG is increasing its budgets for India looking at the potential as well the post-Covid recovery in the travel and hospitality space.
"India is one of the largest outbound markets in UAE, UK, and US. We are seeing India as the next China in terms of growth. India has become the world's fifth-largest economy. So more people are going to come to India and more people are going to spend outside India."
He added that India was the fastest-recovering market when Covid cases came down. "We saw an immediate recovery in the domestic (India) market and saw occupancy grow from almost nothing to 80 percent. 2022 was a record year as a region for us both in terms of signing hotel rooms and returns. We have exceeded 2019 which was the benchmark for the pre-Covid period."
The company noted that in In Q2, 2022 (calendar year), IHG's total revenue in India exceeded 2019 levels with occupancy levels increasing from 60 percent in Q1 to close to 75 percent in Q2, up a 2 percent jump from 2019 levels.
"2023 looks promising despite inflationary challenges, climate change challenges, and the unfortunate war on Ukraine," said Mattar.