The trend of stays may run out of steam over time
In a conversation with BW HOTELIER, Mansur Mehta, Managing Director, Suba Group of Hotels, talks about acquiring 35 new properties by purchasing a controlling stake in 1589 Hotels, changes that the pandemic has brought to the hospitality industry , why the trend of stays will not last long and future plans.
Suba Hotels made a foray into the hospitality world in South Mumbai in 1996 with the Suba Palace Hotel. Today, 25 years later, the group houses 12 hotels across India. The group is focused on creating affordable luxury three and four star business hotels under the Suba brand and on a new concept of budget hotels with a difference under the Click Hotels by Suba brand. To date, both brands have established a strong presence in the Indian subcontinent and the United Arab Emirates with 50 hotels and 2,000 rooms in more than 25 destinations.
Why the decision to acquire 35 new properties to your portfolio in 22 destinations in India by purchasing a controlling stake in the hotel company, 1589 Hotels as the hospitality industry sails through rough waters due to the pandemic?
As the Covid-19 situation began to clarify, we understood that the market would eventually pick up with the leisure and religious segment, followed by Tier 2 and 3 regions then metropolitan areas. While we have firmly established ourselves in the level 2 and 3 markets, we had not yet marked our presence in the leisure segment. It is for this reason that we acquired 1589 Hotels as a foray into the leisure space.
Staycations and workcations have become popular trends lately. Your opinion on this new trend and does Suba Group plan to join the bandwagon?
I don’t think this trend is going to last too long. In eight to twelve months, once the pandemic situation has passed, people will eventually miss the city and the social life, friends, dating and parties. Thus, the trend of staycations may run out of steam over time.
What changes has the pandemic brought to the hospitality industry in terms of doing business?
First, the biggest change is that hotels are focusing more than ever on the health and hygiene of employees and guests. Second, they show greater financial discipline, realizing the benefits of not going into debt. Third, there has also been a change in the personnel model. Another aspect is that the F&B menus have become shorter than before. Plus, instead of the printed material that was traditionally placed in every room, hotels are using QR codes to share information with their guests.
How do you see the hospitality market in South and West India?
The hotel market in the South and West regions has always been very lucrative. They also have distinct challenges. At the moment, the entire hospitality industry is facing many challenges. However, these specific regions attract a lot of business, which is why they will be the perfect avenues for our expansion plans.
Share your future expansion plans. Are other acquisitions in progress?
We plan to expand our presence in the southern and eastern markets. We have already hired qualified professionals aboard Down South who will lead extensive business development in the region. And yes, we really want to develop in these two regions where we have little presence. We aim to reach our target of 3,000 rooms very soon.