Cygnett Hotels & Resorts eyes expansion
The fast growing brand mulls opening 103 hotels in India, eyes Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Vietnam for its overseas growth

Cygnett Hotels & Resorts, a fast growing hotel brand with six sub-brands in six different categories, has lined up an ambitious plan of throwing open more than 103 hotels with over 5000 keys across 75 cities. That’s not all. Cygnett is going to expand its footprints beyond the borders.  As starter, the company is also looking at Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Vietnam for its overseas growth, said Sarbendra Sarkar, founder and managing director, Cygnett Hotels & Resorts. Each existing brand or sub-brand under Cygnett has a clear and specific identity that serves the needs to varying guest profiles. For instance, ‘Cygnett Plaza’ is a full service, upscale, five-star hotel, ‘Cygnett Park’ is a full service, mid-scale, business hotel, ‘Cygnett Resorts’ is full service, upscale & mid scale leisure hotels, ‘Cygnett Inn’ offers select service, budget hotels, ‘Cygnett Residences’ offers mid-scale, serviced apartments and ‘Cygnett Lite’ offers limited service, economy hotels. Cygnett, interestingly has India master franchisee rights with ‘Red Lion Hotel Corporation’, the US hospitality group. “Cygnett has opened eight hotels in the last two years – seven in India and one in Nepal. At present, the Cygnett chain consists of over 700 rooms all offering customised, versatile spaces and amenities and our common gourmet ‘Cygnetture’ experience. We have an asset light business model where we don’t ‘own’ properties. Instead, we ‘acquire’ pre-owned properties and transform, integrate and manage them into the Cygnett fold and brand standards to enable them to deliver our unique Cygnetture experience at each property,” said Sarkar. Cygnett’s ambitious expansion plans stemmed from the fact that the demand for hotel rooms is expected to increase between 12 per cent and 15 per cent at least over the next few years, while supply will expand at a slower pace. The hotel occupancy rate across the country, on an average had crossed 60 per cent by the end of 2015 – for the first time in five years – on the back of improved market sentiment. A rise in domestic travel and government initiatives such as Make in India, Digital India and the e-visa scheme are expected to drive demand for hotel rooms further. According to a recent study by the leading global hotel consultancy firm HVS South Asia, India, at present, has 125,000 branded hotel rooms, which will expand to 155,000 by 2020. Also, according to a FHRAI study, India has only 103,000 hotel rooms in all categories compared to the Bangkok city which alone boasts of 125,000 rooms. The hoteliers and restaurateurs’ body expect that the foreign tourist arrivals will touch 10 million by 2017 and 15 million by 2020. Therefore, there will be a requirement of 180,000 more hotel rooms in all categories by the end of 2020. Bullish over the prospects of the hospitality industry, Cygnett is actively working to add at least 7 to 8 hotels per year for the next three years, which will work out to about 2000 rooms by 2020 and over 5000 rooms by 2022 in India and South Asia. “Over the next five years, our major thrust would be towards managing properties. This would allow us to rapidly scale our footprint without compromising on the processes, systems, and standards to deliver the ultimate hospitality experience which is really the end goal. Building our own properties over this time may also occur but would be significantly lower in numbers,” said Sarkar, adding, “Most of the upcoming hotels would be ‘Cygnett Park’, ‘Cygnett Inn’, ‘Cygnett Resort’ and ‘Cygnett Lite’. This is the segment that is witnessing the greatest demand surge and is expected to continue over the 5-year horizon.” Significantly, a recent Deloitte study said that the number of domestic travellers in India has already reached nearly 563 million compared to inbound arrivals of five million passengers. The country’s strong GDP growth would certainly mean more business travel and hotel stay.