Monday . October 14 . 2019
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Budget is looking up
Mimi Hudoyo, S Puvaneswary, Lee Pei Qi, Xinyi Liang-Pholsena and Feizal Samath

Gone are the days when budget hotels are sniffed at by both developers and tourists. Economy has never been sexier - as these latest products show


Zest Hotel, Indonesia
Brand DNA A new, unique and straightforward hotel product aimed at budget-conscious business and leisure travellers in both the national and international markets. Hotels under the Zest brand will be of international standard, affordable, modern and minimalist. Its principle is offering convenience, comfort, cleanliness and safety to clients.
Average rate Targeting Rp350,000 (US$31) to Rp450,000
Current network The first Zest Hotel is targeted to open in the first quarter of 2014 in Cengkareng, Jakarta.
Expansion plans Thus far, Zest Hotels International has signed 15 projects in 12 cities in Indonesia: Jakarta, Bogor, Bandung, Cirebon, Jogjakarta, Surabaya, Lampung, Batam, Bali (Kuta and Legian), Balikpapan, Manado and Ambon. The company is targeting more properties in Indonesia in locations such as the outer areas of Jakarta, Semarang, Makassar and other regions.
Distribution strategy Direct channels – website with booking engine, call centre manned 24/7 and mobile – and indirect channels via OTAs.

The BnB, Indonesia
Brand DNA A new urban budget hotel whose concept is offering the best deal in a good location with fresh design and practical services. It aims to respond to the demand of today’s urban explorers for simplicity and practical facilities.
The hotel’s unique selling points are Sleep Well (comfortable bed, separate walk-in shower, practical amenities), Urban Service (one-stop guest service contact, in-room safe, free Wi-Fi), Good Location (business district, shopping, food and entertainment options) and Pay Less.
Average rate Rp399,000 (US$36)
Current network The BnB Jakarta Kelapa Gading is the first property in operation so far.
Expansion plans Four more hotels are in the pipeline in Bandung and Bali. Construction is expected to start soon.
Distribution strategy Through offline and online distribution channels supported by dynamic pricing and viral communications.

J Hotel, Indonesia
Brand DNA ‘Budget hotel plus’ offering One Brand, Three Concepts: Leisure, Business and Industrial, i.e. the property can be located in leisure destinations catering for families, in the strategic area of a city targeting corporate travellers and in industrial areas catering for businessmen on site visits.
Average rate Rp395,000 rupiah (US$34) to Rp550,000, depending on location
Current network Three projects are to start construction soon in Semarang, Cikarang and Cengkareng and are targeted to open in 3Q2014.
Expansion plans 50 hotels within 10 years, including outside Indonesia in countries such as Singapore and Bangkok, destinations Indonesians like to travel to.
Distribution strategy Ninety per cent direct and the rest commissionable to travel agencies.

Le Apple Boutique Hotel, Malaysia
Brand DNA A property with 53 non-smoking rooms located in Bukit Bintang, the shopping and business district.  Zen-inspired design, clean rooms, free high-speed Wi-Fi and satellite TV. The hotel targets business and leisure travellers looking for affordable and clean accommodation.
Average rate From RM200 (US$63)
Current network Owned by Apple Vacations & Conventions which has two other properties in the city, the 55-room Cube Boutique Hotel and the 11-room Yard Boutique Hotel.
Expansion plans Apple has bought four shophouses in Kuala Lumpur built in the 1930s and plans to convert these into hotels, each under 50 rooms. Also under construction is a 250-room hotel in Malacca, scheduled to open in 2015.
Distribution strategy Online channels and Apple Vacations & Conventions’ online booking engine, known as, account for 60 per cent of hotel bookings. Twenty per cent are walk-ins and the rest are corporate bookings and from travel agencies. The trade is sold rooms at net pricing and are free to mark-up.

Premier Inn, UK
Brand DNA Quality accommodation with no-frills public areas at affordable prices. Standard rooms are 21.5m2. Facilities include an all-day dining restaurant and bar serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and refreshments, limited meeting rooms and either a swimming pool or small gym.
Targeted at leisure travellers, families and business travellers. The only hotel chain to offer a Good Night Guarantee, i.e. a 100 per cent money-back guarantee if clients are not happy with their stay.
Average rate US$150 to US$170 in Singapore, US$50 to US$75 elsewhere in South-east Asia
Current network Whitbread owns and operates 650 hotels and 52,000 rooms in the UK, Middle East and South Asia, and is targeting 75,000 rooms by 2018.
Expansion plans Hotel openings are planned from 2014 across South-east Asia, with the initial focus being on Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore.
Distribution strategy Seventy-five per cent of sales through its own proprietary sales channels, including website and mobile channels.

