Indian Hotels elects N. Chandrasekaran as Chairman

Feb 23, 2017 0

Mumbai– The Indian Hotels Company Ltd, a Tata Group firm, on Thursday said Tata Sons Executive Chairman N. Chandrasekaran has been elected as Chairman of its Board of Directors with effect from Wednesday.

N. Chandrasekaran

“N. Chandrasekaran has been elected as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Company with effect from February 22, 2017 vide a written resolution of the Board. Chandrasekaran was initially appointed as member of the board on January 27, 2017,” the company said in a BSE filing.

On February 21, Chandrasekaran, 53, who has spent some 30 years in the Tata Group, joined as the new Executive Chairman of Tata Sons — the first non-Parsi to head the $103-billion global empire with a 148-year history.

He succeeds Cyrus Mistry, who was removed as Tata Sons Chairman on October 24 and Ratan Tata was named the Interim Chairman. (IANS)

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InterContinental likely to commission 41 luxury hotels in 3-5 years

Feb 14, 2017 0

Kolkata–The tourism sector in India has got a boost due to the huge amount of domestic tourism and the visa on arrival facilities, hospitality major InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) on Tuesday said.

It said that 41 new properties, which are in the pipeline, will likely be commissioned in the next 3-5 years.

“Around 41 hotels which are in pipeline across India will likely be commissioned in the next 3-5 years,” said company’s Head of South West Asia, Shantha De Silva.

The Group presently runs 29 hotels across major Tier One and some Tier Two cities in India under the brands of InterContinental Hotels, Holiday Inn, Crown Plaza, and Holiday Express.

“There is a huge amount of domestic tourism available in the country and the visa on arrival facilities has also given a boost to the sector,” De Silva said at the launch of Holiday Inn here – the company’s first hotel in the eastern region.

The luxury property is spread across 6,500 sq ft of banqueting space and has 137 keys.

According to De Silva, the group has plans to open 100-150 more hotels in the next 10-year horizon.

Asked about the pricing of accommodation, De Silva said, “We will play at the higher end of the market. It also depends on demand and supply.”

He also said that India is the third largest market from a development perspective and thus the expansion plans are expected in the hospitality sector in the coming years.

“India is the third largest market from a pipeline perspective as to the number of developing projects that we have, not from an operating perspective. It is behind America and China,” the Sri Lankan hotelier said.

The Jain Group tied up with the hospitality major to introduce three Five-star Holiday Inn properties in West Bengal, with one each in Kolkata, Durgapur and Siliguri.

While the investment behind the Kolkata branch of Holiday Inn was around Rs 180 crore, the real estate company said it was “approximately Rs 500-550 crore in Durgapur and Siliguri”.

The Siliguri wing will have 127 keys and Durgapur 135-140.

“Kolkata has fewer good brand hotels,” Rishi Jain, Executive Director, Jain Group, told IANS.

“There is a genuine dearth of banqueting space for social functions like marriages. This city hotel has hosted four social functions in one week. We are looking at 58 per cent occupancy in the first year. Then we would surely expand,” he added. (IANS)

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Indian Supreme Court bans sale of liquor near all highways

Dec 15, 2016 0

New Delhi–The Supreme Court on Thursday banned the sale of liquor within 500 meters on either side of national and state highways across the country.

A bench headed by Chief Justice T.S. Thakur said that all liquor vendors holding licenses for selling liquor would continue to do so till their licenses were valid or till March 31, 2017, whichever was earlier. The licenses would not be renewed.

Supreme Court-IndiaThe order came on a batch of petitions including those by the states and NGOs.

Around 300 liquor outlets in Kerala will down shutters from the new fiscal in line with the Supreme Court’s ruling banning the sale of liquor along highways.

The order came on a batch of petitions including those by the states and NGOs.

Kerala Excise Minister T.P. Ramakrishnan told reporters that he is yet to get a copy of the ruling and the decision would be adhered to by the state government.

“Once we get a copy of the judgement, we will study it … at the moment, there is no decision as yet, whether to go in for appeal. First, let us get the judgement,” said Ramakrishnan.

In Kerala, liquor is presently served in around 30 five-star hotels and around 600 beer and wine parlours besides 334 state-owned retail outlets.

For the beer and wine parlour owners, this new decision could spell the end of their business as it cannot be moved from the present location but the state-owned retail outlets could possibly move away from the highways.

