‘We expect 15 per cent plus growth over next two years’
Navin Suchanti, CEO & Managing Director, Sinclairs Hotels Ltd says the brand will continue to grow stronger through its products and service offerings
The story of Sinclairs Hotels took off in the 90s when the company was taken over by the present management. Back then, it had two units and was in dire straits. The properties badly needed renovation, staff morale was low and there were issues related to cash flow. The present management went about diligently to bring the operations under control and after a few years, the company was able to meet costs and started making profits. Having gained confidence, the management started scouting for sick properties that could be taken over and turned them around. The Port Blair and Ooty properties came into Sinclairs’ fold through this route.
With a view to developing a cluster of leisure properties in the eastern region of the country, the company acquired 20 acres of land in a picturesque location on a hilltop in Chalsa in the Dooars region of West Bengal, and constructed a property with 72 cottage style rooms with a host of facilities. Dooars was an unknown destination and in many ways, Sinclairs contributed to put it on the tourism map. Today, the property gets visitors from over 30 countries around the world. Subsequently, two more Greenfield projects were completed at Kalimpong and Burdwan.
To expand its footprint in the eastern region, Sinclairs acquired on lease Greenfield projects in Gangtok and Yangang. While Gangtok is a well-established leisure tourist destination and sees huge footfalls during the tourist season, Yangang is relatively new location in South Sikkim with amazing potential. The improvement in infrastructure and connectivity in the eastern region has resulted in an increase in the number of tourists visiting the properties of Sinclairs Hotels.
On why a majority of the properties, except Ooty and Port Blair, are located in the eastern region of the country and are there plans to make the Group’s presence felt in other regions, Navin Suchanti, CEO & Managing Director, Sinclairs Hotels Ltd, says, “The driving force has been our focus on a cluster approach. At the same time, our assets in eastern India are spread over and hence the risk is mitigated to a great extent. We have plans to diversify geographically and looking at assets at other locations in India. We will continue with our approach and stick to leisure destinations and look at developing clusters in other regions as well.”
The hospitality industry has grown but given the potential of both domestic as well as international tourism, the scope for growth is enormous. Talking on how they reach out to newer audiences, he shares, “We do it through marketing in India as well as selected countries globally. We work out special packages for them and we have been quite successful in attracting corporates for their conferences and off-sites as well as families for weddings and other social functions. There are weekend packages for the millennials who just want to take off to chill for a couple of days from their otherwise punishing schedules. Then, there are wellness packages and packages for school children and so on. We target each segment by meticulously catering to their special needs.”
Will the trend of discerning travellers choosing to explore India, its history and culture during the period of the pandemic continue to be a part of the industry, Suchanti opines, “India has immense tourism potential and only a few countries in the world are blessed with such scenic natural beauty and resources. It offers virtually everything to the travellers – from mountains and beaches to temples and monuments. Given its cultural diversity, tourists visiting any new destination are bound to experience a plethora of unique offerings. There has been an increasing trend in both domestic and international tourist movements over the past few years and while the pandemic put brakes on this, the future potential is truly unlimited.”
The Sinclairs CEO & MD says that it has been a great experience being part of the hospitality industry. “When we entered the business, we had practically no knowledge of the industry. Over a period of time, there has been lot of learnings. We were also benefitted by our association with Xander, the private equity firm which took stake in our company, several years ago. Since they had vast experience of the hotel industry, we were able to gain vital insights as well as streamline our systems and processes. As a result, today the operations are run extremely smoothly and there are systems in place for every exigency,” says Suchanti expecting the industry to have largely recovered from the pandemic and look at growth of 15 per cent plus over the next two years.
Sharing his future plans, he says, “We are a debt-free and cash-rich company, constantly on the lookout for opportunities. Our plans include both organic and inorganic. Apart from the existing surplus, there will be higher operational surplus in the coming years and we plan to use this for strategic acquisitions following both the ownership as well as the lease model. We are uniquely positioned between high luxury brand hotels and the budget hotels and the segment is growing very fast. We do believe that through our products, service offerings and expanding footprints, the Sinclairs brand will continue to grow stronger. Our unique locations, ‘value for money’ pricing and high quality standards will all contribute to the growth of the company as well as the brand.
This article was published in BW hotelier issue dated '' with cover story titled 'BW HOTELIER - THE TALENT POOL SPECIAL'
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