India’s rich cultural tapestry unveils a country with many faces, each unraveling fresh experiences that has always enchanted visitors. At different moments, India can be indelibly spiritual, architecturally glorious, astonishingly natural, and fascinatingly cultural. Each idiosyncratic destination is infused with a kaleidoscopic blend of enchantment and sensual indulgence has contributed to India’s emergence as one of the most preferred destination in the world.

 With the fortunes of the hospitality industry inextricably linked to the tourism industry, the growth in the tourism industry has fueled the growth of Indian hospitality industry as well. The increasing numbers of both domestic as well as international tourists have been very encouraging for the Indian travel and hospitality sector which has nearly doubled during the last three years. Additionally, Tourism initiatives such as the extension of Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVoA) and Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) to 43 countries as well as the mandatory relaxation of 60 day gap between consecutive visits for foreign travellers is further fuelling growth of demand for hotels in the country.

 Further, growth of Indian economy has resulted in more disposable income in the hands of middle class, thereby prompting increasingly large number of people to spend money on leisure travelling and luxury hotels. India has one of the fastest-growing populations of HNIs in the Asia-Pacific. According to Wealth X 2015 report, India’s millionaires have grown by 27% from last year. This has led to the emergence of the Indian aspirational luxury travelers who are looking to be wooed and courted with an elevated and customized hospitality experience. Till now very few players in the market have been able to fulfill these needs and therein lies opportunity for luxury hospitality to thrive.

 Owing to this, international brands are steadily making an entry in the country. Dusit Thani is one such international brand which in collaboration with Bird group under the brand Dusit-Bird Hotels launched Dusit Devarana New Delhi in 2013. Dusit Devarana New Delhi caters to the high-powered, discerning sophisticate traveler. Other international hotel chains are also tapping on to this market and offering exciting packages to lure the new age traveler. There is a proliferation of luxury villas and spas in exotic locations like Kerela, Rajasthan and Goa to cater to this demand.

 The advent of global businesses across the country, corporate executives are seeking a travel experience wherein business and luxury seamlessly intersect. This is also fueling advent of luxury hospitality brands in independent micro-markets.

 India has proven the inherent strength of its economy and its consumer base of over a billion people. Additionally developments like the hospitality district at Delhi’s international airport, large format sporting events and the nationwide launch of fourth generation (4G) telecom services has further fueled the luxury in the hospitality industry. Therefore, accepting India as an emerging luxury market, hotel chains are now modifying their marketing trends to attract more customers. Global luxury hotel brands are clubbing world-class services with Indian hospitality and culture to set new benchmarks in hospitality.

 Also, estimating that the future luxury traveler customer will be even more ambitious and discerning and would want to know more even before they look for exclusivity. In order to meet this need technology is playing a very important role in customizing experiences for customers from a hospitality point of view. Besides the advent of social networking has given a new power to customers like never before. Therefore international chains are running the rat race to establish themselves as forerunners of luxury in hospitality.

Authored by: Ankur Bhatia, Executive Director, Bird Group

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