“It’s not an easy task as the new retail outlets will have to ensure that other restrictions do not affect their opening at a new location, as laws are stringent. Besides the laws, there could be possible agitations by the local populace,” said an industry source.

Biju Ramesh, who owns beer parlours in Thiruvananthapuram, said he welcomes the decision even though he would have to close down a few of his parlours.

Since 2015, following the liquor policy of the then Oommen Chandy government, more than 700 bars in two-, three- and four-star hotels were closed down, after which many of them began functioning as wine and beer parlours.

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Best Western Pledges “No Inspections” for AAHOA Members During 2017 AAHOA Convention

Nov 2, 2016 0

ATLANTA– Best Western CEO David Kong has confirmed that Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) members who own Best Western properties will be exempt from inspections during the 2017 AAHOA convention.

The exemption will allow AAHOA members who attend the convention, held April 11-14, 2017, in San Antonio, Texas, to focus on the annual event’s networking, educational, and business opportunities – without worrying that a property inspection is being conducted in their absence.

Chip Rogers

Chip Rogers

“This pledge by Best Western leadership represents both the growing strength and tremendous value of the AAHOA-Best Western partnership,” said AAHOA President and CEO Chip Rogers. “I sincerely thank Best Western for their continued support and am excited to share this news with all of our stakeholders.”

Rogers, now in his second year at the AAHOA helm, received a burst of applause when he made the formal announcement last week during the Best Western-AAHOA brand alliance meeting during the Best Western annual conference in Phoenix.

The exemption idea originally arose during the 2016 AAHOA Annual Convention & Trade Show town-hall meeting, when longtime AAHOA member and 1997 AAHOA Chairman J.P. Rama suggested it as a way to build trust between brands and franchisees. Best Western was the first brand to stand up and agree.

“We value our strong relationship with AAHOA members and are pleased to join with AAHOA in making this announcement,” said Best Western Hotels & Resorts President and CEO David Kong. “Best Western recognizes the importance of annual conventions as they are a time to attend important educational seminars and network with fellow members. By not conducting inspections during AAHOA’s convention, its members will be able to focus on the opportunities presented to them at the event.”

Founded in 1989, AAHOA is the largest hotel owners association in the world, with more than 15,000 small business owner-members. AAHOA members own almost one in every two hotels in the United States.

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Room Size Matters to 95% Indians: Expedia Hotel Etiquette Report

Nov 2, 2016 0

NEW DELHI– Expedia, a full service online travel company, announced the results of the 2016 Hotel Etiquette Report, an analysis of behavior and preferences of Indians while booking hotels. The survey was conducted amongst the males and females of India and highlights interesting findings regarding their preferences while booking a hotel of their choice. The survey was conducted online in the month of August by GFK Custom Research, North America. The survey was conducted on 1,014 randomly selected adults.

“The Hotel Etiquette survey highlights some interesting facts about preferences of Indian travelers while booking a hotel. According to the survey, the most preferred medium of booking a hotel amongst 35% Indians is a desktop/laptop/computer followed by mobile app on smartphone/tablets used by 29% while 14% travelers book through mobile web using smartphone/tablets. It is interesting to note that 89% Indians consider hotel reviews as very/somewhat important while choosing a hotel. As Indian travelers are evolving, 77% consider the ability to earn and redeem reward points on their bookings as important,” said Manmeet Ahluwalia, Marketing Head, Expedia brand in India.

Obsessed with social media, 94% of Indians prefer a free Wi-Fi connection at a hotel, while 37% are unwilling to pay for the same, he added.

Some more interesting findings:

  • For 75% Indians, In-room features such as Jacuzzi, tub or balcony are very important
  • Location and Price are the most critical for 96%
  • Family friends, food, beverages, room size important for 95 %
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi would attract 93% Indians
  • 92% would prefer eco-friendly hotel
  • 89% feel that reviews are important before booking a hotel
  • 88% feel big washrooms/toilets are very important
  • Hotel Décor and parking options would attract 87% Indians
  • Hotel brands and balcony would attract 86% Indians while 84% consider Star-rating
  • Outdoor space/ grounds for 82% Indians
  • Ability to earn and redeem reward points is an important factor for 77% Indians
  • Swimming pool is important for 69% Indians while 64% also prefer gym facilities
  • 96% Indians usually tip at a hotel
  • 79% usually tip because of the room service
  • 51 % tip after being impressed by the housekeeper

HL Group recently commissioned a survey to explore general hotel experiences and opinions about hotel etiquette in India. In August 2016, GfK Custom Research LLC (GfK) administered the survey online to a representative sample of 1,014 randomly selected adults. The majority of the questions in the survey were answered by 896 adults within the sample who have stayed overnight in a hotel in the past two years. The data were statistically weighted so that respondents in the survey were demographically and geographically representative of the population of India.

