Singapore-based Raffles International and India-based Taj Hotels have signed a marketing alliance. Raffles has 37 hotels mainly under the Raffles and Swissotel brands; Taj has 70 hotels, mainly in India, most under the Taj name.
The alliance will have two phases:
Cross marketing for Raffles’ Raffles brand (12 hotels) and Taj Luxury Hotels. Of the Taj 14, three are outside India - Maldives, Mauritius, and London.
That indicates one potential problem as Taj’s London hotel is at a lower level; in fact it operates as a franchised Crowne Plaza.
For Raffles’ Swissotel and Taj’s Business and Leisure Hotels - sic. No dates fixed, and no details known.
This agreement highlights problems with the groups’ brandnames – particularly for Taj.
The Taj group has decided to keep the Taj name on all levels of hotel, using descriptions to determine the level, rather than a brand name. Thus its ‘Taj Business and Leisure Hotels’ is a quasi-brandname -but one that likely has little motivation for travellers. Likewise, in effect for the Luxury level, but as this is the general market association with the Taj name, this is not an important factor.
For Raffles, having the group name the same as one of the brands, leaves its other brand, Swissotel, dis-associated. Although not a unique situation (InterContinental has done the same – deliberately), this is nevertheless a market situation that will eventually need to be changed.
Planned hotels at Raffles group
Notes: *The Celik Palas currently under Raffles management;
to be branded Swissotel after refurbishing work.