‘india Can Be 2nd Largest Lodging Mkt’ | Delhi News – Times of India

by The Technical Blogs


New Delhi: Indians are all set to become the second largest globetrotters — from being in the top five as of now — and their travel trends are influencing not just menus but also hotels designs. While Chinese remain the biggest group of world rovers, the hospitality industry is more bullish on India as ‘consumer confidence is not so strong’ in the former.Alan Watts, president of Asia-Pacific at US hospitality major Hilton, says given its rising economic prowess and population, “India has the potential to be the second largest lodging market (after US) in the world”.
India has seen the fastest recovery in travel post-pandemic and the trend of religious tourism being seen here now will be the thing to watch out for globally. Hilton currently has over 7,000 properties globally. “All investment analysts and pundits thought that travel-tourism would recover a lot slower and that we wouldn’t be back to 2019 levels (by) 2025. But the reality is, we are as an industry ahead of those times. And certainly here in India, we are double-digits above 2019 levels. India has seen the fastest recovery for all metrics — new signings, rates and occupancies,” Watts told TOI.

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Like China, the biggest traveller group in India is desi domestic. “Chinese business is above 2019 levels, fully recovered in terms of occupancy and tariffs. (But) the consumer confidence currently in China is not as strong as it is in India. The reason for that could be the overall economy and , negative sentiment. India is riding high on infrastructure. On GDP performance and overall economic performance. (It has) stable stewardship is and riding high on FDI coming into the market. The China, outbound travel has just started to recover and wo we are seeing Chinese travellers return to their traditional markets,” Watts said.
Outbound from India had recovered fully long time back. This has seen the trend of “generational travel” get stronger among affluent Indians going for luxury breaks. “The primary traveller are mom and dad with their parents and their kids. So don’t be surprised when you see a door that may look like a fire exit in your hotel floor corridor. That door can close to have a hallway of three rooms for this segment,” Watts said.
Before 2019, Watts said, Indians were among the top five biggest globetrotting nationalities. “It has been led by Chinese travellers and then Japanese. The population of India and the growing middle class with more people travelling from here than ever before will make Indians the second largest globetrotters. Now the emerging economies like India along with Vietnam are growing very fast.”Which are the top nationalities patronising a hotel can be known by just perusing its menu and from the dishes in breakfast buffet.
“Hotels follow infrastructure. They follow flights. India is adding airports, e’ways and its infra is booming. Air India has ordered so many long haul planes which will fly nonstop across the world,” he said.
Hilton is using AI in a big way that will change the way travellers interact with hotel staff. “Today’s generation likes to talk with their thumbs (typing on messaging apps on personal electronic devices). Different nationalities use different apps. For India it’s WhatsApp. We have acquired a company and are developing a system where you can scan a barcode and send your instructions – like asking for fresh towels or wake up calls – in your language (will be English for Indians) and get the same,” Watts said.
Hilton currently has 26 operational hotels in India and 20 are in the pipeline that will open over the next three years. “India feels like China did 10 years ago (for us). In 2011 we had five hotels in China. This year, will open our 700th hotel there and we have another 700 in the pipeline. India has many of the same characteristics — infrastructure, high consumer, confidence, a young population. India has the potential to be the second largest lodging market in the world. Very conservatively speaking, I see over 300 Hiltons in India by 2035,” he said.

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