Trident Hotels plans overseas expansion

Mumbai: Hospitality group East India Hotels is planning an overseas expansion, along side its rebranding campaign for domestic premier hotels properties.

With its divorce with the Hilton group almost finalised, the he new brand identity for the group will be Trident Hotels, with the word ''Hilton'' removed from its existing branding. (See:  Oberoi Towers to be rebranded Trident Towers; terminates Hilton alliance from Trident)

Overseas expansion plans hinge around opportunities in the Middle East, China, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Cambodia. East India Hotels chairman P R S Oberoi feels that a joint venture strategy, with management contracts in the Gulf and Middle East would be an effective way to foray into those markets.

East India Hotels is all set to take its count of hotels to 12, from the existing nine, within the next three years. This plan would see the group have a second hotel in Mumbai by the end of 2008, which will be a 436-room project.  The Mumbai hotel will be wholly owned by Trident Hotels, while the other two coming up in Bangalore and Hyderabad will be managed by Trident Hotels, under management agreements. The Bangalore facility will have 320 rooms, and the one at Hyderabad334 rooms.

EIH is planning to start construction of a 200-room hotel in Chandigarh by end 2008. Navi Mumbai could also get a taste of the famed Trident Hotels hopsitality, as it is one of the locations under consideration for a hotel site from the group. Chairman Oberoi says Trident invests around Rs1 crore per key, or room, given the back-end support that would go into running it, which would put estimates of its 436-room hotel in Mumbai's commercial district of Bandra-Kurla at around Rs436 crore, or more, given the cost of common areas such as banquet halls and restaurants.

Trident and Hilton decided to go separate ways as Hilton entered into a joint venture for its three star garden inns with another company, a move that Trident says would have graded its five star hotels, as well as resulting in a conflict of interest. 

Trident's re-branding exercise is will see a change in its look to better communicate the new brand, along with the logo and the black and red colour combination. Trident is counting on its rebranding to be communicated by word of mouth, along with the help of travel trade and internet marketing to establish the new brand. The exercise is likely to cost around $1million.