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With 16,000 members, AAHOA is the world’s largest hotel owners association

Oct 25, 2016 0

ATLANTA – The Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) has announced that its hotel-owner membership has officially reached a record 16,000.

Bharat “Bruce” Patel

Bharat “Bruce” Patel

Already the world’s largest hotel owners association, AAHOA’s burgeoning growth in the past two years is evident not only in the size of its membership, but in its rapidly expanding relationships with key partners.

“I am enormously proud of AAHOA’s progress and grateful to everyone who played a part in helping us reach this milestone,” said AAHOA President and CEO Chip Rogers. “I’d like especially to thank our members for their loyalty and support and the AAHOA Board of Directors for their relentless hard work on AAHOA’s behalf.”

AAHOA broke its previous membership record of 15,200 in August and set a year-end goal of 16,000.

“Reaching this goal more than two months ahead of schedule tells you all you need to know about AAHOA,” added AAHOA Chairman Bharat “Bruce” Patel. “We are strong, we are united, and we are honored to help lead this amazing industry.”

AAHOA’s 16,000th member was Marsha Miron of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

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Indian American hotelier Vikram Chatwal accused of singeing two dogs

Oct 20, 2016 0

New York– High-flying Indian-American hotelier Vikram Chatwal has been arrested for trying to torch two small dogs outside his SoHo condo.

Chatwal, 44, posted a $50,000 bail and walked out of Manhattan criminal court on Tuesday.

Founder of the Dream Hotel Group, Chatwal was charged with animal torture, criminal mischief and reckless endangerment for the October 7 attack on Wooster St. near Grand St.

Vikram Chatwal (Photo: Wikipedia)

Vikram Chatwal (Photo: Wikipedia)

On Tuesday, Chatwal, attired in white with a grey vest, stood silently before Judge Steve Statsinger, who issued an order of protection for the two dogs — Molly and Finnegan– their owner and their dog walker, the New York Daily News reported.

Chatwal’s attorney said his client was a lifetime animal lover who suffers from a bipolar disorder but would never harm an animal.

The paper quoted witnesses as saying that Chatwal, who has a reputation for partying at clubs and dating models like Esther Cañadas, stormed up to two Jack Russell Terriers being walked outside his home at about 11.30 a.m. and singed the dogs’ fur with a blow torch that he put together from an aerosol can and a lighter, the daily reported.

The dogs suffered minor injuries when their fur was burned, officials said.

The businessman turned himself in at the 5th Precinct station house in Chinatown, with a lawyer, an NYPD spokesman said.

The hospitality magnate founded The Dream Hotel Group, which includes the Dream, Time and Unscripted hotels.

He was arrested for drug possession in 2013 at Florida’s Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport after TSA agents allegedly caught him trying to board a plane with heroin, cocaine and prescription pills.

He faced as many as 20 years in prison, but the case was dismissed after he completed a rehab programme in New York, the New York Post reported. (IANS)

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AAHOA president to speak at Wyndham Hotel Group Global Conference

Sep 12, 2016 0

ATLANTA – Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), will address attendees of the annual Wyndham Hotel Group (WHG) Global Conference this week. Rogers will speak during the General Session on Tuesday, September 13 at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

Chip Rogers

Chip Rogers

“The long-standing partnership between Wyndham and AAHOA is one of the strongest in the hospitality industry. It is an honor to address the thousands of hotel owners who will be in attendance.” said Rogers. “Our collective efforts to protect our industry from the numerous challenges we face from an ever-growing local, state, and federal bureaucracy will pay dividends if we stand united. Events like the Wyndham Global Conference make the task of uniting our industry possible.”

