A Year Like No Other! 2023 for Travel, Tourism and Hospitality

In the ever-evolving tapestry of India’s hospitality sector, 2023 stands as a pivotal year marked by transformative trends and remarkable developments. A convergence of factors, from burgeoning manufacturing prowess to infrastructural leaps and the surge in mega-events, has orchestrated an unprecedented year for the hospitality.

The Manufacturing Story

India’s ascension as a manufacturing powerhouse has been instrumental in reshaping its hospitality landscape. The symbiotic relationship between manufacturing and hospitality has witnessed a surge in demand for accommodation, particularly in burgeoning industrial hubs. As India solidifies its position as a global manufacturing hub, cities like Pune, Chennai, and Ahmedabad are witnessing an influx of business travellers, necessitating a transformation in the hospitality offerings. Even tech manufacturing is up – for example, Apple phones.  Therefore, cities like Hyderabad and Bengaluru are also currently way up. From luxury business hotels to boutique stays tailored for the modern entrepreneur, the sector is embracing diversity to cater to varied demands.

The Infrastructure Story

The Indian government’s commitment to infrastructure development is transforming the country’s connectivity. Initiatives like UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) are making air travel more accessible and affordable, leading to a surge in domestic tourism. The rapid increase in the number of airports and improved road and rail networks are further facilitating travel and opening up new tourism destinations. The mushrooming of airports across tier-2 and tier-3 cities has not only facilitated seamless travel but has also spurred the growth of quaint boutique hotels and experiential stays catering to the wanderlust of the discerning traveller. Improved connectivity has unlocked the doors to lesser-explored destinations, presenting a vast canvas for hospitality expansion. Infrastructural metamorphosis has been the bedrock of this transformative period.

The MICE Story

The MICE industry is booming in India, driven by factors like the rising disposable income, growing corporate culture, and a shift towards experiential events. The recent opening of convention centres such as JIO World Centre and India International Convention & Expo Centre (IICC) has further fuelled this growth. These state-of-the-art facilities are attracting large-scale events, boosting demand for hotel rooms and ancillary services. The rise of MICE events has been a game-change as India has become a preferred destination for “big fat weddings,” drawing global attention and, in turn, propelling the hospitality sector. These extravagant celebrations have not only bolstered the luxury segment but have also catalysed innovative event-centric hospitality concepts. In our opinion the full impact of these new convention spaces will only be seen in the next 3-4 years as the journey has just begun.

The Mega Events Story

The grandeur of the G20 Summit, a global confluence of leaders, served as a showcase of India’s hospitality finesse. From meticulously curated experiences for world leaders to the influx of accompanying delegations, the summit was a testament to India’s hospitality prowess on the global stage. Simultaneously, the much-anticipated Cricket World Cup captivated the nation, significantly amplifying hospitality demand. Hotels, homestays, and various accommodations experienced a surge in bookings, transforming cricket fervour into a hospitality windfall.

The Bleisure Story

As the lines between work and leisure continue to blur, “bleisure” travel became a growing trend in 2023. Hotels catered to this trend by offering flexible workspaces, incorporating co-working areas, and providing amenities that cater to both business and leisure needs.

The Talent Story: Troubles Ahead

If there is one area where we need to flag a red flag in 2023 then it is this. In the face of a severe labour shortage, retaining talent became crucial for the hospitality industry in 2023. Hotels invested in employee well-being by offering competitive compensation and benefits, promoting work-life balance, and providing opportunities for growth and development for a more engaged workforce. However, a lot more needs to be done. Many people who were part of the industry have left forever and that void is now being felt more and more.

Hospitality Enters a Purple Patch

From the remarkable recovery in 2022, Indian hotel industry has entered a purple patch. We are witnessing performance levels which were last seen before the global financial crisis (2006, 2007 and 2008). The hotels have seen an all-round development across Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 markets. This has been further ameliorated by large-scale events such as the G20 summit, and 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup, among others.

This robust performance has led to an increase in interest for existing and potential investors to enter the industry. This heightened curiosity stems from the industry’s robust growth, showcasing promising potential for fruitful investments. There has been a healthy growth in new hotel openings and hotel signings, both of which exemplify a collective confidence in the industry’s resilience and capacity for sustained success. The interest has continued to lean towards leisure and getaway destinations (majorly Tier 3 markets). This strategic move draws attention to the evolving preferences of consumers seeking unique and immersive experiences. Investors recognize the latent prospects within these markets and are eager to capitalize on their growing appeal.

Even though, we are likely to witness a moderation of growth levels in 2024 and 2025. The industry will sustain the healthy financial metrics. The Indian hotel industry has entered the “Goldilocks” zone of stability and predictability. This phase signifies an equilibrium achieved through a delicate balance—neither too hot nor too cold but just right, allowing for sustainable growth and long-term viability.

As the curtains draw on this extraordinary year, the echoes of these narratives resonate as guiding stars illuminating the trajectory ahead. India’s hospitality sector stands poised at the precipice of innovation and inclusivity, ready to script new tales of excellence and redefine the benchmarks of guest experience. The year 2023 indeed stands as a testament to resilience, adaptation, and unwavering commitment, setting the stage for a future where hospitality isn’t just an industry but a harmonious symphony of experiences.


Aatreyi Dhir is Associate Director-Special Projects and Manav Thadani, Founder Chairman, Hotelivate.



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