Management

Indian hotel industry to remain subdued in next 12-18 months: ICRA

The outlook for the Indian Hotel Industry over the next 12-18 months is expected to remain subdued given the gap between supply and demand. However, measures by the GoI to drive tourism through several strong policy initiatives could bring in stronger demand, supporting the industry over the next 12-18 months.

Indian Credit Ratings Agency (ICRA) estimates Q3, 2014-15 revenues to grow by five to six per cent while growth for 2014-15 is expected to be in the range of seven to nine per cent, largely driven by incremental rooms and food and beverage income. Growth is expected to accelerate to nine to 12 per cent over the next two years. Average Room Rates (ARRs) are expected to be largely flat while occupancies are estimated to improve by two to four per cent during 2014-15. Industry occupancy levels have witnessed improvement in the current fiscal however the same has been geographically concentrated in pockets like Mumbai. However, there continues to be lack of traction in Average Room Rates (ARRs)- even in markets like Mumbai, which has been maintaining a steady INR100-200 discount on y-o-y basis.

Domestic demand has showcased a growth of over 10 per cent driven by both business and leisure travellers during 2014-15. However, falling global economic sentiments have affected inbound travel and with a booking window of eight to 12 months for Western leisure travel, the impact is expected to be felt in 2015-16 as well. The drop in oil prices has also impacted inbound travel, particularly witnessed in the marked drop in Russian tourists visiting Goa’s beaches to escape the winter conditions back home. However, ICRA expects easing of visa and policy norms to support inbound travel into India even as a weaker global economy curtails traveller budget. Foreign Tourist Arrivals growth increased from 5.9 per cent in CY2013 to 7.1 per cent during CY2014.

As per ICRA Research, India has over 29,000 premium rooms under construction- to be launched over the next six years. Though there is a general perception of supply growth having eased, inventory accretion across the 12 key cities that ICRA’s premium room database tracks estimates a 10 per cent increase for 2014-15, closely following the 11 per cent addition experienced in 2013-14.

As a result of this supply demand mismatch, industry players have been resorting to significant belt tightening by keeping a check on key cost drivers like payroll expenses which have gone up only by an estimated four per cent over the last three fiscals. Hotel operators have also heightened their focus on the F&B segment, revenues of which have been consistently increasing even as ARRs and room revenues have fallen.

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