The 26/11 hit Taj Hotels have two brands competing with ITC’s Fortune and others in the mid-market segments like the Quality Inn. However Only Fortune and Taj’s Gateway have plans to be in the Tier II towns dotting the country’s landscape like the pilgrim towns and those with significant merchant trade. The Taj Gateway for example wants to add 30 new hotels by 2015 in locations like Jalandhar, Mysore, Raipur and Gondia ( Mint – November 18 )
The answer is nto that simple however. The available accommodation would definitely make a profitable niche but wll not reduce the shortage of boarding and lodging nor will it address viability concerns of the Taj and ITC Hotels, not to mention home grown players like East India Hotels and the Club Mahindras.
Indian consumer spending in B towns is definitely slated to pick up and double in every 2-3 years for some time to come, but this country hs been in the midst of such boom and not seen enough clientele in this industry yet. Business Travellers and the 5% of GDP that is accumulated by Tourism remain formidable targets to maintain each year even during the good time, Costs of Real Estate, F&B related inflation, wage inflation and the seasonality of tourist arrangements coupled with India’s non voice in international leisure and lifestyle forums , lack of negotiated tarriffs in travel and hospitality all count towards a tremendous dearth of new traffic for any such tourism business. A lot remains to be done and while more and more deluxe 5 star facilities are slowly becoming available because of rush hour and the consequent unavailability that plagues travellers scheduling a trip, too many ventures like the recent Indian Maharaja ( TC/Cox & Kings IPO now open) trins and the 15 year old plans of Gateway and ITC fortune have been non starters. Costs for 5 stars have easily climbed to an average of Rs 5 Crore per room, while the Marriott has managed the same in Mumbai for less tan 3 crore and the Fortune and the Gateway chains have to manage with Room Rents of not more than Rs 800000 to 1000000 per room and 20-30% contribution from F&B implying a 100 room hotel cannot earn a topline of more than $2.7 million a year, a measly Rs 12 crores, a pretty small cake for the employee family. A cosmopolitan venture like Ginger on the other hand would not be acepted easily outside the metros of DElhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore.
Also a significant competitor to these brands would be Oakwood and Marriott Suites that provide furnished flats for unlimited duration as they would segment that population of expats that need such spacious living and confine their target market to backpack tourists and pilgrimage bound couples/families