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Taj group to expand serviced apartments biz

January 06, 2009 12:13 IST

The Indian Hotels Company, the Tata Group firm which runs the Taj Group of Hotels in the country, is set to expand its offerings by getting into serviced apartments business and by widening the portfolio of its wildlife resorts.

This is part of IHCL's overall strategy of doubling the number of its rooms to more than 20,000 in four years by going in for a mix of greenfield projects as well as management contracts.

Sources indicate that the company is in advanced stages of exploring the opportunity of setting up about 700 serviced apartments across various cities in the current year. The company is also expanding its international presence.

"IHCL is setting up hotels in Thailand and South Africa apart from having clinched two management contracts in West Asia at Dubai and Saraya Island respectively," a company source said.

The company is also parallely rolling out other formats for which there is latent demand. "Spas and wilderness resorts are being aggressively looked at for growth," an industry analyst said. The company will be consolidating its spas into one brand called 'Jiva'.

The firm is eyeing these new business segments after it encountered decent success in the budget hotel category through the 'Ginger' brand, dotting various small cities and towns such as Mysore, Pondicherry, Agartala, Haridwar and Durgapur. The brand is expected to add nearly 3,500 rooms.

IHCL in association with CC Africa had recently set up two wildlife lodges at Bandhavgarh and Pench in Madhya Pradesh in order to tap the huge Indian wildlife reserves. "Three more sites have been marked and are likely to be commissioned soon," a company source detailed.

Raghuvir Badrinath in Bangalore