Ascott's Indian expansion plans stymied by pandemic

George Sell George Sell Uploaded 18 May 2020


India: Ascott's pipeline of new property openings in India will be slowed due to the impact of Covid-19, according to regional GM Vincent Miccolis.

"Our current project pipeline is experiencing delays in construction activity since labour and project teams have been demobilised and will further be impacted due to impending monsoon in parts of the country," said Miccolis, Ascott's regional general manager, Middle East, Africa, Turkey and India.

"Ascott Ireo City Gurugram and Citadines Paras Square Gurugram are scheduled to open later this year, while Citadines Calangute Goa and Citadines Candolim Goa are set to open in 2021 and 2022 respectively," he said.

On the effects of the lockdown on business, Miccolis added: "From March till May 2020, over 3,100 room nights have been cancelled at both our properties in Chennai."

The company manages 187-unit Somerset Greenways Chennai and 269-unit Citadines OMR Chennai. Miccolis said about one-third of operational staff at each property had been working round-the-clock to ensure the wellbeing of the guests.

"Staff efficiencies are higher in a serviced residence with staff to room ratio of 0.45:1 compared to hotels, hence the burden of payroll costs on the overall GOP is far lesser. We are focusing on optimising payroll costs by compromising on other indirect benefits. Our teams of senior managers have been working round- the-clock to ensure that our staff are supported and feel motivated during this time", said Miccolis.

"We have mediated a back-to-business strategy for our corporates, relocation companies and extended stay segment," Miccolis said. "We expect to adapt to the changing times by implementing safety check points within our properties to make sure that our guests and employees feel safe and welcome. We envisage possible conversions of existing hotels and serviced residences, or for new developments in select markets," he added.



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