Business hotels are hoping to ring in the good times

Business hotels are hoping to ring in the good times with more travellers demanding 'smart hotels' with prompt service and good communication systems sans the luxury frills

With the industry gradually emerging from recession, business hotels are hoping to ring in the good times with more travellers demanding "smart hotels" with prompt service and good communication systems sans the luxury frills, reports PTI.

"The forecast is very encouraging. We can expect a steady increase in occupancy level for the year ahead and can see a 20% growth from the third quarter.

Business travellers are looking for smart hotels with prompt service standards and good communication levels. Luxury is not the major concern for a large number of travellers,” said Mr Rupam of Radha Regency.

Prakash Ryon, corporate general manager, Nandhana Grand Koramangala and Nadhana Hometel, which runs a chain of business hotels, agrees with this view. He said, "We are seeing an uptake of 15% in occupancy compared to last year."

Mr Ryon said that there has been a lot of corporate movement, with recession receding and recovery of the market. "The luxury market and increase in domestic travellers in December also added to (the) numbers,” he said.

"We are seeing corporate negotiations from existing firms which use our hotel for middle management and senior management executives. These corporates are negotiating for our high-end suites now,” he said, while explaining the flow of senior management from five-star hotels to business hotels.

Mr Ryon said that business hotels make sense to corporates as they have begun offering good facilities minus huge cost tags, which include complimentary Wi-Fi facilities, dinner coupons, free pick-up and drop to airports and a more lavish and elaborate breakfast spread.

"The price difference between the upper-end and mid-market segment is around 50%," he said.

Explaining the move towards business hotels, S Raghunath, who handles marketing for India for Electra Polymers (UK) and who is a frequent business traveller, said, "Most travellers are middle management (executives). Hence, business hotels suit our requirements.”

"Nobody has (the) time to go around for a spa or sauna. Basically most businessmen are off for their business meetings by 8am and return late. What they look for is basically the bed and breakfast concept, which is what these hotels offer,” he said.

"Moreover, hotels in India are overpriced with average pricing being around $200, while in Thailand the best hotel room comes at an average of $80,” Mr Raghunath said.

Company guest houses have their own maintenance issues, said Raj Rajkumar, managing director, ADC, whose company has turned to business hotels to lodge overseas customers.

"Company guest houses mean hiring personnel. Keeping such guest houses no longer makes sense on account of high rents, power bills and housekeeping tabs," he said.

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