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

TAJ HOTELS PALACES RESORTS AND SAFARIS (BY TATA GROUP)Prestline Jose(B2147) 1.

     IntroductionTheIndian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL)branded as Taj Hotels PalacesResorts Safaris, is an international chain of hotels and resortsheadquartered at Express Towers, Nariman Point in Mumbai. Established in 1903, it is one of Asia’s largest and finest group ofhotels, comprising 98 hotels in 61 locations across the globe, includingpresence in India, North America, United Kingdom, Africa, Middle East,Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bhutan and Nepal. From world-renownedlandmarks to modern business hotels, beach resorts to Grand Palaces, each Tajhotel offers a fusion of warm Indian hospitality, world-class service andmodern luxury. Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris is part of the Tata Group, India’spremier business house. Taj, Vivanta and The Gateway are some of the brands ownedby the Taj group. The following study aims to give a glimpse into the marketingstrategy adopted by the hotelier which includes promotion, pricing anddistribution strategies together with its USP and details about the services. 2.     Aboutthe service:2.

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1  Intangibility: The signature guest experience at Taj, popularlyreferred to as ‘Tajness’, is deeply rooted in creating a blend between the richIndian tradition and whims of the modern life. The following have been designedto ensure that the guests are able to feel the ‘Tajness’ everywhere right fromthe foyers all the way to the last day of their stay.·        Employees clad in traditional wear: Womenwear classic Benares or Pochampally sarees·        Architecture and interior designs inspiredby Indian palaces and monuments·        Trademark Indian welcome complete witharti, tikka and garland·        Award winning all-natural spa-Jiva Spa·        Package inclusive of Ayurvedic treatmentand herbal beauty therapies·        Signature cocktails that merge with localculture·        Chef’s studio which offers the experienceof watching the food being prepared.2.2  Variability:Thestandards of excellence in service is uniform across all outlets although servicesare customized depending on the location.2.3  Perishability:·        The hotel chain aims to redefine theconcept of Tajness, by minimizing the time and hurdles during the check-in andcheck-out. They want to transform the waiting areas into full-fledged cozy lounges.

·        Taj has partnership ties with frequentflying loyalty programmes of airlines such as American Airlines-AAdvantage,Mileage Plus by United Airlines British Airways Executive Club, Privilege Clubof Qatar Airways and so on. For instance, in case of Qatar Airways, by stayingat Taj hotels, the customer can earn Q-miles or loyalty points.3.

      Segmentation and TargetingGiven below are the major brands owned by Tajalong with its segmentation on psychographic basis3.1 Taj It is the flagship brand of the Taj group ofhotels. Located in all the world-renowned landmarks, it aims to preserve andprotect the rich Indian heritage.Target Market: It is meant for the ‘Thinkers’ who are mature, satisfied andreflective people, motivated by ideals and who value order, knowledge andresponsibility.3.2 Vivanta:It is a complete solution to a globalcosmopolitan 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 premiumproducts that demonstrate success to peers.3.3 The Gateway:By offering new age dining options, it offers24*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.

     UniqueSelling PositionThefollowing has been quoted from Taj website:”Quintessentially Indian in its fabric, TajHotels Palaces Resorts Safaris is recognized the world over for delivering aunique flavour of hospitality that offers world-class refinement whileremaining deeply rooted in its local heritage. Taj offers guests therefined luxury of heritage, the effortlessly efficient service and amenitiesand a local experience with the assurance of quality.” Hence, ultimately Tajsends out a poignant positioning message that it is able to cater to all therequirements of a modern customer while preserving and promoting the Indianculture.5.      PricingSince Taj is equated with luxury, the averageroom rent per day is quite high.

·        On aregular basis the customers can book their stay through the company website orthrough other travel sites by specifying the requirements such as the durationof stay, number of people, extra amenities such as yoga classes, beautytreatment, spa, air conditioning, swimming pool, parking availability, airportshuttle, hotel bar etc. Higher charges would be levied depending on theincrease in amenities and thus it could be compared with perceived valuepricing. Accordingly, the per night room rent of The Gateway hotel, Fatehabad,Agra is Rs.

5100 whereas Vivanta by Taj Whitefield Bangalore charges Rs. 10000 asper company website.·        Taj alsocomes up with prices for special packages.

For instance, the Staycation packageoffered 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 TwinBed Garden or Courtyard View is Rs.

47656.5 per night.6.     Promotions:6.1 Mass marketing6.

1.1 Advertisement Campaigns:·        Tajness: In 2016, the hotel launched “Tajness” adcampaign to redefine their brand and to promote the essence of intangibility. Sincethe reception serves as the first touch point of any customer, the ad campaign aimedto speak out loud about its hallways and foyers which were modified into cozylounges.

·        Performance Art: Thiscampaign launched in 2013 aimed to portray the practice of perfect hospitality.The advertisements consisted of two components viz. a figurative element and aliteral story telling aspect.

