7 p’s with reference to Taj Hotels
This gracious turn-of-the century hotel is located 32 km from the airport and minutes away from Mumbai’s commercial, shopping and banking districts. The Taj Mahal Hotel has an old-world Heritage Wing and a contemporary Tower Wing. The hotel’s premium suites have been used by royalty and Heads of State. Taj believes that the their core product is space. This space is supplemented with the services they provide like the restaurants, health club, banquets, discotheque, bar, business centers etc. Their other supplementary products also include travel arrangements, ticketing, airport pick-ups, sightseeing etc.
The hotels various other departments like the house keeping, front office, food and beverage, room service and maintenance, all provide the supplementary services to the customer. A few of the Facilities and Services offered are as follows:- Types of Accommodation 582 centrally air-conditioned rooms including 49 suites. Tower Wing Rooms: With easy access to the Business Centre, these contemporary rooms offer guest amenities like Internet connectivity, 2-line speaker phones with international direct dial facility and voice mail. Mini bar, personal safe, channel music and television with satellite programmes.
A complimentary in-room fax can be provided on request. Guests have a choice of rooms that overlook the city or face the Gateway of India and the Arabian Sea. Heritage Wing Rooms: These rooms are renowned for their architecture and exude an aura of old-world elegance. Each corridor in this Wing resembles an art gallery, and the design, decor and furnishing ensure that no two rooms are alike. Guests have a choice of rooms that overlook the city or pool or face the Gateway of India and the Arabian Sea. Taj Club: Located on the top floors of the Heritage Wing, Taj Club is designed for the discerning business traveler.
Guest amenities and services include complimentary airport limousine transfers, private check-in at the Club desk, in-room fax, personal safe, a complimentary bottle of wine, valet service and complimentary deluxe Continental breakfast. Taj Club guests can also enjoy complimentary tea/coffee throughout the day and cocktails during the Cocktail Hour at the Club Lounge. Taj Club also offers guests exclusive Meeting Rooms and a Business Service Unit on the Club Floor. Suites: Choose from elegantly appointed Junior Suites, Executive Suites, tastefully decorated Large Suites, newly renovated Luxury Suites or spacious, plush Grand Luxe Suites.
The finest suites at The Taj Mahal are the luxuriously appointed Presidential Suites. Each of these suites is decorated with original paintings and antiques that transport guests into a world of regal luxury and grandeur. Grand Luxe and Presidential Suite guests can also avail of a personal Valet Service. Broadband wireless Internet access at select Taj hotels Now when you stay at select Taj hotels in Mumbai (including The Taj Mahal Hotel), New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad, you no longer need to be in your room or at the Business Centre to use the Internet.
Multiple ‘hot spots’ located across the hotels lets you get onto the Internet from almost any place in the hotel – quickly and without plugging in! What’s more, there is a Cyber Butler on call, should you need any assistance with getting connected. Facilities and Services Swimming pool, fitness centre and spa, beauty parlour, barber shop, travel desk, car rental, pastry shop, book shop, shopping arcade, currency exchange, doctor-on-call and babysitting. Complimentary use of steam, Jacuzzi and gymnasium at the fitness centre for all guests. Arrangements for golf, badminton, squash, billiards, tennis and table tennis on request.
24-hour room service and laundry service Place and Time As far as place is concerned, all the Taj services and facilities are provided at one point. To ensure timely delivery of their services, they have set processes in place and incase of failure or delay of service, they have built in contingencies and trained their staff to communicate the delay to the customer in the right manner. One of the incidents that Mr. Vivek Sah, the Training Manager at Taj provided us with to explain this concept further is of the implementation of the contingency plan during the breakdown of the elevator.
In case of breakdown of the elevator, the Room Service makes use of the elevator in the other wing to ensure timely delivery to the customer. They also have complaint management systems where they encourage customer feedback. Each of their feedback form is numbered and hence if any feedback form is missing, the staff is held liable for it. This is to ensure that the management views every feedback form. To ensure standadization in their services, they have Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), e. g the food that is served in the restaurant will be of the same quality and taste at any given day and time.
Process In order to ensure that the core product and the supplementary product is developed and delivered in the right manner and at the right time, the hotel has formed certain set processes. When the room is being prepared for customer check-in , the house-keeping department make sure that all the room amenities are provided as per the check list. For e. g. certain room amenities like 3 embroidered laundry bags, 2 closed slippers with logo, 2 shoe bags, etc. are provided by The Taj Mahal Hotel.
