Shruti Shibulal, the Promoter and Director - Strategy and Development, talks about the draw of South India in the luxury hospitality space and the way forward. The daughter of Infosys co-founder SD Shibulal, Shruti is at the helm of the private hospitality brand based out of Bengaluru, which currently owns and manages 600 rooms in India and Germany.
She is hopeful that by 2025, the group will add 400 more rooms to their inventory, bringing the total to 1,000 rooms. The Tamara Coorg, a 56-key luxury resort, and the Lilac Hotel, a collection of 28 serviced apartments in Bengaluru, are the Group’s other properties.
Shruti says, “We have four properties currently in development, apart from the five-star property in Kodai that we just launched (which has 53 suites). These properties are in Bengaluru, Guruvayur, Alappuzha and Thiruvananthapuram (which will be ready by the year end).
The luxury space in India is very interesting too. The draw of setting up such a hotel in Kodai was because we found that there was a certain gap in this space in this region. There are several hotels in the mid-segment here, but the luxury segment is yet untapped.”
On the expansion plans for the brand, she says, “We are currently concentrating on the luxury segment, where we have close to 100 rooms. We have 150 rooms coming up in Thiruvananthapuram in the business hotel space, of which 80 rooms will come up in the first phase. Our budget hotel Lilac has 28 rooms, we are adding 23 more in the next one year.
Guruvayur will have another 30 odd keys. I feel very bullish about the mid-segment and we are exploring options to set up budget hotels in religious towns in Tamil Nadu, and other parts of South India.”
Spiritual tourism on the rise: Study
Spiritually motivated tourism is growing in the country, as more and more Indians are going to popular pilgrimages, such as Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and Puri in Odisha, according to a report. Spiritual tourism is one of the biggest untapped markets for domestic travel as close to 60 per cent domestic tourism in India is religion-based, according to Bajpai. “To support this upcoming trend, the government has allocated special budgets for creating infrastructure around religious places,” he said.