IHG has opened its first limited-service Holiday Inn Express-brand hotel in India in the booming western city of Ahmedabad, the country’s fifth-largest city and a growing centre for its automobile and IT industries.
Ahmedabad is located at the top, west side of the Indian peninsula, close to both the sea and the border with Pakistan. In 2010, it was listed as the fastest growing city in India and third fastest in the world, after Chengdu and Chongqing, by Forbes Magazine. Douglas Martell, vice president of operations in South West Asia for IHG said the city had been chosen to debut the brand because of the demand for mid-scale accommodation there.
“As the capital city of one of India’s most successful states, Ahmedabad has come into its own as a leading investment destination. It is seeing tremendous economic growth and overall development,” he said. “We see strong local demand for branded hotels that people know and trust – the number of mid-scale hotels in India is currently just 15 per cent of its 117,800 hotel rooms, and we foresee incredible headroom for growth. If you look at domestic trips, Ahmedabad is one of the cities benefiting from a strong domestic market and a clear gap exists in the mid-market segment.”
The city is a hub for automobile manufacturing. Indian carmaker Tata established a 725-acre factory near the city to manufacture its Nano model cars. In mid-2011 Ford also announced that they would invest over US$1 billion to establish a plant in the vicinity of the city. Other car manufacturers such as Peugeot and Suzuki are also reported to be considering the city.
Alongside cars, Ahmedabad is also a growing centre for the IT industry. Tata Consultancy Services has an office in the city and last year Infosys was reported to be looking to establish a base there.
The Holiday Inn Express Ahmedabad has 173 rooms with ergonomic workspaces, 32-inch televisions, iPod docking stations, a choice of soft or firm pillows, and a three-headed massaging shower. Complimentary wifi is available all through the hotel.
There is a 24-hour business centre with desktop computers and printing, copying and fax services. The hotel also has a small gym and a self-service laundry.
Room rates include complimentary breakfast buffet, or a takeaway breakfast from the hotel’s Grab & Go counter.
Grab & Go counter
The hotel is located in the northern part of the city centre, in the heart of the commercial district and close to the river. It is about 10km from the Sardar Patel Industrial park in the south of the city. The airport is 15 minutes drive away.
The newly opened property is a joint venture between IHG and the Indian hospitality group Duet India Hotels. In the next five years, the two groups will collaborate to open 18 more Holiday Inn Express hotels in key cities across India. Martell said that the group saw much potential for the limited-service brand in India.
“The concept of limited service hotel is somewhat new to India, giving us the incredible opportunity to introduce consumers to the concept of high-quality, limited service hotels,” he said. “A large proportion of corporate travellers in India are mid-level executives and a bulk of leisure travellers are from the middle class. IHG believes that we need to cater to the needs of this segment.”
For more information, visit www.hiexpress.com