Infact the processes are so specifically laid down that hotel staff are even advised on what to say and what words to use while talking to a customer. The following example will illustrate this better. When a customer asks for something to be done instead of saying “no problem, the staff is taught to say ‘ most certainly’. The Taj Blueprint When the service provider comes in contact with the customer, he needs to surpass the customer’s expectations, for which a blue print is made and followed by the service provider, in this case the Taj Mahal Hotel. Dinner Service Sequence
Procedure 1 Greet Guests Entrance Host(ess) / Manager 2 Smile using appropriate salutation,correct posture,eye-contact and guest name where possible. Entrance Host(ess) / Manager 3 Smoking/Non-smoking preference to be confirmed. Entrance Host(ess) / Manager 4 Assist guests to their seats. Restaurant Host(ess) / Manager 5 Unfold the napkins, ladies first Restaurant Captain 6 Suggest the Dinner buffet, and describe the buffet highlights – specials etc. Table Captain / Manager 7 Present the food menu along with the beverage list/ wine menu, if A La Carte is desired by the guest.
Suggest daily specials and advice non availability`s, prior to food orders. Table Captain / Manager 8 Suggest bottled water and offer wine by glass. Table Captain 9 For wine service, appropriate glassware to be present on the table. Table Captain / Server 10 For all orders, serve ladies first Table Captain / Server 11 Clear plates accordingly before guests return after second helping from buffet. Table Captain / Server 12 For A La Carte orders, plates to be cleared only after all complete their meal. Table Captain / Server 13 Replenish the cuttlery accordingly. Table
Captain / Server 14 Napkins to be folded neatly in half and placed on the left arm-chair, when guests leave for second helping. Table Captain / Server 15 For A La Carte orders, offer dessert menu and describle items. Table Captain / Server 16 Offer tea / coffee after entree and side plates are cleared. Table Captain / Server 17 Always maintain table top clean, before resetting the table Table Captain / Server 18 Place bill folder with cheque on table for signature, as per guest convinience Table Captain / Server 19 Thank all guests using their names respectively. Table
Captain / Server / Host(ess) / Manager 20 Bid farewell. Restaurant Captain / Server / Host(ess) / Manager 21 Upon guest departure, clear table immediately. Table Captain / Server Productivity The Taj as a hotel does not compare itself to only Indian hotels, but even with the hotels internationally as it claims to have “World Class Quality”. In order to ensure that its inputs are transformed into desired outputs, they provide extensive training to their employees irrespective of the field they come from. The Taj Mahal hotel has various quality tools to enhance quality.
This involves every department, as they have to make sure that the raw material as well as the finished product is of top quality. At The Taj, it is the responsibility of the purchase department to make sure that the raw materials are purchased at the Right Time, Right Place, Right Cost and from the Right Source, in order to avoid any hindrances in their productivity and quality. Taj has developed enormous credibility in terms of trustworthiness being the oldest brand of hotels, with the reputation of being World class and honest service provider.
Security, Communication and understanding the customer psychology are special assets the Taj management has mastered with time. People People here mean the customers, employees, management and the society. It is the final customer who is to be satisfied and this can be done only with the help of the employees, who are directed and guided by the management. In the end the final motive of Taj is to provide consistently and relentlessly an Indian experience of warmth and hospitality by anticipating and exceeding guest expectations.
They also provide various customer services such as ‘The Taj Inner Circle Group’, ‘Taj Advantage’ and ‘Taj Epicure’. In order to ensure the productivity of their employees they provide them with various facilities such as medical help, consultation, traveling facilities, perks and bonuses. The employers here each have their own lockers in which they keep their uniforms and other belongings, they also have bunkers with small beds so that the employees working in shifts can catch some sleep if need be.
In spite of the fact that human resources management is such an integral part of the service industry of which hotels form a major part, its role has begun to be acknowledged only recently. The Taj Group of Hotels is probably one of the first Indian hotel chains to have recognised and respected the significance of HR in the hospitality industry. Says K S Srinivasan, GM-corporate human resources, The Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai, “Functions like sales, marketing and HR are not hotel-specific, unlike those of chefs, housekeepers, bartenders, stewards and the like. They are, in fact, common to all businesses.
” He asserts that HR, as a function, is like a partner in the business in any organisation and not a stand-alone function. It is the key to effective utilisation of the manpower that the hotel industry is so dependent on. And the Indian hotel industry is among the most labour intensive since the number of people serving guests is the maximum here. It is precisely for this reason that the significance of HR requires to be appreciated. It is not merely monetary rewards that employees seek today; the intriguing aspect is the learning experience that the job promises.
“It is precisely with this very thought in mind that the Taj Group of Hotels, a Tata enterprise and one of the oldest hotel chains in the country, decided on a training programme for the operations trainees,” explains Srinivasan. Interactive sessions between the Taj management and the director of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), a Tata educational and research institution, led to an interesting and comprehensive tailor-made course curriculum being chalked out. Thus was born the ‘Taj TISS HR Associate
Programme’, a one-year course comprising four modules that are designed to give equal importance to and impart balanced knowledge of both the theoretical and the practical aspects of all HR-related functions of the hotel industry. After finalising the course details, the Taj made announcements about the course, offering interested trainees with two to three years of work experience an opportunity to apply. The response was encouraging and five trainees were shortlisted for the first batch of the training programme. Each of the four modules have four sections.
