Against the tide – India

The World Travel & Tourism Council which labels itself as a forum for business leaders in the Travel & Tourism industry says that "growth in the hospitality industry (in India) is pegged at 15 per cent every
year and with 2,00,000 rooms (both luxury and budget) needed in India,
the segment is poised for a stupendous growth." That process is expected to be aided by "initiatives like massive investment in hotel infrastructure and open
sky policies made by the government are all aimed at propelling growth
in the hospitality sector." Furthermore the Indian government’s "decision to substantially upgrade 28 regional airports in
smaller towns and privatisation and expansion of Delhi and Mumbai
airports has improved the business prospects of hotel industry in India."

International hospitality companies seem to be endorsing the WTTC's views as evidenced by their expansion plans. The growth is not limited to the luxury sector as the domestic traveler (business & leisure) starts to travel within the country limited service chains, both domestic and international. have made steady inroads. Underscoring the potential in that segment is the level of interest in the forthcoming Budget & Economy Hotels in Singapore in October of this year.

However, the Indian hotel industry has not exactly been unaffected by the worldwide economic contagion as this article India's reputed Business Standard newspaper points out that hotels there are not "really expected to turn in good numbers for the June 2009 quarter. But
occupancies (for one hotel major), estimated at 40-45 per cent, were lower than estimated and
coupled with low average room rates (ARR) resulted in the stand-alone
top line coming off by 24 per cent, way below the Street’s expectations."

A well known limitation to growth in India is the lack of trained personnel despite a growth in the number of hotel and catering institutes resulting in many hospitality majors developing in-house training institutions. Nevertheless, as any visit to the country is likely to underscore, employees there, more so than most other places, have a can-do as opposed to a must-do attitude to work. That goes a long way towards delivering excellent service.

Published by

Vijay Dandapani

Co-founder and president of a New York based hotel company for 24 years. Grew the firm to five hotels in Manhattan and also developed a greenfield project at MacArthur airport, New York. Speaker at numerous prestigious forums including Economy Hotels World Asia, Lodging Conference, NYU, Columbia University Real Estate Roundtable, Baruch College's Zicklin School and ALIS. President and ceo of New York City Hotel Association since January 2017.