Power List 2018, Ashish Jakhanwala, MD & CEO, SAMHI Hotels Private Limited

Jakhanwala has extensive execution experience in mid-scale and economy hotels and over two decades of experience across hotel development value chain.

SAMHI is the fastest growing hotel asset business in India. Not surprising since it is spearheaded by a dynamic leader.
Ashish Jakhanwala, MD & CEO, SAMHI Hotels Private Limited has pulled out all the stops to fuel growth and expansion. Says Jakhanwala, “It has been a little over seven years since we started, and we pride ourselves in having established a company that is well-recognised and relevant in the industry. By 2019, our acquisition and turnaround strategy, unique amongst our peer group, will lead us to a portfolio of 29 operating hotels with over 4,300 keys. This would make SAMHI one of the largest hotel owners in India within a relatively short span of time.”

Jakhanwala is clear that the ownership of a hotel should be separate from its management. He emphasises the need for someone to look not just at the long-term asset value of hotels, but also the operational value that they offer.
Endowed with a keen market sense and perceptiveness, Jakhanwala adds, “We typically acquire hotels that aren’t in their healthiest state. They require extensive intervention in terms of improving capital structure, product re-configuration, rebranding, and then driving the performance in partnership with the operator. All these carry a certain amount of risks along with commensurate returns.”

Jakhanwala believes in facts and figures and firmly relies on data analysis. He explains, “Our approach to asset management is driven by data and analytics. Because we own hotels across brands and segments, we get to benefit from high quality data and cross-pollination of ideas and opportunities across the platform.”

He declares with justifiable pride, “We have been a partner of choice for global hotel companies to roll out their mid-market brands in India. In 2013, we launched the first Fairfield by Marriott in India, a brand that existed only in North America. By the end of 2018 we will have nine of these hotels in our portfolio. Similarly, last year we signed a 14-hotel partnership with InterContinental Hotels Group. We plan to roll out Holiday Inn Express Hotels in key Indian markets and 10 of these hotels will be ready for opening by the end of 2018.

“SAMHI is currently holding a portfolio of 4,300 rooms and we are confident of adding another 1,000 rooms in the next 18-24 months. We are a young company and several of the hotels in our portfolio are newly opened. Yet, our operating parameters such as manpower ratio, profit margins and return-on-capital compare with the best in the sector. Our existing
assets are stabilising at a logical rate and over the next two years, we are confident of projecting some of the best financial parameters in the sector,” an upbeat Jakhanwala signs off.

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