By SIRIVISH TOOMGUM
The SureStay Group has three brand tiers: the classic economy SureStay Hotel, the premium economy SureStay Plus Hotel, and the lower-midscale SureStay Collection.
Best Western Hotels & Resorts this month launched the premium economy tier SureStay Plus Hotel by Best Western Sukhumvit 2 in the country, marking the Asian debut of the SureStay Hotel Group. It is also seeking an opportunity to introduce the SureStay Hotel and SureStay Collection brands in Thailand in the future.
“With Thailand's booming tourism industry and a large but disparate economy hotel sector, we see significant opportunities for globally branded, standardised budget accommodation in the country,” Berrivin said.
“Obviously Bangkok is a key market, but we would consider all major destinations within the country. We hope to be able to reveal more SureStay Hotel Group developments in Thailand in future.”
SureStay Hotel Group has expanded rapidly since it was launched in September 2016, with many hotels having opened in North America.
Berrivin explained the difference between the three SureStay Hotel Group sub-brands, with each having different levels of facilities.
SureStay Hotels are designed to offer “comfort and value” with brand standard amenities including complimentary Wi-Fi and a “business corner” providing professional services such as printing and copying, he said.
The next level up, SureStay Plus hotels will also feature fitness facilities and a swimming pool, while SureStay Collection properties are full-service hotels with all of the aforementioned amenities plus on-site dining facilities.
All of them are positioned to appeal to both business and leisure travellers. The price points will gradually rise along with the facilities, Berrivin said, but all guests will be assured of Best Western's professional levels of international service.
“By bringing Best Western’s 70-plus years of hospitality experience and global service standards to the economy and lower-midscale segments, we can provide high-quality, affordable accommodation to travellers on a budget,” Berrivin said.
Apart from Thailand, the group has plans to debut these three-tier branded hotels in other Asian countries as the region “provides fantastic opportunities for SureStay Hotel Group, from key gateway cities to emerging second and third-tier destinations, and even popular resort locations”, he said.
Berrivin said that he saw rising demand for branded economy and lower-midscale accommodation in key cities across Asia-Pacific.
“We have seen a significant increase in intra-Asian travel in recent years. Rising levels of affluence, more affordable air travel and more liberal visa regulations are driving a surge in visitor numbers between Asian countries,” he said.
“Asians are now travelling more frequently and spontaneously, with online and mobile booking channels inspiring last-minute trips. These often include weekend breaks and overseas shopping trips, when guests tend to spend most of their time exploring the destination and little time in their hotel.
“These guests are often seeking a comfortable bed for the night, and don't need all of the additional facilities of full-service hotels. SureStay hotels provide all the core features that guests need, such as comfy bedding, free Wi-Fi and a good location, all at an affordable price point, while also providing guests with the peace of mind that guests are staying with a global brand,” he said.
Likewise, business travellers on a budget can access free Wi-Fi and professional services, get a great night's sleep and position themselves in a prime downtown location, Berrivin added.
He said that the Thailand’s hospitality industry outlook is bright. The boom of intra-Asian travel is driving record international visitor arrivals to the Kingdom, which is being further boosted by a period of relative stability in the country.
"Broadly speaking, we have seen occupancy and rates gradually increase across Thailand in recent years, which is giving hoteliers and developers confidence," he said.
SureStay Plus becomes Best Western Hotels & Resorts’ third brand in Bangkok, following Best Western Plus brand (upper-midscale) and Best Western Premier brand (upscale). The hotel chain operator has a strong pipeline of new hotels in Bangkok.
“We are very excited about the development of our first two Vib hotels in Bangkok - Vib Sanampao, which is scheduled to open in the third quarter of 2018, and Vib Sathorn, which will welcome its first guests in 2019,” Berrivin said.
“These hotels represent the start of a new era for Best Western Hotels & Resorts, as they are designed specifically for the needs of the millennial market.
“Guests can expect complete convenience, with 24-7 amenities and seamless technology, as well as stylish, cutting-edge design.
“Among our other projects in Bangkok are a brand new Best Western (midscale) hotel close to Chatuchak Market and the rebranding of the famous Montien Riverside Hotel as a Best Western Premier,” he said.
Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Best Western Hotels & Resorts is a privately held hotel brand with a global network of about 4,100 hotels in more than 100 countries and territories.