New premium hotels expand across India

The Indian luxury hotels market is being driven by an expanding middle class with significant disposable income, as well as the lucrative wedding industry

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In the past week, three renowned international hotel chains disclosed their plans to introduce their luxury brands to India. Hilton's Waldorf Astoria and Minor Hotels' Anantara brand are all set to mark their first appearance in India in Jaipur, while they have selected Hyderabad as the destination to unveil the Radisson Collection brand. 

Expressing his views at the Hotel Investment Conference — South Asia held in Bengaluru, Marriott International CEO mentioned that the luxury segment in India offers significant growth opportunities for the hotel group. One member emphasised that Marriott is still in the initial phases of crafting its luxury portfolio in India and will persistently focus on this sector in the times ahead.

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Further boosting their presence in India, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts also declared their intention to establish a property in Agra by 2025. The brand is making notable strides in India, with four promising properties currently in the pipeline. The CEO of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, remarked, "With the addition of Agra, the brand's footprint will encompass India's northern Golden Triangle, along with Jaipur and Udaipur."

Market Potential

The surge in luxury travel in India can be attributed to the escalating count of high-net-worth individuals and the expanding middle-class demographic. A Credit Suisse report predicts that the number of millionaires in India will rise from 796,000 in 2021 to 1.6 million by 2026.

Furthermore, as indicated by a Wealth Report, India witnessed an eleven-fold growth in its ultra-rich population over the last decade, propelling it to the third position globally in terms of the billionaire population, following the United States and China in 2021.

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Benefits of the New premium hotels to Indians economy

Last week saw several significant developments in India's travel and hospitality sectors:

  • Radisson Collection's Expansion: Radisson Collection's entry into India is expected to be operational by Q2 2026. Simultaneously, Anantara Jaipur Hotel and Waldorf Astoria, launching in 2023 and 2027 respectively, aim to tap into India's thriving weddings and events industry. 

Hilton's Asia Pacific president, indicated that the Waldorf Astoria Jaipur will focus on weddings, meetings, and events, aligning with India's substantial expenditure on weddings, which ranks as the fourth largest industry in the country.

  • Wadia Group's Aviation Plans: The Wadia Group, an Indian conglomerate, is reportedly discussing options with strategic partners to sell a majority stake or exit entirely from the loss-making budget airline Go First (formerly GoAir). 

After posting its biggest annual loss in fiscal 2022, the airline grappled with operational issues, including aircraft grounding due to engine-related supply chain disruptions. Despite investing around $366.2 million in the past 15 months, the Group's investment remains cautious until the issue is resolved.

  • JW Marriott's Goa Entry: Marriott International's luxury portfolio, JW Marriott, made its debut in Goa with the opening of JW Marriott Goa. The 151-room hotel, located minutes away from the popular Chapora Fort, marked a significant milestone as Marriott International's 150th opening in South Asia. 

This comes as Marriott International's CEO, emphasised plans to expand the group's presence across India with a target of 250 properties by 2025.

  • Indian Airport Transformation Plan: The Indian government initiated a transformative plan to establish Indian airports as aviation hubs, commencing with Delhi Airport. This initiative aims to enhance connectivity and reduce connection times between flights. 

The Civil Aviation Minister noted that collaborative efforts are underway to prepare Delhi Airport to become a hub, with the hiring of consultants to study international benchmarks and guide the transformation process.

