Bengaluru has assumed several roles over the years. From the quaint resonance of a Garden City, the titles of IT City and Startup Capital have been bestowed on the capital of Karnataka. In equal breath, the hospitality space in the city has also evolved, and is abuzz with hotels — across stars and categories — mushrooming everywhere.
With hotels recognising the importance of Bengaluru as a ‘global city’, it must be noted that many of the properties cater to a strong business and corporate clientele, owing to a fact that the city is more for business, rather than a leisure destination. The hospitality industry has sensed the rise of Bengaluru’s business scene, and a lot of hotels — both big and small — with a keen eye on the needs of their (business) guests, have taken upon themselves the charge to offer the most eclectic of services, uniquely placing themselves as a result.
The Ritz-Carlton, a subsidiary of American hotels giant Marriott International, is one of the several luxury properties in Bengaluru, which has effectively embarked on tapping the growing demand of the home and visiting business community of the city. “Bengaluru is a city of opportunity. We have created guests for life, and we ‘own’ them. We have well-established ourselves as a brand, and are growing our base here. We enjoy occupancy of around 65-70 per cent on the weekdays, which reduces over the weekend,” Debanjan Kundu, Director of Sales and Marketing, The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore, claimed, adding that the hotel boasts of a select regular clientele, mostly from the business realm.
To pamper guests, The Ritz-Carlton, which falls in the elite five-star deluxe category of hotels, offers some of the most luxurious amenities, including large rooms with an area of 514 sq feet, multiple dining options, and a free car service in a 5 kilometre radius of the property (for club guests). Besides, the hotel has ample conferencing facilities. “A sizable number of our guests are business and corporate travellers, and we have a dedicated team of guest relation executives who take care of our guests’ every need,” he added.
Among all the categories of guests who make a beeline to the hotels in Bengaluru, MICE (Meetings, Conventions, Incentives and Exhibitions) is something that hotels are enthusiastic about, considering that Bengaluru is the stage for various exhibitions and symposia, and thousands of visitors means good occupancy.
Today, many of the world’s luxury chains are being guided to Bengaluru by the booming business scene here.
All players in the game. While luxury properties cater to the top rung of business travellers, Bengaluru is also home to numerous smaller properties who have uniquely positioned themselves as business hotels, catering to clientele that include mid-management staff, among others. “The trend in three-star hotels is that they cater to the needs of mid-tier corporate firms, and their employees,” said a hospitality expert of a leading consultancy, who did not wish to be named.
The French hotel major Louvre Hotel Group recently opened a new property in Bengaluru — a chic 54-key business hotel, the Tulip Inn. “The Bengaluru market is doing well with a good average occupancy. We are bullish on opening business hotels here, since there are opportunities for it,” Shashi Razdan, Director of Sales and Marketing (South Asia), Louvre Hotels Group, said, hinting at more business hotels from the company in the future.
True to its aim to cater to its business guests, the Tulip Inn features meeting and banqueting facilities, with a well-equipped conference room, board room, and a banquet hall. It also offers separate meeting packages to cater to business gatherings and events.
Compared with a business hotel in a big city, running a hotel at a leisure destination has its own difficulties. Explained Razdan, “With an occupancy falling to as low as 30-40 per cent during the off-season, it is difficult to sustain.” It must be noted that the Louvre runs 22 properties in India, of which, few belong to its five-star brand, Royal Tulip.
According to Razdan, “Earlier, smaller hotels lacked strong brand support. But today, with many international players entering this space, one can be assured of efficient and professional service.” Compared with luxury properties that need an investment of Rs 1.5-2 crore per key, small business hotels are built at Rs 25-30 lakh a key. With smaller room inventories, and a lower rent, these properties are more assured of long-term occupancy.
Today (2016), Bengaluru contains a total room inventory of 10,500 rooms, with an average occupancy of around 55 per cent, and an average room rate of Rs 5,600-5,800. Meanwhile, the city’s business scene has prompted more hoteliers to chart the Bengalurean waters. Estimates state that around 3,000 rooms would be added by the end of this year.
Source : DH, 2016