The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels Ltd that operates luxury hotels under ‘Peninsula’ brand today said it is in talks with international parties for partnership to enter the Indian market. “We have looked at several properties and held discussions in India to have a presence in the country,” Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels Ltd Director and Chief Operating Officer Peter C Borer told said.
The company is scouting for assets in India to start operations in Delhi and Mumbai. Unlike other international chains, it will look to invest in properties as owners with a majority stake.
Senior company officials have been visiting India for the last four to five years to scout for potential partners, he said but did not disclose the parties with which the company has been having discussions.
When asked why the company has not made progress so far, he said: “We are looking for the right partnership for long term and we want to go slow and steady in the market.”
Borer, however, did not comment on the timeline for opening its first property in India as well as possible investments to be made in the country.
Commenting on the company’s business model, he said: “Our philosophy worldwide is to invest in property and manage rather than only managing it.” The Hong Kong-based hospitality chain currently operates nine hotels in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, Bangkok, Manila, New York, Chicago and California with an average room of about 200-300 per property. These properties are positioned as business as well as leisure destinations.
The company is currently developing its 10th property in Paris and is likely to be operational by 2013. When asked about room tariff of the chain, Borer said it varies from location to location but ranges between USD 150 to USD 900 per room per night. The average occupancy level across the chain is about up to 75 per cent.
Commenting on the Indian market, The Peninsula Shanghai General Manager Joseph W Y Chong said: “We are still learning about the real estate situation in India. We will not compromise on lower or cheaper substitutes and ideally we will go for a location which is culturally connected and centrally located.”