HospitalityBiz India
Hotels FoodService Operations Ministry Associations Equipment Editorial HR Technology Technology Advisory Board Community
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter instagram
    Home > Interviews

‘Investors have to show patience and understand cyclical nature of business’ - Chender Baljee, Chairman & Managing Director, ROHL

Royal Orchid Hotels Ltd.(ROHL) is a publically listed hotel company of India which has achieved a strong footprint in the Indian market over the last decade. With 27 hotels across 19 cities including one in Tanzania, ROHL is now keen to expand through management route both in India and overseas markets. Chender Baljee, Chairman & Managing Director, ROHL speaks to Hospitality Biz on overall hospitality industry scenario

Thursday, March 6, 2014, 13:00 Hrs  [IST]

chender_baljee.jpgQ. Royal Orchid Hotels has been able to establish a robust footprint in the domestic market in the last one decade.  The hotel company has recently ventured into overseas market with your first property in Tanzania.  As a leader of the group, how do you look at the journey of the group so far and what were the milestones?
Chender Baljee:
The first hotel of the Royal Orchid group was  started operations in 2001 on Old Airport Road Bengaluru. The business was publicly listed  in February 2006 on BSE & NSE India as Royal Orchid Hotel Ltd.(ROHL) . Today, the hotel group has become an established  player  in  the  hotel  industry  with  presence  in  19 cities  with  27  properties having 2,000 rooms. The brand today is present across categories: Five-star, Four-star and Resort/Luxury. We are looking at expanding within and outside the country. We are in a consolidation mode and are looking at expanding through the management contract route. By 2016 we look forward to achieve 4000 keys. With established business pan-India and Tanzania, we are confident of achieving newer milestones in the coming years.

Q. There has been a drastic transformation in supply-demand dynamics in hotel inventory in the last couple of years.  How do you look at the current crisis in the hotel market, and how is it going to play out in future?
New demand will always take some time to come. To keep demand going one has to keep  on organising events, provide quality FnB to increase foot falls and innovate other initiatives like creating demand for domestic leisure weekend travel which is already on the rise. Hotels have to cash in  on the same through quality engagement as today’s discerning domestic traveler also has a keen interest in venturing into newer areas which can keep him engaged or has something to do with adventure sports or culture. The state governments also need to contribute to the infrastructure to help boost tourism so that there is more domestic leisure travel.

Q. Royal Orchid has been positioning hotels largely as Business Hotels.  It is the business travel that gets impacted whenever there is a financial meltdown.  How did your hotels manage to sail through the slowdown in the last couple of years?
Our network of sales offices  across key cities like Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai , Chennai, Jaipur, Goa , Pune and Hyderabad helped us to  penetrate  deep into the market and  get good market share despite adverse market conditions.  This was strongly supported by our 24-hour central reservation system, and OTA partners like  Travelocity, Travel guru , Expedia, Yatra, Make MyTrip, Cleartrip, etc.  Occupancies  at a national level have shown an increase up to four per cent with good ARR’s in the  Tier II cities than the metros and there has been an increase in RevPARs  too.   

Q. As a hotel investor,  what are the trends you are witnessing in the hotel investment climate in the country in terms of raising capital and equity for hotel projects?
This sector has a cyclical business with regular growth and lean periods. Investors should look at it as a form of long term return on their Investments, and  banks  need to work together with operators to create a futuristic infrastructure. Investors need to be patient and understand that operators cannot influence the political or economic global turn of events. Raising capital is still going to be a challenge for some time especially in the metros. As land is cheaper in Tier II and other unexplored destinations, more investments are expected in those places.

Five-star and Five-Star Deluxe hotels require  large  investment.  There is no guarantee on return on investments taking into consideration the volatility in the market . Hence,  investments in budget hotels looks much more promising, as  they require lesser capital investment.  We are looking at going the management contract way with our business budget brand Regenta Central. We already  have hotels in Chandigarh, Jaipur, Bharuch , and Ahmedabad.

Q. Skill shortage is a major concern for hospitality industry in India.  How is Royal Orchid  trying to engage training institutes to maintain regular flow of skilled manpower to support your growth?
The focus of education should be to bridge the gap between theory and practical and synergise with the latest trends in the industry. Having identified and understood the increasing need for              skilled labour in the hospitality sector, we have established  Presidency  Educational Trust . The academy is managed by hoteliers with more than four decades of experience in hospitality industry. Located in our own hotel premises, the students are exposed to hotel operations continuously as a part of their academic curriculum.  This synergy minimises the gap between theory and practice.  The institute is also affiliated to Institut Vatel in Nimes, France, therefore the students can opt for  PG studies and summer training (two to three months) in France.

We have plans to set up centres across India and overseas. With the support  from the Baljee Foundation the institute also works towards educating students from the underprivileged sections of the society.

Q. With quality hospitality education like the Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne available now in India at Lavasa, how does this augur for training and grooming future leaders within our industry?
Proper education plays a major role in grooming people employment ready for the industry.  For hospitality business, it is ultimately the people who make or break guest experience. World-over, the trend for educational institutions is to nurture students and prepare them for employment. Institutes like Ecole Hoteliere does exactly that. These institutes bring international business practices  and up-to-date curriculum designs to their centres.

Print News Email News Back
Bookmark to Add to NewsvineNewsvine Bookmark with Digg ItDigg
Add RSS to Add to Google Add to My Yahoo! Subscribe with Bloglines Subscribe
* Name :    
* Email :    
* Message :  
  H&R Johnson opens sixth Experience Store in India to service Customers, Architects & Designers as a one-stop-shop
  Beverly Wilshire launches Secret Rosé Garden for celebration of its 90th Anniversary
Receive the best of Hospitality content in your mailbox.
Weekly e-Newsletter
Events Calendar
Global Travel Mart for India
September 15-16, 2018, Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi

FHRAI Annual Convention
September 20-22, 2018, Lucknow

Kerala Travel Mart (KTM)
September 27-30, 2018, Kochi, Kerala
© Copyright 2016 Saffron Synergies Pvt Ltd