US Hotel chain giant to invest Rs 300 crore in education business

The United States-based Best Western International, one of the largest hotel chains in the world, is set to invest around Rs 300 crore for its education business in India. The company’s India arm has started work to build the first hotel management institute in Odisha while another four will be set up in the other regions of the country in the coming years.

Globally, the hotel chain major is not in the education business and this would be the maiden venture by the company into a new sector. The hotel chain, however, has an e-learning platform.

Cabana Hotel Management Pvt. Ltd is the master franchisee of Best Western for India.

Sudhir Sinha, COO at Best Western India, told Business Standard that each unit would see an investment of Rs 50 crore as they will invest in the real estate of the property as well.

“We had thought we would tie up with hotel management education majors of India but going by our high standards we could not trace one who could share the same wavelength. Thus, we decided we will venture into this on our own,” he said.

Each education centre is expected to have over 200 students. The odisha property should be ready this year and further expansion across the country is on the cards.

Meanwhile,the company’s plan to expand its portfolio to 100 by 2017 is intact and it will see an investment of about Rs 1,600 crore in the next four years. Of these 100 hotels to be added, 60 will be higher brand hotels and 40 will be of the middle level. The firm manages its hotels under Best Western Plus (4 star) and Best Western Premier (5 star) properties, too. Currently, the hotel chain has 34 properties in India with 2,581 rooms and some facilities including those in Kolkata, Bangalore, Bhubaneswar, Navi Mumbai, Hyderabad and Goa are under various stages of construction.

The $6-billion Best Western International has over 4,000 hotels under its portfolio in more than 80 countries.

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