Keys Hotels is staying away from building its own hotels and has decided to expand through franchises and management contracts to shield itself in a slow market. Having invested in seven hotels, the chain has now set its sights on smart cities such as Visakhapatnam, Calicut and Jaipur to grow through franchises and management contracts with almost 70 new hotels planned in the next 12 months.
Vikas Chadha, Executive Director & Chief Financial Officer, Keys Hotels, said: “Looking at the current market, we will now be expanding mainly through our budget and mid-market brands like Keys and Keys Lite. We will continue to take over unbranded properties and convert them under our brand as long as we get the right location mostly in tier II markets where there is lack of branded hotels.”
In fact, most of its added hotels would be in the budget and mid segment rather than its premium brand of Keys Prima. “The majority of our hotels would be under the Keys Lite brand in the budget segment with only a couple of them under Keys Prima since it is not easy to find luxury properties which can get converted,’’ he added.
With 20 properties and 1,800 rooms across brands like Keys (mid market), Keys Lite (budget) and Keys Prima (upper mid market), the hospitality company has been mainly catering to the business and corporate sector.
“Almost 70 per cent of our revenues come from the corporates to whom we also sell directly and also through OTAs,’’ he added. Becoming asset-light through franchises and management contracts is also expected to help the company reap profits.
Keys Hotels is promoted by Berggruen Holdings, a New York-headquartered proprietary fund, and has been present in India since 2006. “The fund was set up specifically for entering the Indian market under the Keys brand and has already invested $100 million in India,’’ added Chadha.