Centara launches budget brand COSI Hotels

CENTARA Hotels & Resorts unveiled its budget hotel brand (TTG Asia, November 2, 2012), COSI Hotels, this morning, pitched at an average room rate of 1,000 baht (US$33) to 1,250 baht per night, depending on location.

It expects to have at least 30 COSI Hotels in operation by 2020, with the first, which it is prototyping, to open in 2015.

The construction cost per room is expected to be around 1.5 million baht per room. Centara will invest fully or in a joint venture on one COSI Hotel per year and hopes to win four management contracts a year for the brand. Thailand will be the key area of expansion, followed by ASEAN countries, China, Australia and New Zealand.

Centara’s CEO, Thirayuth Chirathivat, forecasts the 30 hotels in operation by 2020 to generate “an income of around 2,200 million baht and income from management fees of 180 million baht”.

While it is targeted at cost-conscious travellers who book mostly online, Centara will encourage travel agencies to book. “Whilst the brand is designed to be web-based sales, we are an organisation that is industry friendly and we are currently working on a plan that would allow our industry partners to book and be compensated accordingly. This will be rolled out with the first products,” said Chris Bailey, senior vice president sales & marketing.

Asked whether COSI would work in an oversupplied hotel market like Bangkok where rooms priced at 1,000 to 1,200 baht are aplenty, Bailey said: “We think it will work. We think there is demand for a consistent,  branded product that delivers each and every time according to our communication and the customers expectation. The  product will be fresh and, combined with a loyalty-based programme, will deliver well to savvy  travellers,” he said.

COSI is an acronym for comfortable, open, sensible and individual. It will offer, among others, free Wi-Fi everywhere in the hotel, easy and convenient “grab-n-go” restaurants, seminar rooms for corporate guests, and an entertainment corner in the lobby area for movies and live sport. There will be both twin and king beds in standard rooms, and rooms specially designed for families.

It targets 16-29-year-old university students or graduate students who are just starting their career, seniors and retirees aged 50 years and above, families and corporate groups seeking a more limited service accommodation and friendlier prices.

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