Varun Sharma / Mumbai November 13, 2008, 0:53 IST
Tata Group-owned Indian Hotels Company (IHCL) is likely to create another brand between the Taj luxury brand and the recently-launched Gateway Hotels to attract value tourists and expand the range of its offerings.
“We believe there is a gap in our branding strategy and we will be looking to bridge this gap in the future,’’ said Ajoi Misra, senior vice-president (sales and marketing), IHCL. The new brand will be priced between those of the Gateway and the Taj.
Launching its Gateway brand in September, the Taj Group had indicated that branding of segments will increasingly assume importance.
The pricing for the new brand will be higher than that of the Gateway and the range will differ from property to property.
The group wants to associate the Taj brand with luxury hotel chains in India and overseas. For instance, the group’s venture in China Temple of Heaven and Hainan Properties carries the Taj name. The strategy seems to be working as the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, Mumbai, was listed in the overseas business hotel category by Conde Nast Traveller and the Rambagh Jaipur in the overseas leisure hotel category in Asia and the sub-continent this September. The company is keen to protect the Taj brand image as it continues to create its identity for the luxury segment.
“Differentiated brands are a need of the market now,” said Misra. “It is inevitable to build on the brand architecture as it also takes time to do something like this.”
The move towards branding and segmentation is not related to the influx of new international brands in the Indian market. In the past few years, the group has steadily implemented the value proposition with an aim to be present in all segments through various brands.
The Gateway brand was already with the company for around 20 years and was relaunched at a price point that tries to capture the young tourist audience.
“We have Ginger, now Gateway and the luxury Taj brand — another brand in the upper upscale segment will fill in the gap,” Misra said.
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