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5-star hotels queuing up to Chennai

Over seven five-star hotels are set to open in Chennai over the next 5- years. Thanks to the IT boom and the industries hub that the city has become, the demand for hotel rooms has shot up.

Call it a five-star blitz, if you like. Chennai's hot for the hospitality industry, even as hotels struggle to grow in other metros. Some of the biggest names in hospitality will be in Chennai by 2011

Chennai has been a sleeping giant where we have very good infrastructure. The investment climate is very good and because of this. Chennai is expanding very fast,” says Nisha Purushotaman, MD, Empee Group.

The Leela Hotels Group will put up a 380-room hotel, investing about $90 million by early next year. The Empee Group Hilton International, the Welcomegroup's Grand Chola, JW Marriott and Taj GVK will also open in Chennai.

But is there room for all these hotels? “Chennai has always been way behind the competition and it's only now that it has woken up to reality that we do need all of them and that's why you see a surge of hoteliers coming here,” says Sanjay Chugh,VP, Transaction Management Service.

Chennai's occupancy rate is about 80 percent, and compared to the other metros the average room rates are lower, with a room costing about 8 to Rs 10,000 a night. Analysts say this is contributing to the hospitality blitz in Chennai.

Source: CNN - IBN

Expats to help hospitality cos put best foot forward

Shortage of local talent to run the business has led hotel companies to turn to expatriates, especially from the Gulf. Leading hospitality companies are employing expatriates to man key functions like F&B, front officers and general managers. Recent estimates by HVS International, a hospitality consultancy, says top 12 cities in the country will need around 1.46 lakh fresh employees in the next five years, more than twice the existing requirement. The country has approximately 69,000 employees working for hotels in the branded segment.

Delhi faces a huge shortage of manpower, it requires 28,600 new employees followed by Bangalore at 20,300, Mumbai 18,500 and Hyderabad at 15,900 employees. This additional requirement is across all categories like luxury, first class, mid market and budget hotels. The biggest challenge in the future is to be faced by Pune, Hyderabad and Bangalore where the talent hunt for rivalling sectors is high, say HVS officials.

The shortage of manpower has been created because of the number of hotels that have come up in the last one year, say industry sources. The next few years will see more than 1.01 lakh hotel rooms, of which the star category will account for maximum. The existing supply across top cities in India is around 39,285 rooms. While the hotel projects are in various stages of development, they are expected to enter the market by 2011.

Lack of manpower is forcing many hotels like Royal Orchid, Leela, Sarovar and Kamats to set up in-house management institutes to meet the shortage. The staff turnover in 5-star deluxe hotels in India is 29%, while it is much higher at 32%, 43% and 47% in the case of 4-star, 3-star and 2-star hotels, respectively. Faced with a shortage of trained manpower, Royal Orchid Hotels CMD Chender Baljee said: “We are setting up in-house institutes offering shorter duration courses.” Freshers prefer joining BPOs and the retail industry for higher salaries, said The Leela group HR vice-president Mohan Rao.

Source: Economic Times

Versace group plans to set up mega resort in India

Fancy enjoying the most expensive luxuries at a Versace group hotel without leaving the salubrious Indian tropical clime? Well, you will get the chance shortly.

The Versace group is planning to set up a mega resort in India, which could be the third in its global chain of luxury hotels after Australia and Dubai. The Palazzo Versace (Versace palace) hotel is likely to adore the skyline in Goa, sources close to Italy’s Gianni Versace SpA told ET. The Versace hotel at Gold Coast in Southern Queensland is reportedly the most expensive hotel in Australia.

“The project could bring a massive investment into India, which could be in billions of dollars,” said the source who did not wish to commit a figure. The group will not have local partner for the India project. For all the luxury resort projects, the Milan-based Versace group has a tie up with Australia’s property developer Sunland Group Ltd. Construction projects such as resorts are allowed 100% foreign ownership in India without specific government approval.

The second Versace resort, which is under development in Dubai, is expected to be opened 2009. This is being developed by the Sunland Group and the Emirates International Holdings. "It will have 214 suites and 190 condominiums and several swimming pools," said the source.

It is understood that the group has plans for many capital cities in the world. These luxury resorts reflect designs from the opulent Renaissance palaces in Europe and its classical architecture. The Gold Cost resort houses a 750-kg chandelier owned by the legendary designer Gianni and its driveway has the second largest pebble mosaic design in the world made of rare Italian and Brazilian marble. Gianni’s brother Santo now heads the company that is diversifying into hospitality and aircraft interior design.

The group, which already has a boutique at a hotel in Mumbai, is also planning to open one in New Delhi. The group recently opened a boutique in China too. "India has a great passion for textiles and it has a fast growing upper middle class. India is a major focus for our home collection,” said the source.

Source: Economic Times