The growth in the hospitality sector and its contributions to the GDP will continue to be substantially higher than other sectors of the economy on the back of huge tourism potential in the country. There will be multiple factors that will drive the hospitality industry in 2019. Increased connectivity amongst less popular and newer destinations thanks to the UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) scheme by the Government of India and additional flight routes and the launch of operations by airliners to international locations from non-metro and tier 2 towns will drive demand for hotels. Furthermore, Government initiatives like Smart City, Swadesh Darshan, and Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD), friendly e-visa schemes and the likes, will also propel business and religious travel.
The Indian hospitality market has tremendous growth opportunities and to tap into these, one of our priorities is to densify in key cities and provide quality developments across our various brands.
2018 has been a great year for us, and 2019 looks equally promising. We have been recording strong performance in India with double-digit growth for the last couple of years, and we hope to continue this momentum in 2019 as well.
With the rise in millennial travellers who are driving transformation by redefining luxury in the hospitality industry, the segment is up for a change. Keys Hotels has identified personalization as a key trend for 2019 amongst these young travellers. We are laying the groundwork accordingly to match their purpose of travel.
One of the forthcoming opportunities we see in 2019 is the promising growth in spending capacity of the SMEs. The rise of corporate travel programs in SMEs has compelled hoteliers to design offers and discounts to match their budget
We have been in business for over 12 years with proven success. 2019 will be an exciting year to look forward to with the upcoming general elections. However, the Individual traveller will continue to explore and we foresee more demand from Tier II and Tier III cities. Our advantage is that we are present across diverse categories and geographies.
We would continue to function with a capital efficient model in the coming year. The digital initiatives and online reputation management will continue to ensure our relevance to the ecosystem.
Technology will be game-changer
Technology will be an essential demand driver. Millennials are one step ahead in the digital space and are drawn towards hotels and services that meet their technology demands. Thus, to keep up with them all players in this sector, big or small, will have to up their technology game.
The first trend that I see emerging is mixing business and leisure. Hotels across the world are beginning to shift their focus on millennials who are more prone to extend business trips with leisure time. This will blur the line between business and leisure hotels.
Another change that is overdue is providing Frictionless Guest Experience. From strengthening loyalty programs to providing efficient direct-booking channels all play a role in creating a direct relationship with the guest. Technology also plays a great role in this.