Rocket Internet’s budget hotel network Zenrooms announced today that it’s expanding from Indonesia, entering Singapore, Thailand, the Phillippines, and Sri Lanka.
The startup, which is similar to well-funded Indian rival Oyorooms, aims to solve the fragmented nature of the budget hotel industry in Southeast Asia, giving travelers uniformity of service at competitive rates.
People booking hotels through Zenrooms can expect, at the very least, six things: a clean room, comfortable bed, in-room shower, flatscreen TV, air conditioning, and wifi.
We last spoke with the company in November when it was on the verge of kickstarting operations. Co-founder Kiren Tanna said Zenrooms would launch simultaneously in Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand but it seems it was unable to expand outside of Indonesia until now. However, co-founder Nathan Boublil says it’s averaged 60 percent month-on-month growth in terms of revenue since launch, with “no signs of slowing down.”
“Our KPIs are strong even for demanding Rocket standards, hence the expansion,” adds Nathan.
Nathan is coy when quizzed about whether Zenrooms will seek to raise another funding round to help with its aggressive expansion plans. He says the team is trying to remain lean, which would be quite an achievement by Rocket Internet norms, and hence not be dependent on capital raising.
He adds that existing investors have given the go-ahead to unlock new countries if the team believes they can add value. There might be “interesting announcements soon,” he explains, with a good chance of raising a series A funding round in the coming months to accelerate growth.
And what has the team learnt during its time in the Indonesian market? Nathan says there’s a “common denominator” which cuts across all traveler categories – key essentials such as wifi, air conditioning, and a hot shower.
“Most people do not care about the color of the curtains,” he notes.
The lack of budget hotel chains coupled with high tourist inflows is what compelled Rocket Internet to open operations in these four new markets. “Travelers are also looking for presence across Asia as someone travelling to Bali may travel to Phuket or Sri Lanka next. Our customer service received many guest queries of such nature,” explains Nathan.
It won’t be completely smooth sailing for Rocket Internet though. The “Uber for hotel rooms” market has heated up in recent months as more entrepreneurs grasp the potential this niche promises. Tinggal launched in Indonesia recently with funding and support from India-based Wudstay. There’s also Nida Rooms which is present in both Malaysia and Indonesia, with plans to enter more Southeast Asian countries in the near future.
These are the four new markets in detail:
Thailand: Double ensuite rooms start at US$13, with rooms in Bangkok, Phuket, and Pattaya. More cities to be added soon.
Singapore: Despite being notoriously difficult for travelers to find cheap accommodation, rooms in Singapore will start at US$56 per night. Currently only available in Little India, East Coast, and the Central Business District.
Sri Lanka: Rooms start at US$21 and are available in Colombo, Kandy, and Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia.
Philippines: With 7,000 islands, there’s a lot of travelers making the trip to the Philippines. Rooms start at US$30 per night. They’re currently only available in Manila.
See original article at https://www.techinasia.com/rocket-internet-zenrooms-expansion