Hubert Joly, President and CEO of Carlson, a global hospitality and travel management company that boasts of hotel brands such as Radisson, Country Inn and Suites, Park Inn by Radisson, and Park Plaza, was in India recently to take stock of Carlson's development pipeline. He spoke to BT's Anumeha Chaturvedi on brands, expansion plans and the Indian market. Edited excerpts:
On expansion plans: We will have 19 new hotels in India by the end of this year, taking our number of hotels here to more than 50. India represents about five per cent of our global portfolio of hotels, but it accounts for more than 20 per cent of the development pipeline.
On India versus China: We are the No. 1 hotel operator in terms of number of rooms in India. No other international hotel operator has close to 50 hotels here. In China, we have to try harder to build our reach.
On brands: Eighty per cent of our current portfolio is in the upscale category, but we will have a faster growth of mid-scale brands over time. We are doing a lot of work on brand definition because increasingly the market will be segmented on the basis of price points and style of hotels.
On future goals: To ensure each brand is a leading one in its segment. In hotels, we want to increase our global portfolio by 50 per cent to 1,500 hotels by 2015. We also plan to double the number of TGI Friday restaurants. Carlson Wagonlit is already the number one travel management company worldwide. We will continue to innovate to maintain this growth.