The travel industry, i.e to say the hospitality sector has been going through rapid changes for the last few years. The number of people travelling today has increased manifolds. In fact, we now have travelers who travel even on a weekly basis.
And this calls in for new openings in terms of boarding and lodging options for every budget sections. We have seen sprouting of various new hotels, hotel chains for low to high budget segments.
Recently we saw emergence of a new brand, the Cygnett Hotels & Resorts who have established itself in the Indian hospitality space as a growing brand offering a diverse portfolio in a relatively short time. The group has successfully been providing a reliable and consistent level of service over a wide range of price points to suit each customer.
Cygnett currently has 35 alliances with 20 operational hotels and 10 hotels at various stages of pre-opening. They are targeting to operate 30 hotels by the end of this year. It is because of our constant journey towards success we earmarked the year 2018 by a maximum number of hotel signings in India.
From Jammu to Bongaigaon, Lucknow to Visakhapatnam, Cygnett’s presence is spread across India. It has even made its presence felt in areas that are underserved by erstwhile leading brands. They have therefore been able to extend their presence in far-flung destinations such as Itanagar, Gangtok, Mangaldoi and Tinsukia.
The brand already has 1100+ keys in their network. Cygnett is also connected with more than 640,000 travel agents globally. In keeping up with its rapid rate of expansion, another 15 hotels are in the pre-opening phase and are expected to welcome guests soon. The group targets to have 30 operational hotels by the end of this fiscal year.
Our team recently was in conversation with Mr Sarbendra Sarkar, Founder &Managing Director, Cygnett Hotels & Resorts. Here are the highlights of our conversation:
Mr Sarkar said,” Indian hospitality has grown exponentially over the last decade or so, offering diversified solutions to cater to various categories of consumers. With the rise of the middle class and disposable income, the demands and behavior of the customer are changing. For the value-driven volume customer, seeking a full-service hotel continues to drive the growth in mid-scale space. It is leaving the economy segment far behind, which is yet to fully find its footing in the Indian market. In addition, guests are looking for experiences. We certainly focus on such customers. Looking at the trends in hospitality and tourism, Cygnett will also enter the boutique luxury segment as well.”
Sarkar is confident that relatively new categories of hospitality, such as Homestays and brands like OYO, will not impact the space Cygnett operates in. “Such companies operate in a different business model and have different concepts. India, being a highly populated country, offers all types of guest profiles seeking different experiences and offerings. We bifurcate with them via offering full-service hotels as compared to BnB concepts. Cygnett will continue to grow while delivering high value to our guests and clients.”
Cygnett focuse on technology more than on the service, even though our USP is technology, the core will always be the warmth of service and the true ‘Cygnetture experience’. Cygnett Lite and Cygnett Express brand are specially designed services to cater to this niche segment of the audience. Here, we lay emphasis on budget accommodation, without compromising the service quality. It’s like getting the service of a midscale hotel at the price of a homestay.”
This year Cygnett is planning to operate 35+ hotels in India and also planning to venture into international waters as well. Growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 135 percent in room inventory, they are creating benchmarks every day.
While the group is increasing its presence across the nation, a region of India that has been of special focus for the group has been the northeastern states, long overlooked by major traditional hospitality brands. We at Cygnett are enamoured by the untouched beauty of the northeast and have a presence in two of the seven sisters. This year we will be opening two more hotels in that region.
Cygnett has an operational hotel in Nepalgunj, Nepal and in the coming years is looking at expanding to several South Asian nations. Among the potential destinations for Cygnett, are included Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Bhutan and Sri Lanka (besides expansion in Nepal).
A Cygnett guest is the one looking for maximum services at moderate prices, explains Sarkar, whose expertise in diversified hospitality management spans a quarter of a century. “Since we operate in a multi-brand portfolio and have hotels in multiple destinations, our customer segment is a blend of corporate and leisure travelers. We also cater to guests from international markets and have strong business relationships with many multinational companies.”
Indian hospitality will boom in the coming 5 years and seems optimistic and promising. With the rise of the middle class and disposable income, the demands and behaviors of the customer are changing. The value-driven volume customer, seeking a full-service hotel continues to drive the growth in mid-scale space, leaving far behind the economy segment, which is yet to fully find its footing in the Indian market. Adding to the same the guests are looking for experiences. We certainly focus on such customers. Looking at the trends in hospitality and tourism Cygnett will also enter boutique luxury segment as well. “With the number of leisure travellers going up every year, we are looking to have a presence in leisure destinations such as Nainital, Jim Corbett, Ranthambore, Srinagar and more,” elaborates Sarkar. “We are also expanding our portfolio in the metro and urban cities. All these expansion measures will help grow our Cygnett Resort, Cygnett Park, and Cygnett Inn brands.”
There is no let-up in the speed expansion for the company for the near future too. By the time it completes a decade of operations in 2022, the group is looking forward to 5000+ rooms in its kitty. The hospitality group is actively working to open over 100 hotels across 75 cities in India and South Asia within the next five years. Within 2020 itself, it expects to have 1800+ keys.