|By Chadamas Chinmaneevong, Bangkok Post,
ThailandMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Oct. 29, 2010--Starwood launches AloftStarwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc is introducing Aloft, its first mid-scale hotel brand in Thailand after seeing potential to grow in the segment over the next five years.
The Aloft Bangkok Sukhumvit 11 is scheduled to open in April 2011, with an investment of 1.5 billion baht.
The 297-room hotel, with nightly room rates starting from 3,000 baht per night, is also the first Aloft in Southeast Asia and targets both leisure and corporate travellers.
"After Aloft Bangkok Sukhumvit 11, we will secure another management contract and the hotel will be opened in 2013," said Brendan Daly, general manager of Aloft Bangkok Sukhumvit 11.
The mid-priced hotel segment has high potential to grow as a rising number of corporate travellers are seeking accommodation that offers communication technology at reasonable prices.
Mr Daly said he expected that the new hotel would achieve an average occupancy rate target of 50% in the first year of operation and increase to around 70% in the second year.
The Aloft brand delivers style with urban-influenced, modern, and vibrant design at an affordable price, much like how W hotels, another brand under Starwood, broke through the clutter of conformity in the upscale hotel arena a decade ago.
Starwood expects the Aloft brand will shake up the industry for the next generation of travellers. Aloft hotels are geared toward savvy, design-conscious consumers who grew up with the democratization of design.
"We are a new brand offering a fresh hospitality approach for the next generation of travellers, and we are looking for an A-list team to bring this hotel to life. A public casting call allows us to see the wide range of people's talents, capabilities and passions, and will help us determine who is the perfect match for launching the Aloft brand in Southeast Asia," said Mr Daly.
Starwood has operated 40 Aloft hotels since the brand was established 18 months ago and 10 more will be opened in the rest of the year.
"We project the number of hotels under Aloft brand will reach 200 over the next five years," he said.
Although, the Thai market has high competition and hoteliers are facing oversupply problems particularly in the coming year, Starwood is still confident in its Aloft brand.
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Copyright (c) 2010, Bangkok Post, Thailand
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