As COVID-19 curbs ease out in South India, especially in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, ITC Hotel’s marquee properties in the region are seeing a pick-up in occupancy.
This spike in occupancy levels comes even as the hospitality group’s flagship ITC Grand Chola in Chennai continues to see high volumes on the back of occupancy from repatriation clientele and doctors.
“The ITC Kohenur is seeing the fastest recovery as it has hit the sweet spot in terms of seeing its occupancy rise on the back of staycations among the local community,” said Zubin Songadwala, Area Manager (South), ITC Hotel, “The up-tick comes on the back of ITC Hotel's Hyderabad market being the least hit by the pandemic’s second wave, among major South Indian metropolises.”
According to ITC Hotel, occupancy at flagship properties like the ITC Kohenur and ITC Grand Chola are 50 percent and 55 percent respectively.
Analysts say that while the hospitality arm of the ITC Group is seeing its Bengaluru properties notch up occupancy rates of between 20 and 25 percent, the numbers are still encouraging since these are double of what the group registered barely a month ago, on the back of hardly any air travel and international check-ins.
“We have now begun seeing encouraging signs of recovery in Bengaluru — like the number if guests who visit and dine at the outdoor expanses of the Gardenia’s Lotus Pavilion,” said Songadwala.
Deliveries, cloud kitchen orders see a spike
While occupancy at marquee hotels across the board have suffered a decline in the midst of the pandemic, ITC’s hospitality arm has embarked on a quest to enhance alternate sources of revenue generation. This includes focusing on boosting home delivery orders through its homegrown ITC Hotels app and aggregators like Swiggy and Zomato, as well as subscription-based F&B services like its Kitchen Takeover initiative.
“For the two months where Chennai saw only home-deliveries and no dine-in services, we registered close to 50 deliveries per day from the ITC Grand Chola, with a 30 to 40 percent spike over the weekends,” Songadwala added.
The situation is no different in Bengaluru. An ITC cloud kitchen in the city’s Whitefield suburb has seen orders from its ‘Biryani and Pulao Collection’ spike from just about 20 orders per day through the month of May to about 35 orders in June.
Andhra Pradesh & Colombo to see property launches
Prospects of a market in recovery have been validated by OTAs who say that there is an “across the board” recovery in the hospitality and travel sector.
“Across the board, we are seeing recovery and this is similar sort of consumer behaviour that we saw earlier — pent-up demand and revenge travel,” said Rajesh Mangow, Co-founder and CEO, MakeMyTrip, in a conversation with CNBC-TV18, while pointing out that markets like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka continue to see some COVID restrictions that continue to persist.
That notwithstanding, ITC plans on expanding its Welcome Hotel brand from 19 to 25 properties, with two of the six new hotels expected to take form and shape in Andhra Pradesh. “We will see a new ITC hotel in Guntur, while another property, which is still in discussion, could come up in Andhra, along the beachfront,” said Songadwala.
ITC is also in the final phases of launching a brand new hotel along the Colombo Waterfront, in Sri Lanka, which will be managed by its South team.
(Edited by : Aditi Gautam)
First Published: IST