Power List 2017, Rattan Keswani, Director, Carnation Hotels and Deputy MD, Lemon Tree Hotels

Pre-2012, Lemon Tree Hotels lacked an asset-light model. Processes for contracting, negotiation, technical assistance, marketing, distribution, HR and legalities had to be set up from scratch, adapting best industry practices. These had to be adapted to a mid/mid-upscale proposition with specific differentiators. Lemon Tree Hotels, after a slow start, has now 3 operational hotels (1100+ keys) with 16 properties (~1300 keys) under development.

“A project is under development in Manesar and we are in an advance stage of contracting two more. This is a new segment and we are buoyant about success in this area,” said Rattan Keswani. Speaking about management or ownership is a faster route for growth, he explained, that conceptually, management could be scaled up faster with lesser risk and commitment of capital. However, brand sanctity and standards have to be paramount for selection of existing hotel conversion and new developments. “A lot of projects get refused if we find that standards cannot be applied in existing/operating hotels. While it is easier in a new build, time to market in such cases would then be the same as an owned hotel. For us, it is not just about raising a new flag, we must be able to give coverage and our best results to an owner,” Keswani added.

With its robust employee practices, the group was ranked 4th in India by Great Places To Work. Looking ahead, it hopes to add another 1000 to 1500 keys in the next 24 to 30 months.

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