Category Archives: Interviews

AccorHotels to bring Raffles, Banyan Tree brands into India in 2018


Affirming India to be a major focus area in the Asia Pacific region for AccorHotels, Gaurav Bhushan, Global Chief Development Officer, AccorHotels, reveals that the company is bringing its luxury brands into India this year. “We have a very interesting line up in 2018 for our luxury and leisure hotel brands. Raffles, Fairmont and Banyan Tree are the brands that we are bringing into India. We are very excited about the opportunity. While the mid scale segment is increasing steadily and doing well, there is also a very big opportunity in the luxury, the lifestyle and the leisure space. That is the new frontier from our perspective.” He adds that the company expects to add five hotels with an approximate key count of 1,000-plus rooms to its network in 2018. “We already have 45 operating hotels in India and are actively signing up new hotels. So India is a major focus for us in the Asia Pacific region. And we expect our growth to be very strong and very robust in the next few years,” Bhushan says.

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Choice Hotels appoints Chad Fletcher as Vice President of Global Sales


Choice Hotels International has announced Chad Fletcher has joined the company as Vice President of Global Sales. In this role, Fletcher will lead the company’s corporate, travel agency and group sales strategy to support the continued growth of business travel. He will oversee the team responsible for maintaining relationships with key corporate clients, and work with Fortune 500 companies and large, global travel agencies. Fletcher joins Choice Hotels from the Avis Budget Group, where he most recently served as vice president of commercial sales, North America, where he successfully implemented business-wide strategies to improve profitability and spur continuous growth. Earlier in his career, Fletcher held key leadership sales positions at Daylight Transport and DHL Express. Fletcher earned his bachelor’s degree from California State University, Fullerton.

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Four Seasons and Embassy Group to introduce new luxury hotel and private residences in Bengaluru


Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and Embassy Group will open a new Four Seasons hotel and private residences later this year in Bengaluru. Located within Embassy ONE, they will debut as Four Seasons Hotel Bengaluru at Embassy ONE and Four Seasons Private Residences Bengaluru at Embassy ONE in summer 2018. “We are proud to be part of the incredible growth happening in Bengaluru, and look forward to introducing a new hub of activity in the city,” says Jitu Virwani, Chairman and Managing Director, Embassy Group. “Whether browsing the shops, dining at one of the restaurants, staying with us at the Hotel, or living with us as a private residence owner, Embassy ONE will offer a range of luxury experiences. Through our partnership with Four Seasons, guests and residents can expect the highest levels of personalised service that the brand is known to deliver around the world, and is unmatched in Bengaluru, helping to distinguish Embassy ONE as offering the best accommodation and living experience in the city.” “Bengaluru is a very exciting city, in part through the tremendous progress of industry, technology, research and education, with just as much to offer in the way of culture and nightlife,” says J. Allen Smith, President and CEO, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “It’s attractive to business and leisure travellers, and with a growing population of more than ten million, is also a significant residential market.” Continues Smith, “India is an incredibly important market for us at Four Seasons, and we have been looking for the right opportunity to expand our presence here. This project is the perfect opportunity to do so, in an ideal location and with our visionary partners at Embassy …

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Radisson Jodhpur opens with 96 rooms

Radisson Jodhpur

Radisson Jodhpur opens with 96 rooms and is the first Radisson to open in the city. “I am delighted to welcome our first Radisson hotel to Jodhpur. The hotel’s architectural grandeur combined with the brand’s service ethos will enthrall guests travelling to the city. We appreciate the commitment that Madhav Heritage has made in this hotel and the trust they have demonstrated in the Radisson brand,” said Raj Rana, chief executive officer, South Asia, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. Spread over around 70,000 square feet, the hotel’s architecture is reminiscent of Rajasthan’s erstwhile culture and style. The hotel constitutes 96 rooms across Superior, Business Class, Studio Suites, Single Bedroom Suite, Two Bedroom Duplex Suites and Presidential Suite categories. Business Class Rooms include a separate living room and Deluxe Suites feature bathtub, powder room, microwave and TV in the separate living room. The hotel also features a state-of-the-art fitness center with modern equipment and a spa service with two treatment rooms for a rejuvenating stay. Radisson Jodhpur offers a wide selection of delightful dining options including Ekatra, a multicuisine all-day-dining restaurant serving delicacies from around the globe; Abhiras, a rooftop Indian specialty restaurant with modern potpourri of cuisines strewn across India; J Bar, an exclusive terrace grill and bar featuring unique bar-be-que innovations paired with international and IMFL liquor blends and 1459, the confectioneries and pastry shop at the lobby level. Radisson Jodhpur boasts over 30,000 square feet of total meeting space comprising three banquet halls. Equipped with high-speed, wireless internet and audio-visual support, the meeting space is ideal for corporate conferences, contemporary wedding receptions, reunions and more. The banquet facilities at the hotel also feature a party lawn spread over an …

