“We consistently exceed our 2019 numbers,” Hospitality News, ET HospitalityWorld
The Novotel Hyderabad Airport hotel has emerged from the first phase of its renovation with more than just a lick of paint. As the city hits ADRs and occupancy rates that match and even exceed their 2019 numbers, things are looking up, and General Manager Rubin Cherian spoke with ET HospitalityWorld about his hotel’s updates, among other things. This is an excerpt from the interaction.
“February had a lull because there was the impact of a third wave, but things just took off from March. In April and June, we crossed our 2019 numbers. On the YTD front , I think we’re at 80-85% of the business we had in 2019,” Cherian said, adding a caveat that the losses of the past two years will still take time to recover.
Over the last month and a half, hotels in Hyderabad have increased their average rates, which was a good sign given that some properties that were charging in the range of INR 6,000 and above had fallen to nearly INR 3,000 during the pandemic was a big sign, he added.
The 14-year-old hotel has undergone a major renovation and refurbishment, and Cherian was proud to report that the public areas as well as the banquet halls have been completely redone.
“Public spaces have now undergone a complete change. It’s a European design and the bar is no longer enclosed, but flows into the lobby. It has an international feel and we named it Gourmet Bar because it also serves food,” he said, adding that they also merged their two F&B outlets into one larger restaurant, called Food. Exchange.
The cost of the renovation so far, according to the owning company – GMR Hospitality and Retail Limited – has been around INR 19 crore for the public areas and another INR 4 crore for the banquet.
Two floors – 62 of the hotel’s 292 rooms – have also been refurbished, with mostly cosmetic changes, with the other three floors to be completed by the end of the year, he said, adding that he hopes to complete it by November this year. when it’s high season. The expected cost for the work done in the rooms had been forecast at INR 15 crore, he added.
Finally, talking about what business looked like for the rest of the year for the hotel, particularly in MICE, Cherian said, “Hyderabad was known for its corporate MICE as events were booked six or seven years in advance. This activity, which had stopped for the past two years, is now back. In the last one or two months, we’ve seen big pharma shows happening, automakers coming back. For the rest of the year, November is very strong, December is strong, and January and February are very strong. Social media has been active since January 2022. All those pent-up weddings that didn’t happen are now happening on a grand scale and we’re definitely enjoying it.