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Hilton Plans 75 Hotels in India

Alan Woinski

April 2nd, 2024

Exterior of a hotel porte-cochère

Skift Take

Hilton aims to triple its India portfolio to 75 hotels in three to four years, expanding into emerging markets like Ayodhya and introducing luxury brands, with a focus on tier-I markets and the growing wedding segment.

Tourism Research Australia said domestic and international travelers contributed a record A$51.4 billion to the NSW visitor economy in the year ended December 2-23. NSW welcomed the most international visitors, nights spent and visitor expenditure nationally during the period, which contributed $11 billion to the visitor economy. NSW also saw the largest absolute growth in international visitor numbers (up 1.8 million), nights (up 42.8 million) and expenditure (up 6 billion) of all states and territories. International arrivals reached 78% of pre-pandemic levels with visitor nights at 90% and expenditure at 96% compared to 2019. The USNZ and the UK remained NSW’s top international source markets last year with China showing a strong recovery as the fourth largest. South Korea saw the fastest visitor growth, Singapore led in expenditure growth and Indonesia was said to have excelled in both nights spent and expenditure. Sydney attracted 53% of all international visitors to Australian capitals with those staying a combined 73.1 million nights, spending an estimated $10 billion.

Hilton is increasing the pace of hotel signings and openings in India, also looking at emerging markets like Ayodhya. Hilton wants to triple its portfolio to 75 hotels in three to four years from 26 currently opened and another 20 signed and in the pipeline. They plan to open four to six properties in 2024, expanding to upcoming popular destinations like Ayodhya. In 12 to 24 months, Hilton expects to go from 15 markets to 25-30 markets and then to 75. The company is bringing in more brands to India, expanding the range from five to seven, including the luxury Waldorf Astoria brand. Their Waldorf and Conrad brands will be focused on tier-I markets, recently signing a 246-room Conrad in Jaipur, which caters to the wedding market. The wedding segment in India is said to be growing at 7-8 percent annually. Food and beverage accounts for 40-45 percent of hotel revenue and a significant share of that comes from weddings and MICE.

Marriott International announced the signing of a hotel management agreement with Westfield Global Sdn Bhd to bring the Westin brand to the popular island of Penang. The Westin Hotel, Penang is slated to open in 2026 with 217 rooms and suites with views of greenery and the Andaman Sea. The hotel will overlook the newly opened Gurney Bay Park. The Westin Hotel, Penang will form part of a larger development known as the Westin Hotel & Residences. The hotel will feature all-day dining and specialty restaurants, a lobby lounge and a pool bar, with additional leisure facilities such as an outdoor swimming pool, WestinWORKOUT Fitness StudioHeavenly Spa by Westin as well as the Westin Family Kids Club. The hotel will include a ballroom for up to 1,000 people and event spaces and meeting rooms. The hotel will be Marriott International’s fourth Westin in Malaysia.

Accor announced their Novotel Hotels, Suites & Resorts brand made its debut in Phnom PenhCambodia with the opening of Novotel Phnom Penh BKK 1. This is the ninth Accor hotel in Cambodia. The hotel includes 254 modern guestrooms, ranging from Superior rooms to Executive Suites with either city or Mekong River views. Guests staying in Executive Rooms can enjoy access to the Executive Lounge on the 20th floor. The highlight of the hotel is said to be the collaboration with Cambodian/French-Canadian artist, FONKi, who crafted a new and modern interpretation of Kbach Kmer graffiti design throughout the hotel. The F&B includes Makila all-day dining restaurant, Kaixo bar on the ground floor, the Rosemary Pool Bar, while other amenities include a pool, fitness center, In Balance by Novotel, and the spa treatments at Bodia Spa.

Radisson RED Vientiane is anticipated to open its doors in Q4 2024, introducing the upper upscale brand to Laos. The signing of Radisson RED Vientiane is in partnership with La Vie Hotels & Resorts and expands upon the milestone signing of a Master Collaboration Agreement with La Vie Hotels & Resorts to incorporate over 30 hotels into the group’s portfolio over the next 10 years. Radisson RED Vientiane is projected to open its doors in Q4 2024. The newly built property will offer 145 rooms and suites, including a collection of Pool Access Rooms, plus a pool, pool bar, restaurant, fitness center and a business lounge. There will also be 487 square meters of function space, including two ballrooms.

Brij Hotels recently secured US$4 million Series A funding. While they currently operate eight properties, they plan to have 50 operational boutique hotels in the next five years before considering international expansion. They are expecting to add three to four properties in 2024-2025. Brij Hotels plans to seek another round of funding within a year. The Series A investment came from the Manipal Education & Medical Group Family Office with participation from investors including Abhay JainAbhiroop Jayanthi (managing director of Bain Capital), Rajendra Rao and Prashant Deshpande.

Chennai, India hotelier Vikram Aggarwal is in advanced stages of acquiring a three-star Clarion Hotel in Chennai in a deal estimated to be valued at Rs 180 crore. The Clarion Hotel President is situated near the city center and Marina Beach. It has 129 rooms. The Economic Times said the transaction is expected to be finalized in June with VVA Hotels Pvt Ltd, a hospitality firm led by Aggarwal, purchasing the stressed asset from one of the top banks in the industry. VVA currently manages two upscale hotel properties in Chennai – Fortune Select Palms, a 129-room business hotel in the IT corridor of suburban Chennai, and the five-star Radisson Blu.

EIH said they will invest Rs 421 crore to build an Oberoi luxury resort in Goa. The resort will come up at Cavelossim Beach in South Goa on a 52 acre site owned by the company. The Oberoi, Goa will be a luxury resort with 90 rooms and suites. It is expected to be operational from October 1, 2027. The company also said they entered into a hotel management agreement for a second project, a luxurious Oberoi Resort at Bogmalo Beach in South Goa.

Thailand is getting even closer to legalizing casinos as the House of Representatives voted 253 – 0, with four abstaining, in favor of progressing with yet another study for the final phase. The government is trying to stem the opposition by painting this as a way to stamp out illegal casino gambling while also portraying it as a way to expand tourism even further. Maybank’s analyst predicted that, if all goes well, which rarely does in the casino expansion world, the first legal casino resort in Thailand could open in 2029. That is important because that would mean Thailand would beat Japan in opening their first casino.

Alan Woinski

April 2nd, 2024

Companies: Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Accor, Choice Hotels International, Clarion, Marriott International, Novotel, Oberoi Group, Radisson Blu, Radisson Red, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Westin Hotels & Resorts

Locations: Australia, Ayodhya, Chennai, Goa, Jaipur, Laos, Penang, Phnom Penh, Singapore, Sydney, Thailand

Photo credit: The exterior of the Waldorf Astoria Beijing.  Hilton Hotels and Resorts

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