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Budget disappoints hospitality sector: Dilip Datwani

Mr. Dilip Datwani,President, Hotel & Restaurant Association of Western India

Dilip Datwani, President, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI), says, “The hospitality sector has been once again almost entirely ignored in the Union Budget. What the Government needs to realise is that Incredible India will be a success only when the Hospitality Industry, which is a key driver to our economic growth gets right attention. Developments in ancillary sectors like infrastructure and aviation are certainly positive but that alone isn’t adequate. Promoting and encouraging investments in hospitality can place India on the map of the tourism destinations of the world.”

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A uniform policy governing hospitality & tourism would have been appreciated: Vineet Verma

Vineet Verma - img

Vineet Verma, Executive Director & CEO of Brigade Hospitality Services, says, “While we commend the Budget overall, we only wish that the Tourism Sector had received the importance that it truly deserves. For instance, a uniform policy across India, governing Hospitality & Tourism including an effective single window clearance mechanism for expeditious clearance of projects would have been most appreciated. Hospitality & Tourism are among the fastest growing sectors generating potential employment for millions, and these sectors deserve increased attention.”

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Hospitality industry has been ignored once again: Param Kannampilly


Param Kannampilly, Director, Concept Hospitality, says, “The union budget this year like many other previous budgets have ignored the hospitality as well as the tourism sector. The industry was waiting anxiously for the Finance Minister to make some concrete announcement, however nothing happened. Only silver lining which I can see is the increase in spend on infrastructure which will help the sector. The connectivity will give rise to hotels coming in new towns and mofussil areas. It might also result in higher Occupancies and better ARRs. The increase in corporate tax threshold will help the sector, however, this will be restricted to medium and small sized entities.”

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Budget 2018-19 is not indicating any impact on the hospitality sector: Shipra Sumbly Kaul

Shipra Sumbly Kaul - General Manager, Holiday Inn Express & Suites Bengaluru Racecourse

Shipra Sumbly Kaul, General Manager at Holiday Inn Express & Suites Bengaluru Racecourse, says, “We can see that the budget scenario is focusing more on agriculture. It is also looking at improving infrastructure, facilities and health benefits for the lower income strata. The attempt to preserve and protect heritage cities is remarkable and might help boost tourism. Currently, the budget is not directly indicating any impact on the hospitality sector. There might be some indirect impact, which we need to wait and watch once the policies are executed.”

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Single window required for hotels and restaurants: Gaurav Singh

Mr Gaurav Singh 2

Gaurav Singh, Multi-property General Manager, Courtyard by Marriott and Fairfield by Marriott, Outer Ring Road and Fairfield by Marriott Rajajinagar, Bengaluru says, “While every year the budget speaks on promoting tourism the steps we take thereon are not aligned to support the industry, the sector is still viewed as elitist and attracts the maximum taxation which cannot make sense if the focus for the country is to improve its foreign arrivals. We seriously require to reduce the taxation to support growth – with the overall tax rate applicable on tourism and hospitality offerings being relatively high in India in comparison with other countries, this will help bring things more at par with the help of streamlining GST. The other major focus needs to be on ease of getting clearances and a single window is required for hotels and restaurants to operate, currently requiring upwards of 40 different licenses to run the business.”

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60 crore to push airport capacity is too little: Ajay Bakaya

Mr. Ajay Bakaya, MD, Sarovar Hotels at the launch of Singhania Sarovar Portico Raipur

Ajay K. Bakaya, Managing Director, Sarovar Hotels & Resorts, says, “The positives in the budget are rail infrastructure, Bharatmala project, impetus to farmers, Heritage City Development, and healthcare. The move towards solar energy and operation green are welcome. However, 60 crore to push airport capacity is too little and nothing concrete has been done to combat pollution. The lack of relief in taxes to companies with a turnover of below 250 crores and taxing long term capital gains are also in the negatives.”

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