The case traces the transformation of The Park Hotels (TPH) from being “yet another hotel” at the time of its founding in 1967 into India’s first boutique hotel network. It describes how Priya Paul, the Chairperson, TPH, and her team created a uniquely Indian boutique hotel network — emphasizing intimate and personalized service, and positioning each hotel as an entertainment destination for customers. The case invites students to consider the strategic choices open to the TPH management in 2010 as they grapple with the challenges of sustaining growth, retaining the distinctiveness and individuality of each of the properties in the network even as they cope with growing competition from both global majors (Hyatt, Starwood Hotels, and JW Marriott) and the local giants (The Taj, Oberoi, and ITC Welcomgroup).
To explore challenges associated with the building of a distinctive niche – a combination of firm capabilities, customer needs, and competitors’ vulnerabilities – and using it as a growth platform in a competitive and capital-intensive industry. The rich data provides students with an opportunity to engage with the issues of competitive positioning, the logic, and the limits of a niche strategy. Ideally used in the competitive strategy module of the core course in strategic management, the case can also be used in courses related to marketing (to demonstrate the challenges of marketing the promise of “experience”) and leadership and general management (to illustrate the dynamic aspects of leading organizations – the simultaneous pursuit of ambition, advantage, and opportunity).