Lemon Tree Hotels, which was started by Patu Keswani in 2002, is one of the first Indian hotel companies to enter the mid-market segment. The company owns and operates 21 hotels in 14 cities under its three brands—Lemon Tree Hotels, Lemon Tree Premier and Red Fox. It is the third-largest hotel chain in the country by owned rooms.
In 2012, the company got investment of Rs 650 crore from Dutch pension fund manager APG. This is one of the largest private equity investment attracted by a hotel chain in the country.
Backed by this capital, Lemon Tree is now charting an aggressive expansion plan to become the second-largest hotel chain by owned rooms in 24-30 months.
In this interview, Rahul Pandit, president of Lemon Tree Hotels, talks about how he plans to position the company in the future, exit route for investors, critical challenges in hotel sector and what the company is doing to meet them.