Economic Times: October, 2015
New Delhi: Facing stiff competition from international hotel companies offering strong loyalty programmes, The Lalit announced a tie-up with global hotel referral organisation Worldhotels to increase its international visibility.
In exchange for a fee, Worldhotels has added the Bharat Hotel's Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata properties to its existing portfolio of 450 hotels. The company, which offers services including global marketing, sales, training, e-commerce and distribution and technology, claims to increase The Lalit's sales from international clients by recommending the hotel to business and leisure travellers.
"This will bring a much higher rate and a mix of nationalities," Worldhotels' executive vice president for Asia Pacific, Roland Jegge told ET.
This move comes in after hotel companies in India have been paying hefty fees to online travel agency sites like Yatra and Make-MyTrip. "Hotels really want to bring customers back to their own website and networks like ours help them do that at a better value proposition," added Jegge.
Worldhotels is among a growing number of international brands with plans to expand in the Indian hospitality market.
"India's GDP, China is cooling down, more businesses setting up," said Jegge. While this tie-up will establish the company's presence in four Indian cities, it is looking at alliances with other Indian hotel brands where The Lalit doesn't have any presence, he added.
With 40% of hotels in India currently part of international chains like The Marriott, Starwood and The Four Seasons, upperupscale Indian brands are struggling to maintain their grip on the Indian hospitality space. The Lalit's centrally located Delhi hotel sees an average occupancy of 65-70% annually.
The Lalit's Keshav Suri added that the company has over 30% of its business coming from international clients.