Cygnett Hotels & Resorts which currently operates 18 hotels with 1000 keys is going ahead with its expansion plan. The company currently has 10 new hotels with 1008 keys at various stages of development across south, north and west India and expects to add a few more during the year with their multi-brand strategy and management & franchise plus model.
“Over the next 5 years, we want to be present in all the top tier 2 and 3 cities to cater to all segments of travellers and have close to 7000+ rooms, residences, and villas. Also, we are expanding to cities like Puri and Vrindavan to cater to the growing pilgrimage travel,” Sarbendra Sarkar, Founder & MD, Cygnett Hotels & Resorts, said.
Explaining on the funding of the expansion, Sarkar said that most of the investments are going in technology, marketing and acquiring the best management talent in the market. “Our goal is to make Cygnett hotels a technology driven hotel brand in the country, and I think it’s important we make good investments in new technologies and get the best people to manage our hotels. Given the growing competition in the market, both people and technology will be the key differentiator for us,” he added.
Taking about the current scenario of the hotel industry, Sarkar said that the year 2020 was a tough year for the hotel industry due to the pandemic. However, things turned around for better in 2021, especially in the second half of the year, as covid cases went down, and mobility restrictions were eased, he added.
“We expect 2022 to be a much better year in terms of performance. We expect ARRs to be in the range of Rs 3000 - 4000 across the group this year and the RevPAR to grow around 15-20% over the 2021 level,” Sarkar informed.
Cygnett Hotels has a diverse portfolio of hotels from economy, midscale to upscale properties and will continue to strengthen these segments based on demand. The chain wants to position itself as a tech savvy brand and is investing in a lot of new technologies not just to deliver a great experience to guests but also to support their franchisee hotels. “We want to be known as a smart hotel brand offering a comfortable and safe stay to the value conscious domestic traveller,” he said.
For Cygnett Hotels, MICE is an important and growing segment as many of the group’s hotels, especially in destinations like Nainital, Lucknow and Jaipur, is getting more than 50% of the business from MICE. “Beyond MICE, weddings are also a growing part of our business with several hotels now attributing more than 50% of business to the segment. Our new product “Wedding Bells” by Cygnett will cater to this segment specifically,” he reveals.
Over the past 2 years, Cygnett Hotels continued to fine tune their safety standards to ensure a safe and comfortable stay for customers. The chain has adopted a very holistic approach to safety like contactless services like self-check-in/out and zero touch policy, QR coded menu for ordering, and realigning the space for MICE and overall wellbeing of the employees.
According to Sarkar, OTAs currently account for around 35 per cent of overall bookings while travel agents contribute around 20 per cent - especially for hotels in some of the leisure destinations. “We expect OTAs to continue to grow but we are also making our own website, booking engine stronger for our guests to book directly. We are deploying a next generation CRS / booking engine and expect more people to book directly with us via mobile app as well,” he said.