Tech unicorn and terrific trio

    We are growing on a regular basis and hope to include one lakh rooms under our brand umbrella by December 2023 before expanding globally, says Chandan Pandey, Co-founder & CEO, WB Hotels.

    If 2020 was about resilience and survival, 2021 saw the sector re-emerge with fervour. How has your and WB’s path to revival been thus far? What are the key takeaways?

    Revival initiatives of WB Hotels are incredibly innovative, and they are being implemented for the first time in the hospitality industry. WB Hotels began with a 14-room hotel in Coorg in November 2021, and we now have more than 525 hotels with over 12,000 rooms in over 100 places, with more opening every day. To build something amazing, you must believe in your product and team.

    Since its inception, how has been this journey of growth for company?

    We are an 18-month-old company that has grown from nothing to over 525 hotels, turning a dream into a reality. Our three online brands are WB INN, WB ECONOMY, and WB COMFORT.

    What are your future plans, and how many keys are you aiming to add in 2022–23?

    We are currently concentrating our efforts on the metro cities. We want to add over 1,000 hotels in metro areas only in 2022-23 and a total of 50,000 rooms across the country.

    What all new destinations are you planning to expand to?

    Our primary focus will be on metro city business and religious locations. Business cities are always 85 per cent occupied, whereas religious locations have a higher ARR and are 50 to 60 per cent occupied. We believe that the WB brand has worldwide potential.

    What innovative ideas have WB Hotels & Resorts done or offered in recent years, keeping thinking outside the box in mind? What has worked for you in terms of drawing patrons and new clients?

    First time in the hospitality industry the online brand franchisee offered to standalone hotel owners, and this has worked well for all of us, resulting in increased revenue for hotel owners and more inventory under the WB Hotels’ umbrella.

    How is WB performing post-pandemic? What is your long-term goal?

    We are growing on a regular basis and hope to include one lakh rooms under our brand umbrella by December 2023 before expanding globally. Because the entire process is based on technology and can be administered from a single place, we want to be the world’s largest online hotel brand with a presence in the majority of the country.

    What are your key brand marketing strategies? How important are OTAs for you?

    We are an online hotel brand and our complete focus is on OTA platforms. Our affiliation with worldwide OTAs enables us to see more. We benefit from increased visibility on their platform because we are the largest supplier of rooms in the three-star category to OTA.