Hospitality and Beyond
By Jyoti Koul Kundu
Through Jaypee Hotels, Six Senses Spa made its entry into the Indian market recently. What business potential does it hold for you?
India is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and as such it creates attractive opportunities for investment and development for any international brand. Jaypee Greens Golf and Spa Resort is our most luxurious property. We wanted to create an additional interesting proposition: integrating a luxury resort, a holistic spa, private residences, a golf course, sports complex and other facilities. We are very happy with this partnership as it further enhances our guests’ experience at this destination apart from increasing business opportunities.
Jaypee Group developed the Agra expressway, how do you foresee the growth of your hotels enroute Agra and Noida, where you have landmark properties?
International travellers visiting India always have a desire to visit the Taj Mahal and, with the opening of the Yamuna expressway, the ease is much appreciated. So is the demand for stay options. We have hotels at prime locations at both the ends –– Jaypee Greens Golf and Spa Resort in Greater Noida and Jaypee Palace Hotel and Convention Centre in Agra. Through the rigorous study of the travel pattern of the discerning inbound and outbound tourists visiting Delhi and other destinations, special packages for Greater Noida properties have been designed.
Today, corporate clients prefer to break away from closed offices and opt for off-sites to strategise and churn out ideas. This whole connectivity promises to deliver a splendid package to hold business meetings along with a leisure trip to one of the wonders of the world, thus, a sudden increase in MICE. So, we have an advantageous positioning of Greater Noida being the nodal point between the two charming destinations –– Agra and New Delhi which automatically brings opportunities for hotels to tap the extensive potential of the region. A great combination of scenic relief, a smooth drive, a delightful stay experience with world class ambience and gastronomic delights awaits guests.
Define your current brand positions and what kind of growth potential do you see for Jaypee Hotels in the near future?
Jaypee Hotels’ brand positing has always revolved around projecting an image of the chain of hotels which exude luxury and finesse. We have been sharing a good reputation in the market since the years the division was established by the parent company. We all know that hospitality sector is one domain wherein the development and growth never slows down, and riding on this, we have been coming up with unique concepts like a golf resort and the Jaypee Delcourt, which have been highly appreciated by our guests.
Jaypee Hotels built huge properties in ‘non-lucrative’ and ‘small’ places like Agra, Mussoorie and Noida well ahead of time. What is the current positioning of these hotels and what kind of business do these hotels generate for the group?
We set up the infrastructure by way of developing high quality hotels in those places at a time when the demand was low for a top-end luxury hotel like ours. But now, our vision is paying us rich dividends. Back then it was a different market scenario and it has changed a lot since then. Our hotel –– Jaypee Palace and Convention Centre in Agra –– enjoys a great reputation for its convention centre and was also voted as ‘India’s Best Convention Centre’ in 2010 by the ministry of tourism. We are happy that our customised solutions have met demands of corporate clients, who opt for tailor-made MICE packages and enjoy great recall.
Another property of ours, Jaypee Greens Golf and Spa Resort, has met the needs of discerning travellers who like to indulge in impeccable service, aspects of traditional hospitality and contemporary sophistication –– that is what truly defines us. Packaged with an 18-hole Greg Norman Golf Course, the resort has become a favourite destination for golfers and visitors who look for a peaceful trip.
With USPs like an 18-hole golf course or the largest convention facilities, you have created a niche for your hotels. What is the brand philosophy and how do you propose to leverage these features in a competitive market?
India is in a continual process of upgrading its MICE facilities. Over three million foreign tourists thronged to India this year, generating over $30 billion revenue. The inbound MICE segment is growing by 15-20 per cent annually. At Jaypee Hotels, we believe in providing an impressive combination of accommodation with a wide range of conference facilities. Our properties attract a lot of visitors who look forward to a peaceful leisure trip along with world-class sports facilities away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Why did you feel the need to develop serviced apartments in Noida? What is the response to your latest offering?
Serviced apartments is a relatively a new concept in the Indian hospitality industry. The demand is highly driven by executives of MNCs and expatriates who come to India on deputation for periods ranging from weeks to months. There is a huge demand for high-end serviced apartments in the national capital region, especially in Noida and Greater Noida, due to the presence of a large number of existing and upcoming corporate houses.
Our latest offering, Jaypee Delcourt is a brand that has an unconventional approach. The facilities here are much more than offered by any similar property. There is a promenade of high-end lifestyle stores, ATMs and branded retail outlets. It does not compete with hotels. However, it provides facilities like any other hotel would. It’s a unique combination of hotel rooms and serviced apartments under one roof. We have witnessed increasing demand for Delcourt since the time of its launch and keep on receiving considerable number of queries from MNCs in the vicinity.
What are your new initiatives? Any new properties or overseas ventures?
We are planning to bring up more of properties like Jaypee Delcourt along the two expressways. Also, a property with about 650 rooms is being planned in Noida. Currently, we are concentrating on our Noida hotel and Jaypee Delcourt. We have some major plans on the radar and hope to extend our arms when opportunities come our way.
How has Formula1 boosted the business of Jaypee Hotels?
Jaypee Greens Golf and Spa Resort witnessed tremendous reviews from the F1 fraternity during the maiden Indian Grand Prix. Positive reviews by Bernie Ecclestone and his team has also created awareness about the new property around the globe. We received substantial number of queries from the Southeast Asian nations as well as European nations such as Italy, France and the UK. Along with increased interest from foreign tourists, Indian and NRIs visitors were equally keen on our facilities. We are confident of the response this year too.
How would you perceive the current market situation in India?
Over the last few years, increase in business opportunities and exposure in the country has intensified and elevated the demand for hotel rooms in India. The successful growth story of hotel industry in India is second only to China in the Asia-Pacific region. Moreover, increase in international sporting events has put India on the world hospitality map and simultaneously increased the demand for hotels in the country.
Hospitality chains have started to explore hidden opportunities lying in tier-II and -III sectors. Like every business sector, hospitality industry is also moving beyond metros and targeting key small cities. The hotel industry is estimated to grow at CAGR 12.2 per cent over the next five years and realising this huge potential, various budget hotels are gearing up to tap tier-II and -III markets. There are a lot of opportunities in India’s next destination cities. Factors that are triggering growth of the hospitality industry in these cities are rise of the middle class with a secured income base, proximity to educational, health related institutions and shopping centres, and rising growth of domestic travellers.