TAJ referred to as ‘Tajness’, is deeply rooted in

TAJ HOTELS PALACES RESORTS AND SAFARIS (BY TATA GROUP)

Prestline Jose(B2147)

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1.     
Introduction

The
Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL)
branded as Taj Hotels Palaces
Resorts Safaris, is an international chain of hotels and resorts
headquartered at Express Towers, Nariman Point in Mumbai. Established in 1903, it is one of Asia’s largest and finest group of
hotels, comprising 98 hotels in 61 locations across the globe, including
presence in India, North America, United Kingdom, Africa, Middle East,
Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bhutan and Nepal. From world-renowned
landmarks to modern business hotels, beach resorts to Grand Palaces, each Taj
hotel offers a fusion of warm Indian hospitality, world-class service and
modern luxury. Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris is part of the Tata Group, India’s
premier business house. Taj, Vivanta and The Gateway are some of the brands owned
by the Taj group. The following study aims to give a glimpse into the marketing
strategy adopted by the hotelier which includes promotion, pricing and
distribution strategies together with its USP and details about the services.

2.     
About
the service:

2.1  Intangibility:

 The signature guest experience at Taj, popularly
referred to as ‘Tajness’, is deeply rooted in creating a blend between the rich
Indian tradition and whims of the modern life. The following have been designed
to ensure that the guests are able to feel the ‘Tajness’ everywhere right from
the foyers all the way to the last day of their stay.

·        
Employees clad in traditional wear: Women
wear classic Benares or Pochampally sarees

·        
Architecture and interior designs inspired
by Indian palaces and monuments

·        
Trademark Indian welcome complete with
arti, tikka and garland

·        
Award winning all-natural spa-Jiva Spa

·        
Package inclusive of Ayurvedic treatment
and herbal beauty therapies

·        
Signature cocktails that merge with local
culture

·        
Chef’s studio which offers the experience
of watching the food being prepared.

2.2  Variability:

The
standards of excellence in service is uniform across all outlets although services
are customized depending on the location.

2.3  Perishability:

·        
The hotel chain aims to redefine the
concept of Tajness, by minimizing the time and hurdles during the check-in and
check-out. They want to transform the waiting areas into full-fledged cozy lounges.

·        
Taj has partnership ties with frequent
flying loyalty programmes of airlines such as American Airlines-AAdvantage,
Mileage Plus by United Airlines British Airways Executive Club, Privilege Club
of Qatar Airways and so on. For instance, in case of Qatar Airways, by staying
at Taj hotels, the customer can earn Q-miles or loyalty points.

3.     
 Segmentation and Targeting

Given below are the major brands owned by Taj
along with its segmentation on psychographic basis

3.1 
Taj

It is the flagship brand of the Taj group of
hotels. Located in all the world-renowned landmarks, it aims to preserve and
protect the rich Indian heritage.

Target Market: It is meant for the ‘Thinkers’ who are mature, satisfied and
reflective people, motivated by ideals and who value order, knowledge and
responsibility.

3.2 
Vivanta:

It is a complete solution to a global
cosmopolitan traveler.

Target Market: They strive to cater to the needs of achievers who are successful,
goal- oriented people who focus on career and family. They favour premium
products that demonstrate success to peers.

3.3 
The Gateway:

By offering new age dining options, it offers
24*7 service to a modern traveler.

Target Market: It aims at the innovators and experiencers who are young,
enthusiastic, impulsive people who seek variety and excitement.

 

 

4.     
Unique
Selling Position

The
following has been quoted from Taj website:

“Quintessentially Indian in its fabric, Taj
Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris is recognized the world over for delivering a
unique flavour of hospitality that offers world-class refinement while
remaining deeply rooted in its local heritage. Taj offers guests the
refined luxury of heritage, the effortlessly efficient service and amenities
and a local experience with the assurance of quality.” Hence, ultimately Taj
sends out a poignant positioning message that it is able to cater to all the
requirements of a modern customer while preserving and promoting the Indian
culture.

5.     
 Pricing

Since Taj is equated with luxury, the average
room rent per day is quite high.

·        
On a
regular basis the customers can book their stay through the company website or
through other travel sites by specifying the requirements such as the duration
of stay, number of people, extra amenities such as yoga classes, beauty
treatment, spa, air conditioning, swimming pool, parking availability, airport
shuttle, hotel bar etc. Higher charges would be levied depending on the
increase in amenities and thus it could be compared with perceived value
pricing. Accordingly, the per night room rent of The Gateway hotel, Fatehabad,
Agra is Rs.5100 whereas Vivanta by Taj Whitefield Bangalore charges Rs. 10000 as
per company website.

·        
Taj also
comes up with prices for special packages. For instance, the Staycation package
offered by Taj Mahal Mumbai for Luxury Grande Room King Bed Sea View is worth Rs. 22500 per night.
Likewise, the Royal Retreat Winter Offer at Rambagh Palace for Palace Room Twin
Bed Garden or Courtyard View is Rs.47656.5 per night.

6.     
Promotions:

6.1 
Mass marketing

6.1.1 Advertisement Campaigns:

·        
Tajness: In 2016, the hotel launched “Tajness” ad
campaign to redefine their brand and to promote the essence of intangibility. Since
the reception serves as the first touch point of any customer, the ad campaign aimed
to speak out loud about its hallways and foyers which were modified into cozy
lounges.

·        
Performance Art: This
campaign launched in 2013 aimed to portray the practice of perfect hospitality.
The advertisements consisted of two components viz. a figurative element and a
literal story telling aspect. The former i.e. figurative element metaphorically
drew a comparison between choreography of a world class dance company with smooth
functioning hotel operations. The second series i.e. literal storytelling, comprised
of two photos on a single frame with the first picture displaying the work of a
back-office staff and second one showing a front staff.

