EIH focuses on image building

Hence different hotels like the Rajvilas Hotel will now be known as The Oberoi Rajvilas, The Oberoi Amarvilas, The Oberoi Udaivilas and The Oberoi Vanyavilas while The Cecil, Shimla, will be re-branded as The Oberoi Cecil and so on. The company feels this move will strengthen the Oberoi brand in the global market.

EIH is also planning to introduce luxury trains soon in association with the Indian Railways. Says EIH chairman P R S Oberoi: "It is our intention to introduce luxury trains and we intend to talk to the Indian Railways for a possible joint venture."

EIH, in the meantime, is in the process of launching a luxury houseboat in Kerala backwaters. The luxury boat, Vrinda, will be launched shortly. Oberoi says if this venture works out well then the company may launch more luxury boats.

Since EIH entered into a strategic alliance with Hilton International for the group''s Trident Hotels, it is strengthening its global image and these initiatives seem to be part of an image-building exercise.

Commenting on the recent strategic alliance between EIH and Hilton International for Trident Hotels, Oberoi says under this alliance EIH will manage, operate and undertake domestic marketing of all its hotels, while Hilton will be responsible for international marketing, promotion and reservations through the Hilton International network. "EIH is evaluating options of more strategic alliances for The Oberoi brand but, nothing has fructified yet."

While EIH has put all expansion plans on the backburner in India owing to the dismal state of the tourism industry it is actively pursuing expansion abroad. In the Maldives and Dubai for instance, EIH has taken up management contracts and the drafts of memorandums of understanding for the new projects have been finalised.