In­dian Ho­tels set to re­tain Vi­vanta brand

CHANGE OF STRAT­EGY In­dian Ho­tels says it will re­tain its old struc­ture and push for growth across seg­ments, in­clud­ing mid­scale and econ­omy ho­tels, re­vers­ing an ear­lier de­ci­sion

HT Estates - - HTESTATES - Bidya Sa­pam [email protected]

In­dian Ho­tels Co. Ltd (IHCL) on Fri­day said it would re­tain its old struc­ture and push for growth across seg­ments, in­clud­ing mid­scale and econ­omy ho­tels, re­vers­ing an ear­lier de­ci­sion to club all premium prop­er­ties un­der the Taj lux­ury brand and exit sub-brands such as Vi­vanta.

“In­dia is not a coun­try where one size fits all... We can­not say we want to grow our mar­gin and profit, and fo­cus on just one brand,” said Puneet Ch­hat­wal, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor and chief ex­ec­u­tive of IHCL, at a me­dia brief­ing.

“The­ma­jor­ity of the growthin the last 10 years and go­ing for­ward in the do­mes­tic mar­ket is com­ing from mid­scale, up­scale and the econ­omy seg­ment. So, we can­not be play­ing in iso­la­tion,” he said .

Ch­hat­wal said the while com­pa­ny­will fo­cus on three brands -Taj, Vi­vanta and Gin­ger -- it is still con­sid­er­ing ex­it­ing some oth­ers such as Gate­way and Pres­i­dent.

IHCL’s pre­vi­ous CEO Rakesh Sarna had an­nounced a new brand ar­chi­tec­ture for the com­pany, seek­ing to club all pre­mi­um­brands, in­clud­ing Vi­vanta and Gate­way un­der the Taj brand.

Both these brands have ex­isted for al­most a decade. Un­der the pro­posed ini­tia­tive, In­dian Ho­tels was look­ing to up­grade all 53 premium ho­tels of Vi­vanta and Gate­way in In­dia and abroad and mi­grat­ing them into the Taj brand.

Ch­hat­wal, who­tookover­from Sarna in Septem­ber 2017, said IHCL’s board mem­bers and man­age­ment team had unan­i­mously agreed to im­ple­ment the new brand strat­egy.

“We must ad­dress di­verse cus­tomer seg­ments and price points... Just be­ing in lux­ury and not seg­mented is not go­ing to last. We want to also align our brand­scape to dom­i­nate in high growth seg­ments as well,” he said.

Ch­hat­wal has chalked out a five-year plan which in­cludes scal­ing up in­ven­tory by more than 50% and mon­e­tiz­ing non­core as­sets to im­prove prof­itabil­ity mar­gin by an­other 8 per­cent­age points.

At present, the com­pany has an EBIDTA (Earn­ings be­fore in­ter­est, tax, de­pre­ci­a­tion and amor­ti­za­tion) mar­gin of 17% and ex­pects to achieve 25% by 2022.

IN­DIAN HO­TELS WAS LOOK­ING TO UP­GRADE ALL PREMIUM HO­TELS OF VI­VANTA AND GATE­WAY AND MI­GRATE THEM INTO TAJ BRAND

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