Other Investments & Initiatives
Varakas to invest in Gujarat
London based Varakas Group is planning to invest in the hospitality sector at various tourist spots in Gujarat. The company has announced its plans to create wildlife resorts at Sasan Gir, the lion sanctuary in Saurashtra region and one at Kevadia on the banks of Narmada river in South Gujarat.
Accor group to bring its premium brand
Recently launched its upscale hotel brand Novotel and budget hotel brand Formule -1 in Ahmedabad, leading global hospitality player Accor group is now planning to bring in its other premium brands Pullman and Grand Mercure in Gujarat. While announcements regarding Grand Mercure is still awaited, Pullman is being planned in the capital city, Gandhinagar.
Cargo Motors to invest `125 crore
Diversifying its business, Cargo motors has forayed into hospitality sector, launching the very first hotel ‘The Cloud’ in Ahmedabad with 68 Rooms. The group has further planned to open new hotels in three-four star categories in Mundra, Vadodara, Gandhidham and Jamnagar, with an investment of up to `125 crore.
Inline with its earlier launches – DoubleTree Bangalore, Hilton Bangalore Embassy Golf Links and Hilton Jaipur – Hilton Worldwide has signed an agreement with Hirise Hospitality Private Limited for a new DoubleTree by Hilton Ahmedabad. The DoubleTree hotel is supposed to have 174 rooms featuring dining outlets, an outdoor swimming pool, 24-hour fitness centre and a full service spa.
Sarovar Hotels has currently four operational hotels in Gujarat and has its plans to open at least two more hotels in the near future.
Besides Surat, Vadodara, and Ahmedabad Ginger hotels, an Indian Hotels Company Limited brand is looking at places in Vapi, Bhavnagar, and Rajkot.
“The first and foremost thing that comes to my mind is the ease of doing business in Gujarat with its single window clearances for the required approvals and accesses. It is a big boon for fast tracking projects. This pushes the project 20% ahead in terms of time,” avers PK Mohan Kumar.
Besides these, a number of other hotel operators and owners are looking to invest in the city. While Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group is targeting Gandhinagar, St Laurn Hotels & Resorts is planning to construct a hotel in Jamnagar area. NG Corporation’s 240 rooms five-star hotel project is still awaiting statutory clearances. The US based Pacifica Companies is also set to build its second five-star hotel in Gujarat with an estimated investment of `150-200 crore along the Sarkhej-Gandhinagar Highway in Ahmedabad.
As far as taxation is concerned, though Gujarat levies lesser sales tax than other states, its luxury tax is comparatively higher. Hospitality services being price-elastic, hence if cost of services come down, volumes will increase.
Anirudh Katre, Director, HVS Hospitality Services opines, “Smaller Indian cities like Surat, Vadodara already have a fairly large inventory of branded hotel rooms. These cities are either important destinations from a leisure demand point of view or are developing Commercial or Industrial zones that cater to demand from the Commercial segment. Moreover, with supply pressure that are prevalent across most hospitality markets in India, hotels are increasingly trying to tap into the recession and supply increase proof Meetings and Events (MICE) segment that enable hotels to cushion the effects of low demand during off-peak seasons. The growth in the MICE across the country has been fairly buoyant and smaller cities are also witnessing increased traction from meetings and events demand. Additionally, the falling rupee has meant increased travel by the domestic leisure traveller, corresponding to increased demand for hotels in leisure destinations across the country. Going forward, as these smaller cities continue to develop and evolve, we anticipate hotel demand and supply to keep pace with each other.”
While US $10 billion business for Cleaning & FM Industry is poised to generate from the entire hospitality sector in India. Out of this, more than $1.2 billion is supposed to come from Gujarat.
Dhiren Johar: GM, Sarovar Park Plaza Ahmedabad: Usually enough research is done at the management level while selecting a cleaning Partner. All the aspects of the partnership are considered and consistently monitored. I found interesting that many organizations have even signed up with a bouquet of service providers for need based cleaning solutions, viz. bathrooms, public areas, BOH, kitchens, laundry, food safety and storage. This ensures healthy competition and proves beneficial for all stakeholders.
In India, we are yet to take our environment seriously. Happy with short term benefits rather than assessing impact of our actions on long term basis on all stakeholders like Society and Environment, I feel the urgency of spreading awareness by chemical companies not only about the product details but how it positively impacts the Environment. That aspect of awareness will help in getting more users of such products.
Open for new products
We have signed up with various vendors after collecting feedback and suggestions from all the units. Besides unit managers, our Corporate team keeps looking at the improvements, new products and technology. While buying a product first time, a hotel is selected as a lab for trials for the new product. Feedback received from the hotel is shared with all, in case it gets selected. Yet there is enough flexibility to use better products available locally at certain locations, the unit heads can seek approval and use them. Similarly rates for supplies and Annual Maintenance Contract for Equipment are drawn with companies for pan-India needs.
Jignesh, Sr Housekeeping Supervisor, Boulevard 9 Luxury Resort & Spa: The Cleaning Industry is quite meeting the demands and the only thing that is expected is to come up with better solutions for taking the hotel and resort standards higher. New innovative machines and a little change in chemicals or even fragrance can lift the face further.
Ours is not a chain of hotels but an individual hotel that has started off in Gujarat. The Taski equipment that we are currently using is very satisfying and so are the Roots’, I have seen it evolving through the ages. The services are good; within a day we get the damaged parts replaced. The tools & accessories such as squeegees, mops, wipes, tissues etc are supplied by Unger India Pvt Ltd. We use tools that are proportional to the requirements; that is how things are planned at Boulevard.
Budgetary constraints are an issue especially when the primary focus is towards the rooms, the parking area and value added services tend to overlook maintaining the hygiene and cleanliness levels.
We maintain the AMC with Unger, Roots and other concerned companies, and the services given this way does fit the budget too. We do not outsource and have an in-house team to take care of cleaning and they know what requirements they are expected to meet.