At a time when India's aviation and hospitality sectors are riding high on domestic travel, IHG is positioned well to capitalize on market opportunities with its Essentials collection of brands.
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Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express brands, together making up nearly 70% of IHG Hotels & Resorts’ portfolio in India, are going to remain the “driver of growth” in the market, said the company’s South West Asia Managing Director, Sudeep Jain.
“The Holiday Inn brand family continues to remain at the core of our growth strategy in India for the coming years. With an upsurge in domestic travel demand, this brand under the essentials segment is a great fit for domestic tourism,” he said in a recent interaction with Skift.
Current Portfolio: With 45 hotels and 7663 rooms, IHG India currently operates across five brands — Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, and Six Senses.
“In India now, we just have five operational brands and seven or eight represented in terms of signings and pipeline out of our 18 brands, which we have globally. So, we’ve got a lot of white space and room to grow in the market,” said Jain.
New Launches: Earlier this year, the UK-based hotel giant announced the introduction of its Voco brand in India after it signed three properties in Goa, Jim Corbett, and Gurugram.
Expansion Plans: The company plans to add another 58 hotels in South-West Asia over the next three-to-five years, the majority of which will be added to its India portfolio.
Air India Launches Airport Assistance Service to Improve Passenger Experience
Tata Group-owned Air India has rolled out ‘Project Abhinandan’, aimed at providing personalized and hassle-free on-ground experience to its passengers at 16 major Indian airports.
What it Offers: The airline has deployed specially trained officers at airports, who will:
- Provide on-ground assistance across airport touchpoints to Air India passengers who may require it – at check-in areas or lounges, near the boarding gates, during transit, or at the arrival hall.
- Address unforeseen issues such as missed flights, delayed baggage delivery and misconnections at airports, among others.
Which Airports? Airport assistance will be offered at Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Calicut, Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Varanasi and Visakhapatnam airports.
Air India has already recruited and deployed over 100 service assurance officers across airports, it said in a statement.
Radisson Hotel Group Reopens Radisson Blu Pune Hinjewadi
Radisson Hotel Group has reopened the 152-room Radisson Blu Pune Hinjawadi post comprehensive renovations.
Location: The property is located in close proximity to Pune airport, railway, and bus stations.
India Portfolio: Radisson currently has over 150 hotels in operation and development in the country, with more than 50% of its portfolio in tier-2 and 3 markets.
The company operates under brands, including Radisson Blu, Radisson, Radisson RED, Park Inn by Radisson, Park Plaza, Park Inn & Suites by Radisson, Country Inn & Suites by Radisson and Radisson Individuals.
New Signings: In April, the group announced the India debut of its luxury lifestyle brand, Radisson Collection, with the signing of the first hotel in Hyderabad. The 300-room Radisson Collection Hotel Hyderabad Financial District is set to be operational by the second quarter of 2026.
AirAsia Owner Capital A ‘Very Bullish’ on Indian Market
Kuala Lumpur-based Capital A, which owns AirAsia, is “very bullish about the Indian market” and wants to bring in more tourists to the country, the company’s CEO Tony Fernandes said.
Connections: AirAsia has about 15 landing points in India, the latest being Amritsar which is connected to the Malaysian capital city.
“We will continue to provide more connectivity to India,” said Fernandes, noting that India is setting up more airports. He said AirAsia was also getting a lot of traffic out of India.
In fact, 60% of his airline’s passengers on the Indian routes are from out of India and 40% are diaspora and tourists visiting India. “The India market has been profitable,” he added, staying confident on the airline’s profit and revenue.
Merger: Last year, Tata Group-owned Air India signed agreements to acquire a 100% stake in AirAsia India and has commenced the process of merging with Air India Express to form a single Indian low-cost carrier. The merger is likely to be concluded by the end of 2023.
Cleartrip Launches a Flexible Hotel Bookings Feature
Online travel company Cleartrip has launched a ‘Cancel for No Reason’ feature to enable users to cancel their hotel bookings until check-in and still get instant full refunds up to $301 per booking.
Which Hotels Does it Apply To? It is applicable to every domestic and international property listed on the Cleartrip platform.
How Guests Benefit: The feature is aimed to address rigid booking policies that prevent last-minute cancellations and discrepancies in expectations and actual hotel experience. As an inaugural offer, users can avail the offering on Cleartrip at no additional cost.
“The new feature has enabled us to safeguard customer trust further, allow them to have a stress-free travel experience and enable them to travel more often,” said Ayyappan R., CEO of Cleartrip.
VisitBrussels Holds Roadshows in Delhi And Mumbai
India is a very important market for Brussels, according to Pieter Callebaut, international business developer at visit.brussels who was recently leading a delegation of operators from Brussels to conduct a roadshow in Delhi and Mumbai.
“Though the tourism from India to Brussels is still in the recovery phase, we are actively implementing strategies to increase the city’s appeal amongst Indian travelers,” said Callebaut.
Indian Arrivals to Brussels: In 2022, Brussels had witnessed 35,000 overnight stays from India out of which 56% were leisure travelers and 44% were business travelers.
50% of the departures were from Mumbai while about 20% were from New Delhi.
“The current movement trends for 2023 is indicating a positive traction in terms of tourism to Brussels from India. The launch of new attractions like the Belgium Beer World is definitely a clear indication that Brussels has a lot to offer to every traveler from the Indian subcontinent,” said Ellona Pereira, India representative at visit.brussels.
Cathay Pacific Plans to Resume Flight Services from Chennai
Cathay Pacific will resume its three non-stop weekly flights from Chennai to Hong Kong from February 2, 2024.
Aircraft: The airline will return with its Boeing 777 aircraft, which will be configured in a three-cabin-class layout with 368 seats, comprising 40 in business class, 32 in premium economy and 296 in economy.
Timing: The flight from Chennai will leave at 02:20 hours on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday to arrive at Hong Kong at 09:55 hours. In the return direction, the flight will leave Hong Kong on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 21:50 hours to reach Chennai at 01:00 hours.
How it will Benefit Travelers: For customers heading to the Southwest Pacific region, the airline offers convenient routes to cities like Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane. Also, to meet the travel needs of customers, the airline will extend its reach to important Northeast Asian hubs such as Seoul and Tokyo (Narita and Haneda), providing easy access to key international destinations.
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Photo credit: With 45 hotels and 7663 rooms, IHG currently operates across five brands in India. Pictured is Holiday Inn Resort Goa. Dr. Vallabh Kulkarni / Unsplash