Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Ginger - budget, but not 'cheap'

There are two kinds of hotels in India - 5 star and 'others'.

Five star ensures a certain level of service and quality, plus refinement and class. The sky rocketing rates of 5 stars are a favourite topic of cocktail party conversation. Your familiarity with the subject implies you are a regular on the 5 star circuit. The beauty of it, of course, is that you... are not actually paying for it. Your company is.

Scenario 2 is you work for yourself - or a relatively small company which 'does not believe in 5 star'. Alternatively, you are on a social visit, pilgrimage or holiday and just want a good, clean, functional hotel. Then you are in need of the 'others' category and hey, it all depends.

There are hotels and there are hotels but you can't ever be sure. A friend of mine lugs around her own bedsheets in times of we'll-find-a-hotel-somewhere travel. I thought that was a bit crazy until we spent a night in a MTDC property in Matheran and gratefully spread out our ghar ka chaddars.

The point is, the market for a 'motel' style hotel was wide open and the Taj group has stepped into that space in style. I spent a night at 'Ginger' in Mysore earlier this week and am extremely impressed!

Ginger is a budget hotel but unlike certain budget airlines, it does not make you feel cheap. You get exactly what you pay for - and then some.


What you get:
Crisp white sheets, towels
Running hot water
Tea and coffee maker, sachets provided
2 mineral water bottles
Air con
Study table
An LG LCD TV affixed to the wall



What's missing (but who cares...)
No room service
No one to take your luggage up (but they have airport style trolleys)
No bouncy bed with layers and layers of quilts, pillows and comforters.
No bathrobe, toothbrush, moisturiser, powder etc to slip into your bag on the way home (liquid soap is provided)
No chips or drinks in the mini fridge.

A vending machine is provided in the lobby of the hotel instead. It sells chips, chocolates and even talcum powder at MRP. The impressive thing about this machine is that it works on 5 and 10 rupee notes - the way such machines are meant to. Unlike the machines we see at stations and airports where you hand over money to an attendant :)

And yeah, no fancy world-cuisine restaurants. There is a single eatery called the 'Square Meal' which serves buffet for all 3 meals. The breakfast for 80 bucks had a decent spread. It's not what you can call a '24 hour coffee shop' but if you need a snack after midnight you can order a sandwich.

There is also net access and a basic gym for use by guests. What really blew me away was the idea of a 'pantry' on every floor. It's equipped with an Aquaguard in case you run out of water and need a refill. And there's an ironing board and Philips iron in case you are struck by 'crushed clothes syndrome'. Ain't that really cool?

There is also a same day laundry service at reasonable rates.

It's small things like this which make Ginger a really satisfying experience. I think the Taj group has done a fantastic job of delivering 'smart basics'. And they're scaling up faster than other 'budget hotel chains' like Lemon tree. Which is great.

But Ginger needs to start expanding into major metros as well. (Given real estate prices though, I wonder if the same pricing model would work...)

Also I suspect it would be boring to stay in 'Ginger' in say, Goa. I for one like staying in different hotels - just for the experience. But for any overnight kind of stay - and especially when on work - I would definitely go for reliability and value pricing over risk and romance.

A couple of suggestions to the Ginger management:
1) Make wi fi access cheaper. Current charges of Rs 125 an hour or Rs 300 a day are not too friendly.

2) The predominantly orange colour scheme gives a bright and friendly feel to the hotel. But the cream portion of my room already had some ugly stains. One of the fancier paints/ emulsions might help in tackling the problem.

I do hope Ginger is a smashing success. And that patrons don't give budget travel a bad name by behaving like cheapos and walking off with the electric kettle!

31 comments:

  1. Very insightful analysis. Do you know of any similar budget hotels in Mumbai or Delhi? Also, do you have an email address? I'm backpacking around India and I'd love to get some advice from someone who clearly knows what they're talking about.

    ReplyDelete
  2. India really does need decent mid-segment hotels. Even the non-five star ones in the metros are super expensive though admittedly you get better service than any of the much more pricey hotels in Europe or the US.

    Actually hotels in Europe at least charge at least three to four star rates and provide exactly what you described of Ginger.

    I think more foreign companies are waking up the the opportunity in this sector. I heard some noises to this regard at a conference in Hong Kong last year.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey, lovely analysis..
    Sometimes, low budget hotel gives you very comfortable living..
    Just like low cost airlins..

