Marketing Idea No. 193 – The Self-Help Hotel

When Roots Corporation – a subsidiary of Indian Hotels Limited (which also runs the Taj Group of hotels) ventured into a new concept of self-help hotels called Ginger in 2004, trade pundits were skeptical about its success.

After all, whoever heard of a hotel, where you’d have to do everything yourself: from checking in to ironing your clothes. Ginger had no liveried bellhops asking for tips, instead guests were met by baggage carts with help-yourself signs; ATM style self check-in counters replaced the traditional receptionist; even the mustachioed gatekeeper was missing in action! However, the strategy was perfectly timed.

Ginger’s low cost and Rs.999 tariff plans created a rage among budget travellers, who were in any case reeling under the demand-supply gap in the budget hotels segment. Today, with 14 properties across India, this one’s all gingered up for the future riding on its early mover’s advantage. Predictably, Ginger’s success prompted a host of me-too’s in the segment and a slew of budget hotels started popping out of the woodwork, including Lemon Tree, Peppermint and global players like Berggruen and Best Western.

(Inspired by the writing of Neha Sariya in 4Ps Business & Marketing)

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