Amid COVID-19 pandemic and slump in the hospitality industry owing to lockdown and travel restrictions, ITC Hotels is optimistic about domestic tourism prospects and planning to increase the number of properties under the brand Welcomhotel.
The Rs 45,000 crore hospitality arm of ITC, said it was planning to increase the number of properties under the brand Welcomhotel to 25 in a year’s time from 19 now.
“ITC Welcomhotel will be a 25 property brand over next 12 months,” an ITC official told PTI.
The brand opened two properties in a span of six months. Welcomhotel Tavleen Chail was unveiled on Thursday and Welcomhotel Shimla about six months ago. And Welcomhotel Ahmedabad and Welcomhotel Port Blair were relaunched in March quarter.
“Collaborating with like-minded partners who bring unique hospitality experiences has further strengthened ITC Hotels footprint across the length and breadth of the country,” ITC executive director Nakul Anand said.
The pandemic-induced lockdowns had blown hard on the hospitality sector and not all were able to sail through. Hyatt Hotels Corporation has suspended operations at Hyatt Regency hotel in Mumbai, and said the property will remain closed till further notice.
“With no funds forthcoming from Asian Hotels (West) Ltd, the owner of Hyatt Regency Mumbai, to sustain the operations of the hotel, a decision has been taken to temporarily suspend all operations for Hyatt Regency Mumbai,” the hotel had said.
With the addition of the premier mountain resort at Chail, a managed property of Welcomhotel brand, the brand currently boasts a portfolio of around 19 properties across India, officials said.
ITC said its hotel business segment EBITDA was in March quarter at Rs 25 crore against breakeven in previous quarter and extreme focus on cost reduction and controllable cash fixed costs down 41 percent in FY21.
Analysts speaking about the future said hotel majors are gearing for the rush with vaccination going on steadily and economy opening up gradually, demand will spurt after the long lull. The railway reservations have already jumped 230 per cent. Airlines also expect a similar spurt in demand.
“Vocal for locals is gaining more ground as people prefer to travel motorable distances post-pandemic. Hence, domestic tourism is on the rise. At ITC Hotels we have always showcased destination India and this is the appropriate opportunity to cater to the public demand for experiential stays,” an ITC official said.
ITC Hotels has 100 properties across four brands in over 70 locations.