Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tune’s UK Venture Crucial for Global Expansion

15 March 2010

To open 15 hotels across London, RM746 million in investment

KUALA LUMPUR, 15th March 2010 – Tune’s plan for 15 hotels in Greater London in the UK by 2017 sets a very positive tone for its global expansion, says Group CEO Mark Lankester.

“The UK and London in particular is a crucial part of our expansion plan, on top of our organic growth in Asia. From London, we already set our eyes on Europe, the Middle East and America. The London profile lends us so much higher credibility and reputation and it plants a flagpole in one of the most visited cities in the world, which will be a springboard for further and more rapid potential partnerships globally,” said Lankester.

Tune recently entered into a strategic partnership with London-based Queensway Group Limited to invest in, develop and operate 15 Tune hotels across Greater London by 2017. The roll out of the RM746 million (£150 million) investment involving around 1,500 hotel rooms will commence with the launch of Tune at 118 Westminster Bridge Road in the 3rd Quarter of 2010.

Queensway Group is a UK-based private investment group owning and operating hospitality assets in the UK, Europe and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Lankester said: “Tune wants to be an important player in London’s hospitality and tourism sectors. We are pleased to be working closely with organisations such as Visit Britain, Visit London, Think London and Visit England, and will market our UK properties vis-à-vis our existing hotels in Malaysia, Bali and the rest of Asia in future. More importantly this strategic partnership signifies the close affiliation between Malaysia and Britain that dates back to hundreds of years.”

Apart from AirAsia which started flying to London-Stansted via its long-haul low-cost affiliate AirAsia X in Feb 2009, Tune’s fray into the UK market could be seen as another breakthrough into the UK by a home-grown Malaysian brand and helps to foster better economic ties between both countries, remarked Lankester.

“London will host the 2012 Olympic Games and Tune opening of its first hotel at Westminster later this year cannot be more timely. We believe our dynamic pricing model will provide a strong call to action that will be hard to ignore. With AirAsia flying daily between Kuala Lumpur and London-Stansted, guests now have greater options to derive really good value for their money via Tune in London,” he added.

Lankester noted that the fast developing economies of Asia have fostered significant increases in travel activity, and this was further catalysed by the increasing popularity of low-cost carrier services like AirAsia, an affiliate company of Tune Tune has leveraged this by embracing the limited service model, passing on savings directly to its guests by eliminating costly, yet underutilised facilities like conference rooms, banquet facilities, swimming pools and gyms.

The upcoming Tune–Westminster, London hotel (see picture) will be located in the heart of London with a host of attractions nearby and just minutes away by tube from the entertainment area of Piccadilly Circus and the shopping district of Oxford Circus. The hotel is 10 metres from Lambeth North Station on the Bakerloo Line of the tube and just 5 minutes walk from the Waterloo Rail besides being a short walk from Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, London Aquarium and a host of museums.

Commenting on the strategic partnership, Queensway Group’s Managing Director Nick Jivraj said: “Queensway Group is extremely excited about partnering with Tune to develop the London hospitality market. Their association with AirAsia and Lotus Racing through the Tune Group provides a unique platform for marketing synergies, and their strong brand and marketing expertise in generating room nights online aligns with trends revealing the internet as the prime channel for travel purchase decisions.”

The UK venture is part of Tune’s target of operating 100 hotels globally by 2015. Towards that end, it has forged strategic partnerships with Apodis Hospitality Group for 20 hotels in India by 2012 while 44 more will be opened across Thailand, China, Bangladesh, the Philippines, and Indonesia under a partnership with Evolution Capital PCL, a real estate investment advisory firm listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

With Apodis, 5 hotels are targeted to be operational by December 2010 while the rest are scheduled for opening in stages up to 2012. Initial hotels are likely to be located in and around Amritsar, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Indore, Jodhpur, Kochi, Mumbai, Pune, Pipavav, Raipur, Thiruvananthapuram and Tiruchirapally.

Under its partnership with Evolution Capital, 24 of the 44 planned hotels are in development from early 2010 and targeted to be operational by 2012 with staggered roll-out of the subsequent 20 hotels through 2013.

Tune employs a self-service online booking system similar to low-cost carriers. Guests are encouraged to book as far in advance as possible on to enjoy exceptionally low prices with rooms available from as low as RM9.99 onwards per night.

All Tune hotels feature space-efficient, streamlined rooms focusing on high-quality basics: 5-star beds and powerful hot showers. Though minimally priced, the strategically located hotels do provide housekeeping services, electronic keycard access into rooms, extensive CCTV systems, and prohibit access into the main lobby without a keycard past midnight to ensure guests’ security.

Through Tune’s ‘Less Waste, More Earth’ pay-as-you-use system of add-ons for air-conditioning, laundered towels and other energy-consuming facilities and amenities, Tune aims to help guests conserve both their funds as well as the earth’s resources.

Since Tune was first launched in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2007, more than 500,000 guests have stayed in one of its properties, currently totaling 9 hotels located in Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, KLIA-LCCT Airport, Penang, Danga Bay, Johor and Kota Damansara, Selangor in Malaysia and Kuta – Bali and Double Six, Legian – Bali in Indonesia.

Bookings can be made online at For real time updates on Tune’s latest promotions and queries, follow Tune on Twitter (@tunehotels) and join our Facebook Group.

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