Far East Hospitality (FEH) is bringing two established Australian brands – Vibe Hotels and Adina – into its home base Singapore, a move that will allow it to advance on its ambition to compete in the space of quality tourism and to grow a bigger share of bookings from the premium Australian travel market.
The former Regency House will be rebranded as Adina Serviced Apartment Singapore Orchard. Slated to open in July this year, it will offer 88 keys and target both corporate expatriates and leisure travellers.
The former The Elizabeth Hotel will become Vibe Hotel Singapore Orchard by 4Q2022, offering 256 keys.
Speaking to TTG Asia in an interview this morning, CEO Arthur Kiong said gone are the days of FEH competing on cost, as it transforms from a local mid-tier operator to a world-class manager of lifestyle brands.
Describing the “pivot to quality tourism” as an urgent one, Kiong said hotels are today challenged by rising costs across energy to labour, and the only way to survive is to “dramatically increase average rate”.
“Pre-pandemic, the five top volume markets for Singapore are China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia. We have to look at these markets and find the one that provides us with the highest average rate. Australia is the one,” he said.
Bringing Vibe Hotels and Adina to Singapore will help to attract Australian bookings, especially since joint venture partner Toga Far East Hotels (TFE Hotels), which owns the two brands, has a strong customer rewards programme.
Beyond just surfacing the Australian brands on Singapore properties, Kiong said efforts would not be spared in crafting truly Australian experiences for guests and visitors.
Vibe Hotel Singapore Orchard will feature an Australian sports bar where guests could come together and watch popular Australian sports, such as cricket and football, carry familiar Australian amenities such as INK&WATER toiletries and Dimbulah Coffee, and host regular activities “that will draw the Australian community in and have them make the hotel their club”, shared Kiong.
An example of such activities would be “great Australian barbies” by the pool.
“We have a vision for Vibe Hotel Singapore Orchard to be a gathering place for the Australian community in Singapore, where there are 20,000 to 30,000 Australian expatriates. It will offer a taste of Australia for Australian visitors and expatriates, and also Singapore locals who can now enjoy a flavour of the destination without having to travel all the way there,” he said.
Adina Serviced Apartment Singapore Orchard will be “positioned as the best personalised, customised serviced apartment product in Singapore”.
“Serviced residences typically compete on the quality of space and complimentary breakfast, but we will do better on the lifestyle front. We will have an app that tells our residents about all the places they can go that is within walking distance of Adina, and we will curate activities for our residents, such as bike tours. We will have weekly pop-ups, such as special tastings. We are also tying up with a grocer that sells uniquely Australian produce and products,” revealed Kiong, adding that the range of activities and experiences will set a new benchmark for the Adina brand.
Both properties will also convey a “contemporary Australian hospitality”, which Kiong defines as a sense of casualness, friendliness and confidence in guest interaction.
“To create that flavour of Australia we must have staff that understand contemporary Australian hospitality. What better way to expose them to Australian hospitality than to fly them to Melbourne to learn?” he said, pointing the FEH’s new human resource programme conducted alongside TFE Hotels.
The Sharing Talents Across Regions (STARS) programme will see up to a dozen local hoteliers deployed to Australia for a period of six to 12 months. TFE Hotels will also send Australian staff to Singapore. On top of skills and knowledge exchange, the cross-learning and exposure will provide talents with hands-on experience in cultural management.
Beyond Singapore, FEH is currently exploring opportunities to bring Vibe Hotels and Adina brands to other Asian destinations, with Vietnam and Japan showing greatest promise. This is part of the company’s endeavour to achieve its target of 25,000 rooms by 2025 globally.