The 66-room Taj Tashi hotel was launched as the first five-star hotel in Bhutan in 2008 as a joint venture between the Tashi Group of Companies and the Taj Leisure Hotels under the wider Tata Group.
The Taj Hotels were given a management contract under which it sent senior staff and effectively ran the hotel. The hotel chain also did marketing for the hotel to bring in guests.
The management contract was for 15 years from 2008 to 2023 and both sides decided not to renew it after it came to an end.
A person in the tourism sector said that Taj had been demanding higher charges which Tashi was not willing to pay, however, a Tashi Group official denied this saying that the contract had expired and both sides parted mutually.
The person said this was also an opportunity to rebrand the Hotel under the Pemako brand of the Tashi Group.
The Pemako is a 21 tents high upscale luxury property of the Group in Punakha.
The Tashi Group General Manager Christiane who had come from Austria for the Pemako project in Punakha and was also looking after the Druk Hotels in Thimphu and Phuentsholing is now also managing the Pemako branding in Thimphu.
Christiane said that that is an opportunity for the Tashi Group to start its own brand which will eventually go international. She said there was nothing negative with the transition and everything moved smoothly. She said that both Taj and Tashi had made good money in the past.
The paper asked Christiane how Pemako will replace the marketing power of Taj to get customers.
She said, “We are very aware of that and I have worked for a long time on corporate organizations and I know and am very much aware and I believe also that these days we have lot of ways on how to do PR through digital marketing, partnerships that don’t need a lot of fees and the world has changed so much and it is now much easier to penetrate the market.”
She said that the Tashi brand is a good group brand and it can be done professionally at a different level.
On the management part she said they will hire some experts and they need the right people with a good network behind them. She said they have good leadership here and things are moving smoothly.
When asked on how the new branded hotel would do at a time when the hotels are all suffering she said that she is a very positive person and she would take this slow phase as an opportunity as it gives them time to establish the brand and get the services and products right so that they are ready by the time things improve.
Christiane said that the iconic Druk Hotels in Thimphu and Phuentsholing which are Four star properties will continue with new improvements coming to Druk Phuentsholing.