Power List 2017, Kapil Chopra, President, The Oberoi Group
Most people in the hospitality industry have this to say about Kapil Chopra: he is a man on a mission. They are right. But I beg to differ. I feel there is more to Chopra than that; he is a man in a hurry.
It is impossible to find him sitting still. Wherever he may be, he has to be in the centre of action if not the centre of action. That’s Kapil Chopra in a nutshell.
Gifted with boundless energy, he is restless to the core. A go-getter, Chopra is brimming over with a hundred ideas and the power to make every single one of them happen.
Predictably, he took no time to cut away from the crowd and catapult to the A-league of hoteliers in India when he took over as the president of The Oberoi Group five years ago. An alumnus of The Oberoi Centre of Learning and Development, he quickly prove to the rest of the industry what India’s greatest hotelier and the company’s executive chairman PRS Oberoi, already knew: he had what it took to helm the most respected Indian luxury hotel chain.
The good part is that during the last two years, Oberoi Hotels & Resorts has not only been voted the ‘World’s Leading Luxury Hotel Brand’ and ‘World’s Best Hotel Brand’ but the group has also shown an exponential rise, both in occupancy and revenues.
While there were many ups and ups, perhaps, the high point in his career was the growth and development of Trident followed by The Oberoi, Gurgaon. It is a fact that, Trident, Gurgaon was a radical thought, when it opened in early 2004 in Gurgaon, which was an easy-to-miss city on the map at that point of time. Trident, in a sense, has witnessed the city’s growth as well as contributed to making it the luxury destination it is today. Much to Chopra’s credit, by 2007, Trident, Gurgaon was enjoying the highest ARR and the highest RevPAR for any city in the country. Then came The Oberoi, Gurgaon, which set the bar higher in 2011; and the hotel re-rated the hospitality business in the country from the perspective of a city hotel, changing the hospitality landscape in Delhi and NCR.
Indeed, the credit for putting Gurgaon on the luxury destination map and positioning The Oberoi and Trident Gurgaon as the country’s best luxury hotels goes largely if not solely to Chopra. But that’s not all. Chopra has also played a significant role in creating India’s most profitable hotel company with aggressive sales and marketing strategy backed by the chairman of the company.
Now, the question is this: with such huge accomplishments under his belt, where does one go from here? Well, if you are Kapil Chopra, the answer is not difficult to fathom. Not one to rest on his laurels, he is ready with his next big move, having apparently set his eyes firmly on the international market. Keen to expand its footprint globally, two out of the three hotels that Oberoi Hotels are launching this year are opening internationally – The Oberoi in Marrakesh and The Oberoi in Al Zorah, which is in Ajman. If reports are anything to go by then that this is just the start of a global expansion phase and a lot of iconic locations will see the presence of The Oberoi.
So, will Chopra take his eyes off the Indian market? Not by the looks of. If anything Chopra apparently believes that the growth in the Indian economy and also the fact that a lot of domestic travellers now aspire to stay at luxury hotels, is leading to a new market that is now driving demand for niche luxury brands like The Oberoi, with the Oberoi Sukhvilas Resort & Spa, Siswan Forest Range, New Chandigarh, as one of the upcoming projects in India.
Continually inspired by PRS Oberoi who lives by the motto of “not wanting to be biggest, but to always be recognised as the best” Chopra has set very high standards for himself. And, not surprising so, as he is learning from the best.
By Shafquat Ali