Sarovar set to expand with 10 hotels this year: The hospitality management firm’s international portfolio is also growing at a steady pace with its first operational hotel in Lusaka, Zambia, and a hotel each in Kampala in Uganda and Hargeisa in Somaliland slated to open in early 2024.
NEW DELHI: Sarovar Hotels and Resorts, part of Paris-based hospitality firm Groupe Du Louvre, plans to open 10 hotels in 2023 in key pilgrimage and leisure destinations in India, including markets where it will make its debut, a senior company executive said.
The hospitality management firm’s international portfolio is also growing at a steady pace with its first operational hotel in Lusaka, Zambia, and a hotel each in Kampala in Uganda and Hargeisa in Somaliland slated to open in early 2024.
“We also foresee ourselves managing a hotel in Manakamana, Nepal in 2024. We are in the advanced stages of bringing our hotels on the global distribution platform under the Louvre Hotels Group umbrella,” Ajay K. Bakaya, managing director at Sarovar Hotels said.
France’s Groupe de Louvre had bought a majority stake in Sarovar Hotels in India in 2017 for an undisclosed sum. The company currently runs about 102 hotels across India and is looking to add about 10 hotels a year to its portfolio. However, Sarovar owns only three hotels as it follows a debt-free model.
Going forward, it aims to focus on getting a foothold in markets like the Northeast, Varanasi and Patna where it currently doesn’t have a presence. In addition to Sarovar, the company is also focused on building its four-star Golden Tulip brand, which competes with Courtyard By Marriott and Four Points by Sheraton in India. The company has meanwhile trimmed some of the older Golden Tulip hotels and reduced the total portfolio to nine from 30, and will be adding two to three hotels a year under this brand.
“Despite the competition in this category, we believe there is space for many brands to grow here. Some of those hotels which we have deflagged were not up to our standards and as a result, the brand started to have a lower value than expected. We want to develop this as a strong franchise brand over the next five years,” added Bakaya.
The company also runs the three-star Hometel brand which has a minimum staffing ratio and so is a very successful brand for the company. But it is also building Louvre hotel brands like Campanile in cities like Chennai.
As per a report by hospitality consultancy Hotelivate from 2022, its latest, Sarovar is the fourth largest brand in the country by city presence. The top brand is Taj Hotels’ parent IHCL. But in terms of the number of rooms per hotel ratio, Sarovar is in the top five in the country, with a minimum of 80 rooms per hotel. The report said it had about 6000 rooms as of July 2022.
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, in its ‘Cities Economic Impact Report’ for 2019, the travel and tourism sector contributed almost ₹36,200 crore to Delhi’s economy and more than ₹25,000 crore to Mumbai’s.
In 2022, Delhi’s sector was expected to have grown to ₹32,400 crore, while Mumbai’s is forecast to be worth just under ₹22,500 crore, just 10% below 2019 levels.
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