25 years of leading change

Fortune Hotels aims to establish a 50:50 balance of business and leisure mix in its portfolio, says Samir MC, Managing Director, Fortune Park Hotels Ltd

It was in 1995 that Fortune Park Hotels Limited was conceptualised. A year later, in 1996, the first property opened its doors for guests in Trivandrum. This was followed by one in Ahmedabad in 1998. After a guarded yet steady entry into the then emerging midmarket segment and the powerful lineage of ITC Hotels behind them, Fortune Hotels became known as a leading first-class full-service hotel chain with a large portfolio of business hotels in early 2000s. Today, as Fortune Park Hotels Limited celebrates its silver jubilee, it has become the country’s leading chain of first-class, full-service business and leisure hotels, with 55 signed alliances and around 4,100 rooms, across 48 cities of India. 

At the helm of affairs is Samir MC, Managing Director of Fortune Park Hotels Limited, who believes in strengthening the value proposition for the owners, guests and colleagues by leveraging the strengths of the ITC legacy, brand reputation, distribution system, culinary skill set, profit delivery as well as the knowledge of running hotels across the country over the last 25 years. “We have had a kaleidoscopic journey as we set out to execute the foresight and vision that our leadership had in 1996. A midmarket to upscale hotel chain, with small to medium inventories, focussed on a 100 per cent asset light strategy was relatively unknown back then. We penetrated the length and breadth of India, starting with flagship business hotels in key Indian cities and then entering into new and lesser-known Tier 2, Tier 3 and Tier 4 markets; a characteristic we continue to carry with us in our DNA. Hence, we remain brand leaders in Durgapur, Dalhousie, Ahmedabad, Madurai, Vapi, Vellore and Hubballi to name a few,” says Samir. 

Fortune Resort Benaulim Goa

Fortune Hotels has defined sub-brands under which the hotels are being operated by the chain: Fortune Select, Fortune Park, Fortune Inn and Fortune Resort such that the travellers easily match their requirements with the chain’s offerings. “The sub-brands, present across the length and breadth of India including in metros, non-metros, Tier 3 and Tier 4 as well as popular holiday destinations, cater to different categories of guests. Fortune Selects are usually large inventory premium upscale hotels, followed by Fortune Parks at business and leisure locations and Fortune Resorts set in the leisure space. Fortune Inns are generally smaller inventory hotels, offering an ideal full-service proposition to our value-centric guests,” shares Samir. At present, Fortune Hotels portfolio mix comprises 30 per cent hotels in leisure space and the rest are business hotels or mixed use properties. “While our primary model is currently on managed hotels, we continue evaluating different operating models including franchise model,” he puts in. 

Fortune Select Exotica, Navi Mumbai


The year 2020 was transformational, be it with regards to the turmoil the pandemic caused to individuals, businesses and the world or the innovative and disruptive measures most took to survive it. “Like most hotel chains, we too spent a majority of our time acclimatising to the new business environment, its challenges and learnings,” explains Samir. Post-pandemic, communication with stakeholders, both internal and external, considerably increased. “The market is dynamic today and to ensure success in the revival phase, we continue to review our strategies more frequently than before. We focus on what is truly important for us – business objectives, recovery path, sentiments of the hotel ownership, and the safety and well-being of employees, customers, vendors and partners,” he shares. 

Fortune Park Pushpanjali, Durgapur

Amidst an unsettling pandemic environment, Samir says that they learnt to don multiple hats more confidently at the same time and continue to pursue the business measures they had taken. “We readjusted, simulated our strategies and adopted a quick thinking approach to gain maximum share of business possible,” he avers. 

The team at Fortune Hotels continues to cement their efforts in driving new avenues of business due to changing buyer and travel behaviour, and working closely with hotels to revive business across the portfolio. “We have introduced many new approaches to adjust to the ‘New Normal’ and ensure a safe and hygienic hassle-free stay for guests. Today, ‘Safe Stays @ Fortune’ has become a core element of guest expectation and hygiene and wellbeing has gained a lot more importance. We have introduced heightened safety protocols across our hotels including acquiring CORE 19 (Covid Secure) Safe Practices Protocol. At present, half of our operating hotels have chugged ceaselessly to attain the stringent ISO 9001 certification for Covid Practices and Protocols and the rest are working hard to achieve it,” he informs. 

