Ginger Hotels ups the Game in Economy to Midscale Segment, Market Share Grows to 26% in 2020, says Deepika Rao

Ginger Hotels have Stepped up its Engagement, With its New Brand Positioning Inspiring Greater Traction in its Segment, With an Impressive Rollout in the Near Future.

The Opportunity

The midscale to economy segment of hospitality in India has been witnessing a significant growth. From 8% of the branded hotel supply in 2001 the segment share stands at about 26% in 2020.  To tap this opportunity IHCL redefined its brandscape, positioning Ginger as its vehicle to penetrate and dominate this segment. This called for a need to reimagine brand Ginger and develop  its product and service offering to be relevant to the changing consumer needs and the new marketplace consisting of both domestic and the hitherto absent international brands.

Changing Perceptions

Ginger was the first Indian brand to pioneer in the Branded Budget segment with ‘Smart Basics’ in India way back in 2004. As this segment evolved, the need to adapt the brand’s perception and offering was clear. Ginger needed to have a strong and aspirational identity to stand out and remain relatable as a value proposition.

Our research established that two third of India’s workforce today is made of enterprising millennials and they are interested in experiences, not just in buying a product or a service. Their behaviour demonstrates a constant urge to be at multiple places or do multiple things at the same time. Tapping on to this core behaviour of instantly switching between extremes, Ginger’s renewed promise is to facilitate multitudinous possibilities, seamlessly. This is the core thought for Ginger’s new visual identity of a “digital switch”.

Ginger now presents a co-existence of contrasts through re-imagined spaces blurring the lines of work and play, bringing about a fusion of global and local and creating experiences that are vibrant, quirky, intuitive, and smart. The brand’s new identity is designed on a lifestyle approach to appeal to the enterprising Indian who loves to travel and experience the country and its cultural diversity. Its services and facilities are designed to deliver a blend of comfort, efficiency, and convenience consistently across all its locations.

Building a strong brand for a hotel is really no different to establishing good relationships with people on a personal level. It is not just about a logo .The end goal of building a strong hotel brand is an instant affinity and familiarity from travellers when they hear the hotel’s name. You want them to not only easily recall your image and logo, but also get an immediate sense of what a stay is like at your hotel and the experience they can expect to have. This is created in many different ways, usually over a long period of time.Re-imagined Ginger has started walking down this road.  

Joi Design, an international design agency translated the brand promise into a fresh look and feel, tailored towards the needs of its target audience – the millennials. The Re-imagined Ginger celebrates its consumer. All the services are curated in a manner to allow the guest to do more.

In another departure from the original Ginger offering where the Food & Beverage offering was outsourced, the brand now owns these operations at 14 locations with the introduction of the brand Café Et Cetera.  

The human resource philosophy focused on multi skilling and growing its people at a rapid pace. This made for a happy workforce.   The brand also has one of the best staff to guest ratio.  

Ginger has a pan India presence. It is the only brand in the segment that has extensive presence not only in Tier I but also Tier II cities.    

Impact of the Transformation

Ginger’s transformation journey began in December 2018 with the prototype new design showcased at Ginger Goa, Panjim. Post this successful launch the new avatar has travelled to multiple cities accounting for 30% of the Company’s hotel portfolio today. The transformation enabled a 20% growth in Average Rates, an all-time highest brand score of 4.74 on TripAdvisor and a 73% growth in portfolio from 45 properties to 78 properties now across 50 cities. The success of the transformation has spurred investor confidence significantly leading to Ginger clocking the highest number of inventory signed (1250 keys) by a single brand in FY19-20.  

The encouraging guest response gave us the confidence to think big. We announced the brand’s flagship 371-room hotel near Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport Mumbai in February 2020. This will be one of the largest inventory hotels in its category across India. We are also evaluating similar hotels in other cities.

Way Ahead

Ginger will continue its growth and development focus in key Metros, State capitals and commercial centers along with a focus on micro markets with a diverse demand base. Ginger will also continue to upgrade its existing portfolio to the new design in key cities.

Earlier this year, Ginger reached an important milestone of 75 hotels with the signing of a hotel in Aurangabad. This number is a testament to the guests who are responding favourably to the Re-imagined Ginger.

Deepika Rao, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Ginger said, “The journey of the brand since December 2018 has been very encouraging. Ginger’s new Brand proposition and transformation of the product has been well received by our guests in different markets of India. We will continue to focus on growth driven through a balanced mix of leased and managed portfolio of hotels.”

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