Currently operating 400 keys across five properties in Mumbai, Pune, and Goa, Orritel Hotels, Resorts & Service Apartments is soon coming with a property in Roha which will be an Ayurveda-centric villa-based property. The hotel company’s newest property – Orritel Convention Spa and Wedding Resort in Talegaon Dabhade opened four years ago. The 112-key four-star property that uniquely boasts of two duplex rooms at the top floors, is strategically located off the Old Pune Mumbai Highway. “We are positioned in the middle of an area which is potentially going to be one of the most prospective areas in the future. The Chakan-Talegaon belt is one of the most prospering industrial belt in India with about six automobile companies and more than 700 ancillary companies. With all the infrastructure coming in here at Talegaon, we understood the market and rather entered it before other branded hotel chains,” said Amith Dholakia, CMD, Orritel Hotels, Resorts, Service Apartments.
“The advantage of working in Talegaon is that it receives a lot of weekend traffic. There is a significant spillover from Mumbai as well as Pune,” he added. The hotel currently sees 60 per cent of occupancy and has a major clientele from weddings and MICE segment, added Dholakia. Germans, South Koreans, and Japanese visitors are major prospective patron base for the hotel, he told. “The upcoming Jindal plant for production of electric vehicles (EVs) will soon open in the city, post which, the demographics here will constitute of a significant number of foreign tourist arrivals (FTA),” he added.
Moreover, Talegaon Dabhade has been recognised to receive leisure segment visitors who visit the destination for its close vicinity to water parks and attractions including hot air balloon, Bedse Caves, Pavana River dam view point, among others, etc., told Dholakia.
Roha will soon see an Orritel branded hotel, as the destination is a potential industrial belt since the Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor ends in Mandwa, hence giving a lot of prospective corporate business, he said. “Also, many employees at POSCO and more than 100 South Korean employees in the vicinity are already working in the city, to which if we look at with a larger perspective, there is a lot of potential for hotels and excursions in the location,” he informed. The property is scheduled to open in the next 4-5 months and will have 50 keys in phase-I.
Speaking on the challenges faced by the hotel group, Dholakia mentioned that there is a lot of local issues that includes pressure from the ‘sons of the soil’ who seek employment but often lack the skill set required by Orritel. “We also face problems and challenges like high input tax; quality and skilled labour, and high costs spared on following certain norms which are standard irrespective of the categories of hotels hence making it challenging for us,” he added.
Talking on the impact of GST on Orritel’s business, Dholakia said, “GST has cut down the Octroi and other service charges, which is positive, but, we are unable to get the values back from GST, which obviously is a point of concern. Also, even if the rack rate is sitting at Rs 3500-4000, the share of OTAs come in, which is again about 30 per cent on the rooms. Furthermore, there are discounts of 10-15 per cent, for which we have to advertise the hotel at Rs 7500 and above, hence attracting a 28 per cent GST that is levied on the customers. Also, there are certain weddings’ guests who want to pay in cash which we do not allow, so there is a lot of push and pull happening for us with GST,” Dholakia added.
When queried about the business model of operation of Orritel group of hotels, Dholakia replied that their model of operation will predominantly be owning and managing the properties, because looking at the disruption there is an easy walk in and out of management contracts among various brands.
In terms of the performance recorded by the hotel group across its locations, Dholakia said that on an average they are seeing 80 per cent of occupancy. “There has been a lot of pressure on the ARRs due to disruption like the entry of Airbnb and other aggregators coming in, due to which not many hospitality players are yet ambitious on the pricing of their rooms,” said Dholakia.
“We are having seven to eight hotels in the pipeline which will be organically funded properties scheduled to open over the next few years. We are looking at Alibaug, Mandwa belt and also Gujarat after the bullet train project comes in, to further expand Orritel’s presence in India. In the upcoming projects, we will be focusing on making our hotels 100 per cent green. We are also one of the few companies to have organic choolas; we are also having our own windmills in Tamil Nadu for supplying electricity to our hotels across locations, and will also be discarding all single-use plastic articles throughout all our properties,” concluded Dholakia.