Sarovar Hotels focussing on branded budget hotels

August 18th, 2008 - 11:55 am ICT by IANS  

By Varada Bhat
Mumbai, Aug 18 (IANS) City-based Sarovar Hotels and Resorts, which opened the country’s first branded budget hotel Hometel here last week, plans to open eight more such hotels in the country in order to tap the mid-upper middle level businessmen and holiday makers. Sarovar Hotels managing director Anil Madhok told IANS: “The mid-market segment lacks fine hospitality and what guests aspire for. When you enter a 2-3 star hotel, you really don’t know what you will get.”

By the end of this year, Sarovar plans to open eight Hometel hotels in seven cities across the country.

“This segment is totally untapped. We want to cater to mid-upper middle level businessmen and holiday makers who are price sensitive but want the comfort,” he said. The room rents at Hometel hotels would vary between Rs.1,500 to Rs.5,000, depending on the city and the location.

By the end of 2012, Sarovar Hotels and Resorts will more than double its hotel property count to 100 from the current 35 in the country, he said.

The Mumbai based multi-brand hotel management company is planning to raise about Rs.7-8 billion through internal accruals and debt. “We want to offer our guests good value for money, without comprising on quality facilities.”

Apart from the existing 35 hotels under the Sarovar banner, the company is setting up 33 hotels, which are in various stages of development.

Another 30 plus hotels are on the drawing board. By the end of 2012, the company will manage a room inventory of close to 100,000, Madhok said.

Sarovar operates through five hotel brands in the country - Sarovar Premier and Park Plaza in the upscale (5-star) segment, Sarovar Portico and Park Inn in the mid-market (3-4 star) segment and Hometel in the economy (3-star) segment.

Park Plaza and Park Inn are operated in India under the master franchise of Carlson Hotels.

On the industry slowdown, Madhok said: “All industries are interconnected. If one industry feels the heat, the others will obviously bear the brunt.”

He said compared to last year, there has been a big dip in occupancy rates in the Premier and Park Plaza segments (5-star brand) especially in Bangalore and Hyderabad. But the mid-market brands were doing well with occupancy rates of 80-90 percent.

Madhok, who dropped his plan of joining the Indian Army after submitting his application, said, “the entrepreneur in me did not allow me to do so.”

“Even after working with the Oberoi hotels group from 1966 to 1991, I always wanted to set up something of my own,” he added.

In 1994, Madhok set up the sea- facing Marine Plaza in south Mumbai, which has carved a niche for itself in the mid-market segment. It is now the company’s flagship hotel.

Now, he dreams of opening a high class and top quality hotel management school in the country. “Ever since the inception of Sarovar, setting up a school has been my passion. Within a few years, I will chalk out a plan to establish India’s best hospitality school,” he added.

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