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Tuesday, 04 July, 2017, 10 : 00 AM [IST]

Taj to expand portfolio in Safari segment; revamp Jiva Spa brand

Check-in & check-out to go digital by March 2018
Taj Hotels, Palaces, Resorts, Safaris is planning to grow in the high-potential adventure and wellness travel segments. Apart from four Safari resorts in Madhya Pradesh and one in Nepal, the brand is on the lookout to add on new Safari properties. Besides, Taj will also be revamping the Jiva Spa brand and taking it to new locations. Starting this year, all resort properties will house a Jiva Spa showcasing fine-quality products and trained professionals.

Talking exclusively to TravelBiz Monitor, Chinmai Sharma, Chief Revenue Officer, Taj Hotels, Palaces, Resorts, Safaris, said, “We are majorly focussing on the Indian domestic traveller who is trending with double digit growth with significant spend on F&B and growing average length of stay. Going forward we plan to encash on the growing demand for adventure and wellness tourism in the Indian market. India has a lot of untapped potential for our Safari product like in the North East and we are constantly looking out to grow our footprint. Simultaneously, Taj will also be adding a revamped Jiva Spa brand to all existing resorts.”

On the expansion front, Taj currently has 2000-keys in pipeline. The upcoming launches in next 6-9 months include a Taj-owned property at Havelock Island in Andaman Island, followed by management contracts in Shimla, Wayanad, Gangtok, Rishikesh and Darjeeling (by 2019). Plans are afoot to fully renovate the Agra hotel. Two more properties will be added in Dubai at Palm Crescent and Jumeirah Lake Towers.

Throwing light on the business in general, he commented that the hotel industry across India has been observing occupancies north of 60% since the past many quarters as the growing room demand is outpacing the supply growth. He also confirmed that post the Marriott and Starwood merger the brand has seen no major impact.

“With the merger of Marriott and Starwood, the supply remained the same in the Indian market. Thus, we haven’t seen any major impact on our business. Taj has always been enjoying immense loyalty and has an emotional connect with the Indian travellers. Howsoever, we aren’t taking it for granted. With the key decision of mono-branding, hotels will be driven forward on a new development philosophy of building experiences weaving culture and rituals thereby going sustainable,” he added.

Taj is also planning to capitalise on the technological front. The digital check-in and check-out through iPads is already operational at The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and Taj Lands End in Mumbai and will be rolled out in a phased manner across India by March 2018.

The bookings being done on official brand sites are growing month on month and half of the traffic is coming through smartphones. Witnessing the surge, multi-lingual sites (in French, Spanish, German, etc.) and native apps will be launched soon. The websites have been revamped with 360° photos and virtual tours. Unique content is also being updated with detailed description on the destination.

On the marketing front, a joint marketing campaign is being developed for the properties in Goa, Rajasthan and Kerala.
 
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