Indian Hotels Company, the country’s biggest hospitality group in terms of revenue, plans to realign the brands adorned by its holdings, monetize its enormous realty assets and work up its room dossier, as confirmed by its recently assigned CEO on February 16, in a step to revitalize the non-profit-making enterprise.
Puneet Chhatwal, 53, who took over the responsibility three and half months ago, said in his opening media address that he aims at beginning by upgrading the firm’s label framework in which, 144 of its hotels will flaunt either the Taj, Vivanta or Ginger brand. Chhatwal’s premier move endorses forerunner Rakesh Sarna’s one-brand scheme according to which all hotels (except affordable ones) were to be called Taj.
“The concept of one size fits all doesn’t work as we can’t have hotels of same sizes across geographies and neither can we have same tariffs across these locations. Multiple brands cater to diverse customers and price points,” he said.
An erstwhile Deutsche Hospitality CEO, Chhatwal has been commissioned with changing over Indian Hotels’ plunging fortunes. Indian Hotels, a component of the $100-billion-plus Tata Group, has been the center of focus since the past four fiscals, impacted by falling room revenues, write-downs on investments and debts. Chhatwal has rolled out a five-year plan to make Indian Hotels’ operating margins better from its present 17% to 25% by 2022.
He plans to do so by cost cutting on operation, selling non-crore investments such as shares in ITDC and real estate assets encompassing loss-making hotels and around 100 residential apartments in Mumbai in addition to augmenting room portfolio from 16,992 to 24,000. The company has with it a land store of 759 acres, of which it may consider monetizing 6% (44 acres). The management said that the room spread will be both, in India and in select other countries such as Myanmar and Africa.