Last month, when Chinmai Sharma joined the Taj Group as the Chief Revenue Officer, a priority that he had was to adopt the mobile first strategy for the 111 year old luxury hotel chain. Now, he is close to announcing a smartphone application.
Regarding this, Sharma stated that, the aim is to launch an application that is all encompassing and that will bring all the Taj Group brands under a single app and integrate the pre-stay and post-stay experiences of the guests. He added that this will provide an end to end solution to the guests.
Before joining the Taj Group, Sharma was with the Louvre Hotels Group of Starwood Capital Group as the global revenue head.
The leading Indian hotel chains such as The Leela, Taj and ITC are aggressively wooing the smartphone customers by coming up with their mobile applications, launching mobile-friendly websites and focusing on the digital and social media marketing. This is done as a higher number of people inIndiaand other countries are using their smartphones to book hotels and holidays. The international chains such as Starwood, Accor, Marriott and Inter-Continental have already established a very strong presence in the smartphone space.
The smartphones have already accounted to about 40 percent of the online travel search and this share is expected to go up in the country where the smartphone penetration is all set to grow significantly reaching 520 million units by 2020.
Sharma chalked out a three-year plan to rise spends on the digital infrastructure by seven folds. At present, he is forming a team of tech specialists to develop the mobile applications, launch localized content and new mobile-friendly website by the end of this year. This is said to drive the digital strategy of the hotel chain.
As per Sharma, the Taj Group receives 15 percent of its traffic from the mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. This is a triple-digit growth in the past one year. A spokesperson of The Leela Palaces, Resorts and Hotels claimed that this be a strategy that will help the firm acquire new customers apart from retaining the existing ones.