The former i.e. figurative element metaphoricallydrew a comparison between choreography of a world class dance company with smoothfunctioning hotel operations. The second series i.e. literal storytelling, comprisedof two photos on a single frame with the first picture displaying the work of aback-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 secondwas the image of the office staff clad in the same fabric.

6.1.2       Salespromotion·        Book Direct Campaign: Taj challenged the customersto book their stay directly via the company website rather than through travelsites. The company offered a discount of 10% to anyone who could find an onlinevendor offering a more competitive rate than which was displayed on thewebsite. 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 seasonsespecially winter.6.1.3       Eventsand experiences:·        Taj promotes itself as the ideal locationto host corporate events such as business conferences or annual staff party aswell social events such as birthday parties and wedding receptions. They had alsolaunched a Kumbh Mela package in connection with the ritual practice.

6.1.4       Publicityand Public Relations:·        Individual and familyoutreach: Taj providesaccess to long-term medical treatment that addresses the physical andpsychological damage left by terror attacks. This also includes families ofvictims, where the loss of the earning member has left senior citizens anddependents with no means to meet their medical needs. Another priority isensuring that children from affected families can continue their educationdespite the financial constraints created by injury and disability.·         Unsung heroes programme: It is focused on the welfare of soldiers who have sustained injury ordisability in the course of their military service.

Their emphasis is onensuring that they can continue to live with dignity either within or outsidethe armed forces. ·        Awards andRecognitions: The hotel chain has bagged a series of awards some of whichinclude TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2016, Michelin ratings, CondeNast Traveller Hot Listing and so on.·        On 19th June 2017, Indianhotels Company Limited (IHCL) obtained a trademark for the Taj Mahal Palacehotel, giving it the unique advantage of being the first building to receive a trademarkin India. This enhances the Taj Palace’s place in the world: among the otherwell-known structures around the world with trademarks are the Empire StateBuilding in New York City, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and Sydney’s Opera House.

·        They also hit the news with visits bycelebrities and heads of states such as former US President Obama or IsraeliPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 6.2     PersonalCommunication6.

2.1Hotel Website: The new revamped versionof its website not only foregrounds unique storiesfrom Taj hotels and destinations, but also integrates unbiased reviews fromTripAdvisor and authentic traveler recommendations to inform and inspire thesite visitors. The website also comes in multiple languages like Spanish,German, French and simplified Chinese.6.2.2       Databasemarketing: The hotel has launchedmembership tiers for the loyal customers referred to as TIC or Taj InnerCircle.

The tiers are platinum, gold, silver and copper. For example: A customerwho has spent at least 80 nights at Taj is eligible for the Platinum membershipwhereby he can enjoy complementary upgrades, high speed internet accesswhenever he visits the premise- be it as a resident or otherwise, earlycheck-in late check-out option and 20% discount on room redemption  7           Distribution:Taj Group of hotels hasdone a commendable job in locating itself in appropriate destinations dependingon customer demands such as at high foot traffic areas, amidst national parksand hill stations, along beaches and so on. Apart from famous Indian locationslike Agra, Mumbai Cochin, Goa, Mangalore, New Delhi, Chennai etc., the hotelierhas also gone global with new openings at San Francisco, Maldives, Colombo andmany others.

           As illustrated above, thedistribution 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 HotelsLtd, Lanka Island Resorts Ltd and TAL Lanka Hotel PLC·        In the online space the various distribution systems includethe Taj Reservations Worldwide providing 24 x 7 toll free reservation servicesfor all hotels, Global Distribution Systems, Direct web distribution for directand third-party websites.

For example, the Amadeus Partnership Programme complementshoteliers’ own marketing strategies and sales efforts, allowing them to reachout to Amadeus’ extensive travel agency network through educational events andspecial promotions that will encourage room bookings. This helps the hotelgroup to access new customers both domestically and internationally, showcasingthe best hotel properties on offer for visitors. The Amadeus PartnershipProgramme has helped Taj Hotels to generate a 30% increase in hotel bookings bytravel agents within India, and a 12% increase by travel agents from fivemarkets across Asia Pacific.·        Further as hinted earlier, Taj has also partnered withairlines whereby the customers can earn the loyalty points of air travel bysimply staying at the prescribed Taj hotel. Hence it serves the dual benefit ofincreasing bookings for the hotel and tickets for the airline. ·        For thepurpose of constructing new hotels, the company website comes along with asection for contractors to sign up and notify their bids.

Last year, Real estate firm GodrejProperties Ltd had partnered with Taj Palaces Resorts Safaris to develop a150-room Taj Hotel at its ongoing mixed-use development project ‘The Trees’ atMumbai’s Vikhroli.Therefore, at the end ofthe day, it could be stated that, the Taj Hotel’s story which began as apatriot’s revenge has now done wonders owing to its ability to create a memorableexperience for the customers. It stands out in the hotel industry primarilybecause of its commitment to uphold and propagate the Indian way of life amidstthe forces of globalization.References: