IndiGo Parent Enters Europe’s Hotel Space: Miiro Opens First Property in Paris This Month

Skift Take

InterGlobe is diving into the European hospitality scene with profit on its mind. As the CEO of Miiro Hotels clearly puts it, “This isn’t a vanity project — it’s a project for profit.”

InterGlobe Enterprises, the parent company of India’s largest airline, IndiGo, is entering the highly competitive European hotel space.

With its first hotel launching in Paris this month, Miiro Hotels has a total of five properties in the pipeline in the next 18 months. The Paris launch of the Le Grand Hotel Cayre will precede openings in Barcelona in August, followed by London and Vienna next year.

Although Miiro is a relatively small venture within the larger InterGlobe portfolio, it aligns with InterGlobe’s broader diversification strategy as a creative and profitable endeavor.

“Even though its contribution will be small, this is not a vanity project, it’s a project for profit,” Miiro CEO Neena Gupta told Skift.

Miiro’s future expansion will focus on consolidating its presence in Europe before exploring other markets. Gupta’s dream destinations include key gateway European cities like Milan, Madrid and Rome.

India is a potential market for growth once the brand matures in Europe. However, the current economic environment, characterized by rising debt, inflation, and labor costs, poses challenges to further acquisitions, Gupta said.

Neena headshot
CEO of Miiro Hotels, Neena Gupta

Strategic Vision and Inspiration

The inception of Miiro was driven by InterGlobe’s acquisition of real estate in iconic European locations, Gupta told Skift.

She explained that this venture began with a goal of capitalizing on financially well-performing buildings and hotels to ensure a strong return on investment. 

In 2019, InterGlobe acquired the Austrian-chain K+K Elisabeta hotel from Goldman Sachs. The K+K Hotels group is a collection of 10 four-star hotels that span eight European cities — Paris, Barcelona, London, Vienna, Prague, Munich, Budapest and Bucharest.

In 2022, InterGlobe partnered with European hospitality management company Cycas to manage its portfolio of European hotels.

The K&K portfolio, known for its iconic locations and historic buildings, served as a catalyst. The properties, previously owned and developed over 30 years by an independent operator, presented an opportunity to rejuvenate these historic sites and introduce a new brand to the European market, Gupta said.

“Post-Covid, the hospitality market has seen a notable shift from chain hotels to independent, experiential stays,” Gupta told Skift. The pandemic has influenced consumer behavior, with a segment of travelers now seeking more curated, personalized experiences. Miiro aims to cater to this demographic.

Its market research highlighted a target market of “self-assured travelers and explorers,” individuals keen to immerse themselves in local cultures and experiences. These are repeat travelers and this being their third of fourth time in the destination are now looking to explore the local areas. “This segment, though small (which a research conducted by Miiro in 2020 had estimated at 15%), presents a significant opportunity for boutique offerings,” Gupta said.

The Labor Challenge

Hiring the right people is the biggest challenge, Gupta said. 

“We’ve been fortunate so far; I’ve personally selected all the top executives and their deputies,” she said. “Instead of using recruitment agencies, we’ve directly targeted the individuals we want in the market. When we announced the brand in December, we had several talented people approach us. Taking special care of our team starts with inspiring them with a vision.”

While Gupta acknowledged that they can’t overlook the valuable training provided by large operators like Marriott, Accor and Hilton, she said they’ve been focusing on hiring from independent hotel companies as they have a unique understanding of service and curated experiences.

However, while senior positions have been easier to fill, the biggest challenge according to Gupta lies in finding the line staff. “But we’re making progress,” she said. “From the very beginning, we’ve been dedicated to building the right team. We have rigorous training programs to align everyone with our brand philosophy. Miiro’s differentiation strategy hinges on delivering “brilliantly considered stays” through consistent quality service. Else, a lot of brands will be doing what we’re doing.”

Brands like Marriott and IHG have also announced their latest expansion plans in Europe. Marriott said earlier this year that it would add nearly 100 hotels by 2026 in Europe, while IHG has signed a deal to add more than 100 in Germany.

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