Power List 2018: Sanjay Sethi, MD and CEO, Chalet Hotels

Armed with a Diploma in Hotel Management, Catering and Nutrition from IHM Pusa and several decades of experience in the hospitality industry, Sanjay Sethi is a respected professional.

Prior to joining Chalet Hotels, he has held senior leadership positions in renowned hospitality groups. He has had the opportunity of working in geographies across India and has been able to grasp the diversified cultural sensitivities of guests, owners and employees across the country. His shift from a hotel employee to a hotel entrepreneur, according to him, has been the “highpoint of his career.”

In January of 2015, he joined Chalet Hotels Ltd., the hospitality arm of K Raheja Corp. Sethi also worked briefly, from October 2017 till January 2018 as the COO of ITC Hotels, after which he returned to Chalet Hotels Ltd as the Managing Director and CEO.

Sethi’s contribution has been active hotel asset management in luxury-upper upscale and upscale hotels, and industry leading operating performance at Chalet Hotels Ltd. He values long-term relationships in the business and says, “Long-term partnerships with brands are based on trust and respect. They need to be given flexibility and autonomy to operate on their own. At the same time, keeping a watchful eye on the performance of hotel assets as well as the competing environment is critical to lasting relationships from both sides. Value-added asset management from the owner’s side is key to success.”
An astute professional, Sethi is extremely perceptive. Talking about the challenges in the hospitality industry, Sethi says, “There is limited quality manpower to operate hotels and the opportunity is to take advantage of the upturn in cycle through growth in room rates.”

He admits when he launched Berggruen Hotels and its brand – Keys hotels and Resorts, he took a risk as a founder of a start-up in the hospitality space. Always striving to stay ahead of competition, Sethi shares some tips. “Develop efficient hotels in line with expectations of the target market, tie-up with leading global hospitality brands and asset manage the hotels actively in partnership with the operators. Work closely with the operator to deliver benchmark operating numbers in revenues and operating costs,” he opines.

A dynamic business leader, Sethi adds, “As the hospitality industry is extremely capital-intensive, maximising cost-efficiency of our portfolio is essential to the success and profitability of the company.”

Chalet Hotels currently has 5 hotels and one co-located service residence, operated by Marriott. For now, he has his sights set on “opportunities in the luxury-upper upscale and upscale segment with a focus on operational or near complete hotel assets.” A regular speaker at Industry events, Sanjay is always happy to share his knowledge and insight with others.

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