Hotel war: India firms counter global chains | business | Hindustan Times
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Hotel war: India firms counter global chains

business Updated: Mar 22, 2010 01:30 IST
Lalatendu Mishra

It is a war in which rooms are being built like army barracks.

The Tata-owned Indian Hotel Company and ITC’s Welcomgroup are on an aggressive campaign to counter a host of foreign hotel chains expanding their reach in India.

Using a mix of franchises and property management contracts, the hospitality chains are furiously expanding.

Industry officials say the market is hot as India has a total of 120,000 hotel rooms while there is an additional requirement of 160,000 over the next two years.

Carlson, Starwood, Choice, Marriott, Accor, Hyatt, Intercontinental and Hilton are among global names increasing their Indian presence. Between they will add well over 150 properties over the next year or so, taking their tally beyond 200.
ITC Welcomgroup is adding 40 hotels to its 113 under four brands. Of this 25 are under the Fortune brand of business hotels.

Pawan Verma, senior executive vice-president at ITC, said the Welcomgroup plans to add six to eight hotels every year in addition to those announced.

“We are attached to the ground unlike them (international chains),” he said. “We excel in Indian hospitality.”

The Taj Group is growing aggressively both in India and abroad. It is planning more than 70 new hotels in four categories including its budget brand Ginger to add to the portfolio of 105 hotels including 17 abroad.

Sudeep Jain, country head for the hotels consulting arm of Jones Lang LaSalle, said Indian chains were challenging overseas competitors because they faced an onslaught.

“This is a natural progression,” he said.