Indian luxury hotelier Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces is expanding the geographic scope of its newest upscale brand, Vivanta by Taj, with an eye toward bringing 30 existing properties and newbuilds in India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, totaling 5,000 rooms, under the Vivanta umbrella within two years.
Recently, 16 existing Taj properties migrated to the five-star brand, bringing Vivanta's current number of resorts to 19 and its room count to 2,500.
The Vivanta by Taj group now includes landmark city hotels across India, such as Vivanta by Taj-President in Mumbai and Vivanta by Taj-Connemara in Chennai, as well as resorts like Vivanta by Taj-Fort Aguada and Vivanta by Taj-Holiday Village, both in Goa state, on the Arabian Sea.
Described by Taj officials as "stylish and sophisticated, contemporary, vivid and creative" and "affording a cool avatar of luxury," the new Vivanta brand was designed based on extensive consumer studies. Vivanta was developed to appeal to what Taj calls "the cosmopolitan global traveler who appreciates new experiences and pleasant surprises, rather than the typical hotel-stay experience." The Vivanta chain, while new, retains the Taj connection in its official name, Vivanta by Taj, to stress ties to what officials believe is the established parent brand's widely recognized "warmth and friendliness."
In a statement, Ajoy Misra, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces, said Vivanta properties are positioned in the "upper-upscale" segment, between "top-end luxury" Taj-branded hotels and resorts and the merely upscale Gateway Hotel collection.
"Our brand journey, which started a few years ago, continues today with our portfolio consisting of clearly demarcated brands each having a distinct identity, values and experiences" that appeal to distinct psychographic segments, he said, adding that the brand name Vivanta is based on the French term bon vivant, signifying living the good life, vividness and vibrancy.
"The brand exudes style and a strong sense of living life to the hilt," Mira added. "Designed to deliver vibrant experiences to its guests, Vivanta ... will combine the charming hospitality that is a hallmark of the Taj and overlay it with a contemporary, energetic and vivacious twist."
At the Sept. 14 announcement of the Vivanta brand expansion in Bangalore, Raymond Bickson, CEO of Taj and Vivanta parent firm Indian Hotels Co., called the launch of Vivanta a new chapter in the 107-year history of Taj. "This brand is a testament to the dynamism and innovation that the Taj is known for," he said.
Test runs and fine-tuning
By the time of the mid-September brand expansion, Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces had already been operating three hotels under the Vivanta by Taj brand for periods ranging from 12 to 20 months. The three pilot hotels -- Vivanta by Taj-Whitefield, Bangalore; Vivanta by Taj-Panaji, Goa; and Vivanta by Taj-Coral Reef, in the Maldives -- afforded Taj the opportunity to "study, fine-tune and enhance the experiences" based on customer feedback.
Indian Hotels Co. has an "aggressive" growth plan for Vivanta. In the next few months, newbuild properties should be opened in key Indian metropolitan areas such as Bangalore, Hyderabad and Coimbatore; three new Vivantas are planned for Delhi alone. Three Vivanta by Taj resorts will also open in Madikeri in Coorg, Bekal, in north Kerala and Srinagar in Kashmir. Six more Vivanta projects are under development.
The rollout of Vivanta within the Taj portfolio, said officials, fulfills a commitment to deliver a more defined and focused customer experience, keeping in step with evolving customer needs.
The 16 new properties are:
- Bangalore: Vivanta by Taj-MG Road, formerly the Taj Residency.
- Bentota, Sri Lanka: Vivanta by Taj-Bentota, once the Taj Exotica.
- Chennai: Vivanta by Taj-Connemara, once the Taj Connemara; and Vivanta by Taj-Fisherman's Cove, formerly Fisherman's Cove.
- Cochin: Vivanta by Taj-Malabar, formerly the Taj Malabar.
- Goa: Vivanta by Taj-Fort Aguada, formerly the Fort Aguada Beach Resort; and the Vivana by Taj-Holiday Village, formerly the Taj Holiday Village.
- Jodhpur: Vivanta by Taj-Hari Mahal, the former Taj Hari Mahal Palace.
- Kerala: Vivanta by Taj-Kovalam, formerly the Taj Green Cove Resort; the Vivanta by Taj-Kumarakom, the former Taj Garden Retreat Kumarakom; and the Vivanta by Taj-Trivandrum, formerly Taj Residency, Trivandrum.
- Lucknow: Vivanta by Taj-Gomti Nagar, formerly the Taj Residency, Lucknow.
- Mumbai: Vivanta by Taj-President, formerly the Taj President.
- New Delhi: Vivanta by Taj-Ambassador, formerly the Ambassador Hotel.
- Pune: Vivanta by Taj-Blue Diamond, formerly the Taj Blue Diamond.
- Ranthambore: Vivanta by Taj-Sawai Madhopur, formerly the Sawai Madhopur Lodge.