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The Indian market has seen a rapid growth of luxury hotels

The Indian market has seen a rapid growth of luxury hotels during the last years, and is expecting more to come. While domestic companies are still the leaders in the market, foreign hotel chains and new entrants have realized their potential of growth in the country, which has led to increased competition amongst players in the luxury segment (Mintel, 2012). The French luxury brand Sofitel, owned by the Accor group, is one of the hotel chains that has decided to explore the Indian market, and has through the last years focused on expanding in emerging markets around the world (Euromontiror International, 2013).

With one Sofitel Hotel already operating in Mumbai, India the brand is now expecting to open two new hotels in the Mumbai area by 2017, one of them being Sofitel So Mumbai Mulund (Sofitel eyes 10 properties in India, 2013). Sofitel So is a luxury designer boutique concept, which is positioned on its three brand pillars; design, gastronomy and culture. By offering an experience with French luxury mixed with the local culture, Sofitel hopes to give its customers something unique and an experience that none of its competitors can offer or exceed (Sofitel, 2014).

However, other internationally well-known hotel chains are planning to introduce new concepts into the market. One of these hotels is W Hotels, owned by Starwood, and they will open their first hotel in 2015 (Saurine, 2013). Yet, the challenge still remains of how to successfully introduce a French designer boutique hotel, in the Indian market that is predominated by domestic luxury hotels, taking in consideration both the competition and the demand in Mumbai.

In this research paper, theory of Hotel development will be presented and analyzed in order to evaluate what should be taken in consideration when introducing a concept to a new market. As Sofitel So is a hotel putting a lot of emphasis on design, the design concept will be highlighted in this theory, identifying possible challenges as well as opportunities in regards to the market conditions. Furthermore, by evaluating the theory of competitive advantage, this research paper also aims to analyze how Sofitel So can use its unique concept in order to become one of the leaders in the market.

2. Aim & Objectives:
This research paper aims to analyze and evaluate how Sofitel So, as a French designer boutique hotel, can develop its hotel successfully in the increasingly competitive market of luxury hotels in Mumbai, India. Furthermore, by conducting research of the Mumbai market, this research paper aims to evaluate weather there is demand of such a hotel concept, and what Sofitel So should take in consideration in order to achieve competitive advantage in the market.

Theoretical Objectives:
• To define and analyze the theory of Hotel Development, evaluating the concept of design.

• To review and evaluate the theory of competitive advantage.

Data Objectives:
• To analyze and determine what Sofitel So needs to adapt and take in consideration when introducing its concept to a new market in order to meet the demand.

• To evaluate and compare the main competitors in Mumbai, investigate Sofitel So´s potential for gaining competitive advantage.

• To conduct research analyzing the designer and boutique hotel segment, looking at current status and forecasted trends.


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