The Park plans big-ticket push for Zone brand; targets 20 units by 2020

For The Park’s mid-segment baby (Zone brand) which had taken its first step in Coimbatore 14 months ago, it’s probably time now to acquire a spring in the step. As per the management plan, the brand is all set to get a big-ticket push with a robust openings pipeline scheduled for the next four years. Zone presently has three units in the country – apart from Coimbatore, it has positioned itself in Jaipur and Chennai markets – and by the end of this year, it will have five new launches reflective of The Park’s management ambition of making this brand grow big in the near to medium run.


“It is a design conscious, price conscious brand created with the designing essence of The Park which we want to take to tier II and tier III cities. We recognise the fact that there is a whole aspirational need in these markets – people want hotels with great restaurants and proper banqueting facility where they can hold their events. The way this brand has grown, we are looking at 20 units of Zone by The Park becoming operational in the country by 2020,” said Priya Paul, Chairperson of Appejay Surrendra Park Hotels at a private function in Delhi recently.

Later speaking to TourismFirst, Santosh Kutty, General Manager (Operations & Development), Zone by The Park shared the details of the precise rollout plan of Zone’s new units. “Five new units are scheduled to be unveiled this year – Raipur, Mahabalipuram, Bhubaneshwar, Jodhpur, and Electronic City, Bangalore. Our fourth opening could either be Bhubaneshwar or Electronic City, Bangalore in May. And the remaining four will become operational before the end of the year,” informed Kutty. In terms of capacity, while Jodhpur will be a 90 keys hotel; Electronic City, Bangalore and Raipur will have 72 rooms each. Bhubaneshwar too will be a 70 plus room unit but the Mahabalipuram unit will have a smaller inventory of 42 rooms. According to Kutty, about 13 management contracts have already been signed up for the brand and apart from the five openings slated for 2016, some of the other units in the medium run pipeline include Goa, Puducherry, Igatpuri, one more unit in Chennai and Sindhudurg.

ZONE_Front elevationThe brand clearly tends to carve its niche in the country’s fastest growing mid-segment hospitality space where competition is increasingly becoming cut-throat. “Given our profile and offerings, we are competing with Aloft, a few properties of Fortune which are in the higher rank, and higher end properties of Sarovar,” Kutty observed. He was, however, quick to point out that in offering terms, the brand has its own set of differentials which will help it have it its own distinctive identity. “Our basic philosophy is to create a buzzing hang out place and we will do anything for that. There would be multi-pricing meal options, and elements of vibrant nightlife in these units. We are using technology in a huge manner. Wi-Fi will be given free to even non-residents.” He further buttressed this point by pointing out the difference in management approach of Zone properties. “We don’t want to make our hotels room centric. We want 50-55 percent of our business to come from F & B and other offerings. For instance, there is no point in over-pricing the mini bars. If the retailer is selling it to us at x price, we will sell it at x plus a small margin. And we will have similar pricing strategy for other services like the laundry and spa,” explained he.

According to Kutty, the response to Zone’s debut properties has been quite encouraging and the brand is expected to firmly establish itself in the Indian market sooner than it usually takes. “In Chennai which was opened four months ago, the occupancy rate has been to the tune of 80 percent. In both Coimbatore and Jaipur units, it is in the 70 percent plus trajectory. We are catering to both business and leisure segments, though the ratio of business travellers in our Coimbatore and Chennai units is quite overwhelming at this stage. Statistically, we have made a sound beginning,” he underlined.

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