VITS Hotels Eyes 75 Properties, Kamats Restaurants Bids 250 Outlets Pan-India by 2027

BW Hotelier conversed with Chandrakant Shetty, CEO & Director of Vitizen Hotels Ltd. and Kamats Restaurants, to know more about the decade-old hotel brand’s and age-old distinguished restaurant brand Kamats’ strategic expansion plans ahead, both in India and abroad.

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VITIZEN HOTELS Ltd., popularly known as VITS Hotels – a homegrown chain of luxury business hotels, established early in the year 2008 was started by Vikram Kamat, son of Vitthal Kamat who has been well-known in the hospitality industry for marshalling the brand Kamats to be an established name in both hotels and restaurants space in India.

BW Hotelier conversed with Chandrakant Shetty, CEO & Director of Vitizen Hotels Ltd. and Kamats Restaurants, to know more about the decade-old hotel brand’s and age-old distinguished restaurant brand Kamats’ strategic expansion plans ahead, both in India and abroad. Excerpts:

With a decade passed in the hospitality industry since the founding of VITS Hotels in 2008, how has the market served for the company?

Chandrakant Shetty: We have had a history of owning and operating hotels, however, with the globally prospering hospitality industry, we too are expanding and exploring new avenues to penetrate further in the Indian hospitality market, hence we are now actively taking over hotels in three operational models i.e. Lease, Management, and Franchise. Our recent property – the VITS Upper Thane, Bhiwandi – is based on the lease model. The asset-light model would be our major focus to expand our brand pan-India. In terms of our portfolio, we have been strategically present in metros and Tier-II, III cities of India to tap the diverse customer market including MICE, Corporates, Leisure, Friends & Family, Weddings, etc., from the potential locations.

According to you what are the current trends to welcome more patrons at hotels? How are you applying them at VITS Hotels?

CS: I feel it is all about the strength of the Brand’s Regional Sales Offices (RSOs) that creates an impact ultimately to bring in more customers, while also retaining the loyal clientele. Furthermore, a hotel of decent size, judicious room inventory, good banquet & conferences space, and scrumptious F&B, integrally put the ROI cycle in motion with smaller gestation periods. Speaking about this, our restaurant brand Kamats has been a part of the maximum of our hotels, due to which we receive a good footfall of customers on a day-to-day basis. Also, we keep our room inventory on the likes of boutique properties to cater to the niche and potential market and be a magnet to tourists due to our in-room design and amenities. In our case, we have a strong presence of 14-18 RSOs spread pan-India, due to which the Occupancy at our hotels is always afloat with our targets Y-O-Y. We also have a separate Travel Agents’ programme which is called the VITS Sales Agent Programme – an online programme patented by us, tailor-made for the travel agents, which really helps us to boost up the revenue. Also, personalised touch with the OTAs has helped us surge our revenues throughout our room inventory significantly.

Tell us about the VITS-Exhicon (Thailand) Co. Ltd. How has the Thailand market served for the brand? What are your expansion plans in the East Asia market?

CS: The VITS-Exhicon Co. Ltd. was a JV between VITS and exhibitions major Exhicon, where we together successfully opened three hotels in Patong, the most preferred beach destination in

Phuket, Thailand. VITS has been a consultant in the JV and Exhicon operates all the three hotels. We forayed into the Thailand market by setting up our own company - Vitizen Hotels Thailand Ltd. in Thailand of which VITS Patong Dynasty is our first hotel in the country. VITS Patong Dynasty is a 50-room property that boasts of the Kebab House Restaurant, swimming pool, etc., and is strategically located in the vicinity of the Patong Beach, which has been running successfully.

We are planning to enter Bangkok and Pattaya cities in Thailand as well with one property in each of the cities which will open in the next two years. Seeing the large tourist footfall from India to these two cities round the year, and seeking good response from our existing property in Phuket, in a bid to provide the patrons – Indians as well as International travellers – with a product that feels of home away from home and is value-for-money at the same time, we at VITS have ideated our expansion in Thailand accordingly. Moreover, in the Southeast Asian market, we are also looking forward to introducing our hotels in Bangladesh and Indonesia is also there on our radar.

Being founded in 2008, what has been the Y-O-Y growth for VITS Hotels in terms of Revenue, Occupancy across the portfolio in India, etc.?

CS: Of course, there has been surge and blows throughout the hospitality industry at large, so we too have been affected with the same, but, we have been stable in terms of revenue generation Y-O-Y where in 2017 we saw a rise of 38% as compared to 2016, and in 2018 until now, we have recorded 42% of growth, as we added more hotels to our portfolio. But, if one has to see on a flat scale from the same number of units, we averagely grow at 15-20% Y-O-Y. From the brand turnover perspective, we have come up from 28 Cr to 42 Cr, which is a fairly good rise for us.

Occupancy which is majorly location-dependent, with our strong presence in resort destinations like Tier-II, III cities, we are sitting at around 78% Occ. round the year. There are few clusters which are witnessing 84-88% of Occ. also in destinations like Silvassa, Latur, Aurangabad, etc. Overall, from the company’s view, we are experiencing Occ. in line with our target figures which sits at 78-80% Occ. round the year.

What are your expansion plans in terms of the number of hotels and restaurants by the 2020 and the upcoming years?

CS: In terms of our immediate expansion plans, we are looking to have another 15-20 hotels under the VITS Hotels portfolio by the end of 2020. We currently have 81 Kamats Restaurants spread across India and are expecting to have a total of 100 of them by end-2020. On the long-term stint, we are eyeing to have a total of 75 hotels under the VITS banner and 250 Kamats Restaurants pan-India by end of 2027.


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