The Banking and Strategy Initiative

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Lifestyle Infrastructure

If you have been following the India story closely, India’s new developments are focussed on Infrastructure and Retail along with giant leaps in the Entertainment business. You can look closely at the India stories at to get a flavor of what’s happening in Indian Infrastructure

On the other hand Retail Lifestyle businesses are increasingly attracting investors…Rural Markets may grow at a faster pace at least on the Drawing board. … Where is Investor access? Why is it still on the government to make it happen? The FDI limits and the others are fairly rational policies..but where are the investors?..

Nanos will roll into homes by July end and IPL teams are already applying for trademarks as it looks set to become the greatest sporting extravaganza in the world, already ranked at #2 behind the NFL season in the USA. The 3G challenge will tear at Telecom companies’ profits in the coming years…

10-Year-Old Girl Scores Hole-In-One at US Kids Golf European Championship in Scotland (The image is of a young indian golfer in Scotland)

BUT, Importantly, India caught on to serious lifestyle investments early in 2005, Today with the debut of Cox and Kings IPO..

Where it is now?

Towns like Jalandhar, Ludhiana in Punjab, Jaipur and Agra on the Golden Triangle and such state capitals, heritage and business towns like Ahmedabad, Surat and Nagpur present a unique opportunity for Indian hospitality business to scale up, esp as Indian railways, india’s aviation footprint and the road infrastructure will follow in step with the boom. Note: The Indian Maharaja with TC, Maharajas Express with Cox & Kings, and the other two luxury trains have started first season bookings quite well and money is being spendt to add gym and pool to the Palace on wheels as well ( More here ) Golden Palace started from Bangalore is not doing so well apparently. The Maharajas Express for example is 84 persons at an average of $1000 per night for a 7 day- 8 night tour between Mumbai and Delhi

Priyanka at a Femina Miss India Contest (2009) 2009 Pantaloons Femina Miss India Contest - Final

Cox & Kings is raising an unprecedented 600 crores from the market in a current IPO at absurd valuations despite 10 months receivables as the listed TC is doing so well, other follow up articles on Marriott, Fortune also at

Mid range hotels from Taj, ITC and Marriott(courtyard)

The 26/11 hit Taj Hotels have two brands competing with ITC’s Fortune and others in the mid-market segments like the Quality Inn. However Only Fortune and Taj’s Gateway have plans to be in the Tier II towns dotting the country’s landscape like the pilgrim towns and those with significant merchant trade. The Taj Gateway for example wants to add 30 new hotels by 2015 in locations like Jalandhar, Mysore, Raipur and Gondia ( Mint – November 18 )

The answer is nto that simple however. The available accommodation would definitely make a profitable niche but wll not reduce the shortage of boarding and lodging nor will it address viability concerns of the Taj and ITC Hotels, not to mention home grown players like East India Hotels and the Club Mahindras.

Indian consumer spending in B towns is definitely slated to pick up and double in every 2-3 years for some time to come, but this country hs been in the midst of such boom and not seen enough clientele in this industry yet. Business Travellers and the 5% of GDP that is accumulated by Tourism remain formidable targets to maintain each year even during the good time, Costs of Real Estate, F&B related inflation, wage inflation and the seasonality of tourist arrangements coupled with India’s non voice in international leisure and lifestyle forums , lack of negotiated tarriffs in travel and hospitality all count towards a tremendous dearth of new traffic for any such tourism business. A lot remains to be done and while more and more deluxe 5 star facilities are slowly becoming available because of rush hour and the consequent unavailability that plagues travellers scheduling a trip, too many ventures like the recent Indian Maharaja ( TC/Cox & Kings IPO now open) trains and the 15 year old plans of Gateway and ITC fortune have been non starters. …read the whole nine yards here

Well The Maharajas are coping well with 80% + bookings in the first season and the Cox&Kings IPO has got the story, opening up 16% tonight..

Marriott has opened with Phoenix in Mumbai and a Courtyard in agra , going to 10 properties soon..

Phoenix signed with Marriott for a 300000 SFT 250 room hotel for 350 Crores in its 25 acre (11lakhsft) property in Kurla named the Phoenix Market City
Meanwhile Room tarriffs are again robust though not near their peak in 2007..The holiday season is also likely to bring good tidings. From all indications, India’s tourism story has clocked the same foot fall as 2007 after a sad 2-3 months in late 2008 and that itself is great news. I know a couple of partners in Bangalore that can make it worthwhile for the Marriott to come here as well.

Good Business accommodation was also planned earlier but only muted response has been got from Choice Hotels ( Quality Inn) and Ramada ( one each in Chennai)

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