Taj Htels Resorts and Palaces, part of the Tata Group, is looking at expanding its network of serviced apartments in India. With properties in the premium, luxury, business and budget hotel segments, the country's largest hotel chain will target the central business districts (CBDs) to set up its new serviced apartment properties. Speaking to DNA Money, Raymond N Bickson, managing director, Indian Hotels Co Ltd (IHCL) - owners of Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces brand - said, "CBDs in primary Indian cities such as Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai, besides Mumbai, have a lot of potential for serviced apartments and we are exploring possibilities of setting up our properties there."
The Indian hotel chain marked its foray into the serviced apartment segment sometime in 2004 by launching 80 luxury residences christened Taj Wellington Mews Luxury Residences in South Mumbai. "The new properties might not be as luxurious as our existing Mumbai property but they will surely be high-end," said Bickson. This apart, spurred by the response generated from its strategic marketing alliance with the Singapore-based Raffles International, the Indian hospitality major is looking at entering into a few more such alliances in the current year.
"This year three such marketing alliances are in the pipeline. These would again be for the luxury properties and will help us garner business from the markets we are not present in at the moment," said Bickson. He, however, refrained from quantifying the benefits derived so far from the Raffles tie-up. "All I can say is that it is significant and working well for both the parties." For the nine months ended December 31, 2005, the company reported a 26% growth in revenues at Rs 761.74 crore as against Rs 603.42 crore in the previous year.
Reflecting significant improvement in the operating margins, the company's gross profit for the said period grew by 64% from Rs 133.29 crore in the previous year to Rs 218.77 crore in the current year. While profit before tax (PBT) grew by 87% from Rs 82.76 crore to Rs 155.10 crore, the hospitality major's profit after tax (PAT) showed a significant improvement by 65%, increasing from Rs 63.68 crore in the previous year to Rs 104.93 crore as on December 31, 2005.
Established in 1903, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces is one of Asia's largest group of hotels, comprising over 70 hotels in India and international destinations such as Maldives, Mauritius, Malaysia, Seychelles, Australia, UK, USA, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Africa and the Middle East.