Ronen Nissenbaum, President & CEO, Dan Hotels, talks about the group’s journey so far and its first international property – The Den, Bengaluru.
What made you choose Bengaluru for your first international property?
About 10 years back, when Dan Hotels was looking for a location to invest in outside of Israel, they made visits to China and other Asian countries, including India. While in India, we also scouted for possible locations in Mumbai and Delhi. After much deliberation, we zeroed in on Bengaluru. It matched the conditions we were used to in Israel. We believe that Bengaluru has tremendous capability to grow manifold in the coming years, and that the success of this property will drive us to venture into other Indian cities as well.
What has been the growth story for The Dan group?
Seventy one years ago, two brothers co-founded Dan Hotels, now one of the biggest luxury hotel chains with 14 hotels and 3669 rooms in Israel. We have developed very well over the decade, while expanding and growing exponentially with time. Our growth trajectory has been steady and I think we are now at a place where we are ready for a spurt in growth. We have the capacity to add a number of new hotels to our portfolio in the next few years.
Bengaluru is a competitive market. How do you plan to deal with the competition here?
The Den, Bengaluru, is unique both in design and architecture. The other good thing about the property is the kind of service and hospitality it offers. True to its name, The Den is a wholesome stay option. Its proximity to IT parks and business districts of the city make it the smartest choice for luxury business travellers. For groups and conventions, we have a huge meeting space and a 70-seater auditorium, which most hotels do not have.
The way we compete is what makes us different. Our F&B services are exclusive and our rooftop restaurant, Layla, is one of the tallest structures in Bengaluru, giving spectacular views of the city. We are also bringing in unique elements to serve our customers.
What is your take on the hospitality business in India?
India is an emerging market in the hospitality arena. The country has a huge potential of growing significantly in comparison to the other countries. The infrastructure in Bengaluru is constantly improving with multiple skyscrapers coming up quickly. In a macro environment, India is on a growth trajectory. While a number of international hotel chains are investing in India, the home-grown hotel companies are also blooming exponentially. I think, this is the perfect time to enter the Indian market. The average cost of rooms is low right now and I feel that occupancy will rise with growing demand.
Tell us about the group’s expansion plans.
We have invested significant amounts of money, effort, and resources into building this hotel because we have a plan to expand further in India. The decision about when and where will be determined by the success of The Den. We had a soft opening of the property in December 2017 and with the grand launch of Layla, the rooftop restaurant, The Den is fully functional. We are now looking at a significant growth in occupancy.