With a strong pipeline of inventory in the country, Lemon Tree Hotels is set to hit 8,800 rooms milestone by 2021. The Group recently debuted into Mumbai with the launch of the 303 room hotel - Lemon Tree Premier-Mumbai International Airport. This is the second city in Maharashtra, after Pune, with a Lemon Tree Premier and the third city in Maharashtra, after Aurangabad and Pune where the group operates.
“Currently, we are operating 5,525 rooms with 56 operational hotels and another 3,275 rooms with 31 properties are in the pipeline. By 2021, we will have 8,800 rooms with 88 hotels, which mean we will have close to 14 per cent rooms in India,” Patanjali Keswani, Chairman & Managing Director, Lemon Tree Hotels said and added that the Group is looking to try and consolidate the fragmented segment of hospitality in India. He opined that the opening of hotel in Mumbai is a very strategic move for as it is the financial capital. “Also, this is our first refreshed Lemon Tree Hotel. It took a long time for us to enter Mumbai, as it took time for approvals. Mumbai is a very difficult market to get approvals. It is a deliberately complex process here,” he added.
The Group has 1697 operational rooms with 12 hotels under the Lemon Tree Premier brand and 1684 rooms are in the pipeline with 11 hotels.
The Lemon Tree Premier brand will be their fastest growing brand. “Lemon Tree Premier will be our fastest growing brand, followed by Lemon Tree and Aurika. As of now, we don’t have any international aspirations, but Carnation has signed a few hotels - one each in Dubai and Kathmandu. We are open to go where our customers go, we feel that then we have the ability to make them stay in our hotels. Broadly, Indians go to New York, London, Dubai, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Therefore, wherever we have an opportunity to partner with an asset owner we will consider it.”
The group is set to enter the upscale segment with the introduction of Aurika brand. Currently, the group is slated to open an Aurika in Udaipur and second property in Mumbai.
Detailing about the Aurika, Keswani said, “As a product Aurika will be in the upscale segment with world class service. We have spoken to a few managed hotels for the Aurika brand. But, what we feel is before we go for a pipeline of this brand; we will open the Udaipur property and let people see what we do. This will help us convince a lot of owners about this brand. Next, we will have an Aurika property in Mumbai.”
The group is welcoming over 90 per cent of its guests from the domestic market. Over two million domestic travellers stay at Lemon Tree properties across India. “Over 90 per cent of our customers are from the domestic market. We are much focused that we want to serve the needs of the Indian middle-class, upper Middle-class travellers. The 10 per cent of travellers are from the international market -around a lakh or two lakh, these travellers typically are not looking for five stars,” Keswani said.