Hilton, the world’s leading hotel chain which entered the country with a strategic alliance with the Oberoi group one-and-a-half years ago, plans to launch two more of its brands— the Conrad and the mid-market Scandic, to its portfolio in India.
The launch of these brands is a part of the company’s plan to treble its presence in the Indian market over the next four to five years, says Andrew Clough, Vice President of Development for Middle East & Asia Pacific, Hilton International, adding that it has began searching for partners in India.
Hilton International has appointed two analysts exclusively to gauge incoming project proposals from the country and also appointed a legal and technical counsels to scrutinize and liaise with its would-be partners and developers in India. The chain increased its India-specific manpower at its regional headquarters in Singapore. “We are adding more resources to the development team in India and are actively pursuing the expansion of all three Hilton brands Conrad, Hilton & the mid-market Scandic - both in the North and South. For this, we will be sending one more India-based expert to explore business leads for new hotels in the country in the coming month,” he adds
Till now, the company has relied mainly on Lenny Menezes, a former Taj hand and a veteran of the Industries, to steer its ambitions. The company, which for the first time signed management contracts with new partners this year, plans to introduce two more brands besides the Trident and the Towers, starting next year. The chain, which wants to launch an ‘Indianised’ version of its Scandic mid-market brand, believes availability of land is going to be the crucial factor, leading it to give the boot to the single-rent strategy adopted by arguably its biggest competitor in India, the Taj group. Most likely candidates for the Scandic are likely to be “business parks, emerging metros or outside existing city centres,” with a slight bias towards the South. “We will take the best of our global model and marry it to the local market’s needs.
For example, our cuisine offering will be standardized, but instead of favouring a big western breakfast as we do in Scandinavia or London, we will focus on local delicacies and Indian dishes...Cities and hubs that were seen as ‘not quite ready’ for international hotel brands as little as 12 and 18 months ago, are now in sight,” he adds.
At present, Hilton has a marketing tie-up with East India Hotels and is working on putting up two hotels in Bangalore and one in Chennai with the help of its local partners. East India Hotels is also developing a 440 room ‘Trident’ in Mumbai. All the hotels are due or completion in 2007. “Eighteen months ago Hilton had no presence in India. Today we have hotels in eight locations throughout the country, have five management contracts signed and more bubbling away in the pipeline. It’s no secret that Hilton wants to be a lead player in this market and to have multiple of the number of hotels we have now and compared with other markets within the Middle East and the Asia Pacific, we will have more resources in India, demonstrating our belief in this market,” he adds.
The launch is part of Hilton's plans to treble its presence in Indian over the next 4-5 yrs Left parties had raised certain issues, pertaining to elimination of cross subsidies, and called for a review of the Act Hilton which wants to launch an ‘Indianised’ version of its Scandic mid-market brand believes land availability is going to be the crucial factor