Espire Hospitality eyes its own niche, key market footprint

Currently operating a portfolio of 10 hotels and resorts and owner of what it refers to as “India’s most magnificent resort” Six Senses Fort Barwara in Ranthambore, Espire aims to double it’s portfolio by the end of FY 2026. Akhil Arora, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, sheds light on the company’s growth, vision, plan and more.

Share in brief the idea behind Espire Hospitality Group and the niche that it wants to carve for itself.

Our focus has always been on introducing experiences that do not currently exist in the hospitality landscape – we want to establish ourselves as amongst the best ‘Experience Curators’ in the country. Our overarching goal is to redefine hospitality by seamlessly blending luxury, thoughtful experiences and personalized service across all our properties.

We are working towards expansion in distinctive destinations that inspires the soul and introducing immersive experiences that resonate with travellers seeking authenticity, sophistication, and tranquillity for soulful stays.

Shed light on Espire’s growth trajectory since it’s launch.
Our flagship brand, Country Inn Hotels & Resorts, began its journey in 1993 but we geared up towards expansion very recently. In 2021, we unveiled India’s most magnificent resort, ‘Six Senses Fort Barwara’ in Ranthambore. In 2022, we ventured into the five-star boutique luxury resort market with the launch of ‘ZANA – Luxury Resorts’, now boasting a portfolio of three exquisite properties in Udaipur, Ranthambore, and Jim Corbett.

Presently, our portfolio comprises of ten distinguished hotels, with plans underway for the launch of a new hotel in Ayodhya within the coming months. With an ambitious vision, we aim to double our operating hotels to twenty by the end of FY 2026.

What kind of future growth and geography are you looking at, especially in the next 4 to 5 years?

Our expansion strategy is multifaceted, aiming to offer new options for different travellers and market segments. Our forthcoming properties will span across both ends of the spectrum, with ‘ZANA Resorts’ offering luxury boutique experience for the premium travellers, and ‘Country Inn Hotels & Resorts’ offering mid-segment resorts for the savvy traveller.

In terms of market focus, while we have a strong presence in India’s leisure market, we are now setting our sight on key business hubs such as Delhi NCR, Mumbai, and Bangalore.

What’s your growth model – own-operate, manage, franchise, lease etc.? Pls shed light on the current mix of your portfolio.  

Our expansion strategy encompasses a majority of hotels under management, lease and franchise models. While ZANA Vrindavan, set to debut in early 2026, will be a flagship property owned by Espire Hospitality Group. This diversified approach allows us to leverage our expertise and resources efficiently while simultaneously expanding our footprint across a broader spectrum of markets.

Kindly shed light on the planned investment in new development

We are coming up with a ZANA resort in Vrindavan and for this significant project, we’ve allocating approximately INR 100 crores of investment. This investment aims at creating an exceptional retreat that is an amalgamation of luxury, comfort, and serenity amidst the beautiful surroundings of Vrindavan. Our vision for this resort encompasses state-of-the-art facilities, immersive experiences, and sustainable practices to ensure an unforgettable stay for our guests.

Is there a plan to go international? If yes, how are you strategizing for your international debut?

Regarding our strategy for international expansion, we’re approaching it with meticulous planning and careful consideration. Currently, we’re pursuing leads in destinations such as Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Dubai but these are not close to immediate closure. We shall make an announcement when we are able to enter the international market.

How do you brand and position Espire’s two brands, ‘Country Inn Hotels and Resorts’ and ‘ZANA – Luxury Escapes’?

Both our brands aim to offer a distinctive experience for avid travellers. 

‘ZANA Luxury Resorts’ is the newest addition to our portfolio. Through meticulous branding strategies, we position ZANA as synonymous with opulence, exclusivity, and personalized experiences. Our focus is on crafting memorable journeys that exceed the expectations of discerning travellers, offering unparalleled luxury and bespoke services at every touchpoint.

On the other hand, ‘Country Inn Hotel and Resorts’ is our mid-segment resort brand. These resorts are strategically located in destinations that are best suited for adventure, discovery, and at the places that inspire the soul. The emphasis lies on capturing the essence of warm hospitality and a welcoming atmosphere. We position this brand as the epitome of comfort and relaxation, offering a retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Through our branding efforts, we highlight the charm of the destination and the cozy ambiance of our properties, catering to travellers seeking a peaceful getaway without compromising on quality service.

How do you engage and incentivise the domestic and international B2B travel fraternity in your properties’ promotions?

At present, our primary focus is on engaging domestic B2B agents. To achieve this, we recently conducted a highly successful 5-day roadshow in Mumbai and Pune that witnessed enthusiastic participation from the most revered travel agents in both the cities. We plan to have many more such events in the near future.

Additionally, we maintain regular communication through WhatsApp marketing, ensuring that our database of B2B agents is informed about our latest promotions, special deals, and exclusive offers. We also come up with special deals and packages tailored specifically for our B2B partners to provide them with attractive incentives for collaboration. Through these efforts, we strive to foster strong and mutually beneficial relationships with our domestic B2B travel fraternity.