Boost to affordable accommodation infra, as IBIS open to the idea of brownfield assets

Since its inception in India, IBIS’s growth strategy has been simple. It has focussed on scaling rapidly through greenfield assets, also ensuring direct control on quality. However, in the new scheme of things, JB Singh, President and CEO, InterGlobe Hotels does not rule out the possibility of acquiring assets, albeit with some riders. An exclusive as IBIS turns ten:

JB Singh
President and CEO, InterGlobe Hotels

What has been the special niche that ibis has been able to establish in your ten years’ journey?

Committed to providing the best-in-class offerings, we have become the leader in the smart economy segment in India. All our hotels are in prime locations and offer best in class services with affordable accommodation and high-quality amenities. Our designs are contemporary and aimed at providing our guests with everything that they might need. The rooms are well equipped with our signature ‘sweet bed’, a comfortable work area, LED TV’s, mini bars and a safe. A good night’s sleep for the millennial traveller takes the center stage in our room offering. Our sweet bed is matched with state of art acoustics and high-quality blinds to ensure this. Our public areas which include an all-day dining, meeting rooms and well-equipped gyms are inspired by some of the leading trends in the world.   Today, with its convivial, cool, contemporary, caring, and proactive spirit, ibis has grown to 18 hotels across 12 cities and caters to a diverse cross-section of travellers from India and abroad.

How strong is the network today?

The Ibis brand today has 18 hotels across 12 cities as of now, with over 3,000 rooms. Our latest hotel in Kolkata will be opening very shortly with 190 rooms on offer.  At the same time, we currently have another 6 hotels are under various stages of development and planning. While this current pipeline takes us to 25 hotels with more than 4,000 rooms by 2022, we remain on the constant lookout to add new projects to our portfolio. Some of our new additions will be in city centre Bengaluru, Hebbal in Bengaluru, Vikhroli in Mumbai, Thane, North Goa etc.

Where do you see the story going forward in the next 5/10 years?

Since our inception, InterGlobe hotels has tracked a fast-paced growth and has grown at a CAGR of 31% making it as one of the fastest growing portfolios in the country and it is our desire to maintain this growth curve. Our belief in the segment not only continues to remain strong. In fact, our performance has only strengthened our resolve. India remains an underpenetrated market for structured hotels and every indicator point towards an economy that will drive a strong, sustained and a continuous growth curve. Whilst demand is indeed very strong possibly in all sectors, government reforms to drive growth will now become fundamental to absorb and register this demand. Densification of existing markets and looking at new high growth markets continue to remain the cornerstones of our strategy. We expect to map the growth story of India and remain committed to providing best in class lodging options for our customer.

Who is your basic customer? Can we define him?

Extensive consumer researches have shown that Indian guests have become more value-conscious and are increasingly expecting their hotel experiences to be locally relevant. The mid-market hotel landscape in India has developed significantly during this decade. The guests have become more exposed/evolved and know what to expect and are also realizing the amazing value for money that this category has to offer. Our product is designed for everyone, including families, seniors, couples travelling for leisure, as well as an individual traveler who is upwardly mobile, discerning and a millennial. 

Are these owned hotels? Any asset-light strategy to go alongside?

All the hotels in our portfolio are owned and developed by InterGlobe Hotels. This continues to be our expansion strategy going forward. Given the unique product orientation of the ibis Brand, our primary development focus has been though Greenfield projects. This allows us to have direct control over product quality and construction time and also enables us to deliver consistent quality. Having now forayed into the Ibis Styles Brand with our hotel in Goa allows us to be a little more flexible with respect to our product specs, and therefore, we are also open to looking at Brownfield acquisitions as well. However, the nature of the product, its location and demand-supply dynamics have to be compelling enough for us to move ahead with this option.  

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