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Worldhotels sees big opportunities in India

Last updated on: April 18, 2011 15:04 IST

Worldhotels sees big opportunities in India

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Ruchika Chitravanshi

Germany-based Worldhotels, a global hospitality marketing and distribution network for independent hotels, sees significant opportunities in the Asia-Pacific market.

It opened its first regional office in India recently. Managing Director Robert Hornman speaks to Ruchika Chitravanshi on the course of action.

Edited excerpts:

What is the core business model of Worldhotels and what are the services it provides to its affiliate hotels?

We give independent hotels the collective strength of a global hotel brand, while allowing them to retain their individual character and unique identity.

We offer these hotels a one-stop solution for full-service support in sales, marketing, distribution, technology and strategic consulting.

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Image: Robert Hornman says Worldhotels focus is on guests.
Photographs: Reuters
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Worldhotels sees big opportunities in India

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We also offer a full-licence branding solution for independent hotels, the perfect alternative to standard franchise contracts.

The Worldhotels brand will be prominently featured as part of the hotel name, signage and at various customer contact points of the premises.

At the same time, we emphasise on the uniqueness of each property. Branded hotels will, for example, receive their own complete hotel website, rather then just a section within a corporate website and are not obliged to standardise their hardware.

However, eligible hotels have to meet Worldhotels' comprehensive set of quality criteria, which are reviewed twice a year, anonymously.

Our focus is on guest experience and quality, not on standardising hardware.

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Image: Worldhotels offers full-licence branding solution.
Photographs: Reuters
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Worldhotels sees big opportunities in India

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What are your plans for the Indian market? How many more affiliates are you planning to rope in?

Currently, we have nine hotels and 1,400 rooms. Our goal is to reach 20 hotels by the end of 2012.

We are planning growth, especially with the full licence, branded hotel model. To support this, we are opening our new office in Delhi NCR with full-fledged sales, performance and revenue optimisation and hotel development departments, to support a fast-growing network on the sub-continent.

Indian affiliates to the network to date are Asiana Hotel in Chennai, The Claridges in New Delhi and Surajkund, Asiana Hotel, Chennai, Pride Park Premier in Gurgaon, The Sahara Star in Mumbai, Amby Valley in Pune, Matthan Hotel in Bangalore and new Svenska Hotels in Mumbai Juhu and Bangalore Electronic City.

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Image: Worldhotels has nine hotels and 1,400 rooms in India.
Photographs: Reuters
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Worldhotels sees big opportunities in India

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What is the size of business you get from India and its contribution to your global business?

India represents 10 per cent of the Asia production and contributes one per cent (about) to our global room nights. It is one of our fastest growing emerging markets.

Which category of hotels or travel would you like to focus upon luxury, business, mid-market?

We are focusing on unique upscale four-and five-star hotels in primary locations and catering to the discerning business and leisure travellers of today.

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Image: Worldhotels focuses on upscale properties.
Photographs: Reuters
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Worldhotels sees big opportunities in India

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What kind of competition you face?

Our hotels are four-and five-star hotels in the upscale market segment. They are competing against hotels in the same category, many of which belong to large chains, so that is where we see our competition. Our wide range of services is at par with those of the large chains. For example, our hotels offer guests miles from 19 leading frequent-flyer programmes.

No other group of independent hotels gives its members access to such a large network of partners.

With Worldhotels, independent properties are ready to take on the challenges of the global market and will be able to position themselves successfully within this highly competitive segment.

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Image: Worldhotels offers miles from 19 frequent-flyer programmes.
Photographs: Reuters
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Worldhotels sees big opportunities in India

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You have created various travel themes such as green hotels, golf to romantic getways, pet and art hotels. Which are the popular ones in India?

We see excellent growth in weekend rates and in our seasonal promotions. There is also great interest in shopping destinations and linked promotions. Honeymoons and family packages are among the other hot selling programmes.

Would you customise or introduce something new for the Indian market?

As part of the launch of our first India office, we will design various regional initiatives for the India market. Our priority is destinations not cover much, such as Hyderabad, Pune, Kolkata, Goa, Kerala, Jaipur and Udaipur.

We are also looking at expanding our network in existing key cities such as Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi where we want feature both deluxe and first class collection affiliates.

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Image: Worldhotels plans to expand in cities like Mumbai and New Delhi.
Photographs: Reuters
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Worldhotels sees big opportunities in India

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Do you have any agreements with the travel portals or the airline industry? Who are the new partners you are roping in?

Our hotels and guests benefit from an extensive selection of partnerships, including frequent flyer programmes from 19 of the world's leading international airlines, including Quantas, Air China, Cathay Pacific, Thai Airways International, Air France/KLM, United Airlines and Lufthansa.

Regionally, we are working with Travelsky in China and Agoda for Asia. In India we are working with Travelocity and MakemyTrip.

What is the fastest growing market in the emerging economies for you?

They would be in China and India. We also see growth in Russia and Brazil. In each of these markets, Worldhotels is re-enforcing its presence.


Image: Worldhotels is working with Travelocity and MakemyTrip.
Photographs: Reuters
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