Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 77

perspectives

interview

raymond
bickson
By Stacy Shoemaker Rauen
Photography courtesy of Taj Hotels and Palaces

1
2

3

1. The Taj Lake Palace
Udaipur, India, seems
to float, occupying one
of the islands of Lake
Pichola.

2+3. A dining room and
the regal exterior of the
Taj Falaknuma Palace
Hyderabad, India.

ALL EYES ON INDIA
Raymond Bickson expands the Taj portfolio

Raymond Bickson was destined to be in the
service industry. While growing up in the rental
car business (his father was one of the founders
of Budget Rent-a-Car) in Hawaii during the
’60s and ’70s, the flourishing tourism industry
inspired him to attend Cornell. After graduation,
he cut his teeth traveling the world working for
hotel visionaries Adrian Zecha, Robert Burns,
and Georg Rafael at Regent International
Hotels, and then moved to New York to run
the Mark Hotel. It was there he met a repeat
guest, Jamsetji Tata, founder of the Tata Group,
a diversified conglomerate and the largest
company in India. It is also the parent company
of Taj Hotels and Palaces, the largest hotel
collection in India (recently opening its 100th
hotel), and Tata wooed Bickson with a job.
Since taking over as Taj’s CEO and managing
director a decade ago, Bickson has helped turned

the venerable Indian hotel company into a world
player, growing it from 62 hotels and some 8,200
rooms to 118 hotels and 14,250 rooms. “We have
opened one hotel every eight weeks in the last ten
years,” he says.
The key: diversification. Realizing that a Taj
room for $75 in Agra shouldn’t be in the same
classification as a $500-a-night Taj palace room,
Bickson and his team decided to take a good
look at its brand architecture. The result is four
distinct offerings: besides the 5-Star namesake
brand—ranging from palace hotels to safaris—the
Taj umbrella now includes 4-Star brand Vivanta
by Taj; 3-Star hotel collection Gateway; and 1-Star
budget offering Ginger.
“India only opened up to internationalization
in the early nineties; prior to that it was controlled
by domestic brands and we had twenty-five
percent of the market,” he explains. “In 2003,
the entire Indian market had sixty-two thousand
rooms; Manhattan, for instance, has one hundred

and ten thousand rooms, China today has three
million, and the U.S. has five million rooms. All
the brands that grew in Asia realized China has
one billion people, India has one billion people,
and not enough hotel rooms—they were licking
their chops; India was the next China. Today
India has one hundred seventy-five thousand
rooms and the country is still running at sixtyfive to sixty-eight percent occupancy—it still
needs more. With all of these brands coming
into our market, we needed to revisit the
one hundred-and-ten-year-old brand to stay
competitive.”
And they have: Ginger is now the largest
budget brand in India. “The main growth is the
rising middle class,” Bickson notes. “That’s the
growth story for all the BRIC countries. In 2003,
the average income was thirty-six thousand
rupee; in 2012 it was something like fifty-eight
thousand rupee. Some four hundred and fifty
million people have more disposable income and

hospitalitydesign.com March/April 2013

077


http://www.hospitalitydesign.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Hospitality Design - March/April 2013

Hospitality Design - March/April 2013
Contents
Online TOC
Projects
From the Editor
People CitySCENE: Atlanta
People CitySCENE: LA
People Design Spain
Perspectives
Sketchbook
Trends: Inns
Interview: Raymond Bickson
5 Questions for Dick Penner
Products
Profile: Lindsey Adelman
Trends: Emerald
Luxury
Bathroom
HD Expo Preview
From the Show Director
Trisha Wilson
Owners’ Roundtable
Jordan Mozer and Michael Cordúa
Radical Innovation
Products
Projects
Macalister Mansion
Alpina Gstaad
Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas
Le Sergent Recruteur
Corinthian Club
Ad Index
Back Space
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - Intro
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - Hospitality Design - March/April 2013
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - Cover2
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 1
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 2
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 3
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 4
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 5
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 6
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 7
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 8
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 9
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 10
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 11
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 12
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 13
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 14
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 15
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 16
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - Contents
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 18
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 19
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 20
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - Online TOC
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 22
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 23
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 24
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 25
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 26
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - Projects
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - From the Editor
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 29
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 30
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 31
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 32
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 33
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 34
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 35
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 36
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 37
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - People CitySCENE: Atlanta
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 39
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 40
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 41
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 42
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 43
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - People CitySCENE: LA
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 45
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 46
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 47
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 48
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 49
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - People Design Spain
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 51
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 52
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - Perspectives
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 54
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - Sketchbook
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 56
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 57
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 58
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 59
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 60
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 61
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 62
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 63
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 64
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 65
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 66
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 67
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 68
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - Trends: Inns
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 70
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 71
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 72
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 73
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 74
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 75
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 76
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - Interview: Raymond Bickson
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 78
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 79
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 80
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 81
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 82
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 83
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 5 Questions for Dick Penner
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 85
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 86
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 87
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 88
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - Products
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 90
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - Profile: Lindsey Adelman
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 92
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - Trends: Emerald
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 94
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 95
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 96
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 97
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 98
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 99
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 100
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 101
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 102
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - Luxury
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 104
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 105
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 106
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 107
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 108
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - Bathroom
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 110
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 111
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 112
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - HD Expo Preview
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - From the Show Director
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 115
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - Trisha Wilson
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - Owners’ Roundtable
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - Jordan Mozer and Michael Cordúa
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - Radical Innovation
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - Products
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 121
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 122
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 123
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 124
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 125
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 126
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - Projects
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - Macalister Mansion
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 129
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 130
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 131
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 132
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 133
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - Alpina Gstaad
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 135
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 136
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 137
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 139
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 140
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 141
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 143
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 144
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 145
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - Le Sergent Recruteur
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 147
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 148
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 149
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - Corinthian Club
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 151
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 152
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 153
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 154
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 155
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 156
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 157
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - 158
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - Ad Index
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - Back Space
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - Cover3
Hospitality Design - March/April 2013 - Cover4
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