TataNeu super app will be a great competitive advantage for us: Puneet Chhatwal, MD & CEO, IHCL

TataNeu, a super app to be launched soon that will integrate several Tata brands offering shopping, entertainment, flights, hotels, food, etc, with customers earning and spending loyalty points across brands.

“Things are looking positive after a very very long time. There is some optimism in the air, and we are feeling that very much in the good pick-up in business, which is improving every day. ” When Puneet Chhatwal, MD & CEO of Indian Hotels Company (IHCL), stated this in an interview with FE, he was reflecting the mood of the hospitality industry. With international flights resuming on March 27, things can only get better.

Better is what the brand aims to be too, with a sustainability and social impact initiative, Paathya, launched on Tuesday in the national capital. With goals like eliminating single-use plastic by 2030, 100% waste-water giant, organic-waste management, 100% hotels to be certified under EarthCheck, and 50% energy from renewable sources, the brand is on an aggressive path of sustainability. Chhatwal feels that as leaders in the sector, they owe it to the community and the planet to demonstrate responsible tourism. That these initiatives mirror the proposed national tourism policy is not incidental. “I think the pandemic taught us that it is important to be aligned and I, personally, and we as a company, have also contributed to the tourism policy, which will be unveiled soon,” he said.

Scoring big on another future front, technology, Chhatwal is excited about the TataNeu, a super app to be launched soon that will integrate several Tata brands offering shopping, entertainment, flights, hotels, food, etc, with customers earning and spending loyalty points across brands. “The super app will be a great competitive advantage for us and it will increase the outreach for all our brands. I am expecting a lot of synergy with other companies under a platform that caters to the needs of all, ”he said. On more synergy between the three aviation brands under the Tata fold and IHCL, he said it depended on the new management of Air India and directions of the group.

Even as business travel is picking up, and he points to increased traffic from government delegations and heads of states, the group is big on domestic tourism.

“We are possibly the only hospitality ecosystem in India that covers close to 100 destinations. And Ginger is a very interesting brand to watch when it comes to domestic tourism. It was a great idea in the first place, but we reimagined and repositioned the brand three years ago and will be opening our flagship in Santa Cruz, Mumbai, with 375 rooms soon. We are looking at 6-10 Ginger properties in the next 12 months and a total of about 18 properties within our various brands. We will get close to 100 homestays and we are looking to significantly scale up our Qmin and QSR business. Ama Stays, our homestay brand, is getting good traction, but we need to scale that up. Our next grand opening is Taj Exotica in Dubai, which is our third property in Dubai. Our fourth property in Kolkata opens next month, ”he said, hoping that the fourth Covid wave stays away for the industry to revive.

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