The 'new economy' constantly throws up a multiplicity of entrepreneurial ventures trying to solve the problems of modern India. By telling their stories I try to catch a glimpse of the entrepreneurial evolution that India is going through. I have a weakness for the gloss of novelty and chase it in all experiences, from exploring new cities and restaurants, to changing what I read.
Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces on Friday unveiled Tajness, an extensive remodelling of its brand and operations philosophy. “Tajness seeks its inspiration from the nobility of this Indian heritage and blends it with local cultures to deliver an unparalleled experience of sincere care at its 100 hotels around the world,” the hospitality group said in a press release.
Earlier on Friday, in an interaction with journalists, the group’s MD and CEO Rakesh Sarna explained that the move was based on the principles of “sincerity and care”; principles, that he says, have existed within the group for over a century. While the ‘softer’ aspects of Tajness will manifest themselves in the group’s work culture and its interaction with its guests (including a set of rituals that will be performed at the group’s various properties), the philosophy will also inform the hotels’ relationships with vendors and even the environment. Renovations of the properties are also on the cards.
“Between now and next year, some hotels may have to exit the system,” Sarna said in context of hotels that may not be able to comply with the new processes. "We will have to physically intervene in many hotels. We will have to invest some serious money; which we will.”
The announcement (the timeline for the completion of the process is December 2017) comes at a significant juncture for the Taj Group as well as the larger luxury hotel market. The Marriot-Starwood merger, which was confirmed earlier this year, is set to create the largest hotel chain in the world. It will also be the largest entity of its kind in the Indian market. Within this context, Tajness, it would seem, is also an attempt to differentiate the Taj brand from the competition.
Notably, in this regard, Sarna on Friday emphasised the fact that the group wants to step away from the commoditised segment. “We want to be a collection of globally reputable hotels, not necessarily globally present. You can only be globally reputable if you have a brand that has qualitative and quantitative values. That’s the toughest job that we have ahead of us.”