‘Aspiration 2022’ was well on course, suggested Puneet Chhatwal. In his address to stakeholders of IHCL, in the IHCL Annual Report 2018-19, he noted that the company had taken well-rounded measures to ensure that IHCL was on course to becoming the most profitable hospitality company in South Asia. He noted that technological and digital innovations were going to further catalyse tourism in the country.

Puneet Chhatwal exuded confidence on the road ahead for IHCL and equally on the all-round growth of the travel and tourism industry in India and the world over. He reiterated his public commitment to make IHCL the most profitable hospitality brand in South Asia. He highlighted that the company had taken numerous initiatives to cement its position as the number one hospitality brand in India. A rapid growth in the budget and mid-market segment were aiding the company’s pursuit and leading brands such as the Taj were “well-poised” to benefit from the trend, he said. Chhatwal also believed that Vivanta and Ginger were complementing the hotel company in providing an expansive gamut of offering to consumers from diverse segments.

Reflecting on some of the newer initiatives by IHCL, he noted that Taj’s foray into Plantation Trails & Stays with Ama Trails & Stays was the first branded product in the homestay segment. “In April 2019, we rolled out our new brand SeleQtions, which through its portfolio of niche hotels offers specialised experiences to guests. With this reimagined brandscape, we augmented our development pipeline significantly,” he further wrote.

Taj’s international business, which formed 15 per cent of the total operational inventory, also witnessed a healthy turnaround, backed by good performances by hotels in The USA and UK, he informed.

Tech and digital innovations aiding tourism

IHCL MD suggested that a more favourable demand-supply dynamics had fanned the upswing in ARRs and RevPAR. He added that all-India occupancy levels had also clocked upwards of 65 per cent in 2018, which was notably the highest in the past decade. He believed that technological and digital innovations were catalysing growth in the sector and the government’s focus on augmenting digital infrastructure was a notable step towards establishing India as an attractive destination providing “digital convenience” to visitors.

The luxury segment: trends ahead

Chhatwal submitted that global travellers were increasingly looking for a personalised and authentic experience from luxury hotels. Wellness and sustainability were “emerging dimensions” in the hospitality industry and patrons were keen on sampling holistic experiences with nutrition and yoga in the ambit.

Committed to sustainable practices

Holding on to one of its core values, IHCL was committed to its social responsibilities and was involved in numerous skill-development and community development initiatives. He added that the company was committed to incorporate best-practices, including procuring local and sustainable materials to “accomplish a higher benchmark.”