Fortune Park Dalhousie

While customer outlook remains partly anticipative at Fortune Hotels, the occupancies have begun to surge and have grown healthier in Q3 as compared to the earlier part of the year. Samir observes that MICE and events are steadily growing too. “Business hotels are not yet gung-ho but strong signs of recovery are clear in most markets. ADRs have steadied as well. Each month, we are witnessing an increase in occupancy patterns over the previous month which is a positive trend,” he says.  

From a development viewpoint, consolidation and new hotel signings is the buzzword at Fortune Hotels. “Over the past year-and-a-half, in spite of the pandemic-related challenges, we signed 12 properties and opened three remarkable hotels. We launched a Fortune Park in Dalhousie end of last year, opened Fortune Park Airport Road Hubballi in April 2021 and opened Fortune Resort Benaulim in South Goa. We entered alliances in unique markets like Deoghar, Tiruppur, Haldwani and Hoshiarpur and continued our inroads into familiar locations like Delhi, Candolim (North Goa) and Benaulim (South Goa). Further, we have added two pilgrim destinations to our portfolio of alliances – Katra and Amritsar and an abode in the hills in Kufri. We have also signed our first property in the Northeast with Kalimpong, West Bengal as we actively pursue a few more interesting locations in that region. As the year takes a turn, we want to wish it adieu by signing at least two more interesting properties to enrich our portfolio,” he says. 

Fortune Inn Grazia Ghaziabad


The travel mindset of the customer is still divided between being anticipative, pragmatic and carefree. But safety and wellbeing remain paramount factors in assessing value propositions offered by businesses. Samir feels as consumer beliefs and behaviours change, it becomes paramount for the hotel to keep changing with the emerging patterns and perhaps influence them. “We leverage on unbiased guest feedback received across social media to understand consumer insights in depth. Through them we try and understand their current beliefs and expectations, moments of delight and dissent as well as happiness peaks. We have tried to reinvent our current offerings based on new guest beliefs and their emerging habits. We try and analyse consumer beliefs and behaviours at a granular level and constantly try to surprise or delight them by way of our services. Today customer is very value-focussed and bends towards hyper personalisation,” he explains.  

Fortune Park Haridwar Facade

On the growth front with domestic tourism opening up and the world looking to holiday and work across unique locations, the focus on leisure has grown at Fortune Hotels. “We aim to give our customers value-centric offerings in unique locations to help them discover new places of interest. We are looking to grow all our sub-brands across India as per the product definition, USP of the property and our established brand guidelines, with an aim to deliver great guest experiences, resulting in superior returns for the owners.” shares Samir. 


In the asset light model that the Fortune Hotels operates, the focus is on ensuring that people can be the key differentiator in guest experience and their skills and knowledge updated at all times. “Fortune Hotels ensures the talent topics are visualised and addressed proactively in the organisational strategy. To remain competitive in operating markets and to be able to achieve the projected growth rate, we’ve worked towards creating a learning organisation that is agile enough to take on any challenges. This, to a certain extent, required some talent transformation as well,” he says.  

Fortune Miramar Goa Facade

Samir shares that Fortune Hotels has a robust career management framework where they have clearly articulated capability enhancement plans for each role level in operations that one must accomplish (including putting the learning to use) before aspiring for growth in the next role level. Succession planning and talent readiness is assessed through structured talent reviews on a half-yearly basis, wherein the department heads take the ownership of developing and grooming their team members.   


While travel to the properties is the most exciting part of the job, it takes a fair amount of time allocation, feels Samir. “The work and family balance comes thanks to my wonderful team who take on a lot of pressure. Over the years, we have been able to establish expectations of each other clearly which allows us to deliver our objectives well,” says Samir.

Outside work, most of Samir’s time is spent with family – wife Padma, and teenaged girls Shraddha and Shreya, and their rescue indie retriever, Theodore. Samir enjoys playing badminton whenever he can, though his all-time favourite childhood sport is football. Samir loves reading as he believes the habit is a gateway to an open mind. “A good book paired with some good masala chai is my way to de-stress. Preferred reads on my bookshelf are The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, Jim Collins’ Built To Last and most recently Believe, authored by Shantha de Silva’s who mentored me over a major part of my leadership journey. 

This article was published in BW hotelier issue dated '' with cover story titled 'INVESTMENT SPECIAL ISSUE VOL 7, ISSUE 6'

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