Brands chase Indian growth

A strong rebound in India's hotel market has investor confidence growing, while international brands are looking to grow their market presence signing hotels in second and third tier Indian cities

India’s hotel market enjoyed a fourfold increase in investment volumes in 2023, with USD401m of properties traded. 

A market report from agents JLL notes that while one third of these transactions were forced by insolvency processes, fully 25% of the deals involved projects due to complete and open in 2024, indicating a strong pipeline. The year also saw three hotel companies launch on the Indian stock market with initial public offerings, indicating strong investor interest in the sector. 

Over half of new hotel signings occurred in the country’s tier two cities, indicating that hotel groups are detecting a broader, deeper demand for hotel accommodation. International brands are spreading from the major landmark cities, no longer simply relying on international tourism to find future growth. 

Among those seeking to address the new domestic middle class market is local group Lemon Tree hotels, which added 14 properties in 2023, and aims to accelerate expansion in 2024 by opening 30 properties, potentially adding more than 2,000 rooms to its presence. 

Another local group, luxury brand Oberoi, will open two hotels in 2024, both scheduled for later in the year. The Oberoi Rajgarh Palace, and Oberoi Vindhyavilas Wildlife Resort are in the state of Madhya Pradesh, wit a focus on wildlife and the great outdoors. The first is a 200 year old palace, which will have 66 bedrooms; while guests at the wildlife resort will bed down in luxury tents. 

For 2024, global brand leader Marriott expects to open 12 hotels in India, part of an India signed pipeline of more than 80 hotels. These include additions to its Moxy brand, which started with the January launch of Moxy Bengaluru Airport and will be followed later in the year by Moxy Mumbai Andheri West

Almost half of the openings in coming months and years will be across two popular brands, Courtyard and Fairfield. For Courtyard, sites include Gwalior and Guwahati Beltola, while Fairfield will be arriving in Guwahati, Andheri and Jalandhar. 

Resort properties on the way include the Marriott Resort & Spa in Guwahati, a JW Marriott resort in Surat, and the Westin Hyderabad Resort. Looking further ahead, Marriott has signed its third Ritz-Carlton luxury hotel, planned to open in 2029 in the Amila Hills, Shimla. 

Accor is drving hard to grow its presence across India, pledging to open more than 30 new hotels in the country within the next five years. That growth will come on top of an established presence in the country, where today Accor has more than 60 hotels open, adding up to around 11,500 rooms. 

As of autumn 2023, the group could count 30 signed contracts, to be developed by local partners before launch under one of the group’s more than 40 brands. Currently, nine of Accor’s brands are trading in the country. New signings include sites in New Delhi, Chandigarh, Mohali, Amritsar and Bhunbaneswar.

Accor’s focus now is on bringing its hotel brands to the country’s second and third tier cities, where demand is strong; the group already has a presence in destinations such as Delhi and Mumbai.