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Thai hotel chain expands to PH

/ 01:38 AM December 19, 2016
The Erawan Group PLC’s director and president Kamonwan Wipulakorn (left) and vice president for hotel operations, Youssef El Khomri

The Erawan Group PLC’s director and president Kamonwan Wipulakorn (left) and vice president for hotel operations, Youssef El Khomri

Hoping to make the Philippines its “second home,” a Thailand-based budget hotel chain recently opened its first outlet abroad in the heart of Ermita in Manila, with plans of setting up 19 more across the country in the next four years.

Managed by The Erawan Group PLC, Hop Inn Ermita officially welcomed its first Philippine guests on Dec. 1. Kamonwan Wipulakorn, Erawan Group president, said at the hotel’s recent launch that they chose the country for their first venture outside Thailand because of its “high potential for tourism in the long term.”

“We believe that the Philippines will offer the fastest and highest economic growth in the Asean region,” she said. “Through our analysis and market research on the ground, we see very good opportunities to expand [here].”

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The company has allocated around 10 billion baht, or P12 billion, for its five-year plan to grow the Hop Inn network in Southeast Asia. Of that amount, 30 percent will be for the Philippines.

By September next year, Hop Inn aims to open its second branch in Makati City, which will offer 190 rooms.

The Ermita branch on M.H. del Pilar Street is a mid-rise property worth P200 million with 168 rooms, and is a short walk away from Remedios Circle.

Two more are set to open in 2018: one in Pasay City and another in Alabang, Muntinlupa City. The Erawan Group is also looking at other key locations such as Cubao in Quezon City, and Cebu and Davao Cities.

The Erawan group currently operates 41 hotels in Thailand, or a total of 6,000 rooms. Wipulakorn said their experience, which includes development of international five-star brands such as the Grand Hyatt and JW Marriott, would help them deliver the same “consistent high-quality service” to Hop Inn’s guests here in the country at affordable rates of around P1,000 to P2,000 per room. Accommodations are basic, with either a queen or twin bed, flatscreen TV and cable, personal safe, desk and chair, hot and cold shower, and free toiletries. Wi-Fi is available for free in all areas of the hotel.

Hop Inn Ermita promises affordable accommodations and high-quality service to its customers.

Hop Inn Ermita promises affordable accommodations and high-quality service to its customers.

“Our brand essence is for our rooms to be clean, convenient, comfortable and safe. We make sure that all of these are consistent to all our clients here and in our upcoming branches in the near future,” she added.

It’s this consistency which also makes Wipalukorn confident that Hop Inn will perform just as well, if not better, than competing budget hotels.

“We’ve been in the hotel business for over 35 years, and we started with luxury hotels, wherein service has to be very attentive to the customers,” she said. “So we know how to really provide service. Also, our expertise in product development—we know what needs to be given to customers.”

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TAGS: budget hotel, Erawan Group, Hop Inn Ermita, Kamonwan Wipulakorn, Tourism, Youseef El Khomri
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