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Wed 6 Sep 2006 04:00 AM

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India adds Ginger spice to market

A new no-frills hotel chain is being rolled out across India in a bid to fill the gap in the market for two- to three-star properties.

A new no-frills hotel chain is being rolled out across India in a bid to fill the gap in the market for two- to three-star properties.

Ginger Hotels, operated by Roots Corporation Ltd, a 100% owned subsidiary of The Indian Hotels Co. Ltd, owner of the Taj Hotels brand, aims to attract both business and leisure travellers with its ‘Smart Basics’ concept.

Properties in Bangalore, Bhubaneswar and Haridwar have already opened their doors and, by the end of the year, further hotels are planned for Pune, Mysore, Thiruvananthapuram and Durgapur. Work has also commenced on Ginger Hotels in Agartala, Tirupur, Pondicherry and Nashik.

“The Taj group of hotels covers the mid-market to top-end luxury, but there is a large gap in the two- to three-star category,” explained Prabhat Pani, CEO, Roots Corporation.

“India is attracting new industry and the sub continent middle-class income segment is growing at a very fast pace. A bulk of this middle class is spending its income on travel.However, they are conscious of their requirements and will not confuse expensive with better. It makes sense to cover this segment.”

The Roots Corporation’s Bangalore property was originally named Indione and opened two years ago. However, after testing the market, and in response to customer feedback, the decision was taken to re-brand and refine the concept in preparation for expansion in 2006.

“We needed a name more synonymous with our brand values; one that was both contemporary and international,” explained Pani. “Even though Ginger wasn’t a name associated with hotels, customer feedback said it fitted these values.”

The Ginger Hotels concept targets “young minded people”, he said.

“This is not necessarily about age profile, but attitude and what products and services the customer expects,” he added.

Ginger Hotels comprise between 100 and 200 rooms, each of which are individually air-conditioned and feature electronic locks, a work area, flat-screen colour television offering satellite channels, tea and coffee-maker and a mini-fridge and toiletries.

Other guest facilities include a restaurant, meeting room, gymnasium, cyber café, 24-hour reception, automatic check-in kiosk, an ATM, digital safe and WiFi connectivity in public areas and individual rooms.

Rates are fixed at US $22-23 per night (around 999 Indian Rupees) across the board.

Future plans involve educating the Middle East travel trade about the Ginger Hotels product and forging links with tour operators in the region. Agent commission rates are 10% and 5% for leisure and business bookings respectively.

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