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270 branded hotels temporarily shut in India due to second COVID-19 wave


Hyatt Regency Mumbai is not the sole branded hotel to temporarily shut down in the devastating aftermath of the second Covid-19 wave. Data shared exclusively with ET by industry trackerSTRshows about 270 branded hotels totalling around 20,000 rooms have temporarily closed inIndiadue to the second wave. Eight hotels of branded chains have permanently shut down.

“The resurgence of Covid-19 cases and lockdowns across Indian states in the months of April and May 2021 resulted in a steep decline in occupancy levels for hotels in the country,” said Vidhi Godiawala, business development manager for Central and South Asia, at STR.

“Preliminary data for May 2021 indicates all India occupancy levels just shy of 20% and RevPAR below Rs 650,” she added.

While a sudden rebranding or a takeover does not happen due to the tortious interference clause in global hotel contracts, some hoteliers and consultants said post the second wave, the sector could see more rebranding and reshuffling of hotels between brands with some owners not being happy with existing partnerships. Independent hotels that are unable to sustain could also reach out to established chains to tide over the crisis.Hotels
Sudeep Jain, managing director, South West Asia at InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) said while the chain has not added any conversion hotels to its portfolio in the past few months, it is open to discussions and is ‘well-positioned’ to undertake the right opportunities.

“We do foresee an increase in rebranding or hotel conversions. Some of the smaller or independent hotels may find it hard to compete in the current environment,” he said.

Nikhil Sharma, regional director, Eurasia at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts EMEA said as the world’s largest hotel franchising company, his chain has seen an increase in conversions and many independent hoteliers switching to the support of larger, well-known brands. “In 2020 at Wyndham, we saw a large uptick in conversion properties and we are continuing to see a similar trend for this year,” he added.

Anil Chadha, COO of

ITC

Hotels said while none of the chain’s hotels shut down temporarily due to the second wave since April and May, Covid-19 has made travellers look inwards at domestic destinations and there will be a resurgence of motorable getaways.

Zubin Saxena, managing director and VP operations, South Asia at Radisson Hotel Group said the chain introduced a new brand called Radisson Individuals earlier this year which is specifically for independent hotels and local, regional hotel chains that could benefit from Radisson Hotel Group’s ‘international awareness and experience’. “We have more openings aligned under this banner in the upcoming months,” he said.

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