    Take care

    ReplyDelete
  4. VERY GOOD NEWS, BUT AS COMPARED TO OTHER 5 STAR HOTEL THEIR AR SOME SMALL HOTEL WHICH ARE DEVELOPED WELL WITH THEIR ACCESSORIES AND EQUIPTMENT WHICH FULFILL THE NEED OF CUSTOMER. BUT WHATS UPS TO BIG 5 STAR HOTEL THEY HAVE GOT A GOODWILL IN THE AND THE PEOPLE RUN BACK OF THEM. THE BIGGER IS THE NAME THE SAMLLER IS THE SERVICE, THE SAMLLER NAME HAS A MOST CONVINENT SERVICE.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Rashmi...I am currently working for TRI Hospitality Consulting in Dubai as a Research Analyst. We do market and financial feasiblity studies for hotels and mixed-use developments. Even in a mature market like Dubai, the industry is heavily skewed towards the luxury segment. Opportunities abound in the budget/economy sector, and now even big brands are scurrying towards the untapped sector. In India, a number of budget hotels are being established - Premier Travel Inn (80 hotels), Ginger (20-25 hotels), Berggruen Hotels (38 hotels) to name a few.

    The future for the hospitality business in India holds a lot of promise. The bed and breakfast concept, once alien to India, is slowly becoming more popular. For people who do not want to burn a big hole into their pocket, this should be a lot of fun!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hey thanks for this Ginger feedback.. i was looking for something on Ginger.

    ReplyDelete
  7. That’s a quite descriptive review about Ginger.
    Even in Uttranchal, Ginger is creating waves.
    Like in Shimla.
    And the quality is good for money!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Very good analysis.

    It was an open field and I always wondered why no hotel chain was picking up the opportunity. Few business travelers indulge themselves in the swimming pool or in the sauna in the work week.

    For the middleclass like us it is more pathetic. reasonable budget hotel charges price which is not 5 star ,but not reasonable in any sense ( in Mumbai, in the peak season some 3-star-ish hotels in the vicinity of international airport charges 10k for a single room) of the word. And abt the service, we all know.

    So, the arrival of Ginger was much-needed.

    ReplyDelete
  9. my blog URL: www.paavani.in/blog

    ReplyDelete
  10. Gingers nice.

    Just some questions though.

    Did you miss the service? I mean most of it is self - serve, but there are smaller hotels (non-branded) at around the same price that have a lot of personalization going on.

    Did you think the environ was sterile? I dont know if one truly gets any hospitality factor while staying there.

    The price points are already moving up. Ginger announced recently, that differential pricing is now on. would you buy this product at 50% more than what you did today?

    ReplyDelete
  11. you know how the budget hotels in europe prevent "walking away with the kettle" syndrome ? They place the plug point in a spot behind the wardrobe where it cannot be yanked out unless you have a screwdriver to pull out the wardrobe ply itself !

    Ginger would do wonderfully well if it were to be opp. say the airport or the railway station - there are countless travellers looking to spend a night at max 1000 bucks and only need a shower, a shave and a clean bed before hopping onto the next flight whereever....i have always wondered what someone who arrives in mumbai from NY and has to go to say bhopal do - either u go to the pricey 5stars or settle for the seedy Bawas...unless you have relatives to bunk with.
    S

    ReplyDelete
  12. I must say its quite an informative article

    reminds me of www.mouthshut.com
    (site 4 reviewing any prod.)
    but i guess these hotels may not b dat successful in metros considering d high real estate cost involved.

    Besides "ginger" is a "Indian hotel" subsidary n I don't think dat top mgmt would love the idea of one entity eating into anothers business.
    So they mite keep ginger away from metros.. at least 4 now.

    Exception being NCR; Considering the dearth of rooms in d light of Commonwealth games.

    Also lets just hope that the indian patron starts behaving n leaves behind d goodies..so dat dey can b used by d next patron.
    (I like the above idea suggested by shilpa)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Very Good Review and analysis.. at last u r back into Blogging...

    ReplyDelete
  14. I was told that this blog was worth a read. I tell you, it was! I learnt marketing strategies and money earning methods form this blog.

