Leela plans to double capacity by 2012
Hotel LeelaVenture plans to invest $500 million to expand its presence in key cities in the next four-year period.It is setting up new hotels at Gurgaon, Udaipur, Chennai and New Delhi over the next three years, apart from acquiring land in Agra and Jaipur.Leela's room capacity will go up from the present 1,100 to 2,400 by FY12 after the Leela Palaces, Kempinski at Udaipur, Chennai, New Delhi and Hyderabad and the Leela, Kempinski at Gurgaon and Pune become operational. The cost of the project is estimated at $500 million..Hotel LeelaVenture owns and operates the Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts in Mumbai, Bangalore, Goa and in Kovalam. Leela's focus is a pan-India presence and after that will be looking at expanding overseas. Hotel LeelaVenture had performed well in the current year due to continued buoyancy-especially in the Bangalore and Mumbai markets.The group expects to continue with the growth in the current year despite the slowdown in the US and European economies, from where most of the corporate and leisure travellers originate. Meanwhile, Leela Palaces and Resorts has signed a sales and marketing agreement with US-based Preferred Hotel Group effective June 1. Chicago-based Preferred Hotel Group is a global leader in the hospitality industry, providing reservations, sales and marketing services to more than 600 independent hotels and resorts in over 65 countries.USA is the largest source market for the Leela, and this alliance will strengthen Leela's brand positioning, awareness and market penetration,.This alliance will provide the Leela extensive access to four of the largest consortias—Ammex, CWT, BCD and Hogg Robinson, PHG’s airlines and credit card partnerships as well as drive international sales through the 29 PHG global sales offices .