You are on page 1of 38

Hotel Industry

Origin
The origin of the hotel/hospitality industry is obscure. However, the Christian bible cites Christ's birth in the manger of an early inn. Historians know that tabernas (inns) serviced the travelers on the iters (the roads) of the Roman Empire. Providing service to the relatively large number of Crusaders between the 11th and 13th centuries was the responsibility of the Catholic Church, which relied on one of its orders, The Knights Hospitalers, to deliver those accommodations. Commercial travel in Europe was an outgrowth of British commerce, which carried over to the American colonies in the 1700's. Mass travel is a modern phenomenon that emerged after World War II. Mass tourism continues to grow as political freedom, economic wherewithal, and social equality spread across the globe. With the large powers at peace and the economic engine of development running at full steam, international travel and, consequently, the hotel industry are poised for decades of growth. Estimates abound as to the importance and size of hotel keeping. Certainly, its economic contribution is critical to the global economy whether as a service to the business community or as a destination for tourism development.

Industry Overview
Background
Prior to the 1980's, the Indian hotel industry was a nascent and slow growing industry primarily consisting of relatively static, single hotel companies. However, Asian games in 1982 and the subsequent partial liberalization of the Indian economy generated tourism interest in India with significant benefits accruing to the hotel and tourism sector in terms of improved demand patterns. Fortunes of the hotel industry are tied to the fortunes of tourism and the general business climate in the country which is why the economic liberalization initiatives implemented since 1991, led to a soaring demand and

supply gap in the hotel industry. This enabled Indian hotel companies to increase their ARRs by almost 50% between April 1994 and April 1997 and still enjoy extremely high occupancies of above 80% for most of this period. During this time Average Room Realizations (ARRs) of Indian 5 star hotels were comparable to those prevailing in Singapore and Hong Kong and were among the highest in the region. Also, during this time there was a noticeable shift in customer mix of 5 star hotels as the share of business revenues far outweighed revenues from any other segment.

Sector comments
In recent times, any discussion on the hotel industry only veers around the falling occupancy rates and average room rates and the trying times that the Indian hotel industry is going through. Also, room supply in the five-star segment has grown by only 3 per cent over the last five years and consequently this has not been an area of concern in the past as new capacity additions in the five-star segment in the metro cities have been slow. It is expected that in the metro cities, after three to four years, the hotel industry is expected to face major problems on the supply side. However, we would regard these as a long-term concern. The slow growth in room supply in the past can be attributed to the high land costs, long gestation periods, license problems and the scarcity of good locations. The hotel sector boomed from 1992 to 1996. Led by the lure of easy money and missed perception that hotels can be a simple business, profitable (especially the five-star segment) and is easy to get a foreign tie-up prompted many companies in the construction and real estate business to enter the arena. Since the past two years, almost all major hotel chains have unveiled plans to expand into the three- and four-star segments in smaller towns. As the growth in metro cities is getting saturated, hotel chains are looking on to this segment for future growth. However, since 1997 political uncertainty and a general economic slowdown coupled with slackened tourist arrivals have resulted in steadily falling occupancies and very marginal increases in ARRs. In fact the general trend among hotel companies in FY97 and FY98 has been to offer heavy discounts in order to attract customers. Thus the over reliance of Indian five star hotels on the business traveller during the last few years

has come back to haunt the industry in the wake of depressed business sentiment in the country. Nevertheless, the hotel industry has reported impressive earnings and revenue growth for the year ended March 2001. This was after a slack period in the financial year 2000, when net profits dipped on a negative sales growth. The industry is again headed for a hit, with the attacks on the world's largest financial centre in the US.

Characteristics
The industry's ups and downs reflect, in part, the limiting characteristics inherent in hotel keeping.

Perishability:
If the full capacity of the services is not utilized, the service becomes perishable. If a hotel having an accommodation facility of 100 rooms is able to lease out only 70 rooms on a particular day, then the remaining 30 rooms or 30% capacity gets perished and can never be reused. The product is perishable -- a room not sold tonight is lost forever. The location and product inventory (rooms) are fixed -- they cannot be moved as demand patterns change. Entry into the business takes large amounts of capital -- creating huge fixed costs that necessitate high occupancies to achieve a break-even level of volume. Activity is seasonal -- with all the adjunct problems of operating an ebb-and-flow business.

Variability:
The fact that service quality is difficult to control compounds the marketer's task. Intangibility alone would not be such a problem in customers could be sure that the services they were to receive would be just like the successful experiences their neighbors were so pleased with. But in fact, customers know that services can vary greatly. Services are performances, often involving the cooperation and skill of several individuals, and are therefore unlikely to be same every time. This potential variability of service quality raises the risk faced by the consumer.

The service provider must find ways to reduce the perceived risk due to variability. One method is to design services to be as uniform as possible - by training personnel to follow closely defined procedures, or by automating as many aspects of the services as possible. The appeal of some service personnel - particularly, the hotel industry- lies in their spontaneity and flexibility to address individual customer needs. The danger with too much standardization is that these attributes may be designed right out of the services, therefore reducing much of their appeal. A second way to deal with perceived risk from variability is to provide satisfaction guarantees or other assurances that the customer will not be stuck with a bad result.

Inseparability:
This characteristic is interpreted differently by different service marketing marketers, but all interpretations point out that special operation problems exist for the firm's managers. One interpretation of this term is the inseparability of customers from the service delivery process. In particular, many services require the participation of the customer in the production process. Unlike goods, which are often produced in a location far removed from the customer and totally under the control of the manufacturing firm, service production often requires the presence and active participation of the customer and of other customers. Depending upon the skill, attitude, cooperation and so on that customers bring to the service encounter, the results can be good or bad, but in any event are hard to standardize. In hotel industry, the customer has to go to the service provider in order to avail the service. He cannot use the services just by sitting at his residence. Thus hotel industry is an inseparable service.

Intangibility:
Intangible services are difficult to sell because they cannot be produced and displayed ahead of time. They are therefore harder to communicate to prospective customers. Marketers of services can reduce these risks by stressing tangible cues that will convey reassurance and quality to the prospective customers. These tangible cues range from the firm's physical facilities to the appearance and demeanor of its staff to the letterhead on

its stationery to its logo. In case of hotel industry, the core benefit is getting good food, good boarding and lodging facilities. The tangible services are those which one can touch and taste. Thus hotel industry is tangible.

