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Hospitality 2011-02-25

Unleashing SME travel: IntelliStay Hotels

By Ramanjit Kaur Feature Writer

A delightful stay solution with entire bouquet of services makes Mango Suites the ultimate value product for the regular travellers. In an interview, Prashanth Aroor, CEO, IntelliStay Hotels Private Limited shares the future plans of his company.

Ramanjit Kaur (RK): Shed some light on the inception and growth of IntelliStay Hotels Private Limited, in India.

Prashanth Aroor (PA): I along with Rohan D’Silva incorporated IntelliStay Hotels in 2007 to address the woeful state of dignified hotel accommodation in India in the Value segment. Indian cities not only suffer from deficient infrastructure, but also from badly targeted supply. Our smaller cities and centres of commerce are neglected by the large chains. Currently, we have a single format that is called Mango Suites, an express Business Hotel format.

RK: What is Mango Suites all about? What kind of services it offers?

PA: Mango Suites gives preference to the most crucial services required by frequent travelers such as ease of reservation, loyalty benefits, great central locations, warm rooms and bathrooms, squeaky clean housekeeping, healthy food and an overall Business class dignity backed by standardised service quality. We are a full function Business Hotel. Our lower price points are a result of the efficiency of our operational design that is being passed on to create true value for our guests. Mango Suites makes a lasting impression, serves you everywhere you go and it’s disruptive in a legacy mindset industry.

RK: What inspired the company to take the franchise route to expand its presence in India? Do you franchise the brand overseas as well?

PA: Mango Suites is built on the platform of great partnerships. All non- core and some core areas of our business are run by partners who are the best in their fields. The same goes for our expansion plan. There is no dearth of fantastic property developers and hoteliers in the country. Our expertise lies in concept, standardisation, execution and operations including sales and distribution. Franchising was a natural progression for us and we have already had a great group of landlords whose assets we operate very profitably and each of them vouch for the solidity and value that our brand offers to all stakeholders.

RK: What is the USP of Mango Suites? How is it different from other players in the sector?

PA: Simply put, Mango Suites offers dignified setting, dreamy sleep and delicious food for a price that will let you travel constantly both from a cost point of view and a care point of view. We are not just a hotel chain; we are in the business of unleashing SME travel across new geographies. The infrastructure will bring about sea change in the competitiveness and reach of the small and medium enterprises that form some 85 per cent of our economy. We are a hotel by the entrepreneurs for the entrepreneurs. This is a blue ocean space in hospitality.

RK: What will be the eligibility criteria for selecting the franchisees of your company?

PA: An average Mango Suites has about 50 rooms and can occupy between 15, 000 to 20, 000 sq. ft. The investment involves the cost of construction and additionally about Rs two to three crore in fit-outs. In case of existing structures, this can come down by a great deal. In terms of eligibility, the location is the key and we have specs that are shared with the landlords during the selection process.

RK: How many franchised hotels do you presently have in India and abroad? What are your target locations to expand Mango Suites in India?

PA: We currently have seven operational franchises and have 11 more in the pipeline. Even our pilot hotel was a franchise which is a case in point. Besides this, we have signed in around 18 locations to be ready within this year and will sign 12 more. We intend to double our count by next year. We are currently in Bengaluru, Mysore, Hyderabad, Amritsar and Thane. We are signing properties in Guwahati, Jalandhar, Thiruvananthapuram, Manipal, Agra, Pimpri, Ajmer, Kota, Mangalore and a few other cities. In fact, any areas with good deal of business travel, tourism and pilgrimage are suitable to us with maximum focus being on business travel.

RK: What kind of training and support will a franchisee gets after partnering with your company?

PA: This question sheds light on the advantage of Mango Suites as a franchise concept. While it is a franchise in terms of property partnership, all employees, operations, costs etc are borne by IHPL. The franchisee’s commitment ends at delivering the infrastructure. The infrastructure is the only support we need. The rest is on us.

RK: What are the future plans of the company in terms of expansion through franchising?

PA: We intend to finish the year with 30 hotels. We have several franchise enquiries across India and are qualifying and exploring each option.

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