India’s Hospitality Industry is Poised for Growth
HKS principals Luciano Mazza and Kevin Underwood recently presented at the Hotel Investment Conference – South Asia (HICSA), held in Mumbai. In its 14th year, HICSA presented more interviews, keynotes and TED-style masterclasses than ever. Kevin and Luciano’s TED style master class, “New Trends in Resort Design: Enhanced Guest Experience and Profitability,” examined how design choices can benefit both the guest and hotel operators, without compromise. Like Luciano and Kevin’s presentation, the two-day conference provided a wealth of information for hospitality professionals. Luciano shares several of the events key takeaways below.
- The human capital of India is phenomenal, both in terms of quality and size. There’s a huge and dynamic workforce, but there’s also a huge consumer base and their buying power is on the rise. It’s acting as a gravitational force that is pulling investment to the region and the impact will be tremendous.
- The standard for four and five stars continues to rise and both designers and their clients need to push for quality. This is a result of rising expectations from local guests and a deep desire to elevate Indian hospitality to the next level.
- Clients want to achieve global standards, not just Indian. The expertise of international architects is appreciated and is being perceived as an added value worth the higher initial investment in consultancy services.
- Challenges that remain include the steadily rising cost of staff, an increase in goods and services taxes, bureaucratic procedures and permitting. There is a clear desire to attract more foreign investors, but these are huge obstacles that need to be addressed.
- Indian investors are looking abroad and taking significant steps in neighboring countries like Sri-Lanka, Maldives and in the Middle East. This could be the beginning of India going further to “conquer” the world.