Zen Rooms maps out expansion in East Malaysia

Zen Rooms KL Sentral, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Photo credit: Zen Rooms(Image: Zen Rooms)

Zen Rooms will open at least 25 hotels in East Malaysia by first-quarter 2019. 

The first new hotel openings will be in Sarawak's Miri and Kuching by the end of this year. The group plans to expand into Kota Kinabalu, which is one of Zen Rooms' focus destinations for expansion, along with new markets in five additional cities in Malaysia. The new hotels will add 2,000 guestrooms to its portfolio by the end of this year. 

Zen Rooms recently secured a $15-million loan from South Korea-based leisure platform company Yanolja. The group plans to use the loan to fund this expansion in current and new markets along with its marketing, including online marketing and advertising through Google search engine marketing and optimization and social media platforms.

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Zen Rooms began releasing real-time notifications to guests about promotions and flash sales.

According to Marketing-Interactive.com, Sameer Kaushik, managing director of Zen Rooms, said, "We have a very strong loyalty and reward[s] program, which will see more additions in coming months. On the offline side, we are deploying many campaigns to do potential guest outreach as well." 

Zen Rooms plans to boost efficiency by upgrading its marketing and technology. The group will build from its pricing algorithm it developed, which generates about 20 percent to 25 percent more revenue for Zen Rooms hotel owners, and add new features to the company's mobile app. These include a concierge and personalized content based on a guest's previous Zen Rooms booking.

The start-up recently offered to upgrade and manage old, small hotels across the Philippines to meet the demand for budget lodging in the country. Zen Rooms’ strategy is to set up marketing and sales departments for the struggling hotels and share the marketing costs. 

Zen Rooms also will help repaint guestrooms and repair bathroom pipe leaks. Small-hotel owners have shown interest in Zen Room’s profit-sharing model, leading Benjamin Nicolas, the company’s country manager, to predict 1,000 guestrooms will join Zen Rooms’ portfolio this year.