Managing demand: Key Demand driver: Arrivals

13. Tourist arrivals into India have historically followed a seasonal pattern recording low volumes between February to September and with October to January typically representing the peak season with high tourist volumes. 14. Tourist arrivals have been recording a growing trend, recording an average growth of over 7% in the post-liberalization era, primarily driven by an increase in domestic tourist and foreign business arrivals. FY96 represents a year of exceptional growth in arrivals. 15. Domestic tourism grew rapidly after 1991 increasing from 81 million in 1992 to over a 100 million in 1996 representing a growth of over 11%. This is attributable to rising disposable incomes of the Indian middle class and increasing tourism awareness generated by the media. 16. In FY96 earnings per tourist increased almost 10% over prior years due to increase in high yielding business guests. Higher earnings per tourist coupled with a surge in tourist traffic resulted in an exceptional year for the hotel industry both in terms of occupancies and growth in revenues. 17. Slowdown in the Indian economy since 1997 as a result of political uncertainty and the altered pace and direction of economic reforms has had a stagnating effect on arrivals, especially in the previously fastest growing business segment. 18. This falling trend has carried over to FY98. Last quarter of FY98 has witnessed rapid fall in arrival numbers with the first 2 months of FY99 actually recording tourist arrivals below the FY95 levels. This trend is further re-enforced by the economic sanctions imposed on India following the nuclear tests conducted in Pokhran.

19. On an all India basis, occupancy rates declined by 15-20% in FY98. In Mumbai occupancies declined 15-16%; in Delhi by 6-7%; 3-4% in Calcutta; and 1-2% in Chennai. 20. The soaring tariff levels in this segment have also adversely affected demand for premium hotels. Tariff levels in the premium segment have grown nearly 50% between FY94 and FY97. In wake of depressed business and political sentiment in the country, demand for premium hotels is not expected to exceed 5% per annum for the next 2-3 years in most locations.

Managing supply
21. Over 80% of tourist inflows come from New Delhi and Mumbai. Hence, almost 40% of the total hotel room supply is in metros as these are gateways (entrypoint) into India and serve as anchor points for tourists visiting India. 22. Eight cities, namely, Mumbai, Delhi, Calcutta, Madras, Bangalore, Agra, Jaipur and Goa account for nearly 80% of all premium category rooms in the country. Mumbai and Delhi alone account for about 70% of the total rooms available in premium segment. 23. Almost 90% of the total rooms in non-metros and important cities have 3 star or lower ratings. As of October 1997, about 18500 hotel rooms were available in the premium segment. Approximately 2600 hotel rooms were added in the premium segment in India between1990-1997. This meager addition coupled with a robust growth of business arrivals from 10% in FY91 to 22% in FY96 led to soaring occupancies of over 80% in the 5 star hotels in major metros. However, with premium segment hotel expansions planned in major metros, the supply situation is expected to ease in the coming 2-3 years, as these additional capacities become available. Approximately 6600 new rooms in the premium segment are expected to be added by 2001. Assuming a scenario where about

half the number of planned projects are commissioned, supply in the premium hotel segment in the eight cities is likely to increase by approximately 20% over the next 3 years. Over 65% of these capacity additions will take place in New Delhi and Mumbai alone

Market Trends
24. With the demand curve in the metros stagnating, smaller towns have emerged as potential growth areas. Thus, chain hotels like IHCL, EIH and ITCH are better placed than single-location hotels like BHL and AHL. 25. Luxury, leisure and heritage hotels are concentrated in tourist circuits like DelhiAgra-Jaipur, Mysore-Bangalore, Bhubansehwar-Puri-Konark, Jaisalmer-JodhpurBikaner and Mahabalipuram-Pondicherry. 26. Various MNCs have started entering the Indian hotel industry. Le Meridien plans to set up 17 hotels in the country. It already has three five-star hotels at Delhi, Bangalore and Pune; the Mumbai branch was recently inaugurated. The company also is coming up with more hotels at Goa and Cochin in the next couple of years. Carlson Restaurant Worldwide, Accord Asia Pacific, Best Western International and Bass Hotels are the other leading multinational hotel groups in India. Most players, with the exception of IHCL and EIH, have entered into a marketing tie-up with major international hotel chains. For example, ITC-Sheraton, Leela-Kempinski and AHL-Hyatt Regency are well-established collaborations. BHL, too, has a tie-up with the Inter-Continental Hotels Corporation. The Indian partners gain from the brand following of the worldwide international chain and get global exposure. International hotel chains do not stand to lose either. They get an opportunity to test Indian waters without setting up their own infrastructure.

Quarterly Tourist Arrivals


Season Tourists %

Apr-June July-Sept Oct-Dec Jan-March

18 23 33 26

Leisure tourist arrivals are seasonal in nature. Because of the climatic conditions, there is a preference for the winter months. Hence occupancy rates are higher during OctoberMarch than April-September. To encourage tourist arrivals in the off-season period many hotels offer hefty discounts on room tariff. Incentives given are therefore inversely related to the level of occupancy rates. Hefty discounts are also offered to repeat customers such as corporate, airline crewmembers and tour groups. Discounts can vary between 10-15% for corporate, to as much as 45-50% for airline crew members. Hence a higher percentage of such guests lowers the ARR of a hotel. Business travelers are not seasonal as tourist travelers but they are more prone to postponing their visits in the event of any disturbance within the country. Therefore, the business traffic correlates to the economic climate within the country. The hotel industry is a net foreign exchange earner. In-fact it is the second largest foreign exchange earner after textiles and garments. Depreciation of the rupee therefore leads to windfall gains. Infrastructure facilities in the country have a great bearing on foreign tourist arrivals. Improved travel facilities with an increase in flight seat capacity, expansion in rail and road networks will commensurately increase the industry prospects.

Types of Accommodation in India


On The Basis Of Standards:
Like most of the countries in world, India also has hotels divided in different categories depending on their location, facilities, infrastructure, and amenities provided.

All the star hotels in India are government approved with continuous control on the quality of services offered.

Five star hotel


The most luxurious and conveniently located hotels in India are grouped under Five Star Deluxe Hotel Category. Five Star Deluxe hotels in India are globally competitive in the quality of service provided, facilities offered, and accommodation options. These hotels are located primarily in metropolitan cities like New Delhi and Mumbai and major tourist destinations like Jaipur Agra, and Goa. These are top of the line hotels located mostly in the big cities. These hotels provide all the modern facilities for accommodation and recreation matching international standards in hospitality. Many of these hotels are situated in the Central Business Districts of the metropolitan cities or near the centers of transportation providing exceptional value for the business travelers.

