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Taj Ginger offers new outlets every six weeks

Taj opened its second outlet in Haridwar under Ginger brand; Pune, Mysore to follow next.
None | By Indo-Asian News Service, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 22, 2006 03:05 PM IST

Unveiled 16 months ago as indiOne, hospitality major Taj has re-launched its 'GenNext Smart Basics Hotels' under the Ginger brand and opened a second outlet Tuesday in the pilgrim town of Haridwar.

A new Ginger outlet will open every six weeks from now, Raymond Bickson, managing director of Indian Hotels Company (IHC).

"By the end of the year, we will open in Bhubaneswar, Pune, Mysore, Thiruvananthapuram, Durgapur and Goa, with one outlet starting every six weeks. Work will also commence on hotels in Agartala, Tirupur, Pondicherry and Nashik within the next couple of months," Bickson said.

Each property will cost in the region of Rs.100 million, minus the land cost.

"Initially, we plan to add 10-12 properties every year and over the next three to five years, raise this to 15-20 a year," Bickson said, without committing himself to an eventual target.

This was because of the land factor, explained Partha Chatterjee, general manager (sales and marketing) of Roots Corporation.

"Land costs range from Rs.1 million to Rs.20 million. Then there is the question of availability of a good location," Chatterjee added.

Ginger's first outlet at Bangalore was the prototype of its 'Smart Basics' category of hotels.

"It has today changed the entire dynamics of the entire hospitality industry and emerged as a compelling business opportunity," Bickson contended.

"Ginger Hotels characterise freshness. They are simple, unique, lighthearted, Indian and innovative," added Uday Narain, chief operating officer of Roots Corporation Limited, the IHC subsidiary that will run the new brand.

"The guiding principle behind the design was to create a unique space that is conducive not only for guest comfort and relaxation but also for their work requirements. The design of the hotel, from the rooms to the furniture and the lighting systems, have been thoughtfully created to offer users a unique sense of welcome," Narain maintained.

So what makes a Ginger hotel different?

Guests wheel in their own luggage, check themselves in at a kiosk, adjust the air conditioning in their rooms, make their own tea/coffee in their rooms, dine at a self-service multi-cuisine restaurant, work out at a basic gym, iron their own clothes, withdraw money from an ATM - and surf the net anywhere in the WiFi structure.

All this at a mere Rs.1,000 a night.

"The response in Bangalore has been phenomenal. We've seen the high-end traveller move down. We've seen lateral movement and we've seen the low-end traveller move up, much like train travellers graduating to budget airlines. This has given us an occupancy rate of 85 percent," said IHC chief operating officer Ajoy Mishra.

In another innovation, Ginger Hotels will not have any advertising support.

"When we started on this project, we named it Wildfire because we were confident it will spread like wildfire. I am quite sure it will and therefore, we don't need any expensive advertising," Mishra reasoned.

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