Indian Hotels rebrands with Taj as master brand

Tata Group hospitality division, the Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL), has regrouped all its hotels under a single brand called Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris. Each of the four groups, Taj Hotels, Taj Palaces, Taj Resorts and Taj Safaris, will have clearly defined experiences, IHCL stated.

Under this plan, these hotels will now be divided into four sub-categories - hotels, palaces, resorts and safaris - under the Taj brand, depending on the location and nature of the properties.

Accordingly, the company is upgrading all 58 hotels under its Vivanta and Gateway brands, and moving them to the Taj brand.

Currently, Taj Hotels caters to the luxury segment while Vivanta and Gateway hotels are pegged as upscale and premium brands, respectively.

With a new brand architecture in place, Indian Hotels is reverting to its pre-2010 strategy of a single Taj brand. The company's budget hotel brand Ginger will, however, not be part of the new scheme of things.

''With this new brand architecture, Taj is going back to its roots. It was a tough decision to move our other brands, but we took a bold step as a master-branding strategy was needed at this stage with global competition catching up,'' Rakesh Sarna, CEO, Indian Hotels, said.

Sarna said the addition of Taj Safaris to the corporate logo reflects the growing importance of this segment to its business. The new brand architecture was designed to honour the over 100 year legacy of Taj and to realign Taj's vision of building a globally-reputable chain of world-class hotels, he added.

The essential elements of the corporate brand logo - the main unit and colour palette - will remain the same as it has a powerful recall as a symbol of Taj's heritage and tradition, Sarna said.

''We will use the capex of Rs1,500 crore, which is already being used to renovate our existing properties, for the new brand architecture,'' Chinmai Sharma, chief revenue officer, Indian Hotels, added.

The Taj Gateway in Nashik, which will need to be upgraded, will migrate to the Taj Resorts brand. ''Properties such as Taj Vivanta in South Mumbai would probably go back to its original name of Taj President,'' added Sharma.

The rebranding exercise is part of the group's efforts to fight competition from new entrants, especially international rivals like Marriott, which has emerged as the country's largest hospitality company, beating the Taj in terms of the number of rooms.

IHCL had reported a consolidated net profit of Rs92.98 crore for the fiscal third quarter ended 31 December 2016 compared with Rs13.31 crore in the same period last fiscal year.