    All those pics and the whole review was good. I appreciate this stuff. But shouldn't you be taking money to do this? I mean, you are marketing for them right... Ginger... You might as well take the credit for it in the form of money, like drifter-musings does, I wanna try it out too...!! Will blog asap on the "ITC chai bandi" near my place. I dont know how much they'll pay me though...LOL!

    ReplyDelete
  15. looks like Ginger is modelled on european budget hotels..quite basic but u get all that u need and better still value for money..80bucks for breakfast 6 125 for internet sounds steep..id say theyd do better to incl. it in the room's price..

    ReplyDelete
  16. As usual...insightful analysis !

    The concept per se is very appealing. So are the ads. It hits you home that its just a good place to relax with no frills at all.

    To the average Value conscious Indian consumer, it indeed is going to be appealing.

    And walking away with a kettle is going to require SOME walking..so !

    ReplyDelete
  17. Wake up Rashmi, get up and smell the coffee. Without sounding arrogant, this is a stale news Rashmi; so no brownie points for you.

    IndiOne Hotels which are now known as Ginger Hotels, were introduced away back in June 25, 2004. For more information look here: http://tinyurl.com/ys3yds and here: http://tinyurl.com/ytl3f5

    So this 'review' is a tad too late. Thanks anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hey, why did you remove the post about racial profiling?

    ReplyDelete
  19. @Sanket, I read that too on my RSS feed. What happened to that post?

    ReplyDelete
  20. @sanket and pkumar ...

    I am an avid fan of this blog and was shocked to see such a racist post by Rashmi on my RSS feed.

    But I was more shocked when i visited blog and found the post is removed.

    Rashmi: Can I, being an avid fan of this blog, demand an explanation of writing such a racist blog and then deleting it !!??

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hi Rashmi, A regular reader of your blog, for the first time I am putting a comment, your blog is really really good and gives a good insight. Actually i wanted to leave comment on your last article name "Racial profiling-senseless,isnt it?" , but i was dissapointed not to find it on your blog any longer. It seems it has been removed and its not hard to find out why!! any how, i completely agree with you and yes, this is a topic of great analysis..... Hats off to you for coming up with such an article.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I changed my mind about the 'racial profiling' post. Not because it was 'racist' but yes, what I wrote was open to misinterpretation. Also I think the subject of 'why young people are drawn to terroism' requires greater thought and analysis. I shall eventually put up an update.

    ReplyDelete
  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Nice to see your comment, yes, it was open to misinterpreation, It was not racist, but it was clean and clear fact.. I would like to rephrase a bit what you said. 'why young people from a certain religion are drawn to terroism' requires greater thought and analysis. There is greater need and even greater force required to change the mindset of these young people.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hi Rashmi,

    Great post! There is so much detail and panache in the way you write that I could not help but extend an invitation to write descriptive reviews about your experiences at restaurants and other lifestyle hotspots on http://burrp.com.

    Currently covering Mumbai, Bangalore, chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad (Delhi soon to follow), you can use our powerful search to find places and review them to share your experiences with others. We are also in the process of creating a widget to easily link-in your burrp! reviews and make them available to your readers. Your readers will also be able to use the search functionality directly from this widget on your blog.

    Hope you get burrp!ing soon. I will certainly return to your blog for more insights.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hi Rashmi
    Mumbai too has service appartments.
    They are charged per bed per night.
    The charges depend on bed and breakfast, if pick up are required,
    type of dinner,etc. They are good value for money.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Great review! Was just looking for something like this.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Fortune hotels are expanding fast with the opening of new properties across the country. The rooms of these hotels are well equipped with all the modern amenities, which a traveler is looking for. Recently Fortune has opened new properties in Navi Mumbai, Kolkata and Pune. These business hotels in Navi Mumbai, hotels Kolkata and Pune hotels are all set to be the preferred destination for the discerning business traveler. These hotels in Navi Mumbai, Kolkata hotel and Pune hotels offer a choice of F&B outlets also. The services in these hotels are offered in a warm atmosphere. The traveler would certainly enjoy his stay in Fortune amidst all the facilities and would not look in for any other option in future. The starting price of the rooms in Pune is Rs 8000/-, Navi Mumbai is Rs 8500/-, and Kolkata is Rs 6000/-.

    ReplyDelete
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