This week we talked to Subhash Thaker, a marketer by trade and a philosopher by nature. He gave us an insight into the Indian serviced apartment market and how Taj Hotels are accommodating the corporate world.
Taj Hotels are well known for their unique customer touch. What do you think makes the Taj guest experience innovative?
We are able to offer a service that goes beyond the call of duty because of our recruiting methods. We recruit on more than just intellect, but also on qualities such as being honourable, trustworthy and loyal. Our recruiting and training process is meaningful for our staff and gives them a sense of belonging.
How do you think demand for luxury accommodation has changed throughout India over the past 10 years?
Ten years ago there was limited choice. There were very few five stars, a few more four stars and a lot of three stars and below. Since then, however, there has been a lot of expansion in places such as Bombay and Delhi. Availability for good five star hotels which offer value for money has increased massively and there is a huge demand for three star accommodation, for which supply is now restricted. The concept of serviced apartments is not widely understood in India. The serviced part is not conceptualised. The service is usually for the person not the apartment so there is a need for standardisation and explanation.
Have you experienced changes in demand for either corporate travel or leisure travel bookings with Taj Hotels?
Corporate travel bookings are on the rise as is the Indian economy. India is good business for FMCGs and capital goods as there are 1.27 billion people to sell to, and as a result, the amount of people coming to India to do business has multiplied three times over the last ten years. Corporate travel bookers searching for serviced apartments is therefore a huge growth area.
Have you ever thought about changing the name from Taj Hotels to Taj Serviced Apartments?
We don’t want to restrict our business through segmenting ourselves like this, though in the future that doesn’t mean we won’t make changes. As the demand in India for serviced apartments is increasing, we would be looking to go in that direction in the not too distant future. This would have to be a much studied decision however.
Rolls Royce or Mercedez-Benz? Rolls Royce
London living or countryside commute? London living
Cook at home or eat out? Cook at home
City breaks or beach holiday? Beach holiday