Lemon Tree Hotels debuts in Calcutta with a 142-room property in New Town
Lemon Tree Premier — the unmissable,14-floor, cream-coloured hotel in New Town — opens doors today
- Published 22.10.19, 7:23 PM
- Updated 27.10.19, 11:05 PM
- 3 mins read
Contemporary, efficient and fresh. Three words that best describe Lemon Tree Premier — the unmissable,14-floor, cream-coloured hotel in New Town — that opens doors today. The newest addition to the city’s hospitality sector, the upper-mid-scale category hotel is ideal for business, leisure and transit travellers. It has warmth and character, thanks to Calcutta-themed art by local artists.
The Telegraph takes the first look at the first Lemon Tree Hotels property in Calcutta.
We caught up with Sumant Jaidka, the senior vice-president, operations, of Lemon Tree Hotels at the stylish hotel lobby, to get a lowdown on the new property and the hotel chain regarded as “India’s largest in the mid-price segment”. Excerpts from the chat...
What’s the target market for Lemon Tree Premier?
For a successful hotel, there has to be a mix of corporate as well as leisure. I think we are in a unique position when it comes to the locality we are in. The infrastructure is good. We are only half-an-hour away from the airport. So, from the perspective of corporates, ITs and SEZs, the corporate world is very close to us. Normally, a hotel survives within a radius of 10km, so I think we are located beautifully.
Lemon Tree is in 35 cities and we have a strong loyalty base. This is our first property in the east, which is owned by Lemon Tree. There is one each in Siliguri and Gangtok but those aren’t owned by us. Our focus is strong here. If you draw a straight line across India, you will see that the west has progressed very fast while the east has been left behind. But initiatives have been taken to promote this region, especially regions beyond Bengal, as tourist destinations, and we are working in that direction too. That’s why we are here. Whenever there’s a hotel in one particular city, you aren’t only catering to the residents of that city but also looking at outbound business. It always helps in increasing the recall value.
Was Siliguri and Gangtok more like testing waters before you opened doors in Calcutta?
Both the properties are doing exceptionally well. It has given us the confidence to come here and we are looking at many more projects in this part of the country. This is just a stepping stone to something bigger and better. Whenever we position a particular hotel, the brand is not led by me. The positioning strategy, be it financials or products, is decided by what the city can pay. They decide what kind of brand they deserve. We are clear in our minds that the mid or the upper-mid-scale segment is the future of India.
You have a lot of competition around…
I personally feel competition is healthy. Each one comes with new products and services and price point. Our product is swanky, brand new, rooms are modern and our services are going to be top-end. We maintain high ranks and are confident that we will do the same here. And, like I said, that we are in 35 cities, with 58 hotels and 6,000 rooms, so the visibility is high. We focus on domestic market and we attract a lot of Indians with our price point. And we are sure that we will outperform ourselves .
What are the short and long-term goals for the hotel?
Short-term is to ramp-up fast. We are strategically opening in October. Calcutta is very strong in the winters so for the next five months we look very strong. I think that will give us a base to establish ourselves and then build from there. We are also looking at expansion in this part of the country. Our model is very clear — keep our cost controlled and make sure that the occupancy is higher at a particular price point. Our aim is very clear... we are stepping into the east and we want our property to be the talk of the town, grow and be financially viable. Bengalis love travelling and this is one segment we want to cater to.
The brand is more focussed towards managing more properties than owning them. This is the way forward… to lease out the properties and manage them... be asset-light.