Taj Hotels is on the hunt for a Melbourne property as it seeks to expand its Australian portfolio.
Managing director and chief executive of parent firm Indian Hotels Company, Raymond Bickson, confirmed a luxury property in the Victorian capital was next on the agenda in order for it to benefit from corporate travel between Melbourne and Sydney, the home of its Blue property.
“Probably about 60% of corporate travel in Australia is between those two destinations,” Bickson told Travel Today. “Not having a flag in Melbourne impacts our ability to leverage off that and get more of that business. You can’t be in one without the other if you want to have a successful operation.”
But he admitted the group was struggling to find the right property in a suitable location.
An island property could also be on the cards further down the line, he added.
Indian Hotels Company currently has 122 hotels in 15 countries with the majority of those in India, but aggressive expansion is underway. Bickson signalled new projects in China, Marrakech, Cuba and sub-Saharan Africa, with Tokyo, LA and Paris also within his sights.
Australia is a key focus for the firm as a “gateway” into the South Pacific region. The firm has a project in Fiji, has looked at possibilities in Tahiti and is potentially eyeing Hawaii, Bickson’s home state.
The expansion will enable the group to benefit from the growing Indian outbound market which is familiar with its brands.
Meanwhile, he said the Australian market had picked
up “quite significantly” for the hotel group, specifically in the leisure sector.
Numbers to the Maldives were particularly strong, he added.