Yotel to arrive in Asia

2 Mar 2012 by ahmarshah
Global capsule hotel chain, Yotel, is looking to enter the thriving Asian market via Hong Kong and Singapore with both city and airport projects. The chain is looking to emulate the success of its first city centre property in New York, which opened last year (see story here) and currently clocks 80 percent occupancy rates at an average daily price of US$200, as well as the popularity of its three airport properties at London Heathrow, Gatwick and Amsterdam Schiphol. Gerard Greene, chief executive of Yotel, said: “There are so many unbranded two-, three-star budget hotels in Singapore and Hong Kong but none of these players are bringing in any lifestyle brands to that market segment.” Yotel hopes to fill that niche. “We are offering four-star quality at three-star prices. It’s all about affordable luxury, sort of like the Mini Coopers or Apple iPods - it’s not the cheapest product in the market, but it makes everybody feel comfortable,” explained Greene. In Hong Kong, the hotel will be offering room rates of around HK$1,300 (US$167) and in Singapore prices will start from S$200 (US$160). The chain hopes to seal a deal within the next six months in either of these cities, although further details could not yet be revealed because they have not been confirmed. Yotel combines the concept of a Japanese capsule hotel with the smart ergonomics of a first class airline seat where everything has its own place thus giving a sense of spaciousness and comfort even in rather small rooms measuring between 10 to 15 sqm. The hotel also provides free wifi internet access, printing facilities and breakfast across its properties. Unlike several other global chains, Yotel isn’t embarking on an aggressive expansion programme in China. In fact, the expansion programmes are the reason Yotel will stay out of the Mainland for the time being, explains Greene. “What’s happening in China is that a lot of the big brands are going in and there’s so much supply that you end up getting quite low daily rates at the high-end properties,” said Greene. “I can’t compete in that sort of market.” On the other hand, “In Singapore and Hong Kong, land prices are high, room rates are high and people are therefore looking for something else so our decision to start off in these two cities is just driven by the business model.” Also in the pipeline, the chain is working on projects in five major US cities: Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago and San Francisco. For more information, visit Alisha Haridasani
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