Price point perfect

Features, Hospitality Trends

Accor has launched its first Ibis hotel in Mumbai. The property becomes the third Ibis in India following openings in Gurgaon and Pune.

Mumbai’s domestic airport belt has welcomed its first international brand of accommodation. Situated five minutes and a comfortable stroll away from the domestic airport, the 146 room property also enjoys good visibility from the western-express highway. Ibis Mumbai Airport is also less than 3kms from Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.

Ibis is sticking to its guns with regard to its positioning in the budget-mid market space. Room rates are a price point lower than full service operators and services correspond to that.

As an operator, they are striving to create the best RoI – rooms are small yet comfortable with sophisticated design that would appeal to a business traveller.

They are also perfectly aligned to Ibis’ international design specs so that Indian and International guests can really be sure of what they are booking into. Space saving en suite modular bathrooms, imported and assembled are fitted into this property just like any other Ibis property in India or internationally.

While conforming to its basic brand DNA, the property is also trying to align itself to Indian sensibilities.

So while there is no room service and guests would usually go to restaurants to pick up their in-room dining order, Ibis is offering them the option of room service – at a nominal charge.

The same applies to bathroom amenities. The basics (like soap, shampoo and moisturiser) are made available and for anything over and above that, the guest can request for it and the hotel staff make it available at a nominal cost.

At the brand and property level, Ibis is certain that it can find its space in the Indian accommodation market without tweaking brand DNA.

“It’s true that while the brand has done well overseas, we do face a challenge here due to the Indian culture of being served – even if he were staying at a Dharamsala. However we see it as a need for education.

The Gurgaon and Pune properties have created awareness about Ibis in the domestic market. Also many domestic business guests today are well travelled and have stayed at Ibis hotels overseas,” Ibis Mumbai Airport general manager Nitin Bhatia told Hotelier India.

He points out that if they were to offer concierge services, a spa, bell boy services and room service the property might as well have been a Novotel.

“The LCCs have achieved market share with their no-frills offering, which is a good sign that the customer can understand this model,” said Bhatia.
The property also has a very strong focus on international guests.
According to Bhatia, their present mix is 75% domestic versus 25% international guests which their looking to shift to 60% domestic versus 40% international guests or even 40% domestic versus 60% international guest ratio.

“In this location, it is a given that the overseas customer will chose to stay with us,” Bhatia commented. He adds that their vibrant, modern interiors and young staff are their USP.

Rooms are of one category only allowing for wi-fi and broadband internet, there is one F&B outlet called ‘Spice it’ where buffet is the focus but a-la-carte can be catered for and one bar ‘the hub’ which offers free wi-fi and a vibrant ambience.

Mini-bars in the rooms are replaced by vacant mini fridges, which guests are permitted to store their own beverages. Ibis has invested in soundproofing the property and its rooms to keep the mayhem of the Western-Express highway out.

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