By THE NATION
Kokotel, a bed-and-cafe chain, has a hotel in Bangkok and plans to expand its operations to the rest of Southeast Asia. The company, started by two enterprising management consultants in 2015, offers a newly developed concept that’s geared at families. Instead of a lobby in its hotels, the public space consists of a cafe and kids’ play area. Room layouts are inspired by “ryokan”, or Japanese traditional inns, allowing family and friends to mix in the rooms rather than being separated into different ones.
“REAPRA’s experience in building businesses will be invaluable to our expansion goals,” said Rei Matsuda, founder and chief executive officer of Kokotel. “Our goal is to open four hotels this year and target another eight for next year. Bangkok is a good start for us to implement our concept as it has many hotels with good locations but they just need better management.”
Kokotel will be opening two more hotels in Thailand this year at popular tourist sites – Krabi and Phuket. In the long term, Kokotel is aiming to run |80 hotels by 2021 and 1,000 in 2026. The hotel operator’s model is to lease existing hotels or other buildings to convert into Kokotel branded hotels. The company’s hotel in Bangkok is one of the best-rated economy hotels in the city with a review score of 8.8 for Booking.com, 8.6 for Agoda and 4.3 out of 5 for Hotels.com.
REAPRA, a company that was founded by Shuhei Morofuji, targets businesses in Southeast Asia that it can build into industry leaders. The firm has 14 direct subsidiaries, including two VC firms, and is invested in more than 50 start-ups across Southeast Asia in diversified industries including agriculture, healthcare, education, hospitality, digital media, travel, real estate, and aerospace.
“Kokotel has an innovative and promising concept that we believe will translate well into the Southeast Asian region,” said Jason Dacaret, head of public relations and CHRO at REAPRA. “Kokotel will benefit from the tourism boom in Asia and REAPRA aims to back the company in achieving its ambitious goals.”