Mumbai: No-frills, budget hotel chain Ginger, a division of Tata group’s Indian Hotel Co. Ltd, is introducing a series of add-on services to attract customers.
These include select room services, package deals, 24-hour restaurants, and drop and pick-up services that will not add to the cost structure, a top company executive said. The three-star chain, which claims a majority of its hotel projects have broken even, is also looking at more management contracts instead of directly owning properties.
“I would not call these service offerings as frills. We have introduced a series of these services based on customer feedback. We, at any point in time, make sure that these will not add to our cost base,” said Prabhat Pani, chief executive officer at Root Corp. Ltd, which manages the Ginger brand. “We are not moving away from the original concept, but we are positioning ourselves to changing customer requirements.”
Ginger hotels originally focused on providing minimum services with no special packages in order to keep costs low enough to start room prices at Rs1,000 a night. Ginger has only 0.50 employee per room against 1.25 to 1.75 employees for a full-service three-star hotel.
Pani said his hotel chain is also offering discounts for early bookings, special incentives for a two- or three-day stay, and special packages for students. “We are contemplating incentives in line with frequent flier miles in the airline industry as 40% of our customers are repeat customers,” he added. The chain has also upgraded its information technology systems to support any changes in these deals and packages. Ginger currently operates 20 hotels across the country and plans to add another 10 by the end of 2010. The price range offered by Ginger is between Rs1,000 and Rs2,999.
“In future, we will be opting for management contracts that will help us to cut down real estate costs,” Pani said, adding that the company is also considering having hotels in malls in metro cities to save on real estate costs. A Ginger hotel in Ludhiana is already housed in a mall.