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Lemon Tree Hotels expects pre-COVID level occupancies by Q4; says consumers preferring branded hotels

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Lemon Tree Hotels expects pre-COVID level occupancies by Q4; says consumers preferring branded hotels

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In an interview to CNBC-TV18, Patanjali Keswani, chairman & managing director (CMD) of Lemon Tree Hotels, and Prashant Pitti, co-founder & director of easemytrip.com, spoke at length about leisure travel comeback amidst the festive season. Keswani expects occupancies to return to pre-COVID levels by Q4. He also said that consumers are preferring branded hotels over unbranded ones, which is creating a structural shift in the hotel space.

In an interview to CNBC-TV18, Patanjali Keswani, chairman & managing director (CMD) of Lemon Tree Hotels, and Prashant Pitti, co-founder & director of easemytrip.com, spoke at length about leisure travel comeback amidst the festive season, how the trends are panning out and what the demand on the ground is.
First up, Keswani said that occupancies will be at pre-COVID levels by Q4. He also said that hotels will benefit post-pandemic as costs have been structurally reduced.
“Consumers across the board are focusing on hygiene and safety and therefore, I see a clear move in the hotel space from unbranded to branded, which is a structural shift which will play out well for the hotel industry, in the next year or two,” Keswani said.
On business, he said, “Our pricing is very dynamic. So, when revenues are low, prices are also low. When demand picks up, room nights pick up, people start booking more rooms, pricing also goes up. So, it’s a double whammy either way. Therefore, from what I am seeing in November, post-Diwali, we will be at 75-80 percent of pre-COVID levels and my guess is that based on the forward bookings, we will be at pre-COVID levels by Q4, if not at the beginning, then certainly by February.”
Meanwhile, Pitti said, “We are seeing a huge uptick in advance bookings which we did not see a year before. So there is a huge demand, which people are anticipating as well. For this Dussehra, we saw around 55 percent more bookings because of a long weekend, from October 15 to October 17. However, for next month as well, we are seeing a good demand coming in.”
For the entire discussion, watch the accompanying video
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