Reimagining the Taj culture!

Puneet Chhatwal, Managing Director and CEO, Indian Hotels Company, speaks on the power of reimagining and restructuring some of the key projects in the future.

AS THE CEO and Managing Director of Indian Hotels Co. Ltd (IHCL), which runs the iconic Taj Hotels, Puneet Chhatwal has charted the next phase of growth for one of India’s oldest hospitality brands.

“Since the demand is outpacing the supply in the Indian subcontinent, it is time to evolve as a brand. What has worked in the past may not work in the future. So, you have to modify with time unless required. What if the 150-year-old legacy would have to rethink and reimagine the next 100 years from now,” he said.

Speaking at the 6th Hotel Operations Summit India (HOSI) in New Delhi, Chhatwal reiterated some of the key focus areas of the brand. He unveiled some of the architecture strategies that the brand plans to adopt in the near future. “India is on the verge of paradigm change and the economy is growing by leaps and bounds so it is important that we adapt an all-inclusive approach for our products. At this time when the future revenue lies in the mid-market and upscale properties, it is relevant to envision the services, sales targets and reinvent the luxury assets of the group,” he said.

An entire overhaul of Taj’s Ginger brand of hotels by adding 55 new ones over the next five years would propel the company’s number of rooms from 3,900 to 7,500, using an asset-light lease model. The vision is to take EBITDA margin to 25% and touch 200 hotels by 2022. “Ginger Hotels is a budget brand and at the beginning of the changing cycle. Revamping to take it to the next level – adding lean luxury and lifestyle — from brand logo to room design to service facilities as not the cheapest but the best brand in the segment,” he informed.

The Taj tag for the luxury properties aims to retain the identity of each of IHCL’s brands. “For instance, Vivanta Hotels will be a standalone entity with the new logo. It has also introduced a wall of fame for the staff, a way to appreciate an employee, which also establishes an emotional connect with the local community and guests during the stay. Therefore, for us the brand represents business and growing the top line is as important as the bottom line,” he added.

The new label, SeleQtions, will cover some exemplary properties like The Gateway Savoy in Ooty, Vivanta by Taj President in Mumbai, Vivanta by Taj-Blue Diamond in Pune and Vivanta by Taj-Ambassador in Delhi.

Highlighting the fact that 38% of FNB in flights is served by TajSATS Air Catering, “We need to be sharp and rise to take this opportunity to the next level of leadership,” he said.

Adding to this, the new tech platforms include revenue management systems, table management systems, and cloud-based integrated architecture for better guest recognition have been integrated for customer complaints and online tracking.

With its distinct tradition of spreading Tajness, blending the authentic with the modern and paying homage to local people, architecture, cultures and communities, the brand is introducing employee recognition and representation through a staff magazine which will come out in the next quarter.

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