Guide To Mumbaiís Budget Hotels
DíMello gives you the lowdown on what you can expect this
season from Mumbaiís budget accommodation
mid-market classification implies hotels in the
three-star range and below. It is the 123 hotels of this category
spread out across the city where many of the approximately
50,000 daily visitors to the city will turn to. Though Mumbai
is a price sensitive market, of late the hotelier, keeping
his personal feelings aside, has become more attuned to the
needs of the customer. All thanks to the depression in the
Following last years series of negative turns, hotel
prices have not only remained the same, they have come down
by a handsome 45-plus per cent. This means that a Rs 1,000
room is yours for Rs 550. The 45-plus per cent price dip however
is an off-season phenomenon. As the 2002 winter season (November
to February) promises to be better than the year before, managers
are not offering such high cuts. The key to understanding
the pricing strategy of the hotel is to understand its tariff
or the printed rate. Hotels in the mid-market category usually
work on a 40-50 per cent profit margin. Printed tariff is
a hark back to the glory days when the take was high. Today,
it is more appropriate to call it an ambitious rate, left
there by the hopefuls. Unlike Western countries, Indian hotels
never reduce their printed tariff, which implies that for
a rate suited to your slender pockets, bargains or price negotiations
are a must. Be prepared to settle for a mere 20 per cent discount
if you are a Free Individual Traveller (FIT) or in a group
of around three.
Corporates however have it easier. In light of their poor
intakes for the past year, Mumbais mid-market hotels
are willing to make rate adjustments of up to 35 per cent,
depending on volumes of course. However, for this category,
it is recommended to wait and watch, specifically, wait for
the off-season and watch if the discounts increase.
The price of your hotel room is very dependent on the location
of your hotel. The city is spread out lengthwise - approximately
65 kms - and has the Arabian Sea as its Western border. The
thumb rule is that mid-market hotels are the most expensive
in south Mumbai, the traditional business district. This region
contains the Marine Lines to Colaba areas. Then by the law
of opposites, the northern reaches of Borivali and Thane are
hotels of Dadar, Bandra and Andheri that are sandwiched between
the two extremities would occupy the middle bracket.
There are however a few exceptions to that rule. The emergence
of Bandra-Kurla as the latest corporate zone has automatically
pushed rooms rates up there. Likewise for regions around the
citys two airports, Andheri and Vile Parle.
Services And Rooms
Once location and the price category are fixed, services offered
are the next thing to look out for. In Mumbais mid-market
category, services range from just a notch above the basic
to luxurious, again depending on location and
price. There are exceptions to the rule. Hotels in high traffic
areas like airports, the two business hubs and some suburbs
are said to have the best rooms of the category.
Rs 750 room anywhere in the city would get you 175 square
feet with basic amenities such as a clean, bug-free
bed and an attached bathroom. Both twin beds and double beds
exist, though twins are more common. All hotels have just
a handful of suites which are either a larger room or the
same-size room with an attached smaller one. Connecting rooms
or walk-through rooms are more an exception than the norm.
An extra folding bed per night should add Rs 250 to the bill.
Bathtubs are unheard of in the mid-market category. Bathrooms
are kept basic, efficient and practical. Given the rising
cost of electricity and water shortages of the city, hot and
cold water cannot be guaranteed. However the more up-market
mid-market hotels, especially those that see good foreign
traffic, boast of a 24-hour hot water supply. Soaps and towels
are provided. Air-conditioning,
while being a must during Mumbais 12 sweltering months,
is optional. Cost for this facility should be worked up at
between 25-35 per cent. Televisions
and telephones come included in the price of every room.
Food is generally a bone of contention at hotels of this category
since it is comparatively expensive and without much variety.
Most hotels have an in-house restaurant and room-service is
standard. However the latter facility is not always round-the-clock.
Value Added Services
This is the exciting aspect of Mumbais mid-market hotel
accommodation today. More progressive hotels are
realising that they are battling for a very small if not reduced
pie, thanks to competition and the erstwhile Taliban. As a
result, services once available at add-on prices are now cheaper
if not included in the room price. These include services
like laundry, business centres, local transport, air-conditioning
and food. Food is the biggest gain by business travellers
today. The American Bed-N-Breakfast module has
almost become standard. A decent sized Continental (eggs,
cereal, bread, butter, jam, honey, juice and tea or coffee)
or an Indian breakfast is what is usually on offer. To do
one better, some hotels now offer the Modified American Plan
(MAP) (two of three meals) and even the American Plan (AP)
(all meals) as part of a value added room package.
Other value add-ons include gymnasium facilities (where available)
and internet facilities.