The first stage consists of theoretical lessons, providing a sound background to the practical application of the knowledge required of them in the second stage. In the third stage, the students return to the Institute and their performance is evaluated by professors of TISS. In the fourth and final stage, grades are awarded. While practical training sessions for the first three modules have been organised at the Taj hotels across the country, the fourth modules practical sessions had students of the first batch working in Tata companies such as TISCO and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).
“This gave them a wider scope and more exposure, besides making them realise that HR skills in a service-specific industry like the hotels are much more challenging than their application in the manufacturing or any other industry,” observed Srinivasan. He said he himself had started off in the manufacturing industry and only later did he move over to the service industry. “I have been in the industry for over a decade now and am well-set here,” he added. The key to retaining staff and ensuring the success of any business organisation lies with the HR department and its effective functioning.
Any organisation, including hotels, incur heavy expenditure on their employees, especially between the time of recruitment and the employees’ acquisition of the skills imparted during their training. It can be inferred, therefore, that a high employee turnover rate lowers the efficiency of the staff as a whole owing to their constant on-the-job training and skill enhancement. “An organisation must be able to create for itself a unique place and image in the minds of the employees, both present and prospective. This enables the employees to aspire to be a part of the organisation, giving it their very best,” says Srinivasan.
“Though the training programme has and will continue to cost us money, we believe that it is truly worthy investment,” he added. “The Taj group,” says Srinivasan, “is an expanding organisation and we are a people-oriented company. What we need are people who can match our organisational standards. We are also looking to create and ensure a constant supply of good quality HR professionals, which is why we decided to impart training of an extremely specialised nature to our management trainees. I have observed them at the end of the programme and must say that they appear all charged up and raring to go,” he remarked.
The Taj-TISS joint programme is expected to create a demonstration effect in the industry with more hotel groups placing additional emphasis on the HR training programmes. To be a successful HR professional, what is required most is the aspirants’ ability to challenge themselves as well as their colleagues. Only then can they get the very best from themselves and their team. “Challenges in the HR field are immense and since it is so people-centric, it is only obvious that professionals should have strong people-management skills,” explains Srinivasan.
Besides this, a right attitude towards the job and life in general is extremely essential. “As a manager myself, what I would look for in an applicant would be the ability to fit into my organisation perfectly and be emotionally balanced, competent and above all, be a cultural fit, fulfiling the basic values that the Taj is known for,” concludes Srinivasan. Promotion and Education They carry out their promotions by the means of calendars, monthly letter to their ‘Inner Circle Customers’, informing them about their upcoming events and offers.
Taj has television advertisements on popular channels like CNBC, and print ads in magazines and newspapers. Taj takes part in exhibitions like wherein they promote their holiday packages. They also have special offers during the “off-season” etc. Also The Taj is the only hotel chain to personify itself and in promotion campaigns and advertisements the Taj is often referred to as “She” The print ads for the Taj are :- Physical Evidence The Taj Mahal Hotel was built in 1903. The architect was Sitaram Vaidya. It had a very ethnic look to it, which kept up their image of providing an Indian experience of warmth and hospitality.
They realized that modernization is the name of the game and had The Taj redesigned by Mr. Chambers, Mr. Wilkes and Mr. Bernard from Singapore. Some of the recent renovations that have been carried out at the Taj are The exterior has been given a new and modern look while still retaining the old world charm of the building. The entrance has splendidly carved bronze and glass doors Soaring onyx columns stretch to a luminous alabaster ceiling; while underfoot, rich hand-woven carpets set off a magnificent floor painstakingly inlaid with semi-precious stones.
The eclectic mix of western contemporary style and traditional Indian motifs creates a veritable feast for the sense. The city’s most exclusive restaurant, The Zodaic Grill provides a graceful setting for an intimate dining experience. Under a magnificent trompe l’oeil dome, they serve the finest gourmet cuisine complemented by an extensive wine list, as a classically trained pianist entertains patrons. Price and Other User Costs Taj realizes that their prices are high and not affordable by all, but this is due to various overheads that it incurs and the superior quality that it offers.
For e. g. a roadside sandwich seller sells his sandwich for Rs. 10 as he has no overheads and has no quality standards to maintain, like the quality of the bread and the vegetables. But at The Taj, they serve the best quality and also incur overhead expenses. Also the target audience that the Taj caters to are the one’s who come to the Taj for it’s ambience and world class standards, therefore they say that their prices are justified as they help The Taj retain the exclusivity that it stands for.