The Keys Way

The Keys Way
Oct 2016 , by , in Interviews

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.

  evershine-keys-prima-resort-mahabaleshwar Evershine Keys Prima Resort, Mahabaleshwar

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.

evershine-keys-prima-resort-lobbyEvershine Keys Prima Resort Lobby

The marketing strategy

I would split the growth in two ways. First would be the portfolio growth and the other one would be to increase the distribution network. For  portfolio growth, we are focusing now on smart cities like Ludhiana, Pune, etc. We are also sourcing out hotels in Vadodara, Coimbatore and others. So we have a focused approach towards the smart cities. Secondly we will try and attract all the leisure destinations which are in and around our business hotels, so that the offering becomes complete. These are the two approaches that we are focusing on to expand our portfolio. Also, we are providing multiple formats to the asset owners today so that the investors trust and value is restored. We have flexibility in different formats.

From the distribution point of view, we have invested in two areas. One is into creating a revenue management team which helps you in optimizing the asset. We have a huge team which looks after all these aspects. With such diversity in different fields, it is proving as an advantage for us.

The future expansion plans

Keys Hotels is constantly looking at innovative tie-ups to strength the distribution capability. On B2B front, we have tied up with many start-ups and have explored channels which were earlier un-tapped.One of the strong points about us is that we have customer referral and repeat business. As we keep expanding our portfolio, there is a natural transition to them to move to hotels. The natural movement of companies in the hotels happens because of the validation of the product offerings at the right prices.

The hotel has already started aggressively in this direction with three new launches – Keys Hotels in Vishakhapatnam, Keys Hotels Malabar Gate in Calicut and Keys Lite Om Niwas in Jaipur.  While Vishakhapatnam is an owned hotel the other two are franchisee hotels. The company also plans to open 8-10 new management contract hotels in the next 12-18 months by adopting asset light strategy


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