I first heard of the ultra-basic Tune Hotels over a year ago, but I declined writing about them because they didn’t commission travel agents. But after seeing one of their properties in Malaysia, and in the spirit that knowledge is power, I though I’d spread the word about this intriguing company.
Tune Hotels offers hotel rooms for a basic price of $15, and as low as $3 a night if you book a few months ahead and take advantage of promotions. The no-frills brand was created by Tony Fernandes and Kamarudin Meranun, the founders of Asia’s low-cost carrier, Air Asia, which has become a real success story throughout Southeast Asia. The two products really complement each other. The Tune Hotel business model utilizes efficiencies, demand-based pricing and outsourcing of non-core functions. For example, they may not have their own restaurant, but they have one or more franchise restaurants such as Subway, or convenience stores like 7-Eleven operating in their public areas. Everything is a la carte– if you want a towel, you pay extra for it; if you want air-conditioning you purchase it ten hours at a time (leave it running and your hours are quickly used up). There’s 24-hour security and, surprisingly, a free Internet room. Many of the hotels I stay in still charge a daily fee for Internet that is equal to the total cost of a night at a Tune Hotel.
A Tune Hotels standard room with double bed
I saw one of the rooms and while it was certainly basic, it wasn’t depressingly so. I can see the Tune Hotels product being a real boon to students and small business persons who may wish to spend their limited cash in other ways, such as exploring the country they’re visiting or calling on clients. What this means to agents, I can’t really say. But with a recession right around the corner, it’s interesting to contemplate how these low-cost products will fare in a challenging business climate.
The Kuala Lumpur Tune Hotel was the first to open and more Tune Hotels are on track to debut over the next few years in key Malaysian cities such as Penang, Johor Bahru, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu. In addition, Tune Hospitality Investments plans to open 30 properties over the next three years in Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Singapore. Each Tune Hotel will have between 150 and 300 rooms. Visit their website, www.tunehotels.com for more information.