11 months ago, Rocket Internet-backed ZEN Rooms co-founder Kiren Tanna claimed that they were going to be “the biggest budget hotel brand network in Southeast Asia”.
And now, they are clear on their way on staking their rights on that claim.
ZEN Rooms hold steadfast to the motto “Sleep Well, Pay Less!” to disrupt the budget accommodation industry in Singapore, and their emphasis on cost efficiency and innovation have paid off.
Zen-ning Into The Top 3
ZEN Rooms has officially broken into the Top 3 positions of budget hotel players in Singapore, and all this less than a year after their official launch here. With the track they’re on, the team shared that they are slated to take Singapore’s top position by 2018.
The Singapore startup now manages over 500 rooms daily in 40 locations, with their cheapest double rooms starting at S$55, making them an ideal choice for staycations on a budget as well as business travellers from Indonesia to the Philippines.
According to co-founder Tanna, Singapore is “notorious for skyrocketing hotel prices and the overall low value-for-money in its hospitality sector”. Low budget hotels also tend to come with the seedy reputation of being love hotels, and as such do not appeal to family travellers and solo millennials.
As such, the team aims to put an end to unreliable budget hotels by offering affordable, clear-standard alternatives. Their innovative takes on cost-efficient methods have allowed ZEN to reinvent local budget stays at 50% of the price below local alternatives.
The Opposite Of Zen
“Being in the Top 5 of the budget hotel chain in SEA, The ZEN Rooms’ [team] journey has been the opposite of its peaceful name – restless, bold and disruptive.”
Co-founder Kiren Tanna shared that since they launched in Indonesia 1.5 years ago, their database has burgeoned from 0 rooms to 5000 rooms today, with presence in 7 more countries such as Sri Lanka, Philippines and Singapore.
In Singapore, they managed to rank in the top 3 in less than a year, and everyday they are still receiving an increasing number of collaboration requests from hotels.
According to Tanna, the biggest joy for him on this journey thus far has been abut how travellers come up to him to share how ZEN Rooms have enriched their travels, or how the platform has helped resolve the lodging woes of relatives come to visit have been solved.
He notes that the traditional hospitality industry is slow in adapting new tech, remaining a stagnant sector even as other industries move on. As it is, the system, divided between the overpriced and small independent brands, is “full of inefficiencies” and the value for money in budget accommodation “is just terrible”.
“At ZEN we experiment every day with a strong focus on operational efficiencies and quality. We only concentrate on what matters.”
The hotel accommodation scene in Singapore is not an easy market, and with multiple booking sites like Agoda, the competition is a fierce one. But Tanna and his team wield a secret weapon, and it’s all about providing users with an “unbeatable value for money“.
The ZEN team is constantly researching to provide travellers with the best value-for-money proposition. It is only through this tireless determination that the team is able to provide a S$55 room that gives a similar stay as what travellers can find at Holiday Inn Express for S$200. It certainly comes as no surprise that ZEN Rooms enjoy a high customer return rate of 7 out of every 10 guests.
Market Education Is Key
Given the novelty of budget hotel network, it is crucial to communicate that booking with ZEN is “completely stress- and risk-free, and every room is quality checked to make sure there are no bad surprises”.
He further adds that tech innovation is something they are constantly working on. The goal is to make the check-in process similar to that of budget airlines – as seamless as possible. A new feature they are adding is the ability for you to pay at the hotel, so that you can skip the hassle of credit cards.
In addition, they are also working on integrating Grab and Uber onto their platform so as to give customer a well-rounded experience.
Taking Full Leadership Of Singapore
As of the moment, Tanna did not comment on which new market ZEN Rooms is set to enter, but overall, he shares that the team is working doggedly to become Asia’s biggest budget hotel brand in the next 2 years.
However, he emphasises that the goal right now is to take full hotel leadership in Singapore, so that all travellers can “book any with their eyes closed and keep ZEN.”
Featured Image Credit: The ZEN Rooms Team