Ascott aims to be Malaysia's largest hospitality management company

George Sell George Sell Uploaded 12 May 2019

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Malaysia: Ascott has set itself the goal of becoming the largest hospitality management company in Malaysia – one of its key markets in Asia.

Ascott is the largest international serviced apartment operator in Malaysia with a total of 4,102 units across 18 properties in the country.

In line with its expansion goals, the group is exploring options with property developers in Malaysia and is planning to expand with new hotel brands that were recently acquired.

Aiming to become a broad offer lodging provider, Ascott ventured into the Indonesian hotel market last September with the acquisition of a 70 per cent stake in TAUZIA Hotel Management, one of Indonesia's top five hotel operators.

"We are the largest hospitality management company in the Philippines and we hope to replicate that in Malaysia," said Darren Cher, Ascott country general manager for Malaysia. "We no longer see ourselves as just a serviced residence operator as we wanted to become a full-fledged lodging provider, so entering the hotel business was a natural extension of where we were, considering our clients can stay from one night to one year and above. The world is changing and the market is very dynamic. As a company, we need to constantly innovate and change with our customers while growing our segments. We can no longer just target the long stays and corporate clients as we need to target anywhere from the middle class travellers to millennials as well as those who want different lengths of stays."

There are six hotel brands under TAUZIA: Harris Hotels, Fox Harris Hotels, Yello Hotels, Préférence, Harris Vertu Hotels and POP! Hotels. Each brand covers a different market segment.

"Currently, TAUZIA has 10,000 keys in Indonesia with another 10,000 keys under development. Their projects outside Indonesia is pretty limited. Apart from a 30-room hotel dubbed Liu Men Melaka, there is a Harris Vertu Hotel and a Harris Hotel in Nha Trang, Vietnam that are being developed," said Cher.

Ascott is going to expand the Préférence brand while bringing the other TAUZIA brands into Malaysia. The group believes all six brands present opportunities in the Malaysian market.

"So far, our focus was on the big cities. These hotel brands will allow us to penetrate secondary cities where there is a demand for travel, but do not expect the kind of rates one would pay in Kuala Lumpur," said Cher. "We hope to at least see one or two projects materialise this year," he continued, adding that potential areas could be Petaling Jaya, Shah Alam, Subang Jaya and the areas along Jalan Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur.

Ascott will also look to create operating synergy and economy of scale by combining its hotel and serviced apartment brands to forge a "combo product".

"We can actually have projects where we fit two brands in one. For example, it could be a Citadines serviced apartment combined with a Yello Hotel, where the former caters for mid-to-long stays while the latter caters to the short stays," said Cher.

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