Rising operational costs and cut-throat competition have forced budget and luxury hotels in the commercial centre of Karol Bagh to adopt a “transforming survival strategy”. No wonder, many of these hotels, whose numbers have risen sharply from 80 to 350 in the past decade, have partly converted into paying guest accommodations.

One such hotel is Sobti. Located on Gurdwara Road, it has been providing accommodation at reasonable rates to nurses working with BLK Super Speciality Hospital since the past two years. It is a win-win situation for both parties — the hotels get a dedicated clientele, and the nurses get a safe staying option close to their place of work at very affordable rates.

A nurse who stays there said the four of them stay in one room and pay Rs.1,000 per head per month. They have to shell out an extra Rs.300 for using the kitchen. Their grocery, however, cost them around Rs.2,000 a month.

Besides here, many nurses also stay at Lakshmi Plaza on Gurdwara Road and Aman Plaza, which is opposite BLK Hospital.

“Aman Plaza is a new place with comparatively better facilities,” said a nurse. She added that rooms at Sobti Hotel have a TV and fridge, along with fire extinguishers on each floor.

The same is the case with Hotel Kafila, where women staying on twin-sharing basis have to pay Rs.11,200 per head per month, inclusive of food. Many other hotels surveyed nearby, including Hotel Paul and Hotel Welcome Plaza, also provide long-term staying facility to the youth.

On the change in business model, Karol Bagh Traders’ Federation chairman Surinder Dheer said the idea was to remain in business.

“We consider them tourist and they account for 90 per cent of our business.”

While Delhi’s five-star hotels were recently rated among the most reasonable the world over, the smaller hotels have also been attracting tourists due to their tariffs. As Antonio and Mario from Italy, who visit Delhi every year and stay at Hotel Shiva near Karol Bagh for Rs.800 per day, said: “We are celebrating our stay here.”

The stay is often cheap because of huge discounts. As Rama Deluxe manager Manoj Singh said: “We provide up to 40 per cent discount to businessmen who intend to stay with us for a long duration.”

One owner said the licensing and registration process is not as complicated as it seems. They mainly have to get two licences — one from the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and the other from the Delhi Police. But due to high commercial charges for electricity and cooking gas, the need for food licences and low footfalls, most hotels now avoid having kitchens and have even closed down their restaurants.

This has, however, led to the creation of an inter-linkage between a large number of restaurants and hotels in Karol Bagh.

On how the hotels are making do with low tariffs, a manager said the owners have started clubbing other services, such as travel agencies, party halls, conference spaces and paying guest houses to make their business model more viable.

Wahi Guest House manager added: “Usually, average occupancy is up to 80 per cent and the majority of customers are businessmen. The guest house also has its separate travel agency, but does not have a kitchen facility and procures food from nearby restaurants.”

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