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Taj Hotels: From Strength to Strength

Brand Finance
14 June 2023

Taj has retained its position as India’s strongest brand for the second year running. Spirit of Tajness, which brings together the brand's signature hospitality honed over a century, legendary warmth, and sincere care for guests continues to power brand Taj into being the strongest and most endearing brand in India.

The challenges faced by the luxury hospitality sector during the last few years acted as a catalyst for Taj in driving innovations and building a robust and dynamic hospitality ecosystem around the brand Taj. The brand has repurposed its commitment to sustainability with multiple initiatives under Paathya strategy while also being laser focused on expanding its footprint through organic & inorganic growth, always ensuring the best-in-class hospitality standards that it is renowned for. Taj Hotels (Brand Value up 19% US$ 374 million) jumped 18 places in the ranking, while also improving its Brand Strength Index score to 89.4 out of 100, and AAA rating.

Interview with Puneet Chhatwal

Puneet Chhatwal,
Managing Director
& CEO, Indian Hotels
Company Limited (IHCL)

Congratulations! Taj Hotels brand has emerged to be the strongest band in India for the second year running and thrice in last 4 years Taj Hotels has always strived to move up the bar in the luxury guest experience. How has the brand continued to remain relevant in today's post-pandemic guest demands?

Taj has always been at the forefront of curating novel and exceptional delights for its guests, and this is a trend that only picked pace post the pandemic and reflects in our newest concepts like Loya - a restaurant brand that brings the culinary traditions of India's North to the fore, Seven Rivers - a one-of-a-kind microbrewery and J Wellness Circle - our holistic wellness offering. However, all of us at the Taj believe in going much beyond the material definition of luxury and crafting memorable moments that stay with our guests long after they leave. This is where we are guided by the Spirit of Tajness, which brings together our signature hospitality honed over a century, our legendary warmth and our sincere care for guests. With our commitment to creating highly personalised, awe-inspiring experiences, we have been able to create an invaluable bond with our guests, one that gives us a special place in their hearts, and one that truly sets us apart from any brand across industries.

Innovation is crucial in any industry, including hospitality. How has the Taj Hotels Group embraced innovation to enhance guest experiences, and how this has contributed to the brand's growth and reputation?

The challenges we faced during the last few years acted as a catalyst for us in driving innovations and building a robust and dynamic hospitality ecosystem around Taj. On one hand, we worked on creating a highly digital-driven experience for our guests with i-Zest and on the other hand we created brands like Qmin which brought us closer to our guests and allowed us to deliver a very diversified food & beverage experience. We utilised the power of Metaverse to invite our guests virtually for our new launches and created a whole new set of stay experiences for our women guests with Woyage. Rendezvous, a set of ultra-exclusive events that we launched during the pandemic has now become a very popular platform for our distinguished patrons to network and socialise. Each of these innovations was driven by a very strong understanding of market trends, guest needs and our brand strategy, and has helped us capitalise on newer, emerging segments and enhance both our reach and revenues.

We are guided by the Spirit of Tajness, which brings together our signature hospitality honed over a century, our legendary warmth, and our sincere care for guests. With our commitment to creating highly personalised, awe-inspiring experiences, we have been able to create an invaluable bond with our guests, one that gives us a special place in their hearts, and one that truly sets us apart.

What qualities does Taj Hotels focus on when building its global communications and brand campaigns, especially as a respected and authentic Indian brand?

The primary driver behind all our communication and brand campaigns is always the values and everlasting relationship that we share with our patrons. We find our ground in the Trust placed in us by our stakeholders, our inspiration in the Awareness around global trends and our goal in the Joy that we set out to serve for our patrons. Our Tata parentage and our Indian roots help us in crafting campaigns that resonate with our audience, both in India and globally, be it She Remains The Taj, which celebrates every role that women play in our journey, or Dekho Apna Desh, which invites our guests to explore India's picturesque destinations and cultural traditions with Taj.

How has Taj Hotels integrated social responsibility and sustainable practices in Hospitality sector, especially when ESG has many dimensions and interpretations. How has the Taj Hotels approached sustainability initiatives into its brand strategy?

Social responsibility and sustainable practices have been an inseparable part of the way we do things at Taj. Inspired by the vision of our founder Shri J.N.Tata, who believed that serving the community is the very purpose of existence of any business, we launched Paathya, our holistic framework that goes well beyond the standard definition of ESG. As a result of our initiatives under Paathya, more than 50 Taj hotels are now EarthCheck certified, more than 30% energy used at our hotels comes from renewable sources, more than 40% of water is recycled, and over 300 EV charging stations have been set up at our hotels. We have also opened 16 skilling centres for the youth and marginalised across India with the help of our partners. In our endeavour to allow our guests to be at the forefront of and partake in our initiatives under Paathya, we recently launched Carecations – a set of curated travel itineraries that combine the joys of a meaningful vacation with a sense of purpose.

Looking ahead, what future plans and strategies does Taj Hotels have in place to further strengthen its brand and continue the impressive growth of its brand value?

Under Ahvaan 2025, our roadmap to profitable growth, we have already been working on and implementing a very aggressive growth strategy for Taj, and in fact recently signed our 100th Taj hotel. Our aim is to unlock the true potential of India’s numerous picture-perfect, tourism-friendly destinations with Taj, and this has reflected in our recent signings and openings of new Taj hotels in locations like Lakshadweep, Ayodhya, Ekta Nagar, Gandhinagar and even international destinations like Dhaka and Saudi Arabia. In order to complement our stay business, we have also strengthened Food & Beverage portfolio by introducing and refreshing marquee brands Loya, Paper Moon, Seven Rivers, House of Nomad, House of Ming, Machan, Shamiana etc., and revamped our wellness portfolio with the introduction of brands like J Wellness Circle and niu&nau.  With the introduction of NeuPass, our refreshed loyalty program on the Tata Neu app, we are now geared to harness the collective consumer reach and value potential of multiple Tata Group brands and are very well-placed for the next phase of our growth journey.

About the Author

Brand Finance is the world’s leading independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy. Headquartered in the City of London, we are present in over 20 countries.

For almost 30 years we have helped companies and organisations of all types to connect their brands to the bottom line.

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