According to Wyndham, the conference will enhance operations worldwide as Wyndham hotel owners will have access to:

  • Two general sessions revealing the strategic transformation taking place to drive increased market share and profitability
  • Focused brand sessions highlighting the bold moves being made to clearly define and differentiate Wyndham brands
  • Industry expert instruction on how to unlock a hotel’s competitive advantage
  • A vast trade show of leading hospitality supplier partners featuring exclusive conference promotions
  • A global village of personalized guidance from every WHG department dedicated to maximizing every system and resource Wyndham Hotel Group has to offer
  • Networking with WHG representatives, brand leaders, and hotel owners to discover best practices.
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AAHOA Vice Chairman Bhavesh Patel Featured Speaker at Southern Lodging Summit

Aug 18, 2016 0

ATLANTA– Bhavesh Patel, national vice chairman of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), was a featured speaker at the 14th annual Southern Lodging Summit in Memphis, Tenn.

“AAHOA’s leadership position in the lodging industry is reinforced through our participation in leading events like the Southern Lodging Summit,” said Bhavesh Patel. “I was honored to share the perspective of our almost 16,000 hotel-owner members, who see a bright future in hospitality, but are concerned about the ever-growing volume of regulation being placed on the backs of small business owners.”

Bhavesh Patel

Bhavesh Patel

Chuck Pinkowski, owner of Pinkowski & Company, a co-host for the Summit along with the Metropolitan Memphis Hotel & Lodging Association, is a leading voice in hospitality consulting and the chairman of the Southern Lodging Summit Committee. He says AAHOA’s position in hotel ownership means their voice is important in all hotel-related discussions, “AAHOA members have become a driving force for hotel ownership and development. Their engagement in an event like ours brings a perspective the industry needs to hear.”

The Southern Lodging Summit is one of the industry’s premier annual events, hosting more than 200 leaders from across the southern United States. Featured speakers include major brand executives, industry experts and nationally recognized hoteliers.

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AccorHotels, InterGlobe to open 7 more hotels by 2018

Aug 17, 2016 0

Hyderabad– AccorHotels and InterGlobe Hotels will add seven more hotels under their joint venture in India to take the total number of hotels to 20 by 2018, top officials of the two companies said.

The two companies on Wednesday announced opening of an ibis hotel in Hyderabad, their 13th property in the country under the ibis brand.

J.B. Singh, President and CEO, InterGlobe Hotels, told reporters here that they have committed Rs 2,200 crore for the 20 properties. Out of this, they have already invested Rs 1,300 crore.

J.B. Singh, President and CEO, InterGlobe Hotels

J.B. Singh, President and CEO, InterGlobe Hotels

He said the number would continue to grow as there were huge opportunities in the mid-market space, which they were addressing.

Singh said they were exploring opportunities for four more hotels and expect to take the total number of hotels to 40 in a few years.

The opening of ibis Hyderabad in Hitec City, the information technology hub, marks the beginning of the in-demand economy brand in the city.

With 178 well-appointed rooms, it offers travellers a unique blend of modernity, comfort, affordability and availability, said Singh.

Ibis Hyderabad is the 13th hotel under the joint venture of AccorHotels and InterGlobe formed in 2004. InterGlobe has 60 per cent stake in the JV while AccorHotels holds 40 per cent. Singh termed this as a unique partnership between international hotel operator and an Indian player.

He said they will be opening three-to-four hotels in the next two-to-three months. These include properties in Coimbatore, Cochin and Goa. The other hotels will be coming up in Bengaluru, Pune, Kolkata and Mumbai.

The hotel coming up in Bengaluru will be under the Novotel brand while the remaining will be ibis. With the opening up of all 20 hotels, the total number of rooms will go up to 3,600.

Arif Patel, vice president, sales, marketing and distribution, India, AccorHotels , said that with the opening up of ibis Hyderabad, they had covered all key IT corridors.

Ibis has high visibility in South India. They said they would look at more opportunities for opening ibis hotels in Hyderabad.

This will be the fifth hotel for AccorHotels in Hyderabad. Patel said that with 42 hotels under nine brands in India, they were the largest among international competitors in the country as they own and operate 8,000 rooms.

“By the end of next year, we will reach 10,000 rooms with the opening up of 10 more hotels,” he said.

Patel said Novotel Vijayawada will open in early 2018. It already has a Novotel in Visakhaptanam and a Novotel at Bheemli near Visakhapatnam.

In Asia Pacific, AccorHotels currently operate 750 hotels and in the next five years, they plan to open another 300 hotels. He said India will play a critical role in this growth. (IANS)

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