Espire Hospitality intends to have 20 hotels by FY25, with a cost of Rs 560 crore

Espire Hospitality Group is planning to have 20 operational properties by 2024-25, with a capex of Rs 560 crore under its brands Zana, Country Inn Express, and Country Inn Premier. "Currently, we have 10 hotels in the portfolio under the 5-star luxury boutique resort brand 'ZANA a Luxury Escapes' and the 4-star brand 'Country Inn Hotels and Resorts,' with 780 keys. In this financial year, we are adding 200 more keys (3 ZANA resorts) to reach 13 operational hotels with 980 keys," Espire Hospitality Group Chief Executive Officer Akhil Arora told PTI.

The capex, through in-house funding, will also be utilized in phases for renovating, leasing, and upgrading the existing hotels. The hospitality group, Arora said, is exploring both green-field as well as brown-field properties in leisure destinations like Goa, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh.

"We are exploring opportunities in leisure destinations as well as tier I cities for expanding our footprint. We are looking at Goa, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, and Himachal Pradesh, as well as Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. Continuing with our expansion, we are opening ZANA resort in Kasauli in Himachal Pradesh near Diwali, in Rishikesh in Uttarakhand in December, and Jim Corbett in February 2024," he added.

The company said is also looking at opportunities in pilgrim destinations for expansion of its property portfolio. "Pilgrim destinations are critical, and we are eyeing to enter Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, to begin with," The homegrown hospitality company currently has 10 operational hotels, and under the luxury boutique segment, it has ZANA Forest Resort, Ranthambore, ZANA Lake Resort, Udaipur in Rajasthan.

In the mid-segment, the company has properties in Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa, and Uttar Pradesh. With the current expansion, the company is expecting to more than double its revenue by 2024-25, Arora said, adding that Espire Hospitality has clocked over Rs 30 crore of revenue in FY23. With the tourism sector booming, the hospitality industry has been witnessing an average 60 percent occupancy rate, and Espire Hospitality has also been seeing a similar level of occupancy.

"Along with the industry, we are experiencing a 20 percent increase in occupancy, rates, and demand compared to pre-Covid times. "This is because travelers have increased their domestic travel share significantly due to the domestic chains offering more personalized, hygienic services and for their increased focus on sustainability. We are at 60 percent occupancy across India across our portfolio. Our immediate focus is to take it up to 70 percent," Arora added.