Interview with Anshu Sarin, CEO of Berggruen Hotels, New York
The Keys Way
Keys Hotels is funded by Berggruen Holdings, a New York-headquartered proprietary fund. Currently in its 10th year, Keys Hotels was formed in September 2006. AnshuSarin, CEO, Berggruen Hotels Pvt. Ltd, briefs about the hotel’s asset light strategy and growth plans.
Keys Hotels Portfolio
Today’s customer needs choice and under our brand portfolio we cater to a wider set of audience. There are currently 25+ Keys Hotels in India spread across more than 15+ cities. Keys Prima offers affordable luxury, Keys Hotels cater to the business traveler and Keys Lite is for someone looking at just bed and breakfast.
• Keys Prima Hotels: “Affordable luxury”. It is the premium product category for upscale business and leisure travellers
• Keys Hotels: “A smart choice”. It is the core midmarket product category catering to the needs and expectations of business and leisure travellers
• Keys Lite Hotels: “A value brand”. This is an alternate accommodation choice for economy travellers
The differentiators for Key Hotels
We are an international company which is funded by an international body and one of the few companies in India, which offers three different product variations catering to three different customer segments. One of the key differentiators is the cross platforms and offline and online channels for booking. We have contracted as well as the retail customers. It was after a lot of research about the gaps and the demands in this sector, we designed three product offerings
At the upper end of our portfolio, Keys Prima range of hotels come with facilities like spas, swimming pools, salons and fine dining restaurants. The standard range combines comfort with functionality providing business facilities with a relaxing ambience. In the new and emerging space of smart yet budget accommodation, Key Lite hotel rooms are more about the practicality, functionality and affordability. .
Growing need for asset light hotels and growth in secondary cities
Asset light strategy is the right strategy because it is the best way to have presence in growth markets like India. It needs special capability of understanding operations and distribution approach. Keys Hotels has presence in multiple formats, but we will not own the assets at the end of the day. If possible, the company can do a joint venture though, it will not actively acquire assets and start building hotels.
The smaller metros are the future growth centres as more businesses are setting up their base in tier II and III cities which equates to a potentially large corporate clientele. Therefore, it is important to have presence in these placesl. We have recently launched our new hotels in Tier II markets such as Vizag, Calicut and Jaipur.
In India, we have invested in real estate, car rental, infrastructure, education and other assets because the company saw growth in these segments. In the hotels segment, the strategy is to target expansion via asset light strategy for future growth in the Indian market.
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