Four Star
A rung below five star hotels, these hotels provide all the modern amenities to the travelers with a limited budget. Quality of the services is almost as high as the five stars and above categories. These kind of hotels are there for the travelers with a limited budget or for the places which might not getting the tourist traffic associated with larger cities.

Three Star Hotels


These are mainly economy class hotels located in the bigger and smaller cities and catering to the needs of budget travelers. Lesser in amenities and facilities, these hotels are value for money and gives good accommodation and related services on the reduced price. Services would be the stripped down version of higher categories of hotels but sufficient to fulfill your basic needs.

Two Star Hotels


These hotels are most available in the small cities and in particular areas of larger cities.

Catering to the backpacker tourist traffic, these hotels provide all the basic facilities needed for general accommodation and offers lowest prices.

One Star Hotels


The hotels with most basic facilities, small number of rooms, and location in the far flung areas are grouped under One Star Hotel category. These hotels are best when you are looking for cheapest available accommodation option (apart from camps and hostels). In a nutshell these are the various requirements according to which a hotel is graded

How Does One Five-Star Hotel Differ From Another?


Except for the location and some subtle variations in themes, most hotels under this category are the same. All are expected to provide luxurious and most modern facilities. In that case, what is their unique selling proposition (USP)? In this service-oriented industry, quality of service provided can hardly serve as a USP. Location could, but not for everybody. A hotel could be close to the airport for instance. Like The Leela in India. Or it could be located in a commercial area like The Oberoi or The Taj, both in Mumbai. Generally speaking, there is very little difference between one five-star hotel and another. International consultant Stephen Rushmore who has visited around 6,000 hotels in his career vouches for it. Overseas, five-star hoteliers try to differentiate their services by adopting various concepts like heritage, Disney world or environment friendly hotels to name a few. But, in India very few five-star hotels boast of any such difference. One such hotel that does is The Orchid. Set up barely a couple of years ago it has created a name for itself by being a pioneer in the field of environment friendliness. The hotel that is situated in the vicinity of the Mumbai domestic airport is promoting itself as an ecotel, or an eco-friendly hotel.

This concept has helped it achieve the ECOTEL certification for demonstrating a high level of environmental sensitivity in areas of solid waste management, energy efficiency, water conservation, community involvement and employee education

On The Basis Of Nature:


Heritage Hotels
Heritage hotels in India are best if you are looking for sheer elegance, luxury, and royal treatment. They are not just another accommodation options but tourist attractions in themselves. Exquisitely designed and decorated, meticulously preserved, high standards of service, and ethnic cultural motifs helps the tourists get the complete experience of an India that otherwise exists only in the history books. e.g. The Lake Palace Hotel, Udaipur

Beach Resorts Hotels


Peninsular India bounded by Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean and the two emerald archipelagos of Lakshwadeep and Andaman and Nicobar have a long coastline of around 7500 km, offering an amazing array of beaches, some popular, some not so well known.

Wildlife Resort Hotels


A wildlife tour is incomplete if you dont actually live in a forest for a few days. Imagine living in a rest house or a tent the midst of the dense wilderness, and waking up to the twittering of birds, or maybe the roar of a lion! Day trips alone are certainly not enough to show you the true majesty of the wild, so why not try this too?

Government Approved Hotels

These are the hotels, which might not have applied for star categorization or small enough to find them in the list. Many of the wildlife resorts, lodges, and hostels are government approved providing a minimum level of accommodation facilities at far off places.

Guest houses
These provide the minimum facility of food &beverages along with accommodation. The standard of accommodation is not as good as a hotel. The menu offered is not as elaborate as a hotel or similar establishments. Services are not very professional or specialized. Expenses are very much less in comparison to the above mentioned other establishments. Generally people who cant afford the expenses or the luxuries of higherclass establishments make use of these facilities.

Dormitories
Dormitories mean a building containing one or more accommodation units and may contain shared kitchen facilities, for use by students enrolled at a post secondary institution. Dormitories are set up to offer a good environment for studying, and to experience independent citizen life. The dormitory rooms are furnished with beds, study tables, chairs, washstands, and telephones. Further, dormitories are equipped with lounges, laundry rooms, and kitchenettes. Students, therefore, can start studying only if they bring their personal belongings. A shared building (Life Center) in each area of the dormitories include a restaurant, public bath, shops, barber shop, and beauty salon.

Holiday Villages
Holiday villages are usually large, self-contained resorts and ideal for people who want a lively holiday with children's clubs, organized activities and evening entertainments laid on.Many holiday villages offer children's clubs, run by qualified English speaking staff, for babies through to late teens. These are invaluable for families, as they not only give children a chance to meet new friends and have fun, but also give adults some time off too.However, though standards are improving markedly, somehow this is never a really smart option. Accommodation, unless rated at least four or five stars, can be cramped for example. As Per Architectural Design:

I) Palace Hotels These hotels are built to specifically

designed so as to

resemble royal palaces. Eg.:- The Taj Mahal Bombay.

II) Executive Hotels These rooms have an office like functional appearance. They
also have the basic office accessories and equipment.

III) Commercial Hotels These feature luxurious surroundings and the modern sky
scraper structure to create a classy effect.

IV) Atrium Hotels The architecture of these buildings resemble a hollow square
with all the guest rooms overlooking the central lobby. Natural light is supplied by the sky roof. Eg.:- The Oberoi, The Marine Plaza.

V) Hotels in Mixed use Development These are hotels in buildings which also
encompass shopping malls, office and apartment complexes or theatres. Eg.:- Hotel Aurora Towers, Pune.

VI) Adaptive Reuse Hotels These are hotels previously designed for other
purposes and now generated for hotel use. Eg.:- Lake Palace, Udaipur.

VII) Tower Hotels In certain cities and beach resorts the top floors of high rise
buildings are devoted to 5Star service plus accommodation often served by a private elevator.

VIII) Cabanas, Villas and Bungalows These are found at resorts as free
standing units which form a part of the resort complex. These are self sustained individual units. Eg.:- Taj Holiday village, Goa The Leela Beach Resort, Goa.

IX) Lodges These are present at ski or country resorts featuring stone or wood fire
places.

X) Inns/ Auberges These suggest small and quaint pre 20th century architecture. XI) Landmark restoration properties/ Heritage Properties These are
famous hotels beyond an established age restored and still in use.

XII) Hospices/ Missions These are older than inns, constructed at passes and
along transportation routes usually by religious orders and missionaries.

XIII) Mansion Hotels/ Manors/ Country houses These are converted put
homes and estates of significant architecture of the early 20th century mainly in England.

According to Size:
In general the size of the hotel plays a critical role in the style and extent of guest services. As a general rule, smaller hotels are able to offer a more personalized service where as larger hotels may offer a wider range of services as a result of a greater profitable room base and economy of scale. Given below are the International rankings 27. 1 to 150 Rooms Small 28. 151 to 350 Rooms Small 29. 351 to 700 Rooms 30. 701 to 1400 Rooms 31. 1401 to 5503 Rooms

FHRAI Hotel Survey: The Industrys Barometer


The Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India commissioned an annual Indian hotel industry survey, which brings together the industrys key statistics for the year 2000-2001. Conducted by HVS International, the recently released Indian Hotel Industry Survey 2000-2001 covers data from over 1,103 member hotels covering 59,330 rooms across 19 cities in India. According to B K Gupta, president, FHRAI, the survey covered a vast area including facilities, manpower and operational performances integrating all aspects of the hospitality industry. The survey indicates an upswing in occupancy levels in the year 2000-2001. Having decreased consecutively for the last three years, the all India average occupancy per hotel increased by four percentage points to 55.6 per cent in this year. All India average room rates on the other hand, decreased slightly by 3.6 per cent from Rs 2,123 last year to Rs 2,046 in 2000-01. Compared to the 16 per cent decline in average rates the year before, hotels in this year were able to generate higher occupancy levels without steep discounts on room rates. According to HVS International, chain affiliated hotels (branded) - which constituted 12 per cent of the respondents - had a lower occupancy level (48.4 per cent) and a higher average room rate (Rs 3,459) as compared to independent hotels, which had a higher occupancy (57.5 per cent) with a lower average rate (Rs 1,308). This is partly because all chain-affiliated hotels are in the higher star category having higher rack rates. For the first time, trends in payroll and related expenses were analysed and reflected in the report. The all India average for payroll and related expenses as a percentage of total revenue was 18.2 per cent as compared to 32.5 per cent for full service hotels and 24.3 per cent for limited service hotels in the United States. Heritage hotels had the highest payroll expense at 22.7 per cent of total revenue. Energy costs in India for hotels remain very high at nearly 12 per cent of total revenue. Navjit Ahluwalia, senior associate, HVS International, indicates that despite decreasing yields and increasing operating costs, the all India average net income as a percentage of total revenue decreased only marginally, standing at 27.2 per cent as compared to 28 per

cent the previous year. Chennai was the market occupancy leader with an occupancy level of 75.1 per cent. Most southern cities like Bangalore (72.1 per cent), Hyderabad (71.4 per cent) and Kochi (68.2 per cent) also achieved high occupancies. In terms of room rates, New Delhi, similar to last year, maintained its position at the top with an average room rate (ARR) of Rs 3,911. Mumbai was the second highest at Rs 3,591. Compiled before the attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York on 11th September, the report does not incorporate the impact of the event on the hotel industry. Manav Thadani, managing director, HVS International, indicated that although international tourist arrivals had declined only by about six per cent post September 11th, the decrease experienced by hotels was much higher, reflecting an equally large drop in domestic travel. Business seem to be picking up now, and is expected to get back on track in time for the season. On another front, the ITDC disinvestments are expected to temporarily decrease hotel supply in New Delhi in the near future, which is likely to have a positive impact on the citys occupancy levels. Highlights of the report In this report, hotels have been categorised based on star rating and size (number of rooms), in addition to providing an all-India synopsis. This year we have also presented data on chain affiliated and independent hotel properties. Aggregated information on hotels in 19 major cities in India. Given below, are a few highlights and operational characteristics of the survey results for the All India 2000-2001 survey. 32. Rooms revenue, generally considered to be the most important source of a hotels overall profitability, represented 56.4 per cent (an increase from 55.9 per cent of last year) of total revenue across all hotels. In the case of five-star deluxe, five-star, and four-star hotels, rooms revenue represented 59.1 per cent, 58.3 per cent and 54.44 per cent of total revenue, respectively 33. The domestic traveller continues to be of importance across all hotels in India accounting for 74.6 per cent of all guests. Domestic business travellers represented the

largest percentage of hotel guests at 39.5 per cent. As expected foreign guests prefer the luxury and heritage hotels. Foreign leisure travellers and tour groups comprised 28.6 per cent and 32.3 per cent of the heritage market respectively. Foreign business travellers comprised 20.6 per cent of the five-star deluxe market. Approximately 44.1 per cent of all guests made repeat visits to their hotel during 2000-2001 34. Of the foreign (non-Indian) guests, the UK provided the largest demand, at 15 per cent, followed by USA, at 14.9 per cent, and Germany at 9.1 per cent 35. The months of November and December were the busiest in 2000-2001 with highest average occupancies of 63.5 per cent and 63.9 per cent respectively. June through September was the slowest with July (49.8 per cent) and September (51 per cent) recording the lowest occupancies 36. Wednesday through Friday was the busiest part of the week with occupancies peaking at 59.7 per cent on Thursday. Sunday was the slowest at 49.1 per cent 37. Direct inquiry (56.3 per cent) continues to be the major source of advance reservations at Indian hotels followed by travel agents and tour operators at (19.4 per cent) 38. Visa (37 per cent) was the most widely used credit card by guests followed by Mastercard (35.4 per cent). American Express also has the highest commission rate 39. While print advertising continues to be the most popular marketing medium used by hotels (91.4 per cent) across India, we notice that 94.3 per cent and 86.8 per cent of five-star deluxe and five-star hotels respectively, also use their hotel websites as effective marketing media. This could be linked to the fact that hotels in the five-star deluxe and five-star categories also have the highest level of technology as seen in the following table: Draw In Synergy With The Industry academicians should join hands and engage in brainstorming. The following would definitely contribute:

1. Industrial training must be made more meaningful at grass-root level. 2. Professionals should seek solutions to their problems from the institutes. 3. Mutual lending of resources between the industry and colleges must happen on an ongoing basis. 4. Evaluation in the institute should be done on an ongoing basis, rather than yearly or in semesters with inputs from the industry. 5. Projects should be made compulsory for all years - with a more practical oriented approach. 6. Syllabi should be reviewed and changed each year in keeping with the revolutionary changes occurring in the hospitality scenario. This should be done with the help of industry experts. 7. Teachers should be exposed to the industry for a month, each year, as a refresher. 8. Institute alumni should be closely kept in touch with because they can prove invaluable in attaining this synergy. The Bhagvad Gita enunciates Krishnorjuna which is Lord Krishna + Arjun. Lord Krishna symbolises strategic thought leader or teacher. Arjun represents core competence, a focused warrior, and one who has even conquered sleep, or the industry in other words. Until synergy is achieved between hotel management institutes and the hospitality industry the students will continue to bear the brunt. The Gita emphatically says that victory is possible only when Lord Krishna and Arjun are together. And that whenever Gita ends, war begins

THE TAJ GROUP OF HOTELS


The Taj Group of hotels was started on April 1, 1902, by Mr.Jamshetji Nusserwanji Tata. The first hotel in the chain was the Taj Mahal, Mumbai. This grand building is recognized worldwide and is a welcome sight to anyone who visits the city. The Taj has had a significant innings spanning the last three decades both in India and overseas and has established itself as the premier hospitality body in this country. Indeed

the Taj group of hotels has spanned the length and breadth of the country, gracing important industrial towns and cities, beautiful beaches, hill stations, pilgrim and historical centers and wildlife destinations. Over the years the Taj group has won international acclaim for its quality hotels and its excellence in business facilities, services, cuisine and interiors. The Taj groups operations cover over 60 hotels in India and abroad, and encompass a number of brands across various price segments. The company has a dominant position in most areas it is present in. Providing world-class personalized service to guests while authentically reproducing the traditions and heritage of India has made the Taj brand a symbol of luxury and service the world over. The Taj group of hotels is grouped into strategic business units to get consistency across the different units in the same brand and standardize the product and service across the brands, making them distinct and identifiable. These brands have been classified as Luxury, Business and Leisure. TAJ LUXURY HOTELS The Taj Luxury hotels capture the essence of the Taj experience. Located in the main political and commercial cities of India they maintain the highest standards in all the services they offer. With exquisitely appointed rooms and modern comforts, these hotels offer the finest standards of hospitality and service. Standing testimony to the quality of service, a number of the luxury hotels of the Taj group are members of the leading hotels of the world. These include: The Taj Mahal hotel (Mumbai), Taj palace hotel (new Delhi), the Taj Mahal hotel (new Delhi), Taj Bengal (Calcutta), the Taj west end (Bangalore) and the Taj Coromandel hotel (madras). TAJ BUSINESS HOTELS Located in the heart of Indias key commercial cities and towns, the Taj business hotels provide every modern facility at particularly attractive room rates. These international style hotels meet the growing needs of business travelers visiting cities, which are rapidly industrializing and expanding. The best hotels in their environment, the Taj business hotels offer multi cuisine restaurants and the best business facilities in the city. The company anticipates that a significant portion of its long-term growth will come from the expansion of this brand and is actively seeking ways of strengthening and expanding this

brand. TAJ LEISURE HOTELS At the Taj leisure hotels, pleasure seekers, the curious and those simply wanting to get away from it all can do just that. These properties include idyllic beach resorts, genuine palaces, turn of the century garden retreats, hotels located close to historic monuments, pilgrim centers and some of Indias best wildlife sanctuaries. The Taj Mahal ,Mumbai is a luxury hotel

Total Product Concept


CORE PRODUCT
At the very center is the core product which satisfies the basic need of the consumer. The core product in the hotel industry is ACCOMODATION. The role of Hotel International is to provide basic accommodation facilities. Like a bed for the night and a room with a bathroom.

FORMAL PRODUCT
When consumers expectations grows synchronized with increased competition, the marketer offers some tangibility to the existing core product, that is, some more features. Consumers prefer to pay more for these additions and the marketers have more to offer than the competition. Hotel International has to provide some additional features like:

Hygiene: It comes next to the basic function of accommodation. Hygiene plays a


very important role in the status of a hotel. An unhygienic hotel will never be able to attract lot of people, especially if it has to attract a lot of people from foreign countries where the hygiene conditions are top notch.

Room Service: When people go to hotels, they would expect good and prompt

room service. This means, when they order food or ask for any service, a hotel that provides it promptly will have a great edge over the other hotels.

Price: The price of the rooms should be such that both the rich and the middle class
people can afford them. Not everyone can afford a very expensive room and also not everyone will like to stay in a room that does not have some luxurious facilities.

Etiquettes: The people who come in contact with the customers, that is, the
reception people, room service people, and waiters, all have to be trained well to behave in a manner that pleases the customer. They should be civilized, cultured and polite.

Laundry services Food and Wine:The food should be of good quality and should be prepared in
hygienic conditions.

AUGMENTED PRODUCTS
With further higher expectations of the customer- again synchronized with intense competition- marketers offer more and more intangible features. All the extra things provided are service oriented. In the case of Hotels the augmented products include:

Facilities In Room :
CTV Satellite channels International direct dial Refrigerator (deluxe rooms and suites) Bathtub (executive rooms and above) Running hot and cold water.

Services Provided :
Ayurvedic Massage Center and steam bath Beauty Parlor Florist 24 HRS Room Service

24 HRS Coffee Shop Airport Transfer Ample Car Park Safe Deposit Lockers Travel Assistance Currency Exchange Same Day Laundry Direct Dialing Cable TV Health Club Banquet Halls Back Water Cruises and Package Tours 24 hrs Check Out

Restaurant/Bar:
1. Variety Restaurant (Indian, Tandoor, Kerala, Continental and Chinese dishes.) 2. 24 hour Specialty Coffee Shop. 3. Family Bar (daily happy hours.)

Promotional Activities:
Regularly conducting Food festivals. Official host for Motor shows, Fun Carnivals, Fashion shows and other Fairs.

CORE PRODUCT AND AUGMENTED SERVICES FOR TAJ HOTEL


Hierarchy:

Chief Operating Officer (COO) | | General Manager | | Departmental Heads | | Sub-Ordinates / Deputy Managers | | Operational Staff / Administrative Staff | | Front Office Staff

The hierarchy for the restaurant:


F&B Manager | | Assistant Manager | | Restaurant Manager | | Captain | | Steward

Departments:
The various departments it has are: 40. Security 41. Human resource management 42. Food and beverages.

43. Front Office 44. Kitchen 45. Sales 46. Purchase 47. Training 48. Maintenance & Engineering 49. Quality 50. Public relations 51. Finance 52. Marketing

Basis of charging room rate


24 hour basis
On this basis, a rate is charged for a room taking the time of arrival into account. E.g. if the person arrives at 0900 hours on the 6th September a new day will start. the guest will be charged for one day only for the next 24 hours i.e. till 0900 hours on 7 th September. This can be very confusing for the receptionist, as she has to keep a track of arrival times of all the guests. This basis can be adopted in transit hotels as the guests cannot be expected to arrive and depart at a fixed time and also the stay is short in transit hotels.

Room night hotels


In this case, a person is charged for the no. of nights he spends in the hotel. However if he checks in during the day and checks out during the night, he will be charged only for one night only. The person checking out should do so before dinner time or before the night out or he will be charged for extra time. None of the hotels preferthis system of charging in present times.

Check in and check out basis


Most hotels prefer to have a fixed check in and check out time. Normally, accepted check out time is 12 noon. This will be influenced by transport factor. So in some cases check in and check out time may differ. There are several advantages in having a fixed check in and check out time for guests as well as for the hotel. The guest knows that he has to check out by certain time or he may be charged extra. The receptionist knows how many rooms are occupied and how many are available for sale. The housekeeping department will be aware of the number of rooms they will have to service as check out room. So better co-ordination is possible between the various departments to prepare for incoming guests. The hotel can also earn more revenue from rooms by selling the room more than once to different guests

The 8 Ps with reference to The Taj Mahal Hotel


Product Element
This gracious turn-of-the century hotel is located 32 km from the airport and minutes away from Mumbai's commercial, shopping and banking districts. The Taj Mahal Hotel has an old-world Heritage Wing and a contemporary Tower Wing. The hotel's premium suites have been used by royalty and Heads of State. Taj believes that the their core product is space. This space is supplemented with the services they provide like the restaurants, health club, banquets, discotheque, bar, business centers etc. Their other supplementary products also include travel arrangements, ticketing, airport pick-ups, sightseeing etc. The hotels various other departments like the house keeping, front office, food and beverage, room service and maintenance, all provide the supplementary services to the customer.

A few of the Facilities and Services offered are as follows:Types of Accommodation 582 centrally air-conditioned rooms including 49 suites.

Tower Wing Rooms: With easy access to the Business Centre, these contemporary
rooms offer guest amenities like Internet connectivity, 2-line speaker phones with international direct dial facility and voice mail. Mini bar, personal safe, channel music and television with satellite programmes. A complimentary in-room fax can be provided on request. Guests have a choice of rooms that overlook the city or face the Gateway of India and the Arabian Sea.

Heritage Wing Rooms: These rooms are renowned for their architecture and exude
an aura of old-world elegance. Each corridor in this Wing resembles an art gallery, and the design, dcor and furnishing ensure that no two rooms are alike. Guests have a choice of rooms that overlook the city or pool or face the Gateway of India and the Arabian Sea.

Taj Club: Located on the top floors of the Heritage Wing, Taj Club is designed for the
discerning business traveler. Guest amenities and services include complimentary airport limousine transfers, private check-in at the Club desk, in-room fax, personal safe, a complimentary bottle of wine, valet service and complimentary deluxe Continental breakfast. Taj Club guests can also enjoy complimentary tea/coffee throughout the day and cocktails during the Cocktail Hour at the Club Lounge. Taj Club also offers guests exclusive Meeting Rooms and a Business Service Unit on the Club Floor.

Suites: Choose from elegantly appointed Junior Suites, Executive Suites, tastefully
decorated Large Suites, newly renovated Luxury Suites or spacious, plush Grand Luxe Suites. The finest suites at The Taj Mahal are the luxuriously appointed Presidential Suites. Each of these suites is decorated with original paintings and antiques that transport guests into a world of regal luxury and grandeur. Grand Luxe and Presidential Suite guests can also avail of a personal Valet Service.

Broadband

wireless

Internet

access

at

select

Taj

hotels

Now when you stay at select Taj hotels in Mumbai (including The Taj Mahal Hotel), New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad, you no longer need to be in your room or at the Business Centre to use the Internet. Multiple 'hot spots' located across the hotels lets you get onto the Internet from almost any place in the hotel - quickly and without plugging in! What's more, there is a Cyber Butler on call, should you need any assistance with getting connected.

Facilities and Services


Swimming pool, fitness centre and spa, beauty parlour, barber shop, travel desk, car rental, pastry shop, book shop, shopping arcade, currency exchange, doctor-on-call and babysitting. Complimentary use of steam, Jacuzzi and gymnasium at the fitness centre for all guests. Arrangements for golf, badminton, squash, billiards, tennis and table tennis on request. 24-hour room service and laundry service

Place and Time


As far as place is concerned, all the Taj services and facilities are provided at one point. To ensure timely delivery of their services, they have set processes in place and incase of failure or delay of service, they have built in contingencies and trained their staff to communicate the delay to the customer in the right manner. One of the incidents that Mr. Vivek Sah, the Training Manager at Taj provided us with to explain this concept further is of the implementation of the contingency plan during the breakdown of the elevator. In case of breakdown of the elevator, the Room Service makes use of the elevator in the other wing to ensure timely delivery to the customer. They also have complaint management systems where they encourage customer feedback. Each of their feedback form is numbered and hence if any feedback form is missing, the staff is held liable for it. This is to ensure that the management views every feedback form. To ensure standadization in their services, they have Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), e.g the food that is served in the restaurant will be of the same quality and taste at

any given day and time.

Process
In order to ensure that the core product and the supplementary product is developed and delivered in the right manner and at the right time, the hotel has formed certain set processes. When the room is being prepared for customer check-in , the house-keeping department make sure that all the room amenities are provided as per the check list. For e.g. certain room amenities like 3 embroidered laundry bags, 2 closed slippers with logo, 2 shoe bags, etc. are provided by The Taj Mahal Hotel. Infact the processes are so specifically laid down that hotel staff are even advised on what to say and what words to use while talking to a customer. The following example will illustrate this better. When a customer asks for something to be done instead of saying no problem, the staff is taught to say most certainly.

The Taj Blueprint


When the service provider comes in contact with the customer, he needs to surpass the customers expectations, for which a blue print is made and followed by the service provider, in this case the Taj Mahal Hotel.