Aqueen Hotel, Singapore
Brand DNA Aqueen Hotels are located within heritage neighbourhoods in Singapore. Each location offers unique sights and sounds to explore. Targeted at value-conscious business travellers and holiday-makers, the mark of each Aqueen Hotel is to deliver comfort and genuine quality to its guests. Each room offers contemporary style and quality finishes with modern-day conveniences such as selected business news channels and Wi-Fi in-room and around the hotel’s premises.
Average rate From S$110 (US$88)
Current network Aqueen Balestier Hotel with 45 rooms and Aqueen Lavender Hotel with 104 rooms.
Expansion plans Four new hotels at Paya Lebar, Jalan Besar, Joo Chiat and Little India are under development. The 75-key hotel in Jalan Besar will open by year-end and the 162-key hotel in Paya Lebar will open in 1Q2014.
Distribution strategy NA

Hop Inn, Thailand
Brand DNA Launched by The Erawan Group, which owns 16 hotels operating under the Hyatt, Marriott, Accor, InterContinental Hotels Group and Starwood brands in Thailand, Hop Inn was conceived to meet the increasing demand for quality budget hotels in the country. Hop Inn will target the domestic leisure and business stay segments such as sales executives travelling around the provinces in Thailand, while its subsequent expansion overseas will target both Thai and local travellers.
Average rate 600 baht (US$19)
Current network The first nine hotels will be in Thailand along the East-West Economic Corridor, including Ubon Ratchathani, Mukdahan, Nong Khai, Udon Thani, Nakhon Ratchasima, Sa Kaeo, Kanchanaburi, Mae Sot and Lampang, with construction already started for the first five locations. All nine hotels are due to open by the end of 2014.
Expansion plans The Erawan Group plans to open 25 Hop Inn hotels in Thailand and five more in South-east Asia within 2015. However, the group declined to reveal details of regional destinations targeted.
Distribution strategy NA

COSI Hotel, Thailand
Brand DNA Conceptualised and managed by Centara Hotels & Resorts, COSI is an acronym for comfortable, open, sensible and individual. The economy brand will offer facilities such as free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, ‘grab-n-go’ restaurants, seminar rooms for corporate guests and an entertainment corner in the lobby area for movies and live sports. Standard rooms will offer both twin and king-sized beds; rooms specially designed for families will also be available.
Average rate 1,000 baht (US$32) to 1,250 baht per night, depending on location
Current network The first hotel set to open in 2015.
Expansion plans 30 COSI Hotels by 2020, initially in significant destinations in Thailand, then South-east Asia, China, Australia and New Zealand.  
Distribution strategy The brand targets cost-conscious travellers who usually do their own bookings online, including youths who are just starting their career, seniors aged 50 and above, families seeking value-for-money accommodation and corporates looking for limited-service accommodation and friendlier prices.

Hotel J, Sri Lanka
Brand DNA Provides what every traveller – business or leisure – wants: a peaceful night’s sleep. Every room has top-quality bedding, a separate bathroom, a versatile and powerful shower, air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, a safe and free Wi-Fi. The restaurant features local/Continental breakfast and a daily changing set lunch and dinner menu.
Average rate US$50 to US$70
Current network Just one Hotel J in Negombo, 30km north of Colombo, which opened in June. It has 35 rooms, 17 with superb sea views and the rest with partial sea views.
Expansion plans Expansion plans are in the pipeline. Locations being considered include main and secondary cities as it caters to tourists and  locals. Foreign families with young children have unexpectedly been attracted to the product, meeting their requirements for affordable pricing. A new market is that of elderly couples from Europe frequently travelling to Sri Lanka for leisure.
Distribution strategy Twenty per cent walk-ins, 30 per cent online and the rest via contracted travel agencies. Ultimately the strategy is to be online as much as possible via Hotel J’s new website and major OTAs.

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