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’We are open to global opportunities’
The Economic Times - 08 Jun 2010

ITC Hotels is looking to expand its footprint in India by building properties and adding rooms to existing ones in two years. Nakul Anand, Divisional Chief Executive, ITC Hotels, reveals the hospitality chain’s investment plans and how they stack up against rivals Taj Group and Oberoi Group.

Has ITC Hotels downsized investment plans post recession?

There is no change in investment plans. We are pursuing an aggressive investment-led growth strategy and are adding large properties to our portfolio of super luxury hotels. We will invest close to $2 billion in 3-4 years to build capacities across the country. We are looking at doubling our capacity in the next couple of years in terms of rooms, which currently stand at around 9,000 rooms across all our four brands. Our unique value propositions including the differentiated character of our properties and our pioneering environmental initiatives have provided us an edge and has stood us in good stead during the slowdown.

Has ITC Hotels carved out a separate growth strategy?

Our strategy has been to clearly focus on a few niche areas and provide unique and differentiated value propositions to our guests. Our brands ITC Hotel, WelcomHotel, Fortune and Welcome Heritage, which spans luxury to mid-market segments, have been on a growth trajectory in recent months. We have leveraged the unique advantages that India offers in terms of diversity and heritage. Our different brands will cater to the emerging needs of travellers in different parts of the country.

The physical architecture of our properties are unique and offer a local flavour to discerning guests. The concept of ‘Eco-easy’ incorporates green features right from the project stage, making it easy for our guests to sleep easy.

Is the marked aggression in ITC Hotels’ approach since early 2009 a calculated move?

We are committed to competitive growth. What you are seeing in the past few months is the process of deployment of our full portfolio. We are not talking in terms of one or two brands here and there. It will be our full portfolio, across all segments because that is what we believe is required to successfully deliver on our ambition and goal to achieve competitive growth.

Is there a definite plan for ITC Hotels to enter the global market?

While our priority will continue to consolidate our position domestically, we are open for international opportunities if there is an appropriate offering that is aligned to our value propositions. India is of strategic importance to us. There is tremendous potential for the tourism industry in India to grow. India is still grossly under roomed and we believe that we are positioned to fill that void. After all, as far as discerning guests are concerned, nobody gives India like we do.

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