Tune Hotels woos travel agents and govt bodies

KUCHING: One of the country’s fastest growing chain of hotels, Tune Hotels Regional Services Sdn Bhd (Tune Hotels) is foraying ahead with a two pronged marketing strategy that focuses on travel agents and government bodies.

LARGER PRESENCE: Tune Hotels Kuching manager Donna Ong (left) and Shanmugamnathan (second left) with staff during the media conference yesterday.

Tune Hotels’ distribution channel manager Ahmad Masdi Hussin said that the new marketing plan for the two channels were already in the pipeline earlier but had not been aggressively introduced. “We have massive marketing plans for 2011 and will continue to implement them throughout the year. After Sarawak, we porceed with our plans in Sabah, followed by the northern Peninsular, Penang and down to Johor.”

“We have all the facilities and infrastructure in place whereby the basic amenities are included in the pakage, however the extra amenities such as air-conditioning, towels and internet connections will be on a pay on use basis.

“About 90 per cent of our current business is from online bookings and we hope that with the emphasis on the two new channels we will get a booking ratio of 80:20 from online as well as travel agents and government bookings respectively,” he told The Borneo Post.

During a recent interview with Tune Hotels’ chief executive officer Mark Lankester, he revealed that the company was aiming for a larger presence in Sarawak as well as throughout the country, targeting a total of 30 hotels in Malaysia and Southeast Asia by the end of 2011 or early 2012.

Lankester further pointed out that in Sarawak itself, the company had already identified the towns to foray into and was now pinpointing the exact locations in these towns for a Tune Hotels presence. He also mentioned that the construction of the new property in Miri would start early this year and was scheduled for launch in the second half of the year.

Currently, the company has nine operating properties in the country with the latest one in Bintulu and Kota Bharu, which was set to launch this Sunday, January 23. Internationally, it has two hotels in Indonesia and one in London.

Tune Hotels regional manager for East Malaysia, Shanmugamnathan Suppiah said Tune Hotels planned to have 100 hotels operational, under development or acquired in three years time. With the current 11 hotels, Tune Hotels would have an inventory of 1,780 rooms daily for bookings.

“In East Malaysia, there are three Tune Hotels based in Kuching, Bintulu and Kota Kinabalu, with a total of 401 rooms. Next, we are looking at Miri, Sibu, Tanjung Manis and Mukah for Sarawak and Sandakan, Tawau and Labuan for Sabah,” he said at a media briefing yesterday.

When asked on the possibility of setting up another Tune Hotels property in Kuching, he said it was all based on demand. “Currently, Tune Hotel Kuching is doing great at an occupancy rate of 85 per cent and above. We will initiate our marketing plan and see how it goes in the near term.”

On the investment front, Mark revealed that each of the hotel properties would cost an average of between RM15 million to RM25 million, depending on the number of rooms. Tune Hotel had so far invested about RM189 million on the nine hotels.

When asked on the revenue contribution generated from all these hotels, Mark highlighted that since the opening of Tune Hotels in April 2007, the room occupancy rate per day had increased from 173 rooms to about 1,953 rooms currently. “We have generated more than 600,000 room occupancies until now. We are looking at a higher number of 30,000 to 40,000 rooms per day in the long term.”

He also revealed that the occupancy rate for each of its properties easily hit 100 per cent during the peak periods and almost 90 per cent of the total bookings came from its online website. “We saw a lot of bookings coming in from East Malaysia, making it one of the largest contributors to the group apart from Selangor.”

Internationally, the company had three hotels based in Kuta and Legian in Indonesia with the latest launched in Westminster, London. Mark revealed that Tune Hotels would be opening four more new properties in Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and England by the end of this year.

Tune Hotels group was also looking at Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and India. He was confident that the market demand would create an opportunity for Tune Hotels to enter these emerging countries. “Through the establishment of an international network, we will have the power to decide. That is what we have been discussing with Sarawak Tourism Board. We will be bringing in international tourists together with AirAsia to Sarawak and Sabah.”

“Soon we will be installing one or two self-check in kiosks at our new hotels to minimise the waiting time during the peak periods. We always provide the best for our customers, giving them the five star sleeping experience at one star prices, echoing the philosophy of the group to make it easy, safe and convenient for travellers,” he concluded.

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