Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL), the Tata-owned one which owns and runs the Taj brand of hotels, would open 15 new properties under its two brands, Vivanta by Taj and Gateway, over the next 12-14 months.
The company wants to tap into the expected surge in the number of corporate and leisure travellers, after a long season when occupancy levels fell well below the halfway mark.
Ajoy K Misra, senior V-P, sales and marketing, IHCL, said: “We have 10 Vivanta by Taj and five Gateway properties coming up by 2011 in India. Work has already started on all these properties.”
IHCL presently runs three properties in India and one in the Maldives under the Vivanta by Taj brand. Earlier this month, it launched the brand in the northeastern region, in Guwahati, and has aggressive plans for expansion of this premium brand. It also has 19 operational properties under the Gateway fold.
While Vivanta by Taj is the newest brand within the Taj group of hotels, operating within the definition of upper upscale/premium brands, Gateway is its upscale brand, positioned well above the company’s economy brand, Ginger, but lower than Vivanta by Taj. The company was recently chosen by the Credit Suisse Research Institute as one of the 27 ‘Great Brands of Tomorrow’.
The company is to set up the new Vivanta properties at Gurgaon, Dwarka and Shahdara in Delhi, Yeshwantpur (Bangalore), Begumpet (Hyderabad), Bekal (Kerala), Srinagar, Madikeri (Coorg) and Coimbatore. And, Gateway hotels would come up at Chennai, Delhi and Kolkata, Raipur and Jalandhar (in 2011).
While the company wouldn’t provide details about the capital expenditure required on these properties, they will be a mixture of owned as well as managed properties by IHCL, stated the senior official.
The rush for expansion by Indian hospitality brands in addition to IHCL, such as Kolkata-based ITC and East India Hotels (Oberoi Hotels), the Mumbai-based Leela Group and the Bangalore-based Royal Orchid is coming on the back of a vigorous attempt by international hotel brands to make a fresh foray into India.