Hotel operator Hilton Worldwide said it is looking to set up more hotels in Bengaluru, encouraged by the demand from corporates during the weekdays. Whitefield is one of its preferred choices for the next property, given the cluster of technology companies operating there.
The company, which has two of its brands in operation in the city, opened a third one on Monday. This is the luxury brand Conrad, which it has launched in Ulsoor in association with property developer Prestige. This is the second Conrad hotel in the country; the first opened in Pune last year. The two other Hilton brands in the city include the namesake hotel in partnership with Embassy, and DoubleTree on the Outer Ring Road at Iblur Gate.
“We would definitely be excited to have something in Whitefield as we have no presence there. It is a very exciting market with the IT parks and corporates,” Daniel Welk, vice-president, operations, luxury – Asia Pacific of Hilton, said.
Welk, who was based out of New Delhi as VP of operations of Hilton Worldwide till early last year, added that one of the reasons for the choice is the big success of the Hilton hotel in Embassy Golf Links, which is inside a business park in the city and has an adjoining golf course that attracts corporate travellers.
“In Bengaluru, in the luxury market that we operate in, our occupancies between Tuesday and Thursday are close to the mid 80%, while in the weekends it drops to 60%, giving us an average of close to 70%,” Welk said. Hilton is also setting up a Hilton Garden Inn at Manyata Tech Park, expected to be operational by 2020.
The Indian hotel industry, which has faced some tough years since 2008 due to an abundance of supply, is also improving, said Welk. “Last year, for the first time, occupancy and room rates grew at 4.5% and 2.5%, respectively. This shows that demand and supply are more balanced,” he said.
The Hilton group is also in discussions with potential partners to bring its luxury brand, Waldorf Astoria, to India with preferred locations being New Delhi and Mumbai. Another Hilton brand heading to India will be the Hilton Curio – A Collection, which allows property owners to retain their name and essence with the Hilton management at the back-end. This could work for many of the palaces being converted into hotels.