Dinner Service Sequence


Procedure
1Greet Guests Smile using appropriate salutation,correct posture,eyecontact and guest name where 2 possible. Smoking/Non-smoking 3 preference to be confirmed. 4Assist guests to their seats. 5Unfold the napkins, ladies first Entrance Host(ess) / Manager

Entrance Entrance Restaurant Restaurant

Host(ess) / Manager Host(ess) / Manager Host(ess) / Manager Captain

Suggest the Dinner buffet, and describe the buffet highlights 6 specials etc. Table

Captain / Manager

Present the food menu along with the beverage list/ wine menu, if A La Carte is desired by the guest. Suggest daily specials and advice non availability`s, prior to food 7 orders. Table Suggest bottled water and offer 8 wine by glass. Table For wine service, appropriate glassware to be present on the 9 table. Table 10For all orders, serve ladies first Table Clear plates accordingly before guests return after second 11 helping from buffet. Table For A La Carte orders, plates to be cleared only after all 12 complete their meal. Table Replenish the cuttlery 13 accordingly. Table Napkins to be folded neatly in half and placed on the left armchair, when guests leave for 14 second helping. Table For A La Carte orders, offer dessert menu and describle 15 items. Table Offer tea / coffee after entre 16 and side plates are cleared. Table Always maintain table top clean, 17 before resetting the table Table Place bill folder with cheque on table for signature, as per guest 18 convinience Table Thank all guests using their 19 names respectively. Table 20Bid farewell. Upon guest departure, clear 21 table immediately. Restaurant Table

Captain / Manager Captain

Captain / Server Captain / Server

Captain / Server

Captain / Server Captain / Server

Captain / Server

Captain / Server Captain / Server Captain / Server

Captain / Server Captain / Server / Host(ess) / Manager Captain / Server / Host(ess) / Manager Captain / Server

Productivity
The Taj as a hotel does not compare itself to only Indian hotels, but even with the hotels internationally as it claims to have World Class Quality. In order to ensure that its inputs are transformed into desired outputs, they provide extensive training to their

employees irrespective of the field they come from. The Taj Mahal hotel has various quality tools to enhance quality. This involves every department, as they have to make sure that the raw material as well as the finished product is of top quality. At The Taj, it is the responsibility of the purchase department to make sure that the raw materials are purchased at the Right Time, Right Place, Right Cost and from the Right Source, in order to avoid any hindrances in their productivity and quality. Taj has developed enormous credibility in terms of trustworthiness being the oldest brand of hotels, with the reputation of being World class and honest service provider. Security, Communication and understanding the customer psychology are special assets the Taj management has mastered with time.

People
People here mean the customers, employees, management and the society. It is the final customer who is to be satisfied and this can be done only with the help of the employees, who are directed and guided by the management. In the end the final motive of Taj is to provide consistently and relentlessly an Indian experience of warmth and hospitality by anticipating and exceeding guest expectations. They also provide various customer services such as The Taj Inner Circle Group, Taj Advantage and Taj Epicure. In order to ensure the productivity of their employees they provide them with various facilities such as medical help, consultation, traveling facilities, perks and bonuses. The employers here each have their own lockers in which they keep their uniforms and other belongings, they also have bunkers with small beds so that the employees working in shifts can catch some sleep if need be. In spite of the fact that human resources management is such an integral part of the

service industry of which hotels form a major part, its role has begun to be acknowledged only recently. The Taj Group of Hotels is probably one of the first Indian hotel chains to have recognised and respected the significance of HR in the hospitality industry. Says K S Srinivasan, GM-corporate human resources, The Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai, Functions like sales, marketing and HR are not hotel-specific, unlike those of chefs, housekeepers, bartenders, stewards and the like. They are, in fact, common to all businesses. He asserts that HR, as a function, is like a partner in the business in any organisation and not a stand-alone function. It is the key to effective utilisation of the manpower that the hotel industry is so dependent on. And the Indian hotel industry is among the most labour intensive since the number of people serving guests is the maximum here. It is precisely for this reason that the significance of HR requires to be appreciated. It is not merely monetary rewards that employees seek today; the intriguing aspect is the learning experience that the job promises. It is precisely with this very thought in mind that the Taj Group of Hotels, a Tata enterprise and one of the oldest hotel chains in the country, decided on a training programme for the operations trainees, explains Srinivasan. Interactive sessions between the Taj management and the director of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), a Tata educational and research institution, led to an interesting and comprehensive tailor-made course curriculum being chalked out. Thus was born the Taj TISS HR Associate Programme, a one-year course comprising four modules that are designed to give equal importance to and impart balanced knowledge of both the theoretical and the practical aspects of all HR-related functions of the hotel industry. After finalising the course details, the Taj made announcements about the course, offering interested trainees with two to three years of work experience an opportunity to apply. The response was encouraging and five trainees were shortlisted for the first batch of the training programme. Each of the four modules have four sections. The first stage consists of theoretical lessons, providing a sound background to the practical application of the knowledge required of them in the second stage. In the third stage, the students return to the Institute

and their performance is evaluated by professors of TISS. In the fourth and final stage, grades are awarded. While practical training sessions for the first three modules have been organised at the Taj hotels across the country, the fourth modules practical sessions had students of the first batch working in Tata companies such as TISCO and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). This gave them a wider scope and more exposure, besides making them realise that HR skills in a service-specific industry like the hotels are much more challenging than their application in the manufacturing or any other industry, observed Srinivasan. He said he himself had started off in the manufacturing industry and only later did he move over to the service industry. I have been in the industry for over a decade now and am well-set here, he added. The key to retaining staff and ensuring the success of any business organisation lies with the HR department and its effective functioning. Any organisation, including hotels, incur heavy expenditure on their employees, especially between the time of recruitment and the employees acquisition of the skills imparted during their training. It can be inferred, therefore, that a high employee turnover rate lowers the efficiency of the staff as a whole owing to their constant on-the-job training and skill enhancement. An organisation must be able to create for itself a unique place and image in the minds of the employees, both present and prospective. This enables the employees to aspire to be a part of the organisation, giving it their very best, says Srinivasan. Though the training programme has and will continue to cost us money, we believe that it is truly worthy investment, he added. The Taj group, says Srinivasan, is an expanding organisation and we are a peopleoriented company. What we need are people who can match our organisational standards. We are also looking to create and ensure a constant supply of good quality HR professionals, which is why we decided to impart training of an extremely specialised nature to our management trainees. I have observed them at the end of the programme and must say that they appear all charged up and raring to go, he remarked. The Taj-TISS joint programme is expected to create a demonstration effect in the industry with more hotel groups placing additional emphasis on the HR training programmes.

To be a successful HR professional, what is required most is the aspirants ability to challenge themselves as well as their colleagues. Only then can they get the very best from themselves and their team. Challenges in the HR field are immense and since it is so people-centric, it is only obvious that professionals should have strong peoplemanagement skills, explains Srinivasan. Besides this, a right attitude towards the job and life in general is extremely essential. As a manager myself, what I would look for in an applicant would be the ability to fit into my organisation perfectly and be emotionally balanced, competent and above all, be a cultural fit, fulfiling the basic values that the Taj is known for, concludes Srinivasan.