Example: In one such ad,
the first picture featured a weaver working with Benares silk while the second
was the image of the office staff clad in the same fabric.

6.1.2       
Sales
promotion

·        
Book Direct Campaign: Taj challenged the customers
to book their stay directly via the company website rather than through travel
sites. The company offered a discount of 10% to anyone who could find an online
vendor offering a more competitive rate than which was displayed on the
website. The offer also came along with a Taj Experience Gift Card worth Rs.
5000.Further the hotel also offers a series of discounts during holiday seasons
especially winter.

6.1.3       
Events
and experiences:

·        
Taj promotes itself as the ideal location
to host corporate events such as business conferences or annual staff party as
well social events such as birthday parties and wedding receptions. They had also
launched a Kumbh Mela package in connection with the ritual practice.

6.1.4       
Publicity
and Public Relations:

·        
Individual and family
outreach: Taj provides
access to long-term medical treatment that addresses the physical and
psychological damage left by terror attacks. This also includes families of
victims, where the loss of the earning member has left senior citizens and
dependents with no means to meet their medical needs. Another priority is
ensuring that children from affected families can continue their education
despite the financial constraints created by injury and disability.

·        
 Unsung heroes programme: It is focused on the welfare of soldiers who have sustained injury or
disability in the course of their military service. Their emphasis is on
ensuring that they can continue to live with dignity either within or outside
the armed forces.

·        
Awards and
Recognitions: The hotel chain has bagged a series of awards some of which
include TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2016, Michelin ratings, Conde
Nast Traveller Hot Listing and so on.

·        
On 19th June 2017, Indian
hotels Company Limited (IHCL) obtained a trademark for the Taj Mahal Palace
hotel, giving it the unique advantage of being the first building to receive a trademark
in India. This enhances the Taj Palace’s place in the world: among the other
well-known structures around the world with trademarks are the Empire State
Building in New York City, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and Sydney’s Opera House.

·        
They also hit the news with visits by
celebrities and heads of states such as former US President Obama or Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

6.2     
Personal
Communication

6.2.1
Hotel Website:

The new revamped version
of its website not only foregrounds unique stories
from Taj hotels and destinations, but also integrates unbiased reviews from
TripAdvisor and authentic traveler recommendations to inform and inspire the
site visitors. The website also comes in multiple languages like Spanish,
German, French and simplified Chinese.

6.2.2       
Database
marketing:

The hotel has launched
membership tiers for the loyal customers referred to as TIC or Taj Inner
Circle. The tiers are platinum, gold, silver and copper. For example: A customer
who has spent at least 80 nights at Taj is eligible for the Platinum membership
whereby he can enjoy complementary upgrades, high speed internet access
whenever he visits the premise- be it as a resident or otherwise, early
check-in late check-out option and 20% discount on room redemption

 

 

7           
Distribution:

Taj Group of hotels has
done a commendable job in locating itself in appropriate destinations depending
on customer demands such as at high foot traffic areas, amidst national parks
and hill stations, along beaches and so on. Apart from famous Indian locations
like Agra, Mumbai Cochin, Goa, Mangalore, New Delhi, Chennai etc., the hotelier
has also gone global with new openings at San Francisco, Maldives, Colombo and
many others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As illustrated above, the
distribution network of Taj Group of Hotels is via three main channels:

·        
Subsidiaries which include PIEM Hotels Ltd,
Taj SATS Air Catering Ltd., Benares Hotels Ltd. etc.

·        
Joint Ventures comprise of Taj GVK Hotels
& Resorts Ltd, Taj Madras Flight Kitchen Private Ltd, Taj Kerala Hotels
& Resorts Ltd. etc.

·        
Associates comprise of Oriental Hotels
Ltd, Lanka Island Resorts Ltd and TAL Lanka Hotel PLC

·        
In the online space the various distribution systems include
the Taj Reservations Worldwide providing 24 x 7 toll free reservation services
for all hotels, Global Distribution Systems, Direct web distribution for direct
and third-party websites. For example, the Amadeus Partnership Programme complements
hoteliers’ own marketing strategies and sales efforts, allowing them to reach
out to Amadeus’ extensive travel agency network through educational events and
special promotions that will encourage room bookings. This helps the hotel
group to access new customers both domestically and internationally, showcasing
the best hotel properties on offer for visitors. The Amadeus Partnership
Programme has helped Taj Hotels to generate a 30% increase in hotel bookings by
travel agents within India, and a 12% increase by travel agents from five
markets across Asia Pacific.

·        
Further as hinted earlier, Taj has also partnered with
airlines whereby the customers can earn the loyalty points of air travel by
simply staying at the prescribed Taj hotel. Hence it serves the dual benefit of
increasing bookings for the hotel and tickets for the airline.

·        
For the
purpose of constructing new hotels, the company website comes along with a
section for contractors to sign up and notify their bids. Last year, Real estate firm Godrej
Properties Ltd had partnered with Taj Palaces Resorts Safaris to develop a
150-room Taj Hotel at its ongoing mixed-use development project ‘The Trees’ at
Mumbai’s Vikhroli.

Therefore, at the end of
the day, it could be stated that, the Taj Hotel’s story which began as a
patriot’s revenge has now done wonders owing to its ability to create a memorable
experience for the customers. It stands out in the hotel industry primarily
because of its commitment to uphold and propagate the Indian way of life amidst
the forces of globalization.

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