Budget hotel chain offers discounted rooms to Taal eruption victims

ZEN Rooms offers affordable rates at its selected 38 franchised, or operated, properties to locals and travelers affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano.

Following the continuous ash explosions since the volcanic activity on Sunday, more than 3,000 families in Batangas, and nearby places, have already been evacuated to safe and secured areas.

Due to safety concerns, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport was also shut down, canceling flights that left passengers from local airports nationwide stranded.

To those who need temporary relocation assistance or need to extend their stay due to canceled flights, Zen Rooms offered a 30-percent discount that can be availed by applying voucher code ZENCARES at https://www.zenrooms.com/deals/zencares-taal.

The stranded can use the link to stay in key Zen properties located in Pasay, Taft, Ermita, Tondo, Makati, Bonifacio Global City, Mandaluyong, Ortigas, Quezon City, Quiapo, Tagaytay, Baguio, Bacolod, La Union, Baler and Vigan.

The rooms may be booked at rates as low as P299 per night all-in for a whole private room complete with amenities. The discount is valid until January 16, 2020. Zen’s 24/7 customer care is available to help with reservations if required.

Zen Rooms told the BusinessMirror that those interested to apply for the voucher do not need to show any proof of residency from the affected areas or canceled flight details.

“We hope to help those who have been impacted by this natural calamity, by providing budget accommodation at rates below our cost line on all our key hotels across the Philippines,” said Amit Shukla, Zen Rooms regional director of marketing.

“Our properties in affected areas are providing face masks to guests, and assisting with relocations to safer areas in Metro Manila. We will continue to assess the situation in the Philippines, and are prepared to offer additional assistance as appropriate,” he added.

Established in 2015, Zen Rooms is one of the largest players in its category, with 13,000 rooms under franchise.

This hospitality brand in Southeast Asia has raised $23-million equity funding from leading institutional investors Rocket Internet, Ooredoo Telecom, RedBadge Pacific, SBI Investments Korea and Yanolja.

It first entered the Philippines in 2016. Zen Rooms is the largest hotel chain in the country with 5,500 rooms under franchise as of second quarter of 2019.

This hotel chain is offering discounts to those affected by Taal eruption

MANILA – A budget hotel chain is reducing the rates of its key properties following the eruption of the Taal Volcano, which has affected locals and travelers across the country.

In a statement sent to ABS-CBN News on Tuesday, ZEN Rooms said it is giving a 30% discount via the voucher code “ZENCARES,” which can be used on the hotel chain’s website to book accommodations.

With the discount, which is valid until January 16, rooms can be booked as low as P300 a night.

Some of the locations covered by the promo include Tagaytay, Metro Manila, Vigan, Baguio, La Union, Baler, and Bacolod.

“We hope to help those who have been impacted by this natural calamity by providing budget accommodation at rates below our cost line on all our key hotels across the Philippines,” said Amit Shukla, regional director for marketing at ZEN Rooms.

“Our properties in affected areas are providing face masks to guests and assisting with relocations to safer areas in Metro Manila,” Shukla added. “We will continue to assess the situation in the Philippines and are prepared to offer additional assistance as appropriate.”

Taal Volcano erupted Sunday noon, spewing ash that reached Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon and disrupted hundreds of flights.

Franchising empowers budget accommodations

Tourist arrivals in Southeast Asian nations continuously grow every year. The region attracted 113 million tourists in 2016, taking up 9.2 percent of the world market share, according to data from United Nations World Tourism Organization.
Low-cost carriers drive the growth of tourism in the region, accounting for at least 50 percent of the recorded flights. Online travel is also seen to further strengthen the industry.

According to a 2019 report by Google and Temasek, Southeast Asia’s online travel sector has grown from $29.7 billion in 2018 to $34.4 billion in 2019, and is expected to double in the next five years. The biggest growth is expected to come from the accommodation sector, from $12.9 billion in 2019 to $36 billion in 2025.

Though Southeast Asia’s tourism industry is promising, its budget accommodation market still has a long way to go, experts opine. Lack of regulation, poor safety and service standards, and low affordability are still rampant in the market.

Franchising is one of the key remedies to these issues according to Zen Rooms, a leading economy and mid-range hotel franchise in Southeast Asia. It is at the forefront of standardizing quality, improving services, and bringing in advanced technology.

“Zen Rooms empowers budget hotels to be productive, safe, and competitive, especially now that Southeast Asia’s international tourism is booming. We want to transform the fragmented budget and midscale hospitality in the region,” said co-founder Nathan Boublil.

The hospitality company was founded in 2015 by Boublil and Kiren Tanna as a means to improve the state of budget hospitality in Southeast Asia, necessary considering that reviews, such as those at booking.com, show only 17 percent of travelers in Southeast Asia are satisfied with their hotel stay, as compared to the 35 percent of satisfied travelers in Europe.

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“Many hotels still use offline tools to manually record their reservations and guest arrivals. Dependency on manual practices may cause overbookings, an increase in security issues, and unpleasant travel experiences,” the company said in a statement.

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Zen properties offer competitive rates and higher service standards to travelers. Technology plays a key role: hoteliers get cloud-based software to manage the life of the property—from rates and reservations to housekeeping and cashflow; the software is linked to Zen Central Reservation and Distribution Systems, which provides 24/7 support for both travelers and hoteliers; automated processes give complete transparency to the owners and simplify the work of the team.

Knowing the importance of human capital, Zen Rooms has built an in-house hospitality school in the Philippines. Employees and partners go through online and offline training to achieve consistency in the quality of their service, and discuss the problems they may face.

“We do an operational audit for all our properties to reveal their areas for improvement,” said Boublil. “Once we know the pain points, we’ll address them one by one. We believe that proper training, relevant and easy-to-use software, and continuous support will help hotels to achieve their full potential.”

