3 Palms Hotels & Resorts, a luxury resort brand of Atlanta-based America’s Best Franchising (ABF) is now in India. In a tete-a-tete, Saumya M Sharma, Chief Franchise Development Officer, 3 Palms Hotels and Resorts shares the future plans of her company.
Ramanjit Kaur (RK): Tell us something about 3 Palms Hotels and Resorts?
Saumya M Sharma (SMS): 3 Palms Hotels and Resorts is a part of America’s Best Franchising (ABF) company with over 300 properties worldwide including US, Africa, Argentina, China, India and few more markets. This is where we currently have our properties. We have five other brands which are economical and corporate brands, 3 Palms is the only luxury brand of ABF.
RK: What made the company to enter India? How SRM Spa and Resorts is going to help in the expansion of the brand here?
SMS: We have been expanding in other parts of South Asia from the past three to four years, and have opened many properties in China. India seemed as one of the most lucrative markets with the rising demand for luxury space and is a very attractive market for any of the franchisor who is looking to expand his brands worldwide.
SRM Spa and Resorts Pvt. Ltd, headquartered in Mumbai signed the Master Franchise Licensor agreement for 3 Palms Hotels and Resorts in India. The company has expertise in wellness spa concepts which will be a major USP to the brand in India.
We were looking for a partner who can not only provide positive energy to our brand in terms of good franchising support but also can bring in expertise that will be an integral part of our system. This is the main reason of our joining hands with SRM Spa and Resorts Pvt. Ltd. Besides this, SRM specialises in ayurvedic wellness concept and we will be utilising their spa expertise by setting up spa amenities in 3 Palms properties.
RK: What are the eligibility criteria for selecting the franchisees?
SMS: We are looking at five star unique boutiques, the location of the property would be very critical, we are looking at non metros and we are not focusing much on city centres. However, we are looking at the uniqueness of the property, the history of the property and heritage places to launch our resorts.
Besides this, we are looking at independent hoteliers, individual investors, developers as a franchisee. Our focus is to find a right partner to whom we can give the franchising, marketing and management port and make their franchise venture successful. We see the Indian market is ready for five star luxury resort brands. Ideally, a regular 3 Palms Hotels & Resorts is a 50 to 60 units property and will require an investment of Rs 85 lakh to one crore per room.
RK: What kind of support and training a franchisee will get when partners with you?
SMS: Though we are new in the Indian market but we have been in this business for a quite a long time now. We have a well established and successful franchise model and will be providing our franchisees with all the social media, internet marketing, local distribution support, centralised reservation support. Along with this, we will have local and regional marketing teams that will provide our franchisees with an extensive marketing support.
RK: How many number of franchise hotels you presently have in India? What are your future plans and target locations to open more franchise hotels?
SMS: Currently, we have 300 properties worldwide. In India, we just have launched our business in January. We are also looking at adding 15 more properties to our network in the coming five years. We are planning to open two properties in India through franchising in this year.
We are looking at cities like Delhi, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Goa, Maharashtra, but we are not just limited to these areas. We are open for pan-India expansion depending on the kind of franchise enquiry and location.