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January 2, 2013

The Indian Hotels Company Ltd. (IHCL) - Luxury Personified

The Indian Hotels Company Ltd. (IHCL) Background

The Indian Hotels Company Ltd. (IHCL) is the prestigious luxury hotel chain of India. Indian Hotels along with its subsidiary companies are also popular as Taj hotels, resorts and palaces. IHCL belongs to Tata Group of Companies, a major industrial group of India, with its main business as hoteliering.

The story started with the opening of the first luxury hotel in Mumbai in 1903, which was christened as the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. It was incorporated by none other than the visionary industrialist of India of the British era, Mr Jamshedji Tata, as part of Tata group.

Later on, various hotels were opened in many parts of the country including the areas which are frequented by the business and holiday tourists, such as beaches, hill stations, historical centers, and industrial towns. These resorts and hotels are spread across more than 40 global destinations including Europe, USA, Middle East, Africa, Australia and Asia. Taj Group offers authentic luxury experience with fine-dining and exceptional business services such as hosting conferences and business meetings for the most choosy and discerning customers.

The core business of the group can be divided into three parts:

A. Hoteliering (89% of overall revenues)

B. Air-catering (10% revenues)

C. Other businesses (food processing and investment activities, 1% revenues)

In the year 2010, the domestic operations yielded 75% whereas the international business was responsible for 25% of the revenues. 

Services offered: Tranquility and relaxation

Besides luxurious hospitality, IHCL also offer excellent “wellness” facilities such as unique spas, aromatherapies and other Asian rejuvenation and relaxation therapies. Jiva Spas are the spa services offered by Taj Hotels, which blend ancient Indian wellness techniques with Thai, Japanese and Chinese therapies.  

Key Brands of IHCL hotel and resort chain

Though, they have diversified their portfolio but their emphasis is upon luxury segment. They are also active in premium, value segment and mid-market. The luxury services are marketed under the brand name “Taj.” Now let us discuss various Taj sub-brands:

A. “Taj Exotica” is a resort and spa brand, known for its soothing and relaxing experience

B. “Taj Safari” hotels is for adventure holidays and is dedicated to wildlife enthusiasts, with added dose of luxury

C. “Vivanta” hotels are modern luxury hotels

D. “The Gateway Hotel” targets the mid-market hospitality segment

E. “Ginger” hotels are positioned for value segment under economy hotels category TAJAIR - Private Luxury Jets Luxury hospitality reaches a new level with Taj Air, the exclusive charter plane services, where safety and reliability are the watchwords. They have brand new aircrafts in their fleet such as Falcon 2000LX and Avanti II turbo-prop jet aircrafts.

Inditravel Ltd Inditravel Limited is a subsidiary of IHCL, and it provides comprehensive services for all the travel requirements of yours. It’s seamlessly integrated with hotel services and offers travel counseling, international and domestic air ticketing, rail ticketing and car rentals.    TajSATS - Air Catering

TajSATS is IHCL’s air catering subsidiary and is a market leader in this segment. Besides managing airport lounges in Mumbai and Chennai, TajSATS covers all the five metros of India and 39 international airlines along with 9 domestic airlines services.

Expansion IHCL has recently opened seven new hotels including a Gateway Hotel at Jodhpur, Vivanta hotel at Goa and five new economy Ginger Hotels at several other places in India. They are also going to open a first five star luxury hotel in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India. Taj Cape Town, South Africa was a recent addition to its international ventures. They have also reopened a Vivanta Hotel in Maldives and “The Pierre” in New York City. At present it runs a total of over 100 hotels with more than 12,000 rooms.

 International Ventures

IHCL is continuously expanding its base in international hotel space by strategic tie-ups especially in the regions such as North Africa, South Africa and the Middle East. They have also signed agreement with the local government in the UAE to open desert spa hotels in tourist places such as Al Ain and Abu Dhabi. They have also signed contracts for the management of resort and hotel spaces in Mexico, Egypt, Morocco, and British Islands. But, still the major chunk of their business comes from domestic market, which is around 75%.

Risk factors

A. Still the group is heavily dependent upon its India business, which brings almost 75% of its total revenues

B. They also depend upon luxury segment, which is dwindling because of global recession

C. Increasing competition from international hotel chains

Recent achievements

It has opened a luxury hotel in the historical city of Hyderabad christened as Taj Falaknuma Palace. To further enhance its reputation and ensure supply of well-trained workforce, it has established the Indian Institute of Hotel Management in Aurangabad, Maharashtra.

Future plans

Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL), the flagship owners of the Taj Group of hotels, is planning to launch their full service Gateway service in 50 Gateway Hotels and resorts in India by 2015. They are also planning to launch five new hotels in the metropolitan cities of India in the next two years. The construction of five of its Gateway brand of hotels is about to be completed soon in Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai, Faridabad and Hubli. The Chennai Gateway Hotel of Taj Groups is expected to be launched in March, 2013.   

The major development is around the corner in Indian state of Kerala where already, there are eight Gateway and Vivanta plots and one more is coming up at Kakkanad, the IT hub of Kochi.  They are also planning to launch at least 10 new Gateway business hotels in Tier-I and Tier-II cities, with the growing demand for business hotels in the interior areas.

Working with IHCL According to an employee survey by Glassdoor.com, the company has received four out of five stars for the work environment at Taj Group of Hotels. The positive factors included excellent coworkers, patronage of Tata group, great exposure, great legacy and great work environment. The negatives included intermixing of people with conservative and innovative thinking, no enough preparation to handle global competition and lethargic decision making resulting in its drop in business.

Best HR practices

'Special Thanks and Recognition System' (STARS)

Introduced in 2001, this employee loyalty programs aims at motivating the employees to go out of their way to perform their duties and also have fun during work, besides rewarding the excellent work.

'Taj People Philosophy' (TPP) Introduced in the year 2000, it deals with almost every aspect of employees' organizational career planning in the Taj Group. It’s a great morale booster.

Both STARS and TPP has enhanced the service standards of Taj Group to greater heights.  As a result, the group won the prestigious 'Hermes Award' for 'Best Innovation in Human Resources' in the international hotel industry in the year 2002.

Tags : indian hotels company ltd, ihcl, background, services offered, future plans, hotels and resorts, taj hotels, working with ihcl

About Nashaat Quadri

Freelance Content Writer (Compare Infobase, New Delhi.) Ex Sr Content Writer, Western Software, New Delhi. Ex Relationship Manager, Mashreq Bank, Dubai.