Mumbai: French hospitality firm Accor Group is looking to introduce a host of brands from its global portfolio including Raffles Hotels and Resorts to India to have a deeper presence in the country, said a top company executive.
“Accor has just 51 hotels in India. I need to find the right recipe to have 200-300 hotels in this country. I will push Accor more and more to be present in India. We have to accelerate our India growth," Sebastien Bazin, chairman and chief executive officer of Accor Group, said in an interview.
As part of its plans to grow its global presence in the luxury category, the hotel chain will also bring its most expensive brand, Raffles, by signing up a new property each in Udaipur and Jaipur.
“This is the first time Raffles as a brand will come to India. We have been working on launching it for sometime. This country is growing very fast and has a lot of heritage sites that people want to visit," Bazin said.
Accor may also introduce five other upscale lifestyle hotel brands—Banyan Tree, SO, Delano, Mondrian and Mama Shelter—in India over the next three to five years.
At present, the company operates 10 brands including Fairmont, Swissotel, Grand Mercure, Novotel and Ibis. India currently contributes less than 2% to Accor’s global sales.
First launched in 1887 in Singapore, Raffles is present in 13 countries including Paris, Istanbul, Warsaw and Jakarta.
According to Bazin, India has been one of the complex countries when it comes to achieving speed and scale, despite being one of the fastest growing economies of the world.
Considered Europe’s largest hotel chain with 38 hotel brands, Paris-based Accor Group has been on an acquisition spree, shelling out €6.5 billion on buying several hotels across the world in the last four years.
Bazin said the contribution from Accor's luxury hotels segment to its overall sales has gradually increased to 50% in the last five years, though the company has been largely present in the mid to economy segment for the longest time.
“We have been product-minded for long. We want to go client-minded. We see that the biggest customer loyalty is in luxury brand. In luxury segment, people want to have the best brand, offer and experience price becomes not so important," Bazin said, adding that luxury hotels do not heavily depend on the online platform online.
This helps to save on the huge commission that the online travel agents charge from hotels for booking rooms, Bazin said.