Puneet Chhatwal is known as the alchemist in the hospitality industry. Since he took over the reins at the storied hotel company of the Tata group, Chhatwal has been on a relentless journey of higher revenue and profit growth. The graduate of IHM in Delhi, with an MBA from ESSEC Business School, Paris, has worked around the globe and brings his experience into the restructuring process. The multi-lingual hotelier has mapped out separate pathways for all group brands — Taj, Vivanta, Gateway and Ginger. He has also introduced a new brand, SeleQtions, under which IHCL will be working with old but iconic properties such as the Connaught Hotel in Delhi and Cidade De Goa.
“Getting into management contracts will help us to not just expand our footprint, but also leverage and monetise IHCL’s strengths such as branding, distribution, sales and marketing networks. The hotels under SeleQtions are well-established in the marketplace and allow us a quick six-month turnaround.” Chhatwal is also attempting to rebrand Ginger from its image as a ‘cheap’ option to a mid-scale one. Besides, IHCL is looking at harnessing the potential of its F&B offerings by tying up with channels such as Eazydiner and Zomato.
With Ama Trails and Stays, it has forayed into the homestays segment. Clearly, Chhatwal has several grounds covered — from ownership to managed properties. Tata Group’s Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL) is planning to sell assets worth INR₹200 crore this fiscal to fund its expansion plan in core areas. Under Chhatwal, IHCL is also planning to enter the North East market, with hotels in Assam, Meghalaya, Sikkim and Tripura. The efforts to consolidate and expand is part of the master strategist’s five-year plan, Aspiration 2022. “Aspiration 2022 looks at reimagining our portfolio of brands and today we have very distinct brands with its value proposition suiting different customer needs,” he claimed.