Ahmedabad: Gautam Kumar, a design consultant from Mumbai, simply couldn’t get a hotel room here last week.
“I was willing to pay a premium but still had no luck,” he says. Used to be that Kumar, on business trips to the city, would simply walk into a hotel and get a room.
These days, hotels in Ahmedabad are operating near 100% capacity, joining cities such as New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore that have, in the past year, reported similar high levels of occupancyamid an economy that is booming and a rush ofbusiness visitors and tourists.
In Ahmedabad’s case, in addition to a busy economy, the situation is also a confluence of politics (assembly elections), a busy wedding seasons, a few large events in the city and, unexpectedly, the onset of serious fog in New Delhi, which often diverts flights here.
“We have never had it so good,” says Joseph D’Couto, general manager, Le Meridien, which has a 63-room five-star hotel in the city.
“Ahmedabad does not have the capacity to handlesuch a huge influx of guests.”
Ahmedabad has 32 hotels that have three- to five-starratings with some 2,100 rooms, as well as some 120 budgethotels with about 2,000rooms.
Typical daily room rates in the mid to high-end hotels have ranged between Rs4,000 and Rs14,000.
“The tariff for deluxe room in our hotel was Rs5,000 plus taxes before November, but we have raised it to Rs6,500 now. Some other hotels have even doubled their tariff to encash the boom,” says NarendraSomani, president of Hotel Owners Association, Ahmedabad.
Somani owns a 40-roomhotel—Grand Bhagwati—in the city.
Ahmedabad is expected to continue to face a shortage of hotel rooms for another year, at least until some six hotels that are under construction open for guests.
“We opened the Ahmedabad property in October with 53 rooms and since 15 November, we have no room,” says Rajesh Sinha, chief operating officer, Neesa Leisure Ltd.
“When we are full in Ahmedabad, we try to accommodate our guests at the Gandinagar property but there have been cases whenwe have to say no to our guests.”
Neesa Leisure has two properties, the 53-room hotel Cambay Sapphire here and a 115 room Cambay Resort inGandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat.
Nainesh Patel is on his annual visit to Ahmedabad from London for a religious event. While he could manage a room, his friends were not so lucky.
“A couple of my friends wanted to attend the eventand were willing to payas high as £200 (approx Rs16,080), per night but didnot get any reservation,” he says.