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IHCL expands brand portfolio with Ambuja Neotia Group’s Tree of Life Resorts & Hotels acquisition

Tata Group backed Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) has expanded its brand portfolio through a ‘strategic alliance’ with Kolkata’s Ambuja Neotia Group for Tree of Life Resorts & Hotels, acquired by the latter.

In November of last year, the Kolkata-based Ambuja Neotia Group announced its acquisition of the Gurgaon-based boutique hotel chain Tree of Life Resorts & Hotels for an undisclosed sum.

The Ambuja Neotia Group currently possesses over 750 keys within its portfolio, managed by IHCL, with an additional 200 keys set to be added.

“In the first phase, we are solely providing Tree of Life with sales, marketing, distribution, training, loyalty and branding support. As things progress, we will assess further contributions and determine the number of properties to integrate onto the platform,” IHCL MD and CEO Puneet Chhatwal said.

“Whether and when we assume management responsibilities will also be decided over time. Initially, the hospitality brand will operate under the SeleQtions platform,” he added.

He said the ‘strategic’ move will facilitate the hospitality chain’s expansion into tier one and tier two cities.

“We intend to incorporate additional properties into the new platform that align with our brand rationale,” he added.

Continue Exploring: IHCL accelerates portfolio expansion, aims for 300 hotels in the next 3-4 months

Harshavardhan Neotia, Chairman of the Ambuja Neotia Group, stated that the group acquired the chain last year due to recognizing a ‘burgeoning’ demand for boutique experiential luxury hotels post the Covid-19 pandemic.

“People began seeking out boutique accommodations, willing to pay a premium for luxury, privacy, and unique experiences, a trend less prevalent before the pandemic when larger hotels dominated. This shift in consumer preferences prompted us to see the potential in this space,” he said.

“The opportunity presented itself when the previous owner sought to divest. Upon discussions with IHCL, we found mutual resonance with the idea. Combining forces made sense as it complemented both our portfolios. Embarking on this venture alone would have been more challenging and time-consuming,” he added.

In November, Neotia mentioned that the group had identified several “stunning and bespoke” destinations like Jawai, Ranthambore, and Ayodhya, with plans to expand the Tree of Life collection in the coming days.

“We believe that achieving a portfolio of 100 properties within the next five to six years is feasible. These properties may include those owned by us, managed properties, as well as those under various arrangements,” said Neotia. “With IHCL’s support, our footprint suddenly expands significantly,” he added.

Chhatwal expressed confidence that reaching the milestone of 25 hotels by the end of 2026 should be achievable for the brand.

Continue Exploring: India’s hospitality industry toasts to 2024 with high hopes and record-breaking revenue growth

“There will be a fee structure in place, covering the top line, as well as fee payments to Taj. In the future the arrangement might change when all approvals are in place. In that case the company will be board managed and we will have our separate roles to play,” said Neotia.

IHCL mentioned that it is pacing ahead of its market guidance, having achieved a portfolio of over 300 hotels, with 90 hotels under development.

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