Tata Group’s Indian Hotels Company(IHCL), operator of the Taj group of properties is likely to rebrand all its hotels under Taj badge. The new strategy could also see certain budget brands such as Vivanta and Gateway facing the axe Rakesh Sarna, Managing Director and the Chief Executive Officer of the IHCL made a presentation on Tuesday, outlining the proposals given by various general managers of the Taj hotels. According to the presentation by Sarna, these plans involve a complete rebranding of all its properties such as the Taj Palaces, Taj Resorts and Spas among others. Sarna had taken over the reigns of IHCl back in September 2014. If the proposal is to accept, it would see the drawing of curtains over the Vivanta and Gateway brands, which were built for over 5 years. The branding was done in line with the industry practice all over the world; big chains could be differentiated from hotels on the basis of their categorisation on the basis of business, luxury or the size of the hotel.
Competition increased drastically in the hospitality sector in September when Marriott International and Starwood Hotels and Resorts officially merged into one company. Marriott announced that it would offer reciprocal; benefits to members of each loyalty programme, immediately after the merger. IE reports say that the CEO, Rakesh Saran wanted to be in a position where the brand would take charge and command, even if they are in a small place. The report also said that the company feels that the customers who come to the Taj hotels for their brand, don’t like to associate with any other names.
Although, as a result of the rebranding, every small hotel would have to be upgraded, in matters of service and otherwise. They will have to be standardised to maintain a certain level of quality across all Taj hotels. A source told IE that the initial plan to hash out various brands like Gateway and Vivanta was to classify the flagship hotels under the Taj brand from the budget hotels. This was done so that the Taj brand doesn’t get diminished or lost. This new plan will see every hotel coming under the same banner with a standardised quality of service and otherwise throughout. This will help the company to set a standard premium price for all its hotels.