New Delhi: Unique Mercantile, the Indian rights holder of hospitality major Wyndham Hotel Group's Howard Johnson brand, plans to invest Rs 1,715 crore to open 34 properties across the country by 2020.
The company is looking to tap pilgrimage destinations such as Tirupati and Shirdi, besides metros like Delhi-NCR, Mumbai and smaller cities like Bhubaneshwar and Lucknow for the Howard Johnson (HoJo) mid-market hotels.
"We plan to invest over Rs 1,715 crore to open 34 Howard Johnson properties by 2020 across different parts of India," Unique Mercantile India executive director Rahul Rai said.
The company has opened the first Howard Johnson hotel, a 117-room property, at Bengaluru last week.
Elaborating on the expansion plans, he said: "Out of these 34 Howard Johnson properties, five will be wholly-owned properties, 10 will be joint ventures and 15 under management contracts (with third parties) and four would be on lease models."
When asked about the destinations the company is looking at for the new openings, Rai said: "The plan is to launch one Howard Johnson every six months with a lineup of properties in Tirupati, Vijayawada, Shirdi, Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, Bhubaneshwar and Lucknow, in the immediate pipeline."
Unique Mercantile India is a diversified group with interests in health and life insurance besides real estate. It has signed an exclusive development rights for the brand Howard Johnson in India for the next 15 years.
In India, Howard Johnson is positioned as a mid-market, full service hotel targeting cost conscious leisure as well as business travellers across various markets, he added.
Rai said the company would look to invest in both incomplete and existing hotels which are under performing or in need of cash infusion.
"The brand will convert such hotels into Howard Johnson properties and provide them with the requisite international standards of operation and management," he added.
Wyndham has the expertise in managing and marketing of hotels and with Unique Mercantile India's partnership Howard Johnson's presence in India shall be strengthened, Rai said.
Wyndham Hotel Group, part of Wyndham Worldwide Corporation currently has around 7,540 hotels and 650,200 rooms in 71 countries under the hotel brands: Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, Ramada, Days Inn, Super 8, Wingate by Wyndham, Baymont Inn & Suites, Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham, Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham, TRYP by Wyndham, Howard Johnson, Travelodge and Knights Inn.