Southeast Asia’s leading online budget hotel booking chain, RedDoorz, has arrived in the Philippines, the third country in the region where it has a presence after Indonesia and Singapore where it is headquartered.
The online budget hotel booking platform has invested US$5 million in the new market with plans to have 100 properties across the country within the next 12 months.
The company’s entry into the Philippines also sees the introduction of RedDoorz Premium, a category of properties launched in June last year specifically for the budget business traveller. Strategically located close to business districts, hotels under this brand have more amenities than the existing RedDoorz and RedDoorz Plus.
“Our expansion into the Philippines came as a natural progression for RedDoorz where, like our first market in Indonesia, showed many similarities and thus the potential for a vibrant domestic travel and hospitality industry,” commented Amit Saberwal, RedDoorz founder and CEO.
On the choice of the Philippines for expansion, he revealed the country ranked second as the fastest growing internet economy in the world after Indonesia with an internet penetration of 63% (67 million users out of a population of 105.7 million).
“Following our fresh funding earlier this year we realised that the Philippines held a strong demand for hotel rooms, not only for tourists but also for business travellers. We felt that it was timely for us to make the conclusive move to start expanding here – especially seeing how bolsterious the budget hospitality sector has been in recent years,” he added.
To recap, in March RedDoorz raised a pre-Series B round of US$11m funding, and also made its move into the brick-and-mortar world by leasing and running its first property in Singapore.
Rishabh Singhi, the company’s chief operating officer, explained the aim of RedDoorz Premium was to target the budget business traveller who want more amenities such as good WiFi connection and locations near business districts. This is also a fast-growing category of travellers in Southeast Asia.
RedDoorz’s loyalty programme, RedCash, will also be extended to the Filipino market.
“With a high usage of local Filipinos who are not only tech-savvy but use social media on their mobiles, we look forward to new customers in the market to book via our RedDoorz app where they can redeem the RedCash earned from their stays. We strive to maintain our current track record of over 80% repeat stay as we continue our growth across our three markets,” said Singhi.
According to Saberwal, RedDoorz’s business is based on city, not countries. This city-to-city approach has seen the company growing to over 500 properties, processing more than one million room nights with occupancy above 80% across 16 Indonesian cities, Singapore and now the Philippines.
He attributed the company’s growth to a firm belief “in building the right team, meeting the right set of investors and especially biding our time for the right market opportunity. This belief attributed to our success in Indonesia and also paved the way for our entry into the Philippines.”
Saberwal listed the biggest challenge facing the company as “the mindset for property owners to accept our model, especially since this technology disruption has only taken place over the last three to four years in this region. With this disruption, owners of such properties become the most affected and we come in to educate and train these owners and their staff on why it is essential for their businesses to go on online platforms.”
RedDoorz has its inhouse training programme, RedPro, which runs ongoing programmes for the staff of its partner properties and ensure their smooth running. Training is conducted in areas including technology, housekeeping, maintenance and sales and marketing. Over the past 18 months it has trained over 2,000 staff across properties in Indonesia and Singapore.
• Featured image (street of Manila) credit: Medioimages Photodisc/iStock-Getty Images