Promotion and Education


They carry out their promotions by the means of calendars, monthly letter to their Inner Circle Customers, informing them about their upcoming events and offers. Taj has television advertisements on popular channels like CNBC, and print ads in magazines and newspapers. Taj takes part in exhibitions like wherein they promote their holiday packages. They also have special offers during the off-season etc. Also The Taj is the only hotel chain to personify itself and in promotion campaigns and advertisements the Taj is often referred to as She The print ads for the Taj are :-

Headline: Merger? Acquisition? Hostile Takeover? Mahi-Mahi?

Bodycopy: The Taj has always been the perfect setting for conducting business. And now, after extensive refurbishment. The Taj is pleased to present an altogether appetising array of new settings. The several stylish new restaurants with cuisines ranging from the sublime to the deliciously exotic. The fun new bars with live entertainment and dancing. And the service, you may ask? as always, exceedingly well done.

Headline: The world has become a very small place. About the size of room 114, as it happens.

Bodycopy: 'Always On' is a rather apt analogy for today's international business traveller. It also explains why increasing numbers of their tribe hone in on our newly refurbished and luxuriously appointed guest rooms. Which offer, among other useful business conveniences, Taj Connect: instant Internet access at the other end of a simple 3-digit number. Just our way of ensuring you are always 'plugged in' to the world.

Physical Evidence
The Taj Mahal Hotel was built in 1903. The architect was Sitaram Vaidya. It had a very ethnic look to it, which kept up their image of providing an Indian experience of

warmth and hospitality. They realized that modernization is the name of the game and had The Taj redesigned by Mr. Chambers, Mr. Wilkes and Mr. Bernard from Singapore. Some of the recent renovations that have been carried out at the Taj are The exterior has been given a new and modern look while still retaining the old world charm of the building.

The entrance has splendidly carved bronze and glass doors Soaring onyx columns stretch to a luminous alabaster ceiling; while underfoot, rich hand-woven carpets set off a magnificent floor painstakingly inlaid with semi-precious stones. The eclectic mix of western contemporary style and traditional Indian motifs creates a veritable feast for the sense. The city's most exclusive restaurant, The Zodaic Grill provides a graceful setting for an intimate dining experience. Under a magnificent trompe l'oeil dome, they serve the finest gourmet cuisine complemented by an extensive wine list, as a classically trained pianist entertains patrons.

Price and Other User Costs


Taj realizes that their prices are high and not affordable by all, but this is due to various overheads that it incurs and the superior quality that it offers. For e.g. a roadside sandwich seller sells his sandwich for Rs.10 as he has no overheads and has no quality standards to maintain, like the quality of the bread and the vegetables. But at The Taj, they serve the best quality and also incur overhead expenses. Also the target audience that the Taj caters to are the ones who come to the Taj for its ambience and world class standards, therefore they say that their prices are justified as they help The Taj retain the exclusivity that it stands for.

Why the Taj is regarded among the best in the industry??


Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai wins "Best Business Hotel in India" award for year 2000
October 9, 2000 The Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai has won the coveted award of the Best Business Hotel in India for a second consecutive time. The award was announced last week at a glittering ceremony at Singapore during the 3rd Annual Best Business Hotels in Asia Awards 2000. The award is instituted jointly by Bloomberg TV and Business Asia with the aim to recognize excellence in hotel industry and encourage better standards for the crucial business travel sector. Readers of the Business Asia and viewers of the Bloomberg were invited to vote for their preferred Hotel in each country through a coupon that appeared in every issue of Business Asia from July to September. Approximately 20,000 votes were received for the award from readers of Business Asia and Bloomberg TV viewers. The award was judged by a panel of eminent business leaders including Mr. Ken Cowley, Director of News Corp, Mr. Pater Charlton, Publisher of Business Asia, Mr. Cameron Cooper, Editor of Business Asia and Mr. Robert Stiles, Managing Director Asia Pacific of Sonnenblick-Goldman and board member of "Hotels" magazine. The judging panel met in Sydney in February 2000 and selected a list of 85 hotels from 14 countries. The nominated hotels were judged on a range of criteria from special business services to business clubs and lounge facilities, conferences and convention facilities and guest reward and incentive programmes. The votes were counted and tallied by a leading firm Gould Ralph and Company Chartered Accountants in Sydney. Says Mr Subir Bhowmick, Chief Operating Officer, Luxury Hotels of the Taj Group "We are honoured to receive this prestigious award. Last year the readers of Business Asia voted the Taj Mahal, Mumbai as the best Business Hotel in India and in 1998, it was Taj Palace, New Delhi that received the award. We are glad that the legendary standards of

impeccable service and warm hospitality set by the Taj Group of Hotels have once again earned us this distinction."

Old lady of Apollo Bunder turns 100


Business Standard - Jan 20, 2003 The Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai celebrated 100 years of its existence in style on Friday. Created by Jamshetji Nusserwanji Tata, Indian Hotels flagship hotel first opened its doors in 1903. Since then, the Taj group has over the years added many properties to its wing and has risen to be one of the premier hotel chains in the world. Non executive group chairman, Ratan Tata, Indian Hotels Company managing director, RK Krishna Kumar and other members of the Taj group played host to the gathering. To grace the occasion, the rich and the famous faces from the industry, celluloid, media, politics and arts rubbed shoulders. From the Maharana of Udaipur to the Ambanis, from Simi Garewal to MF Hussain, the whos who of Indias social circuits were present at the function. There were few surprises however. Former Tata stalwart and now rival hotelier Ajit Kerkar, chairman of Tulip Hospitality, was also present at the Taj celebration. Also seen was old timer Camilla Panjabi. Welcoming the guests for the celebrations, Krishna Kumar said: It is wonderful to be a part of this momentous occasion and this institution called the Taj. It is a very proud moment for us. Taj is not just about rooms and restaurants. Its about style, glamour, a celebration of spirit and hospitality at its finest. We look forward to another glorious centenary of hospitality from this grand hotel. Ratan Tata added: The Taj Mahal Hotel owes its existence to the vision of Jamsetji Tata. He said The Taj, since its launch in 1903, has witnessed the birth of the Gateway of India, two World Wars and has done its bit for the country during the independence struggle. The Taj has hosted a global list of whos who - from Albert Einstein to the Wright

brothers, from Neil Armstrong to Beatle George Harrison learning sitar from Pandit Ravi Shankar. For the old lady of Apollo Bunder, it has been a long journey...