Interview Sep, 09 2016

The Indo German Hospitality Alliance

Sonica Malhotra Kandhari, Director, MBD Group started close to fourteen years ago to help her father in the publishing business. In a short interview, she sheds some light on the recent partnership between MBD and Steigenberger Group.

By Deepankar Hemnani
The Indo German Hospitality Alliance

Sonica Malhotra Kandhari, Director, MBD Group initiated her career close to fourteen years ago to help her father in the publishing business and foray further in the hospitality vertical. In a short interview, she sheds some light on the recent partnership between MBD and Steigenberger Group.

Please share your entrepreneurial journey with us?

I was born in Jalandhar and came to the capital when I was five and completed my education from Jesus and Mary College, Delhi University. Later, I pursued an MBA specializing in finance and went on to step in the hospitality industry. In the initial stages, I looked after the construction of the five star hotel of Noida, MBD Radisson and took the partnering decisions for the company. Irrespective of being the daughter of the chairman, I still had to prove myself to my father and myself to adhere to my role in the company.

Q1. Please share a quick overview about your partnership with the Steigenberger Hotel group?

We were always keen towards expansion in the hospitality industry and creating an alliance with the

German giant Steigenberger Hotel Group was a big breakthrough for us. MBD Group has a 51% stake while Steigenberger Hotel Group holds a 49% stake in the joint venture company.

Management of the joint venture company would be in the hands of the MBD Group looking after the India wide operations of the brand including business development, management and franchising of hotels, India marketing, pre-opening and post-opening assistance, etc, wherein Steigenberger would be providing international sales and marketing support, training and brand standards to be deployed in the Indian region to suit the expectations of a luxury traveller.

The flagship hotel under the JV will be (franchise property) the MBD Zephyr Bangalore – An MBD Steigenberger Hotel located in the heart of Whitefield Bangalore - the silicon city of India offering 184 rooms and 118 service apartments, interpreting luxury in the true sense of the word.

Q2. What According to you is the USP of your brand?

Steigenberger Hotel Group has German roots and enjoys a good reputation worldwide. The Steigenberger name has stood for top-class European hotels, incomparable hospitality and exquisite service for over 85 years now, with over 550 million Euros (INR 4300 crores) as a total turnover. Steigenberger Hotels and Resorts include some of the most prestigious hotels in Europe, Middle East, Egypt and China, such as the Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof, the Steigenberger Hotel Business Bay in Dubai, and the Steigenberger Wiltcher's in Brussels.

MBD Group has been in the hospitality industry for over a decade and have successful proven ourselves by exuberating excellent the hospitality performance in Delhi and Punjab both on financial parameters and also overall guest experience. MBD Group comes with its key strengths understanding the socio and demographic profile of the country because of our hospitality company and also because of the fact that we are the largest education company in India working across more than 62 locations.

Please share your management agreement criterion with Steigenberger?

The partnership will primarily function as a management company that will manage the assets under the brand MBD Steigenberger in India and will be headquartered out of MBD's Corporate Office at Bhadhur Shah Zafar Marg in New Delhi. The joint venture would target to open at least 20 hotels in India over the next 15 years with projected annual revenue of hotels under management and/ or franchise of nearly 2000 cr. 

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