Reservations intact but hotel chains are wary


Indian hotel companies are preparing to feel the pinch after the recent discovery of Omicron, the new variant of Covid-19 that is rapidly spreading around the world, in India.

While hotels that get large international bookings run the risk of being affected by travel restrictions, companies expect domestic bookings to be unaffected due to decent immunization coverage and capacity. of consumers to better cope with the virus.

For example, the Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach initially estimated that its full-year activity would be around 65% of pre-pandemic levels. While he hasn’t seen a substantial drop in bookings so far, he expects consumers to rearrange their travel plans for Christmas and New Years, leading to a loss of business in the near future. term. “With the current restrictions on international travel, the number of international travelers will be less than expected and we will focus on domestic travel,” said Managing Director Gorav Arora. Joyjit Chakravorty, general manager of the Hilton Garden Inn in New Delhi, echoes a similar concern. The hotel company expects cancellations of international reservations for January. “We receive international travelers for medical tourism which represents nearly 10% of our activity. It remains an uncertainty for the future, ”says Chakravorty. In addition, multinationals will review their travel plans. If cases increase in India, very soon domestic bookings will also be affected, Chakravorty says.

The pandemic, which has been around for almost two years now, has hit the hospitality industry. Intermittent closures and restrictions have crippled many businesses, especially small and medium-sized businesses, and triggered job losses. According to estimates by the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI), more than 20-30% of hotels and restaurants in the country have closed permanently since the start of the pandemic and more than 20% of hotels. and restaurants have not. open since the imposition of the first confinement. Another wave of Covid will derail the recovery of the sector which has seen some recovery in activity in recent months.

For Tarika hotels, which cater mainly to international travelers, revenue fell by as much as 50% as the new variant resulted in a drop in bookings. “The new variant has seriously affected consumer sentiment. We initially expected the holiday season to go well, but the emergence of Omicron is again a big challenge, ”said owner and director Tarika Batra. Manoj Agarwal, head of asset management at InterGlobe Hotels, expects the number of international clients to decline in the near term. Domestic travel, however, is expected to remain stable as authorities are better prepared this time around and have taken swift action to control the spread of the new variant.

Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Bangalore, saw a slight decline in domestic bookings. However, Managing Director Srijan Vadhera is unfazed. Vadhera says hotel guests prefer longer stays, and the brand’s new Christmas and New Years packages will attract local tourists. In fact, Woods at Sasan, which is located in the middle of the Gir Forest of Gujarat, expects to welcome more customers in the coming days because, given the concern over the new Covid strain, consumers will likely opt for for quiet outdoor retreats away from shopping malls. “With the new Covid strain, we are seeing that people are more informed and prepared than they were before, and they will continue to prefer domestic tourism to remote places. People opt for modern wellness retreats with healings, such as reiki, tai chi, sound wellness and yoga, ”says founder Maulik Bhagat. The Arora at Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach is hopeful that the company’s recovery in business will be strong due to its prime location and diverse clientele.


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