In addition, Zen Rooms recently announced a strategic alliance with its financial backers Yanolja, Korea’s number one travel group, and eZee, a global provider of end-to-end hospitality technology. Zen Rooms will be the first to introduce YFlux in its properties in the first quarter of 2020, making it the leading full-stack hospitality group in the region.

Travel: ZEN Rooms Raises the Bar for Budget Hotel Security Measures by Mixing Cloud Technology and Hospitality For a Safer Stay

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Southeast Asia is the fastest growing travel market worldwide. The region attracted 120 million tourists in 2017, and its inbound tourism industry has grown by an annual average of 7.9% since 2005, faster than in any other part of the world.

Traveling is now more convenient and accessible – low cost airlines account for at least 50% of flights in the region, reaching up to 70% of domestic flights in the Philippines and Thailand.

According to a 2019 report by Google and Temasek, Southeast Asia’s online travel sector has grown from $29.7 billion in 2018 to $34.4 billion in 2019, and is expected to double in the next 5 years. The biggest growth is expected to come from the accommodation sector, from $12.9 billion in 2019 to $36 billion in 2025, driven by new users outside of Metros.

Though Southeast Asia’s tourism industry is promising, its budget accommodation market still has a long way to go. Lack of regulation, poor safety and service standards, and low affordability are still rampant in the market.

Franchising is one of the key remedies to these issues. ZEN Rooms, a leading economy and mid-range hotel franchise in Southeast Asia, is at the forefront of standardizing quality, improving services, and bringing in advanced technology. These are important components which help hoteliers and travelers navigate the fast-changing market.

“At ZEN, we believe that to travel safely and affordably is a basic human right,” said its co-founder Nathan Boublil. “ZEN Rooms empowers budget hotels to be productive, safe, and competitive, especially now that Southeast Asia’s international tourism is booming. We want to transform the fragmented budget and midscale hospitality in the region.”

This is timely, as economy hotels struggle to keep up with the demands of travelers. According to Booking.com reviews, only 17% of travelers in Southeast Asia are satisfied with their hotel stay, as compared to the 35% of satisfied travelers in Europe.

Many hotels still use offline tools to manually record their reservations and guest arrivals. Dependency on manual practices may cause overbookings, an increase in security issues, and unpleasant travel experiences.

ZEN properties offer competitive rates and higher service standards to travelers. Technology plays a key role in that transformation. Hoteliers get cloud-based software to manage the life of the property — from rates and reservations to housekeeping and cashflow.

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The software is linked to ZEN Central Reservation and Distribution Systems, which provides 24/7 support for both travelers and hoteliers. Automated processes give complete transparency to the owners and simplify the work of the team, allowing them to focus on the service.

However, hospitality is a people business — having the best technology without having a trained team will yield subpar results. Knowing the importance of human capital, ZEN Rooms has built an in-house hospitality school in the Philippines. Employees and partners go through online and offline training to achieve consistency in the quality of their service and discuss the problems they may face.

The training covers everything, from customer service skills to maintenance and security procedures. The results are proven to be effective and are well reflected in high public customer reviews – according to booking.com, ZEN hotels have an average rating of 8.2, which is more than a point above the market average.

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“We do an operational audit for all our properties to reveal their areas for improvement,” said Nathan. “Once we know the pain points, we’ll address them one by one. We believe that proper training, relevant and easy-to-use software, and continuous support will help hotels to achieve their full potential.”

In addition, ZEN Rooms recently announced a strategic alliance with its financial backers Yanolja, Korea’s number one travel group, and eZee, a global provider of end-to-end hospitality technology. The companies have disclosed the development of YFlux, the product that promises to create a fully integrated and automated environment in hotels. ZEN Rooms will be the first to introduce YFlux in its properties in the first quarter of 2020, making it the leading full-stack hospitality group in the region.

ZEN and DEI Properties launch the first ever budget hotel in BGC

ZEN Rooms, the #1 hotel chain in the Philippines, launched ZEN Premium Uptown BGC, the first and only budget hotel in Bonifacio Global City. Former Vice President of the Philippines Jejomar Binay led the opening ceremony.

The opening of ZEN Premium Uptown BGC is in line with the pioneering spirit of ZEN Rooms, which already has a track record of disrupting the short-term accommodation sector. In 2016, ZEN Rooms entered the Philippines with the aim to radically improve the value-for-money of hotels in the country, historically plagued by high prices, unsafe facilities and poor guest ratings.

In 2017, ZEN launched ZEN Homes in BGC, the first affordable, professionally-run service apartment brand in the Philippines. Today, ZEN is once again disturbing the sector by opening the only budget hotel in BGC, with a budget premium positioning. Indeed, presently there are only 5 hotels in BGC, all of which are 4 and 5 star properties with rates of P8,000 and above per night.

ZEN’s newly built hotel has 105 rooms and is conveniently located alongside Kalayaan avenue, only five minutes away walk from Uptown Mall with rates starting at only P1,500 per night. The building is owned by DEI Properties, one of the leading family-owned developers in the Philippines.

The opening of ZEN Premium Uptown BGC is part of ZEN’s continuous effort in providing a solution to the lack of affordable accommodations the country’s most dynamic business district, in line with its aim to democratize travel to all.

“BGC Developers have built an amazing modern city with tremendous appeal but with unfortunately no affordable hotels, leading to nonsense situations where business travellers are forced to either spend excessively on high-end hotels at the Fort or commute hours to reach their meetings in BGC. With the launch of ZEN Premium Uptown, we are delighted to be putting an end to this unfair nonsense with our partner DEI Properties,” said BGC-based Nathan Boublil, Co-Founder and CEO of ZEN Rooms.