  • IHCL's New Goa Property: The Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL), announced the opening of The Yellow House, Anjuna, an IHCL SeleCtions hotel in Goa. The heritage property, featuring 49 rooms and various amenities, is aligned with IHCL's strategy to expand its presence in Goa, taking advantage of the region's strong tourism potential.
  • Air India Express's Route Enhancement: Indian budget carrier Air India Express expanded its services from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala's capital, to Dubai and Abu Dhabi. This increase in services is anticipated to enhance connectivity, with the airline becoming a prominent operator from Thiruvananthapuram in terms of international flights.
  • ITC Hotel Group's Expansion Plans: ITC Hotel Group's upper upscale brand, has outlined plans to add three more properties in Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand. The company's expansion strategy encompasses multiple locations, including Gwalior, Manali, and Dehradun.
  • Railway Accommodations for Disabled Individuals: Indian Railways has reserved berths, particularly lower ones, for people with disabilities and their attendants in mail and express trains. This initiative underscores efforts to enhance accessibility and comfort for individuals with disabilities across various train classes.
  • Air Mauritius's Flight Resumption: Air Mauritius, the national carrier of Mauritius, is set to resume direct flights between Delhi and Port Louis with biweekly flights. Utilising Airbus A330 aircraft, this step aims to offer enhanced connectivity to and from India's capital.

These developments reflect the dynamic landscape of India's travel, hospitality, and aviation industries, showcasing ongoing efforts to cater to diverse traveller needs and promote growth within the sector.

Major challenges faced by the New premium hotels

The expansion of new premium hotels across India is accompanied by several major challenges:

  • Competition and Saturation: The influx of premium hotels can lead to intense competition and market saturation, making it difficult for individual properties to differentiate themselves and attract a consistent guest base.
  • Skilled Workforce Shortage: Ensuring a skilled and well-trained workforce to provide the level of service expected in premium hotels can be challenging, as the demand for qualified personnel may exceed the available talent pool.
  • Infrastructure and Connectivity: Many regions in India lack adequate infrastructure and reliable connectivity, which can hinder guest experiences, especially for international travellers accustomed to seamless amenities.
  • Sustainable Practices: Maintaining sustainable practices can be demanding due to the resource-intensive nature of luxury hotels. Balancing opulent offerings with eco-friendly operations presents a significant challenge.
  • Cultural Sensitivity and Localization: Adapting to diverse cultural norms and preferences while maintaining a consistent standard of luxury service is a complex challenge, requiring a delicate balance between global standards and local customs.

Addressing these challenges requires a comprehensive approach, incorporating innovative strategies, stakeholder collaboration, and a commitment to providing exceptional experiences while respecting local environments and communities.


What recent developments have occurred in the expansion of premium hotels in India?

In recent times, several international hotel chains have announced their plans to introduce luxury brands to various Indian cities. Hilton's Waldorf Astoria and Minor Hotels' Anantara brand are set to debut in Jaipur and the Radisson Collection brand. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts also revealed its intention to open a property in Agra by 2025.

Which Indian cities are witnessing the launch of these new premium hotels?

Jaipur and Hyderabad are among the cities where international hotel chains are introducing their luxury brands. Jaipur will see the debut of Hilton's Waldorf Astoria and Minor Hotels' Anantara brand and Radisson Collection brand. Additionally, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is planning to establish a property in Agra.

What was Marriott International CEO Anthony Capuano's perspective on the growth potential in India's luxury segment?

Marriott International CEO highlighted the significant growth prospects in India's luxury hotel sector. Expressing that Marriott is still in the early stages of expanding its luxury portfolio in India and emphasised their continued focus on this segment in the future.

How is the growth of luxury travel in India being fueled?

The growth of luxury travel in India is being driven by the increasing number of high-net-worth individuals and the rising middle class. According to projections, the number of millionaires in India is expected to double from 796,000 in 2021 to 1.6 million by 2026. The country's ultra-rich population also grew significantly over the last decade, making India the third country globally with the highest number of billionaires, after the United States and China.

What does the expansion of premium hotels mean for India's tourism industry?

The expansion of premium hotels reflects the growing demand for luxury accommodation and experiences in India's tourism industry. With the influx of international hotel chains introducing their luxury brands in various cities, India is poised to become an attractive destination for luxury travellers and high-end events, such as weddings and meetings. This expansion aligns with India's status as a rising economic power, attracting both domestic and international travellers seeking upscale hospitality experiences.