After HotelDesigns recently reported that Hyatt Hotels was expanding into India, it has been revealed that Starwood Hotels has similar plans.Starwood has announced it is to expand its Aloft hotel into India with a bigger presence of new build hotels. Starwood president and CEO, Frits van Paasschen has embarked on a two week trip to India to meet hotel owners, developers and team members and to conduct more research into the market.
By 2012, Aloft expects to be operating six hotels in India, with Aloft Chennai-OMR-IT Expressway, Aloft Bengaluru-Whitefield and Aloft Coimbatore Singanallur all scheduled to open later this year. next year the Aloft Ahmedabad, SG Road, Aloft Chandigarh Zirakpur and Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park are also expected to debut.
Marriott Hotels also recently announced that it would be improving its presence in India as well. The company plans to open three JW Marriott luxury branded hotels in India in Bengeluru, Chandigarh and Chennai this year.
So why are so many hotel groups viewing India as a developer’s hot spot? In recent years the Indian government has taken major steps to improve tourism in the country, by abolishing inland air travel tax, reducing tax on aviation fuel and removing restrictions on outbound chartered flights. The government has also changed its attitude when building infrastructure, seeing convention centres as a core part of a city’s life.
All of these steps relating to tourism have meant that there is a higher demand for hotel rooms. Because of the high demand, there is a shortage of hotel rooms in the country. According to the I Love India website, there is a shortage of 150,000 hotel rooms in the nation, making it a prime candidate for development.
Not only is it tourists that are in need of hotel rooms, but business in India is booming, creating the need for hotels for business travellers. Over the past decade, business in India has intensified, creating such a need for hotel rooms that even budget hotels are charging up to US$250 a night. India currently has only 110,000 hotel rooms to accommodate 350m domestic travellers and 10m foreign tourists.